Boy Scout Dreams

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.

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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:

classy23

“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.

Another posted:

“Homosexual boys are more interested in OTHER homosexual boys. If you trained your kids right, you could put boys and girls together in tents and not worry. And I should like to point out, if you WOULD worry, then it’s going to happen anyway (sex that is). So stop worrying so much.”

***I think that most parents would prefer that no one is having any sex on these camping trips. And even if I train my children right, I would never let them sleep in a tent with the opposite sex. Not because I don’t want them to have sex, but because it is not proper.

Can a gay boy scout share a tent with another boy? Um, they already do, don’t they? You want to discriminate against them because they have the strength to own up to it honestly? I think it may send a conflicting message to the child considering “honesty” is supposed to be one of the boy scouts oaths, correct? Or am I wrong on this? After all, this comes directly from the Boy Scouts promises:

“Being morally straight means to live your life with honesty, to be clean in your speech and actions, and to be a person of strong character.”

***That is a good point. They already do.

Sex is an option in the Boy Scouts? You should be asking this of the Priests and Catholic Church where this a greater likely hood of this being an issue. The truth hurts, I know.

***We ALL need to wake up to the fact that our children are being targeted for abuse EVERYWHERE. And we need to stop trusting EVERYONE.

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)

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About The Last Hiker

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2 Responses to Boy Scout Dreams

  1. Dan says:

    I think you did great job staying fair in this post. I found that stat about 90% of boy molesters being heteros pretty staggering.

    As far as allowing an openly gay troop member, I think to deny him would be incredibly unfortunate and just plain wrong. Here are some rhetorical questions you posed to get us thinking about ‘poor’ David.

    -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?
    -What if he was in the tent with Steven?
    -What if he felt uncomfortable?

    I get that lots of people are indoctrinated into believing that homosexuality is wrong. I have the hardest time in the world trying to understand why people are faulted for the way they are born, but I’ll try for a second to pretend that David’s beliefs are valid.

    These questions prompt such insignificant responses compared to denying Steve’s inclusion into BSA. Who cares if David has to share a tent with a kid who is different from him? He’ll surely be less uncomfortable than Steve when he is told that he is blatantly being discriminated against for a reason entirely out of his control.

    As far as those first two questions, is it really that unfortunate for David to be tolerant and accepting? Of course not. Maybe it would be better for these kids to be exposed to gay kids at a young age so that the pop-culture-perpetuated stigma surrounding them is not taken as truth. Maybe it will allow the kids to consider their own thoughts instead of listening to pastors or parents for (hateful) guidance about the treatment of others.(People who know gay people are, statistically, much more likely to accept them).

    Sorry if this is too long or pointed.

  2. I think you make some great points! Thanks Dan.

    My only disagreement is at the very end, because you almost make it sound like anyone (parents or pastors maybe) who disagrees with a homosexual lifestyle is hateful.

    Sure, there are plenty of hateful people out there. But the majority of the people I know who think homosexuality is one of the sexual sins mentioned in the Bible (or other religious text), do not hate gay people at all–but rather look on them the same way they would any other person that they happen to disagree with (but love).

    Calling someone who disagrees with an opinion “hateful” is a wonderful strategy for winning a debate. If they know they will be called names (and that would upset them), they will be hesitant to be open about their own beliefs; they will capitulate out of fear. I think this applies even more strongly to children. Whether they have any opinion shaped by their parents or their own gut reaction doesn’t matter. They still have a harder time, not being pressured into situations they are uncomfortable with. People, children, have the right to their own beliefs, whether they are popular or not.

    I hope they find a way to work this out so that Steven and David both end up happy! Thanks for commenting on my blog.

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