This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things Part 2: Boy Scout Edition



This looks expensive and important. Let’s knock it down!

Amidst the shutdown, the AFA website meltdown, the recent Nevada school shooting, and the growing political tension between the Tea Party and the rest of the GOP, one news story this past week has beaten all of them for sheer knuckle-headed, idiotic, malicious, and just completely mind-boggling stupidity. And it’s none of the above listed.

Well, maybe it doesn’t quite compare. But the Irish Atheist doesn’t blog about important things. He blogs about things that allow him to giggle unkindly.

Last week, a video featuring three men at Goblin Valley State Park in Utah went viral. Here’s a link to the video if you haven’t already seen it.

For those with a bad internet connection or who are just too lazy to watch the video (I admit I am often one of those), the video features two men, Dave Hall and Glenn Taylor, as well as Taylor’s son Dylan. These three paragons of manly virtue come across one of the ‘Goblins’ that the state park is known for and that people come from hundreds of miles to see and enjoy. After taking a look at it, they decide that the best possible course to prove their manliness is to push the rock over and destroy the formation.

And so, with Hall and Taylor Jr. cheering him on and singing a gods-awful version of ‘Wiggle It’, Glenn Taylor braces himself behind the stone, wheezes like a bull elephant, and topples a unique natural formation that had stood for 170 million years. They congratulate themselves with hand slaps, hoots of joy, and many masculine grunts.

And to complete this festival of celebratory vandalism, the perpetrators proceeded to upload the video onto Facebook. Where people tended to take notice.

After being faced with near-universal ridicule and condemnation, the trio backtracked by claiming that they were just trying to save lives. Taylor and Hall claimed that the 170 million year old formation was unstable and was liable to collapse at any time, potentially crushing scores of innocent wailing children. Which, I suppose, is a fair point. After all, if there is one thing that rocks are known for, it’s leaping from where they have lain for millions of years to crush helpless youngsters in their rocky embrace.

Hall and Taylor are potentially facing felony charges and Goblin Valley has launched a criminal investigation.

Now normally, I would have registered this as a story about three idiots who made a bad decision and have to pay the high, high bill that idiocy presents. But then one of the details of the story jumped out at me and made me take a second look. And that’s when the real anger began.

Hall and Taylor weren’t at Goblin Valley on a lark. They were there with a Boy Scout excursion. They were troop leaders. Not only that, they are members of a youth leadership group for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

And this, my friends is why we cannot have nice things.


This looks important and expensive. Let’s knock it down!

It’s not because Taylor and Hall are representative of all Christians, or Christianity in general. Despite Christianity’s long and proud history of destruction and cultural vandalism – as the Library at Alexandria and the entire city of Constantinople can ardently attest to – the Enlightenment and modern society has done an admirable job at reigning in Christianity’s more destructive tendencies. No, I am talking about the LDS’s more recent history concerning the Boy Scouts and the standard that they hold their Scout Leaders to.

Remember that? The LSD was one of the most ardent supporters of not allowing gay individuals into the Boy Scouts. They still fight very hard to keep gay men and women from being Scout Leaders. Because they are afraid of the moral decay that might occur and the terrible influence that gay people have on the integrity of their Scouts.

Meanwhile, their straight, Christian leaders proceed to vandalise ancient formations.

The Boy Scouts, after facing the outpouring of contempt, jumped on the band wagon as soon as they saw the direction the wind was blowing and issued a statement of condemnation, calling the act ‘reprehensible.’ The most recent development is that Taylor and Hall have been removed from their positions as Scout Leaders. Which I suppose is admirable, although it’s not like they had much of a choice once the evidence of Scouting values went viral.

But this should be a wake-up call for the LSD. This should remind everyone that good people and complete ass-hats exist among all demographics. White, black, gay, straight, fat, thin, Christian, atheist, Mormon, whatever. Stupidity and maliciousness and all-out bad behaviour is a constant and it’s up to us as individuals to keep it at bay and preserve the integrity and beauty of the world we live in. Never before has the idiocy of keeping a certain group of people out of youth leadership simply because of who they fall in love with is a black mark on any organisation, secular or religious. It’s hatred, bigotry, and stupidity, pure and simple. The fruit of hypocrisy on the LDS tree has grown so heavy that all one needs to do is reach up and pluck one to have a dozen more fall at his feet.

Think the LSD will take the lesson? I doubt it. If anything, it will reinforce their archaic views. The LSD believes that gay people are of naturally moral inferior content, like Hall and Taylor are. So we can’t expect anything to change from them. Instead, we sit here and shake our heads and go on with our lives.

And this is why we can’t have nice things. And it’s wonders like Goblin Valley State Park that have to pay the price.

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