Tim Griffin was fired from a Boy Scout camp near Sacramento, California, reportedly because he was not following uniform regulations. This week 10 staff members quit the camp in retaliation to Griffin’s firing. Officials claim that the 22-year-old was fired because he refused to follow clothing and Scout regulations, but critics of the firing maintain that the young Scout was fired for being openly gay.
The firing comes in the wake of an explosive announcement last week by the Boy Scouts of America that they will stand behind their ban on openly gay scouts and leaders in the organization. The decision to maintain the ban resulted in a wide range of reactions to the policy, from open dismay to conservative support.
Critics of the policy have been defecting from the BSA, with some Scout groups continuing their support for gay rights and inclusion, like a large group in Minnesota. Still, Griffin feels he was picked out for his sexuality.
Program director Glenn Goddard states to the Mercury News, “What it came down to was his failure to comply with management regarding a uniform issue. We gave him plenty of warnings.” But many say that Griffin was criticized for painted fingernails, an earrings and mannerisms that supposedly went against protocol but were clearly tied to criticism of his sexuality.
The BSA is known for its strict religious and conservative policies. Scouts are asked to pledge they will be, “physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.” The phrase and the official policy means that many people feel excluded and judged in the organization.
Yet, many young men feel that they found amazing role models and pillars of support in the BSA. The 10 staffers that quit the camp illustrate the pockets of solidarity and caring that exist throughout camps and troops across the country. The anti-gay policy, although an official blanket policy, has caused divisions in belief and policy across the board.
Many young men feel they have topped out in an organization that will never accept them as whole people. Conservative anchors of the BSA on the other hand feel that they are standing by their “high standards,” as Randy Thomasson, an advocate for “family values,” points out to the Mercury News. Last week’s firing left Griffin feeling saddened about the BSA, when he was told he did not reflect the Scout spirit. Griffin was also the longest serving Scout at the camp before officials ousted him.
Photo Credit: Jarekt