Today's Headlines US

Boy Scouts to Allow Openly Left-Handed Youth Starting Jan. 1

WASHINGTON — The Boy Scouts of America will accept openly left-handed youths beginning on New Year’s Day. The controversial new membership policy was approved in May of this year, but the ever-prepared BSA spent the last six months tweaking policies ranging from tentmates to shower use ahead of the historic change.

“Respect for others and citizenship skills are at the core of the Scouting,” said BSA national executive board member Brad Haddock. “Not everybody agrees on the new policy, but left-handed youngsters have a right to be who they are.”

Some churches have already dropped their sponsorship of Scout units and some families have switched to a new conservative alternative called Trail Life USA.

The Southern Baptist Convention is one major sponsor that has been outspoken about its disappointment in the new policy.

“Scripture clearly states that left-handedness is a sin,” said SBC spokesman Billy Giles. “In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says that God shall set the sheep on his right hand, and goats on the left. So, logically, left-handers have no place in Scouting.”

Of the roughly 110,000 Scout units, 70 percent receive funding from religious groups. In spite of some backlash, major sponsors like the Roman Catholic and Mormon churches are standing by the BSA.

“There hasn’t been a whole lot of fallout,” said Haddock, who expects the shift to be “business as usual.”

The BSA prepared a frequently-asked-questions document to address concerns from parents – or Scouts themselves – in cases where a unit includes an openly left-handed (or ambidextrous) boy.

“Any sexual conduct, whether instigated by the left hand or the right hand, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting,” says one BSA document.

Regarding showers, the BSA says it will encourage units to provide greater individual privacy, including moving away from the tradition of group showers.

“Regardless of which hand a Scout primarily identifies with, adult leaders have the discretion to arrange private showering times and locations,” the BSA says.

Lefty Scouts have long been a part of the organization, but before the new policy, they were forced to hide their ulnar orientation from other Scouts.

“Nobody ever noticed, even when I struggled with archery,” said Brian Sutton, a 17-year-old Eagle Scout who achieved Scouting’s highest rank as a closeted left-hander.

Sutton said he is happy about the new policy, but because the BSA still does not allow left-handed Scout leaders, he will be forced out of Scouting when he turns 18.

“It’s not like I would ever try to get right-handed Scouts to use their left hand. That’s not the job of a Scout leader.”


Boy Scouts Still Unsure Gays Fit for Arts and Crafts

IRVING, Tex. — Although the Boy Scouts of America is currently considering a proposal under which gays would be allowed to participate as scouts, it has not yet decided if gay scouts would be able to complete hyper-masculine scout projects, such as making bird feeders from pine cones, or sewing colorful patches onto their adorable uniforms.

“A lot of people say, ‘If the military is okay with it, why is the BSA still worried?'” said Chief Scout Executive Wayne Brock. “But the fact is, this isn’t the military, where the need for men to trust and be comfortable with one another is a matter of life and death. In the Boy Scouts, we need to know that our members—both children and adults—can plant rows of daisies like a pro, and there’s just no evidence that gays can do it like us ‘normals.’ ”

“This is normal,” added Brock. “A normal thing for an adult man to do.”

In a statement released last week, the BSA claimed it received 200,000 completed surveys indicating that most members of the organization were in favor of allowing gay children to participate, but still did not feel comfortable with gay adult scouts or leaders.

“We all want to be able to leave our kids alone with a grown man who chooses to spend his weekend recycling family newspapers or cleaning up a church parking lot with a bunch of children,” said Brock. “But what if that man is gay? You know? You gotta admit, it’s pretty weird, huh?”


Boy Scouts Introduce ‘Homosexual Shunning’ Merit Badge

NEW YORK — Last week, the Boy Scouts of America stirred controversy after denying Eagle Scout status to an openly gay California Scout. Now, refusing to cave to pressure to become more accepting, Boy Scout leaders have revealed their intention to double down on their homophobia by introducing a controversial new “Homosexual Shunning” merit badge.

“With the introduction of the ‘Homosexual Shunning’ badge, we believe we have fully embraced what Boy Scouts of America stands for in modern American culture: responsible citizenship, superior outdoorsman skills, and brazen homophobia,” said Boy Scouts of America President Wayne M. Perry. “We want to make it absolutely clear, we will not be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century.”

For years, the Boy Scouts of America has faced criticism for its refusal to admit open homosexuals as Scouts and Scout leaders, but this is the first time the organization’s homophobia will be endorsed in the form of a badge. Perry says the badge will be awarded for “persistently mocking, ignoring, or rejecting an open homosexual, thus helping to continue the stigmatization of homosexuality in American society.”

According to Scout leader Dominic Gains, the Boy Scouts of America serves an important purpose in our culture; not only as a place for young men to learn valuable life skills, but also as one of the last remaining American institutions that openly discriminates against gays.

“Increasingly, America is becoming more accepting of homosexuality. There are open homosexuals serving in government, teaching our children, and even playing on our sports teams,” said Gains. “If the young people of America don’t learn to be casually homophobic from the Boy Scouts, they might not learn to be casually homophobic at all.”

Boy Scouts leaders revealed they are looking to unveil an “Atheist Shaming” badge by 2014.