A few years ago, the Supreme Court decided that the Boy Scouts of America had the right to discriminate against LGBT kids.
Congratulations, Boy Scouts!!
The result, however, has been disastrous, as the organization celebrates its 100th birthday. In the wake of the ruling, it has lost membership and clout. An article in today’s New York Times by Katherine Seelye says it all:
The organization, long an icon of wholesomeness in a simpler America, has seen its membership plunge by 42 percent since its peak year of 1973, when there were 4.8 million scouts. In the last decade alone, membership has dropped by more than 16 percent, to 2.8 million.
The declines reflect the difficulties of keeping up with changing times and shifting demographics, as well as of battling a perception that the organization is exclusionary because it bars gay people and atheists, not to mention girls under 13.
And, of course, when you ban women, gays and religious diversity, you also create a flashing neon sign that reads, “PERVERTS PLEASE APPLY”:
An even bigger challenge emerged this year as a jury ordered the Scouts to pay $18.5 million in damages to a man who had been abused by a scout leader as a boy. The trial focused renewed attention on the secret files that the Scouts’ national office in Texas has kept for more than 70 years of claims of sexual abuse by troop leaders and volunteers.
Here is a typical story from July 22:
If the office voice mail recording is any indication, damage control was in full swing this week at the Gerber Boy Scout Camp near Muskegon, Mich., where the director is behind bars, charged with possessing and distributing child pornography — including locker-room videotapes of boys at the YMCA where he worked as a pool safety instructor.
So, the Boy Scouts can discriminate and humiliate young gay kids who only want to tie knots and roast marshmallows. Good for them.
It can belittle young girls and exclude atheists. Isn’t that nice?
However, by making these bigoted and backward choices, the Boy Scouts of America looks a lot like the Roman Catholic Church. The Boy Scouts are now considered uncool, they have a rapidly declining membership, and attracts psychologically unhealthy and emotionally dysfunctional people with severe sexual hangups.
As the Boy Scouts celebrate their 100th birthday, they should consider living in the current century. For the sake of its survival, it is time the Boy Scouts adjust to modern times and reality. The 1950′s ended quite some time ago. Apparently, they never got the memo.