Boy Scouts dilemma isn’t a win-or-lose proposition

They used to be America’s darlings, no question about it. Dressed in sharp, camp uniforms dotted with pins and medals, these boys represented everything good about America. Now, it seems people either love the Boys Scouts or hate them.

In an effort to make a political and moral statement about the Boy Scouts’ decision barring gay men from serving as Scout masters, some people on both sides of the controversial issue may be tempted to use United Way as a tool in their tug-of-war. Such efforts would be futile and actually self-defeating.

Enough with the anger, paranoia and threats. It’s time for both sides to step back from the situation and look at it from a different perspective.

One thing is certain: There is little, if any common ground. One side will not be swayed to join the other.

At the Snohomish County United Way the calls have been divided about evenly, said President Brent Stewart. "It’s something that’s on the minds of everyone in the community," Stewart said, adding that he and his co-workers even get stopped in public by people who know them and want to throw in their two-cents.

Stewart looks at the calls as showing how concerned residents are about their community — how much they care.

But the biggest concern is that all that care will become politicized and hurt less recognized agencies under the United Way umbrella. If people on either side of the matter decide to punish United Way by withdrawing their generous donations, they will really hurt the people in their own community. And for what? United Way is very flexible about how people can give money. In fact, they’re about as flexible as you can get. People can give money any which way they want. They can give directly to United Way’s general pot and let the agency allocate it. Or they can designate which agencies they’d like to give to. They can even give to agencies that aren’t client organizations of United Way. Or they can do a little bit of everything.

If you want to give to United Way, but you don’t want the Boy Scouts to benefit from your donation, just say so. If you want to give just to the Boy Scouts, United Way workers will make sure the Scouts get the money.

Remember the heated debate about 10 years ago when people protested Planned Parenthood being a member of United Way of King County? Planned Parenthood was dropped as a member. But it actually worked to Planned Parenthood’s advantage. It now collects twice as much money through designated donations than it ever did as a client organization. If the Boy Scouts end up in the same position, it certainly won’t be the end of the world.

At least for now, the Snohomish County United Way will continue to keep the Boy Scouts Mount Baker Council as a client member. But that could change.

"What our board is grappling with is what is the organization’s values as it relates to discrimination," Stewart said. "Do we need to expand that description or hold on to what have now? We’re looking at it at a higher level. What are our values?"

The council scout executive for the Boy Scouts’ Mount Baker Council, Duane Rhodes, understands that. While expressing some disappointment that United Way didn’t stick by its current policy and just leave it at that, Rhodes said he knows that the charity must look at everyone’s viewpoint. If only we could all be as mature about this at Stewart and Rhodes appear to be.

Whatever decision the United Way board comes to, it makes sense for the organization to review its own policies and values. Any decision is not meant to punish the Scouts or teach them a lesson. That’s not United Way’s job or role in our community. And no one should force that upon them.

SELECT *

FROM Talkback

WHERE Story LIKE ‘../Stories/00/9/22/12988374.cfm’

AND Dateverified LIKE ‘verified’

ORDER BY Dateposted

Talk back

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Opinion

^
Editorial cartoons for Saturday, April 20

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

toon
Editorial: A policy wonk’s fight for a climate we can live with

An Earth Day conversation with Paul Roberts on climate change, hope and commitment.

Eco-nomics: What to do for Earth Day? Be a climate hero

Add the good you do as an individual to what others are doing and you will make a difference.

Comment: To save orcas, agencies should supsend salmon fishing

Reports are showing alarming declines among salmon, a vital food source for state’s killer whales.

Comment: 4/20 Day offers chance to talk to kids about drugs

Marijuana use among youths is on the decline, showing the benefit of drug education and discussion.

Dan Hazen
Forum: Growing potatoes proves value in ‘reinventing the wheel’

You can get ‘em cheaper and easier at the store, sure, but then you miss out on spuds’ real perks.

Forum: Supreme Court shouldn’t allow punishment for homelessness

Regardless of the outcome, communities should seek out solutions, not penalties, for homelessness.

RGB version
Editorial cartoons for Friday, April 19

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Snow dusts the treeline near Heather Lake Trailhead in the area of a disputed logging project on Tuesday, April 11, 2023, outside Verlot, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Editorial: Move ahead with state forests’ carbon credit sales

A judge clears a state program to set aside forestland and sell carbon credits for climate efforts.

Students make their way through a portion of a secure gate a fence at the front of Lakewood Elementary School on Tuesday, March 19, 2024 in Marysville, Washington. Fencing the entire campus is something that would hopefully be upgraded with fund from the levy. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Editorial: Levies in two north county districts deserve support

Lakewood School District is seeking approval of two levies. Fire District 21 seeks a levy increase.

Schwab: Honestly, the lies are coming in thick and sticky

The week in fakery comes with the disturbing news that many say they believe the Trumpian lies.

If grizzlies return, should those areas be off-limits?

We’ve all seen the YouTube videos of how the Yellowstone man-beast encounters… Continue reading

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.