Thursday, September 20, 2012

Scouts and politics

A couple days ago I saw a news story on our local television network that showed Mitt Romney being greeted at the airport by a troop of Boy Scouts. I commented to my wife that someone really messed up on that one. BSA policy frowns on that sort of thing. Last night they did a follow-up story. You can watch that one here.

The issue was addressed on the Scouting Magazine blog earlier this year (I think that's why I knew about it). You can find that post here.

Let me give some constructive feedback to the BSA--make it easier to find these policies. I can't find it anywhere on the BSA website or my council website. Even the blog post above doesn't reference any written document. The only written statement I can find is on the youth application for membership (but not the adult application...) under the heading "Program Policies." Here it is:

"Citizenship activities are encouraged but partisan political activities are prohibited."

That's it. That's all I can find. The news story I link to above does include this statement of BSA policy:
"Uniformed unit members or leaders may participate in flag ceremonies at political events and may lead Pledge of Allegiance; however, they should retire after the ceremony and NOT remain on the speakers' platform or in a conspicuous location where television viewers could construe their presence as an endorsement or symbol of support. In addition, photos of candidates or Scouts in uniform or BSA marks and logos are NOT allowed in political materials of any kind.
"The Boy Scouts of America does not endorse any political candidate. Care must be taken to not make implications that we do."
The source the news cites is simply "Boy Scouts of America." They don't have a link to it written anywhere so I'm not sure where they got it.

So, if anyone from National (or who has connections there) is reading this, it might not hurt to make these kinds of things more well known.

For now, though, I'll do my part in spreading the word.

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