A friend asked me to attend a Court of Honor a few days ago. I didn't know the soon-to-be Eagle Scout but since this good friend wanted me to go, I went. Not a big deal, right? Just an hour of my life. I really wasn't expecting the mental assault I received.
Just walking into the church building was rough. It's been awhile since I've darkened any church doorway and I thought maybe the walls would fall down. But it was a fairly new building so the foundation stayed solid. I did notice that the familiar race-track floor plan had been modified somewhat and no longer did the hallway make a complete loop around. (I'm not sure why that even caught my attention but felt sorry for those poor children who could no longer run laps during sacrament meeting,)
We crept into the back of the cultural hall and found seats. The meeting had already started and the smell of the polished wooden floor and folding chairs filled my nose. Familiar yet unsettling. The passing out of earned awards was in full swing, the balding scout master running the show. It took far too long to get to the part of the meeting we'd come for. Meanwhile I watched the woman sitting in front of me. She had a short, serviceable haircut and cardigan and was wrestling four very small boys, bringing out her "quiet bag" with it's laminated folders of activities that she'd made in homemaking or some other wholesome meeting. I felt exhausted and heavy just watching her struggle to keep them somewhat quiet. Her husband went to sit in the "eagle's nest", taking one child and leaving his wife with the other three. How kind of him to take the baby, the most well-behaved of all.
Finally a guy in a shockingly hip, light gray double-breasted suit got the court of honor going. (No dark polyester there!) He talked about how wonderful eagle scouts were. How everyone wanted them. The military, employers, just everyone! They were elite and rare. Only five percent of scouts attained the rank of eagle and that made them better than anyone else.
From the time I had driven into the parking lot my stomach had been wobbly and sick. The tension in my body continued to build as the night went on I was assaulted by tension and bitterness which built to excessive proportions. My muscles tensed to jump up and I longed to yell, "I know three eagle scouts who would not be welcome in this room and would not be allowed to ever serve in the scouting program! Three of these elite young men that could never have become eagle scouts if their sexual orientation had been known. Three good men who have been thrown aside because of the bigotry and hypocrisy of close-minded leadership and the sheep who mindlessly follow along! Fuck you and your damn scouts!"
Of course, it wasn't the time or place and I bit my tongue and felt the urge wash through me and out again. I felt physical ill and beaten. This was not a healthy place for me. As soon as possible we slipped through the double doors, passing the mother holding one of her restless sons, and escaped into the fresh evening air.
I wonder about that young mother and what the future holds for her and her family. Having four boys makes the odds of having a gay son much higher, doesn't it? If that happens to her, I hope she embraces the chance to have a most unique and wonderful son. I happen to think they are far better than any old eagle scout.