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legome

Trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous... my ass.

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. I have been asked to do something at my job that conflicts with my personal morals. My current assignment is to lay out a construction sign (the big "Coming Soon" sign that goes on the fence while it's being built) for the new Boy Scout center in Los Angeles.

Why do I have a problem with this? Because I have many serious problems with the Boy Scouts.

I was a Cub Scout many a year ago. I went all the way through: Bobcat, Wolf, Bear, Webelos; got my "Arrow of Light," thought briefly about continuing into actual Boy Scouts, but didn't. Mainly, at the time, because I was about to leave public school, and I didn't want to be in a Scout troop with a bunch of kids I'd never see except at Scout meetings. And I'd always felt like a little bit of an outsider anyway, for a couple of reasons: My mother's fierce anti-gun stance had made me miss out on a few merit badges in Cub Scouts and everything I'd read suggested that gun safety/hunting/etc were a bigger deal the higher up you went, and that whole "doing my duty to God and my country" made me feel like a phony, even at age ten.

My brother, two years behind me, was a Cub Scout too, though I honestly can't remember if he finished or not. Mom was a "den mother," Dad coached my Little League team, and helped me with a couple of very successful Pinewood Derby cars (having a dad who's an engineer and a car guy is almost an unfair advantage in competitions like that). We were involved in Scouting, when we were in it.

Little did they know... Zach came out of the closet in 1993. I "came out" as an atheist around the same time. In other words, neither of us would be allowed, if we were so inclined, to "give back" to the Scouting community. Reading things like this about what Scouting has become is like discovering an old friend stabbed you in the back.

I've heard a lot of apologists for the Boy Scouts say "Scouting has changed." I agree. Sort of. It's been co-opted by the religious right, to be sure, especially the Mormon church. In the new divisive America, there is no question on which side Scouting lies. It didn't used to be that way. Nobody in my Cub Scout pack cared that we didn't go to church. My dad was highly praised as a baseball coach because he was the only coach teaching anything resembling sportsmanship, so we certainly weren't thought of as "immoral." Quite the contrary.

These days, someone would bring up our membership in a Unitarian church (which somehow seems worse to them than no church at all), my mother's and my involvement in PFLAG after my brother came out, and we'd be out on our collective asses.

Maybe the attitudes have always been the same. Representatives for Scouting have said that the recent decisions are not new policies, but rather enforcement of old, previosuly unspoken ones. And if so, that's even worse. At least now they hate me to my face, which shows more courage than a lot of the institutional bigots in this country.

So here I am today, having to lay out this sign for a new edifice to intolerance, here in the most diverse city in the country. The top line of the sign reads, "Where Tradition Meets Tomorrow," and all I keep thinking is that their "traditions" shouldn't even meet today, let alone tomorrow, and that in doing this I'm in some small part contributing to the continuation of these ugly antiquated ideas.

But I'll do it, because I need the paycheck. I should go design DVD covers for the "adult" film industry or something. At least then I wouldn't feel like a whore.

Comments

(Anonymous)

I know what you're going through baby...

Every time I have to layout a newsletter advocating destroying the environment in favor of business practices I want to scream. I don't know how these people can look their own children in the face. Fuckers.

Let's move to the Caribbean and run an Eco-resort....

oh, that wasn't really anonymous...

that was me.
*sympathy* I get how you feel!

What's a Unitarian church?