Dear Boy Scouts of America:
I am a former Cub and Boy Scout (got up to Star rank) and have long identified with the Scout identity, and have served as a committee member to my BSA troop as an adult.
If you would please add me into the discussion of the issue regarding the acceptance of “gays” into the fold, I must comment on a pattern I’ve noticed that has seemed to go unmentioned:
The idea of what a “gay” person is in the minds of the BSA at large, seems to conflict with what a “gay” person is in the minds of the general gay community, and I think being clear on your particular distinction is where the issue really lies.
I think the issue actually boils down mostly to conflict of the self-discipline identity the BSA tries to promote to youth. I don’t see the BSA as declaring a rejection of gays on the basis of being gay, but rather conflict of the aim toward an identity of being self-disciplined and therefore in denial of desires of self.
By claiming the gay aspect of themselves as a fundamental element of their very *being* as a person, gays appear to be choosing an identity contrary to self discipline — since the self-disciplined person chooses to reject feelings that conflict with the rules and rather to embrace feelings that conflict with the rules (the rules based largely on the JudeoChristian texts).
Similarly, if minors who actively desired to drink alcoholic beverages and identified themselves as drinkers as fundamental elements of their character.. why would they have any credibility for entry? Minors drinking in the presence of consenting legal guardians isn’t illegal (in Texas), but to base your identity as a minor who drinks and suggest the acceptance of other minors to drink in defiance of parental consent, would be agreeable grounds for expulsion.
It’s not anybody’s business of whether who does what with whom in whose bed, but to claim that aspect of one’s life as a trait of one’s very identity is the problem — not the trait itself.
I find the subject to be quite similar in like manner to sexual harassment — matters of discussion of that topic are inappropriate and wholly off topic and do not belong in that venue. People who find themselves outspoken on matters of sexual preferences in the workplace to the point that an authority imbalance comes into play, are most certainly subject to removal.
If you can’t help but dream about drinking all day long, and you are tempted beyond measure to drink, but never do — you’re not an drinker, and you have the self-discipline to reject those feelings. The general operating concept of “gay” held by the BSA and Christianity in general I think is more along the lines of “homosexual act participant” (because of the verses that describe the disobedience as the act itself, rather than the thought behind the act) rather than simply having feelings that are never acted upon.
Likewise, having dreams of being a rock star, but having never been a rock star, means you’re not a rock star by that way of thinking. Similarly, if you feel compelled to participate in homosexual acts but never act upon them, you are not a homosexual by that same way of thinking. It is my understanding that gays themselves identify as “gay” based on the feelings alone rather than the action — and I think that’s where most of the conflict comes from, on misunderstanding what the other is even talking about in the first place.
Scouting, to me, is a technique of instilling honor and a sense of duty to God, country, and to help others rather than acting on behalf of natural desire that conflicts therewith. If you have a group of people who demand entry to Scouts, but yet insist on claiming a God-defiant trait as an aspect of their very *identity*, they should naturally face obstacles.
I think you, BSA, need to more publicly focus on your goals of instilling self discipline and the ability to reject desires of self for the greater duty to “my God and my country” (not “OR my country”) rather than specifically debating homosexuality. And I think the homosexual community at large would appreciate the knowing that there is a gap in definition of “gay” as a homosexual act participant (or even a promoter of such acts) rather than as people who identify as gay based on feelings alone but have discipline to abstain — so that arguments made by the community could reflect accurately on that angle, rather than the expulsion of gays on the basis of feelings.