As a mom of two young boys, I want nothing more than for my children to develop a strong moral character and grow into thriving adults. Some of the most important core values that come to mind for me include: loyalty, respectfulness, fairness, honesty, compassion, and gratitude.
For over a century now, many parents have looked to the Boy Scouts of America for help with instilling these values in their young boys. The Boy Scouts was established in America in 1910 for the purpose of assisting boys in becoming civic-minded and responsible men. The mission of the organization, according to the website, is “to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.” And according to Boy Scout Law, a Scout is someone who is: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.
Obviously, this sounds great! Sign us up! It’s true that I would like to consider scouting for my oldest in a few years once he reaches the minimum age for enrolling. Sadly, though, the organization seems to have lost sight of its mission and its values, and based on recent events, I fear things will only get worse.
As Spencer Lindquist of The Federalist writes, the Boy Scouts now require a new “Citizenship in Society” merit badge for Scouts pursuing the rank of Eagle Scout. The guide for this badge, which can be found here, includes a resource section with materials that endorse critical race theory (CRT):
One such resource is the “All My Relations” podcast, which focuses on the Native American experience and features episodes titled “Decolonizing Sex,” “Celebrate Indigenous Peoples, Not Columbus,” and “Indigiqueer.” Flag folding is so last year. What we really need are Eagle Scouts who understand the Native American LGBT sexual experience!
There’s also Learning for Justice’s “White Anti Racism: Living the Legacy” a transcription of a series of interviews that parrots the critical race theory talking points we’ve become all too familiar with.
When one participant is asked “What do you think of the concept of being ‘colorblind,’” she responds with “I hate it.” Another participant describes one of the stages of becoming a white ally as “Realize the meanings behind privilege, racism, and whiteness.” The organization is a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that profits from spreading racial and religious animosity, and creates curricula that intend to “dismantle white supremacy” and “strengthen intersectional movements.”
The Guide to Allyship is also listed as a resource. It instructs people to “Transfer the benefits of your privilege to those who lack it” and to “Amplify voices of the oppressed before your own.”
The FAQ section of the guide gives counselors talking points they can use when facing questions. Under one of the answers, there’s the line “Use only if pressed (reactive only),” before listing ways in which the organization is promoting “diversity, equity, and inclusion,” including “Offering diversity and inclusion training for BSA employees and volunteers” and “Reviewing property names, events and insignia, in partnership with local councils, to ensure that symbols of oppression are not in use today or in the future.”
Like an increasing number of public schools across the country, the Boy Scouts have embraced a contentious theory which claims that American institutions are intrinsically racist and encourages people to see each other as members of either an oppressor or victim class based simply on skin color. Once individuals reach a suitable age, there’s nothing wrong with exposing them to alternative ways of thinking about our nation’s past. But forcing a divisive doctrine that pits groups against one another on young, impressionable children is problematic, especially when it is presented as truth rather than an idea or an opinion.
This isn’t the first time the Boy Scouts have adopted a far-left position on social issues. As my colleagues Julie Gunlock and Charlotte Hays have both written, in 2017, the Boy Scouts announced plans to drop the name “Boy” from their name and go co-ed. As Julie explained at the time, this seemed like little more than pandering to gender activists and ignored highly-regarded research showing the benefits of single-sex institutions like the Boy and Girl Scouts:
Having boys surrounded by boys means boys participate in the type of rough-and-tumble physical play that boys are known to love. Meanwhile, girls benefit by being around other girls because in a more secure environment, girls tend to take more risks.
But none of this well-known research means much to the leadership of the Boy Scouts, who would rather pander to the gender parity crowd than honor the traditions of their heretofore much-loved organization. It appears likely that an organization that has thrived for more than 100 years will, for all intents and purposes, cease to exist, simply because it has the word “Boy” in it—which is precisely what gender activists intended all along.
In recent years, the Boy Scouts have suffered unprecedented declines in membership. With the announcement of this new requirement, the organization might experience a steeper drop in membership given parents’ concerns about CRT and its general unpopularity with the public.
Like many other parents with young boys, I can only hope that the Boy Scouts get their act together and return to their original purpose of helping boys become adult leaders with good moral character.