This is a first for me, I think. I posted two comments at Christianity Today online, in response not to the article about the Boy Scouts’ policy change, but to other comments. A couple of days later, poof, they were gone. The only trace left of me was a patronizing response to my missing comments. (It’s strange but true that when someone calls me “dear sister Sharon” in a comment, they are never about to agree with me).
Being who I am – the sort of person who steps in it about once a week – you’d think I would consider it an honor to have my comments deleted. But it actually hurt my feelings a little bit. At Christianity Today comments are only supposed to be removed if they are “inflammatory”, “off topic” or “attack another person”. I don’t believe my comments fit any of those descriptors. I guess, rather than responding with a comment, I should have reported for abuse the person who said that allowing gay scout leaders into BSA would be like “ringing a dinner bell”. That’s what I call an abusive comment.
Oh, Christianity Today….all those years I subscribed to you, and this is how you treat me.
So anyway, a few incomplete thoughts on the BSA decision. I wasn’t going to post about this because I know how controversial it is and I worried that I wouldn’t express myself well. But if I can’t talk freely elsewhere, I’ll do it here. By the way, this is far more than I said in the deleted comments.
1. Sexual abstinence is still expected of all scouts, as was said directly in the new policy statement. So, no, the BSA did not endorse sexual activity of any kind for minors.
2. Homosexuality and pedophilia are not the same thing. Some people need to get that straight. For real.
3. “Morally straight” doesn’t mean what some of you think it means, and I grow weary of the snarky use of this phrase to attack the character of anyone who is gay.
4. And while we’re at it, a reminder that Jesus didn’t demand moral rectitude before he would hang out with people. So stop dragging God into why you think the BSA has just committed moral suicide.
5. And further, while you’ve been saying “love the sinner, hate the sin” for years and years – which was always an offensive, off putting line anyway – it turns out many of you didn’t even mean it, at least not when it comes to homosexuality. Because now we find out that a kid with same sex attractions, regardless of behavior, is not welcome in your ranks. And if his presence would mess up your scout troop, I guess he’s not welcome in your church, either. And not welcome in your home. Where exactly does he belong?
6. Unless – oh, wait! -unless they keep hiding, right? I mean, you don’t want “openly” gay scouts in your troops. Are you okay with boys continuing to have to bluff, lie, or keep their mouths shut as they deal with growing up gay? Is that the “morally straight” universe you’re looking to live in? What if the child who was gay was your son? Would you want his place in the world to depend on how successfully he could hide himself from those around him?
7. And if you think preteen and teenage boys are too young to have any sense of sexual identity, I think you may have forgotten what it’s like to be a preteen or teen.
8. This guy makes the rational case for why Catholics needn’t flee the BSA, according to canon law. In the process, he explains some of my thoughts without emotions getting in the way.
Okay, I’m done. Many of my homeschool friends with boys in Scouting will strenuously disagree with me on this subject. But most of them will at least give me a hearing, and won’t delete me from their lives. I wouldn’t delete them or their comments either. Even on something as trivial as a comment board it’s a bit painful to feel invisible. But then, I suspect many gay scouts have felt invisible in the past. I don’t think it’s such a bad thing for the Boy Scouts to acknowledge and welcome them.