There are 51 Norman Rockwell paintings with themes of Boy Scouting.
That is one if the interesting facts one can learn perusing the Boy Scouts of America Web site.
You can also find out that 181 Boy Scouts went on to become astronauts, more than 4 million scouts have attained a merit badge for cooking skills, that the first Boy Scouts handbook was published in 1911 and that more than 62 million boys are or have been Boy Scouts.
Most interesting, I found, were the number of current governors and congressional members who have been or are active in the Scouts.
As many Scouts supporters remain in disbelief at the BSA leadership’s’ announcement yesterday that it is reaffirming its discriminatory position on gay people — barring boys who identify as gay and any parent helper who is gay or lesbian — it’s a good time to consider that the Scouts may be such a part of the American fabric that the organization can’t really be beholden to the antiquated ideas of a secret committee.
No, the Boy Scouts are too big for policies such as the one reaffirmed by the “special committee” of unnamed Scouts officials and volunteers after what they said was a nearly two-year study.
That policy, by the way, reads: “While the B.S.A. does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the B.S.A.”
A distraction? What’s the bigger distraction here?
Might it be time for supporters of the real underlying mission of the Scouts — to teach kids about cooperation, teamwork, self-sufficiency and inclusion — to claim their group back? To make a call, to write a letter, to sign a petition?
Might it be time for the current and former Boy Scouts who learned about character when they were earning badges to stand up, like that wiry, earnest guy in Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom of Speech,” and let the “leaders” of the Boy Scouts know that Americans are ready for the group to return to its core values?
What do you think of the Boy Scouts of America affirmation of its ban on gay Scouts and gay parent leaders?