On Progressivism, Direct Action, and the Boy Scouts of America

by EddyNorthwind

Before I say anything, I want to make it very clear that I absolutely do not support the BSA’s current policy excluding gay youth and adults. As an open atheist in the scouts, I lost a lot of sleep to the fear that someone would decide to tell the regional office about my troops’ unwritten policy of blatantly ignoring the “No Gays, No Godless” rule imposed by the Mormon- and Catholic-controlled national organization; and to this day I’m angry at them for pushing me to lie about my lack of religion in the board of review for my Eagle award. I’m ashamed to call myself an Eagle Scout right now, and I’ve said as much in letters to the national office.

That said, I am not backing out now.

In response to Chick-Fil-A’s announcement that every sandwich will now come with a side of homophobia and the boycotts that followed, a friend of a friend of AJ’s (the internet is weird) posted something on Facebook which nailed down something which has been kind of swirling around in my head for a while now:

It seems that ultra-conservatives follow up their words with actions and money, whereas liberals sit around salivating over chicken they denied themselves the right to eat and doing exactly nothing useful for their causes

I know that the above is a massive generalization and there are plenty of counterexamples, but it also rung true to at least my personal experience. It seems that the first instinct of many progressives is to “not help”, which, to be blunt, hasn’t and doesn’t work. Action speaks louder than inaction. So I’m trying something different with the group that taught me to care about more than my own privilege-filled bubble in the first place.

Instead of returning my Eagle and removing myself from the BSA (which I’ve been considering for some time), I’m going to rekindle my involvement. I’m going to build a network of like-minded people in the organization, and I’m going to see what we can do from there. I know from talking with current and former scouts and scouters that, at least in my area, there’s a lot of anger at the national office for its decision to continue discriminating. I also know from experience that we make things happen when we get organized. We’ll make some noise.