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Friday, October 19, 2012

Boy Scouts "Perversion Files": a Heartbreaking, Hypocritical Failure

Posted By on Fri, Oct 19, 2012 at 5:59 AM

click to enlarge rsz_bsa.jpg
My recollections of a youth spent in the Boy Scouts do not exactly jibe with the Norman Rockwell imagery, just as my recollections of an adulthood covering big city politics does not exactly jibe with the Norman Rockwell imagery

When you're dealing with adolescent boys, life can get messy (which is an apt description of San Francisco government, when you come to think about it). But if you're lost in the wilderness and have only one match -- I can help. If you need anything tied up or lashed together, I can do that, too. The best lessons of Boy Scouts are carried well into later life. 

Considering Boy Scouts of America purports to instill boys with the values and leadership experience that will make them into better men, it has always pained me that the organization upheld and doubled down on its ignorant and hateful policies banning openly homosexual and atheist scouts and leaders. Far from turning boys into men, these sorts of policies reinforce the worst behavior of insecure adolescents. Yesterday's release of 20 years of "perversion files" is more than disappointing, however. It's heartbreaking. 

Here we see an organization that openly and defiantly persecutes gays and atheists -- and in most countries, being gay or not believing in God is not a crime -- while cravenly shielding accused molesters in order to stave off the victims' legal retribution

This is a twisted take on the Boy Scout motto of "Be Prepared." It's not trustworthy, loyal, or helpful, and it makes a mockery of the pledge we endlessly recited about remaining "mentally awake and morally straight."

So congratulations, BSA. By continuing to enforce Neanderthal policies against good and honest people and forcing them to live a lie -- while coddling the very worst sort of criminal -- you've devalued  the experience of what it is to have been a Scout.

You've made those of us who toiled to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout look like dupes or company men who adopted your hypocritical line while clawing to the top of a corrupt corporation. 

It turns out you can kill an ideal. What a sad and horrible mess. 

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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