My sister and I, ages 11 and 10, 1972
I saw this article this morning – After Scouts Lift Gay Youth Ban, Baptist Group Calls for Firings – and had one of those eye rolling moments. I mean, why is this even an issue? Is it really news to anyone that religionists harbor more prejudices against more people than anyone else does? That they encourage separatist policies? That they feel anyone who doesn’t share their beliefs is Hell-bound and unworthy of their association?
So what? If you don’t like the way they treat you and/or whatever ideology/sexual orientation/race/whatever you identify with, then don’t hang out with their sorry asses. Don’t join their exclusivist clubs. Make your own.
I left my Pentecostal Christian church as a teenager when I realized how hostile it was towards me as a woman, a witch, a feminist, and someone who accepts such “outrageous” concepts as reincarnation, magic, evolution, and the earth being far older than a mere 6,000 years to name a few of my “outrages” against their notions of propriety and my aversion to their notions of Heaven and Hell, which I thought both silly and unfair and basically unworthy attributes to tack onto our Creator’s reputation. Not to mention their hostility toward people of other religions, many of whom were friends of mine. It honestly would never have occurred to me to just stay and try to change their minds about such things. Heck, as I see it: it’s their club, they can keep it. I don’t need it.
Badgered into converting to Islam to please my first husband, I eventually left that too for pretty much the same reasons and was by then burned out on religion entirely, even by name or association.
The Scouts was inadvertently begun by a British Army officer, Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, who’d written a handbook teaching basic survival skills for his men, came home from England to find it popular with boys. So he organized them and made a club of it, it ideals coming not so much from the Bible as many erroneously assume, but from Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book, teaching both self-reliance in the wilderness and, for girls, in the home as well, and harmonious behavior in the group/pack.
Separatism and exclusivity is NOT a harmonious behavior. Just saying…
Scouting was never a sole property of Christianity but Christians have always been a part of it. You want a club that honors only Christian principles, then join an exclusively Christian club like Royal Rangers or something.
Scouting is only as religious or secular as the society to which it belongs. Our society as a whole abounds in diversity and the Scouts should reflect that; not take orders from some church about how it should limit its diversity.
Baden-Powell’s last letter before his death was found left on his desk, addressed to all scouts. It included the statement: “Try and leave this world a little better than you found it.”
How beautifully simple is that? Keep the church edicts at home. Just concentrate on making the world a better place. We can all do that no matter what ideology we’re coming from.