Anti-gay Boy Scouts founded by a gay man?
Last Updated on Saturday, 21 July 2012 14:24
Written by Toby Grace
Saturday, 21 July 2012 10:34
Recently, the national headquarters of the Boy Scouts of America announced that, having been reviewed by a secret committee in closed-door session, its policy of barring gays from participation would remain in force.
The policy is based on two suppositions: 1. that gays are ipso facto not “morally straight” as required by the scout oath and, 2. that gays will inevitably prey on the young scouts. Both suppositions are, of course, highly insulting and contrary to evidence. The BSA’s insistence on this policy can be traced directly to the capture of its national leadership positions by fundamentalist Christians who moved the national headquarters from New Jersey to Irving, Texas in 1979. Prior to that time, the BSA had no stated position on homosexuality. It effectively dealt with the issue of sexual predators by keeping extensive files on known and suspected perpetrators and circulating confidential alerts along with photos to local scouting officials. This system – one that “criminalized” actions rather than a class of people, worked well for decades and the organization had very few problems in this area.
The rapid rise of the gay liberation movement in the 1970s ran headlong into the fundamentalist beliefs of BSA’s new leadership. The exclusionary policy, however, did not become a major public issue until 1990, with what has become known as the James Dale Case. Dale, an Eagle Scout, Rutgers University student and assistant scoutmaster of a troop in Matawan, New Jersey, was interviewed in a news article when attending a seminar at Rutgers on the health issues of lesbian and gay teenagers. Dale stated he was gay and was identified as president of the Rutgers Gay Lesbian Student Alliance. Officials of Monmouth Council, BSA, immediately notified Dale by letter that he was expelled from the organization.
It is difficult to
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