Madison
66° F
Overcast
Overcast
Advertisement

Wineke: It's time for Boy Scouts to accept gays

By William R. Wineke, Special to Channel 3000
Published On: Feb 13 2013 09:30:30 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 13 2013 09:31:22 PM CST

I do have a bit of sympathy for the Boy Scouts of America. No matter what scouting promises to do in regard to gay men and boys, it seems to turn out wrong.

A few years ago, when the Boy Scout policy was adamantly anti-gay, it enjoyed the seeming approval of most Americans. Even the Supreme Court said the scouts could set their own policy. Victory, it seemed, had been accomplished.

The only problem was that the American attitude toward gays and lesbians was in rapid flux.

My clergy friends told me this at least a decade ago. The public debate on the issue might have been raging, but, among their young members, the pastors told me, there was no issue at all. The controversy just seemed stupid.

So, even as the scouts won their battles, they began to lose the war. Fewer and fewer boys seemed to want to join. Corporations that once were eager to fund the movement now feared being labeled as bigoted.

All this exacerbated the "bowling alone" syndrome which has changed so much of American life. People just don't like to join broad-based groups anymore. Churches, civic organizations, and, yes, bowling leagues, are having a hard time maintaining membership. The scouts are part of the trend.

But an even bigger problem for the scouts is that no one can really explain the reason for the gay exclusion in the first place.

We don't really think gay men are more likely to be child molesters than straight men are -- and recent revelations about decades of cover up of abuses by presumably straight scout leaders demonstrate that in spades.

No one really thinks gay boys and men are really likely to turn heterosexual boys gay.

Well, actually, Madison's Roman Catholic Bishop Robert Morlino does keep suggesting in his weekly messages to local Catholics that being gay is a choice but he's in a real minority.

The Madison Catholic Diocese does, however, reflect Morlino's decision. In a statement on scouting, the diocese said "The Catholic Church teaches very clearly that that the homosexual person must be treated with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided."

The diocese then went on to say the "Boy Scouts present policy does not amount to unjust discrimination."

Which, of course, is nonsensical double-speak and that kind of nonsensical double-speak is one reason why scouting is losing its positive image among young people.

And that loss of positive image is the real reason why the Scouts will change their policy. They'd be better off just getting on with it.

Advertisement
  • iOS 8

    From Apple

    Best new Apple iOS 8 features

    Apple's iOS 8 is here, and it's packed with slick new features. Take a look at some of the best changes to the latest version of the popular mobile operating system.

  • Testing for Ebola

    REUTERS/Misha Hussain

    Common myths about Ebola

    At least eight Ebola aid workers and journalists were reportedly murdered in a remote village in Guinea in a brutal example of growing distrust locals have of foreigners coming to help stem the mushrooming health crisis. Take a look at common myths about the deadly virus.

  • Police lights file 2

    Ridiculous 911 calls

    Have you ever considered calling 911 because of a massive spider in your house? How about because a McDonald's employee got your order wrong? Take a look at some of the strangest reasons people have recently called 911.

  • C3K-EVENTS

    Events calendar

    Looking for something to do? Visit Channel 3000's events section featuring dining, food, music and family-friendly events throughout Madison and the surrounding area.

  • Get your weather app

    Channel3000.com and WISC-TV3 deliver local forecasts, live radar, school closings and alerts for Madison and South Central Wisconsin to iOS or Android devices.

  • Learn more about WISC-TV

    Meet the News 3 staff, learn about our newscasts, search our job postings and find out how to contact us.

Advertisement