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Moral Dilemma

One of the Facebook groups that I'm in had a service project yesterday.  We were going to a nature center to volunteer.  That's really all I knew about the project.  When we got there, the director explained to us that we would be helping a boy work on his Eagle project.  This was actually a difficult thing for me.  My first impulse was just to leave and refuse to help out because it was a BSA thing.  I had a momentary internal struggle over it.

The Boy Scouts of America has a policy of discrimination.  They do not allow gay people to be in their troops nor to be leaders in any capacity in their organization.  I will not support or encourage discrimination in any form.  In fact, I will discourage it and fight against it in any way that I can.  I will not donate any money to the BSA, nor will I do anything that will directly support them.  And I call on everyone who believes in equality to do the same.  Do not support a discriminatory organization.  This was the reason for my initial reaction of leaving the service project in a huff, without lending any help at all.

So, why did I stay?  Why did I feel that it was okay to help out?  There were a few reasons.  First, it seemed to me that to refuse this boy help with his Eagle project simply because it was an Eagle project would be to blame him for the policies of the organization that is encouraging him to do the service.  For all I know, this particular boy may be very open-minded.  He may disagree with the BSA on this particular matter.  It would be unfair of me to judge him based on the policies of the organization he belongs to.  He doesn't even represent the organization, he is merely a member of it.

Another reason is because what he is doing is good, and if I help him out then I am also doing good.  Sometimes when we do things in life, we find ourselves teaming up with people that we wouldn't necessarily choose as teammates.  In such situations, we can either fight it and prevent or inhibit the good that may have come from cooperation, or we can simply bite our tongues and work with others toward a common goal and a brighter future.  I chose to work with him.  I didn't have to view this as allying with the BSA itself, only with one member of it.

The last reason is because we weren't helping the BSA.  We weren't doing service for them.  We were doing service for the nature center.  We were helping with the work that the staff would have to do.  They were grateful for our help, and we felt like we were accomplishing something good.  We helped to improve the nature center.  I'd like to think that I had a positive influence on the ecosystem.

There are many people who are working to try to influence the BSA to end its discrimination.  I hope that the day will come when this happens.  I have written them letters myself, and I hope that they actually read what I wrote.  Until they do change their policy, however, I plan to remain firm in my resolve to avoid aiding them in any way.  But this experience has helped me see that there are some situations where the choice is not immediately obvious.  Should I or should I not?  It's not exactly clear.  Life isn't black and white.

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