For Whom The Bell Tolls


In late January, the Boy Scouts of America announced it will begin accepting members based on their gender identity, opening the door for transgender youth to join.

I have no doubt that a great deal of thought went into the decision.  In a nutshell, the Scouting powers-that-be felt it was financially prudent.  The organization spent years and untold millions to defend its position on gay Scouters.  They likely feel they’re money ahead to simply fold like a cheap card table.  And that’s what they’ve done.

Some may feel this is only a slight additional wound to Scouting’s pride.  I think it spells the end of Scouting as we know it.

Set any arguments and pre-conceived transgender biases aside, for a moment.  Scouting in the United States is currently an organization for physically male youth.  Allowing a physically female youth as a member is a short hop away from opening the gate to any female youth–and believe me, that’s the next logical step.  If physically female members are accepted into that adolescent and hormonally-charged mix, well, it’s going to change things considerably.  I’ll let you imagine the consequences, because I really don’t want to think about them.  The organization will have to fundamentally change.

I’ve been involved in Scouting in one way or another for well over fifty years. There are many in our society today who scoff at the concept of “male bonding.”  I don’t suppose I blame them.  I don’t think males are allowed to bond in today’s society.  Females, on the other hand, are within their rights to march on Washington wearing vagina hats. I’m so happy that the world has finally come to its senses.  That was sarcasm.

In the years I’ve known it, Scouting has, among other things, allowed the male youth the opportunity to discover his gender identity in a tremendously healthy way.  Put simply, it’s given him the opportunity to spend time in a male-oriented environment.  It was just “the guys,” young and old, doing the things that liberals, female rights activists and others regard as “silly, man stuff.”  I loved it.

This is no socio-political claptrap or buzzword baloney;  you simply can’t have a male-oriented environment if you inject females into it.  If you add females, the male-only label comes off and it becomes…something else.  Scouting will now be that something else, for better or worse.  Maybe it will become financially successful.  Maybe it will be a wonderful organization.  The organization and environment I knew as a boy and know today as a man will no longer exist.  It will be gone.

No doubt the decision was carefully considered. Scouting is hurting for membership right now.  They know full well that eventually including females may dramatically increase their membership and hence their money.  If they are correct, they won’t hurt for members; it’s a calculated gamble and they have decided the risks are low enough to roll the dice.  They have considered all this—and they have likely considered me, and the people who feel the way I do.  They have considered us and made a decision.  They cared less about me than they cared about their finances.

I’m not against gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders, x-genders or food blenders.  I never have been.  But I believe in an organization’s right to say who and what it is.

I suppose it was a business decision, but it hurts to realize that an organization I loved cares more about it’s money than it does about me.  Never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for me.

3 thoughts on “For Whom The Bell Tolls

  1. Interesting observations. I predict that the Boy Scouts of America, Inc. will transform itself in a manner similar to the YMCA. (Historians will recall that the YMCA was the organization that nurtured the BSA into existence in 1910.) The Y now is a “family” centered organization and, in St. Joseph, managed mainly by women. Not saying that is a bad thing – please hold hate mail to minimum – but it is far cry from the boy and young man organization of my youth. And, while I do not have direct knowledge, I suspect that it relies more on funds from the United Way and health club membership fees to support its social programs than it does from churches. When Camp Geiger begins offering “family” programming, I will rest my case.


  2. I think I’m gonna cry.
    Those of us who have been involved Scouting in one way or another for 50+ years have seen ups and downs. Like the author, I fear for Scouting as we know it. When the BSA policy was announced back in January, I wrote a Facebook post to the effect that maybe my local council would have a couple of years before we would have to deal with the issue. Let the right coast and the left coast show us how, I thought. Boy was I wrong. The latest issue of Time magazine has a sub-article about a youth who identifies as “gender fluid.” He lives in St. Joseph. What Richard and I and all of us that fall in that 50+ years of active Scouting in St. Joseph, the Pony Express Council, Camp Geiger, the Tribe of Mic-O-Say etc. have to keep close is all the lives influenced in 50+ years. You guys did good. But, let’s not write the obituary just yet. Let’s keep on doing what we do the best until someone tells us that we are no longer allowed to have the most successful summer camp in the country.


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