Monday, April 23, 2012

Boy Scouts Boot Lesbian Mom from Pack // Our (Brief) Involvement as Pack Parents

The Boy Scouts' anti-gay discriminatory policies are in the news again. The most recent victim was a lesbian mom who stepped up to serve her sons' troop when nobody else wanted the job and then got kicked out for failing to meet the Boy Scouts' "high standards of membership" when she began questioning inconsistencies in the pack's finances.

Our family was involved with the Cub Scouts for a few months. D'Angelo was recruited by them at his school and he really wanted to join them and do things with his friends. Mark and I were extremely hesitant about allowing him in the group. We told them straight up that he has two dads and that they needed to let us know right away if there were problems because we weren't going to tolerate our son getting trampled on by the organization's discriminatory policies. They said that things would be fine and we finally relented. Fortunately, D' tired of the Scouts within a semester and we moved on to Tae Kwon Do.

The recent story of the expelled lesbian pack leader reminded me of our brief involvement with the Scouts. I wrote a couple blog articles over at Beliefnet about our initial involvement with the Cub Scouts and thought it might be fun to transfer them to this blog tonight. Enjoy!

D's Been Recruited (Originally Published 01/22/09): Our youngest son was recruited yesterday into the Cub Scouts. He's all excited about the group and wants to join. This is where the political meeting our reality: when a young child wants to join a private religious organization that actively exercises its right to exclude people like his fathers.

The big introductory meeting was tonight. Husband Mark opted to go with D'. We warned him immediately that we had some questions for the pack leader before we made a decision either way. Stuff like, will it be a problem that D' has two dads? Is there a risk that he'll be kicked out after getting established because some busy-body parent or troop leader throws a snit about us?

Mark learned that the troop is sponsored by a local Methodist church. About 6 years ago, there was lots of drama within both the church and the troop about how they would respond to families like ours. We learned that we cannot become official leaders within the organization. The church is opposed to this and the pack would be disaffiliated by the national BSA. Otherwise, we're welcome to come to meetings, to be involved with activities, etc.

We've reluctantly agreed to give the group a chance. Mostly because many of D's classmates are in the group and we know most of the parents involved with our individual troop and generally get along with them. I'm hopeful that we won't regret this decision. If D' wasn't so gung ho about joining up and getting involved, I wouldn't have even gone this far into the group.

Now we have to figure out how to carve out a wooden car for next month's big derby race event....

D' the Cub Scout (Originally Published 02/13/09): I wrote a few days ago about how we hadn't heard anything from the Cub Scouts about D's application process. I was questioning whether I was being overly protective and defensive or whether they were just being passive-aggressive about letting him join.

Turns out that it was the former.

We received a call yesterday about a last minute Scout event for kids to work with a special electric saw. Of course, given that the derby event happens on Thursday most of the kids already had their cars carved out.

Our car is pretty basic. Kind of looks like a sedan, though D' was attempting a military-style vehicle. We finally put on the wheels tonight and will have it weighed tomorrow evening.

Anyway, D' and I went to the meeting last night to figure out how to do the wheels and to formally submit his application and application fee. The guys there were pretty friendly and they even let me carve out my own derby car with their electric saw. I've prepped and painted the new car and might have it ready to race by Thursday evening.

So now D's a Cub Scout. I've let my son join a religious quasi-military organization that actively boots out gay members and atheists. I'd sworn that I'd never let him join that group. And then I caved. And so far it's not been a bad experience.

Time will tell.

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