In response to my column on Sunday, a Scout leader friend told me a story of how her Tiger Cubs – 7-year-old boys – were going door to door in Sonoma County collecting for a food drive when one person turned the boys down, citing the organization’s membership policy on gays. And then moments later this person’s neighbor, whom the Scouts had already visited, came running down the street asking for his cans back. Apparently, the neighbor called him and alerted him that it was a Scouting activity. One wonders what these adults hoped to teach these 7-year-olds from all of that.
Another leader left me a note about how her group of Boy Scouts, during a local parade, were heckled at one point and told to “go home.”
On Sunday, I wrote about similar experiences I’ve had in selling popcorn and doing fundraisers with my son, 14, and other boys in his Boy Scout troop. My question: While the nation debated “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” we managed not to boo those in uniform at parades or slam doors in their faces. Why can’t we also recognize that 7-year-olds in Scout uniforms have nothing to do with setting national policy, which, in this case, is established by older men in Texas?
All this at a time when Scouts are being hit from the left and the right all across the country for changing its policy last month to allow gay youth – or not changing it enough. (The policy still prohibits openly gay leaders.) In my column, I refer to a bill in the California Legislature that seeks to punish the Boy Scouts by revoking its tax-exempt status. It’s already been approved in the state Senate and is now in the Assembly.
Here’s a link to my column, “Scouts caught in the middle.”