Gays in the Boy Scouts? Scoutmasters, yet! Five years ago I’d have sooner believed you if you’d told me there was a campaign to grant long-repressed rights to blind hunters. How could such a preposterous idea zoom into serious consideration by the Boy Scouts? I may know the answer. The world may have seen it previewed on April 9, 1940.
The night before, Nazi German general Nikolaus von Falkenhorst had checked into the KNA Hotel in Oslo, Norway, in civilian clothes as a shoe salesman. Early the next morning he walked down the staircase resplendent in his German general’s uniform to greet his troops in their surprise invasion of Norway.
“It was brilliant,” a Norwegian friend told me. “We were psychologically defeated before we even knew we were under attack. There was a German military parade in downtown Oslo! When you see a parade you think, ‘This is planned. This is official. All this is somehow OK.'” There you have it. A parade makes everything seem somehow OK.
And what an awesome parade we’re watching to smash the traditional Boy Scout policy! The parade begins at the White House and includes all liberal politicians and those dependent on liberals for re-election, the media, the faculty, lots of clergy – I’m not sure there’s any room left for actual gays in that parade. And, like those super-stunned Norwegians, the rest of us are standing curbside, watching with dropping jaws.
America, have you gone mad? Don’t you remember being a 12-to-15-year-old boy? And weren’t you girls “awakening” at about the same age? Don’t you realize that homogrifying the Scouts would hijack the very mission of scouting and turn the organization into a beehive of erotic exploration? I don’t fear gay boys hitting on straights as much as I fear straights asking, “What’s this ‘gay’ stuff all about? Is there anything in it for us?” I also fear for the safety of young gays who, innocently or opportunistically, give a wrong smile or say the wrong thing to the wrong straight. In our Southern culture, you weren’t a “man” until you’d “slugged a queer” who approached you. I failed the test. I always just rejected the advance and got out of there.
The battle to diminish youth sex was lost – surrendered – with the schoolhouse condom giveaways. To a young teenager, that was the grown-up world telling you, “We know you’re going to do it, and we want to help you do it right.” And what message would the welcoming of gays into the Boy Scouts send? “Gay-play must be OK, or the grown-ups wouldn’t allow us to be camping, swimming, showering, sleeping, horsing around and walking through the woods together!” Admitting gays openly into the Boy Scouts is rather like insisting cigarettes be lit as close as you can get to the nozzle while the gasoline is being pumped.
From condemnation to condone-nation in one parade! The Nazis didn’t have it that easy in Norway.
The Boy Scouts have never gotten the credit they deserve for successful boy-building. They deserve support, not poison pills that will cause too many parents to forbid their boys to participate. We checked books out of libraries to study what we needed to know to earn merit badges in subjects as wide-ranging as horsemanship, weather, science, building rafts, cooking, finding drinkable water in the wild, physical fitness, first aid, foreign languages, small-grains-and-cereal foods and over a hundred other merit badge subjects we needed to advance through the ranks. When’s the last time you applied yourself to subjects that didn’t necessarily interest you, to go from “a Star Scout to a Life Scout, a Life Scout to an Eagle Scout” or anything of the kind?
My advancement to the top rank of Eagle Scout was delayed by the need to earn a merit badge in bird study. You had to identify 40 different kinds of birds in the field. And there just weren’t 40 different kinds of birds in North Carolina. The crusty-bellied nut-hatch, the nutty-bellied crust-hatch – I stalled for weeks at 37. And it never occurred to us to lie about bird sightings, even though lying would have been so convenient and so easy. Couldn’t America use a few generations like that?
We learned all the military bugle calls, irrelevant now in our age of enhanced communications. But most of our training, indoctrination and education was vital and valuable. If, God forbid, war had come to our corner of the world, our Boy Scout training would have made us more valuable to our families, friends and neighbors. As a young reporter, when I got to Havana after Batista fled and before Castro arrived, Cuba literally had no government. While bullets flew, uniformed Cuban Boy Scouts were directing traffic.
This is such a haunting reincarnation of the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” argument. I’m sure there were homosexuals in our Scouting ranks, but we never had any evidence or incidents. Ostensibly we were all just “boys.”
How do we relieve the pressure on the Boy Scouts? Tell the liberals a new parade is coming, and we’ve got to support them in their struggle.
This new parade stars those fighting for the right to burn the American flag in a crowded theater.