I just read an article about the Boy Scouts of America and their preparation to decide whether or not to accept homosexuality in the organization. Right now they have decided to conduct a survey, and they are actually asking some really important questions.
Here are two that stuck out to me:
BOY BEING MOLESTED BY A LEADER
Survey Question: “Is it acceptable or unacceptable for the gay adult leader to take adolescent boys on an overnight camping trip?”
I would have to ask, “Is it acceptable or unacceptable for the HETERO adult leader to take adolescent boys on an overnight camping trip?”
Here is an interesting fact–“Research has shown most men who molest boys are straight, married and have intimate relations with their wives. Only 10% of admitted molesters describe themselves as homosexual” (Dr. Pat).
I think it is great that they are asking these questions. A lot of boys get molested in youth, sport, and religious organizations. But WHY ON EARTH are they not thinking that a straight guy can be molesting these boys as well??? Maybe there should be more accountability all around, for gay or straight men.
Should adult men really be allowed to have that kind of access on an overnight camping trip at all? Should more adults (not just 2) join the trip?
OPENLY GAY BOY IN A TENT WITH ANOTHER BOY
Survey Question: “David, a Boy Scout, believes that homosexuality is wrong. His troop is chartered to a church where the doctrine of that faith also teaches that homosexuality is wrong. Steve, an openly gay youth, applies to be a member in the troop and is denied membership. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for this troop to deny Steve membership in their troop?”
This is another good question. Because it also involves David. You don’t want to make Steve miss out on a great experience because of his same sex attraction, but you also want to consider the beliefs of the other children in the group.
Let’s say they accept Steven, instead of deny him. Even though there are kids who believe homosexuality is wrong. People will say, just because he is in a tent with David does not mean that they will have sex. Of Course!!! I totally get that. But that doesn’t mean that David is comfortable either. What if David feels pressured to pretend like he supports Steven’s lifestyle. What if troop members feel like they need to take a pro-gay stance, when they would rather it just remain a non-issue? I think this pressure to show support could be magnified when the openly gay member is a troop leader.
Let’s just say, for argument sake that Steven is 15 or 16.
Steven is not necessarily attracted to any boys on the trip. But WHAT IF Steven is attracted to “Craig,” and maybe Craig is still very shy and confused about his own same sex attractions. Having Steven around is an opportunity for him to talk to someone about what he is going through, which he really enjoys. And say the leader doesn’t see what is happening, and puts these two friends together in a tent, because obviously he is nice to Steven and the other kids might feel uncomfortable.
Say something DOES happen.
“I mean it would happen anyways, eventually. Right?” Maybe. Maybe not.
But it would shine poorly on the Boy Scouts when the parents find out, and other parents freak out, and that would kind of blow up in everyone’s tolerant face.
Also, something to consider. What if NO ONE feels comfortable with Steven? Poor Steven!!!! That is not fair. What would ordinarily be a fun experience turns into him feeling like he has to prove to everyone that he is not into them. What if he FEELS hurt or excluded by the group? You can teach them to be kind, and that is good. But you can’t force them to support his choices. How many gay kids have gone camping with the Boy Scouts over the years with none of these issues???
I think it is easy to make David into the intolerant bigot. But he also has a right to his beliefs. What if he was in the tent with Steven? What if he felt uncomfortable? Whether Steven gave him reason to or not. We would not put boys and girls in tents together, for good reasons. Which have nothing to do with bigotry or intolerance, but just common sense. We don’t just keep them apart JUST because we think they will have sex. NO, obviously they are not all attracted to each other.We keep them separate because it puts them in an uncomfortable situation.
What if? What if? What if?
WOULD YOU LEAVE THE BOY SCOUTS IF THEY CHANGE?
Survey Question: “Would [you] leave the BSA if a decision was made that disagreed with [your] view?”
That is an important question to them. And I am sure that people will leave if they change. Some may leave for religious reasons, and some may leave for wrong reasons. But people will leave. I hope if they do leave, that the kids don’t have to suffer the loss of a great outdoor experience. Hopefully the parents will provide an alternative. What is wrong with going camping with your family? You can still teach them hunting, fishing, and wildlife skills within your own family and group of close friends.
Would I leave? I honestly wouldn’t ever join. I don’t trust people that much to give them my kids. I honestly have seen enough abuse and immorality to not trust anyone with my kids. It has nothing to do with gay or straight. It has to do with crazy.
1 in 4 children are molested.
1 in 4
Especially with everything in the news about Jerry Sandusky. You can’t trust ANYONE. I also don’t want my kids in a tent with boys that would influence them into any kind of sexual immorality, even telling of dirty jokes, stories, or dirty pictures. Tell me it doesn’t happen. I don’t even let my children go overnight with the church. There are dirt bags everywhere.
In the end, it is the parents decision to PROTECT their own children, and choose their own VALUES.
If you don’t like the Boy Scouts, don’t let your kids miss out on living–provide that for them. Make your own memories.
THE BIGGER QUESTION
“The current Boy Scouts of America requirements prohibit open homosexuals from being Scouts or adult Scout leaders.”– But there are still gay scouts and leaders already there. Just because they are not openly gay, does not mean that they are not involved. The issue has more to do with popular opinion, than anything else.
And the Boy Scouts needs to make a decision.
And then the families can make theirs.
THE COMMENTS SECTION
It was really interesting to read the comments below the article too. It did indeed get heated. But both sides made great points.
Some people just called people names like “homophobic” or “Deviant”
and said things like,
“Well, aren’t we the self righteous one?
People who talk this way always have horrendous skeletons hanging in their closets!”
Others, made intelligent comments.
One person responded to the first comment with:
“Would you let 14 or 15 year old boys and girls share tents together overnight?”
“That is not exactly an equivalent comparison. 14 or 15 year old boys and girls are likely to be attracted to one another. This boy is the only openly gay one in the troop. It’s highly doubtful that there would be a mutual attraction between the boys. And, as The Company stated, just because the boy is gay does not mean he is going force himself on his tent mate. Being gay does not make you a monster. They could very possibly be friends, both inside and outside scouts, so why would the boy want to hurt the other?”
***Very true. But there could also be rare cases of sexual harassment, or immorality. The Boy Scouts has the responsibility to anticipate and prevent this.
I have offered some of my thoughts, I would like to hear what you have to say.
Obviously I am not coming at this post with my own opinion of right and wrong,
because I am trying to think about it from the standpoint of the individuals involved and how it affects the organization.
I think in the end, we would all like to see the Boy Scouts of America be a place where everyone is SAFE and comfortable for all the children.
I am open to you posting a comment on this, as long as you are nice about it.
Keep it (PG)