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Boy Scouts Of America Won't Even Allow Gays To Help From A Distance

The Boy Scouts of America has justified its policy of discrimination, excluding homosexual boys and adults from membership and leadership in their organization, by saying that Boy Scouts would be sexually abused if homosexuals were allowed to join in. The odd thing about that justification is that women are allowed to be leaders of Boy Scout troops, but no one is accusing these women leaders of being potential sexual predators, looking to abuse teenage Eagle Scout boys.

The bogus nature of the sexual predator defense for the anti-gay discrimination by the Boy Scouts of America was further exposed yesterday, when it was revealed that the Boy Scouts of America has rejected an application by the Utah Pride Center, a GLBT organization, to merely sponsor a Boy Scout troop, while complying with the Boy Scout regulations to maintain the troop itself and its leadership purely heterosexual.

There’s no reasonable concern that members of Utah Pride could seduce juvenile scouts merely by providing financial and organizational assistance to a troop without attending any of its meetings. The Boy Scouts of America leadership simply doesn’t like non-heterosexuals, and is encouraging the boys under its charge to follow along with this bigoted attitude. That’s an ugly and unhealthy message for children to receive – and it’s incompatible with the patriotic Americans who support the Constitution of the United States of America, which outlaws inequality under the law. There is no justification for continued support for the Boy Scouts of America from Congress, or from the Obama White House, which has still taken no action to remove Barack Obama from his position as honorary chair of the anti-gay organization.

20 comments to Boy Scouts Of America Won't Even Allow Gays To Help From A Distance

  • Bill

    Your argument regarding female scout troop leaders is absolutely spot-on. The single most pernicious and disgusting argument offered by bigots against giving gays full civil rights, whether in the troop, the school, the church, or wherever, is that it will put our innocent little children at grave risk of sexual abuse. This is as much to say, in dog-whistle-speak “Well, of course, they’re deviants…and anyone who practices one deviation can’t be trusted not to practice all other imaginable deviations, as well.” Absurdly and viciously linking bestiality with gayness (as in “if we legalize gay marriage, we’ll have to legalize man/dog marriage, too!”) is another variant of this.

    Personally, I think this is a good reason to keep bigots out of our schools, our troops, and our churches. Anyone perverse enough to be a bigot can’t be trusted around innocent children and harmless furry animals.

    • Dave

      Bill, I think this is a bit harsh. The concerns of the organisation are not as simple as simple bigotry, as though parents and leadership could not possibly have any valid concerns whatsoever. These days “gay” passes for boy-boy or girl-girl and that’s all it means to many folks. To many others it means bathhouses, fisting, rimming, panty parades, SM etc., with the life often including hundreds of sexual partners over a lifetime. It is difficult enough to influence parents of young boys to a favorable view, let alone persuade them by calling them bigots.

      To be sure, some gay men would make outstanding Scoutmasters, but if one knows firsthand the proclivities of most men who consider themselves gay, there is little to commend them to what the Boy Scouts and the parents believe to be the moral precepts they seek to instill in their young boys. As long as it remains for them a moral issue, it can be painful to gay gentlemen who lead quiet and dignified lives and who could be wonderful mentors to any young person, but I think the blame for the resistance to validating gays as Scoutmasters lies more with Folsom Street and Bourbon Street than it does with Scouting “bigotry.”

      • Ralph

        These days “straight” passes for man-woman, and that’s all it means to many folks. To others it means prostitution, pornography produced in horrid working condidions, third-world sex tourism, battered spouses, and human trafficking. If one knew firsthand the proclivities of many who consider themselves to be straight, there is little to commend them to anyone trying to instill values in their children. So get off your high horse about the gays.

        Homophobic organizations like the Boy Scouts and the Catholic Church do not discriminate against pedophiles–they have secretly, systematically covered for them for decades. They’ve tried to use homophobia as a cover. As long as they can convince people gays are immoral, they can appear to be moral by discriminating against them. Fortunately, people are starting to see this for the bullshit it is.

        • Dave

          Ralph, I enjoyed having my own words held up to a mirror, so to speak, although I still think my horse is no higher about gays than yours may be about the Scouts.

          I think any hetero-normative Scoutmaster who engaged in the activities you mentioned would be relieved quickly from his post, and the Board would be right to question his behaviour. Could the same be said of a gay Scoutmaster who engaged in the activities I caricatured to make my point? Indeed, membership in a socially protected class has great value to an individual these days, since questioning any behaviour of said class is not allowed.

      • Bill

        Dave, I’m not really concerned about “persuading” bigots. In my experience, bigots either die off with time (the dominant mode) or else, through exposure over time to the people against whom they are bigoted come to realize that they were wrong (rare, but it happens).

        My head kind-of exploded over your second paragraph. Unlike you (?) I do not know “firsthand…most men who consider themselves gay,” though I probably know a hundred or more men and women who are gay or lesbian, and can count dozens as close friends and/or valued colleagues. My own “firsthand” experience is that the cartoon you paint regarding “bathhouses, fisting, rimming, panty parades, SM etc., with the life often including hundreds of sexual partners…Folsom Street and Bourbon Street”…is just that, a cartoon, every bit as unrepresentative of everyday gay folks as is Ralph’s intentionally tongue-in-cheek portrayal of straights and “prostitution, pornography, third-world sex tourism, battered spouses, and human trafficking.” If you really think this is an accurate depiction of the gay community…well, I’m speechless. Nor do I require my gay friends to be “gentlemen who lead quiet and dignified lives.” I guess I’m just not sure that quiet dignity (if that means “be seen and not heard, and for God’s sake don’t kiss in public!) is the appropriate response to hundreds of years of socially sanctioned isolation, abuse, murder, and violent oppression.

        • Horatio

          Why would anyone trust the Boy Scouts with their children when their organization is so morally backwards?!?

          “Boy Scout” is coming to be a label people are ashamed of.

        • Dave

          Bill, sorry to disappoint. I am careful as far as I am able to listen to an individual’s way of identifying themselves rather than do it for them. Also, I purposely tried to avoid the “I have gay friends” validation of my own viewpoints, but I must say, the quiet dignity to which I referred, and which might have better been put as “privacy” was wonderfully illustrated by a gay schoolteacher in my youth who was the first of many gay people I have been privileged to know, who acted as mentor and friend to me for many years. (He did live quietly and with dignity with his companion of many years and the parents in those days, though considering them odd, would not allow speculations and commentary from children. Privacy as I see it is still a positive condition of human relationships, and has only become antiquated with the contemporary preference so many have for making their private pastimes so public) This man would have been readily accepted as a Scoutmaster in our community any time he may have wanted.

          I cannot join the Jihad against the Boy Scouts. I do not believe they are on a Jihad against gays, they just live in an entirely different world. I never want to see gays mistreated, and that goes for Boy Scouts too. Dismissing them as bigots without understanding what informs their fears (or courage as some might see it) is mistreating them.

          And Bill, it might be prudent to reconsider our unconcern about “persuading bigots.” I hear from many on the left who seem to be awaiting the “Great Die-Off” of their old conservative foes, but it ain’t gonna happen. To the contrary, demographics that explain who really owns the future should warn us all to be kinder to those we oppose.

          • Dave,

            Do you have proof that gay men offend at a higher rate than straight men? Or is this just something you “know” because you’ve been told it?

            From the Psychology department at University of California-Davis
            http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/facts_molestation.html:

            “Dr. Carole Jenny and her colleagues reviewed 352 medical charts, representing all of the sexually abused children seen in the emergency room or child abuse clinic of a Denver children’s hospital during a one-year period (from July 1, 1991 to June 30, 1992). The molester was a gay or lesbian adult in fewer than 1% in which an adult molester could be identified – only 2 of the 269 cases (Jenny et al., 1994).
            In yet another approach to studying adult sexual attraction to children, some Canadian researchers observed how homosexual and heterosexual adult men responded to slides of males and females of various ages (child, pubescent, and mature adult). All of the research subjects were first screened to ensure that they preferred physically mature sexual partners. In some of the slides shown to subjects, the model was clothed; in others, he or she was nude. The slides were accompanied by audio recordings. The recordings paired with the nude models described an imaginary sexual interaction between the model and the subject. The recordings paired with the pictures of clothed models described the model engaging in neutral activities (e.g., swimming). To measure sexual arousal, changes in the subjects’ penis volume were monitored while they watched the slides and listened to the audiotapes. The researchers found that homosexual males responded no more to male children than heterosexual males responded to female children (Freund et al., 1989).

            Science cannot prove a negative. Thus, these studies do not prove that homosexual or bisexual males are no more likely than heterosexual males to molest children. However, each of them failed to prove the alternative hypothesis that homosexual males are more likely than heterosexual men to molest children or to be sexually attracted to children or adolescents. ”

            Freund et al. (1989). Heterosexuality, homosexuality, and erotic age preference. Journal of Sex Research, 26, 107-117.
            Jenny et al. (1994). Are children at risk for sexual abuse by homosexuals? Pediatrics, 94, 41-44.

        • Bill

          Dave, I don’t await the die-off of conservatives; I await (and, indeed, observe) the die-off of bigots. It’s a mistake to conflate conservatism with bigotry. The one is a legitimate opinion (if one I might disagree with); the other is a despicable moral failing no person of goodwill can or should accept.

          I will admit that my rather visceral feelings toward bigots is a product of my early programming. My father was a proud, unrepentant bigot. He loathed Jews, literally hated blacks, and had nothing but dismissive disrespect for any other people of color. I don’t believe he had any strong opinion regarding gays however, since like many people of his generation he was (I think) simply unaware that they existed. I invested decades of wasted effort in trying to reason with him. I even understood (and could almost sympathize with) where he was coming from…as an Eastern European immigrant he had never been around people of color in his formative youth, so he found them strange and frightening. And as a member of the underclass as a young man here in America, he competed with people of color for menial jobs. His life sucked, and he wanted someone to blame for it. He wasn’t perceptive enough to understand what and whom was really to blame for his condition, so he took the easy way out and blamed the most easily identified Others. Like I say, I invested a lot of effort in trying to lift him out of this. It proved quite impossible. Then he died. Problem solved. Since then I have declined to engage with bigots, except to oppose them when it is important to do so.

          It simply comes down to this: if one disparages, despises and oppresses a group of largely harmless people who happen to share a common and noticeable biological trait, and one refuses to treat them as God’s children fully equal to oneself, then one is an ignorant savage with blood on one’s hands. Redemption is always a possibility, but I think it is statistically unlikely. Death, on the other hand, is certain. The Scouts have freely and emphatically chosen to take an inhuman position in the face of injustice. I wish them all the worst.

        • Dave

          “It’s a mistake to conflate conservatism with bigotry.” I did make that mistake – thanks for catching it.

  • This “Jihad” analogy is not at all apt, Dave. We’re noting that the Boy Scouts of America is behaving in a dishonorable manner which is not at all consistent with the values of equality embodied in our Constitution. It is unreasonable for this discriminatory, and yes, clearly bigoted, organization to continue to receive government support. The Boy Scouts are encouraging behavior among American children that is not conducive to a healthy community.

    It’s not Jihad to say this. The Boy Scouts are the ones who encourage a culture of militaristic intolerance.

    • Dave

      Peregrin, perhaps the government should get out of the government support business, period. I rather enjoy working all this out ourselves.

      • No, the government does a great job at a lot of things, and makes possible a good deal of necessary work through its funding. But, there are some things that should not receive government support. Organizations like the Boy Scouts of America, which discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and religion, are among those things that should not receive government support.

  • Less mentioned, because religious prejudice is more popular now than homophobia, is the bigotry of the Boy Scouts of America against non-religious kids. Boys aren’t allowed to join the Boy Scouts of America unless they agree to follow a theist creed, worshiping one deity that goes by the name “God”.

    I’d be more inclined to believe that the BSA’s rejection of gays is a reasoned response to concern of sexual assault if the scouts weren’t also discriminating against other groups. What, are we supposed to believe that atheists are more likely than other people to engage in sexual abuse, too?

    Getting a boy involved in scouting seems like a good way to raise a Neanderthal.

    • Dave

      I recently read somewhere about the 2000 or so former Eagle Scouts who have signed on to a letter to the Boy Scouts of America asking them to reconsider their stance. Seems like the Scouts are raising something other than Neanderthals.

      • They’re FORMER Eagle scouts. They recovered from the Boy Scouts. Your argument suggests that, by engaging in a bigoted policy of discrimination, the Boy Scouts of America teaches boys that discrimination is wrong.

        Did you get a Twisted Logic badge for that one?

        How many former and current Eagle Scouts have stood by and done nothing while the discrimination has continued?

        • Dave

          Peregrin, to suggest that the Scouts are not necessarily raising Neanderthals is a twist in logic? Apparently you don’t subscribe to the “people are a mixed bag” philosophy that I do, but it seems entirely possible to me (and a perfectly logical possibility as well) that the character development goals and citizenship training that scouting claims to offer are now being reflected back to them in the “kindness, helpfulness, honor, bravery, whatever” that these men soaked up in their formative years. They may well have been the ones who took to heart the values of Scouting while the others weren’t paying attention.

          What defies logic is to assume that when an institution is flawed in one’s opinion, there can be no good thing to come from it. Ever. Ever ever ever.

  • Adrian

    The stereotypes and lack of humility before me is astounding. What’s even more astounding to me is the fact that you are all grown men arguing over the BSA’s policies. I will repeat the policies in question as stated in the above arguments:
    1 (the big one): Alleged bigotry against homosexually.
    2: The many pro-Christianity oaths and practices adopted by the BSA.
    3: The alleged raising of Neanderthals via Scouting. Hm, an interesting theory at best.

    Anyways, let us address the first argument. Built by our ancestors in the early 1900s upon old fashioned Christian values to promote the welfare of the public and of the wilderness in general, the Boy Scouts of America constantly and willingly put forth great efforts into volunteer work and the enrichment of young hearts and minds. Quite literally, the BSA was created to turn young boys toward Christian values and inspire patriotism. In over 100 years, their agenda has not changed. I find it quite ridiculous that so suddenly society (even though, yes, it IS a “changing world”) is demanding that the BOY Scouts of America (yes, emphasize BOY) allow young females to become BOY Scouts, is demanding that homosexuals (mind you, a big no no to both Christians and our ancestors) be allowed into the BSA, and that all of a sudden atheists (another big no no to Christians and our ancestors) want to be allowed into the BSA.

    If the rules were so clear before (and I find them rather clear indeed), then why so suddenly do the “oppressed groups” want to be allowed into a society that is allegedly bigoted against said groups? Why? What is the purpose?

    The problem isn’t that the society is bigoted, it’s that it hasn’t changed in over 100 years and they are STUBBORN. After such a long time of hugging those values, why do people find it so strange that they aren’t letting go of them? To me it seems like people are trying to pry the tortoise from its shell and start a new species from the unarmored, naked animal…quite difficult, perhaps impossible.

    The attribution of the oaths and customs of the BSA to “raising Neanderthals” also seems a tad bit extreme to me, considering that I seldom see little scouts beating and abusing people to steal their food…but rather picking up garbage along highways.

    In conclusion, get off of the BSA’s dick, go outside, find some folks you like, and make your own damn organization…because it’s become apparent to me that the BSA will not change for the likes of a few social activist groups…however vengeful they are.

    • Adrian, I would say that your ignorance astonishes me, except, really, it doesn’t. It’s what I’ve come to expect from defenders of Boy Scout bigotry. Many Christians have absolutely no problem with homosexuality at all, and it’s outrageous of you to proclaim that Christianity categorically opposes homosexuals.

      Did you know that King James – the coordinator of the King James Bible – was a roaring homosexual?

      Yes, it is sad that the vengeful Boy Scouts of America won’t change, won’t listen, won’t abandon their archaic, cruel practices. Many of the demands for change come from their own, inreasingly uncomfortable, rank and file, but still the leaders won’t listen.

      You are correct to say that the Boy Scouts of America is against the equality many groups of Americans – non-Christians, non-heterosexuals, women… and that’s why we call them bigots, Adrian. It’s bigotry, plain and simple.

    • Bill

      Adrian, yes indeed; homosexuality is “a big no-no” in the Bible, as is eating pork, letting women speak in church, masturbation, and many other things we today consider completely ridiculous superstitions and/or unvarnished bigotry. Society has indeed changed, my friend; it is the Boy Scouts who have not. If the Scouts were truly intent upon instilling unchanging Christian values in our young men they’d be teaching them to stone idolators and homosexuals to death in the public square. But like everyone else who professes to be Christian, the Scouts pick-and-choose the parts of the Bible they wish to attend to, and the parts they choose to ignore. Our choices in this regard say a lot about who we are. The Scouts’ choice, in particular, says that they’re simply homophobic bigots.

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