My son’s den leader sent out an e-mail to the entire den – and apparently everyone they know in the pack.
It was one of those nod-and-a-wink “nonpartisan” messages, the kind that follow the legalistic definition of that term instead of the moral one. The single-issue “We can’t support a candidate, but make sure you vote with the people who support divisive issue X!”
Maybe this shouldn’t have surprised me. I’ve worn a bunch of different hats at different times, and while I know when to swap them over, I know how hard it can be.
I don’t think it’s just that, though.
I have been uneasy about the Scouting program for a while. When I ran a pack, I could mitigate a lot of the exclusivist anti-gay, anti-atheist elements. We could be as inclusive as possible, and provide experiences for my son he could not get elsewhere. (Not here, not that I know of.) As an adult the quasi-Native American ceremonies seem half-mocking instead of respectful… something the YMCA apparently figured out a while ago.
The pack I ran was affiliated with a church, but that didn’t mean much. Because I ran it, we made it pretty explicit that we were open to any faith tradition – and weren’t going to pry if someone wasn’t in one. When I was growing up, my pack was in a … heck, I don’t remember what kind of church. It didn’t matter, because it didn’t actually influence the programming.
The pack my son is in now, however, has an explicit faith tradition incorporated into the ceremonies. It does not matter that this is the faith tradition that I’m affilliated with (nominally, at least) – that kind of hubristic assumption that the others there are like you is galling.
And so I shouldn’t be surprised, I suppose, when the den leader sends a political pro-life e-mail to the den mailing list. Why should they presume that my views would be different than theirs?
But I cannot challenge them. I cannot debate or question or otherwise disagree with their points. They are with my son at times that I am not.
And I’ll wonder if they – like the babysitter we won’t be using any more – are pumping him full of propaganda as well.