Indoctrination is a process of inculcating ideas, attitudes, cognitive strategies or religious philosophy, and it is clearly distinguished from education because the indoctrinated person is forbidden to question or critically examine the doctrine they have learned. Reasonably, indoctrination is the non-pejorative term for brainwashing, and although nearly every human being can be worn down and “convinced” to adhere to even the most hideous ideology, it is children who are easy prey for propaganda, fear mongering, and indoctrination into a belief system of hate, non-inclusion, and discrimination. It is the responsibility of parent’s to protect their children from learning to hate, and to a lesser degree, it falls on society to set examples of acceptance that are necessary in a community, and yet there are institutions promoting hate and suspicion based on religion that is being taught in schools, homes, and the Boy Scouts of America.
It was reported last month that a Maryland Cub Scout pack posted a non-discrimination policy on its website that contradicted the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) policy against granting membership to gay and lesbian scouts and leaders. Pack 442 was warned if they did not reinstate the ban on gay involvement in scouting, they would lose their charter for 2013 leading pack leaders to attempt to negotiate a rewording of the statement that would represent a compromise, but ultimately the local BSA council’s leadership felt only removal of the statement would be acceptable, and informed the members of Pack 442 that the BSA intolerance policy was non-negotiable and indeed, mandatory. As of January 26, Pack 442 officials posted the following message on the group’s website: “Due to pressure from the National Capital Area Council, Pack 442 is being forced to remove its Non-Discrimination statement posted below in order to keep our Charter.”
Pack 442’s leaders did not post the non-discrimination policy unilaterally; it was voted on (anonymously) and overwhelming approved by Pack families and strongly supported by their chartering organization, the Colesville Lions Club. It was precisely what is necessary to stamp out institutional hatred toward gays, but pressure from parents, churches, and religious leaders threatening to withdraw funding and participation is perpetuating indoctrinating youth into the culture of hate. One may be inclined to cite homophobia as the driving force behind the BSA, and religious, opposition to gays, but as one parent said, “I will pull my boy from Scouts. It won’t be because of ‘fear’ as some ridiculously suggest. I simply don’t approve of the lifestyle,” in other words, it is bigotry borne of religious edict.
After the Boy Scouts of America announced earlier this week they are considering an end to their decades-long ban on gay members, leaving it to regional and local councils to dictate membership guidelines on sexuality, many conservative and religious leaders were livid that the organization was considering abandoning its long-standing commitment to discriminatory biblical principles. The president of the Southern Baptist Convention, Fred Luter, said “If that is what the leadership is doing, then I think it will be a sad day in the life of the Boy Scouts of America, this organization has always stood for biblical principles. This is a tradition that so many of us across the country grew up in, and to see this organization that I thought stood on biblical principles about to give in to the politically correct thing is very disappointing.” Southern Baptists must adhere to a set of Christ’s teachings that were omitted from every edition of the bible except theirs, because not judging, and not discriminating is not a “politically correct thing,” it is a Jesus thing, a human thing, and an American thing, but not an organized religion thing.
Many faith-based organizations suggested they will break financial and membership ties with the Boy Scouts of America if the organization decides to end to their decades-long discrimination against gays by leaving it to regional and local councils to dictate membership guidelines on sexuality. It is still localized discrimination and no doubt, in overwhelmingly fundamentalist states, Southern Baptists and extremist evangelicals will restrict membership to hardline Christian fanatics, and if faith-based groups have their way, they will make sure other localities follows suit. Seventy percent of all Boy Scout troops are sponsored by organizations such as Southern Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, and Mormons, and their financial support could determine whether or not the BSA continues teaching hate against gays. A spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention said, “Churches of all faiths and denominations, including Southern Baptist churches, will be forced to reevaluate whether they can, in good conscience, continue to host Scout troops given that the Scouts appear poised to turn their backs on this clear biblical and moral issue.” In typical hate-group fashion, the extremist religious right resorts to threats to impose their biblical discrimination on young Americans, and as more of the population rejects discrimination, the people can expect more fundamentalist threats to perpetuate their hate, their brand of Christianity, and their dystopian biblical morals on America.
Although the religious fanatics demanding gay-hate remains part of the Boy Scout policy, there is promise in this despicable story. The fact that troop 442’s members and the Colesville Lions Club supported the non-discrimination policy means there are good Christians, and decent human beings, who comprehend that indoctrinating bigotry into the next generation of Americans is not conducive to community, or a country, that values every citizen. In fact, in January, an Eagle Scout candidate’s application that had been rejected because he was openly gay was accepted after a Change.org petition garnered 460,000 signatures, and the young man appeared on nationally televised talk shows relating how the Boy Scouts of America were discriminating against him because he was gay.
America is changing for the better and although there are still parents, church groups, and politicians actively indoctrinating hate in America’s youth toward the gay community in their homes, churches, and legislatures, they are in the minority. As they see their influence waning, Americans can expect more intense pressure to maintain bigotry and hate inherent in fundamentalist Christian ideology, and more attempts to pressure institutionalized bigotry based on an archaic Bronze Age pronouncement. One thing is certain, the gay-hate being defended by religious maniacs and the BSA is not part of the Boy Scout’s motto or any of Christ’s teachings, and fortunately, there are Boy Scouts, service clubs, and “real” Christians who have finally figured it out.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.