|This is what I do with my free time!|
It was an uncomfortable moment for me last year, when the BSA publicly reinforced its position on gays in scouting. Being a fairly new leader, I hid my disgust and said a quiet prayer of thanks that it wasn’t really much of an issue for my local pack.
As much as it may have upset me when the BSA drew that line in the sand six months ago, I am now glad that they did it... because, sometimes, that’s what it takes to rally people around a cause. Although I wish that this new shift was coming from a place of compassion and understanding, rather than pressure from the public and corporate sponsors, I’ll take it!
So, why is this issue so important to me?
Well, for me, it’s incredibly personal.
Look, if you read my blog regularly, you know that I have no problem talking about sex and, if you know me personally, you know that I am very open when it comes to sexuality. I believe that people have a right to live however they choose and that we, as a society, have a moral obligation to allow them to do so. While that is a broad declaration, it is rooted in my belief that one’s sexual orientation should not only be accepted, but celebrated. I don’t give a shit if you are a swinger, a polygamist, a nudist, a voyeur, homosexual, bisexual, transgendered, or a man who likes to get spanked with a bamboo cane, while sucking on a pacifier and listening to the entire Lady Gaga catalog.
As long as you do it responsibly?
Have at it!
I hate to sound cliche, but some of my best and closest friends are gay. These are people I spend holidays with. These are people I turn to for advice. These are people I trust with my life... with my children’s lives... Good people. Honest people. Human beings. Why would I give up the love and support that these folks have given me over the years, just because of what they do in their bedrooms?
Growing up, I was lucky enough to be surrounded by diverse groups of people with different ethnic backgrounds, religious beliefs, and sexual orientations, even inside my own home. My mom’s brother Jeffrey, someone who was more like a brother to me than an uncle (someone I have always idolized and adored, even long after his death) was gay.
As a father of two boys who will one day become men, I believe that it is my duty to raise them to become kind, compassionate, loving adults who do not look upon others as blacks, muslims or homosexuals, but as brothers and sisters who deserve equal respect.
I became active in the scouting program for my children, because I believe that the life skills that scouting offers are invaluable and I believe that its tenets... that the scout LAW, requiring that these boys be “trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent,” should be the law of the land.
It is expected that the new BSA policy will leave it up to local chapters to decide whether or not they want to become inclusive so that, as one story reported, “members and parents would be able to choose a local unit that best meets the needs of their families.”
Really, its only a small step, but for this Cubmaster, it is a step in the right direction!