The Crass Boy Scout


Are you prepared? Here I come!

The cries of “Boycott! Boycott!” echoed from sea to denying sea.

You gotta love a free country.

The owner of a fast food chicken company sponsored a defense of marriage conference. Of course they did. The connection between marriage and chicken is self-evident. He also poured millions of his wealth into groups that oppose gay marriage.

Some who supported gay marriage had a bone to pick and cried out, “We must boycott this place!” I guess I must agree, since I’ve never partaken of the bounty of that particular establishment.

Others decried the boycotters, saying, “It’s crass to boycott based on someone exercising his right to free speech.” So they staged a restaurant appreciation day to show their support. Incidentally, that’s also known as a reverse-boycott. Hypocrites.

After their umbrage faded they regrouped to defend Christmas which was under siege of war. But these loyal foot soldiers of freedom only targeted people who truly deserved to be boycotted, such as businesses that didn’t go out of their way to include their holy phrases in advertisements.

And then I bumped into the boy scouts.

The moral dilema ethical question of the day is this: What about when the foot soldiers in the culture wars are only children? Then what do you do?

BSA. The Boy Scouts of America. Where do I begin?

By default, their organization boycotts by definition. Official policy states that gays and lesbians cannot be members. It also prohibits agnostics and atheists.

And then there’s that whole boys only thing. Why not rename the organization “Scouting of America” and treat all people as equal, regardless of their gender? No way! Girls obviously wouldn’t benefit from the principles and skills taught by scouting.

I knew I was an atheist at an early age. I have memories of feigning a belief in God at the age of 12 in order to join DeMolay. Membership rituals meant I spent a lot of time kneeling at the creepy altar in the center of the room. Luckily they left out the monk-like chanting and paddling me in my underwear.

Worse, however, are the 20,000 pages of documentation that BSA accumulated regarding sex abuse of its members. A senior BSA official once said, “[sexual assault cases have] been an issue since the Boy Scouts began.” Source: Wikipedia.

This is still in the news. Today. Google News right now has this headline from 20 hours ago: “California high court won’t let Boy Scouts conceal files.” BSA wants to conceal? That ain’t right.

Do you know the origins of BSA? It is rumored that either the Mormons or the Catholics started the program. I’m not sure which. But I do know this: There’s a website “Celebrating 100 years of LDS-BSA Relationships.”

Considering all of this, it’s no big surprise that BSA isn’t exactly my favorite organization in the whole wide world. If people with all sorts of beliefs are out running around boycotting everything that isn’t like themselves, what should I do with BSA, an organization that I find philosophically offensive.

I have no problem with the foot soldiers. Most of them are children. They want to belong to a group, learn skills, and improve themselves. I can respect that. Most of them could probably care less about scouting’s policies. On the other hand, I have precious little money to give to causes, and I’d really prefer to give it organizations that aren’t opposed to my personal beliefs.

The problem? It happens when the scouts hunt me down. Damn that hunting badge!

By the way, I was once a scout. Yes, it’s true. Like I said, my brain was too unformed to care much about policy. I wore my Cub Scout pin upside down and strived to “do a good turn daily.” One time I found a woman’s $20 bill in the grocery store and returned it to her. I was able to turn my pin up. Good times.

Last year I came out of the grocery store and there was a Boy Scout. He looked cute as a bug’s ear in his little uniform. And he laid he carefully-prepared pitch on me. I didn’t have the heart to turn him down. I walked away with a bag of popcorn that cost $10. Holy cow. That’s one enterprising organization!

This week, the boss brought his son into the workplace to hit us up for his scouting fundraising activity. The kid had to sell 10 tickets to a dinner being held at the local Mormon church. I got nothing against the kid although I do kind of find him to be a spoiled millennial snot. He didn’t bother to don his uniform, either. He just hit me up at my desk in his street clothes.

Personally I think it is crass for the boss to hit up employees for his kid’s summer vacation. The people make like 12 times my salary. And I have to chip in? Oh no you don’t.

But there I was digging into my skinny wallet. One. Two. Three. Four. No, I don’t want to go to your dinner. But I’m willing to pay for the privilege of not going. Here, take all the cash in my wallet. Four American dollars. Please, just leave me be.

When the moment had passed, I sat there wondering why I’m such a schmuck. Why do I give money to support an organization that I do not support?

I think it’s very clever that they use kids to do the dirty work. That makes it hard for us to say no.

I have since decided I will not support Boy Scouts any more. The sum total of what they are has finally risen to the level of personal boycott. I want my dollars to go to groups that do work that I truly care about.

The big question is: How do I explain to BSA’s foot soldiers that I am opposed to what their organization stands for? This seems like an enormous challenge but I do want to earn my honesty badge.

Bringeth forth thy pith and vinegar

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