Monday, June 03, 2013

“...and Satan will have his victory.”

Two letters in my Sunday June 2, 2013 newspaper caught my attention. They are both about the Boy Scouts and their recent vote to allow openly gay scouts, but not gay adults. The letters definitely have different opinions.

James C., who gives his Scouting bona fides in the first paragraph, is of the opinion that the policy “will create more problems than it solves.” Then he goes on to list a few problems: “A scout must be ‘morally straight.’ But that will be passing a moral judgment that many consider discriminatory.” Boys sleeping next to each other might cause a problem. “Decent families” may pull their kids out of scouting because of some “awkward encounters.”

He even says, “. . . but wait until your son returns from a campout and says that Johnnie tried to climb into his sleeping bag with him! If you complain, you’ll be accused of homophobia.” James ends his letter by switching to a purely religious tone when he says that it will “cause the demise of Scouting . . . and Satan will have his victory.”

I always perk up when people blame Satan. It tells me how their thinking processes go.

James’ argument is interesting because what he’s mentioning as problems are actually scenarios which have been created in his own mind. He doesn’t claim any of these things have happened, and unless he has a gift of prophecy they may never happen.

But that won’t keep James from trying to influence the beliefs of others by mentioning them, real or not. Or scaring them by invoking Satan. As for little Johnnie trying to climb into your son’s sleeping bag, how about a snake or a scorpion instead? They’ve been known to climb into sleeping bags. And bears, looking for food, have been known to slice through tents and maul campers. Frankly, I’d be more worried about any of those things, but James apparently thinks they are low on the danger scale compared to young, gay Johnnie.

I need to remind James, also, that boys who are not gay have been known to have sex play with other boys. It isn’t that uncommon.

As for being accused of homophobia for worrying about Johnnie and the sleeping bag, James gets some sort of award for homophobia for bringing it up in an imaginary situation.

My suggestion to James C. would be that perhaps he has already known gay Boy Scouts, and gay Scout Leaders, but because of homophobia they kept their silence on their sexual orientation. There are stereotypes, and I think a popular myth that refuses to die is that all gay males are child rapists and molesters. Statistically we know that more heterosexuals than homosexuals molest children. For a good reason: there are more heterosexuals than homosexuals. James should turn his scenarios back on himself. If as a heterosexual Eagle Scout he never molested anyone or climbed into their sleeping bag, then why would he just assume a homosexual Scout would? That gay Scout may feel just as much an obligation to be morally straight as James C.

For Richard, who wrote the second letter, the problem is different. It’s not gay boys (or even gay adults), but Scout leaders. He claims he was almost killed three times by a Scout leader. “Twice by accident; once on purpose.” He says, “If any of these incidents had been the result of a gay leader, he would have been lynched. But since they were by a straight Mormon leader, they were swept under the rug.”

Richard is referring to Mormons sponsoring a lot of Scout troops. And since these Scout leaders are also devout church members, the LDS church has done what a lot of religious organizations have done when faced with such claims: they believe the man and not the boy.

Richard ends his note with a warning: “Scouts are in a lot of danger at the hands of their Scout leaders. Beware!”

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