BOY SCOUT LEADERS: Why is this an issue?

There have been news stories about Eagle Scouts being denied the role of Boy Scout leader because they are openly gay. In response, there has been on-line commentary. Here are two comments in the New York Times on-line which are particularly pertinent:

Aristotle Lewiston, ME

The national Scouts organization is failing to distinguish between being gay or lesbian and being a child abuser. They are not the same. The percentage of male abusers in the straight population is essentially the same as in the male gay population. Put another way, being oriented by nature and genetics towarrd one’s own gender for sexual and emotional fulfillment is not the same as being oriented toward children, beginnning with causes. Taking moral stances grounded in cultural customs of societies of 1,000 to 3,000 years ago ignores contemporary moral values, modern science and psychology, and advances in political rights.

The Scouts misconceive the issues, base their views on a misunderstanding of scripture and history, and profoundly injure and emotionally damage innocent leaders and youth—especially teens who have enough trouble with sexual orientation issues in adolescence. The national organization needs to get out of the sexual orientation morass, accept all without regard to orientation in all capacities, and get on with the business of Scouting programs. If they can’t, then let them too be succeeded by others who can. Hooray for local churches who take the lead.

Gerard Stropnicky Danville PA

It is not morally straight to discriminate. My son and I are both Eagle Scouts, he’s an adult now, and we both serve as Assistant Scoutmasters, yet I cannot defend BSA’s policy toward gay leaders. Each day I question my continued involvement.

The reason for the policy I hear most is “Keeping the boys safe.” From what? Homosexuality is not a choice, boys cannot be “recruited.” Ironically, BSA’s own Youth Protection Training is clear and correct in teaching that pedophile predators almost always present as heterosexual in their daily life — think Jerry Sandusky.

BSA’s policy is prejudice, pure and simple. Sadly, much of the anti-gay pressure on BSA apparently comes from members of the Church of Latter Day Saints who serve on the BSA national board. For the Mormons, BSA serves as their boys youth group in every church. That’s a wonderful thing, but has brought with it undo influence. It is appropriate that BSA suffer the consequences of its actions in loss of funding from enlightened corporations, and in denied access to public facilities such as Fort A.P. Hill for jamborees and the city-owned Liberty Council Building in Philadelphia. The reason I stay involved is that Scouts offers so much that is positive; yet would I join a Country Club that excluded Jews? Or go to a restaurant that refused to serve black people? Of course not. My resolve is withering, but in some small way I hope to encourage change from within.

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