Skip to main content

I was in the Boy Scouts for many years and have fond memories of my experience. I had a lot of fun learning about camping, tying knots and all the rest, and also learned a lot of great life lessons - like leaving a campsite in the same or better shape than when you left it.  Now that I am an openly gay man, the whole Boy Scout/anti-gay debate has been a deeply personal one for me - as I'm sure it is for any other gay man who served in a Boy Scout troop.  Anyway, there's a heartwarming story from here in Tampa that gives me hope and shows who will be on the right side of history on this matter.

Boy Scout Troop 4 in South Tampa (where I live) is the oldest troop in the area. The troop has 67 Boy Scouts and 82 Cub Scouts, and for the past 60 years it has met at Trinity Presbyterian Church. But after the Boy Scouts of America changed its policy to now allow openly gay boys to be Scouts, the homophobic church pulled its sponsorship of the troop and told these boys to get out by Jan. 1, when the new policy goes into effect. A really Christian move, right? (I am, of course, still really pissed that the Scouts won't allow openly gay adults leaders, but that's another story for another diary.)

But the good news is that after word got out in the area about Trinity Presbyterian Church's homophobic actions, eight other local churches stepped up to offer to sponsor the troop and provide it with a new home. Wow.  The boys are apparently really excited about the new home that they ended up choosing, which has a game room and a movie room.

And I think the whole experience is teaching a valuable lesson about the negative consequences of hatred, discrimination and homophobia to the younger generation. Just look at the comments from one of the boys in Troop 4:

Garrett Brooks, 9, joined Troop 4 in first grade and said he is "very glad" for the Scouts' policy change because he has gay friends.

"I feel like (the church members) have their own idea about gay people, but I believe they should be allowed to do anything anybody else can do," Garrett said.

Another sad consequence of Trinity Presbyterian Church's eviction of Troop 4 is that the troop met in what sounds like a very cool Scout Hut, which the troop built in 1963 in the old church parking lot:
The boys sat on wooden benches while planning camping trips and Eagle Service projects in the block structure lined with knotty pine walls and ceilings, like generations before them.

Animal skulls and bottles holding dead snakes hang on walls mixed in with the Scouts' oath, law and motto and plaques listing former Scouts.

What boy wouldn't love meeting in a place like that? But now, the boys have to dismantle the Scout Hut, piece by piece. They don't have the money to build a new Scout Hut, but they have created a website, friendsof4.com, to raise the funds. You can see some pictures of the Scout Hut there, and show them a little love if you're so inclined.

I'll end by just saying how classy Troop 4 is being in the face of being treated so badly by Trinity Presbyterian Church. They're not speaking ill of Trinity, at least not in public, and clearly are staying focused on what's best for the kids, as stated on the friendsof4 website:

It is with a sad heart that we are leaving the Troop 4 Scout Hut that has seen many generations of families come through its doors. Although it will be gone at the end of December, it will not be forgotten. While the Troop 4 Scout Hut has 50 years at its current location, it is not the location that has made Troop 4 what it is today. It is a community of scouts, parents, adult leaders, and friends that have given Troop 4 the rich history that makes us a stand-out troop.
And speaking of history, I have one last thing to say to the folks at Trinity Presbyterian Church: You are on the wrong side of history. 50 years from now, Troop 4 will still be enjoying its great home at Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church, and you'll still be trying to explain, and apologize for, your discriminatory actions to a new generation that will be even more mystified and angry about your actions than the current generation.

Originally posted to davidkc on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 06:10 AM PST.

Also republished by Milk Men And Women and LGBT Kos Community.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site