I received a post card from the scout office asking me to attend a special scout meeting to vote in order to help maintain a good moral program.
I decided to ask two of my children what they thought about gay scout leaders. My 14-year old son said it would not bother him as long as they did scout stuff. My 17-year daughter asked me, "what if the boys ask their gay scout leader about sex?" I thought about it, but what should happen when any scout leader is asked about sex by one of his scouts is clear. The leader should explain that in the scout program there are certain subjects that are not discussed and the leader should refer the boy or girl to their parents and change the subject to one that relates to the scouting program. If any leader, straight or gay is teaching or discussing sexual matters that are inappropriate with the scouts, action should be taken.
The beginning of the scout manual outlines what constitutes abuse and gives ideas and information on how to talk to the scouts about this subject. The two leadership deep rule is also clear that no leader should be alone with any of the scouts without another leader present. These rules help protect the scouts from abuse of any kind.
The fact is that there have been and there are currently many gay scout leaders functioning in the system. These leaders have given many years of service to the scouts and the program. They have not come out of the closet because they are scared they will be shunned. I can see why they are scared and I also can understand some of the concerns of other leaders, scouts and many of the churches that sponsor these programs.
Recently the LDS or Mormon Church came out with a new web site to address "the gay issue," as many call it: www.mormonsandgays.org
At the same time most churches have come back to the age-old saying of "what would Jesus do?"
The purpose of scouts is to benefit the scouts and to teach and prepare them to be responsible adults. What would be the consequences of allowing gay leaders to be openly gay? In Canada they have a scouting program, they allow gay leaders and their program has continued to function.
I have friends that are gay but when I refer to them, rather than saying "My gay friend Wes" I just say "My friend Wes." The same should be true in scouts, we should not say "My gay scout Master" but rather "My scout Master" or Mr. Smith etc." When I meet with my friends or associates that happen to be gay many people think that you sit and talk about gay issues. I have a friend named Michael and when we get together we talk about life, weather and politics but the topic of how his gay relationships are going has never been part of our conversations.
Some fear that if their kids hang around gay people that it could rub off this is not a justified fear. The fear that a gay scout leader would use the scouting program to recruit people to be gay is also unfounded. We should have an open reasonable discussion to address all of these concerns.
I teach my children that you become like the people you hang around and I encourage them to associate with honest kids, smart kids, kids that put God & education first. My neighbor asked me what would be worse an honest openly gay man being the scout master or a straight man that went to church every week yet beats his wife in private?
Personally I don't agree with the gay lifestyle yet I don't hate gay people and I feel they should be treated with respect and love. So to sum it up, I personally feel that qualified trained responsible adults should be able to serve as scoutmasters as long as they follow the rules.