Some laws just aren’t what they used to be.
The Scout Law — and mind you, I am recalling this from memory here — reads something along the lines of “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.”
And for the most part, Boy Scouts are all that. Unless, apparently, someone brings up the idea of admitting girls into the good old boys' club.
In which case, a Scout becomes angry, condescending, petty, mean-spirited, hateful, rude, childish, dogmatic, thoughtless, narrow-minded, unpleasant, and unlike anything to which I would ever aspire.
The Boy Scouts of America is in the midst of a mighty change. Rebranding itself, it has started accepting females into an organization that was, for decades upon decades, exclusively male. Which isn’t sitting all that well with many of the traditional supporters of the old Boy Scouts organization.
The latest tempest in an herbal teapot? The brouhaha over the newest all-girl troop in Logan. Just in time for International Women’s Day (March 8), the Herald Journal had a story about Troop 2119, the first female Scout group in Cache Valley. (The newspaper reports that there are six female Scouts BSA troops between Brigham City and Bear Lake.)
Judging from the response, you’d have thought the Logan newspaper had just suggested the Utah Legislature recognize marriages between humans and pigs. The Herald Journal’s Facebook page exploded with triple-digit comments on the topic — so strong was the reaction that the paper did a follow-up story on the response.
Predictably, those responses fell into two basic camps: 1) Those who applauded the new troop and wished the girls well in their future character-building activities; and, 2) those who are convinced that the troop is nothing more than a liberal feminist plot designed to infiltrate Mantown and upset The Natural Order of Things.
Here’s a representative sampling of the fight on the HJ’s Facebook page …
Someone named Lis Stewart Fetty wrote encouragingly: “Good for these girls. I think what they’re doing is courageous and will teach them to be leaders. So what if they’re choosing to be part of a different organization, so long as it helps shape them into the women they want to be? I wish I could have gone through Scouts BSA when I was their age.”
And the appropriate response from the other side? Well, there was this name-calling gem from someone named Danny Johnson: “You do know the girl scouts are the one losing their minds right. It’s the girl scouts that are losing out the most right. How is this not sexist. They want to join the boy scouts to prove their just as good as boys and then form an all girl troop. Stupidity runs deep in your family Lis Stewart Fetty”
And then, how about this incredibly sensitive remark from Eric Lescoe: “I guess I’ll join a battered women’s group!! And just talk about all my ‘man’ problems.”
Finally, accepting the award for Boorish Comments of the Week was a troglodyte hiding behind what I can only assume is a pseudonym, “Neb Ulite,” who asked “What does BSA stand for? Bi Scouts of America?” and followed it up with the classy suggestion to “add a tampon and it’s today’s boy Scouts. Boy’s today are tomorrow’s women.”
What’s my point? Just this: Although Lis never was a Boy Scout, odds are good that Danny and Eric, and possibly even Neb, were. Meaning, at some point these three people must have forgotten the parts of the Scout Law dealing with being courteous and kind.
Not only that, but Utah leads the nation in producing Eagle Scouts, so there’s a fair-to-middling chance that one or more of these members of the “No girlz allowed” clubhouse advanced to the coveted rank of Eagle, which is supposed to represent the cream of the Scouting crop.
Sadly, it looks like on the way to teaching these Boy Scouts to become men, somebody forgot to teach them how to be gentlemen.
On a personal note, I’d like to thank all of the Scout leaders, Eagle Scouts and various other Defenders of Scouting who’ve been so vocal in insisting there’s no place for females in Scouts BSA. Thanks to you, I no longer have to feel ashamed about my own shortcomings on the subject.
See, I never became an Eagle Scout. Not even close. The best I could manage was the rank just above Tenderfoot — Second Class, I believe it was called. And I always felt just a little ashamed.
But no more. Because if people like Danny, Eric, Neb and the others commenting on the Herald Journal’s Facebook page are the kind of folks the program churns out, I'm feeling pretty good about my Scouting days.
By the way? To my fellow members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: If any of you are trying to horn in on this argument and do anything but wish these girls well, kindly butt out now. Our church is leaving the BSA program at the end of this year, so we no longer have a dog in the fight.
And so, to the girls of Troop 2119, I wish you great success. Ignore the haters, take to heart the charges to be prepared and do a good turn daily, work hard, and maybe one day society will actually allow you to do something I never could:
Rise above the rank of Second Class Scout.