Thread on Scouting, KKK, and Islamic fundamentalism
Michael deHaven Newsom
mnewsom at LAW.HOWARD.EDU
Wed Nov 7 13:24:34 PST 2001
Alexander, you ignore the natural and foreseeable consequences of the BSA position. It is those consequences -- the harm done to gay people -- that bother me.
Alexander Dushku wrote:
> Just for the record, there is no specific catechism in scouting about homosexuality. There is no section in the scout handbook on the issue. Scoutmasters don't conduct sessions on proper sexual conduct. Unlike race and the KKK, the homosexual issue is not an organizing principle or even a focus. BSA is not anti-gay; in fact, it would rather not deal with the issue at all. Rather, the scouts have a traditional, heterosexual "family values" norm that is transmitted by the existence of scout leaders who more or less fit that model. Boys are taught that being a husband and father is the best way for a man to order his life, but that is done by example: their scoutmaster is (usually) a husband and father. Gay men do not fit this model and thus are not invited to be scoutmasters. Yes, if push comes to shove, BSA will state that it considers homosexual conduct not to be "morally straight" or "clean" under its creeds, but that negative message is not preached. What is transm!
> itted is a positive (as in "pro") traditional family message.
> In short, BSA does not preach intolerance of anyone. It merely holds that certain persons are not proper role models for certain norms. (If the norm one is promoting is straight, faithful, fatherhood within marriage, doesn't it stands to reason that a gay man is not a proper role model of that norm?) If we cannot distinguish between the KKK and the BSA, we are in deep trouble.
> >>> davideguinn at YAHOO.COM 11/06/01 07:51AM >>>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Rick Duncan"
> > The Boy Scouts thread is a wonderful example of one
> > side trying to win an argument by claiming their
> > opponent is equivalent to the KKK or Islamic
> > terrorists. What adds insult to injury is when those
> > who so viciously attack the morality of the Boy Scouts
> > say that are doing it because of their love of
> > tolerance and liberalism.
> > The recent decision by Congress suggests that this
> > kind of vicious attack masquerading as compassion
> > hasn't fooled anyone. Or at least that they picked the
> > wrong target this time t for their tolerant stoning of
> > heretics.
> There are two parts to your argument that you continually conflate.
> First there is the substantive claim that the BSA is a wonderful
> organization imparting important values that distinguish it from
> organizations that all acknowledge are intolerant. In this case, you twist
> that argument to assert that my comparison is simply a rhetorical device to
> avoid discussion. Admittedly in any public argument, a certain level of
> hyperbole arises. Nonetheless, within that hyperbole often resides a degree
> of truth. Looking at the comparison between the BSA and the KKK. I suspect
> that within the KKK there is a wide spectrum of opinion - from those who
> still (probably secretly) approve of the old fashioned practice of
> lynching - to the more "moderate" spectrum who simply preach the necessity
> of separation of the races and supremacy of whites. I think we abhor the
> KKK (correctly in my opinion) because what is constant throughout this
> spectrum is that the preaching of intolerance breeds and supports violence
> towards and the oppression of non-whites. In this sense, the teachings of
> the BSA about homosexuals is similarly abhorrent and is just as ill founded
> as the KKK's attitudes towards race (which also used to be supported by
> religion.) (This, I suspect is the nub of our disagreement.)
> The second part of your argument, embodied in the second excerpt above, is
> that liberals are intolerant in the name of tolerance. According to your
> argument, they should support the BSA even if it is itself intolerant, in
> the name of tolerance. However, if this argument is taken to its logical
> extreme, we are then taken back to the rhetorical challenge that this
> argument also demands that we support the KKK and al Qaeda (sp) -
> organizations that are also intolerant. The correct response, from a
> liberal perspective (and I am far from comfortable claiming expertise as a
> liberal or affinity with that position) is that while it may be appropriate
> to tolerate the existence of intolerant organizations (either the BSA or the
> KKK) so long at those organizations do not violate the law, that does not
> mean that the government should support those organizations through the
> allocation of public benefits and privileges. (As an aside, the fact that
> the BSA perspective reflects a particular religious perspective should not
> be used to claim an EC violation - a claim that might be made by some
> Finally, from the perspective of a traditional conservative, I think it is
> inappropriate for Congress to intervene in a matter that can and should be
> handled at a local level. In the absence of a clear Constitutional mandate,
> leaving the decision at a local level would promote healthy public debate
> and discussion of these issues. Congress's intervention forestalls this
> political debate almost as effectively as the SC's decision in Roe v Wade
> cut of political debate over abortion (leaving only the recourse of
> political war.) (Here I'm thinking of the work of Jack Rokove.)
> Heated rhetoric admittedly may mask ignorance or an inability to support a
> proffered statement. However, it may also reflect a passionate response to
> a deeply offensive act of another. As a strait white male (if those
> criteria are relevant) I am deeply offended by the attitudes of both the BSA
> and the KKK.
> David E. Guinn, JD, PhD
> 5032 N. Glenwood Ave. #3
> Chicago, IL 60640
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