Kobayashi Maru: What Will The Boy Scouts Do Now?

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Boy Scouts of America are in a classic lose-lose situation. Either they must fight to the death for ther anti-gay principles or accept money to change them … or is there another option? Jason Dias takes a closer look.

aNewDomainjason-dias-anewdomain — Boy Scouts of America (BSA) got started in the early 1900s. There’s always been controversy around the organization. One of the reason that scouting has always had problems is because the organization has always clung to a set of ideals; one of those ideals is obedience to God. 

It wasn’t one of the founding principles, but religion got tacked onto the scouting mission very early in the game. And when you have principles, any principles, you’re going to come into conflict with other people. People just have differing ideals. 

boy scoutsScouting had a racism problem early on, with many member groups threatening to leave if black boys were allowed to join. 

Fortunately, that issue got resolved in favor of inclusion fairly quickly. But now there’s The Gay Issue.

Gay Problems

In the modern world, Scouting’s big issue remains same-sex orientation. Gay membership was disallowed until 2014. Gay leaders were disallowed until tjust his month, when BSA voted to allow member organizations to set their own policy on openly gay leaders.

Not exactly equality, more like grudging acceptance.

BSA seem to have painted themselves into a proverbial corner here. They are in the famous no-win scenario, the Kobayashi Maru test of how one handles death.

You see, the BSA isn’t changing its policies because they have suddenly become less conservative, less Christian, less homophobic or bigoted, more accepting of different lifestyles.

It appears the BSA is changing their policy because of money.

Disney was just one of a series of organizations to pull its funding of the Scouts due to their anti-gay positions. 

In a modern age of inclusivity, these kinds of exclusions are costly. 

Advertisers have recognized the power of selling to everyone – same-sex couples and interracial families, to name two examples – and businesses across the board are wisely concluding that it makes more sense to merit people based on their spending power and not on some lifestyle characteristic.

star trek kobayashi maruBut ere’s the no-win scenario the BSA faces.

The Scouts have are exceedingly clear about where they stand in regards to gay people. Now they have the choice of either dying for their beliefs or accepting money to change them.

A BSA anti-gay position is intolerable — for the BSA. 

This is the modern world. Discrimination does not belong in the workplace or our educations settings. But we do need to have beliefs and stick to them, stand for them. So long as BSA wants to have its anti-gay agenda while also getting funding from organizations that demand inclusivity, it has a serious problem.

And there’s a moral problem: It is immoral to change your behavior for money, when you believe the chosen behavior is immoral..

There’s an out here, but I don’t think the BSA will take it. 

The out is for the leadership to change its minds about gay people. To acknowledge that people who experience same-sex attraction are not perverts, child molesters, criminals, or people of moral weakness. To acknowledge they are not, by definition, effeminate or evil. 

boy scouts

Inasmuch as sex is not a part of the work of Scout leadership, having a gay man lead Scouts is unlikely to provoke any more or less sex education than a straight one.

The trouble with moral positions is they don’t tend to change over time. The BSA is doing categorically the right thing – for all the wrong reasons. 

Rather than adopting modern values for more inclusive, less medieval times, they are just plain selling out.

For aNewDomain, I’m Jason Dias.

Image one: Squelch.wordpress.com, All Rights Reserved. image two: EditorialIndependence.com, All Rights Reservedimage three: The Kobayashi Maru (novel)” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia

Historic Boy Scouts cover image: Time BSA 100th anniversary photoessay via content.time.com, All Rights Reserved.

 

About the author

Jason Dias

Jason Dias, PsyD is an existential psychotherapist who breathes words. He’s a senior columnist at aNewDomain.