October is the 100th anniversary of the partnership between the Boy Scouts of America and the Mormon church. Across the country, millions of people are celebrating, in what basically amounts to free publicity for the church. And why not celebrate? After all, the Mormon church has done great things for the BSA, like give them lots of money and… well that’s it, really. But still, a good reason to celebrate!
But not for me. I won’t be celebrating, because I view this partnership to be one of the worst things that happened to the BSA. I won’t be celebrating because the BSA has adopted policies that discriminate on be basis of religious beliefs and sexual orientation as a direct result of this partnership, and I refuse to celebrate bigotry. I won’t be celebrating because those same discriminatory policies are keeping me from being involved in the Boy Scouts at all.
Many people in Scouting seem to believe that preventing certain people from joining the Boy Scouts is a small price to pay for the generous funding that the organization receives from the Mormons. I even saw people bemoaning the change in regulations that occurred this summer (regulations that, in my opinion, didn’t go far enough) because they believed the Mormon church would withdraw their funding if Scouting got too inclusive.
I cannot disagree with this position more strongly. There is no amount of money that can justify bigotry. The Boy Scouts needs to stop celebrating partnerships with bigoted organizations, and end them instead.