What the Boy Scouts Can Learn From the Girl Scouts

Here’s my take on the Boy Scouts drama here, at TIME.com:

photo: TIME, Inc.

photo: TIME, Inc.

After months of delay, Boys Scouts of America (BSA) is finally voting today to overturn its ban on “openly gay” scouts (though not scout leaders—those are still verboten.) The BSA has defended its discriminatory policy on the grounds that homosexuality is incompatible with the Scout Law, especially with the values expressed in its commitment to ‘morally straight’ and ‘clean’ living. But instead of twisting themselves into moral knots that encourage bigotry, the Boy Scouts would have saved themselves a lot of angst and controversy (and also done better by American boys) if they were more like…the Girl Scouts.

In their statement of purpose called “What we stand for,” the Girl Scouts explicitly reject discrimination of any kind and consider sexual orientation, “a private matter for girls and their families to address.” Noting their affirmation of freedom of religion, a founding principle of American life, the Girl Scouts “do not attempt to dictate the form or style of a member’s worship” and urge “flexibility” in reciting the Girl Scout Promise. (They are encouraged to substitute the word “God” for something that’s more in line with their own spiritual practice.) It’s an arresting contrast to the Boy Scouts of America, who in addition to excluding gays also refuse to hire non-believers. While the BSA employment application states unequivocally that atheists, agnostics and “known or avowed homosexuals” are in all cases barred from becoming Scout leaders, convicted criminals can rest easy that their record “is not an automatic bar to employment.”

But there’s more than discrimination at stake. The BSA’s clannish practices may harm heterosexual boys too. That’s because a body of research suggests that excluding people from groups who are different impairs creative problem-solving and critical thinking. The studies, ranging from financial trading and management practices to jury deliberations, have confirmed what most of us know intuitively: our decision-making is enhanced by a wide variety of perspectives, even from those with whom we may disagree…

Continued at: http://ideas.time.com/2013/05/23/the-girl-scouts-are-better-than-the-boy-scouts/#ixzz2U7YwcgeQ

About ErikaChristakis

Yale Lecturer in early childhood education/Licensed teacher/Former preschool director and Harvard College house master/some-time journalist. In possession of: unmarketable bachelor’s degree (Harvard, anthropology), semi-marketable graduate degrees (public health, education…). Rewarding career at the intersection of family, society, and schools (including long stint in parenting vortex). Forging a new path to connect all of the above.
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4 Responses to What the Boy Scouts Can Learn From the Girl Scouts

  1. Richard Hussar says:

    Clannish practice … Good choice of wording. As a young scout I went to a Halloween party dressed as a girl. One of the scouts was teasing me so I slugged him with my purse. After the 6 stitches were taken out we became friends. This was long before Gay became a word and I was not a victim of bullying. Just kids doing what they do. Of course I knew I had some feeling that the other boy did not have. It took awhile to fit all pieces of the puzzle. It puzzles me that the BSA leaders are still in a 1950 mode. If I had my merit badges they would be in the mail …. SHAME on those morally straight old farts.

  2. Yes, seriously, what alternate universe are they inhabiting? I guess it’s the Larry Craig “Wide stance” world. Remember him?? I feel sorry for people who have so little exposure to the vibrancy and diversity of our (Hey, could it be God-given??) world! Shame on them, indeed. And it’s not only gay people who suffer from these antediluvian attitudes. We all suffer from such narrow views of humanity’s potential. This is kind of random but I always wonder about the anti-homosexual Christian silence about the “gayness” of the natural world. There are a lot of animals that engage in sexual behavior with their own sex too! Are they choosing their “lifestyle” or did God make them that way? The disconnect is a little like people who say they don’t believe in evolution but are happy to benefit from the use of (evolutionarily derived) antibiotics. Sorry, I’m on a rant today! Rational people, unite! :)

  3. whew: I’m glad someone said that sexual orientation is a “private matter for girls and their families or parents to discuss”. Hopefully at home. Hopefully no Girl Scout Leader who is not a parent or family will open her mouth about her private lesbian relationship while with these girls at camp. Which has been done. It is totally inappropriate. But, I wonder what Nurse Jane would say about this. Because she told me that whilst in the Girl Scouts there was much kanoodling in beds of girls. Experimenting. Her take on it was that the Girl Scouts were an organization, hush, hush, where you went to “learn” about being a lesbian, or act it out. Since no parents found out about this, these girls, went year after year, to Girl Scouts, under Nurse Janes watchful and documented eye, kanoodling in beds, and elsewhere, and no Girl Scout Leader did anything about it cause guess what? They approved of it and practiced it themselves. Not all. But they did. So then what? The parents didn’t know. The Girl Scout Leaders knew. Nurse Jane knew. No one reported it. The little girls were only experimenting right? then full blown lesbian adults. From Girl Scouts. So what then? I wonder about Boy Scouts. Now. Will the same scenario ensue? Why not? What would prevent some little gay boys from kanoodling with other gay boys and once found in bed then what? Call the parents and expel them? Since the Scout Masters are forbidden from being gay won’t this be considered discriminatory if they find two little gay boys in bed and call their parents and expel them? I can just see the headline now: “Gay Boys Expelled from Scouts by Non Gay Scout Masters: Discrimination Trial Gets Under Way”. Groan. Here we go again. Cause know what? I’m watching this 18 year old lesbian girl in Florida named Hunt who had sex with a 14 year old freshman be charged with rape under the laws and everyone is crying discrimination and foul yet this 18 year old was having sex at the school with the freshman 14 year old and the cops are trying to enforce these sex laws on the books and everyone is crying foul but I believe that if the 18 year old had been a boy and the 14 year old had been a girl everyone would have said, “no problem.” So, why is it that the 18 year old gets a pass cause she is a girl and the other girl is a girl? Huh? Double standard? Groan again.

  4. Pingback: let it be « tattoos, patriotism, and parenting

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