Did you know that radical feminist Betty Friedan, founder of NOW (National Organization for Women) and NARAL (National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League) was on the National Board of GSUSA for 12 years?
According to Scouts Canada and to members of the gay troop, there have been few complaints about the new unit. Scouts Canada, which has about 150,000 members, said it encountered greater negative reaction two years ago when it admitted women. The only direct link between the American and Canadian groups is their membership in the World Organization of the Scout Movement, an umbrella group. "It's a bunch of people getting together to have fun. It's a great way to meet new people,'' said Bonte Minnema, a 24-year-old University of Toronto women's studies student who leads the Rovers group, which is composed of a dozen men and women, ages 18 to 26.
Other members of the troop, or crew, recalled that when they were teen-agers their scouting units ostracized them for being gay. "After I had been out for a while, I started to feel uncomfortable in Scouting," said Sara Evans, a 20-year-old video documentary maker.
Her partner, Elaina Evans, agreed, saying she spent 10 years in the Girl Guides movement. "When I was 16 and just coming out, I had some severe homophobic experiences in Guiding," she said. The couple have a four-year-old daughter whom they want to start this fall in Scouts Canada's youngest program, Beavers. Enthusiastic about Scouts Canada's plans to authorize a Beavers group, known as a "colony," for children of gay parents, Elaina Evans added: "It's important for her to be in contact with other kids who have gay and lesbian parents."
Religious organizations host/sponsor over 60% of the approximately 123,000 Scouting units in the United States and use the Scouting program as part of their youth ministration. Officials from various religious organizations—including the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, and Presbyterian churches—are included on the BSA National Executive Board, its Advisory Council, and the BSA Religious Relationships Committee.
Top 10 Chartered Organizations associated with the Boy Scouts of America, by Total Youth
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Total Units:37928 Total Youth: 412720
United Methodist Church
UNits: 11287 Youth: 371499
UNits: 8795 Youth: 286733
Parent-teacher groups other than PTAs
Units: 4039 Youth: 160007
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Untis: 3714 Youth: 126969
Units: 4030 Youth: 121096
Groups of Citizens
Units: 3782 Youth: 110248
Baptists 4282 108435
Units: 2975 Youth: 97869
Parent-Teacher Association/Parent Teacher Organization
Units: 1775 Youth: 72321
What was so much at stake that the Boy Scouts could not follow the example of the Girl Scouts and move to accommodate religious diversity?
Part of the answer lies in the historical connection between Christianity and an aggressive version of masculinity. It is useful to examine a bit of history on this connection. And perhaps the best way to get at this history is to look briefly at the five main figures who came together to create the Boy Scouts of America—Ernest Thompson Seton, Daniel Carter Beard, Edgar M. Robinson, John L. Alexander, and James E. West—for these men embodied much of the ambivalence and tension that connected Christianity with masculinity at the turn of the twentieth century... In the 1890s, Seton began to formulate his "Woodcraft Idea," a theory for youth work based on the Darwinian instinct psychology of G. Stanley Hall. The model woodcrafter, thought Seton, was the American Indian...
« Older Check out... | Wilco, Nick Lowe, and Mavis St... Newer »
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments
Buy a Shirt