[Promoted by Epluribusunum. Remarkably, the Times-Mirror article has well over 400 comments, not counting some removed by the moderators. I’ve added a link to the article.]
I urge you to “be prepared” for what you are about to read…Thankfully I was given an article originally printed in the Loudoun Times. For your reference, and should you choose to read it, it is, perhaps perpetually available at www.loudountimes.com, dated August 24, 2011 and titled Potomac Falls woman removed from son’s Boy Scout troop (Laura Peters-author). One of the most important things that I learned from this article is that Jackson and Jaden Steele are two extremely lucky young boys. They’re fortunate to have two loving parents which is far too often not the case. It just so happens that both happen to be mothers.
Before I get deep into the story, I want to share an experience of my own. When my oldest was six, we joined the YMCA Indian Guide program, (now the Adventure Guides, for PC reasons), and it was, in my view, the ultimate bonding situation. Their slogan, Pals Forever, was made true by the fact that, meetings, camping trips, etc. were all done together, father and son, in groups with other pairs. When Steve became too old to continue, we decided to join a Cub Scout troop. During our first visit, we found that a Den Leader was needed, which I jumped on immediately. The Scoutmaster was happy, especially since I was the only volunteer. I’ll only say that at times some of the other parents actually let their car slow to a near stop before they pushed their kids out for the weekly meetings. To the other parents, we were a great Thursday night free babysitting service. It was only I that was bonding with their kids. My younger son Kenny only participated in Indian Guides for that reason.
Several decades later, the first thought I had reading this article is that Denise Steele spent SIX years preparing activities, crafts, camping trips and numerous other learning opportunities for not only her kids, but many in the community. In my mind, that qualifies her for Sainthood. One of her fellow “Assistant Scoutmasters” clearly disagreed. Had Denise done something inappropriate to the kids to deserve her ousting? For a lady that had served the community, not to mention the Boy Scouts of America for six years, free of charge, (I’m guessing spending the occasional out-of-pocket dollar), she must have really screwed up to be “removed from her son’s troop”! No, no she didn’t. She didn’t screw up at all. She was only removed because it was found that she was a lesbian.
Oh there was a screw up involved though, and his name is Skip Inabinett. It seems that for the entire six years that Denise volunteered for their troop, the only person cognizant of her sexuality was the Scoutmaster who correctly indicated it was no problem. As hard as it is to get quality volunteers for anything these days, I’m certain he had no problem with it! But, oh my God, another woman picked her up from a camping trip! Skip had to know. Who was this woman? I’m sure Skippy had never been in a car with another man! What in the world could be going on here? (Note to self-I will continue to refer to this childish idiot as Skippy, because it seems more appropriate to me.) Skippy likes to think of himself as a Christian, despite the fact that his actions indicate that he views himself as something of an all powerful deity. Did he complain to the Scoutmaster? No. He went all the way to the top of the BSA. He bypassed tattling to the teacher or even the principal and went straight to the school board.
Let’s have a look at the Scout Law-“A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.” They’re all good words and things people should strive for, without a doubt. As far as I can tell, Skippy might be clean and possibly thrifty. All the rest, he comes up so short that I wouldn’t allow him in the same room with one of my kids, or any child in my care. I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him because his lack of loyalty to a co-worker results in back stabbing. In fact, he appears to be everything that I’m proud to disassociate myself from. He is a self-absorbed, vindictive and self-righteous coward.
Perhaps it’s time for the BSA to look into Skippy and his qualifications to be involved with this troop. Seriously, who’s minding the mint here? By all accounts, Denise had historically led her group to numerous awards and the kids loved her. How does Skippy compare? How does he interact with his own kids as well as those of others? Does he have kids? We know that the buy in for Denise was to be close to her own boys, which along with her nephew, she has clearly done. What’s the buy-in for Skippy? I’d hate to even imply that there could be a “Canteen Boy” element here. (“Canteen Boy, would you rub some bug repellent on my chest?”) I’m just saying…..
Of course, as a private institution, the Boy Scouts of America can establish their own rules and remove anyone they want. I would be the last to deny them that right. But, just as there may have been a time when they used that right to refuse African Americans, things can, and often do change for the better as time goes on. We all develop and learn. Maybe even Skippy.
At PFLAG, our slogan is “keeping families together”. The BSA uses “do a good turn daily”. Both sound great. (As does “Pals Forever” from the YMCA.) Was a good turn done to Denise for the hard work and long hours she has given to the BSA over the years? Hardly. My concern here is the family. What has Skippy done to Jackson and Jaden Steele? He has embarrassed them as well as their moms. How many of their classmates that hear about Denise’s ousting will educate themselves to the extent to know that it wasn’t her that done anything wrong? Kids aren’t known for that. Twelve and nine year olds too often look at a matter on the surface, and then they use the information to berate, bully and scorn others. They can be childlike, just like Skippy.
The BSA, like other non-profit agencies, relies on donations, the United Way, etc. I’ll make sure my funds don’t go to them, because I choose to speak with my wallet. If enough people don’t donate, or don’t join, the scouts will have to “be prepared” for that kind of backlash. Might I suggest the YMCA Adventure Guides instead?