Thursday, May 23, 2013

Gays in the Scouts

I'm going to preface this by pointing out that, being from the Soviet Republic of Canuckistan, I can't recall a time where our local scouting divisions had such a ban. As a further disclaimer, I was never actually a scout - I was in Beavers for a while, but by the time I was old enough to actually Scout, I wound up in the Royal Canadian Army Cadets instead. So, I've never had to deal with being a member of an organization that promotes homophobia. Also, apparently I'm full of poorly-thought-out pith and vinegar tonight, so if you're the type of person who is offended by dissent, do me a favour and light up my inbox.

A tiny voice somewhere shouted "But you're Catholic!" That's true. I wouldn't call the catholic position on the morality of homosexuality homophobia and more than I would call catholic sexual morality sociophobia (from the root sociosexual, which is a real word!). The question of whether or not your sexual conduct and preferences override your religious beliefs is a personal one, and if you're serious about your faith it's a conversation you're going to have to have with yourself, regardless of your orientation or paraphilias. It's a conversation for another time and another place, and once again, we've confused two variables that I think people have a hard time with.

I wouldn't call myself a moral relativist. I'm pretty clear-cut on what I consider to be right-and-wrong, and while I have various caveats, corollaries, and loopholes, they're all fairly well-founded and static. I make room for change to the overall code as I grow older and wiser - as even the staunchest moral absolutist would.

Actually, the last one isn't true, as this
man can tell you. (FAIR USE!)
However, I exist in a strange overlap between liberalism and faith where I have come to recognize two constructs: social morality and eumorality. Social morality falls under the category, to put it into Christian constructs, of the golden rule, the admonition against judgement, and similar ideas. Social morality covers the things that belong in a civilized body of law. Bans against those things which tend to annoy people, like killing or raping them, and protections for those things we feel should be our right, like being grippingly sarcastic while trying to make a point, wearing bright plaid shirts, and using cream in your coffee. The rest, the eumorality or true morality, are the things you personally find moral, like only eating responsibly-ranched meat products, refusing to be embalmed upon death, or not trimming your beard - cotton/polyester blends are, obviously, right out.

The question for lawmakers, politicians, and wonks like myself is where eumorality begins and social morality ends. Once upon a time in the United States everyone who wasn't european was only 3/4ths of a person, the Kitten and I could not get married, and in most states, it was more legal for my landlord and his horses to get shady in the back yard than it would have been for my friend and her girlfriend to get married. In the case of the last point: it was yesterday.

So, when we're using the excuse of trying to maintain the moral high-ground as the only real justification for taking exclusionary action, we have to consider the reality that even though morality can look absolute, from a strictly societal position, it's relative. Take a hundred people and you're going to get about 120 moral codes. The best you can do as the architects of society is to try and make the law reflect morality as much as humanly possible.

Shown: Gay bunnies. But it's
more like prison-gay, so does
it "count"? I don't think it
I'm not gay. Not even a tiny bit, and I'm pretty damn sure of that. Homosexual rights actually have no bearing on my life whatsoever. But Adam and Steve being able to marry whoever they want is how I know I'm going to be able to marry whomever I want. Once upon a time, the love of my life and I would not have been able to. If you ask some churches - some mainstream, very well-accepted churches, we still can't. The point is though, states aren't churches. Sure, some are. Canada isn't. America isn't. Churches are more like... NGOs.

Okay, so, the BSA is an NGO. In many cases, it's even funded and run by local churches and parishes of the same. So, it's understandable that there would be some resistance to allowing gay scouts. And that is all we're talking about. Gay scout masters are actually still banned. It's just the kids, they're letting be gay.

Being a gay kid is not the walk in the park even in liberal areas. Besides any conflict at home, there's students (because teenagers are so enlightened), authority figures, media in general... if anyone's wondering why suicide rates are high among teens and doesn't stop to think that sexual identity might be involved, they're either preteen, or a moron.

All these are people are asking is that their sons, whether gay, straight, or whatever, can go ahead and be scouts. Since the scouts have nothing to do with sex (and rightly shouldn't, youth group that they are!), I feel like whether or not the scouts are gay is about as relevant as how good they would look in drag.

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