Gays, Boy Scouts, and dogma

The Boy Scouts of America is considering an end to its prohibition against homosexual troop leaders, deferring that decision to local councils. Sexual molestation! cry opponents, and so into the breach rushes the conscientious journalist, whose moral obligation is to remind readers of the evidence that homosexuals are no more prone to molestation than heterosexuals.

I’m not acquainted with research comparing the rates of child molestation between homosexual and straight men, but I’m certain it doesn’t matter; this is about dogma, not data. That is why we shouldn’t expect a journalist to state the obvious, which is that if it defies good sense to send teenaged girls off into the woods with heterosexual men, it likely defies good sense to send teenaged boys off with homosexual men.

This is no aspersion against homosexuals, except insofar as they are men, and we know enough about men to understand that some of them find teenagers sexually attractive, and the older and more mature-looking these teenagers, the easier it becomes for seemingly decent men to violate them while pretending the act is consensual. It’s no slander, except that it disputes ground that is within the grasp of homosexual activists, and hence must be proof of homophobia, and therefore unreason, and should thus be disregarded.

That’s the norm in American modern politics, of course: don’t debate your opponent, paint him as fraud, troglodyte, hypocrite. Which is all well and good; it certainly isn’t fair to expect homosexual activists to show more decency than, say, homeopathy activists. What’s troubling is the cowardice of people who ought to know better in the face of the name-calling. One can only hope that local councils won’t cave to the political and economic pressure likely to follow in the wake of the BSA’s abrogation of duty.

Comments

  1. Chuck Ross

    Maybe I’m dense, but why is it OK to harp on the Catholic Church for its epidemic of pedophile priests but when it comes to the Boy Scouts the issue of potential pedophilia is disregarded as spookery?

    In one institution the myth is that pedophiles are everywhere, and in the other it’s that pedophiles don’t exist.

  2. AuburnCathy

    Tony, thank you so much for always stating the truth even if not politically correct. Great as always! I appreciate your insightful posts.

  3. spencer

    Chuck: if liberals didnt have double standards they wouldnt have any standards at all.

    its about destroying any institution that stands between the liberal left and their desire to ruin anything that gives a sense of family or belonging. the realities be damned.

  4. Jeffrey

    I think what’s being considered is not deferring to the local council, but to the chartering organization, e.g.., the local church, PTA, Elk’s Lodge, etc. that sponsors the Scout unit.

    Is it (should it?) be about molestation or should it be about unrepentant sin, i.e., behavior that’s not “morally straight”?

  5. d

    Dumb author doesn’t even realize that the Girl Scouts DO allow male troop leaders! Maybe you should do a little research before you spew your BULLSHIT!

  6. Jennifer Jia

    Just so you guys know, the US is not the only country with Boy/Girl Scouts, and in Taiwan, it’s a secular organization, and they don’t care about if someone is gay or straight.

    Same goes for the Scouting organizations in other countries.

    The US is the only one making a fuss about this.

  7. Brian, Eagle Scout '05

    Tony,

    The BSA currently DOES allow heterosexual women to serve in direct contact leadership positions (merit badge counselor, Scoutmaster, etc), which include serving as leaders on camp outs.

    The BSA currently does NOT allow homosexual women to be leaders in the organization.

    Your argument is poorly researched and invalid.

  8. Post
    Author
    Woodlief

    Brian,
    You are correct (speaking to Jeffrey’s point as well) that the BSA position in the past has been that homosexuality represents a lack of moral straightness. That point is irrelevant here, however, insofar as my post isn’t intended to be a full-scale defense of the BSA’s position.

    While you are correct, further, that women can be in positions of authority in the BSA, I think you have to recognize the relevance of this fact: women are far, far less likely to be sexual predators than men. Thus my point is not, you’ll note, that all mixed gender supervision is ill-advised, my point is that putting men in charge of young and relatively defenseless people whom they might find sexually attractive creates unnecessary risks.

  9. Post
    Author
    Woodlief

    d,

    Had you read the rest of Sullivan’s piece before jumping over here, you’d find that the Girl Scouts require any male supervisors to be accompanied by females. Sullivan recommends this as good policy for homosexual supervisors of Boy Scouts as well, that each be accompanied by a straight supervisor. Is that the route you want to go?

    Before you answer, I’ll suggest one other point for you to consider: when you lead with insult and profanity, you guarantee that listeners won’t take you seriously. And since this is my site, I’ll note an additional consequence, which is that you piss me off. So feel free to come back and make a point, but throw out any more profanity and you can rage at the sky on your own dime.

  10. rustywheeler

    “I’m not acquainted with research comparing the rates of child molestation between homosexual and straight men, but I’m certain it doesn’t matter…”

    Really? So this is not to be construed as any kind of empirical argument then. Which is probably best.

  11. Post
    Author
    Woodlief

    Rusty,

    My point is that numbers won’t matter, this is a religious argument, on both sides of the issue.

    Fortunately, common sense can be of some use to us even when data are not reliable.

  12. Brian, Eagle Scout '05

    Tony,

    I appreciate the response, and agree that the vast majority of sexual predators are men. My point is not to say otherwise. But if we are going to bring that data into the argument, why do we discount research showing that gay and bisexual men are not any more likely to sexually abuse children?

    If your point is that “putting men in charge of young and relatively defenseless people whom they might find sexually attractive creates unnecessary risks,” why is that something the BSA allows in their Venturing program? Why is it acceptable to have a heterosexual male be one of the leaders in a group that includes 14-21 year old females?

    I understand that your post is not intended to be a full scale defense of the BSA’s position, and I will acknowledge that many homosexual activists, to use your term, have often entered a shouting match rather than offering a more formal argument. But you seem to be defending a point where the lynchpin of the argument, that gay men are more likely to be sexual predators than their heterosexual counterparts, is just plain not true.

  13. BobN

    You know who should be banned from leadership in the BSA and GSA? Adults who say they can see how an adult could abuse a child or put the moves on a teen. I you can imagine yourself doing so, stay away.

    You know who you are. The rest of us can spot you by your “common sense” advice on the ban on gays.

  14. Post
    Author
    Woodlief

    Bob,
    Ordinarily, ad hominem attacks don’t get past my filter, but I’m allowing your comment to stand by way of illustrating the kind of ugliness that awaits anyone who wants to engage in a rational discussion of this and related topics.

    Which is not to say, of course, that ignorance and irrationality doesn’t get hurled at people who share your sentiments about the BSA ban. But there’s no use wallowing about in the mud with them, is there?

  15. Post
    Author
    Woodlief

    Brian,

    I’m not familiar with the Venturing program, but if it’s as you describe, I can say that my opposition to letting men traipse about in the woods with youngsters they are more inclined to find sexually attractive than others is just a bad policy overall.

    So if I appear to imply that I believe homosexual men are more inclined to molestation than heterosexual men, please know that’s not my intent. I simply want to urge people not to do stupid things that endanger children for the sake of a crusade.

  16. Brian, Eagle Scout '05

    Tony,

    I think it would be worth while for you (and Andrew Sullivan, for that matter) to look into the adult training policies the BSA currently has. Their Youth Protection system, while imperfect even when correctly implemented, is much more comprehensive than the systems I’ve seen in many youth organizations and churches.

    I didn’t expect that you have ill will homosexuals. And I didn’t think you felt homosexuals were likely predators given the article you linked to. But I feel quite strongly that the totality of the BSA’s programs provides an important context that moves beyond protecting youth and starts to enable homophobia. I’m pressing back on this issue because after 20 years in the organization, 8 years serving as a member of the council’s camp staff, and leading countless adult training sessions, I still have to worry about people finding out that I am gay. Having a policy in place that says, in effect, “Gays are dangerous because they molest kids” only perpetuates dangerous falsehoods.

    And I’m sorry you have to deal with the less than kind dissent. I get fed up with some of the people who agree with me because their tone completely stops discussion. No one is going to change their opinion if we don’t have thoughtful discussions.

  17. Post
    Author
    Woodlief

    Brian,

    I’m familiar with the youth protection policies, and you’re right about how comprehensive they are. The thought experiment we have to work with is asking whether molestation would increase, were heterosexual men allowed to supervise teenaged girls. Would the BSA rules — which appear to be pretty effective at stopping molestation in the current regime (so far as we know) — be equally effective in that scenario?

    My fear is that they would not, that it’s not just the rules, in other words, but the fact that traditionally we have been careful about allowing men to supervise older children who fall into the range of what they might consider attractive.

    So, if we should be (I believe) hesitant about the heterosexual men supervising teenaged girls scenario, we should be equally hesitant about homosexual men supervising teenaged boys.

    I readily admit I could be wrong, and that the rules alone could suffice. But my hunch is that rules governing sexual behavior are rarely, by themselves, enough.

    With all that said, I recognize my blanket prescription demands you bear a price. It’s easy enough for me to demand it, since I don’t have to pay it. I wish we all had a foolproof means of weighing the hearts of men, though I suspect most of us would fare worse than we imagine.

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  19. TerjeP

    I’m a Cub Scout leader in Australia and I have a daughter in Joey Scouts, a son in Cub Scouts and a son in Scouts. All sections are mixed sex in Australia. I’m not so familiar with the US scene but here male leaders go out in the bush with female Scouts. Not without a female leader as well but out there none the less.

    We shouldn’t be naive but for the record it is possible to find somebody sexually attractive without becoming a sex predator.

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