Make no mistake. The Boy Scouts have ... some problematic issues for me, in terms of social policy. I am not at all fond of discrimination, anti-gay sentiment, exclusion of any kind. I know a huge number of people who would not, and will not, allow their sons to be a part of an organization that condones this sort of behavior in any way. And ordinarily, I might agree with them.
I happen to know a few Boy Scouts. Not children, but adults. My husband was one. His brother was another. A large group of their friends growing up, and still today, were Scouts as well. And here's the thing that stops me in my tracks every time I get nervous about associating my son with an organization with, at most, a bigoted and outdated policy; and at least, one serious fucking PR problem:
Fucking hell, these are good men.
And really, I mean it. Every single last damn one of them, many of whom I went to school with from middle school through high school. Without exception, every single one of the bunch were good students. They were respectful of parents and teachers, even through Ye Awful Holy-Shit Teenage Years. Even while sneaking beer through my back door. Even while attempting to speak to my mother after having just tossed back five shots of Jagermeister on a college break.
Or, in one particular case, even while explaining to my father that he wanted to marry me.
These were the boys who escorted me home when I'd had too much to drink. Who looked after me at parties. Who were and remain universally intelligent and self-assured.
Thus, not a hard decision to make in the end.
Policy isn't always changed by outside pressure, in any case; very often it's changed from the inside out. Given the examples of the Scouts I've seen and grown up with, I'd venture a guess that it won't be too long before any exclusionary or discriminatory policies at the national level are a thing of the past.
This is not my most articulate post, but, I think, an important one. Ask questions of the truly good, kind and confident men you know, because I bet an overwhelming number of them were Boy Scouts at one time or another.
And if our son grows up to be like any one of the former Scouts I know? Then it was worth it.