Progress and the Boy Scouts

Looks as if the corporate bigwigs on the board of the national Boy Scout organization have decided that they’re not happy with bigotry as a family value, and they’re pushing for local option on the inclusion of gays. A Southern Baptist mullah says this might lead his church to drop cooperation with Scouting.

1. This matters, substantively as well as symbolically. Scouting is a useful activity, and the Eagle Scout designation is a way for adolescents to earn a useful credential that is neither academic nor athletic. The attempt to convert it from a civic organization to a partisan redoubt for the Red Team – as the NRA and the Catholic Church have been converted – was an important strategic move, and its defeat is important.

2. This should also help strain the plutocrat/theocrat alliance. Companies with gay, and gay-friendly, customers and employees simply can’t afford to be on the wrong side of an issue such as this one.

3. The Baptists are bluffing. And if the Scouts can’t meet at church, they’ll meet in school or at the library.

4. The end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell might have helped make the difference. It was absurd to rules for boys playing soldier (which is part of what Scouting is) to have rules real soldiers don’t have.

5. I wonder whether the interpretation of “reverence” to mean “theistic religiosity” will be the next domino to fall? There are more “nons” than there are gays, and we’re tired of being stepped on.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-based Community]

Mark Kleiman

Mark Kleiman is a professor of public policy at the New York University Marron Institute.