Sunday, October 4, 2009

Thin Mints, or Why I support GSA over BSA.

I just ordered 5 boxes of Girl Scout cookies from a neighbor I don't know. Why is this worthy of a blog post? Because last week another neighbor and her son who plays with EJ, came around selling popcorn for Boy Scouts. A small part of me feels guilty that I supported someone I don't know over someone I do know. I do have my reasons of course.

3. The popcorn the BSA was selling is expensive.
2. Girl Scout cookies are just plain yummy.

And the number one reason I won't support the BSA is:

1. The BSA discriminates against gays and atheists. The Girl Scouts do not. They are open to any girl regardless of sexual orientation and of any religion, even those without. (One caveat, GSA has a "don't ask, don't tell" type of policy. Not ideal but better than nothing)

The BSA maintains that as a private organization it has the right to decide who may be a member and who may not. I agree with this position, the Supreme Court agrees with this position. I don't agree that they are a private organization. They are sponsored across the country by public schools, even the military. They receive a great deal of public money and public recognition. Furthermore, while they may have the legal right to discriminate that doesn't mean it's ethical or moral.

This is why I can support Girl Scouts and why not only will I not support the BSA, but I won't allow my sons to become members. It's too bad because otherwise the Boy Scouts have a wonderful program. My husband was in the BSA for many years. He dropped out shortly before becoming and Eagle Scout and has expressed regret that he didn't continue. When I first brought up the topic I suggested "I guess if it's important to you we could lie", although I nearly choked on those words. Fortunately this is one decision we agree on. We won't knowingly support an organization that discriminates. EJ doesn't pay much attention to the various fliers that come home from school in his folder. So far it's a bullet we haven't had to dodge. One day though I expect he will ask and I will have some alternatives ready for him along with an explanation of why he can't join the scouts.

Until then, I will enjoy my Thin Mints and Tagalongs.

Here are a few organizations that are open to all:
Earth Scouts
Camp Quest 
Camp Fire USA
Roots and Shoots
Navigators (NYC only)
Spiral Scouts (Pagan, but inclusive of all)


Holmes Family said...

The support BSA gets from the military bugs me to no end. We are a military family, and constantly on base we see ads for BSA. They are even allowed to sit outside the shopping areas and solicit, even though that is "suppose" to be frowned upon. They claim to be private but they aren't really. We actually use Spiral Scouts. The Pagan influences are so easy to remove that its not even an issue.

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