Boy Scouts May End Ban on Gays, a Victory of Culture, not Government

As noted a little while ago on Reason 24/7, NBC News has an intriguing scoop: The Boy Scouts may soon be ending its infamous ban on gay members, at least as national policy. It will instead allow local troops and sponsors to decide the matter for themselves.

The ban has survived years of external pressure and a Supreme Court decision from 2000 that allowed the exclusion of gay scouts under the First Amendment. But now pressure is being applied much more firmly from within – not just from gay members, but from whole chapters and corporate sponsors:

Two corporate CEOs on BSA’s national board, Randall Stephenson of AT&T and James Turley of Ernst & Young, have also said they would work to end the ban. Stephenson is next in line to be the BSA’s national chairman. …

About 50 local United Way groups and several corporations and charities have concluded that the ban violates their non-discrimination requirements and have ceased providing financial aid to the Boy Scouts. An official of The Human Rights Campaign, an advocate for gay rights, said HRC planned to downgrade its non-discrimination ratings for corporations that continue to give the BSA financial support.

“It’s an extremely complex issue,” said one Boy Scouts of America official, who explained that other organizations have threatened to withdraw their financial support if the BSA drops the ban.

This would be a huge cultural domino to tumble if the ban is actually lifted, second possibly only to the Catholic Church reversing its opinion on gay relationships, were that to ever happen.

The change would also notably different from the elimination of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and the gay marriage recognition battles. Both of those battles were/are fights with the government, over the way the government classifies and treats its own citizens.

While activists have attempted to make the Boy Scouts membership policy a government issue, they have largely failed (though that Supreme Court decision was a close 5-4). But when more and more people who make up your organization tell you you’re out of step, you might start to listen, especially if it starts to affect your bottom line.

Inevitably, thoughts about culture’s evolving attitudes toward homosexuality lead to thoughts about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). ENDA would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of categories over which private employers may not discriminate. It has been introduced in Congress over and over again for years and has not passed even when the Democrats held most of the cards.

But do we even need it? Set aside for a moment, libertarian reader, your objections to government coercion in employment practices if you could. The argument is well taken – employers should be able to select their own criteria for hiring. It is an important component of human liberty. But set it aside for just a moment, please.

The HRC publishes an annual report looking at relevant corporate policies on gay and transgendered matters. Their most recent report notes that a full 88 percent of Fortune 500 companies have non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation. In 2002 that number was 61 percent. A little less than half the states have non-discrimination laws now, but that’s still a pretty big shift in policy. (The percentage of Fortune 500 companies that now have policies protecting transgendered employees from discrimination made an even bigger jump, from 3 to 57 percent in a decade)

So, even without a federal law, there’s been a huge shift in corporate behavior, no doubt due to pressures by gay (and gay friendly) employees and customers, whose own attitudes (and courage) have shifted in time. If ENDA passes someday (certainly not through this Congress) would we even need it anymore?

What about Chick-fil-A? They received plenty of attention last year over their religious attitudes and opposition to gay marriage recognition. Well, one of the activists promoting the boycott of the fast food restaurant ended up spending New Year’s Day at a football game with its president, Dan Cathy. Today, he blogged about his experience and how engaging with the businessman went a lot further to advancing his pro-gay aims than the heavily politicized boycott that pretty much backfired. The company has stopped donating to organizations with anti-gay aims (they were only a small part of the company’s actual donations anyway, despite the “millions of dollars” being tossed about) and the activist’s group has suspended its boycott.

Should the Boy Scouts decide to end their ban – it may be announced as early as next week – it will be a huge civil liberties win pursued not through the government, but through voluntary cultural engagement. It is a culmination of the efforts of thousands – even millions – of individual actors applying pressure when and where they can, not through legislative, executive, or judicial declaration.

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  • ||

    "My beard is scratchy, Canteen Boy, but it gives good back rubs."

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    This would be a huge cultural domino to tumble if the ban is actually lifted, second possibly only to the Catholic Church reversing its opinion on gay relationships, were that to ever happen.

    I am a Protestant, but I have a sincere question for anyone inclined to answer it: why is the Catholic Church singled out for attitudes and/or doctrine regarding homosexuality, when Protestant, Orthodox, and other branches of Christianity have similar doctrines in place? Is it because the Catholic Church church is more "foreign" to the US and thus a safer target, or am I missing something?

  • Hugh Akston||

    The Roman Catholic Church is a rigid, wealthy, and globally influential institution in a way that, say, the Seventh Day Adventists are not. The Catholic church is also much more hierarchical than the Protestant denominations.

  • Zeb||

    I think this is the answer. The Catholic church could change it's views and rules about gays all at once, just like that. The more conservative protestant denominations are not very centralized at all and any national organization that came out for accepting gays more would probably find itself without many members.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I wouldn't be so sure about that. To use Latin America as an example, many Catholic laity and clergy in that region would either ignore or outright reject a pro-gay papal encyclical just as they have with the anti-communist and anti-socialist ones from Benedict and John Paul II.

    I do see you guys' point about the RCC being much more organized and hierarchical than its Protestant counterparts, but what matters is actions, no? It wouldn't be "more" or "less" wrong for a wealthy man to murder compared to a murderer of less means. What policies or actions has the RCC taken that are so offensive in that regard?

  • Zeb||

    Well, I'm not saying it is necessarily deserved or completely true. Just that that is probably why people might single out the RCC for scrutiny about gay issues.

  • Alan||

    The difference is that the RCC opposed the invasion of Iraq.

  • widget||

    That's it, I won't let Hugh join my church.

  • ||

    Because they started it. They are responsible for it.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Responsible for what? Started what? The RCC really only started as a separate organization from Orthodox with seperate doctrine, organization, etc in the 8th-9th century.

  • Hugh Akston||

    The RCC started the whole gay thing. Think of it, what's gayer than the Catholic Church? The priests wear dresses, the churches are garishly overdecorated, they practice a ritualistic consumption of a dude's flesh, everyone worships Madonna.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    The RCC started gayness? I'd have thought that would be more an Orthodox thing, whatwith their being Greek. Also, that calender, heh.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Think of it, what's gayer than the Catholic Church?

    Top Gun.

  • Virginian||

    Also like half of the mainline Protestant churches are basically one or another variety of liberalism with a veneer of Christianity. My Methodist family members, for example, think there is one God and on the sixth day he created the federal government to look out for us, and sent Barack Obama to Earth to intercede for us on His behalf.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    That's a good point.

  • lap83||

    Methodists are not really representative of all Protestant denominations politically. I went to a Methodist church once in my early 20s. The sermon was delivered by a lesbian and it was the most new age-y tripe I'd ever heard: God loves diversity, all beliefs are equal, rainbows are unicorn kisses, etc.

  • ||

    Methodist...

    ...all the salvation...

    ...none of the guilt.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    1.) The Catholic Church is the biggest church in the US, more than four times the size of the next largest, the Southern Baptist Convention. While their are more protestants as a group, they're divided among a bazillion different denominations.

    2) Protestant churches are more decentalizes, with many doctrinal decisions being made by individual churches rather than the entire synod, this often leads to wide variations from one church to the next, making it harder to blame the entire organization.

  • ||

    Might have something to do with that, when it comes to fucked up, uptight, statist, hypocritical, mythology, the Catholics have no equal.

  • ||

    it will be a huge civil liberties win pursued not through the government, but through voluntary cultural engagement

    That's unpossible! If it wasn't for the Civil Rights Act, we'd still have twice the amount of bathrooms in this country!

  • Aresen||

    It may just be that they were unable to find Scoutmasters. :P

  • Oso Politico||

    Maybe the Scoutmasters need more diversion on camp-outs.

  • John||

    How is this a civil liberties win? There is no civil liberty to join a private organization. If anything it is a civil liberties loss. If there is a right to be gay, and I think there is, there is a concomitant, to reject being gay. I don't have anything against gays. But some people do. And I respect their right to feel that way and form private organizations without being bullied into the majority position.

    Reason apparently doesn't. I guess bowing to majority pressure is what counts as civil liberties these days.

  • Andrew S.||

    How on earth is it a civil liberties loss? This is exactly how things should work. They had a policy, the market told them it was idiotic, and because of that market pressure, they changed that policy, without the government forcing it on them. Exactly the way things should work in re racial/sex/etc. discrimination.

  • John||

    It is not a civil liberties loss. It has nothing to do with government. So it is not civil liberties anything.

    But if it is a civil liberties "win" because gays can now join, isn't is also just as much of a loss for those people who don't want to associate with gays? Freedom of association means freedom to no associate as well as associate.

    And when the people who don't like this go and form their own scout group that doesn't allow gays, will Reason be there to hound them into changing? If not why not? And if so, since when is it "Libertarian" to believe people are not allowed to form private organizations and be left alone?

  • Andrew S.||

    They can do whatever the hell the want. They just have to suffer the consequences of the market. Here, the market consequences hurt them to the point where they made the change. Again, that is exactly how it should be.

    The homophobes can go start their own group for all I care, and I'd be willing to bet a year's salary that Reason wouldn't hound them into anything, just like they didn't hound the Boy Scouts into changing. They said it was a stupid policy, which it was. Somehow I doubt Reason's view on things factored much into the Boy Scouts' calculus.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    And when the people who don't like this go and form their own scout group that doesn't allow gays

    Well, if this policy is true, it seems it is up to the individual troop to allow gay members. As an aside, the ban on gay and irreligious youth and adults is only in what's considered the "traditional Scouting" program, i.e. Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. Any one of any gender, sexual orientation, or religious belief is free to join and participate in Scouting's other programs, i.e. Explorers and Venturers.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    LOL Explorers and Venturers.

    You forgot the Super Adventurers, though.

  • Alan||

    Supposedly the new policy will allow each council, or even troop, to decide this policy for themselves. That means it's still a win for people who want a right to not associate with gays - it just gives the majority more choices.

  • widget||

    There will no provincialism here, John. Stop resisting the cosmotarians.

  • John||

    You have a right to discriminate. If someone wants to form an organization that only allows gays, they should be able to. That is freedom of association. The Boy Scouts or any other private organization shouldn't be bullied into changing what they are.

  • Agammamon||

    "The Boy Scouts or any other private organization shouldn't be bullied into changing what they are."

    The BSA shouldn't be bullied by the *government* - "bullying" by other private parties, including some on the very board of the BSA is perfectly fine and acceptable. It forms the cornerstone of discourse in our country.

    Those who uphold upopular or unpalatable opinions should be treated equally under the law, but they do not gets any special protection from their peers for their opinions.

  • ||

    This is John you're trying to argue with, Agammamon. As far as he's concerned, them queers is icky and should be locked away where they can't hurt good (i.e. heterosexual) people.

  • crazyfingers||

    The only real argument pertaining specifically to the boy scouts is their frequent use of public accommodations (i.e. schools) to hold meetings. That's the downside of being on the public teat.

    Of course I hesitate to use that argument because liberals want to take over everything and then use that as justification for an all-encompassing state.

  • John||

    They pay taxes too. And if you let the boy scouts use it, you have to let everyone use it. It is not like, only they can use it.

  • MWG||

    "That is freedom of association."

    Interesting comming from a guy who argues the that its his business and the government who I hire to mow my lawn.

    Red tony indeed.

  • Agammamon||

    Its not a loss, but neither is it a win - the win was back when the BSA's right to free association was upheld.

    This is just some internal politicing being blown up as something of national importance - some of the BSA's members have a pro-allowing gays in the BSA stance and are taking that fight public.

  • crazyfingers||

    What I don't understand is why would any gay person want to join and contribute to an organization that has to be browbeaten into accepting them? It's like with the CRA where black people used government force so that they could spend their money at a diner owned by someone who hated them. Or more recently that gay couple who sued (and won) to force a wedding photography company to take them on as clients. I'm sure those pictures came out real good. Also the gay people who used the courts to force eharmony to include them, as if there weren't any other sites that would be happy to take their business.

  • Andrew S.||

    The difference with those is that the wedding photographer case and the eHarmony case used government to change the companies. That's idiotic, and it should never happen. Any company should be able to discriminate on whatever factors they want to...

    ...but at the same time, you do that, the market will judge you. You should be free to say "No black people allowed in my restaurant". Just don't be surprised when your restaurant's closed down in a couple of months due to a lack of business (would that be wrong, John?)

  • Agammamon||

    The analogy to the CRA is a poor one - those people weren't in a hurry to give money to a diner that hates them, instead they wanted to get rid of the laws that made it illegal for a diner that wanted them as customers to have them.

    The change in the BSA is coming in completely privately - some gays may support it to further influence other organizations to make the same changes, others simply because they like the *new* BSA.

  • Andrew S.||

    Yeah, I think my post was a bit awkward. I wasn't trying to make an analogy to the CRA; was more trying to make a point about the power of market force being greater (and far more legitimate) than the power of government force. Re-reading I think I failed badly.

  • crazyfingers||

    So are you saying that under the ERA it is legal for a business owner to refuse service based on criteria such as race (as stupid as that may be)? Isn't even the suggestion that this may be outside the scope of federal authority what got Rand Paul in trouble on Maddow?

    Of course getting rid of the government-imposed Jim Crow laws is a good thing but then they way overstepped IMO.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    What I don't understand is why would any gay person want to join and contribute to an organization that has to be browbeaten into accepting them?

    They don't. It's just about the bitchy satisfaction of the aggrieved party forcing the other party to bend to their wishes.

  • Zeb||

    I don't really get the wedding photographer thing, btu something like the Boy Scouts is enough of an institution that people don't really think of it as a private business or club. People still want to be part of it, and being excluded probably makes some people want to be included more.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    That's not a civil liberties loss. The Boy Scouts are perfectly free to tell pro-gay organizations where they can shove it, if they so desire. That they are not doing so is their prerogative, and has nothing to do with a loss of liberty.

  • Hugh Akston||

    A big organization like the BSA becoming more accepting of gays is a good thing, John. It reduces the number of barriers that people face based on stupid backward prejudices.

    I might support the right of a restaurant owner to refuse service to blacks, but I still think he's an ignorant hick for doing so. Same with the BSA.

  • John||

    The more I read this madder I get. Fuck you Shackelford, you fascist little fuck. God forbid anyone be left the fuck alone or their views respected.

    I guess when liberals finally hound Reason into rehiring Dave Weigel and making Pauli Krugnuts managing editor, will that be a victory for civil rights?

  • ||

    Jesus John, calm down. The Boy Scouts of America are reconsidering their position based on dialogue with their donors and a measuring of public opinion.

    As long as the government is forcing them this is perfectly fine and consistent with the principles of liberty.

    Go watch that episode of South Park that deals with this and relax.

  • ||

    *as long as the government isn't forcing them

  • John||

    And when the people who don't like the position leave and form their own scout groups, will public opinion then force them to change too? Where does this end? Why should they be forced to do anything any more than a group that only wants to allow homosexuals should be forced to allow straights?

  • ||

    You seem to be using a different definition of force than I am.

    The Boy Scouts have a Constitutionally protected right to eschew gay members, but they still rely on the patronage of corporate donors and if said donors take issue with the ban shouldn't they be allowed to withdraw their support?

  • Agammamon||

    So what, we should also shield groups like the Klan from public opinion because otherwise public opprobium might make them change?

  • John||

    No. But we shouldn't cheer when majority opinion determines what groups we can form.

  • Calidissident||

    If there isn't force involved, I don't see what the problem is. The ones who want to exclude gays are free to start their own club.

  • Zeb||

    I think that social pressure toward change is often a good thing. I don't think that there is anything wrong with putting pressure on prominent groups which hold offensive opinions to change. The boy scouts should be free to exclude black people too, but decent people should call them out on it if they want to portray themselves as a grand American institution.

  • ||

    Forced? What the fuck ya talkin about John? No force was used here. That's the beauty of it. No one was told how to act at the point of a gun. No one was threatened with prison for non compliance. The BSA decided to change based upon the opinions of their members. They could have just as easily rejected said opinions and not changed.

    The fact that they came down on the side of inclusiveness and live and let live is encouraging.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    God forbid anyone be left the fuck alone or their views respected.

    Why am I obligated to respect someone's bigotted views?

  • Sevo||

    John| 1.28.13 @ 5:50PM |#
    "The more I read this madder I get. Fuck you Shackelford, you fascist little fuck. God forbid anyone be left the fuck alone or their views respected."

    You bet, John! Why any random anti-semite has views worthy of my rsepect!
    You're an idiot.

  • ||

    Red Tony thinks the gays like to drink the blood of straight children at their Passover Seders.

  • Agammamon||

    Don't worry though - they still won't allow atheists.

  • John||

    Not for long. Nothing says libertarian like seeking out private organizations and trying to dictate their terms of membership.

  • Andrew S.||

    Cripes, John. I know you're ... different and all, but here it seems like you're purposefully being obtuse.

  • John||

    I am not being obtuse at all. This whole thread is nothing culture war bullshit. If there was atheists organization that was forced via public pressure to admit Christians, Reason would be having a fit about organizations being threatened by the mob. But because this is their side of the culture war, it is a "civil rights victory" as if joining a private organization is a civil right.

  • Andrew S.||

    I highly doubt that. They'd call it a stupid policy, which they should, and they might support private groups withdrawing their funding as a result. Or maybe they wouldn't support that. I don't know.

    "The majority forcing the minority into something", without the force of government, is not a problem. The Boy Scouts didn't have to do anything. They could've kept the policy for decades. They just would have had to suffer the consequences and loss of sponsors. What in the world is wrong with that?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    It is culture war bullshit, I'll agree with that -- but since when does being a libertarian preclude having opinions on other things outside of politics? Not that I really consider myself a libertarian, but one worthy attribute of libertarianism and other non-totalizing ideologies is precisely that they don't dictate the terms on which you must agree with or enjoy non-political aspects of life. Llew Rockwell probably has a very different take on this issue than Shackford; what's wrong with that? I don't see anyone (Shackford or otherwise) proclaiming this as a libertarian issue. Reason covers non-political things (the deaths of celebrities, for example) as often as the political.

    This isn't in the same realm as their perennial praise of left-wing "anarchists" or loathesome cunts like Howard Zinn.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    This piece is anti-culture war. Shackford is laying praise for a cultural event that was decided not in the authoritarian courts but in the anarchy of the market-place.

  • Sevo||

    ..."but one worthy attribute of libertarianism and other non-totalizing ideologies is precisely that they don't dictate"...
    Now you can join John. Define "dictate".

  • Sevo||

    John| 1.28.13 @ 6:06PM |#
    "I am not being obtuse at all"

    No, you're being stupid.

  • ||

    forced via public pressure

    ?

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  • Sevo||

    I'm amazed at the number of folks posting here who have zero idea what the word "force" means.
    Do they think it means someone doesn't like what they are doing? Do they think it means someone won't pay you to do what you'd like to do?
    I'm pretty sure they aren't "thinking" at all.

  • ||

    Red Tony isn't worth it. Treat him they way we treat Regular Tony, and don't bother.

  • Jordan||

    Yeah, actually that is perfectly libertarian.

  • Sevo||

    John| 1.28.13 @ 5:54PM |#
    "Nothing says libertarian like seeking out private organizations and trying to dictate their terms of membership."

    Nothing says lying asshole like using the term "dictate" when it doesn't apply.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Not for long. Nothing says libertarian like seeking out private organizations and trying to dictate their terms of membership.

    Geesh, you're making me feel bad for the poor wittle Eastern Sports Show because of vendor pull-out and boycott.

  • ||

    Big Gay Al must be thrilled.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Did I miss out on something by not being a Boy Scout? I can't think of anything more pointless than to waste your childhood outdoors, not playing video games.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Fire and knives and arrows. Tons of pot at campouts. They probably have an achievement for video games by now.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    They probably have an achievement for video games by now.

    I hope you didn't mean that in jest....

  • Cliché Bandit||

    wow, i been out a while.

  • ||

    Wow, that's silly. I don't see something like that being added to the main Boy Scouts group anytime soon though. Not really sure what the Cub Scouts scene is like, never having been one myself.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    I started at tiger, right after the implementation of the tigers. I remember it like it was yesterday. I have almost nothing but positive memories of the BSA.

    3 Philmont trips
    2 National Jamborees, 1 as staff
    SPL twice
    3 Nagatamen, 2 as staff

    almost all great times.

  • ||

    I have almost nothing but positive memories of the BSA.

    Same here. Never made it to a National Jamboree or Philmont, though.

  • Numeromancer||

    You forgot:

    Pederasty
    Sodomy

    Oh, wait; those are memories for the next generation.

  • R C Dean||

    Same here.* Philmont, lots of camping, male bonding, good stuff.

    *Err, on the good memories. Not the pederasty and sodomy.

  • ||

    I know this is tongue in cheek, but I have to say that I really, REALLY loved being in Boy Scouts. It was awesome, and was a huge (social and personal) help to me, growing up. If I hadn't been a part, I WOULD have been missing out. I'm not sure where I would be now without that influence. Now if only they would change their policies on atheists.

  • ||

    Were you "missing out"!? Oh Caleb, you were obviously never taught the value of being prepared.

  • Guy Incognito||

    Cool. JC Penney managed to corner that crucial "homosexual father" demographic before they went tits-up.

  • ||

    I have to agree with John, although not as vehemently. I don't see why, as a libertarian, I should care at all.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Because this reduces the social barriers that gays face due to stupid, backward prejudices.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    A discrimentory bylaw of a cherished and entrenched American institution was changed without the use of government force, when we have been told for a century (give or take) that the only way to deal with discrimenation is through government coercion. How is this not of interest to some libertarians?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Also this.

  • JeremyR||

    Because bullying is still bullying?

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Who was bullying who now?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Those mean ol' queers were holding the BSA down with their rippling, oily muscles, forcing them to their knees, and making them accept all manner of foreign objects into places they didn't belong.

  • Guy Incognito||

  • Hugh Akston||

    Uh, no. Nothing on IASIP is like anything. Sorry.

  • ||

    What don't you get? Sure, BSA has every right to be stupid and bigoted, but others have the right to point out they are being stupid and bigoted.

  • Guy Incognito||

    There's (at least) one major problem with comparing homosexual "rights" to ethnic-minority civil rights. Homosexuality will never increase in proportion to the general population.

    But ethnic minorities can--and quite possibly WILL--be majorities at some point. It is entirely conceivable that eventually even one single minority group, and not just a combination of every minority group, could someday supplant whites as a majority in America.

    So all moral dimensions aside, from a purely practical, utilitarian standpoint, civil rights for ethnic minorities are pretty much essential to a functioning society. Like it or not, homosexuality is not in the same category.

  • JeremyR||

    I think that's debatable. Were Greeks more prone to being gay? Or was it part of their culture?

    I mean, to the point of "Greek" being a synonym in the ancient world for anal sex.

  • Guy Incognito||

    Classical civilizations like the Greeks and Romans were more "tolerant" of homosexuality in some narrow respects, but they still viewed homosexual behavior more as a common vice to which anyone could be susceptible. They did not think of "homosexual" as its own ontological category, as in someone "being a homosexual." The idea of two men getting married would have seemed absurd and scandalous, like when Caligula tried to marry his horse.

    Aristotle, Plato, Marcus Aurelius, and many others all wrote of homosexual behavior as a sign of moral weakness. It was viewed as a facet of the universal human tendency toward licentiousness which resulted in other hedonistic behavior, like promiscuity and drunkenness, and not tolerable in a Perfectly Moral society.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Aristotle didn't care for homosexuality, but I'm not sure how you can divine Plato's view on the matter since all he wrote were dialogues and most of the time Socrates was all about the boys.

  • Guy Incognito||

    Not true. Read "Laws," his final extant work.

  • SugarFree||

    Aristotle, Plato, Marcus Aurelius, and many others Classical authors that survived the Catholic Church being in charge of history for a millennium all wrote of homosexual behavior as a sign of moral weakness.

    FTFY

  • Guy Incognito||

    That's obviously not true because some ancient writers were indifferent and clearly did not think homosexuality was intrinsically immoral. Are you implying some sort of Grand Catholic Conspiracy to destroy all historical writing that disagreed with its morality? Because that's demonstrably absurd.

  • SugarFree||

    It wasn't grand. And they didn't get it all.

    Nag Hammadi library ring a bell? Widely circulated texts (some known because of references to them in other works) we only have now because one set of them were buried rather than burned?

    Or the poetry of Sappho? All we know of it are lines from criticisms. The text was extant when the criticism were written, and the criticisms are extant, but The Big Book of Lesbian Poetry is gone.

    The Library of Anitoch? The Library of Alexandria, Rd. 3?

    OK, sure. Absurd.

  • Guy Incognito||

    So...your theory is that the Catholic Church was "in charge of history for a millennium," but it wasn't able to destroy all literature that contradicted its teaching, even though we actually have many, many extant works which do in fact contradict Church teaching, and that this theory is supported by the discovery of some buried texts in Egypt and the closure of a library which had already been destroyed twice in the course of war (once by Julius Caesar) and might not even have contained any books by the time the Church shut it down? Not to mention that the Church actually made a public exhibit of the Library's contents before it finally closed it.

    And based those completely spurious examples you are convinced that there was some rich moral-philosophic tradition that was positive and completely favorable toward homosexuality as a social practice, disregarding Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, etc?

    Ok, buddy. If you say so.

  • SugarFree||

    U mad, bro?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    It's far more likely that Greco-Roman ideals of marriage seeped into Christianity rather than the other way around -- polygamy, for example, was still practiced by some Jews centuries after it had become unacceptable in the Christianity influenced by Greek and Roman monogamy.

  • SugarFree||

    The idea of two men getting married would have seemed absurd and scandalous, like when Caligula tried to marry his horse.

    Caligula never tried to marry his horse. He tried to make Incitatus a consul, and did appoint him a priest.

    I see there will be little point arguing history with someone clearly ignorant of it.

  • Guy Incognito||

    Ah, how quickly the ad hominem came out. Forgive me for not memorizing Caligula's biography, O Esteemed Classicist and Virtuous Defender of the Suppressed Gnostic Mysteries.

  • ||

    You don't know what ad hominiem means, either.

  • widget||

    It's latin for mostly correct but smells for like armpits.

  • Guy Incognito||

    Btw, how do you know that information about Caligula is accurate? You're not relying on some Church-Censored historical document, are you? After all, they erased The Real History during that millennium in which they were "in charge" of it.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    That one girl who wanted to be in the Cub Scouts instead of the Brownies turned out to be a lesbian. True story.

  • Skip||

    I haven't had this much sex since I was a Boy Scout leader!

  • Sevo||

    MP| 1.28.13 @ 6:15PM |#
    "I have to agree with John, although not as vehemently. I don't see why, as a libertarian, I should care at all."

    Because the next time some lefty claims the government is the only way bigots change, you get to point out that the market has the same result.

  • ||

    tradeoffs... via the market

    one group... teh gay has gained the ability to associate with the BSA and do all sorts of keen stuff

    another group, those who don't want to associate with teh gay but want to do all sorts of keen stuff with the BSA will lose that ability at some BSA troops

    it wasn't the heavy hand of govt and via the barrel of a gun, which is good.

    it was the market. which can be coercive, too. but so be it

  • Sevo||

    ..."it was the market. which can be coercive, too. but so be it"...

    Idiot fail.
    Define "coercive".

  • ||

    it makes people do things they don't want to do.

    but so what? it's a form of coercion we accept.

    the mere fact that we have to WORK to make money is arguably coercive. the market makes us WORK for our money. it won't let us sit on our ass and just hand it to us - actually , it will - see dividends, but you get my point.

    the market is a coercive bitch, but it's OUR coercive bitch, without the barrel of a gun, centralized control, or articulated rationality. it has a distributed rationality.

    idiot fail, yourself.

    let's not get into a wank over the definition of coercive. it makes us do things we don't want to do, in order to get it to cooperate with us.

  • Sevo||

    Dunphy (the real one)| 1.28.13 @ 9:56PM |#
    "it makes people do things they don't want to do."

    You're kidding, I hope.

  • widget||

    Dunphy 1, Sevo 0.

  • OldMexican||

    Should the Boy Scouts decide to end their ban – it may be announced as early as next week – it will be a huge civil liberties win [??? WHAT ????]


    Only if one happened to have a right to be liked.

    Is this still a libertarian magazine called Reason? My faith is starting to falter...

  • Scott S.||

    Hrm, perhaps I shouldn't have used "civil liberties" that way. Point taken.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Maybe it was a poor choice of words, but I don't think you were far off. It's more of a realization of the Jeffersonian concept of "the pursuit of happiness".

  • Thane of Whiterun||

    That's what's really irritating me about these comments.

    The only real problem I see with the post is that "civil liberties" are usually associated with the government, i.e., which freedoms they choose to recognize.

    But instead we have John in a rage because he wants to be a bigot without other people "bullying" him about it.

  • Sevo||

    Thane of Whiterun| 1.28.13 @ 9:30PM |#
    "But instead we have John in a rage because he wants to be a bigot without other people "bullying" him about it."

    Dunno if John promotes the bullshit, but it's sort of like those who dislike atheists since they make fun of stupid bleefs.
    Sorry, if you choose to be stupid, you get to hear about it from those who choose not to be stupid.
    You want the gov't to pull a gun and stop me from laughing? Fuck you.

  • ||

    personally, i'd dislike an atheist who refers to theism as stupid, just as i'd dislike a theist who refers to atheism as stupid

    they are both being putzes.

    the problem with atheists is their PR sucks. the public face of atheism is filled with obnoxious putzes a la dawkins (who also makes weak arguments compared to many more eloquent atheists). at least hitchens was funny as fuck. south park riffed on this well. as it usually does.

  • Sevo||

    Dunphy (the real one)| 1.28.13 @ 9:59PM |#
    "personally, i'd dislike an atheist who refers to theism as stupid, just as i'd dislike a theist who refers to atheism as stupid"
    So?

  • ||

    SO?

  • Sevo||

    Uh, you're welcome to your likes and otherwise; they are irrelevant to me.

  • ||

    groovy. and you are welcome to make comments like you did. i responded with the above, because imo the reason atheists are disliked is largely due to HOW they do what they do via the "public face" of atheism, and not merely for the facile and question begging reason you propose.

  • Sevo||

    Dunphy (the real one)| 1.28.13 @ 10:14PM |#
    ..."because imo the reason atheists are disliked is largely due to HOW they do"...
    Could be. More likely they are disliked because they point out that santa really doesn't exist and bleevers really get upset about that.

  • Sevo||

    "Only if one happened to have a right to be liked."

    Non sequitur, OM.
    Being accepted as a member /= being 'liked'.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Sevo,

    Being accepted as a member =/= being 'liked'.


    You miss the point, Sev. Being accepted or being liked, same thing: NEITHER is a civil right. You do not have the right to be accepted or to be liked. Scott's statement would suggest that we do. But we don't.

    The policy change from the Boy Scouts of America would be a personal win for those homosexual persons that want to join, but it is not as if the issue was a right that was being denied or curtailed. It is NOT.

  • Russell||

    All that remains for the homintern to complete its triumph is to persuade the Girl Scouts to take up Rum and The Lash.

  • widget||

    You haven't properly read "Treasure Island" until you understand that Jim Hawkins, Billy Bones, and Long John Silver are lesbians.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    As a libertarian and a Libertarian...the philosophy and policy are 100% about GOVERNMENT. Therefore (or as such depending on your orientation) this article, to me, points to how individuals and groups can coexist peacefully without the coercive force of government. I think the point about the merits of gays in the BSA is irrelevant to the conversation. The only "Libertarian/libertarian" point is that government is not the answer and non-violent, peaceful, voluntary means are the answer.

    tl;dr John, you be cra-cra.

  • Sevo||

    ..."The only "Libertarian/libertarian" point is that government is not the answer and non-violent, peaceful, voluntary means are the answer."...

    Exactly.
    Some people were excluded from an activity because of an accident of birth.
    They are (to be?) allowed to engage in that activity absent government involvement.
    Anytime there is an increase in freedom of action, it it a positive for humanity in general, so I'm claiming this as a "civil liberties win", OM. No one is yet requesting they be 'liked' as well as the next guy.

  • ||

    this begs the question and assumes that homosexuality is an "accident of birth"

    personally, i support gay rights 100% btw, am against the BSA policy, am for gay marriage, but i think the bulk of evidence at this point , points to homosexuality being a combination of genetics and environment. the science, thin as it is, i think comes down mostly in this camp as well.

  • Sevo||

    Dunphy (the real one)| 1.28.13 @ 10:02PM |#
    "this begs the question and assumes that homosexuality is an "accident of birth""

    Got evidence otherwise? No? Why am I not surprised?

  • ||

    first of all, you are making the claim... that it's an accident of birth.

    there is a wealth of science out there and despite all the attempts to isolate "the gay gene" etc. it hasn't been done.

    twins are frequently born, who have the same genetics obviously, one gay and one not.

    so, i would say the burden is on you to prove it's an "accident of birth".

    human behavior is complex and so often a result of both environment and genetics. there's ample controversy, but imo the bulk of evidence points towards BOTH being a factor.

    but again, you made the claim. show me the peer reviewed study that isolates a pure genetic factor as causative for homosexuality. (setting aside the fact that sexuality exists on a continuum)

  • Sevo||

    Fail.
    You're claiming that X population should be denied an activity.
    The burden it on you to prove why they should be.

  • ||

    im not claiming they should be denied anything. i oppose the BSA policy that denied them access, recognizing that of course BSA had the right to do so.

    i support gay marriage and am 100% on board with gay rights. so i have no idea where you are coming from.

    i am saying that your claim that homosexuality is an "accident of birth" iow purely a result of genetics has not been proven and in fact disagrees with the bulk of the science./

    but again, YOU made the claim "accident of birth". whether or not it IS an accident of birth btw has zero relevance as to any of the above policy questions imo.

  • Sevo||

    Dunphy (the real one)| 1.28.13 @ 10:25PM |#
    "i am saying that your claim that homosexuality is an "accident of birth" iow purely a result of genetics has not been proven and in fact disagrees with the bulk of the science./"

    Let's see it.

  • ||

    again, YOU are making the claim, you PROVIDE the evidence.

    i expect the usual dodges and backpedals now of course.

    but what the heck...
    this article, like many others suggests there is more than mere genetics...

    http://pediatrics.aappublicati.....type=HWCIT

  • ||

    the money quote: Current knowledge suggests that sexual orientation is usually established during early childhood.1,2,4,5

  • Sevo||

    Dunphy (the real one)| 1.28.13 @ 10:43PM |#
    "the money quote: Current knowledge suggests that sexual orientation is usually established during early childhood.1,2,4,5"
    Let's see the evidence.

  • Sevo||

    Dunphy (the real one)| 1.28.13 @ 10:39PM |#
    "again, YOU are making the claim, you PROVIDE the evidence."

    Uh:
    "i am saying that your claim that homosexuality is an "accident of birth" iow purely a result of genetics has not been proven and in fact disagrees with the bulk of the science./"
    No, dipshit; see above. Now, dipshit, let's see the evidence.

  • PapayaSF||

    So will they have to change the "morally straight" part of the oath?

  • Thane of Whiterun||

    All the middle schoolers in my troop loved to more or less shout the "morally straight" portion. It was really fucking annoying.

  • RightNut||

  • waaminn||

    OK wow, that makes a ll kinds of crazy sense to me dude.

    www.ImaAnon.tk

  • SaltySeaCaptain(LAOL)||

    It looks like the Reason cosmos have something to slobber over alongside their metrosexual counterparts at HuffPo.

  • Sevo||

    SaltySeaCaptain(LAOL)| 1.28.13 @ 9:56PM |#
    "It looks like the Reason cosmos have something to slobber over alongside their metrosexual counterparts at HuffPo."

    Care to try that in English rather than code?

  • Caleb Turberville||

    This one smells like a troll. John and the others, as much as they confound me, are arguing in good faith.

  • Sevo||

    Kinda thought so. Lots of code-words, innuendo.

  • ||

    Red Tony is just a bigot who doesn't want to admit it. Good faith nothing.

  • Alice Bowie||

    "Boy Scouts May End Ban on Gays, a Victory of Culture, not Government"

    Bullshit!

    Government also played an important part. Especially the public benefits.

  • Sevo||

    Alice Bowie| 1.28.13 @ 10:31PM |#
    "Boy Scouts May End Ban on Gays, a Victory of Culture, not Government"
    Bullshit!
    Government also played an important part. Especially the public benefits."

    Aww, poor stupid Alice can't stand the notion that people act absent coercion.
    But that's what makes Alice stupid, isn't it?
    Hey, Alice? Stuff it up your butt.

  • ||

    Ummm...what part did government play, exactly?

  • General Butt Naked||

    Awesome...

    Vermont gun range bans cops from training in response to a Burlington measure to ban so-called "assault weapons".

  • ||

    Vermont FTW!

  • cavalier973||

    I don't know about other denominations, but we Southern Baptists already have our own alternative to the stinky Methodists' Boy Scouts:

    http://www.namb.net/royal-ambassadors/

    I made it through to Knight, by the way.

  • cavalier973||

    During the Royal Ambassadors' early years, the level up from Knight was Ambassador. When I was younger, they split off the older boys into an organization called "Pioneers", which had the Pathfinder, Scout, and Explorer (IIRC).

    Every year, they held the "Tri-State Camporee", in which the different churches' groups would camp out at Camp Cordova near Memphis, and compete with each other in various contests, the best of which was the obstacle course that ran around the lake.

  • cavalier973||

    It was at RAs that I learned how to make the scrumptious dish known as "Macaroni and Cheese and Spam." Still one of my favorites.

  • T o n y||

    God I hated the Boy Scouts. And their position on admitting gays is about as laughably incongruent as the Catholic clergy's.

    Let's put this another way: the more outwardly homophobic an organization, the more gay sex is happening in it.

  • cavalier973||

    Westboro Baptist Church must be a regular Sodom and Gomorrah, then.

  • T o n y||

    Well Fred Phelps has been to more gay pride parades than RuPaul...

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    God I hated the Boy Scouts.


    No surprise there, Tony - you're a hate-filled fellow.

    And their position on admitting gays is about as laughably incongruent as the Catholic clergy's.


    Incongruent compared to their previous policy or what are you talking about? Do you know what congruency means, at least?

    Boy, talk about the direct and sad result of the Amerikan Pulbic Skool Seistem Dat Teeches Childrun To Red and Writ.

    Let's put this another way: the more outwardly homophobic an organization, the more gay sex is happening in it.


    So anti-gun zealots are really gut-toting sharpshooters themselves? Free love advocates are really sexually-repressed? Obama is really full of shit?

  • T o n y||

    All I'm saying is many, probably most, priests are gay, and summer camp wasn't just for stroking oars.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    All I'm saying is many, probably most, priests are gay,


    It would be more likely that most priests are straight and hide secret wives than that they're gay. Just by statistics alone, your proposition cannot be correct.

    [...] and summer camp wasn't just for stroking oars.


    Are you guessing, or are you speaking from experience? Maybe we stumbled on to the reason you hate the BSA so much... tsk tsk tsk.

  • widget||

    "God I hated the Boy Scouts."

    I've been a heterosexual agnostic Roman Catholic alter boy, but I never hated it. What gins up your hatred of being a homosexual Boy Scout?

    It's Lou Reed time for you:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBAJLe8A6nc

  • T o n y||

    I got out more for the anti-atheist thing, but mostly I just hate the outdoors.

  • ||

    You should know, Tony, that nobody here likes you. I don't even like you, and I'm a (classical) liberal.

  • T o n y||

    And who are you?

  • ||

    Nobody here likes me either. It's okay, though, because at least Tony responds to me.

  • cavalier973||

    You know, this move by the BSA shouldn't really be that surprising, considering that the person who inspired its establishment was...well...you know....

    "Early discussion of Baden-Powell's sexuality focused on his relationship with his close friend Kenneth McLaren.[47]:217–218[48]:48 Tim Jeal's later biography discusses the relationship and finds that there is no conclusive evidence that this friendship was physical.[7]:82 Jeal then examines Baden-Powell's views on women, his appreciation of the male form, his military relationships, and his marriage, concluding that Baden-Powell might have been a repressed homosexual.[7]:103 Jeal's conclusion is shared by some biographers and disputed by others, but is not yet examined in any detail by other scholars.[49]:6"

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R.....den-Powell

  • OldMexican||

    Re: cavalier973,

    The claim is disputed, the conclusion that he was a repressed homosexual devoid of evidence. Interestingly enough, he married a very young woman (he was 55), in secret, and had 3 children. If at all, he was a dirty old man. As for his so-called "appreciation of the male form," Baden-Powell is a result of the late Victorian Era, when women were considered second-class citizens, and nobody talked about the "female form" (except maybe in the merchant navy.) The most admired people in society would be men.

  • cavalier973||

    Dude, don't ruin my trolling.

  • widget||

    [47]:217–218[48]:48

    ^

  • cavalier973||

    This is probably just a ploy to get homosexual scout masters to go ahead and out themselves on the front end, so that they can be carefully watched.

  • jennidavid||

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  • cavalier973||

    I think you should look into this, Charlie.

  • lorelie stone||

    The BSA should RECONSIDER ending their ban on admitting openly gay scout leaders, a ban which is BSA's 1st amendment right. Many parents do not equate the exclusion of homosexual scout leaders with any form of discrimination, which, based on race or creed, has no place in Boy Scouts. They disagree with today's politically correct acceptance of gay scout leaders, and the indignant response of those who preach that not to do so is discrimination. Choosing not to have their children exposed to the issue of an individual's sexual orientation through Boy Scouts is a philosophical and/or a spiritually informed choice, belief, or moral value.

    Rather than having the highly-charged discussions of sexual orientation/preference occur through the BSA, one of the few places parents believed their children LESS likely to be discussing the issue, THEY, the parents, would like to decide the time and place to discuss any/all sexual issues with their own children. Additionally, to them, any emphasis on the issue would only distract their sons from learning about how to behave with respect to the multitude of other choices this complex world brings before them.

    The real discrimination here is that of forcing out of BSA those parents/sons who believe that the scout oath, which includes ..."to do my duty to God...", means following the biblical principles that were once a part of the Boy Scouts original intent, as well.

  • LifeStrategies||

    Freedom of association means you have the freedom both to associate as well as not to associate.

    Yet this means you discriminate, which has come to be a politically correct (and confused) no-no. Although public discrimination is very different, this suggests that those arguing to criminalize private discrimination are against individual freedom. So is the Boy Scouts a public or a private organization?

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