An embarrassing eccentricity

What a ridiculous story this is.

Scouting (like the military, like every other part of life) includes people who are openly gay. That means parents who are leaders and volunteers, and scouts themselves. For the most part, participants act as if those embarrassing prohibitions on people simply being who they are no longer exist. In fact, they will no longer exist for service members as of September 20.

The two women get it exactly right, I think. At some point a quasi-public organization practicing overt discrimination like this finds itself so out of touch with its members and community that its bottom line is affected, and incidents like this only create a humiliating awareness that these policies still exist.

The best part of the story, though – the one that shows the Boy Scouts will be just fine – is this perceptive remark by a friend of the family, after reciting the scout law (a scout should be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, etc.).

“I mean, when the leaders of the troop hear that, how does it feel? Were they loyal to Denise? It certainly wasn’t kind what they’ve done to her,” [Eric] Ianson continued. “It absolutely isn’t brave. The brave thing to do would be to take a stand here and say this isn’t right, this person has been great to our kids and it’s time to stand up for her and be great for her.”

This is an Eagle Scout who has internalized the values of scouting and understood them much better than the reactionary leadership at the top of the hierarchy. The right thing to do is to acknowledge the truth you can see for yourself, and to stand up for your friend. There are many more like him.

Then there’s this, from a fellow assistant scout master:

It’s a shame that a good leader for the boys has been removed because of one person who’s eccentric when it comes to his religious belief.

Ouch. But that’s what the reality is; such evidently specious bigotry is eccentric, and rapidly becoming more so. That’s not a good place to be.

Although it’s they who have caused harm to others, scolds like Skip Inabinett are prone to claim that it’s their own rights being violated when other people find their views archaic, eccentric or bigoted. In fact, there is no right to have people agree with you. There is no right to demand that you be exempt from criticism, ridicule or irrelevance. And there is no right to have me assure you that you are not a bigot, when what you’re doing is expressing the view that I deserve inherently inferior rights and privileges because of who I am. Calling that ‘eccentric’ seems generous in a way.

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