Boy Scouts, GOP face same dilemma: How do you shake your bigoted base?

So the Boy Scouts are in a pickle. They’ve spent all these years saddling up to hateful far right bigots, and now that America has moved beyond hateful far-right bigotry, the Boy Scouts are afraid of losing their hateful bigoted base.

Ironically, the Republican party is facing the same predicament, after having spent far too many years sucking up to its own Frankenstein of hate – actually, nearly the exact same Frankenstein of hate – as the Boy Scouts.  And now that America’s moved on, the Republicans are losing elections and the Boy Scouts donors, and boys.

According to AP, the public is over the whole “Boy Scouts vs. the Gays” thing, and the gays won:

No national polling has been released conveying how current Scout parents and leaders feel about the ban. But overall, U.S. voters favor eliminating it by 55 percent to 33 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday. Quinnipiac said the poll’s margin of error was plus/minus 2.3 percentage points.

“Now that the armed forces ban on openly gay service members has been lifted, and polls show increasing acceptance of same-sex marriage, most American voters think it’s time to open up the Boy Scouts, too,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of Quinnipiac’s Polling Institute.

When straight pro footballs players have become America’s best gay spokesman on TV, you know it’s a bad time to be anti-gay or pro-hate. But isn’t pro-hate exactly what the Republican party has become?  Look at this past election.  Pretty much every group the Republicans have ever loathed – blacks, women, Latinos and gays – gathered together, fought back, and beat the bejesus out of the GOP at the ballot box.  And the Republicans deserved it.  From their incessant Latino-bashing, to their war on women, the Republicans have aligned themselves with a base of hate.  And now that they’re beginning to realize that their nutty base is killing them, the base has them so tightly in their grasp that they can’t get away (or negotiate a budget).

Pivot to the Boy Scouts.  For years the Boy Scouts made their beds with America’s most conservative religions:

About 70 percent of all Scout units are sponsored by religious denominations, including many by conservative faiths that have supported the ban, including the Roman Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the Mormon church.

The problem for the Boy Scouts is that America is n0 longer as conservative as those religions.  Heck, even Catholics aren’t as conservative as their own religion:

Catholics are breaking ranks with the church on all manner of social issues. A recent poll indicated that 49% of Catholics favor marriage equality legislation, of the kind currently being considered by the RI Senate.  A whopping 82% of Catholics believe that birth control is morally acceptable, in direct contravention to their church’s position. Finally, though most Catholics feel that abortion is morally wrong, 62% of Catholics support keeping abortion safe and legal.

But now that the Catholics, the Baptists and the Mormons have the Boy Scouts by the proverbial merit badge, making up 70% of their units, what are the Scouts – or the Republicans, for that matter – to do when faced with a choice between losing their small but powerful bigoted base, or losing the growing majority in America who find the Boy Scouts’ and the Republicans’ bigotry, and increasingly, their mere existence, a quaint anachronism?


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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