The Scouts – this Eagle Scout’s Opinion on the Good, the Bad, and the Neutral of Admitting Girls into the BSA

Boy_Scouts_Oath

Well, the Boy Scouts are no longer going to be Boy Scouts.  The official title I believe is now Scouts of the BSA which Definitely Doesn’t Stand for Boy Scouts of America (or something like that.) This is a little outside the normal social issues I tackle but I think there’s crossover.  First, Boy Scouts does have a strong Christian/Theistic qualities to it.  God is littered throughout the Scout Oath and Law.  The founder Robert Baden-Powell even said, “No man is much good unless he believes in God and obeys His laws.”  Most troops meet in churches and I’ve been to various events where prayer was front and center.  But I suppose the main reason I’m writing this is because I was a Boy Scout.  I am an Eagle Scout in fact.  I started as a little Tiger Cub, and went all the way through to the end (until I got a car and got busy with other aspects of life and started attending less and less.) I always thought I would do scouting with my son when he was old enough.  I’m not as sure now though, but we’ll see.

There are some irrefutable facts I find interesting.  Of the 12 people to walk on the moon, only 1 WASN’T in scouting (James Irwin… who ever heard of him?  Come on James! Get with the program!)  Now let’s also name the Presidents since the 1960’s who HAVEN’T been Scouts nor volunteered as adults.

Lyndon Johnson – Started The Vietnam War

Richard Nixon – Impeached

Jimmy Carter – American Hostages in Iran (Ben Affleck had to rescue them)

(Barack Obama was in the Indonesian cub scouts… we’ll count it I guess)

Donald Trump – Girls can now be Boy Scouts happened under his watch

Other studs to come out of scouting are:

Steven Spielberg (Eagle Scout and arguably the greatest director of all time)

Indiana Jones (Both the fictional character and the actor who played him)

Bill Gates (Eagle Scout and richest man on earth for a while)

Martin Luther King Jr. (He has a day named after him)

Mike Rowe (The most loveable human being alive)

But that doesn’t mean everyone that was an Eagle Scout is great. Some of the more surprising people to become Eagle Scouts were:

Arthur Gary Biship (His middle name is mentioned so you know he either killed a President or was a serial killer… it was the latter)

Michael Moore (It seems funny that I put him on the same list as a serial killer)

Fred Phelps (Pastor of Westboro Baptist Church… eek)

L. Ron Hubbard (Created Tom Cruise in a petri dish)

Caitlyn Jenner (The scouts were proud of Bruce for a couple decades, then distanced themselves from her, now she’s back in)

So why did the Boy Scouts start admitting girls?  Well I think the short answer is “lawsuits” and the long answer is “lots of lawsuits” (well I guess it’s not that long an answer.)  The one thing that President Trump has in common with the Boy Scouts is that they both get sued a lot.  The BSA has done wrong (like covering up child molestation), but they’ve been wronged as well (like getting sued for having “for God and my country” in the Scout Oath.)  They’ve been sued for not allowing gay scoutmasters, openly gay scouts, transgender boys, atheists (interestingly enough) and for not allowing girls into the boy scouts (although they have been allowed into varsity, ventures, and sea scouting for years.)  The BSA has paid out multiple 7-figure lawsuits, but even when they win – they lose.  When the Supreme Court rules in their favor, a dozen more lawsuits slightly re-worded are filed the next day.  Their lawyers and insurance providers are doing quite well, but the Boy Scouts have been decimated. Now it’s hard to pinpoint a single reason why, but there were once 4.6 million scouts in 1970 and 2.1 million scouts today.  There’s simply a lot more options for kids to participate in these days I figure.  When the Scouts started they were trying to figure out how they could make sure boys didn’t sit in front of the radio all day listening to the Lone Ranger or the Green Hornet or whatever the heck was on back in the turn of the century.  Dare I say there are a few more distractions for kids today with their Walkmans and rollerblades and what not.

But let’s get to the heart of the issue.  Is allowing girls to come into the Boy Scouts a good, bad, or neutral thing? Well, there’s a little bit of all 3.  Here’s what I mean:

The Good

I have no idea what they do in Girl Scouts other than sell cookies, but it must not be that awesome because so many girls apparently want to get into the Boy Scouts.  In all honesty, what I think is that only a few girls actually want to.  This might be one of those things like when I went to an Indian Reservation and their school mascot was “The Redskins” and all the guys would wear Blackhawks, Indians, and other Native American inspired sports memorabilia.  There are activists who love to protest about the issue, but few people they are protesting for actually care.  It might be that 138 girls join the 2.1 million boys but at least the BSA won’t get sued as much.  As a dad of both sons and daughters I can also see some advantage of combining the meetings.  I at least get how some families would enjoy meeting and camping all together.

The Bad

As much as I would be fine with an organization like S.A.I.P. (Scouting for All Intelligent Primates), I’m also totally down with having a specialized scouting program for just boys.  We could call it something like… Boy Scouts of America.  There is value in teaching boys how to become men.  There’s a lot of talk of “Rape Culture” in our country. Teaching adolescent males respect, values, and spirituality seems like a good thing.  My own 2-cents are that if people really think there’s a rape culture, well teachers for the past 30+ years have been predominantly women. Perhaps it’s not a lack of women authority figures in boys lives that are the problem, but the lack of male ones.  Furthermore, if people really do think teen guys are so rapey then why are we putting girls with them on camping trips???

If people think that Boy Scouts is just more “Toxic Masculinity” then they’ve never been involved in scouts at all.  First of all, we wear a uniform.  We love it when we are young but right when we get interested in girls we stop wearing it.  (So yeah, I think membership in the Scouts of the BSA is going to continue to drop)  But second of all, listen to this list of merit badges (that I may or may not have earned… you can’t prove anything!) Tell me if this sounds like “Toxic Masculinity.”

Art

Basketry

Bird Study

Fingerprinting

Journalism

Music

& Nature (there’s literally a butterfly on the badge.  But it’s definitely a boy butterfly.  I also took insect study.)

There’s biblical grounds as well for allowing times for older men to teach the younger boys and for the older women to teach the younger girls.  Titus 2 deals directly with that.  There is no doubt in my mind that girls are capable of earning every badge that a boy can in Boy Scouts.  I am just asking if it’s okay for boys to have time with just boys?  (Because I know no one will argue that girls should be able to have time with just girls.) It’s ok to say that the sexes are different and not say that one is better than the other.  I know that there are girls who like to do outdoorsy stuff.  I thought the Girls Scouts did some of that, but if they need to do more… THEN DO MORE!  Why is this the Boy Scouts problem to fix the inadequacies that there apparently are with the Girls Scouts?

The Neutral

Honestly the Scouts of the BSA can do whatever they want.  They’re a private company and if they think it’s better for them to admit girls then what do I care.  I’d be upset if I felt the Government forced their hand to do it; but they didn’t.  Maybe the Government offered them something for doing it, but that’s still up to the BSA.  As long as the Government doesn’t prevent other organizations like Trail Life USA (a Christian Scouting movement upstart with 25,000+ members now) to be whatever they want be, then I don’t care.  I hope everyone realizes that as stupid strange as it sounds that the Boy Scouts of America are now allowing girls to officially join without a lawsuit, it isn’t a moral issue.

I do wonder if any boy specific organization will withstand this particular period in American history though.  As much as this particular action is being made by a private youth organization (whether you believe they were forced or caved under pressure) I do see how this is a seminal moment in a progressive movement to de-boyify boys.  That movement is misguided and wrong.  I wish an organization like the Boy Scouts would stand strong against the pressures mounting against them.  I do think they held on for a long time, but the Boy Scouts are now the Gender-Neutral Scouts.  I wish they weren’t but it’s their right to decide that I suppose.  I just hope that other organizations will take up the mantle of teaching the next generation of boys what it means to be a man.  I hope more men in churches, more fathers, and more uncles will see the need to step-up and be the man that can live out Titus 2:12 for the boys in their life, “instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age.”


2 thoughts on “The Scouts – this Eagle Scout’s Opinion on the Good, the Bad, and the Neutral of Admitting Girls into the BSA

  1. Just some thoughts from a Girl Scout. The reason so many girls/women hate the Girl Scouts is that the don’t really do anything. Our “badges” are often boring and don’t have a lot of impact on the real world. For example our science badge consisted of us watching a 20 min. video and that’s it. I remember doing many of the Boy Scout badges along with my brother just because they are interesting….That said, I think Girl Scouts should change rather than Boy Scouts. I was a member of the first week-long, camp-in-tents and cook-over-a-fire camp in the midwest…that was in 2008. Not that I hated doing crafts, but I think scouting (both Boy and Girl Scouts) should be a lot more. Having reached the Gold or Silver level of Girl Scouts (similar to Eagle Scout) doesn’t mean a single thing on a resume, nor it it difficult to learn. I actually quit girl scouts because I wanted to spend more time outdoors and have more time to help my brother with merit badges….talk about irony.

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