OPINION – The decision of the Boy Scouts of America to uphold its stance against openly-gay leaders has brought about a predictable bit of fanfare wielding redundant mantras from both sides of the debate.
Here in Utah, where it could be reasonably asserted there exists a faction organization within the primary organization, this stance has had an even more predictable outcome: almost unanimous support for the decision.
The irony of this is worth noting.
In a state with a predominant culture whose entire existence is predicated, validated, and protected from discrimination against its religious beliefs, there is an overwhelming outcry from those same people against those who contend their civil liberties have been infringed upon by the BSA’s stance, i.e. gays.
Never mind the argument that the BSA is a nonprofit organization which receives and utilizes federal funds (i.e. tax dollars, even if indirectly so); never mind that, by default, federal funding however it comes at least mitigates its claim of exclusivity to operate as a private organization. Never mind that discrimination is illegal in this country.
Rather, think on this some:
The premise of the BSA’s stance is rooted in religious authority which defines marriage as a sovereign relationship between a man and woman and condemns homosexuality as an aberration of that relationship which is not to be tolerated. To be fair, this position of religious authority is not unique to Mormonism and the BSA did not originate with Mormons.
It is now implied by many defenders of the BSA’s stance concerning would-be gay participants, that by pressing the issue of civil liberties, somehow those calling the BSA to account are imposing a “forced tolerance” upon the organization.
While I see the argument as one that could be valid, it would require first that the BSA be a private organization, and second that it operate free from a mandate that is predicated on a religious belief system.
Add to this the sheer hypocrisy which exists in scouting here in Utah whereby troops are largely incorporated into the local religious culture. So much so, that some feel the organization has been hijacked and nonreligious-culture troops are formed so that people who want to be a part of the organization can do so without the religious influence thrust upon them.
And just for good measure, add to this scenario the nefarious financial and political support lent by the religious culture of Utah to the Proposition 8 fight in California and one could understandably conclude that there is an apparent ax to grind with gay people here.
This is to say that the Utah advocates who unwaveringly support the BSA’s decision in the name of the institution’s rights to do so – under a banner of protectionism – are quite possibly the worst kinds of bigots. That is, the kind who possess a heightened persecution complex when anyone questions their behaviors (which they will argue are constitutionally protected), while at the same time exacting with impunity their own religious mandate on others. By doing so, they are violating the very same laws and principles that protect themselves.
The stance the BSA took is one that shall be discussed for years to come and should be. There is much at stake when the issues of liberty and civil rights come into play.
But I question whether the religious culture here supports the decision for any other reason besides its agreement with the beliefs of their own religion.
Perhaps the teachings of Christ might be considered whereby He recommended the removal of the plank from one’s own eye before concerning oneself with the speck of dust in another’s.
See you out there.
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