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Steve Lopez: Boy Scouts' ban on gays, bigotry over values

July 17, 2012 |  1:59 pm

A Boy Scouts of America committee has reaffirmed the organization's ban on gays, despite some board members' calls for an end to the policy. Among those against the policy is James Turley, chairman and chief executive of Ernst & Young, center.

“The Boy Scouts of America is one of the nation’s largest and most prominent values-based youth developed organizations,” says the organization’s website. The BSA is about character and responsibility, and the group “has helped build the future leaders of this country by combining educational activities and lifelong values with fun.”

Steve LopezWhat kind of values?

Bigotry, for one.

On Tuesday, Boy Scouts of America has reaffirmed its policy of excluding gays as scouts or leaders.

“Scouting believes that good people can personally disagree on this topic and still work together to achieve the life-changing benefits to youth through scouting,” said a statement.

Pardon me, but I don’t get it. How can “good people” work together if some of them aren’t allowed in the door?  Just because the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000 let the BSA policy stand doesn’t make it any less odious.

Shouldn’t the Boy Scouts of America be less focused on teaching discrimination and more focused on the scandal of molestation and coverup within its ranks?  Last month, the Oregon Supreme Court ordered the release of 1,247 confidential BSA files on 20 years of alleged sexual abuse by troop leaders and others.

As The Times explained it on June 14:

“Also known as the ‘ineligible volunteer’ or ‘perversion’ files, the 20,000 pages ordered to be unsealed span two decades beginning in 1965, a portion of such records the Scouts have kept under lock and key since the 1920s.”

The scouts claim they have new protections in place. But as for the long-simmering scandal, the BSA has tried to keep it under wraps for decades, much like the Catholic Church hierarchy, or, by all appearances, the now-tainted leaders of Penn State University. The abuse of children is neither a gay nor straight crime; pedophilia isn’t gender-based. That it exists at all is horrible enough; that more children are abused because PR comes before protection is unforgivable.

With the Boy Scouts, how can an organization so committed to character, values and youth development have so much to hide?

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--Steve Lopez

Photo: A Boy Scouts of America committee has reaffirmed the organization's ban on gays, despite some board members' calls for an end to the policy. Among those against the policy is James Turley, chairman and chief executive of Ernst & Young, center. Credit: Mikhail Metzel / Associated Press

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