Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The End of the Hipocrisy Merit Badge

From: scoutsforequality.spreadshirt.com
On NBC's "The New Normal," David discusses the powerful impact of Boy Scouts on his life and decides to chaperone an overnight camping trip. His partner, Bryan, has qualms about this because the Boy Scouts "kick out more gay men than the Mormon Tabernacle Choir." Despite these misgivings, David decides to go and Bryan retorts, "Maybe you can earn your hypocrisy badge." Hence the title of this post.

23 May 2013 was a landmark day for the Boy Scouts of America. I don't care about your political leanings and personal biases. Any human being ought to be grateful that an organization whose purpose is to mold boys into men that contribute in positive ways to their society has decided that every boy should have that opportunity, regardless of orientation. Do I agree with everything the Boy Scouts do? No. I think some of the practices are a bit archaic, but I have seen the benefit of the ideals of Boys Scouts in my life. Have I used my wilderness survival skills to lash together a shelter out of pine bows since Scout Camp when I was 13? No. I didn't even touch the rifle shooting merit badge. Not my jam. However, the ideals espoused in the Scout Law -- being trustworthy, loyal, helpful...you can finish the rest -- have carried over into the goals I have set for my own life.

Allow me to address the "morally straight" bit. No, dear little people, this does not refer to one's sexuality. Never has. Never will. Get over it. Morality is, to quote Merriam Webster's Dictionary, "A doctrine or system of moral conduct." When the Scout Oath states that a Scout is morally straight, it means that he is honest and loyal to the system of moral conduct established by the ideals espoused in the Scout Law.

In other words, to be a Scout is to be trustworthy in every aspect of life; loyal to employers or family; helpful to those in need; friendly to one's associates, strangers, and the environment; courteous to women, children and other men; kind to his community, environment, and everyone around him; obedient to the laws of the country in which he resides (and respectful of those laws and leaders); cheerfully engaged in all aspects of life -- church, work, school, etc.; thrifty in one's finances and living within his means; brave enough to recognize one's own weaknesses and limits of understanding; clean physically, emotionally, and in deed; reverent in respecting one's God, nature, and the glory of human life.

That is what it means to be a morally straight Boy Scout. It's not just camp fires, leather working, and guns. Spoiler alert, I know. The ideals of Scouting go beyond that. They try to teach something higher. If you feel a problem with the Scout's democratic decision, I invite you to reevaluate what Scouting means to you. Have a moment of introspection. Ask whether or not you've earned yourself the hypocrisy merit badge. If so, throw it away. Hatred, bigotry, and hypocrisy have no place in Scouting. Every boy, however, does.

Note: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints supported the decision of the Boy Scouts of America. Here's what they had to say.