Pinewood Derby, Scouting and the West Wing

What if you were a Cub Scout, hoping to win your Pack’s Pinewood Derby, but your father worked at the White House?  Does the White House support Scouting?

Robert Gibbs at White House press briefing, February 12, 2010

Robert Gibbs at White House press briefing, February 12, 2010 - White House photo

Transcript of White House press briefing from February 12, 2010:

Q    As the honorary President of the Boy Scouts of America, what is the President’s reaction to the New York Post report that because the Scouts have a policy similar to our armed forces, “New York institutions are barring scouts from meeting or recruiting in all public schools”?

MR. GIBBS:  I have not seen the New York Post report and can have somebody —

Q    Well, does he think that it’s fair for them to cut the Scouts out of this?  How does he support — does he disagree with the Scouts or what?  (Laughter.)

MR. GIBBS:  Where are you on this, Lester?  Are you — is this —

Q    Nowhere.  (Laughter.)

MR. GIBBS:  Yes, I do know where.

Q    I support the Scouts.  Do you support the Scouts?

MR. GIBBS:  My son is — we’re constructing the pinewood derby car as we speak.  (Laughter.)

Q    He’s a Scout, your son is a Scout?

MR. GIBBS:  He is, and I think he’s going to be disappointed if his car doesn’t do well, but his father tends to be constructionally challenged.

Thanks, guys.

1:52 P.M. EST

2 Responses to Pinewood Derby, Scouting and the West Wing

  1. Derby Monkey says:

    I wonder how Gibbs and his son did at the Pinewood Derby. I also wonder how constructionally challenged he actually is.


  2. Ediacaran says:

    Apparently the policy being referred to is Scouting’s exclusion of homosexuals. The U.S. Military leadership is starting to work to eliminate such discrimination, while the Boy Scouts of America staunchly maintains their bigotry against homosexuals.

    The military allows atheists (although the military has exhibited rampant religious bigotry at the Air Force Academy, for example), but Boy Scouts of America does not allow atheist scouts, and has gone to court to maintain such policies. Apparently a group can be chartered by the U.S. Congress and violate the 1st Amendment with the U.S. Supreme Court’s blessing. Boy Scouts of America seems to be a private organization when it suits the leadership, then a public organization (maybe even quasi-governmental) when they want to recruit in public schools and take charitable donations from groups such as United Way and corporations, some of whom have changed their policies against charitable giving to groups that discriminate on the basis of religion or sexual orientation, just to accommodate the institutional bigotry of the Boy Scouts of America. Good on New York for standing up for what’s right.

    I think the headquarters of the Boy Scouts of America, in Texas, may have been infected with some of the same far right-wing lunacy that has ruined the Texas State Board of Education.

    I realize that there is much good that has been done by Scouting over the years, along with some bad. I hope that they can throw off the shackles of bigotry and misguided discrimination and learn to better value inclusion and diversity.

    Full disclosure: I used to be a Scout myself, and personally lobbied my elementary school principal to bring Scouting to my school so my friends and I could join; he became a well-respected and lifelong Scout Leader as a result. Scouting needs more leaders like him – and you, too, Ed – and less of those who defend bigotry.


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