Boy Scouts propose pissing off everyone
April 19th, 2013
There is something blind, something ignorant, something truly clueless in the way that some people approach crisis management.
Confronted with two opposing viewpoints, two cultures at war, they seek to mediate, to find a solution that is workable for all sides. That isn’t a bad approach; but you have to look at the underlying issues, the core concerns. And those who ‘just want it to all go away’ can often focus on negotiating the details, thinking this will resolve the issue.
A compromise that doesn’t address the base issues is unacceptable to both sides. “When you hit those you see as your enemy, you may only use sticks, not clubs” is a solution that makes happy neither the club wielders or those being beaten.
And yet that is the new “solution” to the problem that the Boy Scouts of America are proposing to their dilemma over gay scouts. ABC
Under pressure over its longstanding ban on gays, the Boys Scouts of America is proposing to lift the ban for youth members but continue to exclude gays as adult leaders.
The Scouts announced Friday that it would submit this proposal to the roughly 1,400 voting members of its National Council at a meeting in Texas the week of May 20.
This foolish proposal will likely please no one. Because it fails to recognize the issues at hand.
Conservative churches who host scout troops are primarily concerned that their teachings on morality will be undermined by the programs they sponsor. They do not want to be affiliated with an organization which expresses that a gay identity is a morally acceptable way to see oneself. So the Scouts saying that they welcome gay youth into the local scout troop is unlikely to please those who most object to policy change.
On the other hand, the proposed policy presumes that gay adults are predatory and a threat to youth. To those who believe that sexual orientation is merely an attribute of one’s being, such a message is more offensive than an outright ban. It concedes the morality issue and pivots to one of fear, stereotype, and bigotry. Gay groups and liberal churches can’t help but be horrified at the implication.
And to the youth in the Scouts, it’s particularly toxic. The message is now that you can be tolerated because you are young. But some day you will become a vile and horrible threat to those around you. And when you do, you will be shunned and feared and banished. The Scouts may be for life for other, but not for you.
This is an in working, untenable position.
The previous proposal – that each troop chose whether to welcome gay scouts and leaders – was not ideal. But it did recognize the problem and find a way to respect the concerns of both sides.
I would favor a policy that lets each troop decide locally but which demands that all troops respect the position and decision of each other when they come together. This is an approach that has worked well in a number of religious organization who are not in unity in the issue of pastoral care or marriage.
But I predict that this absurd accepting of gay youth until their 18th birthday will make no one happy. No one except those who foolishly think that this decision will ‘just make it all go away.’