Yesterday, the Boy Scouts of America announced that girls will be allowed to join as Cub Scouts and be eligible to earn the rank of Eagle Scout.
Without missing a beat, Trail Life USA, the conservative Christian alternative to the BSA, announced that they were still proudly excluding everyone they could.
Openly gay boys? Nope, unless they really want to overcome their sexual orientation.
Transgender boys? No way. The “membership standards” make clear that only “biologically male children under the age of 18” are allowed to join.
Girls? Of course not.
Non-Christians? They’re welcome… but only if they’re okay with all the Christian conversion attempts coming their way.
All of this is perfectly legal, of course, since they’re a private organization, but it’s telling that as the BSA becomes more inclusive, the Christian Right doubles down on exclusion and intolerance.
“As gender blurring only increases, it is more important than ever that someone provides a safe environment where boys can be boys, and where their natural talents and tendencies can be affirmed, encouraged and developed by men who can offer a positive role model,” [Trail Life USA CEO Mark Hancock] stated.
Look at the wording there. “Safe,” “natural,” “positive.” As if allowing gay or transgender boys into the troops — or, God forbid, as leaders — would somehow put everyone else in danger. (For the record, gay and trans boys can also “be boys.” I would also love to know what the presence of girls would stop boys from doing in this organization. What are they doing at meetings that girls can’t be witness to?)
That’s the problem with this outlook. It’s not just a matter of creating a Christian alternative to an already religious program. It’s the promotion of bigotry along the way. That’s why Trail Life USA was created directly in response to the BSA allowing gay members. This is what conservative Christianity has become: a group of people who only feel good about themselves when they put down others.
This whole organization is just another bubble to try and protect Christians from the outside world. But really, it does us all a favor by keeping those bigots away from the rest of us.
(Image via Facebook)