This morning, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention took to CNN to warn of the supposed consequences of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) lifting its ban on gay Scouts, as it is considering doing this week. Land claimed that BSA won its case for discrimination at the Supreme Court because it defined that discrimination as a “core value,” and if it begins allowing local chapters to accept gay scouts, its policies will be vulnerable to new legal challenges. Host John Berman pressed Land on whether prohibiting gay scouts was actually the “heart and soul” of the BSA, and Land explained that he believes the most important aspect of a Scout’s character is being “morally straight” — literally:
LAND: The Scouts have said for themselves for over a hundred years that traditional morality is at the core value of scouting, teaching them to be “morally straight.” […]
Homosexuals, by definition, are attracted to people of the same sex. Now I’m not accusing homosexuals of being pedophiles, but I’m accusing homosexuals of being what they say they are: attracted to males. How many people that are listening to me would allow their teenage girls to go on campouts and engage in camping activities with heterosexual males? They wouldn’t. […]
This verges on being beyond the realm of the rational, and it’s going to lead to human tragedy, and the human tragedy is going to be, sadly, boys and men who are going to end up in relationships that are going to be tragic. […]
Boy Scouts have the right to define character, and they define character as being “morally straight” and that involves being sexually pure and being a heterosexual.
Land’s essential argument is that discriminating against gay Scouts is the glue that holds the entire organization together. This is fairly insulting to the many values and skills the Scouts teach that have nothing to do with the anti-gay policy and erases the many Scouts who have come out as gay after great accomplishments in the organization. When asked why that one value was so important, Land relied on the trite conservative argument that somehow children will be at risk if there are gay Scout leaders, which the Southern Baptist Convention has joined other anti-gay hate groups in putting forth. Land may claim he’s not calling gay men pedophiles, but he’s still arguing that gay men are more likely to have inappropriate relationships with young Scouts, which are essentially the same thing.