Boy Scouts: 1 Gay Memebers: 0
June 28, 2000 12:00 PM   Subscribe

Boy Scouts: 1 Gay Memebers: 0 Court Says Boy Scouts Can Bar Gays, which is slightly troubling, in that a psuedo-national organization can make rules that go against government policy. I don't see how a scoutmaster being gay has anything to do with teaching kids how to tie knots and go camping though.
posted by mathowie (52 comments total)
Um, Matt, the Court is government policy.
posted by aaron at 12:05 PM on June 28, 2000

You know, this issue has always been an odd one for me. I'm gay, and frankly, I could care less. It's a private organization. It can do whatever it wants. It's not as if it receives government funding. Why should it have to follow public policy?
posted by brookish at 12:06 PM on June 28, 2000

In this case, the "government policy" at issue is the First Amendment. The court today reaffirmed that we all have a constituional right to be wrong - the KKK marching in Skokie, Rush Limbaugh speaking his mind, even objectional content on the Internet, are all ways in which our broad First Amendment protections sometimes make us uncomfortable.

In this case, limits on government action are both the price and the reward of freedom.
posted by mikewas at 12:11 PM on June 28, 2000

Aaron, I think mathowie means that the Boy Scouts are defying anti-discrimination laws (i.e. gov't policy).
posted by wiremommy at 12:12 PM on June 28, 2000

You're right, Matt - a scoutmaster being gay has nothing to do with teaching kids how to tie knots and go camping, and the BSA never said that it did. What they said was, "We think being gay interferes with the message we are communicating to the boys who join our organization."

You can call it a "psuedo-national organization" if you want to, but the fact remains that it is a private organization. The Court simply reaffirmed the right of a private organization to limit to whom they will extend membership, and thereby retain control over with whom they will associate. From the larger perspective, they did the right thing - no one should have the right to tell you with whom you may or may not associate, nor can they dictate with whom you must associate.

posted by m.polo at 12:12 PM on June 28, 2000

But, but ... it's for the children!!!
posted by aaron at 12:15 PM on June 28, 2000

wiremommy: Yeah, I can see where he may have meant that, but the Court says they're not defying antidiscrimination laws.

And mikewas's comment alleging that all MeFiFoFumers kneejerkingly find Rush Limbaugh "uncomfortable" is a prime example of why we all need the Constitutional protection to believe what we want to believe.
posted by aaron at 12:20 PM on June 28, 2000

I visited Washington DC once, and went to some rather important sounding place near important sounding buildings, and saw a huge monument to the boyscouts. On Public land. They should rip that down. I'm sure the boyscouts have done good things, but the case, I'm sure, could be made that the KKK has done some good stuff too. However, any organization that discriminates and has hateful views should not be allowed to have patriotic statues in government parks,

When I was in the cub scouts, way back when, I remember having the meetings in the public highschool near my house. That should end.

I guess what I'm saying is, while they may not be publicly funded, they still have access to public facilities, which they should not. If they're going to be weird, and anachronistic and homophobic.

posted by Doug at 12:29 PM on June 28, 2000

speaking as a former scout (not an exemplary one; i got to life before i bagged out of the organization at sixteen) and current gay guy, this is genuinely upsetting.

i grew up in a single-parent home (with mom), and without scouting i would never have had guidance from men in my life - which i feel is absolutely necessary for any young man.

i actually feel it's more critical for a gay boy to have mature men (gay or straight) as role models than it is for a straight boy. without guidance he's left in a big messy sea of gender issues with no one to personally advise him. it causes a lot of needless heartache for young faglets.

this decision is one of the purest forms of bigotry i've seen in the past few days.
posted by patricking at 12:43 PM on June 28, 2000

I agree Patric. This ruling reinforces the pernicious myth that gay men are a threat to boys.
posted by ratbastard at 12:53 PM on June 28, 2000

...and i forgot to mention a scenario not too long ago:

in an interview with a local troop leader to potentially teach design techniques to a group of scouts, i asked him to please not finish the homophobic joke he was telling me because i'm, well, you know.

my seminar never happened, needless to say. pissed me off.

i shot a letter off to the national council, and the reply i got was a politely-worded version of "fuck off, faggot."

like i'm somehow going to automatically corrupt a kid by teaching my profession to him. yeesh.
posted by patricking at 12:57 PM on June 28, 2000

The decision isn't an act of bigotry. The Boy Scouts are propogating the myth, not the government. It's a private organization, so this court ruling is legally appropriate. Private clubs make their own rules and, lest we forget, *not everyone has to do everything all the time*. Really, what's bothersome about this is that the BSA feels it has a "message" to convey which is somehow corrupted by the idea of homosexuality or the presence of gay leaders. I am an Eagle Scout myself, and let me tell you from personal experience that plenty goes on in the world of scouting that's far more corrupting than knowledge of sexual orientation. I learned a lot from my scout leaders, and the fact that a top-level decision has been made regarding the intended message of my experience offends me.

And, I think Doug has a damn good point. If the BSA whats to exclude certain individuals, then get their meetings out of my elementary school, and move my old summer camp, camp Squanto, out of the state forest.

posted by sixfoot6 at 12:58 PM on June 28, 2000

well, i kind of understand that parents might not send their little boys off into the woods with a couple of gays.

i work at an all-girls camp. i live with young girls, usually around 6th grade ish. i teach every kid in camp [i am the head of the arts program.] i am positive that, of the 200 parents of these kids, somebody would be pissed off to find out that i'm... you know. i've been going to this camp since i was in second grade. just like all the straight gals working at camp, i dont lust after anyone while i'm there.

a couple people at camp know about me [my sister, for example] but it's not an issue. the other girls arent talking about boys & i'm not talking about girls -- everyone's happy.

so they don't know. i dont think that these scout leaders need to be out. play the game like i do, boys. what the boy scouts don't know cant hurt them. unless these gay men are up to no good -- but i doubt that they are.
posted by palegirl at 1:18 PM on June 28, 2000

sixfoot6, a clarification on my part (sorry): i don't believe the court's ruling is bigoted. in fact, i believe it's a wise decision which protects private inclusionary rights.

i believe the BSA's decision to take this issue to court is bigoted, especially in light of the accomplishments from two exemplary (gay) scouting leaders i know.

does anyone know if the BSA dragged its feet to allow black or minority scouts? that could be an indicator of how the organization works in these instances.
posted by patricking at 1:29 PM on June 28, 2000

What possible pleasure could anyone obtain from joining an organization that does not want them. I don't agree with the decision, and I would not encourage any child of mine to join the scouts. I was a scout as a child, and have no real happy memories of the experience. People seem to think that anything they disagree with should be illegal. Why shouldn't boy scouts meet in their schools? Many organizations use public space, and many of them run counter to the general beliefs of the communities the are located within. The situation reminds me of that college student fee lawsuit from last year. Should students be forced to fund groups they do not agree with. The ruling was yes, and I think the same rule should apply here. If this organization is truely odious, parents will vote with their feet. This argument will not be won by appealing to the leaders of the organization, but rather the scouts parents. If you cannot convince them, you are forcing things upon them that may not be welcome. If parents disagree with this policy, it will wilt as membership drops. People will not embrace and except things just because they are told to do so. It is tragic if gay children feel excluded, but the solution is not to deprive everyone. Don't ask don't tell?
posted by thirteen at 1:34 PM on June 28, 2000

paelgirl: doesn't it bother you at all that there are some people who might feel that by being gay, you're automatically a pedophile? i'm sorry, that's a slander as horrendous as the caricature of a watermelon-eatin' sambo.

by not acknowledging yourself in such a scenario you're doing absolutely nothing to upset stereotypes. in fact, you're reinforcing yourself as "one who is not to be talked about" by simply not talking about it.
posted by patricking at 1:36 PM on June 28, 2000

...and the statement that BSA makes no effort to discover individual sexuality is a bald-faced lie.
posted by patricking at 1:41 PM on June 28, 2000

well, my little camp is just not the the place for such a battle. that's not to say that the boy scouts of america isn't.
posted by palegirl at 2:13 PM on June 28, 2000

Freedom of assembly ceases to exist once your club gets too popular?
posted by aaron at 2:18 PM on June 28, 2000

And mikewas's comment alleging that all MeFiFoFumers kneejerkingly find Rush Limbaugh "uncomfortable" is a prime example of why we all need the Constitutional protection to believe what we want to believe

Aaron, I'm not sure what you mean by that. Care to clarify?
posted by mikewas at 2:21 PM on June 28, 2000

rebekah, it sounds like you'd favor a "don't ask, don't tell policy?"

While not exactly the right thing (the right thing would be for the BSA to be open to gay leaders), it does sound better than the ruling as it stands.
posted by mathowie at 2:25 PM on June 28, 2000

you know what? in this case, "don't ask, don't tell" is just what the doctor ordered. i'm all for it. [of course, i must add that i am hugely opposed to "don't ask don't tell" in the military -- perhaps because, while boy scouts may be pugnacious little fellows, they're unarmed.]
posted by palegirl at 2:30 PM on June 28, 2000

Isn't the Boy Scouts just an extension of the Church wrapped up in a kiddie club package? How is it a surprise that they would take this position? It's the same value conflict. How many blacks want to join the KKK hunting and fishing club?
posted by john at 2:31 PM on June 28, 2000

does don't ask don't tell actually work in existing scenarios?
posted by patricking at 2:31 PM on June 28, 2000

The BSA is a club. The very definition of a club is to be exclutionary. If a private club has to let everyone in, it is no longer a club.
posted by toastcowboy at 2:38 PM on June 28, 2000

I'm asking these questions because I don't know the answer, not to provoke or make a point:

Can clubs actually legally exclude a class of people? If an African-American guy goes to join the local country club and they refuse him membership, are they legally in the clear? Or can he say "I have the money and a great golf game-- this is discrimination and I'll take you to court"? Has there been a court ruling on an issue like that? How about same-sex clubs? If a man wants to join the Daughters of the American Revolution, can they legally shut him out?

BTW I think there's so much furor over the Scouts because in most particulars, they function as a quasi-official part of the school system. When I was in Girl Scouts, they met in the school cafeteria and in the summertime they went to the same camp that grade school kids went to on their spring field trip. It seems like it's that way everywhere. Since it's so tied in with grade schools, Scouting becomes an automatic hot-button issue.
posted by wiremommy at 3:46 PM on June 28, 2000

I'm going to have to agree with toastcowboy here. I don't disagree necessarily with everyone else, but it's true: the BSA is a club. You don't see country clubs letting folks that live in the "ghetto" in as members, do you?

That isn't to say that I agree in the least with the BSA decision. I think it's idiotic and amazingly self-righteous to decide that a LARGE amount of boys can only interact with *this* kind of person. How does that work on them turning into well-rounded, accepting individuals? It cuts them off before they even get started. Makes no sense to me..

On the flipside, though, I agree with Doug and Ryan on the issue about the BSA using Public Property to hold their meetings, or whathaveyou. If you're holding a meeting at a Public Park, I don't see how you can say that only heterosexual men can attend. I thought the idea of Public Property was just that: it belongs to everyone.
posted by sarajflemming at 3:56 PM on June 28, 2000

another question: where does BSA get their money from? are they actually a "club"?

there's an annual report online (from 98), but i couldn't find any financials anywhere. nor could i find their filing status. the whole organization seems really they're riding the lines between being a private, corporate, and public entity. kinda scary.
posted by patricking at 4:00 PM on June 28, 2000

I don't object to the ruling for reasons listed - private organization, makes own rules, government (the "people") can't force it to do anything, etc.

What I find troubling and annoying is that the decision may be used to perpetuate the opinion that "straight" defines everything about a person. That all straight people are the same, have the same beliefs and prejudices, the same peculiarities and practice the same things simply because they are straight.

If they are straight, according to the Scouts, then they can assume - I'm not sure what they assume, but by definition it must be bad because they don't (knowingly) allow straight persons inside the organization. Which then reinforces to any straight young men - or women - already struggling in a society that equates heterosexuality with "wrongness" that this organization supposedly teaching all that is moral and right that being straight necessarily excludes you from that definition, which means you are immoral and wrong.

Now, read that back and substitute "gay" and see if it makes more sense.
posted by honkzilla at 4:02 PM on June 28, 2000

As a matter of fact, a lot of clubs went through protracted legal battles to exclude women and minorities. For example, Rotary took one case all the way to the Supreme Court, as recently as the late 80s. (Meanwhile many individual clubs in the US and elsewhere had voted in women anyway.)

There is certainly a place for freedom of association, but in certain instances the club serves a social purpose that belies its alleged privacy. The telling story I once read was of a judge in IIRC Atlanta whose realized his daughter was going to graduate from law school soon and she couldn't join his club -- which was where he had made many of his early business contacts and client relationships.
posted by dhartung at 4:19 PM on June 28, 2000

A clarification, and an observation.

All of the arguments concerning discrimination that I just read had to do with *membership*. BSA aren't saying that gays can't be *members*, they're saying that they won't hire them as *staff*. Possibly still illegal, but a slightly different thing.

The *real* question here, however, is something different entirely. BSA are asserting that heterosexuality is a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification for being a leader in their organization. BFOQ's have strictly limited purview: it's reasonable, for example, to say that being female is a BFOQ for being a bra-fitter in a lingerie shop.

The 'Lectric Law Library says: "To establish the defense
of bona fide occupational qualification the defendant has the burden of proving that a definable group/class of employees would be unable to perform the job safely and efficiently or that it was impossible or highly impractical to consider the qualifications of each such employee and
that the bona fide occupational qualification is reasonably necessary to the operation of the business."

To my ears, that actually doesn't cover the example I selected, so let's pick, as another example, the requirement that you be no more than a certain weight to work on some inherently fragile structure without breaking it.

The Business Owner's Toolkit takes a slightly different approach to the matter: "Limited exceptions to Title VII discrimination laws allowing a company to hire employees based on their religion, gender, or national origin where those factors are 'reasonably necessary to the normal operation of that particular business or enterprise.' The law does not permit religion-based, gender-based or national origin-based differences in pay to those holding the same job." That's even stricter, and doesn't appear to leave them any room to wiggle.

This is one of the thorniest decisions the Court has ever made, IMHO, and while I guess I agree that the Court made the right decision, I don't think the BSA is entitled to any public slack at this point, as someone else suggested.

As I see it, the problem is that BSA is a victim of it's own success -- or maybe I should say that they're taking advantage of it. Yes, you *could* form some parallel organization that did the same things, but wasn't as picky... but would parents send their children there?

The whole thing plays directly to the "all gays are pedophiles" argument so strongly that I think the outcome will be much *much* messier than people might at first expect...

And unlike the 15 year old girls at the mall, in *this* case pedophilia would be the proper term.
posted by baylink at 8:19 PM on June 28, 2000

p.s: here's the text of the decision. quoth:
Applying New Jersey’s public accommodations law to require the Boy Scouts to admit Dale violates the Boy Scouts’ First Amendment right of expressive association. Government actions that unconstitutionally burden that right may take many forms, one of which is intrusion into a group’s internal affairs by forcing it to accept a member it does not desire. Such forced membership is unconstitutional if the person’s presence affects in a significant way the group’s ability to advocate public or private viewpoints.

posted by palegirl at 9:31 PM on June 28, 2000

comparing the BSA and the KKK is pretty offensive all the way around. For one thing it glosses over that fact that the KKK is a group designed to spearate the races through intimidation, violence and murder. Don't compare this to a heterosexist group for young boys that generally encourages kindness and good works. Of course, both groups positions have one thing in common: fear. The BSA must have some deeper issues in their ranks if they are so terrified that gay men will corrupt their children...

posted by chaz at 12:08 AM on June 29, 2000

I won't dispute BSA's right to choose how to run their organization and who to allow into it. However, I can no longer look on that group with the same eyes. I used to believe that teaching self-respect, respect for others, and useful skills was the primary purpose of the club, rather than to promote a specific social agenda. I guess I know better now.
posted by harmful at 7:16 AM on June 29, 2000

Sorry that it was offensive to you chaz, but maybe you needed to be offended.

Here I go again.

So the fact that BSA "generally encourages kindness and good works" makes it free from association with other disciminating clubs. Hmmm, I suppose if we looked at the the Hitler youth program we would find something that encouraged strong discipline, faith, and "good" works. I guess we should just ignore one little flaw.
posted by john at 7:45 AM on June 29, 2000

"The BSA must have some deeper issues"

I agree. And I think this decision will only magnify that. BSA is now known as a group by and for homophobes. It might have been an undercurrent before, but now it's out in the open. I think parents who want to keep their children from becoming bigots will avoid BSA like the plague. Homophobic parents will love the group. Which will help them maintain their "gay is bad" policy.

I don't think "don't ask don't tell" will work in this environment. Maybe in Rebekah's camp, but not in BSA. All Boy Scout's now know that gays are to be found and ostracized. At least that's what I read into the message on the BSA homepage.

What a fun group. Who will be the first kid to get a "gay bashing" merit badge?

Yep. It's a private club and they can make whatever rules they want. But that doesn't mean they aren't encouraging bigotry and intolerance.

"generally encourages kindness and good works"

But only towards non-gays. Unless BSA is going to encourage kids to be kind to everyone, no matter what their sexual preference, I don't think we should give them credit for this.

"On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight. "

That's the oath. BSA says that gays are incapable of upholding that oath. Does this make sense to anyone who isn't bigoted and intolerant?
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:00 AM on June 29, 2000 [1 favorite]

Boy Scouts of America Sustained By United States Supreme Court pressrelease:

We believe an avowed homosexual is not a role model for the values espoused in the Scout Oath and Law.

Scouting's message is compromised when prospective leaders present themselves as role models inconsistent with Boy Scouting's understanding of the Scout Oath and Law.

This has been blown WAY out of proportion. It's a private 'club' -- DON'T join/volunteer/work/support the BSA if you don't agree with their ideas and codes... people need to stop trying to shove their values/opinions down one another's throat.

start your own club perhaps?

I'm starting a club for satan worshiping world champion frisbee throwing lesbian native americans with glass eyes and wooden legs --

that doesn't mean that EVERYONE must join/volunteer/work/support my club or agree with any of the ideas or codes --- Hell, you may prefer the titanium prosthetics!

It's a free country (for a little while longer anyway) Rather than embracing freedom and diversity, most Americans waste time and legal fees to whine like they are still trying to fit into the 'cool' high school cliques.

--All Boy Scout's now know that gays are to be found and ostracized--
y6y6y6 -- that is correct, you READ into the press release on the BSA site because you are emotionally charged on the subject. Would it be any different if you replaced the word 'homosexual' with 'redneck', 'soccer mom' or 'computer geek'? If they don't want certain people in their club -- they should not have to include them.

posted by DrMoreese at 8:28 AM on June 29, 2000

I have to disagree with DrM's philosophy. It comes down to the principle (as cliched as that is) of the whole darn thing . . . what message is this ruling conveying to youth? Simply the fact that it's okay to discriminate, period. It's easy to be on the other side of it all and say, "Don't join the club, then. Suck it up." But to those who lives are personally affected by it -- well, speaking personally, it breaks my heart. It just feels like a step back.

It's okay to have rules; it's NOT okay to discriminate.
posted by Zosia Blue at 8:38 AM on June 29, 2000

> DON'T join/volunteer/work/support the BSA if
> you don't agree with their ideas and codes

Unfortunately BSA isn't like the little niche group that you are creating. It's a national organization with a long tradition and a huge membership which purports to stand for wholesome American values. BSA likes it's image as a club where young boys can learn valuable life skills and develop wholesome attitudes.

BSA also contends that gay men can not be good role models for young men. They contend that being gay precludes someone from living by the Boy Scout oath.

Those seem to be the facts. Correct me if I'm wrong.

I think it is a good idea for people who value tolerance and freedom to beat BSA over the head with their bigotry. I won't be doing the same for your Frisbee group because they are a tiny group who won't be influencing thousands of young men.

BSA wants to have their anti-gay rules, fine. They have the freedom to do that. And I have the freedom to call them homophobic, intolerant, bigots.

You see it as harmless. I see it as insidious.
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:47 AM on June 29, 2000

y6y6y6 :what message is this ruling conveying to youth?

The message to the youth? Well that could be conveyed many ways. For example, if I were young, my parents [devout Baptist] would tell me that homosexuals are evil and dirty and the BSA is correct. (And yes, they know now I am an ative member of GLAAD, they are SO proud!)

It doesn't convey anything about discrimination -- just simply that everyone must be tolerant of each others beliefs.

The reason it is a "national organization with a long tradition and a huge membership" is because it "purports to stand for wholesome American values" and MANY people believe that homosexual do not fit into those "wholesome American values". Those are the same people that send their children off to Boy Scouts. You can't change American Values overnight.

It took many years and much struggle for women to become accepted as 'equals', remember? It will take time for the same acceptance of homosexuals.

Apparently the Boy Scouts aren't brain-washing everyone--

"speaking as a former scout (not an exemplary one; i got to life before i bagged out of the organization at sixteen) and current gay guy..." patric survived with his intelligence intact...

posted by DrMoreese at 9:30 AM on June 29, 2000

"It is the exception when we see a boy respectful of his superiors and obedient to his parents . . . handy with tools and capable of taking care of himself, under all circumstances . . . whose life is absolutely governed by the safe old moral standards." Seton looked around for "robust, manly, self-reliant boyhood," and found instead "a lot of flat-chested cigarette smokers, with shaky nerves and a doubtful vitality."

That's how things looked at the start of the twentieth century to Ernest Thompson Seton, a Canadian naturalist, wildlife painter, children's author and early mover & shaker in the Scouting movement.

Heather MacDonald discusses the recent history of the BSA and offers another view on their anti-gay policies in this City Journal article. She also stresses why we need an organization like it. (Written before the most recent Court ruling.)
posted by ahughey at 9:32 AM on June 29, 2000 [1 favorite]

I imagine Elton John's little dance number last year did not help.
I do not think this is a step back for the BSA, as they have never been the organization you want them to be. When I was in the scouts (and like I said before, I would have much rather have spent that time playing with my Atari 2600) all the adults involved with the group were the parents of other scouts. Some stuck around after their kids moved on. I think any single man who came along without a family connection would be viewed with yellow eyes. To have it confirmed that the fella was gay would freak them out severly. The problem is not gay men, the problem is that pedophiles have so often viewed the scouts like a vampire would a blood bank. I doubt local troops would have much of a problem with a gay father becoming involved. Who even lets there kids join the BSA anymore anyway? Would those of you who are upset about this have signed your kid up if this were not an issue? I don't think it is right to reject good people, but I do think it reflects the desire of the majority of the memberships parents, and if you wanna slam them go ahead. It will probably make them close ranks even tighter.
posted by thirteen at 9:35 AM on June 29, 2000

I'm curious to know how other leaders, scouts, parents, and former scouts feel about this decision. I imagine that many are displeased to learn what they've been encouraging. The only way that BSA will grow up and change its understanding of the terms "clean" (scout law) and "morally straight" (scout oath), is if the community disagree, and membership drops. If people start refusing to participate, the organization might learn to become more open-minded. In a perfect world, there would be some way to refuse use of public facilities to close-minded clubs.

Maybe having an openly gay leader would have made things very uncomforable for the boys in my troop. I don't know. Really, it's dissapointing that this has all become an issue, because the BSA really does offer boys great experiences, connections to kids and community, discipline, skills, and responsibility. There are very few youth groups that offer all of that, and certainly none as huge as BSA. I'd say that presently, more than every before, teenagers *really need* such programs.
posted by sixfoot6 at 10:13 AM on June 29, 2000

In a perfect world, there would be some way to refuse use of public facilities to close-minded clubs.

This is unrelated to the topic at hand, but personally I think it is close-minded to only allow "open-minded" organizations to use public facilities.

But what fun is life without a little irony?
posted by daveadams at 12:34 PM on June 29, 2000

wacko incident i was just informed of: a young friend of mine (eagle scout and uncloseted gay man) who's a counselor at philmont RIGHT NOW jusr found out about the decision and is infuriated. he feels betrayed.

he says his next move will be to basically put himself in front of his elders to say, "howya like me now?"

i wish him luck, but it sounds like he's gona get booted pretty soon, eagle or no.

sounds like something the advocate would love to get their mitts on, and i think he knows that.

here come de mudslinging...
posted by patricking at 12:41 PM on June 29, 2000

Several people have taken up my gauntlet, I see...

The BSA are victims of their own success.

"They're not just 'some club', they're... [sputter] the *Boy Scouts*!"

As I noted, this is exactly the same situation MS are in: we're expecting a different standard of behavior from them because they're so overwhelming in their "market segment'.

Shall we do a little analysis of that?
posted by baylink at 1:16 PM on June 29, 2000

john, again you miss the point: comparing the Hitler Youth Movement and the KKK to BSA does a great injustice to the people murdered, robbed and harassed by the first two groups. It is offensive to relatives of people whose lives have been lost (not just excluded from a club). While of course I can see that the BSA is also just a symptom of a larger social intolerance which has indeed included murder, the link is not strong enough to justify lumping excluded gay scoutmasters with the lynched.
posted by chaz at 4:43 PM on June 29, 2000

And you missed my point again. Oh well.
posted by john at 5:38 PM on June 29, 2000

I'm not sure what your point was, true, but I did take issue with your assertion that the KKK, and Holocaust Germany are "other disciminating clubs," as you put it. That's all I was responding to, really. I just don't think you can compare a petty, uptight, scared, discriminatory club like the Boy Scouts with agents of genocide.
posted by chaz at 11:43 PM on June 29, 2000

Yes, Chaz! Agreed.

Please, please, please can we just drop the over-reaching comparisons between the BSA and Nazi Germany? It's the most trite, dull, unimaginative, and thoroughly over-used trick in the book.

Scorn, I say!
posted by ratbastard at 7:39 AM on June 30, 2000

Whatever. Discrimination is hatred. I think it's more insidious when it's wrapped up in a seemingly wholesome package. I enjoy making those comparisions because it riles people. The point it is that discrimination is not acceptable in any degree and the moment you start to rationalize it then you pave the way for it to grow deeper within you.
posted by john at 7:53 AM on June 30, 2000

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