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7 year old son wants to join Boy Scouts, but I'm uncomfortable w/ the organization

post #1 of 65
Thread Starter 

My son has been asking to join Scouts ever since last fall (not constantly, but his school sends home flyers a couple times a year, and that sparks his interest.  Also, our neighbor's son is in Scouts). 

 

I'm not comfortable with two things: all the packs in our are meet in churches, and the BSA's anti-gay leanings. 

 

I've talked with my son about why I don't want to participate in BSA, but he just wants to go and have fun. 

 

I've looked for alternatives, and there are no chapters of Spiral Scouts or other clubs (and I am not able to devote the time to try and get a chapter started).

 

Have any other mom's dealt with situations like this, where you personal beliefs are challenged by your child's wishes?  I'm starting to feel like I'm just being stubborn at this point.

post #2 of 65

My son is in scouts. I think it depends on the local chapter. I did not realize it was anti gay?

post #3 of 65

Both of my sons are in scouting and while I completely understand if you don't want  to join in principal, the day to day group has nothing to do with any of that.  They are somewhat religious in that there can be a prayer before a group dinner or something. 

 

I believe your son could have a great troop and learn a lot without bringing anything extra into it.  Frankly, I'm not sure how any sort of "gay" issue would come up.  I suppose a leader or boy could tell everyone but I don't think anyone would care. 

 

I do think that finding a good group of boys is important.  Visit a few troops and see how the boys interact.  I wouldn't join a troop where the boys were nasty to each other.

post #4 of 65

My 8yo is also in scouts. I'm atheist and non-homophobic lol. It depends on the local group I think. I'm pretty sure most people in our den/pack are pretty liberal. It doesn't bother me at all that the meetings are held in a church. They're not affiliated with the church in any way except that the meetings are held there. We love scouts. I had many of the same reservations as you, however it's been great. In fact, next weekend we're participating in a family campout. And my oldest son will get to participate in many outdoor activities due to this such as archery. 

post #5 of 65

Emelsea, most of my 8 y.o. DS's friends are in scouts but we won't allow it for the same reasons. When he asked, we told him, "That group believes that it's not okay for a man to want to marry another man, and we're not all right with that. But every family gets to make their own decision." He's asked a few times over the past year, and we remind him, and he says, "Oh yeah, I can't believe that's what they think!" and we move on. It's a bummer, but I think it's a good example of standing up for our family values.

-e

post #6 of 65

I don't think you're being stubborn. BSA is a hill to die on for me. I absolutely will not give my money to any organization that I know to have anti-gay leanings. While we're pretty open to our children participating in various activities, this one isn't one of them. For me, it's a matter of principle, and principle matters. At the end of the day, standing firm against these kinds of challenges are what define who we are and what we really believe.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Youngfrankenstein View Post

I believe your son could have a great troop and learn a lot without bringing anything extra into it.  Frankly, I'm not sure how any sort of "gay" issue would come up.  I suppose a leader or boy could tell everyone but I don't think anyone would care. 

 

Many, many people who are GLBT know it as small children. I wouldn't put my child in a group where he would not be accepted were he to stick with it and come out later. Yes, I get that individuals within the group may accept him, but the organization as a whole is opposed to gay leadership. It creates significant trauma for people who love a group of people (such as childhood church members) but also need to be true to themselves.
 

 

post #7 of 65

i dont have sons. i had the same issue.

 

however a friend who felt that way but only had that activity for her two boys joined BSA coz that was all taht was available for her boys there. Her personal chapter is a great one. the parents are all mindful that she is a single mom with no father figure in her son's life. her now older teen son is gay too. and still in BS.

 

i think it really matters from chapter to chapter. her group is not the typical macho man thing.

post #8 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post

I don't think you're being stubborn. BSA is a hill to die on for me. I absolutely will not give my money to any organization that I know to have anti-gay leanings. While we're pretty open to our children participating in various activities, this one isn't one of them. For me, it's a matter of principle, and principle matters. At the end of the day, standing firm against these kinds of challenges are what define who we are and what we really believe.
 

Many, many people who are GLBT know it as small children. I wouldn't put my child in a group where he would not be accepted were he to stick with it and come out later. Yes, I get that individuals within the group may accept him, but the organization as a whole is opposed to gay leadership. It creates significant trauma for people who love a group of people (such as childhood church members) but also need to be true to themselves.
 

 


I understand what you're saying.  I did tell the OP not to get involved if it were against their family's principles, but I'm saying that if our scout leader told everyone tomorrow that he were gay, no one from out group would be rushing to tell anyone anything.  So if someone at the top of the BS food-chain was anti-gay, they wouldn't know what our troop was doing anyway. 

 

For example, I know several families who send their children to the local Catholic school.  They want the academics and atmosphere that is provided there.  They aren't anti-abortion, anti-gay families and that's what the Catholic church (in the biggest sense of the word) believes in.  It doesn't affect any of their choices to use the school for the education. 

 

post #9 of 65

Have you looked into the organizations in your area lately.  They may not have the beliefs you think they do.  I was shocked at how much Girl Scouts have changed since I was a child (and that was not all that long ago).  It may be the same with Boy Scouts.  They may be in a church because that is who donates the space at the times they need to meet.  My local LLL group meets in a church because the space is free and available at night but they have no affiliation, the scouts may meet there with the same intentions.

post #10 of 65

BTDT and did not allow my son to join.  He asked a few times but we always explained our reasoning and he always accepted it very easily.  I have heard over and over again the reasoning that local troops are not the same as the national organization, but in good consciousness I cannot allow my son to join a group that would fight all the way to the Supreme Court in order to be allowed to discriminate. 

 

Have you tried looking for more specific groups?  That's what we did and ended up finding a lego club in our area that my son loves.

post #11 of 65

Boy Scouts was our hill to die on as well. Dh basically said "over my dead body".

 

While individual troops usually don't bring the issue up, the problem is that the organization doesn't let openly gay (or lesbian) people participate. Thus, even the local troops are presenting a false image of the world, IMO. Your child will never encounter a gay man as a leader. That gives children the idea that being gay is bad and something to be hidden. Those are not values I want my children to grow up with.

 

Is there a 4H near you? Or more specific clubs? What about sports?

post #12 of 65

The Spiral Scouts is a smaller alternative to Boy Scouts. It is specifically non-religious and open to boys and girls.

post #13 of 65

Could you explain your objections to your son and let him decide?

post #14 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by vtechmom View Post

BTDT and did not allow my son to join.  He asked a few times but we always explained our reasoning and he always accepted it very easily.  I have heard over and over again the reasoning that local troops are not the same as the national organization, but in good consciousness I cannot allow my son to join a group that would fight all the way to the Supreme Court in order to be allowed to discriminate.

 

yeahthat.gif
 

At the time my son showed interest in scouts, we identified as Unitarian Universalists. At that time, the BSA was allowing UU boys to earn their "emblem of faith" but not allowing them to display it on their uniforms because UU accepts homosexuals as people. Between that, their anti-gay stance, and their religious leanings, we opted out. My conscience can't handle associating with a bigoted organization.

post #15 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

Boy Scouts was our hill to die on as well. Dh basically said "over my dead body".

 

While individual troops usually don't bring the issue up, the problem is that the organization doesn't let openly gay (or lesbian) people participate. Thus, even the local troops are presenting a false image of the world, IMO. Your child will never encounter a gay man as a leader. That gives children the idea that being gay is bad and something to be hidden. Those are not values I want my children to grow up with.

 

Is there a 4H near you? Or more specific clubs? What about sports?


I don't want to change the subject, but I don't think this is true.  If a child doesn't have an openly gay role model (teacher, friend's parent, coach) then he/she thinks being gay is bad? 

 

post #16 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Youngfrankenstein View Post




I don't want to change the subject, but I don't think this is true.  If a child doesn't have an openly gay role model (teacher, friend's parent, coach) then he/she thinks being gay is bad? 

 


I don't think it's as cut and dried as that, but I think that in an organisation where gay people have to hide, it's easy to breed the idea that being gay is something that needs to be hidden.  I wouldn't feel comfortable being involved in a homophobic organisation.  There's enough heteronormativity in the world without needing to actively seek out situations where being gay is "othered".

 

post #17 of 65
We don't allow girl scouts for quite a few of the same reasons. Other than that homophobic aspect I don't want my kids out peddling boxes of cookies for hours on end so that all the money can just go right up the chain. Very few of the groups see much of that money. It bothers me greatly. Our friends daughter and son were involved and while some of the things they enjoyed a lot of things were against their principles and it seemed to be a constant annoyance for their parents. There are so many other things kids can get involved in. I wasn't allowed in girl scouts and my brother wasn't allowed in boy scouts. All I wanted to do was go camping and make stuff... and my mom took us camping and we made stuff.
post #18 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cuddlefluff View Post




I don't think it's as cut and dried as that, but I think that in an organisation where gay people have to hide, it's easy to breed the idea that being gay is something that needs to be hidden.  I wouldn't feel comfortable being involved in a homophobic organisation.  There's enough heteronormativity in the world without needing to actively seek out situations where being gay is "othered".

 

 

Yes, that's more or less what I meant, only I didn't word it well. Not only will they never have a gay leader, but the underlying message is that gay people have to hide. That's the message that I don't want my children to learn.
 

 

post #19 of 65

BSA doesn't have "anti-gay leanings" and it doesn't matter "what pack you are in" or how they run it.

 

BSA is fundamentally, organizationally bigoted. It is adamantly anti-homosexual and is fought many, many court cases to preserve that right, including in the U.S. Supreme Court. You cannot join BSA if you are gay or have parents who are gay nor can you be involved in any way if you are gay, like being a troop leader.

 

Young men who have completed all requirements to be an Eagle scout have been rejected when they announced that they were gay. (And so, too, for not being religious.) Active scout members have been excluded when it was discovered a parent was gay, even though the local chapter didn't care. This is what the organization fundamentally believes and fights for.

 

Now, there are probably many, many troops that don't care either way or would rather be inclusive or can live with the hypocrisy of supporting an organization that doesn't represent their beliefs. But frankly, that isn't good enough for me. I will not associate with a fundamentally bigoted organization that excludes my family and friends.

 

Note too that they more often meet in churchs because they are often excluded from public property, in areas with anti-discrimination laws in place.

 

Note that Girls Scouts of America and the Canadian version of Boy Scouts do not have these policies.

post #20 of 65
I would refuse to let my sons join an organization that promotes inequality.
I was happy to find this from Scouts Canada: "Scouting is a world wide, multi cultural movement. We welcome people to membership regardless of gender, race, culture, religious belief, sexual orientation or economic circumstances. Youth members are strongly influenced by the behaviour of adults. We need to be sensitive to the traditions and beliefs of all people and to avoid words or actions which "put down" anybody." From Scouts Canada. Duty of Care, February 2001, CODE OF CONDUCT FOR ADULTS
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