Friday, May 24, 2013

Keeping our kids safe. ALL our kids.

A quick look at my blog before heading to the airport this morning revealed this comment on yesterday’s post about the Boy Scout decision to end the ban on gay scouts:

“This will present challenges. However, I remain committed to being a member of what I consider to be the finest youth-serving movement in the world. I pray that this was the right decision and that we will be able to keep all Scouts safe.”

The comment elicited this response from me:

"Safe?" Seriously? Safe from what?

I pray that we will be able -- someday and by the grace of God -- to keep ALL of our kids safe from the wages of homophobia.

ALL kids. Scouts or not. Gay, lesbian, bi, trans, straight or somewhere in between. ALL kids.

This decision is one step on the journey of making Scouts safer from homophobia and a step closer to fully inclusive Scouting when the ban on gay and lesbian leaders is lifted.

And before the "this isn't about homophobia" knee jerk kicks in, do some remedial reading. Here. I'll help:

ho·mo·pho·bi·a | /ˌhōməˈfōbēə/ | Noun
An extreme and irrational fear of homosexuality and homosexual people.

What needs healing isn't homosexuality, it's homophobia. What we need to keep our kids "safe" from aren't other kids who are gay -- it's adults who spread the virus of an irrational fear of gay people.

And with that, I’m off to LAX! J


seeker said...

My 10 year-old-son and avid Boy Scout, when hearing about the decision on the radio, said, "That was a stupid rule. I hate stupid rules." I am sure that the ban on gay leaders will not last long, because the membership, like my son and his friends are not threatened by homosexual people. They are threatened by stupid, exclusionary rules.

seeker said...

My 10 year old son, an avid Scout, upon hearing the decision on the radio, said, "That was a stupid rule. I hate stupid rules." I think the ban on homosexual leaders cannot stand much longer. My son and his friends don't feel threatened by homosexuals - they feel threatened by stupid, exclusionary rules.

Laura Armstrong (former All Saints parishioner, current All Saints fan)

RonF said...

Sorry I didn't respond, Susan. It was a fair question, but I've been swamped at work and then I was out of town to a funeral.

What I'm worried about keeping gay kids safe from is bullying and assault to the point of serious injury. If you don't think that's a legitimate concern all I have to say is that my experience over the last 20 years of working with youth doesn't match yours.

When I've expressed this concern I've been told "Well, apparently Scouting doesn't do such a good job of teaching morality as it's supposed to, then" or some variation on that. To which I reply that Scouting does a great job of teaching morality. But it takes time. Kids come into Scouting with many different kinds of cultures and backgrounds.

We've had a kid come in and react violently when someone has insulted them and then tell me "My Dad said that if someone does something bad to me I have to do worse to them so they won't do it anymore." We've had kids come in with some seriously racist attitudes that they felt quite free to express. We've had kids say hateful things about homosexuals. Then there was the use of the phrase "That's gay" as an expression of disgust or dislike was rampant for some time before I could stamp it out. I've seen a kid threaten another kid with a knife when he was insulted. There was a Muslim kid who defined the female leaders and said when challenged on it that he didn't have to listen to the female leaders because they were women and didn't have the right to tell him what to do.

Do we teach kids not to do this? Sure. But it takes time, and you're fighting what they learn at home. When you teach kids something, do they change their attitudes, speech and behavior right away and comply? Well, they don't do that in Scouting either. We teach them - but what happens before they learn?