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02/12/2013

Far-right continues to fight inclusive scouting by engendering adult-child mistrust

by Jeremy Hooper

When it comes to sexual abuse of my child, it would never cross my mind to be skeptical of an adult who I know and trust. Hopefully most adults feel that way. I would like to think we still live in a world where a parent's understandable precautions have yet to give way to a belief that most every adult mentorship is a violating act waiting to happen.

But as this Boy Scout debate plays out, the religious right is determined to engender the opposite:

"In the last few days I have heard from numerous parents essentially the same lament: "Has the Boy Scout leadership lost its mind?" Their parental concerns can be summarized in a few sentences. Why would you put adult leaders and mentors in places of authority and leadership of a boys' organization when they have defined themselves as "homosexual," meaning they are sexually attracted to males? It would be the equivalent of allowing heterosexual men to be scout masters for Girl Scout troops. As one wise youth minister once observed, "Sexual attraction happens."

One does not have to assert that any one group is more prone to pedophilia than another. If you put men in mentoring positions of trust and authority in camp-out situations with young teens to whom they are sexually attracted, either heterosexually or homosexually, human tragedies will follow.
"

—Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, writing for Baptist Press

When my mind thinks of a heterosexual man leading a Girl Scout troop, it sees a ridiculous movie where an Adam Sandler or a Jonah Hill struggles to earn both merit badges and respect. Does that make me naive and careless, or does it make me a rational person who prefers to think people are still largely good?

For the sake of a political agenda, the religious right telling the public that my trusting mindset is not only naive but also dangerous. Sure, it's offensive to hear them saying this kind of stuff simply so they can keep the Boy Scouts as a pro-discrimination organization, but I'm used to the far-right social conservatives offending me. This one goes beyond just offense. This, their insisted idea that sexual abuse is the new normal that will forever define parenting in America, just makes me sad.

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**Although if you do want some ol' fashioned offense, Mr. Land has certainly engendered that as well. Check out his GLAAD CAP profile for some of what this SBC top dog has said about LGBT people

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