Scouts get new perspective

Scouting entered a new phase when Rover Troop 129 met for the Þrst time on Sunday, June 18. The gay and lesbian troop cut new ground in an organization that is still coming to grips with the changing lives of men, women and children throughout the world.

Scouts employ three simple principles: "Duty to God, Duty to Others and Duty to Self." The latter two duties stand out most for Scout Troop 129. "Duty to Others" includes, "Loyalty to one’s country in harmony with the promotion of local, national and international peace, understanding and cooperation, and participation in the development of society, with recognition and respect for the dignity of one’s fellow-being and for the integrity of the natural world," while "Duty to Self," resonates harmoniously by advocating, "Responsibility for the development of oneself… in harmony with the educational purpose of the Scout Movement whose aim is to assist young people in the full development of their potentials."

These descriptions accurately portray a troop that accepts individuals based on who they are rather than on who they should be as deÞned by a narrow margin of society. Troop 129 asks for dignity and respect and advocates the same for others. As well, who better to live up to the idea of developing oneself and the commitment to peace than those who face scorn, torment and abuse for who they are. Unfortunately, the current ßaw in the "Duty to Others" mantra is the fact that scout troops today will not accept gay and lesbian members. Hence, the auspicious beginnings of 129.

The general outlines of these duties make other troops appear suspiciously guilty of ignoring their "Duty to Others." This neglect of duty could be passed oV by those who adhere strictly to the Þrst principle "Duty to God," the one that says, "Adherence to spiritual principles, loyalty to the religion that expresses them and acceptance of the duties resulting therefrom." A religion that expresses one’s spirituality in Canada might be one that believes homosexuality is evil. The "Duty to Others" deÞnition narrows when viewed through this "spiritual" eye.

To get around this, think about self-deÞned spirituality. After all, the "Duty to God" section does not name a particular religion. This would leave the door open for those with established and unestablished religions to adhere to their chosen spiritual road with the same loyalty as others.

By broadening the deÞnition of "Duty to God" the other duties are allowed to shine; they receive permission to carry out the work of the Scouts–the dedication to leadership, life skills, communication skills and other abilities that allow young people to succeed in a diYcult world. Troop 129 seems to understand the scouting principles, particularly once the unwritten stereotypes are removed. Societal advancement requires thinking outside the box, which 129 appears to excel at. Now it’s up to the rest of the scouting movement to do the same.

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