“The Boy Scouts of America’s hurtful discrimination does nothing good for the organization. It teaches boys to hate other kids, and it tells gay youth that there is something wrong with them when there is not.”
Steven Cozza, who co-founded or “Scouting for All” as a 12-year old, contributed to the New York Times’ recent “Room For Debate” discussion of the Boy Scouts of America renewing its ban on gay membership. He notes that the Boy Scouts, which actually began in England at the turn of the 20th century, “was never intended to be a bigoted, discriminatory, hateful organization.” That tradition of discrimination began only with its arrival in the U.S. a few years later.
In his Times piece, Cozza notes that the American organization receives a substantial amount of funding from the Mormon Church, and in that regard parallel’s its opposition to homosexuality. While he does not mention the role of the Catholic Church, this organization also funds tens of thousands of scouts, and likewise advocates the discriminatory policies.
As Cozza goes on to argue: “The sad thing is the Boy Scouts of America is just about the only nonreligious organization in America that still discriminates like this. If the Mormon chapters of the Boy Scouts of America want to discriminate against gays and atheists, then they can. But troops not associated with Mormon churches should not be forced to. There are hundreds of troops that don’t believe in discrimination and are ashamed of the national organization’s policies.
The Boy Scouts of America’s hurtful discrimination does nothing good for the organization. It teaches boys to hate other kids, and it tells gay youth that there is something wrong with them when there is not. The leading cause of death for gay youth is suicide, and the Boy Scouts of America is only contributing to this.
Cozza concludes his piece by noting that he learned a great deal from scouting, and has many wonderful memories from his experiences. He believes that all youth should have that opportunity as well.
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