A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. The Scout Law doesn’t say anything about intolerant, bigoted, judgmental, afraid or discriminatory.
The Boy Scouts of America’s decision to end the ban on homosexual adult leaders is late, but a good move on the trail to becoming the kind of organization that guides our youth to a wise adulthood. Becoming a good man is not just about starting a fire in the woods, but also about living six of those 12 ideals in the Scout Law that align with accepting and championing those who are different from you.
Churches have every right to preach and teach what they will. If the Mormons or any other denomination that sponsors scout troops decides to take their ball and go home, well that teaches our youth something, too.
The stark truth is that the ban was rooted in homophobia and the perception that being gay was the first step toward pedophilia. The Scouts work hard to make sure leaders are not criminals, but beyond that they winnow and groom to protect the youngsters and make sure leaders are level headed and are good role models.
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There are plenty of heterosexual adults we don’t want leading our sons. There will be gay adults that shouldn’t lead them, either.
But those judgments should be made on the content of their character. And as the Scouts measure their future leaders, they should remember that we often learn the most from those who are different from us.