To give you a little background on our family involvement with the Boy Scouts of America:
Mackenzie’s father, Dane, was an Eagle Scout, worked summers at the Charles L. Sommer’s Wilderness Canoe Base and was heavily involved with the BSA national organization and received recognition for it;
her grandpa, Roy Britton, was a scout leader and spent a life time supporting scouts, and being instrumental in getting a Boy Scout cabin built in Ellsworth;
her uncle, Todd Britton, a Life Scout, has been a scout leader all his adult life and spent many of his personal vacation days taking scouts to Camp Hansen or Camp Brown. Todd’s two sons, Tyler and Drew, are both Eagle Scouts. Tyler achieved recognition for the amount of popcorn he sold during his tenure as a scout which materialized into a substantial college scholarship. They all attended the Boy Scout National Jamboree.
Mackenzie is more than aware of all this and the support the entire family has given to scouting.
Recently, Boy Scouts canvassed her neighborhood in O’Fallon IL selling Boy Scout popcorn, their premier fundraiser. She refused to buy their popcorn because she is acutely aware that the Supreme Court ruled that as a private organization BSA has the right to discriminate against gay people by expelling them or barring them from joining. They have been enforcing that policy with gusto, expelling gay and lesbian scouts and scout leaders across the country. And they have done the same with atheists. They have openly affirmed and reaffirmed the policy which is very much against everything she holds true.
She said her decision not to buy from the visiting Boy Scout made her “feel like crap”. “Having to say no to the Boy Scout selling popcorn makes me feel like crap, but until (if) the organization can fix their s***, I have to say no ”
I admire her decision. It was thought through carefully. She has grown into a very strong and vocal advocate for human and personal civil rights and freedom from discrimination and bigotry. In clear conscience, she could not do otherwise.
The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that opposition to homosexuality is part of BSA’s “expressive message” and that allowing homosexuals as adult leaders would interfere with that message.
This teaches discrimination and provides the unspoken message that some persons are simply unworthy of consideration. It teaches that a gay person can’t be a good person and does not present a desirable role model to be the best kind of citizen.
And since the Scouts must put duty to god before country, others and self, they also condemn non-believers in the same way.
The three biggest sponsors of the BSA are the Mormon, Roman Catholic and Southern Baptist churches, whom many call the strongest purveyors of bigotry in the country.
Many Eagle Scouts have turned in their medals, often with polite but scathing remarks.
Major media have strongly questioned the BSA on this policy. And in a recent 5-year period, scout enrollment has declined 13 percent.
When the BSA gives the excuse that major sponsors support their policy so they can’t afford to offend them, they overlook the fact the Girl Scouts have the same sponsors but have a commendable policy and record of no discrimination.
A Southern Baptist who chairs the BSA Religious Relationships Committee has said the no-gays no-atheists policy is unlikely to change as long as it has the support of the churches most active in sponsoring Scout units.
The scouts receive federal monies, use of government facilities at little or no cost and use of local schools. They want to be a public entity on one hand and to be treated as a private organization on the other hand. Like religion itself, the Scouts are treated as something special and beyond the law.
The only way to change their policy is to speak out against it and to stop supporting it financially.
I know it made you feel “crappy”, Mackenzie, but you did the right thing and I’m very proud of you.