‘LA Times’ Takes On Boy Scouts’ Self-Defeating Discrimination

BoyscoutsWith 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.'"


  1. excuse me, but says

    How do they get straight boys to dress up like that? You don’t have to be gay to get to Eagle Scout, but it helps. Is there a merit badge for how to build a closet?

    I think the Victorian era still has a few tentacles in the 21st century.

  2. Francis says

    Oh well. They’ve decided that their homophobic policies are simply too noble to give up. And with that, they’re going to continue losing members and donations. Guess it’s worth it to them.

  3. Luke says

    I do think that adult people in short and a colourful foulard around their neck, are one of the gayest thing on earth.

  4. JellyBean says

    It’s time to start denying tax exemptions for these types of groups and churches that support them. Also, the troups should not be allowed to meet in places that are supported by our tax dollars, ie. Schools.

  5. chuck says

    Look’s like the BSA is going the way of a lot of cults. Next a loyalty oath to the GOP.
    At least they won’t have to change the color of their shirts.

  6. anon says

    Longitudinal studies should be done to see if former scouts do better in life than non-scouts.

  7. Icebloo says

    Let the religious crazies have their private child-brainwashing club. Why don’t we start our own version of the Scouts ?

  8. terry says

    BS of America is an exception. Scouting groups in Europe allow gay scouts and an Eagle Scout friend who attended the international in the UK said Swedish scouts he spoke with were horrified upon hearing of the US policy. Millions of boys still have their first sexual experience during scouting campouts. Honesty is in their pledge but punished in practice.

  9. says

    Would it be inappropriate for me to write that, if the Boy Scouts of America have such a problem with Gay Men, than can I, as a Gay Man, tell them to go screw themselves?

  10. cfox says

    In much of the midwest, and most of the country, the United Way gives funding to Boy Scouts Stop giving money to United Way–give directly to the charity you support. Every dollar you give United Way helps support homophobia, whether the Boy Scouts, Salvation Army, or whatever.