As you may have read recently, the flagship program for the Boy Scouts of America will soon change its name from “Boy Scouts” to “Scouts BSA.” That’s because girls will finally be allowed to join the namesake program geared towards kids 11-17 and work towards an Eagle Scout rank.
It’s the right move, not just because it’ll allow them to increase its declining membership, but also because the sort of skills they teach aren’t necessarily gender specific. It’s not like “leadership” is just something boys need to learn about.
The BSA has been slow to progress, but they eventually opened their doors to gay scouts (2013), gay leaders (2015), and transgender members (2017). By 2019, girls will be admitted too.
At this point, it’s pretty much everyone except open atheists, who continue to be banned for no rational reason whatsoever.
But with more inclusion comes more controversy. The Mormon Church, which has long been the largest sponsor of Boy Scout troops, just announced that it’ll cut all ties with the Scouts by the end of 2019. All of those members will be transitioned into another similar program run by the Church. (It’s a continuation of a years-long trend in this direction.)
Keep in mind that when the Boy Scouts of American began admitting gay scout leaders a few years ago, they allowed exceptions for church-run groups, who were allowed to play by their own rules. Despite bending over backwards to allow bigotry, the Mormons are finally parting ways with the BSA just after the decision was made to let girls join. That may be coincidental, but the symbolism shouldn’t go unnoticed.
Maybe the Scouts should learn a lesson. Caving in to hate isn’t a winning strategy.
Meanwhile, the Mormons are also making a mistake by further insulating themselves. How much can kids learn when they’re trapped in a bubble? Even in Utah, one good thing about the Boy Scouts was that it was a place where, at least theoretically, you would hang out with kids who didn’t belong to your faith. Not anymore.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Scott for the link)