Scout Spirit: DUTY TO GOD, DUTY TO COUNTRY, DUTY TO OTHER PEOPLE (“A cheery smile and a helpful hand may serve to make life easier for someone who is weak or old, for a woman or a child.”) DUTY TO SELF
Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I feel like any kind of “spirit” comes from someplace other than the place rules come from. But Boy Scouts says that Rules GIVE you spirit. Hmmmm. Strange. I won’t over-think this.
Scout Oath, 1961:
On my honor, I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
to help other people at all times;
to keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.
Now, a lot of things have changed in the Scout handbook since 1961, but this oath has remained exactly the same. The BSA has struggled with that phrase “morally straight.” Although the BSA claims that the phrase “morally straight” refers solely to honesty and good character, the organization maintains an anti-gay atmosphere. BSA frequently denies employment to gay men, and has been granted this right by high-level courts in recent years. In 2002, the DC Commission on Human Rights held that “to force Boy Scouts to appoint open homosexuals as Scout leaders would violate the Boy Scouts’ First Amendment freedom of expressive association.”
The connotations of the phrase “morally straight” have changed over time, but the BSA has passively allowed that change to continue rejecting gay lifestyles. Many of the lawsuits between open homosexuals and the BSA have focused on the fine lines in employment discrimination, with no great victories for gay rights activists yet.
For an interesting (if wordy) reflection on growing up a gay scout, see excerpts from Michael Harris’ “Morally Straight.” I have an affection for his project because it is so similar to mine! Ladies and Gays! You too can be Eagles as well - also!