Last year I went down to St. Joe, Mo., to participate in a Boy Scout Pine Wood Derby. Well, actually I was more of a spectator than a participant. But some of those events are small and even the spectators feel like we are somehow participating. This particular event was at a ‘district’ level. There was a speaker present representing the ‘district’ and his message was quite startling: The Boy Scouts are there to fight the ACLU.
The tracks were set up. The boys were ready. Fathers were standing proud. Mother’s sat anxiously in the audience. The Pine Wood Derby is a really exciting event. The boys have built their own racers. They start with a kit – consisting of a block of wood with pre-sawed slots for wheel axles. There are four nails for axles and four plastic wheels. Parents are allowed to help – and there is always some question about who actually built the racer. The final products are of all shapes and are painted with the flair of Vincent Van Gogh after a six pack of Budweiser. But no matter – the fathers and sons were there together. The Boy Scout Pine Wood Derby is a wonderful family experience.
The event really is about the boys. It is about boys and fathers doing a project together. The event is also about community – friends and neighbors come together for the NASCAR of childhood drag racing.
But back to the ACLU. The district events bring out the Scout Leaders. It is their time to swagger around in their beige Scout uniforms, patched over the years with badges of accomplishment. This particular evening the race was stalled by a particularly boisterous braggart.
Ironically, we were in the social hall of a local United Methodist Church – a bastion of liberal Christians. When I arrived I expected no conflict between the Methodists and the Boy Scouts. Liberal Christians believe in family values – it seemed to me this was a good fit. But the Scout Leader had a captured audience and he was ready to give us all what for. He took the microphone and paraded up and down the aisle like a Baptist Preacher at a revival. He seemed to feel the need to explain the purpose of the Boy Scouts – seemingly unaware that everyone there had been participating in scouting events for at least a year. He talked about family values, about organized programs, and announced the primary value of the Boy Scouts was to counter the ACLU and other organizations that want to destroy America.
I should note again that we live in rural northwest Missouri. The rednecks are so thick the mosquitoes hardly have room to fly. I have a liberal relative on the east coast – and he is a Boy Scout Leader. He may well start their district Boy Scout Programs by announcing that the primary value of the Boy Scouts is to promote gay marriage. (I have heard that some of the boys have to share tents while on overnight camp outs).
OK – enough of the joking. But what else can one do with an errant Boy Scout Leader who brings his personal political agenda to an honorable program like the Boy Scouts?