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Cub Scouts: Cute or Cult? or “Sometimes Parenting Makes Me a Hypocrite.”

My boys — all three of them — love Cub Scouts. My Chemical Romance is a den leader. Animal and Mineral are in his den, and they’re all extremely involved. Twice during my pregnancy with Tax Deduction, he took all four kids camping with the Cub Scouts, giving me an entire weekend to myself. Someone has to take care of the Dog Without a Downside!

But I hate Cub Scouts’ policies, and I wish there was an alternative to Cub Scouts. (Yes, I know there is an alternative, called Spiral Scouts, but it’s like Kraft Mac-N-Cheese versus the Mac-N-Cheese I make on my own. Kraft Mac-N-Cheese may be nasty but it just tastes better. And don’t bother sending me recipes; I make sucky mac-n-cheese from scratch, no matter what I do. It’s my calling card.)

Obviously, of course, I hate Cub Scouts policy about not allowing gays or lesbians in leadership roles — which apparently includes popcorn-selling. (I just learned that they also have a rule against “avowed” aethiests in leadership roles.) While I recognize that as a private organization, Boy Scouts of America are allowed to make whatever the hell rules they want, I hate supporting an organization that discriminates in that way.

And yet, I do. I support it. I was certainly thanking the gods of Cub Scouts (obviously not goddesses, only gods) when I got those two weekends to myself! I’m glad Animal and Mineral are learning some valuable skills, although sometimes I question the value of letting 9-year-olds play with knives. I’m really glad they’re getting a chance to spend quality time with My Chemical Romance, and doing things that I would never do, like camp outdoors. I’m glad they get to hang out with other kids and meet friends.

And it’s cute, for sure, watching my boys make bird feeders and derby cars and learn about compasses. But the first Cub Scout meeting I attended, I thought I had wandered into the wrong church and I was at a cult revival meeting. There was a pledge, a promise, a secret handshake and decoder ring, and a bunch of private-joke type lingo. Kind of reminded me of seeing the Branch Davidians on Oprah. Personally, I do not value conformity (or cults). Particularly conforming with a unilaterally anti-gay and anti-aethiest organization.

But I support it, on behalf of my children, adding to the long long long of things I don’t do that I wish I did, or things I do do but wish I didn’t, in the name of parenting.

Thank the goddesses that Girl Scouts are open to everyone.

6 Responses

  1. Funny you post about this. I have had this on my mind a lot recently!

  2. Being President of the United States of America “requires” that one not be an “avowed atheist.” Try getting elected POTUS (or any public office, really) after proclaiming publicly that you don’t believe in a god. The Scouts simply mirror the population at large, nothing more, nothing less.

    • I think the Scouts aim to project a Rockwell- esque portrait of the morality that “they” (leaders in the upper echelons of scouting?) deem acceptable. Which is white, straight and Christian. I think Scouts, as a private organization, have the right to disallow avowed atheists, but I disagree with your logic as to why Scouts has the rules it has. Plus, I don’t see what future politicians have to do with it. Is this why some parents want their kids to do Scouts? So they can have a political career?

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