Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Is the Boy Scouts' decision really all that bad?

I've seen a lot of 'conservative Christian' fallout over the Boy Scouts decision to admit openly gay scouts, while maintaining the ban on troop leaders. But I'm not convinced it's a bad idea yet. My standard is, if they maintain their views that same-sex sexual behavior is wrong - really, this is actually a step forward. I would LIKE young gays to live up to that standard. I see nothing wrong with the change.

Now, if they changed their standards such that same-sex sexual behavior is morally positive or neutral, then we have a problem. But as near as I can tell, this wasn't the change at all.

15 comments:

BillT said...

There are a couple of issues that should be discussed. First, there are no procedures in place, as there are with adult leaders, to insure that Scouts are not in one on one situations. This provides an opportunity that could be taken advantage of.

Second, Scouts is suppose to be a place where there not only isn't sex but where sex and the "weirdness" of the potential of sex is completely off the table. It's suppose to be a place that's free of all that. It's suppose to be a respite, a safe haven from all that adolescent anxiety. That's now gone.

Crude said...

First, there are no procedures in place, as there are with adult leaders, to insure that Scouts are not in one on one situations. This provides an opportunity that could be taken advantage of.

This strikes me as the most realistic concern - one I don't have an easy reply to. The best comparison would be mixed gender situations. No, we probably don't think it's a good idea to take young boys and girls camping and letting them stay in the same tent with no adult supervision. (I'm sure some people are okay with this. I'm sure some people are stupid.) So with gay scouts, what do you do?

One problem is, I think it's similar to a concern over bullying - 'sexual things' aren't the only things that can happen, negatively, in a one on one scout situation. Even sexuality isn't totally offlimits - boys can bring porn, etc. I think the best you can do in a situation like this, and possibly the most reasonable thing, is to lay out the rules, make sure the boys know, and also make sure they can report problems. I'm not sure 'gay scouts are banned' is the best choice.

Second, Scouts is suppose to be a place where there not only isn't sex but where sex and the "weirdness" of the potential of sex is completely off the table. It's suppose to be a place that's free of all that. It's suppose to be a respite, a safe haven from all that adolescent anxiety. That's now gone.

This I'm less sure of. I agree that 'the potential of sex' really is supposed to be completely off the table in a scouting situation ideally. Again, I can see the concern of having an 'openly gay scout' mixed in with other boys. At the same time, I'm not convinced that the idea was feasible to begin with, insofar as it only seems to be effective if you actively hunt down and remove gay/bi scouts (even gay/bi scouts who agree with the scouts' views on these things). To put it another way - if it was in principle acceptable to have 'closeted' gay/bi scouts, then I think this line of argument suffers. If it was not in principle acceptable, then I worry that the goal was ultimately unrealistic.

That's why, for me, a lot of this comes down to the question of what the BSA policy will be about sexual activity - and why I think if the policy is what it apparently was in the past, then this is literally the best option we could have hoped for, at least as I see it right now. I'm a big believer that one of the failings of the Church and of people critical of same-sex behavior in general has been in overly downplaying or avoiding these topics, giving gay/bi kids nowhere to go except right into the arms of LGBT groups (and at the same time, promoting the idea that if someone is gay/bi in inclination, well, they're just LGBT footsoldiers immediately anyway.)

I will say this: if the BSA does accept gay scouts, while maintaining that same-sex sexual activity is immoral and something to discourage, you're going to quickly see LGBT groups regard this not as an incremental step forward, but a threatening strike against them.

BenYachov said...

Did the Boy Scouts expel from their ranks boys who openly fornicated with girls?

If so then it is wrong for them to admit boys who openly commit unnatural acts with other males.

OTOH if they never took action against boys who committed fornication or impregnated girls out of wedlock then their problem is hypocrisy.

OTOH private organizations have a right to be hypocrites.

Still it seems to me I will never let my son join the Boy Scouts since I don't want PC chuckleheads telling him what is moral or not.

Crude said...

Still it seems to me I will never let my son join the Boy Scouts since I don't want PC chuckleheads telling him what is moral or not.

Sure, but what is the evidence the BSA are PC chuckleheads? Part of my problem is I'm not convinced they are by this act.

ingx24 said...

I have never seen a convincing argument that there's anything morally wrong with homosexual acts. Just because something doesn't conform to the accepted standard of "normal" doesn't make it morally wrong. I take this to be somewhat of a reductio ad absurdum of Natural Law ethics - it condemns harmless acts because they go against a standard of what is "normal" or "natural".

Crude said...

ingx24,

The natural law position is not that something doesn't 'conform to the accepted standard of normal'. Nor is it a harmless act, certainly not under the natural law view.

So I don't think the claim of a reduction even gets off the ground. It's not as if Natural Law argues that homosexual acts are immoral or harmful according to non-NL views.

Crude said...

And as always, it's not just 'homosexual acts', but a far broader list. Plenty of 'heterosexual acts' are immoral and harmful under natural law views.

And plenty of 'homosexual acts' are moral under NL views. Two men having a very close friendship, even loving each other, is entirely fine in general. Anal sex? Okay, we're in problem territory.

ingx24 said...

Yeah, I was just posting a quick comment, and I seem to have accidentally begged the question. I'll probably post something on my blog going into a bit more detail regarding my objections to NL.

BenYachov said...

>Sure, but what is the evidence the BSA are PC chuckleheads? Part of my problem is I'm not convinced they are by this act.

Probability not enough evidence that would pass muster in a court of law.

But as a Father making prudent judgments as to how to raise my son I am not required to employ that level of evidence or that standard.

I may merely rely on my own prudent intuition & judgment to conclude I will error on the side of not letting him join.

Other Catholic Fathers may judge differently. That is their right under Church Teaching and natural law in this instance.

BenYachov said...

Additional:

What was the nature of the original ban on gay scouts?

Did they just ban persons who publicly professed to be attracted sexually to members of the same sex(i.e. SSA types?)?

Or did it only apply to persons who professed to have an active gay sex life?

There is a difference between the two in moral law.

Crude said...

What was the nature of the original ban on gay scouts?

I'd like an answer to that as well. Getting details is difficult.

As for where you put your kids, sure, your decision. I'm just judging the situation by what I know, and asking questions about what I don't. The reaction to this so far is disheartening based on the data I've seen.

malcolmthecynic said...

Fr. Bryant of Holy Souls Hermitage now considers the boy scouts a militant homosexual organization, and refuses to give them communion while in a boy scout uniform.

The problem is the reasoning here. Why do you think they did his? IT's because they don't believe a homosexual disposition is disordered. They consider is "discrimination", in a bad way, for homosexuals not to be allowed in the organization. Now by allowing open homosexuals it's encouraging kids to come out and declare their sexuality as homosexual or heterosexual while young, where their sexuality might not even be fully formed yet.

With that said, I'm not sure if I agree with Fr. Bryant about refusing communion, because it's technically not ipso facto immoral to allow gay people into the scouts. But I'm VERY much against the lifting of the ban. They caved in to liberal pressure and it's a damn shame.

Crude said...

But I'm VERY much against the lifting of the ban. They caved in to liberal pressure and it's a damn shame.

Was there a ban on gay scouts? There doesn't seem to have been. Maybe there was a ban on 'out' gay scouts.

Liberal pressure, as far as I understand it, was about allowing gay troop leaders. Now, LGBT groups certainly celebrated this change as some kind of 'good first step', but they didn't get what they were going for originally.

I'm not sure what to think. I oppose LGBT groups' agendas. I think same-sex attraction (and a host of other sexual desires) are disordered. But I also think the Christian approach to these topics has been rotten for a while. My main question, which seems impossible to get an answer to, is whether the Boy Scouts still regard same-sex sexual behavior as immoral.

malcolmthecynic said...

Maybe there was a ban on 'out' gay scouts.

Yeah, I typed that too quickly, but I'm pretty sure.

Anyway, yeah, they consider all types of sexual actions, outside of marriage immoral, or at least against the rules as far as I'm aware.

The problem I have with this is that it's obviously encouraging children to out themselves and is a way for them (the Scouts) to say, "It's all good, a homosexual orientation is just as good as a heterosexual one!". It's basically encouraging kids to declare their sexuality. The thing is, at a young age, declaring yourself gay could be harmful long term.

This is all a part of the homosexual agenda (yes, I'm one of those whacko crazy right-wing nutjobs who believes there's a real homosexual agenda) to normalize a disordered desire. I can't support that.

As for the Christian approach to these topics, well, I don't think there's just one "Christian" approach. We have things like the Westboro Baptist Church then we have the squishyness and spinelessness of the U.S. Bishops on pretty much everything but illegal immigration, going towards the two extreme ends. It really depends on the denomination and even the individual parish and the individual person. The fact is in today's world you're a bigot if you think homosexual desires are disordered, homosexual acts are immoral, and gay marriage is an oxymoron. Such is life right now.

Also, my prediction is that within 3 to 6 months we're going to have openly homosexual Scout leaders. This is definitely the first step.

Crude said...

Malcolm,

Anyway, yeah, they consider all types of sexual actions, outside of marriage immoral, or at least against the rules as far as I'm aware.

Alright. Sounds a bit grey area given gay marriage nowadays, but that's at least promising.

I'm not sure it's necessarily 'encouraging children to out themselves'. It seems, at least on the surface, a recognition that some kids will, and that merely being same-sex attracted shouldn't be the standard on which someone is kicked out of the scouts. Now, I could be missing some important dimensions here, but that much I agree with.

I don't think 'homosexual agenda' is crazy. If anything, I think it's too narrow - it's broader than just homosexual, but it's real. Hell, there are LGBT groups out there and they make their goals largely clear.

I actually think there's a push to regard all rejection of same-sex behavior as 'bigotry', but there's also a lot of stupid moves made on the conservative side. I also understand why they make some of those moves sometimes - it's complicated.

The reason I'm so cautious here is that this move - accepting gay scouts - can go either way. Now, it may be a prelude to a fall, as you point out. That's entirely reasonable. But I think it may also be taken - and here, I'm largely being optimistic - as a positive move, one that takes the wind out of the LGBT's sails. They didn't get what they wanted on this deal: they wanted gay scoutmasters. They presumably wanted approval of same-sex sexual behavior. Instead, the Boy Scouts got a publicity coup that was a mixed blessing - it will probably cost them some members. I am not sure I agree with the rationale behind those who are cutting and running, rather than staying to fight.