Friday, October 15, 2004

Immodest Proposal Revisited

Some Comments to this posting raise important issues and deserve a detailed response.
One of the things I'm tempted to rebut is your argument about "what if just one" (Gay) Scoutmaster were to transgress seems to imply that we ought to lock out all Gay men from this role because of one (potential) problem.
Even discounting the statistics argument, it's really just a question of what's appropriate: avoiding even the appearance of impropriety for the sake of trust in the system. That's why we don't send young girls out with straight men, even though we know it's only a minority of them that would be a danger, because it just isn't appropriate.

I mean, surely no one would be comfortable with a semi-stranger straight man seeing their 15-year-old daughter naked in the gang shower, so why is it appropriate to have your 15-year-old son seen naked by a gay man in the gang shower? I'm sure it happens, but if I knew that was going to happen beforehand, I wouldn't let it!

Is this profiling? Yes. But profiling in itself is not a bad thing, it's just common sense. For example, profiling by race is suspect, because race doesn't necessarily say anything about behavior. Sexual orientation, however, speaks directly to potential behavior; it's a relevant factor in sexual attraction and subsequent possible activity. To pretend it has absolutely nothing to do with the risk of molestation is to ignore the real-life fiasco of gay priests molesting children in the Catholic church. We may wish it weren't so, but it is.

Is this "discrimination"? Sure. But only certain types of discrimination are disallowed by the Constitution. That's because it sometimes makes perfect sense to discriminate. I mean, the Boy Scouts, by definition, exclude girls. The Girl Scouts exclude boys. Isn't that discrimination? Isn't that "separate but equal"? Of course it is. But "separate but equal" was only held to be wrong in the case of race, not gender -- because, again, race is an artificial distinction in terms of behavior and developmental needs, but gender is a critical distinction.
Nothing in the Constitution precludes discrimination based on sexual orientation.

We do it in private life all the time. How likely are you, for example, to have a neighborhood teen boy babysit your kids, or worse yet, a male proverbial "family friend" babysit your 10-year-old daughter? We all know that's just begging for molestation. That's why most people don't even consider anything but a teen girl as a babysitter, because anything else just isn't appropriate, nor very wise. It's stereotyping. It's discriminating. It's sometimes good to be discriminating!
In light of the critisisms leveled at the BSA, I have to admit that if they want to use the "private organization" argument, that they have to dispense with meeting in (even donatated) public spaces...spaces which are funded by the public. As long as they dip into this pot of public funding, they remain exposed to critisim and, I should think, arguments that they are not, in fact, devoid of public funding.
You are right that as a private institution, they can make their own rules. And if they get public space, or church space, they are certainly open to criticism and withholding of resources from those groups.

Nothing Constitutionally forces the public or a church to withhold assets from them if they "discriminate" against gays however! If you were on the church board, you'd have to make a choice based on what you believe best serves the community.

There would be 3 outcomes; which is best for society? Either:

A) you remove assets and there is no scouting in your community. Kids suffer the loss, but it's not fatal. And you've made a moral statement that zero discrimination based on sexual orientation will be tolerated (which I find a rather odd position, as sexual orientation has real-world consequences for sexual attraction, unlike, say race.)

B) your threat to withhold space forces the Scouts to allow gay Scoutmasters. The risk of sexual molestation of the Scouts, while previously non-zero, is now significantly larger -- that's conclusive. Nobody can deny it. Significantly larger! Again, we already have a real-world laboratory of what happens when gay men are given private access to boys in a position of trust: We know what will happen! Are the emotional scars our action will inflict on these children worth the feel-good factor of manufacturing a new "right" of gay men to be Scoutmasters?

C) you grant the space. Kids enjoy scouting in a safer environment. The feelings of a tiny number of adult gay men are hurt because they can't realize their life-long dreams to be Scoutmasters.

It's your call. A, B, or C.

Which serves society best?
(For the record, I plan on getting involved once again in the BSA and do not share your concern over whether or not a Scoutmaster is Gay or not
I really find that statement to be very remarkable. If you really have no problem at all with your young son alone in the woods and/or naked in the gang shower with a gay man, then I ask how that's different from your young teen daughter in the same situation with a straight man.

Surely the gay man is not claimed to be somehow more virtuous and devoid of lust than the straight man? What reason is there to believe that? Especially given my points about youth in gay culture and the existence of NAMBLA which implies a factor of ten, perhaps even closer to 100, times more likelihood of attraction to youth.
nor would I, as a Scoutmaster, be dismissive of gay or even athiest Scouts.
The Scouts themselves were not the subject of my post, only the Scoutmasters, just to be clear.

I appreciate your bringing up these points for further clarification.


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