The Boy Scouts of America is a very traditional organization. Despite the apparent hypocrisy of forbidding membership to gay men while battling a PR disaster over decades of child abuse cases effectively swept under the rug, we can’t imagine the Scouts revising their no-gay policies anytime soon.
Still, the group finds itself in the news again this week in a bad way: Intel and UPS released statements announcing their plans to refrain from giving donations to the Scouts organization as long as it maintains its old-fashioned resistance to reality. And this isn’t small potatoes: the two companies gave more than $300,000 to the Scouts organization in 2010 alone.
We can understand the BSA’s position and the appeal of traditionalism: a decision to abandon the anti-gay plank would probably lead to a serious schism among its biggest fans. And we shouldn’t forget that the Boy Scouts is in most ways an exemplary organization that provides assistance to thousands of Americans every year. But this is an emotional issue for many people. See, for example, this tumblr page featuring onetime Eagle Scouts who decided to return their badges in protest.
We wonder: at what point does intransigence no longer benefit the Boy Scouts? When will they have no choice but to adapt? And how should they go about it?