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Opinion: Decision to allow gays in scouts up to BSA

Published 10:37am Monday, February 25, 2013

The Boy Scouts must be allowed to decide for itself whether to disallow gays or include them. Gay activists and advocates should not force BSA by political correctness to accommodate to its political agenda, and those who oppose homosexuality should not intimidate BSA by righteous preaching to conform to their moral standards.

The Boy Scouts of America is a private organization of volunteer membership, and its purpose for more than 100 years has been to promote the wholesomeness of body, soul, and spirit of American boys. It has never been a religious organization but always friendly to and supportive of religion and religious interests. The Scout Oath pledges scouts and scouters alike: “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law … to keep myself … morally straight.” This law culminates with “A scout is … reverent.”

The political interests and demands of outsiders are irrelevant to scouting and have no legitimate claim upon it. Scouting officials ought to listen respectfully to those who ask that scouting admit gays both as scouters (adult leaders) and scouts (boys). If they become honestly and logically convinced this is in the best interests of scouting as a movement and, especially, the boys, it can revise its membership requirements so as not to disallow them, as it always has so disallowed.

But that gay activists and advocates are on a clearly recognized campaign to make homosexuality broadly accepted, celebrated, and promoted should have no bearing on BSA’s decision. It is their right so to campaign, but its political agenda must not be forced upon scouting, which has its own agenda.

Scouting officials also ought to listen respectfully to those who ask that scouting continue to disallow gays from serving as scouters and boys to participate. If they remain intelligently convinced its historic position is in the best interests of the boys, it ought to reaffirm its membership requirements and to disallow gays, as it always has.

I have never recognized scouting as being anti-gay. If it has recently appeared to be something like this, it is because gays themselves have put their spotlight on the matter and pushed it as an issue. The “ban” on gays is of recent origin and felt to be a necessity.

That scouting has a current problem with pedophiles abusing boys is consequent to the increasing permissiveness of our society. These pedophiles are, of course, gay, but they do not abuse boys because they are gay but because they are also pedophiles. The current ban has not been successful in preventing abuses, but dropping it certainly will not.

Just as the gay agenda must not be forced on scouting, an anti-gay agenda must not be allowed to do so. Scouting was not founded and has not operated as an exhibit or model of the heterosexual perspective. An effort to make it so is unfair and unworthy.

I have the impression the greater number of people who are campaigning to admit gays have little interest in scouting or in scouts. They are obsessed with their own agenda, which is far more political than conceptual. I also have the impression a great number of people who are protesting any policy change have little interest in scouting or in scouts. They, too, are obsessed with their own agenda. They may have honest moral convictions about the matter, but their immediate actions appear to me to be as political as that of the gay lobby.

There is this difference, nonetheless. The gays demand BSA drop its own position and accept theirs. Others expect BSA to maintain its historic position largely because they agree with it.

Scouting is scouting, and I want it to remain so. But what it means to be a scout is the business of scouting itself. Let the rest of us counsel, but let the Boy Scouts of America make its own decision.

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  • ellen72

    Good old Wallace “The Bigot Hiding Behind His Religion” Alcorn giving his opinion about gays and gay rights… seems a bit obsessed on the subject, wouldn’t you say?

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  • dhl

    “These pedophiles are, of course, gay, but they do not abuse boys because they are gay but because they are also pedophiles. The current ban has not been successful in preventing abuses, but dropping it certainly will not.”
    - What is the point of this? Drawing a connection between gays and pedophiles and then slowing stepping away from that argument as a defense? This is troubling, cheap, bizarre and ineffectual way to make a point.

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  • Bike_Guy

    This has got to be one of the most incoherent pieces written about the Boy Scout dispute.

    “These pedophiles are, of course, gay.” Fact: Openly gay men are by any reputable study less likely to be pedophiles than heterosexually married men. Please go to the APA web site (among others) and educate yourself.

    The BSA does not in fact eject gay men and boys due to fears of pedophilia since this is a known red herring. If it were to eject a class of men based on public prejudices it could just as easily start with Catholic priests or heterosexually married football coaches. And in any case, the BSA, like the Girl Scouts, are today mixed groups with controls in place to prevent abuse.

    The BSA bans gay men and teens because the conservative Christians who have come to dominate the BSA, and above all the Baptists and Mormons, believe that gays are immoral. Most Americans do not share this belief and as a result the BSA is held hostage to a minority viewpoint. At the same time the conservatives are hypocritical: Jesus Christ never once mentioned homosexuality but clearly disliked divorce. Yet these same churches do not lobby to expel divorced men or men who live with their girlfriends (or eat pork or whatever). They simply hate gay people and are furious at our growing social acceptance.

    You mention that the ban on gays is recent but then you later refer to it as a ‘historic position.’ The ban was put in place in 1992 after Mormons had come to dominate. No ban existed before then and still does not exist in other Scouting nations such as France, Canada, Australia, Mexico, or the UK where Scouting was founded. This is a uniquely American insanity in response to pressure from our religious right.

    Mormons are 2% of the USA but today control more than a third of troops. Baptists and Mormons have successfully turned the Scouts from the originally non-sectarian group that Baden Powell envisioned into a fundamentally religious one. Mormon and Baptist Scouts rarely form mixed groups and often meet in churches and hold religious services. This profoundly distorts the universal spirit of Scouting.

    I was a Boy Scout in NYC in the 60s and tolerance was the rule of the day: We were all sorts of religions and races. The focus was on nature and the outdoors. Given it was NYC we were a mixed group – Jews, Chinese, Protestants, Blacks – and we didn’t meet at a church. That was the true spirit of Scoutning: For all families.

    As the BSA shrinks to the red areas of red states, it risks
    becoming the Boy Scouts of Mormons and Baptists rather than the Boy Scouts of America. The Christian Coalition might be happy with that but it would be a terrible loss for American boys and for our broader culture.

    We can each believe the other is immoral. We are a two-dad family whose church, family, community, and government honor our relationship (we live in rural New York). At the same time, I believe that people who drive giant gas-guzzling SUV’s are immoral. But I don’t have any desire to keep Hummer-driving parents or their kids out of the Scouts. As Americans we must try to respect diverse beliefs even if we do not share them.

    Your ‘impression’ is that those of us who are fighting this
    ban are not interested in Scouting. Your impression is flat wrong. We both come from Scouting families and love the Scouts. I hate what has happened to American Scouting and its abandonment of its universal, nature-based roots. We have a son who would have loved to join the local Scouts and this ban has been painful for us. It has also divided our community with most of our friends and neighbors abandoning Scouting as it has increasingly become a right-wing religious group rather than an organization for Americans of all beliefs.

    But then I suppose you thought that Americans like my
    parents who sat at segregated lunch counters were not really interested in eating. Discrimination is injustice and fighting it is our right and duty.

    I am proud that a solid majority of Americans (55%) now
    agree that the BSA’s ban against gay men and boys should be lifted:

    They know that what is best about our nation is that we work together despite our different beliefs. Unlike Iran, we have no official religion that dominates. Sometimes conservative Christians seem to forget this truth.

    I quote Scouting’s founder, Lord Baden Powell:

    “Buddha has said: ‘There is only one way of driving out
    Hate in the world and that is by bringing in 
Love.’ Scouting’s aim is to produce healthy, happy, helpful citizens, of both sexes, to eradicate the prevailing narrow self interest, personal, political, sectarian and national, and to substitute for it a broader spirit of self-sacrifice and service in the cause of humanity.”

    May the Boy Scouts of America return to their original
    universal spirit, accepting all boys and all families regardless of their religious beliefs or sexual orientations. We look forward to rejoining once that happens and hope to meet other families at the Jamboree, be those families Mormons, Baptists or even Hummer owners.

    I am sure we will all get along, as Americans.

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  • Kyler Phoenix

    They are making the decision on their own. No one is forcing them. No court is involved or any government agency. They are probably reconsidering their ban now because they have lost ALL of their big money sponsors. Without this change the BSA will cease to exist within a decade. Apparently haters and bigots aren’t paying the bills.

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  • netmanca

    Geez , Wally sure has an obsession about the Gays. what would the Beav do?

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  • Scout man

    Leave the Scouts alone , they are teaching our future leaders whats right and wrong . Go pick on someone else .

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