Messages have been flying around the Internet ever since President Trump’s speech at the National Scout Jamboree yesterday. The USSSP has received a bunch and I’m sure the BSA has received even more. I’ve received a number also, and the very best one I’ve seen is from a Scouter in my home council: Howard Lee, an Englishman who emigrated to the US a number of years ago and subsequently chose—chose!—to become an American citizen.
Here are his words, as he wrote them to the Scouts and their parents of the troop he serves as Scoutmaster:
Dear Scouts and parents,
I’ve been approached by concerned parents following the president’s speech at the Jamboree yesterday and the audience reaction to it.
The BSA has issued a statement: “The Boy Scouts of America is wholly non-partisan and does not promote any one position, product, service, political candidate or philosophy. The invitation of the sitting U.S. President to visit the National Jamboree is in no way an endorsement of any political party or specific policies.”
I think this post by “Bryan on Scouting” says it better: “The Boy Scouts of America might be the most patriotic organization in the U.S. But we don’t endorse any one political party. You could say that rather than being pro-left or pro-right, the Boy Scouts of America is pro-America.”
(The) BSA policy is expressly non-political: “Volunteers and professionals must be alert to situations that would imply that the BSA favors one candidate over another. Strict observance of our long-standing policy against the active participation of uniformed Scouts and leaders in political events is mandatory.”
Scouting welcomes people from all politics, religions, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds, just like America. It is inherently inclusive and respectful, which is why it has been a long tradition that Scouts never boo – booing is disrespectful.
I want to be clear, in case anyone else has concerns similar to those shared with me already, that, in (this troop) as in all of Scouting, you are welcome no matter your politics, creed, race, country of origin, or ethnic background.
We are about leadership, character, citizenship, service and, of course, fun!
Thank you, Howard. You’ve said this better than I think I ever could.
Happy Scouting to ALL!
Have a question? Facing a dilemma? Wondering where to find a BSA policy or guideline? Write to email@example.com. Please include your name and council. (If you’d prefer to be anonymous, if published, let me know and that’s what we’ll do.)
[No. 538 – 7/25/2017 – Copyright © Andy McCommish 2017]