Those aren't my family values
As mothers, we want to be proud of our children. We want to be able to celebrate their victories and mourn their losses with them.
But how do we do that when our child is involved in an organization whose core values are so very different from our own?
I am ravaged with guilt over the fact that my son is a member of The Boy Scouts of America, a notoriously anti-gay organization.
Sure, my husband and I could have forbidden our son from joining BSA 6 years ago when he burst through the front door babbling a mile a minute about all the cool stuff he would get to do in scouts. But we didn't. We went to the informational meeting and when we saw all the friends we already knew there, we decided to give it a shot. Maybe it wasn't as intolerant as it was portrayed in the media.
Six years later, and being a Boy Scout is still my son's favorite thing. Just tonight, he passed his Board of Review and advanced to the rank of First Class. I can honestly say that the experiences and skills he has learned as a scout have only been positive and character building. And at the local level, my son and husband (who frequently volunteers with the troop) have never once witnessed any kind of bigotry or intolerance.
But when I read a story like that of Jennifer Tyrrell, the Cub Scout Den Leader who was ousted solely for being a lesbian, my heart simply breaks. It is unconscionable in this day and age that someone would be discriminated against like that for simply being herself.
How can I possibly justify my family's involvement in an organization that excludes other human beings in the name of God and "family values"? It is so inconsistent with the God of my understanding. The Jesus I know and love would NEVER do such a thing. Remember when he fed the multitudes with just a few loaves and fishes? Could you ever imagine him saying "No fish for you!" to the friends of Dorothy in the colorful tunics? No effing way.
I could boycott the Boy Scouts to voice my opinion. Many people do. But after 102 years and with a Supreme Court decision backing their first amendment right of "expressive association" (Dale vs. BSA, June 2000), I don't feel very optimistic that boycotting can make much of an impact. And at this point, it would devastate my son to leave this troop that he has grown with for the past 6 years.
I feel like my family has a greater chance of making a difference in this organization from within its rigid walls anyway. So we will stay, as long as my son wants to be there. I will continue to speak out about what I think is right. And I will ensure that my children don't ever confuse someone else's version of "family values" with the values our family actually does hold dear: faith, hope, and love. Naturally, the greatest of these is love. And to truly love like Jesus means that all are welcome.
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