Boy Scouts Gay Ban: Will It Be Overturned?

When I was a Boy Scout, many years ago, the idea of gays in the scouts was never discussed. If I had thought about it at the time, I would have wondered why it would make a difference. It's not the Heterosexual Scouts, after all. There simply wasn't a place for sex in scouting, gay or straight. But this week the Boy Scouts of America will vote on whether to allow openly gay scouts to participate, and they are expected to affirm their ban on gay scout leaders.

Most of society no longer expects gays to hide in the closet. Scouting is a holdout, though, in part because so many are connected to faith-based organizations, begging the question: "What the hell are they afraid of?" Are they afraid of people who are different than them? Why don't they ask gays not to attend their churches or not to donate money? Are they afraid gays might begin recruiting among the straights? It doesn't work like that. Gay people are like left-handed people, or black people, or Democrats or Republicans. They're real people who are just a little different than you. They don't choose to be gay, God made them that way. He has a reason; at least, that's what the preacher always says. God has a plan. Accept it, roll with it, see where it goes.

Many churches proclaim homosexuality to be immoral. The Bible says they should be stoned to death. That's Old Testament stuff; Jesus never said to kill anyone. But, if the churches turn on the Boy Scouts and say they won't sponsor them any longer, that's going to mean trouble for scouting. Finding new homes and new sponsors will be a problem not an insurmountable one, but a problem nonetheless. The courageous thing would be to tell the churches to "Grow up and get over yourselves." But that's not likely to happen. People are afraid. They're stupid as well, but it's mostly about fear.

There have, no doubt, been cases of gay scout leaders behaving inappropriately. Thankfully church leaders, ministers, and priests do not behave inappropriately. Can you imagine what a scandal it would be if there were pedophiles among them? Oh, but wait; there are. Pedophiles aren't gay, though. Pedophiles are criminals, they are predators. The funny thing is, we don’t hear any discussion about the Boy Scouts holding a vote about pedophiles; I guess they're still okay.

Gay people aren't criminals, and God loves them, whether you like or not. They're different from you and I, to be sure, but not in a bad way. They're just wired differently. They do not pose a danger to the family. They do not pose a threat to the institution of marriage. And they most certainly do not represent a threat to the Boy Scouts of America.

The reality here is that the Boy Scouts are not afraid of gays; they've been a part of scouting from the beginning. What they're afraid of is the bible-thumping Christian right. Sadly, they will probably capitulate and refuse to accept them as members of God's fold. The only immorality in this scenario is coming from the people who would turn their backs on God's children because of a quirk of nature that makes them different. They used to do that to lefties too, as recently as my mother's generation. It seems stupid now to think that lefties were considered demonic. One day it will seem stupid that people thought gays were immoral.

Grow up, America. Get over yourselves. 

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Michael Cain

Author, PTSD coach, highly opinionated.

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