May 7th, 2007

surya

Gotta love Boy Scouting!

So, today I'm looking at my Boy Scout Troop's website. I haven't been there for a while (I'm far too busy with a lot of other things), and I'm rather amused to see that if I want to camp with them again, I need to go through a program called "Protecting God's Children".

You can find an introduction here: http://www.virtusonline.org/virtus/preview_pgc.cfm

I recommend playing Pink Floyd in the background while running the introductory Flash program. It's totally a great soundtrack for it. I was listening to "In the Flesh" from The Wall disc 2. Do it!

What you need to understand, of course, is that the troop I work with is part of a Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has always seen Scouting as a branch of its Youth Ministry, and so we pray before meetings (a Hail Mary and the Lord's Prayer), and the troop has a high percentage of religious awards. This is why I'll have to go through this program.

This program assumes that all persons going through are Catholic, which is a consistent assumption in my work with this troop. It doesn't bother me at all: as a polytheist, I don't see a conflict with the beliefs or the prayers. And, in fact, I see my work in Scouting as a sort of youth ministry as well, except that it's not at all religious: it's hoping that the kids gain what I did from the organization. It's building bridges and helping to open their minds and think for themselves. I suppose that there's an old poem that really has always described my Scouting journey, and it describes my work better than I've ever been able to: The Bridge Builder.

Besides, someone's got to work on undoing a lot of the close-mindedness of the BSA. It might as well be me, ya know?

To an extent, I resent being presumed a sex offender who will either be "cured" or "found out" by this little three-hour session. This is a reality of our time, though: people are punished beyond their sentencing with mandatory reporting and restrictions on where they can live; cases of trusted authority misusing that power-over relationship to get something they want are reported widely; and those programs associated with the Catholic Church in particular have to do something to fix their landslide of an image.

Thankfully, they do say very specifically: "Most sexual offenders are homosexual? Myth. Most sex offenders are heterosexual, not homosexual." That's a message I like to see.