The Boy Scouts of America: Sexual abuse, discrimination, lies

LA Times although reported elsewhere.

"Over the course of two decades, the Boy Scouts of America covered up the acts of hundreds of child molesters within its ranks, never notifying authorities and instead quietly banishing offenders"


Obvious parallels have been brought up, to the catholic church.  

Boy Scout officials were not just elevating the protection of the institution over the welfare of individuals, but also were perpetuating a culture in which sexual abuse was seen not as a crime to be punished and denounced but as an embarrassment to be dealt with quietly.


CNN:  In Tennessee, Scout officials talked a victim's parents out of contacting police, promising to "handle the situation" internally. They let the molester resign and he was arrested months later for abusing another boy. When a Pennsylvania scoutmaster was arrested for molesting three boys, a local Scout executive worked with the chief of police to "do everything he could to keep this account out of the newspaper to protect the name of the Boy Scouts.  That is two out of 1,800 cases in the BSA confidential files regarding sexual misconduct.


The BSA gets big donations from US corporations, despite their policy of total discrimination against LGBT people.


34% of BSA troops are Mormon sponsored.  The Mormon church is the single largest sponsor of Boy Scout troops.


The Boy Scouts of America bans atheists.  also here.


The BSA's biggest donor, Intel, has now stopped contributing due to discriminatory policies banning LGBT people from the scouts.  ThinkProgress.  but again, reported elsewhere as well.


My employer gives a choice of which organizations our community giving program donation will go to.  I am making sure that the BSA is not a recipient of my donation.


I should add, I was a Boy Scout.  My troop (back in the age when Woolly Mammoths and Mastodons roamed the American plains, and Sabre Toothed Tigers feasted on massive herbivores) was sponsored by a Baptist church.  I was raised Baptist.  I can still recite the Boy Scout Oath from memory.  My troop was disbanded after an unspoken scandal - no one would say why.  There were hints of impropriety.   I remember at boy scout camp, being talked into a game of strip poker (by others my age). Strange memory.


"On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law. "


"A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful ,friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent."


Except for the reverent part, that's pretty much me for most of my life..  Too bad the same can't be said for the Boy Scouts of America.


I suspect some of the Boy Scouts' popularity, among conservative and religious adults, goes back to a false nostalgia, reaction against modernity.  The uniforms, the mostly-white clean scrubbed faces, camping in the woods.  It's important to have organizations devoted to supporting young people, but I think the Boy Scouts should be disbanded, and find or create others to fill the gap.




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Again ... why should I be surprised at this?

An organization which purports to be dedicated to the love of god and country and utterly opposed to homosexuality in any form is found not just to have incidents of child abuse, but a systematic cover-up of such abuse.  The parallels to the catholic church would be amusing, were the circumstances not so tragic.  Hypocrisy screams from these headlines, and as with the RC church, a serious and wide-reaching calling to account is in order.  Disavowals from the the BSA hierarchy should be IGNORED.  Investigations should commence immediately and culpable individuals or groups charged and prosecuted.

Point being: nothing and NO ONE are above the law in these United States.  Doubtless, the catholic church and the Boy Scouts of America both would like to think themselves exempt.  Their thinking needs disabuse.


What irony lurks in this story. A recent article in the New York Times suggests that the founder of the Boy Scouts, Robert Baden-Powell, was a repressed homosexual. He did not marry until he was 55 and then found that sleeping with his wife gave him headaches—cured by sleeping alone.

Of course these days every respectable biographer must show evidence that his subject was gay or there is no interest in publishing anything, so it is probably good to be skeptical about these kinds of speculations.

I hadn't heard the story you linked on the founder Dr. Clark.

Reading the article (thanks for the link) I was moved by the following:

" A Victorian military hero who skyrocketed to fame after his valiant defense of the besieged city of Mafeking during the Second Boer War, Baden-Powell was one of the British Empire’s most adulated soldiers, looked to as the very model of muscular Christianity. "


This man who gave so much to so many suffered from the forces of repression and taboo


These two statements are compelling for me.  Speaking to the first, I'm the only Vietnam era veteran who I know in my workplace.  The topic has come up many times, and the men who are my age, every one, stated they got deferments and their motivation was not to get education, but to stay out of the service.  I am the only gay one there as well.   The idea that someone could do something out of a sense of duty, as well as that person happens to be gay (the stereotype being, the gay guys were prancing around the bath-houses and drag shows so couldn't be risking their lives in the service), doesn't seem to strike a chord with anyone.  Leonard Matlovich was one of my heros.  Being gay can include "Muscular christianity" or even "muscular atheism" in the endless diversity of temperaments.



And the second statement, that's the desire of every good christian, and every good Republican, today. 


I think you are exaggerating a tiny bit, that every biographer needs to show their subject was gay.  I recently read a bio of Genghis Khan, and there was no suggestion that he was gay.  That said, there is a lot of non-hetero life out there, and has been, for eons.

Yes, I was definitely exaggerating and you are quite right about the ubiquity of "non-hetero" life. My objection is to a trend in biography to explain a whole lifetime of achievement solely in terms of sexual orientation.

To some extent the 70s were a different world. I used to have a copy (lost in a fire) of an early edition of 'Joy of Sex' which suggested that a major problem with adult/adolescent sex was the big furor that adults and prosecutors made of it.

Can you imagine a mainstream publisher saying that today?

How can anyone join this organization? Oh wait - the bigots have a place to go!





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