Renowned sage and erstwhile diner owner Mr. Miyagi once pointed out, "If you walk on right side of road: safe. Walk on left side: safe. Walk in middle: squashed, just like grape." Today, you could make a fine wine out of the Boy Scouts of America, who, by doing the partially right thing, will likely end up squashed just like Mr. Miyagi's proverbial grape.
Yesterday, the BSA leadership voted to rescind the organization's ban on openly gay scouts. A welcome development that just goes to show that BSA executives read the newspapers. Truly, in this day and age, it takes more courage for an organization not to welcome gay members--albeit the same kind of courage in the service of a distasteful cause displayed by bear-baiters and suicide bombers--than to embrace tolerance. Still, good for them. And, predictably, a significant number of scouts and their families are outraged. They find something offensive about welcoming openly gay youngsters to the macho world of the BSA, where girls are not allowed, where young men sport short shorts and neckerchiefs, and where grown men impart to their youthful charges the fine arts of gardening and basket weaving. Anyway.
But while the BSA lifted the ban on gay scouts, it retained its prohibition against gay scout leaders. And so, while the scouts suffer condemnation from the right, they can not even bask in the adulation of the left, whose approval may be considered tepid at best.
What makes this truly ridiculous is the fact that you just know it's only a matter of time before the organization lifts the leadership ban as well. They've explicitly acknowledged that homosexuality should not prohibit a young man from participating in the scouting life; simple logic (which I foolishly believe will ultimately prevail) indicates that homosexuality should not prevent someone from being a good scout leader. Moreover, do the BSA leaders not realize that they have always had both gay scouts and gay scout leaders? Do they not realize that, by promulgating their bans, they simply force young men to engage in lies, deceit, and shameful abnegation? Those hardly seem like the sort of values the BSA wants to promote.