Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Middle Way of Scouting

My son has recently joined the Cub Scouts, a part of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), and his participation in this venerable organization is causing me some angst, forcing me to examine thoughts and feelings from my own Buddhist perspective. 

Firstly, BSA is an organization that does not have a stellar reputation for "inclusive" practices, having won a June 2000 Supreme Court decision allowing it, as a private organization, to exclude certain members based on non-Christian beliefs or homosexuality.  This is something that I'm not happy with and question whether I want my son being influenced by an organization that excludes members based on these criteria.

Am I attached to my beliefs, and therefore struggling with my views on the BSA?  I believe so.  Am I practicing "exclusion" by shunning an organization that does not follow MY beliefs?  Again, I think so.  Do I want my son to miss out on the myriad of "benefits" of scouting?  No.

So what I've settled on is the Middle Way, no organization is going to be perfect, or imperfect for that matter.  BSA is what it is, and my son should experience it for just that.  Critical decisions about membership and exclusion can be his to make when he's old enough to question them for himself.  Until then I will continue to examine and practice, but I'd like to hear from other Buddhists on this topic.