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Boy Scouts make ‘diversity and inclusion’ merit badge mandatory to advance

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The Boy Scouts of America continued its march to the left in its latest plan to show support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The organization announced on Monday that a new “diversity and inclusion merit badge” will now be required for members to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. In addition, in order “to build on and enhance the organization’s nearly 30-year ban on [the] use of the Confederate flag,” property names, events, and symbols will be reviewed and diversity and inclusion training will be required for all BSA employees.

(Image: WKBW screenshot)

“As our country reckons with racial injustice, we all must consider our role and our failures and commit to meaningful action,” the century-old organization told scouting families in a statement.

“We realize we have not been as brave as we should have been because, as Scouts, we must always stand for what is right and take action when the situation demands it,” the letter continued.

“There is no place for racism – not in Scouting and not in our communities. Racism will not be tolerated,” the National Executive Committee wrote. “We condemn the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and all those who are not named but are equally important. We hear the anguish, feel the heartbreak, and join the country’s resolve to do better.”

The newly introduced merit badge will “build on components within existing merit badges, including the American Cultures and Citizenship in the Community merit badges, which require Scouts to learn about and engage with other groups and cultures to increase understanding and spur positive action.”

The BSA pledged to review “every element of our programs to ensure diversity and inclusion are ingrained at every level for participants and volunteers,” and said the diversity and inclusion training for employees, which will begin July 1, will soon be extended to volunteers as well.

“These are our next steps but certainly not our last,” the statement read. “We will also continue to listen more, learn more and do more to promote a culture in which every person feels that they belong, are respected, and are valued in Scouting, in their community, and across America.”

The announced changes come just months after the organization filed for bankruptcy protection amid hundreds of lawsuits filed on sexual abuse claims. The Chapter 11 bankruptcy would serve to protect BSA’s already strained finances by halting the legal actions.

A series of poor decisions and a significant decline in membership added to the financial hit from legal costs in dealing with sex abuse violations.

Multiple social justice decisions by the organization, including the controversial re-naming of the Boy Scouts to Scouts BSA in order to let girls join, and allowing openly gay leaders and members, led to a spiraling loss of membership and sponsorships.

In its pursuit to be more inclusive, the Boy Scouts organization, which was founded in 1910, apparently lost its way, and lost many long-standing partnerships with churches that began to withdraw amid the change in ideology.

Alvin Tillery Jr., a political science professor at Northwestern University, told NBC News that the latest announced changes to BSA is a “big deal.”

“I think this is a big deal to the extent that all these traditional, Christian-oriented organizations are trying to get their houses in order with regard to systematic racism,” Tillery said. “This is an organization that is super-embattled and they’ve had to adopt more progressive stances because nobody wants to have anything to do with them.”

Frieda Powers

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