The Boy Scouts of America were a fixture in the news last week for the usual reason, as well as a new twist. The usual reason, of course, is the Scouts’ ongoing ban on gay Scout leaders, which has driven some to accuse the Scouts of teaching hate, caused entertainers like Carly Rae Jepsen (remember her?) and Train to pull out of Scout events, and cost the organization the support of sponsors like Chipotle and the Merck Foundation.
It was two years ago this week that the group’s National Council voted to lift its ban on gay scouts, although gay adults are still barred from leadership positions. Last week, though, the president of the Boy Scouts of America, Robert Gates, himself called for an end to the ban on gay adult leaders.
The lifting of the ban on gay Scout leaders has been debated for years now; the true curve ball came a few days earlier, when the 2015 Boy Scout handbook announced a ban on water gun fights and fights with water balloons that are non-biodegradable and larger than “ping-pong ball size.”
Why the ban on squirt guns? Michigan Crossroads Council of Boy Scouts of America marketing and communications director Kerrie Mitchell explained that the Scouts’ mission is “to prepare young people for life and part of that duty is to ensure our youth become civically-minded adults. Pointing a simulated firearm at another individual is not aligned with our Scout Oath nor Scout Law.”
Why are we bringing this up today, Memorial Day? Because while the adults fuss and fret over the effect of squirt guns on childhood development, Scouts themselves were out and about this weekend, showing that they’re well on their way to becoming civically minded adults, if they haven’t surpassed many “adults” already.
Just for comparison’s sake, this is how some #BlackLivesMatter protesters in New York demonstrated recently how they retire a flag. We wonder which Boy Scout troop taught them that method?