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Mark

I cannot for the life of me figure out why the Boy Scouts would want to exclude gay boys. Do they think their own kids have the same sexual hangups that they do, or do they hope to instill those prejudices in their kids?

El Jefe

Mark,

Always vote for your second choice there when parsing that logic.

Lance,

The last graf is one of your strongest wrap-ups, period. Keilloresque rhythm and your voice. Nice one. Also quite true. Two of the fiercest liberals I know -- my father and his best friend (the latter a good Irish-Catholic kid in the unlikely locale of Jacksonville, FL) -- were Eagle Scouts. My preferred idea of camping is the first floor of the hotel, but I'm grateful for the two of them daily.

Lance Mannion

Thanks, Jefe.

Mark, remember, a kid can stay in the Scouts through high school and the older Scouts are expected to act as leaders to the younger ones, so their discrimination against gay Scouts is tied to their fear of gay scoutmasters. I think they know that not all gay men are molesters, but they definitely believe all men who prey on boys are gay. The Jerry Sandusky case and in fact the Scouts' own files show otherwise, but scapegoating single gay men is easier than going after married men with children who have everyone around them convinced they're great guys. A lot of this is driven by the need to assure parents that they're kids are being kept safe. So this goes beyond the Scouts. It's a reaction to conservative communities feelings and fears about homosexuality. Actually, about sexuality, period. We are a very mixed up country.

Belvoir

I loved being a Cub Scout and a Webelo (and an altar boy). But by the time I was a young teen, the idea of being a Boy Scout was just.. uncool. It's not 1910 anymore. And it's true they impart good community values Lance, but they're not the only ones. I don't blame teens for not being interested in 2012. It's a very outmoded thing- when the Scouts started, people lived reasonably close to woods, wilderness, parkland. I think that's sadly far less the case now.

And as a gay person, I'll put on my contrarian hat and say: let them discriminate. Their right, their loss. I'm super-uncomfortable with the idea of vetting teenagers about their sexuality, it kind of appalls me- leave them alone. It shouldn't be an issue. As for adult scoutmasters who are gay, well I think, do something else. Sorry, there's lots of other things to do, and even though they are vastly well-meaning, you're scaring the horses. Just don't get involved in unpaid positions camping with teenaged boys, you know? Get a life. I know that sounds bitchy and cruel, but really, get out of a system that doesn't want you.

Like the Olympics, the Boy Scouts are a 20th century invention that we somehow all were meant to feel reverence for, as if they were eternal, ancient respect-worthy things. They're not, really. Though a lot of good has come from them. Not knocking the Boy Scouts really- just that it's an antiquated thing, and teenagers should have a lot of other things on their minds. The future, their grades, their friends, and yeah, sex. Duh. I'm sorry it's an issue with the Boy Scouts, but they seem to really have made it one, and it's a crumbling institution anyway, not meant for modern times. Tis what tis.

(Wonderful writing as always, Lance.)

Lance Mannion

Belvoir, I see your points, but what do you make of the Girl Scouts? They're doing pretty well and not just on the cookie front?

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