Conservatives did not take kindly to Monday’s news that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) will consider lifting its national ban on gay scouts and scout leaders next week. Unsurprisingly, they immediately began drawing correlations between homosexuality and pedophilia.
The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins called the potential move “devastating” and suggested it would undercut the “well-being of the Scouts.” The Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber ranted on Twitter that “No caring father will leave his son in the Boy Scouts if they cave on perversion.” And outdoing his peers at the other anti-gay hate groups, the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer penned a lengthy screed claiming that Jerry Sandusky, the Penn State University football coach convicted of child molestation, is “the new poster boy for Scouting“:
If the Scouts do not reverse themselves, we will soon be reading the kind of horror stories about Scouting that we have read about in the Catholic Church. Homosexual pedophiles already seek to infiltrate scouting because it provides a target rich environment for their twisted desires. Abolishing the sexual orientation standard will turn every Boy Scout in America into vulnerable prey for the sexually deviant.
And while the Church had resources that enabled it to weather the storm, the Scouts do not. The Scouts as an organization will wither and die, winding up as a dessicated shell of its former self if it exists at all.
There are three serious flaws with this argument. First, and most importantly, there is absolutely nothing that links a same-sex orientation to the disorder of pedophilia. And because sexual orientation is such an unreliable predictor for pedophilia, the BSA has significantly struggled to protect scouts from sexual abuse even with a ban on openly gay scout leaders, so if that’s its purpose, it’s not working anyway. Lastly, this argument only addresses the policy’s impact on gay male scout leaders; lesbian women like Jen Tyrrell who support the organization and the many scouts who may be coming out don’t factor in at all.
News stories like this reveal the raw candor of what those who oppose LGBT equality actually believe. Perkins, Barber, Fischer, and others are all servants to decades-old defamatory myths that bear no reflection on reality.