Friday, May 24, 2013

That old arc of the moral universe ...

Well, good for the Boy Scouts of America --- sort of. Sixty-one percent of scouting's national council approved lifting the organization's formal ban on gay youth Thursday. The ban on gay adult involvement as members and leaders remains in place, however.

“Today’s vote ending discrimination of gay Scouts is truly a historic moment and demonstrates the Boy Scouts of America’s commitment to creating a more inclusive organization,” said Zach Wahls, 21, the Iowa Eagle Scout raised by lesbian mothers who founded Scouts for Equality, which advocates for gays in Scouting, and who was in Texas for the vote.

It's “a tremendous victory toward the fight for equality in America. …," Wahls said, but added "We look forward to the day where we can celebrate inclusion of all members and are committed to continuing our work until that occurs.”

So the conversation hasn't ended. But at least gay kids now are no longer considered officially wicked in scouting doctrine until they turn 18,  a modest advance.

And it probably was the best the scouts could do right now, considering how entwined the program is with sponsoring religious groups, some quite conservative, others astraddle the barbed-wire fence of intradenominational division. The LDS church has given its tacit approval to the new policy. Some Southern Baptists no doubt will burn their merit badges, shred the khaki and go off in a corner to sulk.

Like any policy based upon lies, however, the remaining ban is unlikely to stand for too long.


The facts of the matter are --- sexual orientation, no matter what it is, is original equipment and not subject to change. This is true in scouting, as elsewhere. No amount of prayer, persuasion or persecution can change it.

Neither straight folks nor gay folks --- or those who fall somewhere between --- are morally superior.

Any organization, faith-based or otherwise, that promotes discrimination, distrust, or hate based upon sexual orientation, race or any other immutable fact of the human condition is built on sand and will not prevail.

Those who practice hate come to embody evil and in the end will lose what they profess to love.

"... the arc of the moral universe is long," Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "but it bends toward justice." Justice can be harsh toward those on the wrong side of history.

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