This is in response to a letter dated 25 July from Ms. Marilyn Monks, “Boy Scouts of America praised for decision.”
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA), as a private organization, may refuse membership to whomever they wish. However misguided their stance on sexual orientation, it is their right under the law. To this I say: Just because you have the right to discriminate doesn’t mean it is right to discriminate.
I must speak up with greater fervor, though, against Ms. Monks’ personal remarks. I take great offense with her appalling assertion that the words “homosexual” and “pedophile” are in any way interchangeable. This is not only untrue, but slanderous.
According to Webster’s, sexual orientation is the inclination of an individual with respect to heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual behavior. This has nothing to do with pedophilia, which is the abuse of children by adults of all sexual orientations.
To use the enraging circumstances of the recent Penn State scandal to bolster the exclusionary policy of BSA membership is absurd. They are in no way related and the fact that a connection was even attempted is disgraceful.
Ms. Monks is not the first to unjustly label all gay persons as child molesters, and this has certainly come up in debates about the Boy Scouts of America’s policy to exclude gay Scouts and Scoutmasters, but this argument is simply wrong.
Gregory M. Herek, Ph.D. (Professor, University of California at Davis) recently wrote, “[The] well known lack of a linkage between homosexuality and child molestation accounts for why relatively little research has directly addressed the issue. Proving something we already know simply isn’t a priority … the important point is that child molesters cannot be meaningfully described as homosexuals, heterosexuals, or bisexuals because they are not really capable of a relationship with an adult man or woman.”
Two of BSA’s Core Values are Honesty and Respect. The BSA membership policy supports none of these characteristics and, in my opinion, directly contradicts these ideals given they are not supporting an honest, authentic life nor respecting human diversity.
Perhaps the BSA and Ms. Monks could learn from these Scouting principles.
New York, NY
Ms. Marilyn Monks’ letter to the editor, “Boy Scouts of America praised for decision” as published in Missouri’s News Tribune: