an essay by “Bud” E. L. Evans

The Boy Scouts of America (and Cub Scouts) — sounds innocent enough doesn’t it? But ever since extremist American Talibanesque despots among “christian” fundamentalists in the US assumed absolute theocratic control over the Boy & Cub Scouts of America, these organizations have become nothing more than just another child-exploiting political tool for the Radical Right.

The BSA/CSA are now so poisonously polarized that it should be forced to register as a political lobby group in Washington D.C. . And the official capital hill response, encouraged by legions of Republican loons, does nothing but help further the politicalization of religion and foment the religiosity of social organizations. The GOP finds this a useful fig leaf behind which to aggravate petty group prejudices, while completely perverting what was formerly a worthwhile and inclusive institution for young adults. But, sad to say, even members of my own Democratic Party in Congress, not long ago, voted overwhelming for a resolution which lauded the virtues of an organization that is now the embodiment of contemporary bigotry.

When I was a boy, forty-some years ago, I remembered how the CSA/BSA provided a great opportunity for children, of all backgrounds and races, to get together in a non-judgmental climate with the sole purpose of just fostering friendship, cooperation and camaraderie. And even though many kids lived in segregated neighborhoods in the 60’s, like where I grew up, the CSA/BSA provided a welcoming conduit for diversity that was unprecedented for the time. Their involvement in after-school programs was simply to bring kids together with the goal of teaching them how to work and play as a group in a respectful color-blind and religion-blind manner, with an eye only on developing some cool outdoor skills; having fun together, and learning how to be responsible members of the community.

But in recent years the leadership has demonstrated that they have more in common with the Ku Klux Klan than with the former Cub and Boy Scouts of America. The CSA/BSA as organizations, I might add, used to be apolitical and progressive on social issues. Ironically, the Girls Scouts of America does not have similar bans on fellow Gays and Lesbians, or Atheist and Agnostic American families who wish for their children, as well as themselves as parents, to participate in the GSA youth organization.

Director Steven Spielberg, to his credit, withdrew his sponsorship, along with a huge financial donation, from the BSA. Spielberg claimed that, at one time, the BSA was very important influence in his adolescent development, but now it has evolved into something quite different. Point-in-fact, several years ago, in a New Jersey case, the US Supreme Court ruled that the BSA, being a private organization (like the KKK), could indeed discriminate in its membership requirements. In other words, now it is perfectly legal to compel BSA kids and adult members to swear an official oath to heterosexual-only coitus and then require that they also profess an official organizationally mandated belief in a High Sky Father — that is, if they want to be Scouts.

Of course, the BSA is more subtle than that, using such ambiguous phraseology as: “(I pledge to be) …morally “straight”. Of course, “straight”, the operative word here, was NOT used as a colloquialism to denote a heterosexual at the time the oath was written. But then the BSA officials now interpret “morally straight” as some kind of semantically twisted justification for rejecting at least ten per cent of the human race.

And then there is the phrase “duty to god”, which appears on the second line of the oath which the oath-taker mechanically delivers in rote allegiances to, for example, a “god” and country, etc.. The type of “god” is not identified by his/her/its name or religious affiliation in the oath. It could be the Hindu Elephant-headed, multi-armed god, Ganesha, which is perfectly legitimate of course, or the Egyptian cat goddess, Bast – to whom I sometimes pray after I see an occasional mouse in my home. But to be fair to the Boy Scouts of America, adherents of the church of Satan should also feel welcomed with open arms as well as any other god-cult, because, as the BSA has proudly and officially proclaimed, they do not discriminate against anyone who, at the very least, believes in some kind of “Deity”.

So, there you have it, when the BSA is not busy bashing gays, they are purging their membership of Atheists for rejecting the supernatural and for clinging to their very unpopular atheistic rational ways. Hell, the BSA even kicks out harmless little Agnostics whose only “sin” is that they still hold out hope that there might be a god, but they’re just not quite ready to commit yet and run out to buy a pair of Sunday shoes.

So, take heart, if you or a member of your family are devoted followers of the Indian thug-gee death cult of Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction, you just might be Cub Scout, Boy Scout or Republican material.

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And you can even check for yourself to verify your eligibility at the official BSA web site: http://www.bsalegal.org/morally-straight-cases-225.asp

? Employment:

“With respect to positions limited to professional Scouters or, because of their close relationship to the mission of Scouting, positions limited to registered members of the Boy Scouts of America, acceptance of the Declaration of Religious Principle, the Scout Oath, and the Scout Law is required. Accordingly, in the exercise of its constitutional right to bring the values of Scouting to youth members, Boy Scouts of America will not employ atheists, agnostics, known or avowed homosexuals, or others as professional Scouters or in other capacities in which such employment would tend to interfere with its mission of reinforcing the values of the Scout Oath and the Scout Law in young people.”

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By the way, I am perplexed — you know, me being an “avowed homosexual” and all that — why can’t I recall what oath I took at my “Gay” initiation and what exactly were the words to my vows? Although, I think I can still remember our secret hand-shake, and I believe someone bought me dinner afterwards so we could discus how we were going to take over America and force everybody to buy Prada shoes. But the rest is kind of foggy.

Nevertheless, the bottom line is this — “who cares?”.

I don’t have a problem with people exercising their “associative freedoms”, including the CSA/BSA and their deluded cult followers. Let them have their little Mickey Mouse Club. I personally would not want Fred Phelps or Pat Robertson to join in my parade – unless they took that aforementioned secret “vow” to serve our homosexual deity — I think His name is Bruce.

But a line in the sand must be drawn when the CSA/BSA’s cabal proceeds to impose their officially sanctioned cult status on public school children during class time, as well as demanding freebees at tax-payers’ expense (including panhandling from Gay, Atheist, Agnostic tax-payers, I might add). Yes, freeloading and all the while posing as some ersatz public non-profit charitable organization that is selfless at its core and without prejudice; working for the community’s welfare and the greater good of all. Yep, that makes the “BS” in Boy Scouts take on a quite different connotation..

I figure that if you, the CSA/BSA, have sent out personally engraved invitations for your “private” party to just “your” personal friends, then don’t expect all of us who weren’t invited to pick up the bill. Gay and Atheist and Agnostic families should not have to pay others to discriminate against them; they should not be compelled to reward bigotry by subsidizing a “private” (which the BSA won the legal right to be called), closed-membership, ideologically-polarized club with public funds derived from an entire community’s compulsory tax contribution to local, state and federal government agencies. If they want to remain a private, closed membership club then it is simple — let them find private sources to sponge-off from in order to promote their un-democratic, unChristian, and immoral ideals of intolerance and group-hate.

Fortunately, when many enlightened communities saw that the BSA legally fought for and won the right to conduct themselves, not as a public youth organization, but as a private religious/socio/political cult, then quite a number of large municipalities withdrew public tax-funded support for the BSA. Which is a good thing and a courageously principled stand to take. Who wants to see their hard-earned dollars go an organization which promotes hate and intolerance for any group by officially banning them? What kind of irresponsible and asocial role-models do they provide for our children by advocating prejudice and discrimination as an accepted part of citizenry?

So, if the CSA/BSA want to act like some “exclusive” Country Club throwback from the 1950’s — which, in that era, many did not admit Jews or Blacks because they too were not the “right” kind of people — then let them. But, it must be made very clear, the CSA/BSA should not expect public dollars to subsidized their own version of a segregated private club that won`t admit gay teenagers and gay scout leaders, or those other families who refuse to profess a belief in the supernatural. Seems reasonable doesn’t it?

Well, regrettably, in the real world, what does reason have anything even remotely to do with Right Wing politics, religion or bigotry? Nothing, of course, is the answer. But just remember that if we forget to stay vigilant and if we abandon our constitutional responsibilities as citizens by neglecting to separate politics and religion from one another, then the inevitable result will be unending civil strife; perpetual bigotry, and an indelible stain in history left upon our country.

Like racism, socio//political expressions of homophobia are no less shameful and harmful to a significant segment of our society. Yet who today would advocate changing our Constitution to promote racism or lend public support to any organization, especially to a youth club, which promotes racism? Perhaps, if the Right Wing keeps it’s strangle-hold on the conscience of America, that might be next. In the meanwhile, if the “Generic Deity-worshipping”, “Heterosexuals-only” Boy Scouts “of just a Demographically Approved portion” of America wants to go it alone, then, as I said before, let them. Actually, they’ve become nothing more than just the Republican/Teabagger Party’s own pet version of The Third Reich’s Hitler Youth Corp anyway — and look at the pontiff that created. In the near future, who knows, perhaps proof of “pure” Aryan ancestry might be the Cub Scouts and the Boy Scouts of America’s next qualifier for membership.

It’s so sad that both the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of America have devolved into child-exploiting and hate-indoctrinating versions of a modern American Klan. Such a pity.

(c) Bud Evans

"Bud" E. Lewis Evans

"Bud" E. Lewis Evans

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