Our view: Scouting’s right, but wrong aim
July 23, 2012 2:18PM
THE FIRST AMENDMENT
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Updated: August 25, 2012 6:05AM
The Boy Scouts of America don’t have to let openly gay people into the organization, either as members or as leaders. The U.S. Supreme Court said so, back in 2000.
But that doesn’t make a decision — announced last week after a two-year review by a special committee that reaffirmed that “the policy is absolutely the best policy for the Boy Scouts” — any easier to handle.
Scouting likely will find itself continuing to control the damage done and messages sent whenever a group hangs onto unfortunate stereotypes that persist about gay people.
Chad Griffin of the Human Rights Campaign, a U.S. gay-rights group, said, “With the country moving toward inclusion, the leaders of the Boy Scouts of America ... have chosen to teach division and intolerance.”
To be fair, the Boy Scouts — and any group that puts adults in teaching roles for children — must be careful about who is allowed to lead.
But by holding onto an interpretation of the Scout oath that to be “morally straight” means to be sexually straight, too, amounts to judging character by perception instead of actions. That interpretation doesn’t come right out and say it, but implies that gay people are not redeemable — and worse, can’t be trusted to be around children. That’s a sweeping assumption that doesn’t fly and does no favors to young Scouts.
Two members of the national executive board — Ernst & Young CEO James Turley and AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson — have said they would work to change the policy. Here’s saying the Boy Scouts would be better off for it.
(Lafayette) Journal and Courier