With the Boy Scouts of America reaffirming its ban on gay members and troop leaders, the Los Angeles Times warns the century-old organization that its discriminatory ways may push it the way of the Dodo:
The Boy Scouts of America, an organization once known mainly for welcoming boys to a world of adventure, self-sufficiency and good citizenship, now is more famous for the groups of people it bans: atheists, agnostics and homosexuals.
It's been a sad evolution and an unnecessary one… By refusing once again this week to admit gay people to its ranks, either as Scouts or leaders, the Boy Scouts may have satisfied some of the religious organizations that sponsor many of its troops, but it risks long-term irrelevance. Participation in its traditional Scouting programs has steadily declined over the last decade, by more than 15%, and is down more than 40% from the early 1970s.
Though the paper says this decline may have more to do with a changing culture than the group's anti-gay ways, the editorial staff also believes that "a sizable number of parents will have nothing to do with an organization they view as bigoted." They also point out that the Scouts' decision is most likely influenced by its religious allegiances.
The Boy Scouts, unlike the Girl Scouts or international Scouting groups, derive considerable support from religious organizations that take a dim view of homosexuality, especially the Mormon and Roman Catholic churches. Less than 2% of the U.S. population is Mormon, but 15% of Scouts are. The Boy Scouts of America could lose hundreds of thousands of Scouts if it opened its doors to atheists and gay people.
Ultimately, the paper says, the Boy Scouts may find that its church-based support may not be enough to sustain it and they may be forced to shift gears if they get desperate enough for cash from inclusive corporations or municipalities.
"The organization's marketing logo reads "Prepared. For Life." Unspoken but increasingly obvious are the added words 'but only for some.'"