MADISON — As if being a Cub Scout dad on Madison’s East Side isn’t hard enough.
All that patriotism, religiosity and militaristic hierarchy, including uniforms plastered with enough patches, buttons and beads to make a kid look like Gen. Patton on review.
Now, the Boy Scouts of America has to go and reaffirm its policy banning gays — something even the real military has abandoned.
As you might guess, Scouting’s politics can cause a bit of cognitive dissonance when you live in the Midwest’s Ground Zero for progressivism.
And the ironies abound.
My son’s den regularly meets at a church that has a big rainbow-colored “Welcome” banner outside.
We have met and participated in charitable functions at the Goodman Community Center, where an art project created with the help of fourth- and fifth-graders proclaims, in part, “highest per capita lesbian ZIP code in the U.S.”
My son attends Sunday school at a neighborhood church that includes many gay members and has an “open and affirming” policy encouraging full participation by gays.
The thing is, Scouting can be a great organization that teaches worthy skills, brings parents and sons closer and does a lot of charity work. I also doubt my son’s troop would ever seek to enforce the broader organization’s bigotry.
The other thing is, well, the broader organization’s bigotry.
I tried to get some tips from BSA on how to handle this disconnect.
Perhaps, I thought, there are pamphlets for Scout parents in places like Madison: “Why it’s OK to have a gay Sunday school teacher, but not a gay den leader,” or “How to explain to an 8-year-old why it might not be a great idea to ask the gay couple down the street to buy some fundraising popcorn.”
Alas, attempts to reach Scouting representatives garnered only a bland statement from the national office saying, in part, “The BSA values the freedom of everyone to express their opinion and believes