Unto these hills revisited

I look up at the wall of plaques and artwork behind the student desk on which this notebook PC obeys the rule of gravity.

“Having earned the Eagle Scout Award in 1976 and desiring to continue to promote, support and apply Scouting ideals through Service Richard L. Hill II is hereby recognized by the National Eagle Scout Association as a member in good standing through the year 1991.”

I am Richard the second, not Richard III.

Once an Eagle Scout, always an Eagle Scout, but never having fought or lost in hand-to-hand combat on the field of battle.

There is fame in a name, if not in a person who bears/wears it.

There is a difference between a person as a distinct set of states of energy and a person who represents labels that local subcultures place or imprint upon that person.

When I was a Boy Scout, there was a leadership hierarchy that formed within our ranks, partially encouraged by the adult leaders.

Some of the boys naturally took charge while others were trained to accept roles of responsibility, however reluctantly, by ambitious parents.

Scuttlebutt, or rumours/gossip, spread between us as in any group.

The acquisition of badges and other honours was indicative of factual accomplishments, not imaginary or rumoured ones, thus separating the talkers from the doers.

The elected leader of the U.S. government, President Obama, stated over the weekend that he supported the integration of homosexuals into the Boy Scouts of America.

Boy Scouts

Boy Scouts is an outdoor program designed to develop character, citizenship, and fitness for boys ages 11 through 17. Through the advancement program and peer group leadership, Scouting helps a boy develop into a well-rounded young man. The Eagle Scout Award, the highest rank in Scouting, is recognized around the world as a mark of excellence.

Scout Oath:

“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 fit, mentally awake, and morally straight.”

The Scout Law:

“A Scout is … trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.”

What, I ask myself, is “morally straight”?  According to the Scouts website, morally straight means:

To be a person of strong character, your relationships with others should be honest and open. You should respect and defend the rights of all people. Be clean in your speech and actions, and remain faithful in your religious beliefs. The values you practice as a Scout will help you shape a life of virtue and self-reliance.

From what I understand about homosexuals, their sexual preference or orientation is set at birth according to their development in the womb.  Whether or what environmental factors come into play during foetal development, I don’t know and haven’t taken the time to investigate.

I know that our local economy contains many productive members of what is currently labeled the LGBT community; therefore, my participation in the local economy as consumer/producer means that I benefit from the economic participation of lesbians, gays, bisexual and transsexual individuals.

I don’t know enough about gays/homosexuals to tell one from a heterosexual except when I see an effeminate guy who, I assume, is most likely gay.

I certainly believe that paedophilia and homosexuality are not synonymous, just like seeing images of guys dressed as women in all-male reviews onboard naval vessels means that they are probably neither transvestites nor transsexuals.

However, I can remember from my Scouting days the aversion of members of our troop to the effeminate behaviour of boys who tried to join but never really belonged and eventually quit.

There were boys who didn’t have the physically prowess or fortitude to handle the long hikes, who weren’t interested in learning the set of skills necessary to advance to the next level of Scouting, regardless of their manly or effeminate behaviour, and quit, too, so it wasn’t just the outwardly effeminate types who didn’t make it in Scouting.

Although I was a member of the Presbyterian Church, the Scout troop I belonged to was in a Southern Baptist Church, which was very conservative; in fact, after I left the Boy Scout troop when I graduated high school, our Boy Scout senior leader, who felt the church wasn’t conservative enough, went off and formed an independent church for the true conservatives of the community.

Which leads me to this [re]discovery, the existence of alternatives to the Boy Scouts of America, including Royal Rangers (which reminds me of the Royal Ambassadors of the Southern Baptist Church when I was a kid).

Socioeconomically, I have not a single problem interacting with any person willing to conduct business under the guidance of a sense of fair play, despite my subcultural misgivings about our personality differences, because at any time until a transaction is completed, either one of us can walk away and not see each other if we so choose, returning to our subcultures which rarely meet eye-to-eye.

We can suspend our disbelief in the existence of each other, or not.

We can be appalled at our reactions against or behaviours toward each other.

Often, we return to the subcultural practices with which we feel most comfortable.

There may be Scout troops where the acceptance is normal of boys who are not rugged enough or are too effeminate for the type of troop to which I belonged in the 1970s.

If the Boy Scouts of America accepts homosexual boys, it goes against everything I learned and earned my way to the rank of Eagle Scout.

When I was a teenage boy, would I have shared a tent with a known homosexual?  Definitely not.  I would have accepted him as a fellow classmate in public school and participated in school functions with him, even calling him friend, but in Scouting there would have been a separation between us that I, for lack of a better word or phrase, would have called a natural subcultural reaction.

In the public forum, there is a willingness to suspend our disbeliefs in order to buy and sell goods/services/ideas, where we drop our guards and reduce ours fears of others not like us to achieve socioeconomic goals, temporarily overcoming comfortable, everyday barriers we place to shelter the subcultural beliefs ingrained in us as children.

Would I be comfortable placing my child under the leadership of a gay Boy Scout leader?  Not without understanding my son’s personality.  If he, based partially on my tutelage and guidance of him during his formative years, was willing to accept homosexuals as people, I might, but if the leader was effeminate or in any way not part of my everyday set of subcultural practices, then probably not.

I had childhood friends who were gay.  Some of them are even on my list of Facebook friends but none of them made it to the rank of Eagle Scout because their set of behaviours placed them in a different subcultural circle than the members of the Scout troop I was in and will be a part of in my thoughts the rest of my life.

My Scout troop at the Southern Baptist Church no longer exists.  The Scout troop at the Presbyterian Church in which I grew up still exists, churning out future leaders on a regular basis.

I haven’t been active in Scouting for a long time.  One of my nephews, a member of a local Southern Baptist Church, achieved the rank of Eagle Scout around the year 2000, while the other nephew, who belonged to the troop at my hometown Presbyterian Church, reached at least Webelo and maybe Tenderfoot but lost interest in Scouting, having other activities that he wanted to pursue.

Scouting is not for everyone just like public schools are not for everyone.  There is more than one way for a boy to become a “well-rounded young man.”

What I don’t know is just because a homosexual boy can become a socioeconomically successful person as an adult, with whom I, as a person, am willing to interact and call friend, is he ever a man the way I was raised to understand that a man is heterosexual by nature?  If not, then there’s no way a homosexual boy can ultimately succeed in Scouting, despite learning and mastering all the skills that Scouting provides, because he has no chance of subculturally becoming a “well-rounded young [heterosexual] man.”

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