Will the Boy Scouts allow gays?

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

The Boy Scouts of America said last week that it would delay until May a decision to reconsider its policy of barring openly gay people, a policy the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in 2000. Today, a Scouting activist endorses an end to the national ban. But a Christian leader argues that the moral absolute of Scouting has been put up for sale

Commenting is open following Jerry Luquire’s column.

Provide Scouting’s best for all families

By Gary B. Roberts

I am fortunate to work at an organization that values inclusion. I attend an Episcopal parish that is open and welcoming to all “sorts and conditions” of people. I am also an Eagle Scout and the father of an Eagle Scout. I’ve been a Cub Scout leader and an assistant scoutmaster at times in my life. I fully support the Boy Scouts of America.

For the past 10 years, I’ve been working with the Boy Scouts as the host for Merit Badge University at Kennesaw State University. This is an annual event where over 1,200 Scouts come to campus and participate in over 50 merit badge classes on a Saturday in October. Young men in khaki uniforms and merit badge sashes fill up our campus. Over 60 of my students volunteer to teach merit badge classes, serve as guides and even help park cars.

It’s a great event and very effective. Most boys leave having earned at least one merit badge, another step toward a Scout earning his Eagle award.

All of my students are required to have child protection training certificates from the BSA. We practice two-deep adult presence at all times. Safety of the Scouts is one of our primary concerns.

For the past three years, my graduate research assistant, Dennis, has been the primary project manager of this program. Starting almost a year before each event, Dennis has the primary responsibility for making things happen and coordinates between the university and the Boy Scouts. Without his attention to detail, the event would not be successful.

Here’s the irony. Dennis, who is 50 and working on his MBA, is a gay man in a committed long-term relationship. Currently, he is not allowed to hold any position with the Boy Scout organization. His work with Merit Badge University falls under the auspices of Kennesaw State University, where we make a good effort to protect our students from any form of homophobia.

Dennis volunteers his time working with an organization that would not allow him to be a member. Why? Because he sees the value of the program and is willing to “take one for the team” in order to make the world just a little bit better.

There are a lot of Dennises in the world. Many times, they receive no recognition and no reward.

I’m embarrassed for the Boy Scouts and their policy of excluding gay and lesbian adult leaders.

The proposed local option approach for Scouting puts the sexual orientation issue where it belongs. It is not, nor has it ever been, a core value of Scouting.

Every Scout leader I talk to about this clearly does not want to see Scouting divided into anti-gay troops or gay-friendly troops; they want to provide the best of Scouting to all boys and their families.

For some sponsoring organizations, sexual orientation may be fundamental. For most of us, it is not.

I just want Dennis to be accepted for who he is and for what he contributes.

Gary B. Roberts is professor of management and entrepreneurship at Kennesaw State University.

No right way to do wrong thing

By Jerry Luquire

About five months ago, I filled this space with an observation that the Boy Scouts of America had the right to make a decision regarding standards of its membership and leadership.

At that time, I agreed that the organization had correctly decided, in our opinion, to continue its exclusive inclusion of heterosexual males.

Recently, the national leadership indicated it was reviewing its 103-year history of providing character development with exclusive heterosexual acceptance, and possibly find a way for homosexual members and leaders to be accepted. This follows intense bullying from homosexual groups in demanding that corporate giving to the Boy Scouts be “outed” and to refuse further support.

The opposition says the Scouts discriminate, which they do. That is, if you apply the positive meaning of discrimination as “to detect or draw distinctions,” as defined in Webster’s dictionary. It is also known as membership standards.

The Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board had predicted a review but, with an embarrassingly absurd excuse, the board said, “Due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs more time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy,” until May.

That the stand was even questioned destroyed the integrity of the position. The refusal of this group to walk the walk that they talk gives the enemy a right to say the board is not really sure of its position; that it is saying it may be wrong; that maybe homosexuals camping with heterosexuals and being taught character by those who have heretofore been unacceptable is now somehow not a threat.

To an uninvolved observer, tragically, the 103-year-old moral absolute by the Scouts has gone to the auction block. Money, not morality, rules.

Just for discussion, forget who sleeps with whom and how. Look at what is really at issue here: the distribution of tax-free corporate dollars earned by profit-making corporations, owned by stockholders. If there is excess cash, let’s put it to a taxable use that will not cause arguments. These dollars belong to the stockholders, who expect the corporation to return maximum profits. If corporate heads want to support a nonprofit, let them do so as we do, from their personal incomes — a tax loophole that can be closed.

It does not matter now what the board decides in May. There is no additional damage that can be done. They have told the homosexuals, “You just might be right, and we may be wrong.” Which is all they wanted.

Scout leaders violated the organization’s best-known position and motto. When faced with choosing money or morality, they were not prepared. Perhaps they need to understand the saying, “There is no right way to do a wrong thing.”

Jerry Luquire is president of the Georgia Christian Coalition based in Columbus.

30 comments Add your comment

Dave

February 16th, 2013
6:29 pm

Back Atchy, whose morals? I assume you consider yourself to have a monopoly? Being black and free used to be against the law. Do you think God is still, if there’s been a change, on that side of that question? I’d appreciate you explaining the difference between gay and black when it comes to God.

Dennis

February 16th, 2013
3:19 pm

Scrivener,

I understand your position, but it does come with a flaw. You are assuming that there are no gay people who support the scouts, and I am an example of one who does. There are also scouts them selves who are gay. The issue is truly we tell these boys that they are substandard and not good enough to be a scout. The important things that the boys learn from scouting is self-esteem and leadership qualities. It also teaches them to be honest. Don’t ask – don’t tell creates an environment of lies and deception neither of which is a quality of a good scout. Was I not gay as a child? Yes, I knew when I was young that I was different, but I went through the motions of being what was expected and hurt several people along the way unintentionally.

As far as the rest of you who are worried about openly gay men around young boys, we are open for a reason. My partner and I are often mistaken as straight men, and could blend right without issue. We chose to be open with our friends, family and colleagues because we try to be an example to society. Also, when we keep this secret away from them, do they really know us or just the mask we portray? I value honesty too much not to be honest to the people around me in my life and my community. It is the people who are not open and honest about who they are that are the pedophiles. They are good at wearing the mask and are your neighbors, preachers, youth ministers and yes, sometimes scout masters. No parent says, “I knew he was a pedophile” after their child is molested. Also, keeping open gays out of leadership positions has not removed the problem. Children are still being molested by sick people often by people with children of their own.

Again, I truly support Scouting and will abide by their decision. I will not boycott companies that support them or that withdraw their support. I pray that they reach the right decision soon, as it is indecisiveness that will destroy an institute that I cherish fondly. If I had adopted a child, I would strongly encourage their participation in the program (with or without me as a leader). I support my community troops (boys and girls) by buying, applauding and supporting their activities. I am proud to be part of organizing of the largest inclusive (Boy and Girl Scouts) Merit Badge day in our region. I indirectly touch the lives of nearly 1000 children each year through this event. Children ARE our future, and programs like these and many others are making our future brighter.

Back Atchy

February 16th, 2013
4:23 am

And I’m sick and tired of advocates of perversion, defending it by calling those that advocate morals homophobes, intolerant, bigotted, non-inclusive, haters. Try calling God that and see how that works out for you. He made the rules. Don’t try to counter by taking bible verses out of context, or comparing old testament examples of barbarous behavior to new testament teachings. Will it be pedophillia or beastiality next. Oh those are illegal. Hmmmm so was homosexuality.

Dave

February 15th, 2013
6:50 pm

Yes Scrivener. Your comment was the exception with one other, which I should have said. I’m still waffling on having made the comment; but, too much of what I consider hate speech comes from people who have poor English skills.

I disagree with you based on logic. You apparently think gay adults who would participate in Scouting are necessarily pedophiles. Does that mean that all straight males coming in contact with kids necessarily prey on little girls? There’s no difference in the logic. If straight males can deal with little girls, gay guys can deal with little boys. Or, please do enlighten me. And this God thing, you might want to take a survey on who believes in what. And because many are religious does that fill the field? No non-religous need apply?

I’m being strident which I don’t like to be; but, I’m tired of the religious right, many members of which aren’t well educated, co-opting morality and dictating to others. Not charming; but, realistic.

Scrivener

February 15th, 2013
6:30 pm

So, Dave, along with calling people hateful, homophobic and fearful you are now putting people down for their English skills. Charming.

Shamehia

February 15th, 2013
6:20 pm

“…Scouting divided into anti-gay troops or gay-friendly troops…”

I heard one news report that they’re actually considering that option, when you sign your kid up for Scouts you would designate gay troop or straight troop sort of like choosing paper or plastic in the grocery checkout. Having been in Scouts in another day and age that to me is just surreal and bizarre.

Dave

February 15th, 2013
5:27 pm

I probably shouldn’t say this; but, I will – the anti-gay folks commenting here need some remedial spelling, grammar and syntax. I tried to read around the fourth grade writing but then all I was left with was hate.

Debbie

February 15th, 2013
4:06 pm

Tell me why can they not have their own group gays with gays and leave the rest of the boys alone why do they have to infrindge on where they are not wanted. I know that I do not want my boy around it and I will be pulling him out. No one should be pushed into this just because they want it its not right. I am tired of gays saying we have rights and we are going to get them. Well what about the rest of us we dont have any rights. ITS NOT RIGHT what happend to our form of RIGHTS.

bookman parrot

February 15th, 2013
2:18 pm

even with potentially allowing gays into Boy Scouts you are still excluding by gender and age… you discriminatory animals … why not complain about that too lib wacks
LOL

SBinF

February 15th, 2013
12:40 pm

larry,

Sounds like your lack of grasp on reality is detrimental to your maturing process. There are gay people in the world. Get used to it. They operate in every strata of society. Police officers, teachers, cashiers. They’re everywhere! Better retreat to your underground bunker, lest you be forced to interact with one of them.