At least that's how major news media outlets characterized the Boy Scouts of America's decision to accept girls.
To read accounts by national newspapers such as the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, most everybody greeted this gender-friendly development with enthusiasm -- with the notable exception of the Girl Scouts (a separate organization not excited about the looming competition).
Is there a religion angle to this story? Several of them, in fact? (You think?)
Believe it or not, the question of how faith-based groups so prominent in Scouting -- think the Mormons, United Methodists, Roman Catholics, Southern Baptists, etc. -- reacted to his change was conspicuously absent from the coverage I read. That's strange since about 70 percent of Scouting units are sponsored by religious groups.
The lede from the New York Times:
The Boy Scouts of America announced plans on Wednesday to broadly accept girls, marking a historic shift for the century-old organization and setting off a debate about where girls better learn how to be leaders.
The Boy Scouts, which has seen dwindling membership numbers in recent decades, said that its programs could nurture girls as well as boys, and that the switch would make life easier for busy parents, who might prefer to shuttle children to a single organization regardless of gender.
“I’ve seen nothing that develops leadership skills and discipline like this organization,” said Randall Stephenson, the group’s national board chairman. “It is time to make these outstanding leadership development programs available to girls.”
The decision was celebrated by many women, but criticized by the Girl Scouts, which said that girls flourish in all-female groups.
The closest the Times gets to the holy ghost is right here:
Others were deeply skeptical. Joseph Carballo, 70, has been with the Boy Scouts for 30 years, most of that time as a scoutmaster of Troop 65, in the Bronx. His two sons, both Eagle Scouts and now in their 30s and 40s, have been with the organization since the 1990s. “And we all have the same view: no girls,” he said.
“Boys and girls should have separate organizations for activities,” Mr. Carballo explained, as his troops entered the cafeteria of St. Helena’s Church for their Wednesday night meeting. “There is an organization for girls. It’s called the Girl Scouts.” (His granddaughter, he pointed out, is a member.)
The question that the Times declines to ask or address: Do Carballo's religious belief influence his views on the roles of men and women?
But at least the New York Times -- as opposed to the Los Angeles Times -- hints at opposition beyond the Girl Scouts. Then again, the Girl Scouts have seen their share of faith-driven disputes.
This is huge news, yes, but so far it's haunted by a giant ghost.
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