"We are discreet sheep; we wait to see how the drove is going, and then go with the drove. We have two opinions: one private, which we are afraid to express; and another one - the one we use - which we force ourselves to wear to please Mrs. Grundy, until habit makes us comfortable in it, and the custom of defending it presently makes us love it, adore it, and forget how pitifully we came by it." ~ Mark Twain
A Scout Is Trustworthy, Loyal, Fascist...
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Right from the start, Robert Baden-Powell created a way to train young men into the soldiers and fascists of tomorrow. By writing books on military scouting, he sparked the scouting movement, and eventually formed the basis of the Boy Scouts of America. Powell didn't shy away from seizing the opportunity to mold the soft, malleable minds of the youth.
As a Mormon (I don't mind the term) in a small, western, and conservative area, the Church basically drafted me into the BSA. As a very conservative organization, the LDS Church upholds the BSA and has since its inception; today The Church of Jesus Christ of Ladder Day Saints holds the highest number of Boy Scouts under its command. This is not just a coincidence; many of the standards set by the BSA, such as not allowing homosexuals, agnostics, or atheists, are shared by the Mormon Church. Nearly every boy from age eight to 18 in my Mormon-saturated community participates in scouting activities.
As I look over the parameters set by the organization, they don't stick out in my mind. I do find fault with the rule against homosexuals, but the pro-God agenda is better founded in BSA doctrine. If you look at the Scout Oath, a pledge written by Powell for the organization, it says: 'On my honor, I will do my best, to do my duty to God and my Country'' The organization was set forth strictly 'Under God' and has fallen under fire as of late just as the Pledge of Allegiance has. As someone with a slightly more objective point of view towards God, I don't find it offensive, just relatively off-putting and uncharacteristic. Such a narrow-minded view towards a Deity has not only severely limited the organization's potential to grow their ranks, but also closed the door towards creating the Boy Scouts of the Universe. If the group really wanted to spread their wings and change the lives of many young boys, they would take a more liberal stance towards religion. Of course, you might have trouble if half your troops roll out a mat and pray to the East instead of going to Midnight Mass.
As for gays, I get where the rule-makers (for lack of a better word) are coming from. I, as a future parent, would rather shield my children from other boys who are openly gay than force them to socialize with frightened, closeted homosexuals who are subjecting themselves to massive amounts of psychological trauma. Those children are going to gay out in their own homes far away from my own child, where they can get therapy sessions and get hooked on drugs to calm them down and straighten them up. These scout troops are basically breeding grounds for homophobia. More hormone-induced 'immoral conversations' go on in the campout atmosphere than at the oft-mentioned sleepovers. Instead of providing a safe-haven for youth, these anti-queer rules are feeding the already present complexes in the heads of many young boys.
Naturally, there have been many good citizens that have sprouted from the BSA. Among those who have achieved one of the organization's highest ranks, the Eagle Scout Award, are Neil Armstrong, Gerald Ford, Donald Rumsfeld, even Steven Spielberg and Michael Moore. I, despite not having attained the award, find it to be one of the most idiotic ways to show one's ability to conform. In order to get the award, you perform the duties of a City Council. Not only do you plan an act of community service, but you raise the funds, carry it out for free and document it in true bureaucratic style (admittedly with more pictures). Then, when all this has been done, you submit it to a committee so they can judge your efforts according to their standards. Call me cynical, but I don't consider learning to become a slave to the system a valuable life skill. Run along, little Boy Scout, and give me free labor'
If you've ever participated in a scout meeting or activity, you know not to leave your patriotism at home. Every meeting starts (after a prayer to the Christian God) with the Pledge of Allegiance, recited in a unified, monotone voice. The scouts then spout off the Scout Oath and Law, the main aforementioned doctrine of the BSA. It's odd that, as I look back, I've never really been shocked at how willing these young men are to lethargically agree to these verbal contracts. Now, as an 'educated' 17-year-old, I become nauseated as I awkwardly mouth these pacts. If I wanted to sign my life away, I would at least ask for a pen to make it official.
Another thing you'll notice should you attend a scouting event are the terms, ranks, and other lingo used. Words like Patrol Leader, troop, Quartermaster, ranks, and even latrine are 'borrowed' from the military or based on military terms. The uniforms sport martial colors and insignia; in fact the original uniforms were of the military. Should the need arise, just one quick change to the wording and our armed forces have 5 million extra lives that have firm Christian beliefs, been survival trained, and know their way around a weapon.
Robert-Baden Powell hadn't initially planned on creating a large army of youth, but once he carved it out of the mountain, the ball sure got rolling. It will continue to roll until it topples Lady Liberty (Daniel 2:44-45) and every freedom we desperately cling to. They innocent-looking group may be unnoticeable, but its shroud is made of the conservative standards it puts forth. While it may appear they are working on their archery merit badge, they are aiming their bows straight for our hearts.