Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Campfires, gays, and flint sticks: Boy Scouts fight Disney over moral values

A statue in front of Boy Scouts of America building in Irving, Texas
(Photo credit:  Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

As of 2015, The Walt Disney Company (Disney) has vowed that it will no longer help fund the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), a move that will potentially prevent many youngsters from taking part in this cherished organization, according to BSA spokesman Deron Smith in a statement Sunday.  The ban comes on the heels of an ongoing heated debate between Disney and BSA on the issue of gays being allowed to fully, openly and freely participate as members of the BSA.

Eagle Scout and Scouts for Equality co-founder Zach Wahls, knows firsthand some of the struggles gay scouts can face.  Wahls said although he doesn’t like to see BSA lose funding, he agrees in principle and applauds Disney’s decision to withdraw their monetary support until equality is embraced by the BSA.

The BSA celebrated their 100th anniversary in 2010, and prides itself on providing an outlet for boys to come together in a safe arena for education, fun, and learning lifelong values to be productive citizens.  Over the years the BSA has slowly made some concessions to the changing times and eased up on its stark refusal to have the BSA associated with anything gay-related. 

In February 2013, George Kalogridis became the first gay president of Disney World.  Shortly thereafter, in May 2013, the BSA reversed its prior rule and started allowing openly gay youth into the scouts, although they must leave their respective scout troops after the age of 18.  However the BSA has stood firm in prohibiting gay scout leaders.  And that is where the two organizations stand with neither willing to budge.  For the sake of millions of young boys who thrive in and enjoy being a member of the scouts, BSA promised to continue working with Disney to find a solution that would allow them to keep the needed funding without violating their moral standards.  

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