Thesis

Morally Straight : Why the Boy Scouts of America Ban Homosexuals

One century after its formation, the Boy Scouts of America remains one of the largest
 youth organizations in the United States. It has come under fire in the last decade for its
 exclusionary policies regarding homosexuals. This paper seeks to illuminate the reasons
 for these controversial decisions. It focuses on three areas of inquiry: the formation of
 the Boy Scouts and its early years in the United States, the growth of scouting and its
 numerical decline in the last quarter of the twentieth century, and the Boy Scouts of
 America's connection to and teachings concerning sexuality. This study relies upon a
 few earlier works regarding scouting and subjects which are related to the general fields
 of inquiry, as well as documents created during the periods being studied and several
 in interviews conducted with those involved in scouting. Portions of the text also rely upon
 the author's experiences in scouting. The essential assertion in this work is that the
 BSA 's decision to ban homosexuals is largely due to its reliance upon religious
 institutions for support which has been consistent throughout the history of the
 organization and became more important as scouting's numbers decreased in the 1970's
 which more closely aligned the organization with conservatism.

One century after its formation, the Boy Scouts of America remains one of the largest youth organizations in the United States. It has come under fire in the last decade for its exclusionary policies regarding homosexuals. This paper seeks to illuminate the reasons for these controversial decisions. It focuses on three areas of inquiry: the formation of the Boy Scouts and its early years in the United States, the growth of scouting and its numerical decline in the last quarter of the twentieth century, and the Boy Scouts of America's connection to and teachings concerning sexuality. This study relies upon a few earlier works regarding scouting and subjects which are related to the general fields of inquiry, as well as documents created during the periods being studied and several in interviews conducted with those involved in scouting. Portions of the text also rely upon the author's experiences in scouting. The essential assertion in this work is that the BSA 's decision to ban homosexuals is largely due to its reliance upon religious institutions for support which has been consistent throughout the history of the organization and became more important as scouting's numbers decreased in the 1970's which more closely aligned the organization with conservatism.

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