It was nearly a year ago when the Boy Scouts of America finally ended its irrational ban on gay scout leaders. With that decision, discrimination against gay members in the organization was officially over. (Well, unless your troop was affiliated with a conservative church, in which case banning gay leaders was still acceptable, but you get the idea).
But the Associated Press is now reporting, a year later, that things are looking up for the Boy Scouts.
Remarkably, nearly 12 months after the BSA National Executive Board’s decision, the Boy Scouts seem more robust than they have in many years. Youth membership is on the verge of stabilizing after a prolonged decline, corporations which halted donations because of the ban have resumed their support, and the vast majority of units affiliated with conservative religious denominations have remained in the fold — still free to exclude gay adults if that’s in accordance with their religious doctrine.
That compromise may have helped the BSA but it suggests they’re more interested in keeping religious bigots in the fold than standing by a principle of non-discrimination. That’s disappointing.
But here’s the bright side to it: The Boy Scouts still bans open atheists from being involved with the organization. If they can take anything away from this past year, it’s that another change in policy — making the organization even more inclusive — wouldn’t be that big of a deal. If the BSA is still doing okay after the debacle over gay troops, I promise it’ll be fine even if they treat atheists the same way they treat Muslims, Hindus, and Jews, all of whom can join the organization without a problem.
(Thanks to Scott for the link)