In an interview with CBS News anchor Scott Pelley, President Obama said that he believes the Boy Scouts of America should end its ban on gays.
Obama said, "My attitude is that gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same way everybody else does, in every institution and walk of life. The Scouts are a great institution that is promoting young people and exposing them to opportunities and leadership that will serve people for the rest of their lives, and I think that nobody should be barred from that."
The president's words come after the announcement last week when the Boy Scouts said it was considering reversing its ban on gays. It appears perhaps that after the outcry from former scouts who are gay, gay activist groups around the country and a plethora of negative publicity, that finally the organization will update its policies and enter the 21st century.
This latest public support on behalf of the president is indeed outstanding; however, it's not enough. Barack Obama, like every other person elected to the presidency serves as the honorary president of the Boy Scouts. They say actions speak louder than words, and if the president really wants to make a bold statement, instead of playing lip service to the issue, he should renounce his post as honorary president effective immediately. Imagine the uproar this would cause around the country, and imagine how much pressure this would put on the Scouts to do the right thing and reverse its policy.
What if the Boy Scouts decided to ban blacks? Do you think Obama would still be honorary president? Of course not! What's the difference between discrimination based on color and discrimination based on sexual orientation? The answer, of course, is the bible, which always gets a free pass.
About 70 percent of all Boy Scout troops are sponsored by faith-based organizations, with the Southern Baptists, Catholic Church, Lutheran Church, United Methodist Church and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints representing the most troops, according to FOX News.
Roger Oldham, spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention, had this to say about the situation: "Churches of all faiths and denominations, including Southern Baptist churches, will be forced to reevaluate whether they can, in good conscience, continue to host Scout troops given that the Scouts appear poised to turn their backs on this clear biblical and moral issue."
American society is clearly still suffering from its puritanical roots, and many of our citizens refuse to accept anything that contradicts our cultural norms. People like Mr. Oldham can try and defend the bible all they want, saying that God isn't accepting of the gay lifestyle. My critical thinking question is where does the bible say that sexually abusing young boys is permissible? The Catholic Church has a long history of getting away with it, and not too long ago files were released showing the Boy Scouts hid hundreds of cases of sexual abuse by senior leaders between 1970 and 1991.
It fascinates me how the religious community manipulates the masses with its interpretations of the Bible. If you want to play that game, what about 1 John 3:15 that says," Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him." Or what about Romans 2:11 that says, "For God shows no partiality."
The bottom line: it's time for America to grow up and welcome everyone into our culture as an equal. Does it really matter if someone is attracted to a member of the same sex? It doesn't, and we as American citizens have the responsibility to make sure organizations like the Boy Scouts aren't spewing their homophobia to our children.
The Boy Scouts of America national executive board is expected to vote on reversing the ban on Wednesday. If at that time the Scouts refuse to lift the ban, I say all Americans should come together and form a national protest against the organization.
The Boy Scouts are an American institution, and have long been a part of building leadership, character and charisma in our nation's youth, but from the organization that claims to be "one of the nation's most prominent values-based organizations," one can't help but question what kind of values they are teaching our kids if they are discriminating against gays? The values that come to mind are hate, bigotry and discrimination.