“…if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.” –Karl Popper, in An Open Society and its Enemies, Vol. 1
I read the news of the Boy Scouts of America’s imminent lifting of their ban on openly gay leaders as I sat in a coffee shop while wearing my Class-A Boy Scout uniform. I was on my way to work. As a staff member at a large metropolitan council of the BSA, I was proud to see forward progress within the organization that I’d now come to work for more than five years after achieving Eagle Scout. But change is never without its critics. Gay Rights can be a polarizing topic, and in an organization known for its conservative values and ties to religion, critics of the decision were swift and merciless in their condemnation of the move toward inclusion.
Boy Scouts of America is the largest private youth organization in the U.S., and as a private organization it is entitled to cultivate its leadership as it pleases. The BSA is not required to do anything regarding gay leaders, but that’s not to say that there aren’t things that it should do. If the organization wishes to remain relevant in our ever-progressing culture, it will modernize appropriately, lest it be the hand of its own demise.