The father of a Cub Scout sat his son on his lap late last week and told him news that tore up both their hearts: The family was leaving the Boy Scouts.
Aaron Butler, the leader of his 8-year-old son Evan’s Cub Scout Wolf den in Roseau, Minn., said he didn’t explain to his eldest son exactly why they were walking away from an organization they loved so much, but he told NBC News that it was because of last week’s controversial decision by the Boy Scouts of America to allow gay youth to participate.
“It was a big disappointment … he cried for about 10 minutes because I told him that the Boy Scouts were not honoring their own law,” Butler said, referring to the BSA oath that he interpreted as barring gay people. “They say it — ‘On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep [myself] physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight,’” he said.
“If the BSA cannot honor their own law, then how can I stay with an organization that just does not care anymore?” he said.
As many Scouts and families rejoiced over the BSA’s decision to partly end the membership guidelines that had drawn criticism from supporters of LGBT rights both inside and outside the organization, many others decried the move, with some BSA members making the tough choice to pull out of one of the nation’s most popular youth organizations.
“I feel pretty bad about it,” Evan told NBC News, noting he liked the camp-outs, and archery and slingshot activities he enjoyed in Pack 56. He said that he understood there was a vote that led to his parents’ decision. He explained that he understood it as: “It was between honor and God, and not honoring God. And [not] honoring God got more votes.”