Monday, June 3, 2013

The Boy Scouts and the Law of Unintended Consequences

There are any number of reasons why I would argue that the Boy Scouts made the wrong decision when they decided to change their policy concerning homosexual Scouts, and none of them involve undue discrimination. Notice I did not say "homosexuals in the Scouts" because I think there is an important distinction to be made here. A "homosexual Scout" is one who feels that it is necessary to make his homosexuality synonymous with the fact that he is a Scout, whereas a "homosexual in the Scouts," may see his sexual inclinations as incidental to the primary issue, which is that he is part of a larger brotherhood called the Boy Scouts.

What a strange and perplexing world we live in where parents and youth leaders fall prostrate before a cause that in reality should have little or nothing to do with what it means to be a Scout. If a boy is struggling with his sexuality, or confused about whom he is attracted to, fine, but to what end should he/we be announcing that to the whole group. Our personal struggles are our personal struggles, and if we wish to express them, then we should do so as we express all of our personal struggles, to a select number of individuals that we trust (or if we prefer it, to no one at all). Yet I suppose in this hyper-sharing "twitterized" culture, everyone must tell everyone else every last thought that enters their head.

Presumably one does not join the Boy Scouts because they believe it to be the best place to work out their sexual feelings. The same might be said for the military. The reason the military exists in the first place is to protect the homeland, not to get into the weeds about one man's amorous feelings towards another. By the same token, the Boy Scouts exist for the purpose of teaching young men basic survival skills as well as how to live virtuously. If a boy wants to confide certain private matters to a scout leader, then let him do so. But to go beyond that really is a bizarre form of public confession. One of the reasons for having an all boys troupe is to avoid certain co-ed distractions. But now, thanks to the aforementioned policy, we are potentially introducing a whole new set of distractions. By drawing specific attention to the issue of homosexuality, we are amplifying the problem, not diminishing it. You have taken a matter that could have been handled in a more gentle and sensitive way, and brought it to the center of everyone's attention.

To be fair, what defenders of this policy are trying to prevent (I think) is the type of situation where a boy is removed from a troop because he's "outed" by someone. And I agree, no one should be humiliated or treated like a pariah for something that is beyond their control. Yet this is precisely where the "law of unintended consequences" comes into play. I do not deny that there are many well meaning people who fail to see the conflict of interest. My question is how can they fail to see it? Unless we all just fell off the turnip truck yesterday, anyone with a little foresight and paternal instinct should be able to detect the larger dilemma that awaits us down the road if we go forward with this agenda. Below I offer several common sense concerns that I have regarding the implementation of this policy:

  • If, in the context of the Boy Scouts, someone chooses to "come out" and admit that they are physically/sexually attracted to the same sex, then wouldn't such an admission require a certain degree of segregation among the boys? In other words, since these boys live in such tight quarters, would we not need to provide separate showers as well as sleeping arrangements for them? We do the same thing in a co-ed environment in order to prevent sexual exploitation. Why would the same principles not apply here?

  • From a more Christian perspective, if the Scouts maintain their traditional policy on the sinfulness of homosexual behavior, then how can they justify putting young men together who, by their own admission, are physically/sexually attracted to one another? Are they not leading them into temptation by doing this? If I myself were able to shower, dress, and share the same bathroom with a group of girls I too might find myself focused on things that I shouldn't be.

  • By introducing the possibility of "gay Scouts," are we not now tacitly approving of these kind of impulses by giving them their own special category of protection?  

  • One question that has been largely ignored in this debate is how the issue of a child's sexuality would come up in the first place. Did they tell everyone? Strange. Did they tell someone in camp and that person told everyone? Sad and unfortunate. Did they have a relationship with another boy in camp, or was there some other incident that happened prior to the Scouts? The point is it is difficult to envision a scenario in which something like this would come out without it being highly problematic on any number of levels. Consequently, such dilemmas would best be handled by particular scout leaders, rather than a one size fits all policy that would clearly be unable to account for the unique complexity of each case.     

  • What happens if two boys are caught acting out sexually with one another? How do you handle that situation? Do you condemn it? Do you kick them out? Obviously the issue is far more complicated now, for if you do expel them at this point, then are you not doing so (in a sense) for the very reason that you said you shouldn't do it? So let me get this straight, you can talk about being gay, you just can't "act gay"? Sounds like mixed signals to me.     
  • Once the "cat is out of the bag" on a particular scout member, how do you handle the problem on a corporate level? Do you tell the rest of the boys to treat this kid with special care and sensitivity as if he has "special needs" (this sounds quite patronizing and would most certainly make the child in question feel even more ostracized than before)? Or do you tell everyone that this child's impulses are just as legitimate as everyone else's? Pick your poison. In either case, you have put a group of young men in a most awkward and uncomfortable position, and none of them can really be blamed for behaving as such.   

  • If you accept this new policy, then on what grounds would you deny a gay Scout leader their opportunity to serve as well? Assuming that this individual is living in a chaste manner, what basis would you provide for turning him away. In the end you wouldn't be able to reject him without seeming arbitrary and inconsistent in your logic. But whatever the case, the more important question in my opinion is; "How and why do we know this information about him in the first place?" This is a disturbing enough question on its own, and if we know the answer to it, then we probably know it for all the wrong reasons. 

  • What about a child that might be a little confused about their own sexual identity? Does this policy not in some ways encourage the potential exploration of those feelings? Or what about the temptation for an older Scout member to exploit a younger one? Would this policy not provide good cover, or at least an excuse, for what otherwise would be unacceptable behavior?  

  • I am assuming that the Boy Scouts still consider themselves to be a semi-religious organization. If this is the case, what is the significance of encouraging (or at least allowing) individual Scouts to "come out?" How do you at once make a big production about embracing homosexuals, and then at the same time suggest that it is sinful to act on those inclinations. The same applies for a Scout leader. If the Scouts regard the homosexual inclination as sinful (i.e. something that should not be acted upon), then to what end are we/they bringing it up at all. This is no more relevant to a discussion among young boys, than bringing up ay other personal peccadillos that may reside in the silence of their hearts. I really get turned on by feet. Well, thank you for sharing!

  • What if down the road (which seems likely) the Scouts ultimately change their attitude about the homosexual lifestyle altogether? What will prevent a Scout leader from talking about his partner and presenting certain values that run contrary to the values that most parents want? And all this to say that we haven't even begun to discuss the murky territory of how to address a situation in which gay parents want to become more deeply involved in their child's Scout troop.

  • Despite what some may think, this attempt to "split the baby" on the issue, will not make anyone's life any easier. When the rules are logical and clear, everyone knows where they stand. Exceptions can be made as complex situations arise. What we are seeing now is the exact reverse of that. Indeed, the only rule left is the exception to the rule. And so as these arbitrary cases take shape, there is little political will or legal ground to prevent any of these things from happening. Why can't a girl who identifies herself as a boy become a Boy Scout? Why can't a boy who cross-dresses use a girl's bathroom (and vice-versa)? Aren't we past these gender-based restrictions?    

  • After reading some of my concerns on this issue, there may be those who are inclined to describe them as sexually obsessed. That may be true, but if they are, then they are for one reason alone: so that young men can focus on something other than sex. Am I the only one who finds it more than a little disturbing that all of a sudden we are somehow so naive about sex, imagining that a bunch of adolescent boys are not really as affected by hormones as we remember ourselves to be? What kind of bizarrely Edenic universe have we placed ourselves in that we pretend that this is not potentially a serious problem? Some may point out that this is a double-standard, and that no one in the Boy Scouts would be reprimanded for sitting around talking about pretty girls. And this may be the case, but at least in that case, the girls are not sleeping in the same tent! I am not asking for a double standard here, I am simply asking for the original standard to be applied. If this is their inclination and they want to go about expressing it to everyone there, then so be it, but then common sense (and decent parenting skills) dictates that you separate them. If they prefer not to announce their sexual preferences, and they don't find it too much of a temptation to be with boys, then good, let's get back to doing what we should have been doing in the first place, not "scouting for boys," but being a Boy Scout!

In the end, the reason I oppose making a policy on so-called "gays scouts" is not because I oppose "gay scouts". To the contrary, I oppose it because I believe it to be utterly irrelevant and distracting to the real purpose and mission of the Scouts. If the Scouts are singular in focus, just like a military, they can accomplish their goals. If they are distracted by one hundred and one moral dilemmas, then they will never even begin to begin. If the latter is preferred, then the Boy Scouts will no doubt spend the majority of their time "sharing their feelings" and learning "how to be sensitive" rather than learning vital survival skills. Let activists be activists, and let the Boy Scouts go about doing the non-controversial work of learning virtue (which of course includes learning the virtue of compassion). We already talk enough about sex in our culture- whatever one's inclinations, this is not the time or the place for it. Let these children be young, for God's sake! Whatever you think about homosexuality, transgenderism, or even those who are "questioning" their sexuality, prudence (not religion) dictates that these questions be left at the door. What should be championed above all things in this organization is brotherhood, not catering to every emotional whim that arises in a child's mind. The Boy Scouts were not created to be a hospital of grievances, but a camp where young boys could grow and develop into young men.



  1. Hi, I'm a guy who has spent the last nineteen years in scouting and today still serve as a leader. I've worked at all levels in scouting, from Tiger Cubs to Venturing. I can't speak for the BSA, but I can speak as a person with a deep love for scouting and deep knowledge of it's safety policies.

    Argument 1: There is a difference between being a homosexual scout and a scout who is homosexual.

    Premise: One can separate their sexual identity from everyday life and it is problematic that homosexuals do not.

    Counter: Sexual identity is more than a label. Try and remove all indications of being heterosexual from your everyday life – finding someone attractive, your spouse or "girlfriend", talking about social life – now imagine doing it as a fifteen year old with raging hormones. Sexual identity naturally comes up in social conversation because it is a central part of our identity. Labeling someone a "homosexual scout" because they make mention of their sexual identity, even off handedly, makes as much sense as talking about "heterosexual scouts." That people are standing up for non-discrimination of their identity does not alter this – it just means that they follow the scout law – a scout is brave.

    Argument 2: Boy scout "troups" (do you mean troops?) are all male to avoid co-ed distractions.

    Counter: BSA is a co-ed program. At the age where boys are most likely to be distracted by sexual urges, BSA has the Venturing program, which is co-ed. It covers the age of 14-20 and allows for crews to be all male, all female, or co-ed. That troops are all boys is a product of the early differences between guiding and scouting. Many groups in the World Organization of the Scouting Movement are co-ed.

    Argument 3: Homosexuals must be segregated from other scouts

    Premise: We separate boys from girls, so we must separate homosexuals from heterosexuals.

    Counter: Except we don't. There are no homosexual bathrooms anywhere, nor are there any in the military. I cannot think of a single place where such segregation is used or would be found to be anything other than disgusting.

    We separate sex in bathrooms and showers for many reasons, most of which predate scouting. Separate sleeping facilities imply that one is a potential danger to the other, and if you are suggesting that homosexuals are rapists, I don't know what to tell you. The statistics do not bear you out.

    Argument 4: Boy Scouts maintain a Christian belief that homosexuality is sinful

    Premise: Boy Scouts is a Christian Organization.

    Counter: It is not. In no way, whatsoever, is BSA a Christian organization, nor has it ever been. Scouts of all different backgrounds are welcome – Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Bahai'i, etc. The only current requirement is that members have a belief in a higher power.

    Further, your claim is, essentially, that all Christian's believe homosexuality to be a sin and to be excluded. Well, not to burst your bubble, but your belief does not even square with your church. The Catholic Church's announcement about the switch in policy was that while they continue to believe homosexuality to be a sin, they believe that it is wrong to shun sinners and support BSA's change in policy, as it applies to boys. That is not to mention other groups, such as Methodists, who do not hold a discriminatory belief at all. You cannot claim to speak for all Christians, even as a Catholic, as there is only one real requirement to be a Christian and it has nothing to do with homosexuals.

    Argument 5: What happens if scouts are caught in inappropriate conduct?

    Counter: We already have well established protocols about this in Venturing. While I have not seen what BSA has come up with for Youth Protection, I imagine they will look very similar to those already in place for Venture crews when dealing with this problem.

  2. Argument 6: If boys have to be around gay kids it will either require being oversensitive to the gay kid or have to justify their lifestyle

    Counter: You treat them like a human being and follow the scout law – A scout is helpful, friendly, courteous, and kind. It's really that simple. You don't have to agree with someone's lifestyle to be courteous to them and friendly. And yes, you can hold scouts responsible for their behavior and can work to correct it. If a child is misbehaving it is an opportunity to correct it.

    Argument 7: How do we keep out gay leaders? There is a logical, and practical problem to this
    Counter to logical: You're right, right now there is a logical inconsistency in this. However, as BSA is attempting to serve multiple masters, it's where we stand. It is where we have agreed to compromise – it is wrong to keep a child who is homosexual from being involved in scouting. In the future I hope to see this change made permanent across the board for adult leaders as well

    Counter to practical: As it stands, the policy has always been about avowed homosexuals. Someone could and still can be closeted and involved in scouting. However, you have argued that if we know someone is gay, it must be for untoward reasons. It really isn't. Ever met someone's girlfriend? Their wife? Ever heard them talk about what they did that weekend? If someone is openly gay, they could literally never mention anything but everyday chatter and it would be abundantly clear they are gay. Similarly, it's not difficult to determine if someone is straight. Sexual identity is deeply engrained in our personalities and identity and we express it in subtle, yet incredibly obvious, ways.

    Argument 8: It encourages children to explore their own sexual identity and encourages older scouts to exploit younger members.

    Counter to children exploring sexual identity: Are you actually implying you can stop a child from questioning their sexual identity? Regardless of what happens in scouting, that is an issue that will arise for every child. That scouting no longer requires them to remain closeted if they wish to continue in the program does nothing to change that, other than to say they are still welcome whatever they make in that incredibly personal decision.

    Counter to child exploitation: No! This is a matter of youth protection and predates allowing gays into scouts. We have specific training on identifying exploitative behavior and work very hard to prevent this. Under no circumstances would this ever be acceptable, regardless of BSA policies.

    Argument 9: What do we do with gay leaders?

    Counter: We don't have to do anything. BSA is not a Christian organization. It is a program that encourages scouts and leader's to maintain their own morality and to continue their spiritual exploration. They don't have to be Christian and they don't have to subscribe to any belief other than to follow the scout law and oath.

    If gay parents want to work with scouts, what's the problem? The purpose of scouting is to serve the youth. If assistance is needed or a parent wants to work the same as a straight parent, why do you care? Because they're gay? Or because they're a sinner? Because if it's about sin, I hope you will present a resolution to ban divorced parents from participating. Or parents who have ever used the Lord's name in vein. Everyone is a sinner, sorry.

    Argument 10: What about the other corner cases?

  3. Argument 10: What about the other corner cases?

    Counter: It's not BSA policy, but I frankly have no problem with transgender, gay, or female children being involved in scouting. It's common throughout other scouting organizations in the World Organization of the Scouting Movement and has nothing to do with the program.

    As for dealing with problems with the logical consistency – that's fine and all, but the program remains the same. We are still scouting. We are still doing the same things we did a month ago. We will continue doing that in the future. Allowing more to join does not change that, whatsoever.

    Argument 11: The point of scouting is to get away from sex?

    Counter: Says who? Scouting is about encouraging boys to become good citizens, not about sexual denial. We don't have a policy on sex. We don't want one. Boys will be boys and we deal with it when it comes up. But as it stands, trying to prevent boys from having hormones and finding girls attractive is not a part of scouting. We don't actively encourage it, but they talk about it and that's fine. If there were scouts who were being sexually active on a trip, we already have policies for dealing with that. Gay or straight. That doesn't change.

    My conclusion: You should do some reading about the Boy Scouts of American and about the founder of scouting, Lord Baden-Powell. You have deep misunderstandings about the program and the goals of it, while portraying yourself as someone with a deeper understanding. Frankly, I wouldn't want to be a part of what you envision scouting to be, because it is so far from reality.

    Also, I'm not gay, if that matters (which it seems to for you)

  4. RI Smith thank you for taking the time to answer all of my objections and to try and offer objections to each argument I made, which is more than I can say for many that disagree with my position on this! However, since you so graciously decided to give me advice at the end of your post, let me offer you a few suggestions as well. While I like the systematic way that you offered your responses, might I recommend a few things. First, when arguing fairly (which I assume you want to do), make sure you avoid twisting your opponent's words to suite your own purpose. If your argument is strong enough just repeat what that person said. Don't re-word it to make me sound intolerant or ignorant. I know it's tempting, but simply deal with the argument, not a weakened version of it. Secondly, avoid using ad hominum attacks as you did at the end. Notice, I gave you and others the benefit of the doubt- while you presumed to know the type of person I am. This just makes you look small and self-righteous. It is a good thing to end a critique like this sounding magnanimous. And lastly, the purpose of this post is not about demonstrating my intimate knowledge of the Scouts. Congratulations you clearly have a greater knowledge of the inner workings of the organization than I. But that is beside the point. The point of this blog is not predicated on how the Boy Scouts run their organization, but rather on how organizations such as this should deal morally with the subject of something like homosexuality. You believe that it is fine and something to celebrated, others see it as a threat to the mission and purpose of the Scouts. Before you go about dismissing the opposition at least try to understand the concerns of the opposition. Notice in this blog I have not dismissed the other side, I have simply raised the concerns that some have. Perhaps before reaching your own conclusions on who I am and who the opposition is, you should do the same. Perhaps you already have, but it is not evident in your response. Thanks again "RI Smith" for taking the time to publish a response.

  5. Thanks for the comments of RI Smith, my boys will be leaving the BSA sooner than I anticipated. I think he is wrong on so many point; one that bothers me the most is his suggestion that all barriers for leadership positions be removed. A very calculated process is going on. One exception after another. The policy was for years "don't ask, don't tell". Unfortunately that isn't enough. Boys that are/were homosexual were never barred from the scouts. The homosexual movement insists that they are "homosexual" everything. One shouldn't have to say I'm a homosexual boy scout, or homosexual Catholic or homosexual this or that. Stating that you are something by your disorder of any sort should not be an indicator of who you are as a human. I do not go around telling everyone that I am a blah blah sinner Catholic. Or a blah blah scouting mother; what would and is the point of that? The downfall of scouting has begun. I think Chapmania is using right reason and showing the systematic take-down of the BSA as we have seen it for over a 100 years. Too bad. Having a scout leader such as RI Smith in place does cause me a lot of concern, he clearly isn't concerned about safety of young boy/men, as he is about pushing an agenda.

  6. I would like to see a ban on divorced leaders, they are problematic since they do not know what true commitment is and loyalty and morally responsible and trustworthy. If you read the scout oath, it does say honor "to God" before plunging into the other "best" promises. On top of it all according to scout law, a scout is reverent, how can a scout be reverent when they don't believe in morals given by the Creator?

  7. Chap:

    If you believe I have misstated any of your positions, please point to the ones I did. Many of your premises were faulty and many were misstatements of fact. I tried to be as fair to you as I could while addressing your often vague suppositions. On occasion you rely on innuendo and I took that to it's logical conclusion.

    What I said at the end is not an argument and is not an ad hominem. I addressed your logic point by point and explained why I believe it is faulty. That I think you came to those conclusions because you are speaking from a position of ignorance has nothing to do with invalidating your logic, e.g. "You're argument is wrong because you are stupid," but addresses why you came to the wrong conclusions, e.g. "You're arguments are wrong because of x, y, and, z logical points. Separately, you reached those conclusions because you don't understand the background necessary to parse them."

    As to tanya - I believe the barriers to gay leaders will eventually be removed and believe it is right that they be removed. That is my personal opinion, as I stated plainly.

    As for the tyrade about 'gay scouts'- that is the point. We won't say 'gay scouts' it will simply be scouts. Just as I don't have to say 'black scouts,' as long as there is no policy of excluding them. That gay people have to address that they, specifically, are being excluded is a point of clarification. They are being excluded based upon their status and are making that issue known. When a gay person is married they aren't 'gay married' they are are married. When we are discussing the issue of allowing gay people to marry, we say 'gay marriage' because it's simpler and clarifies what we are discussing. This is a relatively simple point and it boggles my mind that intelligent people can't understand that point.

    As for your argument about whether boys who were gay were barred, you are arguing semantics. Yes, as long as you remain completely closeted, you could be in scouts officially. Just as you could be a Christian in the early centuries after Christ, except if you were found out it didn't end well. Just because you can continue while being persecuted, does not mean it is right that you should have to. If you seek to exclude gay members from scouts because it is a sin, then I would ask you to do the same for those who are divorced, which is mentioned five more times that homosexuality in the bible (12:7), or adulterers, which are infinitely more castigated by the Bible. If you are not willing to be so intellectually consistent, then I ask you why are you accrediting someone who is asking for logical consistency?

    I don't really see your point about labels. I stated my position with scouting to point out that I am not making a laymen's opinion. For that matter, your first sentence did the same thing. Pointing out where your position is coming from is not a bad thing, it's a note of intellectual honesty.

    If the downfall of scouting has begun, it began 100 years ago when BSA refused to enforce racial segregation and deny black youth and adults membership in Scouting, when most of the country, including the Catholic Church, urged them to do so.

    Finally, your opinion about my concern for safety speaks nothing compared to my record on the matter. It far exceeds anything you can imply or say. You also push an agenda, though opposite mine, and yet I will not attack you in such a lowly manner.

    Be a good mother and teach your children to love one another, not to judge, and seek forgiveness for their sins, as Jesus would ask. I believe that the change in policy in BSA is compatible with those beliefs. I am comfortable with my beliefs and with allowing more boys to have the opportunities available in scouting. It's as simple as that.

    1. Justifying immoral behavior is always a mistake and defending it is a mistake as well. Thanks for your help, the more you write the more convinced I am of making the right decision.

  8. Tanya, the scout oath is

    On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country...

    It's always about doing your best to do your duty. They are all best promises. We allow scouts to have moral failings. It's a part of life and all but one (or, if you're Catholic, two) are said to have had them. I hope you don't believe yourself to be so morally superior, considering the words of the Lord.

    1. RI Smith thank you again for being willing to engage in a lively debate about this delicate issue. That said, I do wish you would stick to the arguments themselves and not wade into things which you know less about, namely my Catholic faith of which you have felt it necessary to bring up a few times. I don't know what you believe about God, nor do you know what I believe, so leave it out.

      Let's get back to the arguments and away from the little personal snipes. Your last response is ironic on two fronts. First, you accuse me of innuendo. Please read back over your own statements. The superior tone as well as the various implications about my intentions are obvious. Secondly, it is laughable that you would refer to my arguments as "vague suppositions". I actually offered real concrete scenarios (at least as concrete as was appropriate to the discussion), and your responses break down into roughly three categories of vagary (none of which are concrete). The first one is the category of "That will never happen, so stop saying it already". The second one is the category of "There's nothing wrong with it so just get over it". And the third category is "Your just intolerant and unkind to think that". Tell me, who is making the vague suppositions here.

      First of all, once again, my post is meant to be an opportunity to raise common sense concerns, not make a specific defense of Christian dogma. So go ahead, tell me you think my concerns are unfounded, but don't act like I am trying to make and argument and that you have refuted everything I said. To the contrary, all you have done in essence is provided a dance of semantics, whereby you say in essence that my points are ridiculous.... with nothing really to back that up except a few vague statements like "we separate sexes in bathrooms and showers for many reasons, some of which pre-date scouting." Whaaa? How does this address my concrete concern about the double standard? If you want to say, as many colleges are today, that we shouldn't bother with separating the sexes anymore, the go ahead and take that position. But don't force me to make that case for you. The point is you do this throughout your long critique, without ever really addressing any of my concerns. Is it perhaps because you don't yet want to spell out specifically what it would mean to carry your own logic to its conclusion for fear of how it would sound? Forgive me, I am only taking your innuendos to their logical conclusions:)

      Incidentally, RI Smith you say that you wouldn't want to be a part of what I envision scouting to be, OK I, understand. But let me just say I do not feel the same about you and your ability to debate these matters. I can say in all sincerity that you have a great deal to offer intellectually and I do really appreciate the spirit of debate that you have brought to this particular discussion.

    2. I am not morally superior as I may have given the impression, but I don't tolerate the issue of allowing "openly "homosexuals" into the scouting arena. It is incompatible. I may seem stupid, but as a mother and a parent I do know that it is my duty to protect my children and educate them. Thank you for being so condescending towards me, that is the usual way I am treated about my stance, so it's not anything new. The whole matter is clear though, scouting is doomed, and the door is opened to the homosexual-lead agenda. The homosexual movement pleased as punch about the outcome, (couldn't resist the pun). The scout law and oath will soon be revised too. God cannot be mocked, and words and actions that mock the Almighty Father are usually reduced to dust in time. Best of luck to you and your adventures.

  9. Woody, I will address the now one (1) point you have raised as being specifically unfair to you.

    We separate genders in bathrooms and rooms because it is culturally acceptable in society. It is what is expected so we do it. There are some practical reasons for it in scouting, like preventing sexual activity and comfort of participants but all of the reasons for it predate scouting, in that they are culturally normed. You expect to see a girls' bathroom, girls' showers, and girls' sleeping quarters. That's just a part of every day life.

    On a side note, this is something that not all scouting organizations do - I know from experience that Russian and Dutch scouting organizations do not have these requirements for separate sleeping arrangments on camp outs. Again, this comes down to a matter of cultural norming for the most part. We aren't trying to reinvent the wheel so that is fine.

    On the other hand, I cannot think of one organization, society, or club that separates gay or straight members based on their sexual preference. There are no gay-only showers, nor gay only sleeping arrangments anywhere that I am aware of. Simply put, society says that is not necessary. If you are asking why scouting doesn't make up new rules that no one else in society deems necessary, I really don't know what to tell you. It's unnecessary and serves little purpose other than to be broadly discriminatory. If there was ever an issue of sexual exploitation that would assuredly end in the explusion of that member from scouting and criminal charges. In fact, reporting the issue to the police before anyone else is required under our by-laws. If there was an issue of inappropriate displays of affection, that too would be dealt with and measures would be taken to prevent it. Again, these are already well established as rules in society, the military, and other youth organizations. We don't have to make this stuff up because it's already been answered and is, for the most part, common sense.

    If you do not feel I have addressed your critiques adequately, please state what you feel was not addressed with specificity. It is tiring to read five hundred words about how I'm not being fair or that you think I come across as a schmuck to find only one critique that could be framed as logical.

  10. I don't know who this Woody guy is but when you meet him let me know. In any case, I did give you more than one, but since you get so tired of reading (bless your heart), I thought I would put them into three categories of not offering real responses. And once again if you have not disappointed. Claiming that society doesn't do this or that is not an argument. By your own admission, society has discriminated against many groups in the past (of which you include homosexuals, so obviously just because "society" determined it does not suffice as a real objection. For example, you point out that the military doesn't do it. First of all, are you telling me that male and female officers shower together?Let's just say they for one minute they do and that's fine with them. Did you see the Congressional report in the last week about the number of sexual assaults in the military in the last year (something like 26,000). One congresswoman complained that those in charge couldn't tell the difference between grabbing someone's behind and rape. So based on your reasoning that it is already allowed is not so comforting. Because "society" allows certain things doesn't mean there a good idea (I think we can both agree on that).

    Look, for whatever reason you don't see a conflict and a concern, where it is blatantly present. The way I see it, if we are going to say that homosexuality is a real identity (though by your definition you could say that about any attraction) then we must treat them distinctly. If it is just an aberration that can be managed, then perhaps it can be managed without going to this length. You cannot at once claim a real distinction without treating it as such. Indeed, by the way you talk about it, there appears to be practically no situation that you would deem inappropriate to put young people in. That is scary in and of itself. Did I keep it under 500 words that time?

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