Marcia’s Law – Crisis at the Curbside
“On my honor…I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight”
-The Boy Scouts of America Scout Law
I saw him approach out of the corner of my eye, unmistakable in his blue shirt and little red vest. There was no escaping him as he raced over to my car, fervently waving his brochure at my window.
“Want to buy some popcorn?” he grinned eagerly. He must have known; I’m a complete sucker when it comes to buying from children. Cookies, candy, coupons; you name it. I buy it.
But not popcorn; not from the Boy Scouts of America! That has been my resolve since the BSA took its firm stance against homosexuality. I won’t contribute in any way to that organization. It’s been a painful decision, but one I could live with until an eight-year old caught me unprepared.
Looking at this child, eager and innocent, I couldn’t help but see my own son at his age. My son too sold his share of Boy Scout popcorn. He too approached total strangers who willingly gave him their money to Support the Boy Scouts.
My son was the child who, when they were signing up for Cub Scouts at his grade school, raced home and begged to join. When they had no leader and I agreed, not so eagerly to “help out,” we started our long journey in scouting; a journey which did not end, even when he earned the highest award in scouting; Eagle Scout.
Our scouting journey involved camping, hiking, his father, his little brother (also an Eagle Scout), and his extended family. It spanned fifteen years of hard work and fun, achievement and struggles. It meant long hours of commitment for all of us, and we thought it was worth it.
Our involvement in scouting brought us all many friendships we may not have otherwise experienced, experiences we certainly might never have had and, for our son, a community of caring that helped provide him a solid foundation as he grew from boyhood into manhood.
But somewhere along the way, my son figured out he was gay. It changed everything. He could no longer look to the organization that had provided him with some of the finest moments of his life for support. In fact, they shunned him.
As a result, I have taken a strong position against the Boy Scouts of America, but I do so with a heavy heart, for it is a tremendous loss. The Boy Scouts’ strong condemnation of homosexuality has tarnished my memories, colored my experiences, and prevented me from appreciating a new generation of scouts and that which I believed scouting stood for; the development of character.
Most of the time my resolve works well. I write and speak openly about acceptance. It works well, that is, until I am confronted, head on, with a smiling, anxious eight-year old selling popcorn.
I shouldn’t have a crisis of conscience every time a boy asks me to buy popcorn, but I do. I ask myself, “Can I crush the hopes and dreams of this child even though the Boy Scouts has disenfranchised MY son? No, I cannot. I condemn the organization that discriminates against my son, but cannot punish the child who has nothing to do with those who made that decision.
By the time I had shoved some cash at the little boy and said; “Just take it!” I was a complete wreck. It’s so unfair. The Boy Scouts of America, which provides wonderful life lessons, valuable learning experiences, and high adventure, has taken something precious away from our entire family that can never be replaced.
I can only hope that, like the gradual acceptance in our society of people who are different in other ways, homosexuality will be accepted one day as just part of the human condition. After all, I want what any mother would want for her child…the opportunity to be accepted based NOT on his race, creed, color, national origin OR sexual orientation, but for who he is as a human being. Isn’t that what we all want for our children?
…And I’m just a mom who lovers her son…