Friday, January 01, 2010

Justifying bigotry isn't easy, but sometimes it's funny.

Cate and Elizabeth Wirth have been spouses for a long-time and they are raising their 10-year-old son. The two women enrolled the boy in Cub Scouts and volunteered with the troop regularly. Recently the troop was asking for some parents to increase their volunteer work and the two women said they would.

Everything was going fine. Since they had been involved with their son's troop for some years they decided they should just let the Scout official they were working with know that they were spouses. You would think this would have been apparent but there are none so blind as those who refuse to see. District Director Erik Tanney, then told the women that they were forbidden from volunteering because "we wouldn't want you pushing your lifestyle on the boys."

Try to get your head around that for a moment. Exactly what would "pushing your lifestyle on the boys" mean in the case to these two women? Would it mean turning the boys into lesbians? Exactly how would that be possible? And if the boys were turned into "lesbians" wouldn't that mean they would be interested in girls? Isn't that precisely what the Boy Scouts are trying to foster. along with helping old ladies across the street—provided they can prove they are heterosexual, though hopefully not with the Boy Scout in question. How stupid do you have to be to think a lesbian can force her lifestyle on a male?

It is no surprise that the Mormon cult made the Boy Scout's their youth group and it is alleged that one in nine scouts now is from that sect. This means the church, which is very antigay and was the main force behind Prop 8 in California (while dishonestly hiding their role), has a great deal of influence over Scouting. For the record the Scouts will also discriminate boys who are atheists or gay as well.

I think the Scouts have the right to be bigoted and stupid. They have the right to exclude anyone they want. Similarly, other people have the right to think the Scouts are a despicable organization unworthy of any support. That sort of voluntary refusal to deal with one another is perfectly acceptable. I believe in the freedom of association. That also means the freedom to NOT associate.

That said, the matter is complicated when the Scouts line up looking for tax-funded handouts. When the Scouts, or any other group of uniformed bigots, received subsidies from the state that means the little SOB's are using the power of the state to take, under threat of force, money from unwilling individuals to fund their organization. When they do that, it is no longer a voluntary relationship. It is more akin to rape, which I don't think is a value the Scounts are teaching. The Scouts must be free to teach kids Mormon bigotry if they wish. Other people must be free to boycott the Scouts as well. But the Scouts have NO right to seek state funding or subsidies. And when I say "state" I mean government at all levels—as in "the state."

So the Scouts ought to lose ever club house they have if it is provided by any level of government. No government agency should be involved with the Scouts. There shouldn't be a penny of tax money used to promote the Scouts anymore than tax funds should promote any private club that discriminates. There ought to be a complete separation of state and Scouts. They should only be funded by people who share their values and that isn't me.

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