The Boy Scouts of America have essentially put salt on an open wound. The organization has been dilly-dallying around trying to determine whether or not to lift its ban on allowing gay scouts into the organization. In the latest news, the organization has sent 1.1 million scout leaders and parents a survey to gauge their level of comfort with gays in the organization.
This latest move by the Boy Scouts of America is ridiculous and crosses the line. One of the questions on the survey is, "Is it acceptable for a gay scout and a straight scout to share a tent on an overnight camping trip?" This is absurd! It's discrimination against gays. It portrays a gay scout to be some kind of monster. Since when does being gay mean you are automatically some kind of sexual predator?
The Boy Scouts say they will make their official ruling on whether or not to lift the ban at its annual convention in May, but they are just delaying the inevitable. History repeats itself, and just like with the slaves, Native Americans, African Americans, women and other groups that have been discriminated against, eventually all Americans will welcome gays and lesbians into society as equals because it's the right thing to do. We've made huge progress in this area over the years, but we still have a long way to go.
America has recognized the seriousness of bullying in recent years, but this is nothing more than bullying against gays and lesbians. The worst part is it's bullying against young kids, many of whom are first starting to figure out what their sexual orientation is. Imagine how hard it must be on a 14 year old boy who is active in the Boy Scouts, and just realized that he is gay. How many gay, lesbian and transgender Americans have committed suicide because of the hate? How many more are in therapy and gulping anti-depressants because of this kind of bullying? When will it ever stop?
The Boy Scouts is an American institution that teaches many great lessons and helps prepare our youth for the real world. According to the Boy Scouts of America website, typical activities that scouts participate in include: camping, racing model cars and boats, jamborees, patrol activities, service projects and more. My critical thinking question to the Boy Scouts: what do any of these activities have to do with one's sexual preference? Does it matter if a scout is gay, straight or bisexual to participate in any of these activities?
Apparently the Boy Scouts and the religious right seem to think it does. Sexual orientation has nothing to do with this, and it's teaching kids bigotry and hatred. For an organization that claims to be one of the nation's "most prominent values-based" organizations, what kind of values is this teaching? It's teaching kids how to be prejudice towards minorities. It's setting them up to hate others who are different. It's wrong and it's time for it to stop.
The delusional thinking on gay rights and marriage is that it's about protecting the integrity of what's written in the Bible. This is one of the most ridiculous claims ever made, since the Bible is full of evil acts and suggestions we choose to ignore. Where is the integrity in that? Critical thinking says that the church is losing its chokehold on American society and the legalization of gay rights would deliver another major blow to its eroding power structure.
Guilt, shame and fear have always been the weapons of choice for the self-righteous, and they wield them on the masses to coerce conformity to their moral standards. It's hard to blame people who lived during the Dark Ages for not applying their brain power or using their critical thinking skills, but in the 21st century it's just embarrassing.
It's time we welcome everyone into our society as an equal, and push for equality regardless of sex, race, religion, sexual preference or anything else. Hopefully in May, we can all celebrate when the Boy Scouts make the announcement they are lifting the ban on gays.