My last post received this comment:
"Our family's experience with Scouting has been very positive. Scouting plays out in the local church basement or school cafeteria, not in the boardrooms in Dallas. We have watched our son grow in skills and confidence as he has progressed through the Scouting program from Cubs to becoming an Eagle Scout. He has had had experiences that simply would not have been available outside of Scouting. It is a very meaningful part of his life.
We have found that our son's unit has been remarkedly inclusive ranging from boys in high honors programs to boys struggling with serious disabilities. The group has been very accepting and supportive of of all boys. The issues that concern you simply do not play out at the local level in most cases. You would find a significant number of Scouting families who value inclusiveness.
I would caution you not to believe everything you read or hear in the media. I would also caution you not to allow your own biases to automatically dismiss an organization without taking time to actually view it first hand. Prejudice can take several forms, can't it?"
I was going to just write a comment to that one but felt that this needs to be put into its own post:
Anonymous, I'm glad that your family is having a positive experience. So was my husband's. I'm glad that you haven't found the national rules (that are not just "reported by the media" but were actually enacted by the organization itself) aren't played out at your local organization. I read the link that you posted and saw that the same thing is going on in his local chapter. I'm sorry you didn't feel the need to sign your comment so that I could address you by name.
But as to your thoughts, let me explain myself further. If you will look at http://www.bsa-discrimination.org/html/bsa-0202-resolution.html, you will find the actual statements made by the Boy Scouts of America organization regarding homosexual and atheist leaders. While the website is not the Boy Scout website, it does not make it any less their statements that were released publicly. I find it hard to argue that it's the media blowing these up into some sort of inflammatory argument when they are the words of the Boys Scouts themselves. And as glad as I am to hear that local organizations are not following the national rules about this, it doesn't change the fact that the national organization made an anti-homosexual and anti-atheist policy.
Yes, prejudice can take many forms. If we look at the definition in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, we see that it means "a (1) : preconceived judgment or opinion (2) : an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge b : an instance of such judgment or opinion c : an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics". Therefore, I don't think that my policy on Boy Scouts can be termed prejudice because a) it's not a preconceived judgment (I had assumed that our boys would be Scouts until I learned of these policies), b) I've provided you with the "sufficient knowledge" in the form of the Boy Scouts' policies above to show that it's not based on my own "biases", as you called them, and c) I don't have an attitude of hostility against them based on supposed characteristics. I don't think it's a hostile attitude at all simply not to let my children join and not to buy popcorn from those children who have. However, even if you do feel it is hostile, it is based on the published policies from the Boy Scouts themselves. That's not "supposed characteristics", that's factual information.
I don't feel that Scouting is the only way to learn the characteristics of which you speak. By being good parents who find ways to get our children involved and active in the community, Jason and I can make those opportunities for our children. I find an important characteristic for my children is to learn to stand up against prejudice when we find it--whether we have a vested interest in that or not.
I'll end with a poem you may have heard by Martin Niemoeller that I think speaks beautifully about our family's policy on this:
"First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out--because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out--because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out--because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak out for me."