The BSA Motto Should Be: “Character is best formed in the stormy billows of the world”

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The headline on the current NBC News blog reads:

“‘Gravely distressed’: Religion looms large over Boy Scouts decision on gays.”

That decision is supposed to be announced in the middle of this week.

There is no real need to specify who is gravely distressed, everyone involved in the situation is stressed.

The churches who sponsor boy scout troops are distressed to imagine that the Boy Scouts will be forced to accept gay scouts and possibly even gay scout leaders. It’s pretty obvious why the religious groups would be distressed and, if gays are allowed in scouting, the religious organizations might be forced (by their membership) to stop sponsoring Boy Scout Troops or if not, they will certainly go into overtime praying to keep their kids on the “straight” and narrow.

That possibility plus the possibility that many parents of Boy Scouts may pull their kids out of scouting altogether and make a big “stink” in the press while they do it is certainly stressing out the BSA (Boy Scouts of America) leadership.

Then there are gay kids who just want to be Boy Scouts: go camping, have fun and learn all the skills that boy scouting teaches. They are distressed that the churches and the BSA are attempting to reinforce their status as “social outcasts” based on nothing more than an unreasoned fear of their sexual preferences.

The false assumption that underlies all this is that gay kids who go into scouting and gay scout leaders are predators and will try to molest and/or convert straight kids. It’s as simple as that! To say that will never happen in isolated instances is being as naive as those who think that all gay scouts will be happy and accepted and not be routinely taunted, bullied and brutalized by the good “Christian” scouts.

Many kids have been brought up (by their parents and by religious institutions) to be intolerant and have little respect for those who have different beliefs and values than they have. If this were not true school bullying would not be the epidemic that schools are being forced to spend time and money trying to control and many gay kids would still be alive. The churches that sponsor scout troops, even if they sincerely try, will not have a major impact on that unfortunate situation; but continuing to deny straight kids the option of normal socialization with gay kids not only exacerbates that situation, it reinforce myths, rumors and misleading religious teachings.

Maybe the BSA and the religious groups should look at this entire situation as a challenge rather that a distressing problem. If the leadership of the BSA is up to the challenge of developing better leaders, and if the pressure being put on BSA leaders by the church are minimized, it’s very possible that current boyscouts may learn to truly accept the fact that there are many different types of people and social beliefs in the world. Who knows, a boy who learns that, may well grow up to become a tolerant, open-minded individual with a better understanding of how life really works and how the world in general works. That type of person may no longer be welcomed into the strict, narrow-minded world of some religious organizations but, if they are not, it’s a win for society and a loss for those religions.

It is said that scouting builds character! The title of this blog entry is taken from a popular quote about character building by ‘Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe:’ “Talents are best nurtured in solitude. Character is best formed in the stormy billows of the world.”

In closing, let me emphasize that in America the BSA, as a private organization, will not be forced by the government to accept gay scouts — nor should they be. Scouting has been going on for many, many years without being all inclusive. Over the years, time, attitudes and public pressure have changed their outlook and methods. In the 1970s there was a Nudist Resort that sponsored small troops of boy and girl scouts. That would probably be unheard of in America in the 21st Century but times change and attitudes change — sometimes for the better.

An Enemy of Intelligent Thought: Bryan Fischer

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Right Wing Watch is thankfully watching a dangerous man: Bryan Fischer.

The above linked article is filled with Fischer’s homophobia but there are two statements in particular I would like to point out:

“If we want to see fewer students commit suicide, we want fewer homosexual students.”

and

“Not One Loving Father Should Entrust Son (sic) to the Boy Scouts if Gays Are Included”

These statements are a clear indication that Mr. Fischer has lost his ability to relate to the world outside of his right-wing/the bible is the Word of God and is infallible cocoon.

Religion can be, as Brynn Tannehill said, in THIS article “either a benefit or a hazard.”

Religion is beneficial when it helps people understand that they are how “God” (I use that term because it is what most people call the universe’s creative force) made them, and not how extremely literal religionists paint them.

It is hazardous when it does not help people understand this.

If we want to see fewer students commit suicide, ALL children will have to be raised to understand that everyone is different and there is no “right” way to be.

THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN because there are too many parents like Bryan Fischer in the world.

The only antidote to student suicide then is the student’s self-acceptance combined with self-defense. That sounds ugly but it’s true. Self-defense does not necessarily mean “mortal combat” but in the case of physical bullying it may mean just that. In my view, every child should be taught some form self defense; it can help protect them from harm and will, if taught properly, improve his or her character.

In most cases, however, self-defense is education. A parent of a gay child is doing an injustice to the child if he/she/they do not give the child a complete understanding of the mental illness that the extremely literal religionists are suffering from, i.e. “ammunition” for their brain so they can combat ignorant religionist banter.

Know your enemy . . . and anyone who can make illiterate remarks like Bryan Fischer IS your enemy.

As to his other comment: “Not One Loving Father’ Should Entrust (His) Son to the Boy Scouts if Gays Are Included” it certainly sounds like he is afraid that the gay lifestyle may appeal to boys more than the hate speech of the Christian Right. I would go so far as to suggest that Bryan Fischer fears the gay life style because he knows that he himself is drawn to it by his own nature. That is, of course, clearly just conjecture but it is one of the few ways to look at and understand the motivation of an extreme homophobe.

Here Comes That Damned Federal Marriage Amendment Again!

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Sarah Palin — and people like her — make me so damn mad! She (and they) believe that every citizen of the United States should be forced by law to conform to HER OWN PERSONAL moral code.

Earlier this week, in an interview, she came out in support of the proposed (Proposed by “W” in 2004) CONSTITUTIONAL BAN on marriage between two people of the same sex.

I ask you, what the hell business is it of the United States government, Sarah Palin, George W. Bush or any state government for that matter, if two woman or two men want to get married to each other.

Does a gay marriage interfere with anyone’s rights?

NO!

Does anyone loose any property when two gay people decide they want to be married?

NO!

Does gay marriage put anyone out of work or take money out of their bank accounts?

No, of course not!

So is it anyone’s business?

NO!

I’ll tell you what it apparently does do — although I really don’t understand why — it apparently scares people!

Perhaps it makes them doubt their own sexuality; or perhaps it makes them doubt that what their mommy and daddy and their priest or preacher told them about marriage is true.

WELL SORRY ABOUT THAT FOLKS! You’ve been told a lot of lies in your life and its about time you start questioning them — and there are lots of archaic laws and customs being foisted on you — it’s about time you questioned them too.

Why Marriage Licenses?

According to Wikipedia: “The requirement for marriage licenses in the U.S. has been justified on the basis that the state has an overriding right, on behalf of all citizens and in the interests of the larger social welfare, to protect them from disease or improper/illegal marriages; to keep accurate state records; or even to ensure that marriage partners have had adequate time to think carefully before marrying.”

That “overriding right” is, of course, a presumed right and it has been questioned and challenged over the years but common sense will, unfortunately, never make a dent in judicial fiat.

Its interesting to note that issuing a license implies that no one has the “right” to marry it is a privilege given to you by your state. It is also interesting to note that throughout history the refusal to issue a marriage license was a weapon used by the church and later by the government to prevent marriages that were considered inappropriate — in the early part of the 20th Century in the US, the marriage license was used in this way to prevent interracial marriages.

What the hell good is all this talk of freedom and liberty if adults cannot legally make their own decisions regarding who they will share their lives with?

Sorry Sarah — I love you as a potential VP but you really suck as a marriage councilor.