When we excuse homophobia as a matter of opinion instead of treating it as a destructive social illness, we invite fear to explode into violence. How often are the perpetrators of hate crimes discovered to be self-loathing? Valued individuals do not strike out against strangers.
The reaction from both sides of the issue suggests that the recommended policy change, allowing openly gay members but keeping a ban on gay adult leaders, was likely doomed for failure the moment it was announced.
So a boy can come out as gay, be a great scout and be accepted by the organization but not even think about being a scoutmaster as an adult? And how can a gay scout feel that he is not stigmatized by the Boy Scouts of America when the organization is still discriminating against gay adults?
Scouting has provided such an impressive forum for young men to come to terms with their sexual identity that one is left to wonder whether the Boy Scouts are in fact an agent of Sodom, promoting the homosexual agenda with greater fervor than a Broadway Cruise to South Beach.
On Jan. 28 the Boy Scouts of America announced that it would consider giving local troops the right to determine if they would allow openly gay members and leaders, a halfway measure reminiscent of the approach that the BSA used when it confronted membership of people of color.
Why, after reaffirming its ban on gay, bisexual and transgender scouts and scout leaders just last year, is the Boy Scouts of America even considering a reversal? Quite simply, its policies have placed it on the endangered organizations list.
After investing my youth in scouting, I was ejected from their ranks and my Eagle Scout badge was revoked because I'd come out as gay at 19 years old. I challenged this decision, and a decade later a divided Supreme Court sided with the Boy Scouts. I always knew it was a Pyrrhic victory.