The Boy Scouts

by Brittany on April 10, 2012

in Parenting

As a parent, we have the crappy job of making decisions regarding our kids. Most of the time, they are super easy, like if they’ll buy lunch that day, or if they should wear a jacket.

Other decisions are trickier, like if they can play at Joe’s house even though his dad has guns, or if they’ll attend private or public school.

It’s hard as hell, and I could ask 100 different parents and get 100 different answers.

The fact is, there is no right answer, only your answer. One you often make in a caffeine induced stupor and three day old underwear, surrounded by little people you wish would just shut up for five fucking minutes so you could have a coherent thought that’s not set to the tune of a Yo Gabba Gabba song, although, admittedly… all my sex dreams are now done to the soundtrack of Try It, You’ll Like It!

I would say, overall, I have a 70/30 parental success rate, which sounds low, but it’s not. I mean, there are no books on this… alright yeah, there are actually tons of books on this, but seriously, who has time to read them, they’re incredibly dull and if I want to feel bad about myself, I’ll go into an Anthropology and try to fit into stuff.

Andy and I make decisions for our kids together, turning to google if we need a third party moderator, which we seldom do. His level headed nature and my flamboyant idealism usually produce decisions that don’t end in death or loss of custody or permanent body modifications.

Yesterday, Jude came home in a tizzy of excitement about campfires and pizza and bee-bee guns and catapults, which, admittedly, all sound awesome. Where on Earth can you get all those awesome things? Boy Scouts. For $12 a year plus uniforms and badges and other random fees, you can have camping and dirt and building things and shooting stuff and boys and debauchery and fun.

I was a girl scout for years, and had the pleasure of working for the organization after college, and I am chomping at the bit for Gigi to be old enough to join. They have a great message, they stand for and teach amazing things, and they sell cookies that I like to eat.

Win, win, win.

But when Jude asked to join Boy Scouts, my heart hurt…because I knew we might have to tell him no. In fact, in my head, I was already screaming no, no way, absolutely not, not happening. But, I have this almost-six year old beautiful boy in front of me, who’s bursting at the seams to see his friends at meetings and get a free mini catapult for joining.

And suddenly things got harder. I remember my brother was in Boy Scouts for a year or two, and he would go away to camp and participate in the Pine Wood Derby, and I know, deep down, that is stuff Jude would love.

But, I also know that Boy Scouts of America has an explicit anti-gay policy. And while he may not understand all that in the grand scheme of equality and civil rights and humanity, would he understand that it meant that his friend’s dad couldn’t be his leader? That one of his relative’s couldn’t participate? That some of our dearest family friends would be unwelcome?

Do I pause all that in lieu of a pizza party and bee-bee guns because it’s easier, neater, less of an OMG TANTRUM APOCALYPSE?

I know he obviously won’t go to meetings and get indoctrinated into an anti-gay mindset. He’d probably learn a craft and play a game and sell ridiculously overpriced stale popcorn that nobody ever wants to buy, leaving me to pick up the tab.

But, we’d also be one more family making it ok for an organization to stand for ideals we just don’t agree with.

For us, the answer was no.

I’ve had to teach my kids lessons in the most unexpected places, usually when I am completely unprepared, and almost always while I have food in my mouth, and it sucks most of the time. Explaining life is hard, especially when you have to use clean language and Dora the Explorer analogies.

 

{ 242 comments… read them below or add one }

EJD1984 April 19, 2012 at 11:57 am

I started in the Cub Scouts, then Webelos, and up to Boy Scouts, all in the same Troop here n Baltimore. I eventually grew into one of the adult leaders (sadly the troop wound down in 2001). Even as a young boy in the 1970s & 80s, I knew of the anti-homosexual bias in the upper ranks of the Boy Scouts, but the enjoyment, memories, and lifetime friendships that I enjoy to this day (now 47) vastly outweigh any of that (and was never a factor). Things are very different down at the troop level, and it’s a matter of searching/networking to find a group that you and your son would be comfortable with.

I hesitate on saying you’re depriving your son, but there is a world that I believe he should be given the opportunity to experience. If you do change your mind (I hope you do), be one of the active/involved parents to not only see how the boys are treated by the adult leaders (a trial run?) But also, sometimes change needs to happen/nudged from within.

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Grace April 20, 2012 at 7:32 am

I had a similar dilemma when my son asked to join. As a bisexual parent this was an important issue, and I was set on saying “not on your life”. An unlikely person changed my mind, a friend who was a lesbian whose son was a scout. Her point was that it is a great organization, and that positive change is best achieved from the inside. When my son joined his troop I asked the leaders what their particular view was and their response was encouraging, they stated that to this troop there were many qualities they were looking for in leaders, and they didn’t care about sexual orientation at all.

Change will eventually come to the boy scouts and their policies will change, but I wish it would happen now as I still wrangle with the idea that I encourage their nonsense just a bit with my son’s participation.

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Lori April 20, 2012 at 8:09 am

Do you honestly think your 6 year old son cares about BSA’s anti-gay policy if such a policy exists. Let the kid be a kid. He will get more out of BSA than you can ever imagine.

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Brittany April 20, 2012 at 9:38 am

No, I don’t think he would care about anti-gay policies at 6, but then again, I don’t think he would care about most forms of discrimination…because he’s 6.

We’re parents, making decisions for our kids is our job. Trying to set a good example with those decisions is also our job.

We can only make those decisions for our own kids.

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Jessie April 20, 2012 at 8:29 am

I think standing up for what you believe in is critically important. I would love to allow our future children to have these great experiences, but fact of the matter is, the descrimination is horrible. Our family is Athiest. Boy Scouts have a strict policy that unless you are Christian, you cannot join or participate. I will not force my children to pledge allegiance to something I don’t believe in. Or anything for that matter. Its their choice. I only hope they won’t be hurt because they don’t have the same opportunities as other kids. I know Eagle Scouts get preferential treatment in all sorts of stuff as young adults.

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Grace April 20, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Our family is Atheist too, and in our experience of the Boy Scouts over the last 5 years our troop has been very respectful of religious differences.

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Jessie April 20, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Grace, I wish things were like you have experienced. We live in Mississippi, unfortunantly they don’t really have the same tolorance as some groups I suppose. Our kids could never recite the boyscout oath though. How does that work. I thought the three fingers stood for god, country, and family?

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John April 20, 2012 at 9:15 am

I think what you are doing is appalling. Keeping your son out of the activities you KNOW HE WOULD LOVE because you don’t agree with the organization’s stance on a topic is silly. What you are afraid of is what your friends will think. You can actually be a part AND have a different opinion than the organization, especially if you or your husband were a scout leader. Try it!

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Brittany April 20, 2012 at 9:35 am

I have no arguments that it would probably be fun, but to be clear, what you are saying is I should just ignore the bad parts in favor of the fun parts?

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Susan April 20, 2012 at 11:05 am

No, what he is saying is become a part of it yourself and change the the policy you have assumed is taught to children (which it isn’t). I’m certain if you only participated in organizations that you totally agreed with 100%, you wouldn’t be very active in any community or group.

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Brittany April 20, 2012 at 11:19 am

No, I understand that argument, but what I would be doing is particpating in an organization that promotes a discrimination at the national level (it’s not a secret, it’s very open and legal, they are a private organization who can do as they wish), because the smaller local levels are fun and probably not discriminatory.

And I agree, like I said in my post, I very much doubt that a local troop would indoctrinate my kid, but I would also be supporting the BSA as a whole, which is the decision we struggled with. We’d be counted in their numbers and supporting them financially.

And since I could never compete with BSA’s largest, all religious (biggest being LDS) donors, we weighed the decision and decided to pass.

Which is truly what I am talking about. We all have the right to make decisions for our kids.

Dennis April 20, 2012 at 6:56 pm

Oh, but it would be ok to keep him out with derogetory terms about race? What’s the difference?? Social justice IS social justice, John. Views like your comment perpetuate racisim and prejudice – in case you didn’t notice.

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Nick April 21, 2012 at 2:58 pm

YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!!! RACIST!!!!!!!! WHAT THE HECK! First of all the Boy Scouts does not discriminate anybody! Period! That is the opposite of what they do! If you think that John is being racist and discriminatory, then you need some help. Your comment was really lame and has nothing to do with this.
If I am being offensive to you, think about it this way: Stop being so self-absorbed! It’s not all about you. This entire comment thread has offended me and the Scouting organization – in case you didn’t notice.

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Brittany April 21, 2012 at 3:03 pm

On I feel the need to maybe point something out that you may not be aware of. BSA does discriminate. It’s not a secret, in fact they went before congress for the ability to do so, AND WON. And the truth is, they are a private organization. They ARE allowed to not allow gays, but I’m also allowed to not like it or participate in it.

I’m not telling you not to be a boy scout. I’m telling you why we aren’t.

Nick May 1, 2012 at 5:09 pm

I know they COULD if they wanted to, but I have ever heard of a religious organization discriminating.

Kathryn (@kat1124) April 27, 2012 at 2:56 pm

John, I think your comment is ridiculous. There are lots of things my son loves that I say “no” to. This morning he wanted to hold the turtle before school. I said no. BUT HE LOVES THE TURTLE, HOW COULD I DO THAT TO HIM?!? Is basically your position. I also refuse to take him to Chuck E Cheese because it’s nasty and full of cheap crap. He begs me to go there regularly. I say no. It’s my job to say “no” to him, a good part of the time. And I see tons of kids whose parents never say “no” to them, and those are kids who don’t like to come to my house to play.

Britanny has made a decision for her child that is every parent’s right to make. Sometimes you just don’t participate because you feel that strongly. There is nothing wrong with her family’s choice. I used to be a practicing Catholic. I left the church I loved because I couldn’t buy into being in disagreement with so much of the dogma. Well, she can’t buy into BSAs dogma about homosexuals. Whether you agree with her or not, she is teaching her child something valuable.

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Don April 20, 2012 at 9:29 am

Let the kid join the Boy Scouts! Are you so politicaly correct you that you are willing destroy him?

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Brittany April 20, 2012 at 9:33 am

No offense, I’m sure Boy Scouts, and really, any kid organization has redeeming qualities, but I hardly think not being in Boy Scouts is the path to destruction.

Also, for what it’s worth, I don’t see equality as being politically correct, more just basic human decency.

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Nick April 21, 2012 at 2:50 pm

“Basic human decency”! I have some gay friends, my parents have gay friends, and we love them! Being gay is nothing out of the ordinary. People are born that way! Its just who they are! The only thing the Scouts are worried about is having someone that is gay go and sexually abuse another Scout! Thats it! If Boy Scouts was an organization that allowed girls as well as boys, the policy would be something along the lines of “Sexual behavior is strictly prohibited.” It has nothing to do with human decency! You just basically said that Scouting does not care for morals. There is nothing further than the truth! Plus, with all of these attorneys nowadays, everybody gets sued for everything so don’t blame the Scouts for being careful.

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Brittany April 21, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Why would you make the assumption that homosexuals are sexual predators? Have you actually looked at the statistics of heterosexual pedophiles?

And what make of you regarding the Ohio leader who was just kicked out because she was a lesbian, which by definition would make her not attracted to males?

Kathryn (@kat1124) April 27, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Are you seriously suggesting that a child can be destroyed by not participating in Boy Scouts? It’s hard to take a comment like that seriously. I hope you’re not a Scout leader with an extreme position like that.

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Nick May 1, 2012 at 5:15 pm

I am a Boy Scout, and proud to be one! I did not say that either! Can you guys use quotes when you put words in my mouth! I will continue this when your reply holds truth to it…

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Bruce Menin April 20, 2012 at 10:05 am

Jessie- there is no such policy, strict or otherwise at the national level. I also can’t imagine, and have never heard of a troop that is discriminatory along those lines. The Scouts do believe a spiritual life has value; and as a marginally-practicing Jew/Unitarian, I am comfortable with the that in there is value in understanding and practicing a spiritual life that values the earth and all people on it- but fully accept that belief in a divinity is not a pre-requisite for it. Alcoholics Anonymous requires the believe in a power greater than oneself that one needs to acknowledge in order to create an intentional and viable sobriety, but it doesn’t name that power or require a standardized understanding of that power. It can be a lawn chair, for all that matters- it is simply about understanding that the universe has a way of operating that may be beyond our ability to decipher or discern- something no scientist or atheist I know would disagree with.

Our troop has kids and dads from many established spiritual practices, it has atheists as well, with no distinction whatsoever with regard to participation. There is a religious merit badge for studying each major religion, it is certainly not required. How can you assert that there is a policy against all other religions but Christianity, and yet there is not only a recognition of each major religion, but a merit badge for exploring each of those religions? We also do the pledge of allegiance, and like the moments of silence or non-denominational prayers offered on occasion, those who do not want to participate don’t need to- but they do need to respect that those practices have value for others. Part of the problem with the erosion of civil discourse is the tendency to generalize and ascribe the sins of the few to the many. All Christians are not Pat Robertson, all republicans are not Louis Gohmert, all back people are not Barack Obama (neither are they Allen West). The neanderthals at the top levels of the Boy Scouts who perpetuate such a stupid and discriminatory policy about the sexual orientation of scout leaders have very little influence on how each troop comports itself; and how each group comports itself has to do with the ways adults in the community engage with the troop. What the Scouts have done for our family is help bring that idea home- that all people are to be respected, and treated civilly, whether you agree with them or not. If we are to restore an active, engaged and civil democracy, that’s a damned good place to start. I just think that standing on the outside and holding your nose won’t change the culture at the top; what will change it is exactly what is happening in troops all across the country- they are not complying with discriminatory polices that are logically flawed and actually go against the grain of what the Scouts are really about. Recently, an adoptive mother who is a lesbian was dropped as a scout leader for her son’s troop, ostensibly because of her sexual orientation- after being a leader for over a year. The backstory is that she was “suddenly” dropped after she took over as the treasurer of the troop, and discovered troubling financial transactions and practices. Before that, the troop had no problem with her and welcomed her. That incident has helped to bring into focus two things- that the national scouts have a policy that is inconsistent with human dignity, and that this troop, like troops all over the world, ignored that policy; in this case, until she became a whistleblower and threatened to expose wrongdoing.

I agree sometimes you have to take a stand and steer clear of wrongful practices as an act of principle. But I also know, as a scout leader and elected official, that sometimes you have to enter the belly of the beast to bring about change. I don’t oppose or criticize your position. But don’t moralize about your choice in a way that makes those who have decided to change things from the inside seem like collaborators. Thanks.

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Steph April 20, 2012 at 10:05 am

If I may offer a solution? see if there is a 4-H program in your area. 4-H is a wonderful combination of boy and girl scouts but is co-ed and kids get to take projects to the county fair each year (at least they do in my state). I participated in the program for 11 years and my brother participated for 8 before he dropped out because of other high school commitments. We both enjoyed it very much and the different projects allowed us to bond our parents.

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Brittany April 20, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Thanks! I am so excited to explore the mountain of alternatives put before us, and 4H is one of them!

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Steph April 20, 2012 at 6:18 pm

You’re welcome! I hope you and your son can find a program you both enjoy. There are a multitude of wonderful educational and fun extra curricular programs out there.

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Pat April 20, 2012 at 10:26 am

My question to you is exactly what is the problem with him joining the Boy Scouts. As a parent your son will come to you with things he learned at the meetings and you can answer his questions.
Don’t be guilty of causing him to give up all the fun and learning he would ultimately have as a result of one disagreement you have with them. Use your wisdom as a parent to your son’s and your advantage lovingly let him know that prejudice is wrong and follow up with positives.

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1stJimbo April 20, 2012 at 10:45 am

Oh for heaven’s sake! The decision to keep this kid out of Boy Scouts is absurd and unnecessary. All you’re doing is taking YOUR biases and YOUR PC views and inoculating YOUR child with them. I’m sure that he doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about. All he wants to do is belong to a group where he can have fun. Do you really think that he will be somehow corrupted and turn into some sort of bigot? Really, do you?!!?\
Let your kid be a kid. He’ll grow up soon enough to decide for himself. End this insanity an let him join the Scouts.

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Susan April 20, 2012 at 10:57 am

I have two sons who are Eagle Scouts. They lessons and values they learned in Boy Scouts have helped make them the great young men they are. As far as I know (and I think they would have discussed it with me) the subject of gay lifestyles was never mentioned at a meeting or campout. The idea that the Boy Scouts would teach intolerance of others is absurd. One of my closest and best friends is a gay man. All of my children are close to him. You see, boys may learn camping skills, team building, leadership, etc. at Boy Scouts, but they learned how to treat others at home long before their first meeting. The values you instill in your children are the ones they build on. So have faith in your son and allow him to participate in an extremely beneficial activity and trust that you are the great parent you think you are.

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Matthew May 1, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Exactly Susan I am an eagle scout and wouldn’t trade those times or experiences for anything. Any boy or girl should be allowed to join scouts be it boy or girl scouting orgAnizations

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Dianne April 20, 2012 at 11:14 am

The moral high ground is admirable. I would hope it is not just the Scouts whom you rail against but all groups that discriminate if that is your focus, and discrimination takes many forms. I am curious, if an Eagle Scout candidate came to you and said “I am raising money for an orphanage in ….. for my eagle project” would you say “No, you discriminate.” What if he was building a play area for dogs at the pound, how about supplies for kids in Afghanistan? Medicine for 3rd world countries. These are all recent Eagle Scout projects in our Troop. How about when they collect food for the homeless?
If you join a Troop that is sponsored by an Evangelical Christian Church that is strongly anti gay- you will get a Troop that mirrors the sponsoring organization. If you join one that is sponsored by a more liberal church, a community group, or some other group, it will be a different organization. There are Troops in our area that are sponsored by Muslim groups, we have a Vietnamese troop, a VFW troop, a catholic troop, a Baptist Troop, a non denominational troop, a home schooled troop, an inner city community center troop, LDS troops, Home owners association troops, a Hispanic community group troop.
Eventually your kid will learn that life isn’t fair, never has been, never will be. He may respect the choice you made for him or maybe not. He may thank you or remind you at every Thanksgiving how you cheated him out of the experience, only time will tell. Being a parent is the most important job. You only get one chance with each kid. We all do the best that we can.

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Brittany April 20, 2012 at 11:22 am

Being a parent is the most important job. A tough, but very very important one. Thanks for this comment!

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David April 20, 2012 at 11:21 am

A truly thoughtful parent! Thank you for not caving in to bigotry in the name of “fun”!

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Travis April 20, 2012 at 11:26 am

While I applaud and share your opinions regarding the outdated anti-gay policy of the scouts organization, I think you are making a huge mistake. The adult “leaders” of the scouts have this policy and as the parent of two Cub scouts, I have never, ever witnessed anything but positive messages coming across. For the CUB scouts at least, this is not something that is a problem. As you son grows and gets to an age (Boy Scouts) that he has more of a grasp of these political and social issues, let him make that choice for himself. But at 6 years old, this is about letting your son do the things he wants to do without any selfishness on your part.

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Gary April 20, 2012 at 11:32 am

First I can’t believe you would use a 4 letter word in an article written to be posted on the internet. Speaks loudly about you. To keep your 6 year old from doing anything because it goes against your moral high ground is silly. Are you anti Pinewood Derby because the cars are made from wood and you want to save the trees? How about campouts? All that wood burning spoils our air quality. Need I say more? If all parents stopped their kids from doing things because of their personal political or moral stand we would be in sad shape. Let your Son decide.

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JB April 20, 2012 at 11:52 am

I would like to say thank you for this posting and I thought you would have had more people agreeing with you. It is unfortunate the only two postings at this time where negative and disregarded the Boy Scouts (or society) as part of the problem. I am a parent with two boys and was reared to treat all people as equals (unlike some, I mean all people). As a young boy, I wanted to be part of the Boy Scouts, because of all of the good things I had heard they offer, but my parents moved to often and worked multiple jobs, so it was just not in the cards for me. When I was older, I just knew if I had kids they would be part of an organization like the Boy Scouts. After serving 8 years in the Marine corps. infantry, getting my first degree, and learning the value of news media and the internet (when checking multiple sources, of course), I came to the understanding the Boy Scouts were not what I thought all those years. They unfortunately, in an indirect or direct way are teaching intolerance and segregation, which can easily led to inequality of others (One of the reasons I put my life on the line for this country is because I feel we are a melting pot of people and can change for the better each and every day). Let me also say we don’t always have choices when providing for our children due to cost, workloads, etc…. However, I do have this choice; my boys will not be allowed to join the current Boy Scouts because I am looking out for their futures and when/if they ask me to explain why all people are equal. I don’t want them to look back and believe me to be a hypocrite, by allowing them to join as organization which allow or teaches, in my words “hate”, on any level. Thanks again and keep up the good work.

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Bruce Menin April 20, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Brittany- could you please cite the url for the information that the biggest donor to the Scouts are the LDS? In looking at the BSA Charity report, I saw that the biggest sponsor of troops is the LDS, but that doesn’t equate to donations at all. And for the record, there is no way in hell (or in hells, as is the case) i would accompany my son to an LDS sponsored troop- that’s my bias. however, we are members of a troop sponsored by the catholic church- we are jewish/unitarian- and i can assure you that in our case, the only “donation” we receive from the church is access to space we pay for for meetings. i did notice that “contributions” represent 12% of the donations to the scouts- that would include all direct funds from corporations and churches. they also have a 10% administrative overhead, which in the non-profit world is pretty good. a number of funders have walked from the scouts because of this policy, and i am perfectly fine with that as well- it exerts more pressure for them to change.

again, i understand that you feel any affiliation with a group like the scouts is interpreted as support. one of my mentors, saul alinsky, would find that to be disappointing- he strongly encouraged people to become members of organizations and Boards, in particular, to actively change the culture of the group. as it is your nature to dis-affiliate because of the perceived condoning of policies that are discriminatory, it is mine to work within systems and make changes. i find that approaching things that way minimizes the amount of disinformation and misinformation i need to deal with- it sets a high level of accountability on me, and makes me much more intentional about the things i say and do. each find their own path.

but do understand that your position is abstract. you have no experience with the scouts, you do not seem to understand that the local troop sets the tone and decides who it will admit; you have no way of knowing whether your local troop is opposed to the policy. our troop has reached out to kids who special needs- my best guess is that 40% of them have iep’s; it provides these kids with the chance to experience non-judgmental inclusion in a community that will change their lives. for me to deny my own son that experience, and he is in that 40%, on the basis of an antiquated policy that has been ignored by most of the troops in the scouts and has not prevented my troop from accepting scouts who are gay, scouts have autism, learning disabilities, cerebral palsy- well, i’ll take the trade-off. and in the end, my son will have had that life-changing experience, at some point in the future- five years, ten years- the national scouts will have to walk from that policy. the majority opinion on surveys supporting marriage equality, shifting over the past five years, will likely set up a court challenge to the policy, which will not be defensible in the end. and when they walk from it, because of a court decision, and because the vast majority of local troops don’t support and don’t give a damn about a discriminatory policy, you will have accomplished what you seek. but your son will have missed a great chance to get close to other kids, different kids, kids from a range of backgrounds. and you know what- i will have not only helped fight for the change in policy, but by working from the inside, i will have helped kids imagine the world that they will live in, and shape it in ways that move us out these dark times. there are many other ways you can ensure your son gets those experiences, as you will find. the boy scouts aren’t the only option.

when my kid asked to participate, we talked about it. i was not supportive, for the same reasons that you stated. i explained to him my concerns, about discrimination. his position was that we, and he knew that was wrong, and he told me he would make sure that no one was discriminated against in his troop. and he has. he has had the chance to see adults celebrate diversity, to shut down discrimination, to see what it is like to build an affirming, intentional community. i have come to see that my initial position would have taken that unique experience away from him. to see him step in and quietly defuse shaming and bullying behavior has made me deeply and profoundly proud of him. it’s hard to imagine any other recreational experience where i could have been able to watch that happen.

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kathleen April 20, 2012 at 12:16 pm

For those of you who think the 6 year old should make a decision like this you are delusional. Parents have to be the decision makers and I applaud you for this decision, unlike others I do not think being a Boy Scout or not is life altering, having a solid loving family background is what will develop your children into loving adults with good decision making skills.

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BB April 20, 2012 at 12:46 pm

I know many people love the scouts but it is a parents right to make the decision about which group a child will be a part of. Growing up I loved dance, makeup, dresses, and pageants. My mom on the the other hand felt pageants were outdated and degrading against women. I just wanted to spin around in a pretty dress. Do I regret not participating in pageants at a young age? No. I made the decision to participate when my mom felt I was mature enough to understand her point of view but also mature enough to express my wishes in a way that showed her I understood the bad points of pageants and the good in way that showed her it would not be detrimental to me. Did I ever see the bad things that made my mom dislike the pageants? Yep, but by that time I was mature enough to express a differing opinion and not participate in pageants that upheld those views. Right now your son is 6. He’s not seeing the bigger picture or understanding the financial aspect of supporting an organization you do not believe in. There are many other groups to participate in that do not have those views. Change can come from within an organization but change also comes when that organization’s pocketbook is hit from people NOT participating because of its views.

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jenny April 20, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Right on. Good for you. No other decision to make.

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Jacqueline April 20, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Well Ms. Brittany,
It seems to me you might need a friend in the comments department today. So I’ll be there for you!

When I was a child I wanted a Barbie doll. Badly. All my friends had them. My mother refused. Why? “Barbie gives women a false sense of what women should look like.” The end. I could have any other toy in the world I wanted. There were even times when at first my mother said no and then changed her mind but in the course of the ten years that I wanted a Barbie she never caved. It wasn’t happening. Sure, I was mad. Now every person on the face of the planet may reply to this post and call my mother crazy and say ” oh my goodness what’s next? will g.i. joe be stolen from the masses?” And I will curse them because no one talks about my mama and lives…and also because they would have missed the point. My mother wanted my sisters and I to have a positive self image about what WE looked like. She wanted us to love the women we’d become…and the woman I would become was never ever going to be Barbie. My mother (as you are) was trying to planet a small seed. So in order for me to get the ideal she was trying to reinforce she had use something that was going to leave the biggest impact on me. And guess what? Not only did it work…Barbie changed after my mother wouldn’t. Now you can get African Barbies, Latina Barbies, Asian, Native American, African-American and Irish Barbie…they are all Barbie because people like my mother wouldn’t change.

I share this story because it seems to me people have run the gauntlet of semi insanity in replying to this post. People are angry. Why? People are suggesting by not allowing her son to go on CAMPING TRIPS Ms. Gibbons is a bad parent. She hasn’t denied him food, shelter or her love and yet she’s a monster for not allowing him to collect badges. Since it sounds even more ridiculous when it’s said just like that it obviously has to be a deeper issue. Everyone who has yelled and screamed and hollered is really mad about one thing. They didn’t say no and now it’s come out into the open. You never said “Hey, no one in this troop agrees with your policy big guys. Change it or we’re out of here.” Not because you’re bad people…but because it never comes up and you’re content. It’s really that simple. Now someone is proposing that they are not content and your back lash is well…you’re just not a good parent! Only terrible parents deny their children the pleasure of fishing!

Well here is why Brittany I think you’re a GREAT parent. The hardest thing you can do as an adult (which has been clearly shown by some of these comments) is to change your habits and thought patterns. Right or wrong you are trying to teach your children before they get into the habit of backing down, to stand up when they believe something is unjust. Even if it goes against what everyone else is doing. If you wait until they are an adult which someone suggested…or even worse let them make choices on the impulses of a six year old as someone else suggested they are doomed to live a life of avoidance. When it just gets to tough they will fall back and follow the crowd. No what you’re doing is raising heros and if I’m not mistaken…that’s really the point of the Boy Scouts. So job well done!

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Joe April 20, 2012 at 1:12 pm

All I can say is I’m glad you weren’t my parent with your holier than thou nose in the air! Scouts teach leadership, self accomplishment and so much more. What a lousy parent.

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Seth Manwaring April 20, 2012 at 1:21 pm

This blogger either doesn’t know the meaning of Debauchery, or doesn’t know the first thing about the Boy Scouts.
Blogging must be so convenient for her — free to present her own prejudices as true and never having to check facts.

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Matthew April 20, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Ok because of your liberal views you are denying your son the experience. He just wanted to have fun. Also what are you going to tell your son when he couldn’t join hotel scouts and she gets to go have the fun he wanted to have? So get your head in the bible instead of liberal beliefs. It was adam and eve not adam and steve. Lastly if anyone is offended by what I said take it up with God he makes the rules not me.

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Nick April 21, 2012 at 2:39 pm

I LOVE THIS ANSWER!!!!

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Rachel April 22, 2012 at 7:31 pm

This is the most hilariously idiotic thing I have ever seen. Must you push your religious beliefs on someone else?

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Matthew April 23, 2012 at 11:09 am

Not pushing my beliefs on anyone. Why is it that when someone talks about God and the bible it’s pushing your beliefs on someone but when they say something like I dont believe in God or that they support gay marriages it’s ok? Newsflash people I am a person and have just as much right to say what I del like you do so stop pushing your gay and liberal agendas down my throat.

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Rachel April 23, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Are you serious? Saying “Get your head in a Bible” isn’t pushing beliefs? Maybe she isn’t religious, and therefore shouldn’t read the Bible. Also, I am sure that I never even revealed my “agendas” so how could I have pushed them down your throat?

Nick May 1, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Ummmmm Rachel… are you being serious right now!? Scouting is a RELIGOUS ORGANIZATION!!!

Matthew May 1, 2012 at 5:23 pm

The gay and liberal agendas are being pushed down the throat of most people anf as a Christian I am offended that there is nothing showing Christian views

Matthew April 20, 2012 at 1:47 pm

I mean boy scouts

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Sam_I_am April 23, 2012 at 6:01 pm

okay, I may be mixing up my bloggers, but I’m thinking Brittany went to Catholic school? She’s not saying that she is keeping him out of the organization because of her religious beliefs, but because her belief that her children should learn to love and welcome everyone (I think Jesus had that same idea too) is the most important value and she doesn’t want to support an organization that doesn’t align with her most important values. It really is her choice for what is best for her family.

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Matthew April 23, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Ok Jesus did accept people and love them but didn’t tolerate the sin in their lives. Example the prostitute they wanted to stone he said ” Go and sin no more “

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william April 20, 2012 at 2:20 pm

You might want to consider the ramifications of your decision down the road. A decision like this can have lasting effect, especially in light of your wanting Gigi(I assume a daughter) to join a like organization. You may be creating in your son a distrust of his parents to the extent that once he is able to leave home, he will not look back. All of this because of your own personal vendetta against an organization. You are using your son in this case and it is tatmount to abuse.

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Brittany April 20, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Really? We won’t let our son join buy scouts for the free marshmallow shooter because it’s an organization that discriminates, and the issue is definitely us… And not the organization?

I carry no vendetta. I just carry a respect for equality, especially when it hits so close to home for us.

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Seth Manwaring April 20, 2012 at 3:02 pm

William, I think, has one good point. Jude may one day question his parents’ respect for equality. Perhaps on the day that Gigi’s issued a uniform he’ll detect an overriding dedication to dogma.

But don’t take this as any kind of counsel whether to enroll him. It seems really pointless for all these people to tell you how to raise your child. You and your family enjoy the same God given right to freedom of association that the Boy Scouts enjoy.

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Leslie April 20, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Wow. Who posted a link to your blog on a pro-boyscout site? What’s with all the haters?

Those who are new obviously don’t know that Brittany writes a humor blog. That a lot of us moms appreciate because she says exactly what we are thinking some days. If you don’t like the language, don’t read it.

Those that are judging her parenting skills based on one blog entry, well, it’s nice to see the nut jobs coming out to play. You obviously didn’t read the post where she demanded that some city workers move a dying dear out of the middle of the road so her car could pass so that her son didn’t have to watch the poor dear get shot. That says more about her parenting than not letting her son join a group who’s values she doesn’t believe in. She is not saying she is going to deny her son those “fun” moments of boys scouts. If you read some of the comments, she is looking into organizations who’s values match her own with similar “fun” for her son to join.

I love it when people judge people they don’t know all in the name of God. It makes me laugh. How is that more of a sin than being gay? Don’t answer that. It’s rhetoric. I actually don’t care what is more of a sin. The words “love thy neighbor” come to mind though. I don’t remember the phrase “unless they are gay or have different values than you” being added.

My point is… haters need to go away. I am tired of my phone beeping every time another comment is posted supported boy scouts. I think she gets the point.

/end rant. :)

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Leslie April 20, 2012 at 3:51 pm

And by “Dear”, I clearly meant “Deer” of the animal variety. It’s been a long day.

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Holly April 20, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Oh geez, there’s just a whole heaping of judgy bullsh*t going on in this comment thread. GOOD for you. You sound like a thoughtful and compassionate person, all the makings of a great mom. I know lots of boys who didn’t grow up in scouts and have managed not to become hoodlums or degenerates because of a lack of Pinewood Derby races. If your little dude is into outdoor stuff there are lots of organizations to support those interests or you can pursue the with friends and family. Maybe that gay uncle likes to hike. :)

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Seth April 20, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Funny, “judgy” is what I thought when I read the post. Of course you’re right about the comment thread, too.

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Nick April 21, 2012 at 2:38 pm

There are just some things in Scouts that you learn that you will never get anywhere else. Scouts gives boys skills to become great leaders and members of society. Here a few highlights:
-It can save your life
-It can save someone else’s life
-It teaches boys to grow up into being gentlemen of integrity and honesty
To say that you know plenty of boys who grew up and did not become hoodlums without scouts only says that you want nothing more than just that. Do you want your son to be a non hoodlum… or the best that you know he could be? Those are the boys that come from Scouting.

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Nick April 21, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Sooooo what I don’t understand is the part where you said that his friend’s dad could not be a leader. I have been a Scout all my life and I have never heard of such a thing. Relatives can get involved too. What you stated as a fact is untrue and it should have been looked into before you were so sure…

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Brittany April 21, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Sorry for the confusion, it actually is fact. His friend’s fathers are gay. Which is why that is relevant.

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Nick May 1, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Please send me this troop number and where they are out of because I would like to do some research myself as far as why they will not permit them. As far as I am concerned… they should not be doing that. Look into another troop too because I am sure that they will say otherwise.

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Mike G April 21, 2012 at 10:16 pm

Right, but the point that I and others are trying to make is that you should not reject an organization because of one policy that the national organization has. Not every Catholic Church agrees with everything the Vatican does. Not every BSA troup agrees with everything the national BSA. You’re not being fair to your son to deny him joining the scouts because of the beliefs you hold. Educate him. Don’t deny him a wonderful experience that could deny him an identity.

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Sam_I_Am April 23, 2012 at 9:14 am

I get infuriated when people attack the Girl Scouts because of their “liberal policies.” “Oh my God! A lesbian or an athiest could be my daughter’s leader! What is wrong with those Girl Scouts???” But I am so proud to say that I am part of an organization that welcomes every girl (including transgender girls). On a trip to the Pittsburgh Zoo. I listened to two of my 5th graders talking in the backseat about their religious beliefs. One girl was talking about Jesus and the rapture and the other disputed that it wasn’t going to happen and that he wasn’t coming back. I listened intently for the discussion to get heated and needing intervention… but it never happened. The girls said their piece and then started talking about one of the other things they babble on about that I have no clue about… Justin Bieber, the Disney Channel, sleeping in on Saturdays… It really made my heart sing, because I have friends ranging from Baptist Minister to Athiest Philosophy Professor, so there is always an angry religion debate going on somewhere that leaves someone pissed. But not these girls, they listened to each other and accepted each others’ view point. Understanding, acceptance and compassion like that can never be achieved in its participants if the organization doesn’t allow it.

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Eve April 24, 2012 at 12:09 am

Due to my local girl scout branch being heavily religious my parents decided it would be best that when my friends joined if I did not. It was not then, nor has ever been, the end of my world. Children won’t be pointedly sad and sulk over not getting their own way unless they believe it will make any difference in their parent’s decision – I knew better than to think I could change their minds by sulking, so I didn’t waste the time. Instead I found something to do that would make me happy and I never looked back.

I could get wordy and go on at length but I’ll keep the rest of it brief: I support your decision, and I’m glad that you’re looking for other alternatives for your son (something that several people seem to have missed out on their skim reading). I’m sure that whichever organisation you feel comfortable with will make your son as happy – if not happier – than Scouts could have.

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somesortagirl April 24, 2012 at 5:36 am

Oh lawdy! this is a silly comment thread. Are people really attempting to change your mind to make a parental choice for kids they have never even met? Are they really that concerned about your children that they must “save” them from the abuse that is brought on by no Boy Scouts? My kid is begging for violin lessons. I don’t even have a moral reason for not doing it. I just don’t feel like driving to another activity. I should be jailed.
Man, I make tons of choices that could be cross examined from here to Uranus and back. See, I can do that because I’m not a politician.
That being said, my kid is a Boy Scout. He loves it. He gets to play with knives and flames – 2 things I don’t like in my house. There are 2 gay (male) families in his troop alone. I could guess some of the hetero couples maybe be swinging both ways….but I had never even heard about this anti-gay agenda before now. I don’t get out much. But he’s in it now – he has learned some great things. I would have to say that he has actually learned a bit of acceptance by interacting with all different types of families. Frankly, I’m more concerned about the toothless older pastor’s wife that acts as the filing clerk for the troop. Or the crazy lady mom that always has clean and ironed clothes on. I’m pretty sure she paid a Nascar car pro to engineer her kids Pine Derby car. Cheat.

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jen April 26, 2012 at 10:35 am

this is hilarious!

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nikki April 25, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Bravo for standing up for your beliefs!
http://www.allegiancemusical.com/blog-entry/enough-enough

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Kim vN April 29, 2012 at 3:22 am

I just want to congratulate you on having the courage of your convictions and for standing for them publicly.

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Angie May 1, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Brittany, you should never have to apologize for parenting according to your beliefs – particularly when your beliefs are about tolerance, inclusion, and equality. Would that everyone could adopt such beliefs, and parent similarly!

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Kristen Hair May 6, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Hi Brittany,
Thank you for posting this. I have loved you and your blog a long time, and read regularly. I’m sorry that this thread has gotten you so much backlash. As someone whose brother and many friends are gay, I am grateful for any steps to help them. Sometimes I hear what people say about gays and I wonder if they realize that they are still people.
Thank you for being a wonderful human being.
Kris

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Breckyn May 26, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Discrimination = HATE. It’s just another term that was created to make people sound like less of an asshole. At least somebody knows how to be a parent, and does her best to teach her children the right things, such as equality. I wasn’t fortunate enough to have open-minded biological parents and was raised around constant derogatory terms being thrown around about people of a different race or sexual orientation.

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Seth May 29, 2012 at 9:56 pm

While certain types of discrimination are proscribed in the United States, most types are not. You discriminate when you choose an automobile or a dealer or a mechanic, but you’re not motivated by hate. (Unless you’re the type to display a window sticker depicting a boy urinating on a different car maker’s logo.)

You discriminate when you select an ice cream flavor and hatred is probably not a factor. (Unless you hate nuts, of course.) If you hire the best candidate after a series of interviews, you discriminate on the basis of skills or knowledge or experience. To base such a decision on the candidate’s race would be illegal. But on the other hand, you can legally discriminate on racial grounds when decide whom to date or marry. If you do, you may or may not be a racist, but it’s certainly not against the law, which might make you scratch your head if you’re the type who’s not familiar with the Constitution.

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