The Scouts and homosexuals
I see today where Gov. Perry is opposed to the Boy Souts of America’s expected determination that local Scout groups should be allowed to decide whether to admit gay boys and gay scoutmasters. I’m not surprised at Perry’s opinion. It fits with the former Eagle Scout’s recent book on the Scouts and his overall conservative approach.
I was surprised to see that libertarian editor Nick Gillespie, who also achieved Eagle rank, kept his two sons out of Scouts because of the ban, which he thinks is immoral. That’s a shame for his sons, I think, but it’s also is in keeping with his overall political opinions. He also says Scouts have been losing membership and relevance, which I haven’t seen at all in Central Texas.
I only rose to Star rank (two under Eagle), lower than my father’s Life rank (one under Eagle), but I enjoyed Scouts and particularly the camping trips and so I encouraged Mr. B. to join and he’s been having fun at it, even if he’s been too lazy so far to achieve First Class (one under Star). I also recently bought him a copy of Perry’s book for his coming birthday.
Like Perry, I’m pretty conservative, but like Gillespie I’m also fairly libertarian, and I also have a liberal streak, at least in social terms, and I agree with Gillespie that the ban on homosexuals is immoral and not in keeping with the Scout Law—”to keep myself morally straight,” etc. Although I agree with the BSA that to ban or not to ban should be up to the individual Scout groups, not imposed from above.
Back in the 1950s, my father made me quit one Scout troop because he thought the scoutmaster (based on looks and behavior) was homosexual. I argued against quitting because I didn’t agree and, in any case, didn’t care. The man had never bothered me or anyone I knew about. But I lost. I had to find another troop to join.
I think dad, like the governor today, confused homosexuals with pedophiles. Having known more than a few gays of both genders I know they aren’t the same thing. Could be in some cases, of course, but not as a general rule. And the Scouts already have rules to counter potential abuse, such as requiring two adults to supervise boys, never allowing one adult to do it by himself.
In Mr. B.’s case, however, I doubt that his troop will allow gays under any circumstances and, frankly, I don’t care one way or the other. If they do, in fact, I could foresee an immediate problem: Mr. B. and his chums already have a certain amount of homophobia, which they seem to have picked up at school (ironically, given the school’s politically-correct approach to everything) apparently from each other.
So, as usual, life is more complicated than the simple memes the pols and news media throw around because they both fit the mentality of the editors (leftist Democrat) and also (and probably more importantly) fit easily into a headline. But I’m glad for the BSA’s impending action. It’s progress worth making and I hope it all works out.