Scouts and Scouters know the rules: No political campaigning in uniform. It’s such a hard-and-fast rule that even Boy Scouts helping with voter registration or simultaneous food drives sometimes get calls from the local Council to be sure there is no partisan political campaigning going on.
Scouts may be asked to present the colors, the flags of the U.S. and the state, and to lead a political convention in the Pledge of Allegiance. Diligent Scouters, or Scouts, involved in such ceremonies, will retire to remove their uniforms before continuing to participate in the political part of the activities.
So this photo is disturbing. You can see two people in Scout uniforms — one obviously an adult — at a political rally where their placement suggests the campaign officials tried to get them into news and publicity photos. Oddly for real Scouters, there are few insignia of any kind on the uniforms — on the sleeves or pockets — other than what comes with the shirt right out of the box (World Scouting emblem perhaps excepted) — though you can see the edge of an adult leader’s patch on the adult’s left arm. Were these real Scouters flouting the rules, or faux Scouters, actors hired by the campaign to flaunt the uniform, contrary to the rules?
Below the fold: The rule, as listed on Grand Teton Council’s website.
Since we are in a presidential election year, it is a good time to restate the BSA’s long-standing policy regarding the participation of Scouts in political rallies and other political events.
Uniformed unit members and leaders may participate in flag ceremonies at political events and may lead the Pledge of Allegiance; however, they should retire after the ceremony and not remain on the speakers’ platform or in a conspicuous location where television viewers could construe their presence as an endorsement or symbol of support. In addition, photos of candidates or Scouts in uniform or BSA marks and logos are not allowed in political campaign materials of any kind.
Volunteers and professionals must be alert to situations that would imply that the BSA favors one candidate over another. Strict observance of our long-standing policy against the active participation of uniformed Scouts and leaders in political events is mandatory.
Other notes and resources:
- Scouts complain to Phil Gramm’s presidential campaign, New York Times
- Mike L. Walton (Settummanque, the blackeagle) explains the policy in relation to “Obedient” in the Scout Law, on MacScouter