And the Mild-Tolerance Merit Badge Award Goes to…
Seems the Boy Scouts may earn their ‘Mild-Tolerance’ merit badge in the coming weeks, as they are hinting to allow openly gay troop members. This allowance will come with the caveat that the determination of said admittance of homosexuals will be left to the leaders at a local level.
This new directive allows the BSA to alleviate some of the bad press it has faced in recent months and placate many mainstream activists, while the organization circumvents the issues of institutional discrimination by “passing the buck” to local troop officials.
While some troops may open their doors to openly gay and queer youth, and many more youth already within their ranks may ‘serve openly’, this policy leaves intact the underlying homophobia and discrimination within the Boy Scouts of America.
This new-found openness is reminiscent of the typical libertarian ‘privatize everything’ response; their keen idea that local business owners have the right to discriminate against a minority, if they so choose, as a part of the American ‘free market’. This libertarian ideal was highlighted by Rachel Maddow during her interview with Rand Paul in the 2010 election debates. Undoubtedly, the Civil Rights movement under libertarian authority would have inflicted a ‘different sort of equality’.
To not come out completely against discrimination of gays, lesbians, trans, queer in their ranks, the Boy Scouts of America continue the dodge responsibility and glaze over the harm their institution does to young minds.
The homophobia will continue to corrupt their policies, and the fear and shame will continue to effect the lives of the youth they mentor.
The Boy Scouts of America must not be allowed to escape the consequences of their discriminatory actions. Whether they set up courses for troop leaders and merit badges on gender, social equality and sexual diversity, a grand effort must be made to end the tolerance of bigotry — locally, or nationally.
There are no tiers of equality, merely layers of injustice.