The recent Boy Scouts of America resolution – which has yet to pass but will be voted on this week, Thursday May 23rd – regarding the acceptance of gay individuals within the ranks of scouting stopped short of including adults. This is unfortunate. The resolution is progress in the right direction however. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came out in support of the resolution, stating the resolution recognizes there is a “single standard of moral purity for youth.” This single standard, the law of chastity, applies to all, regardless of gender attraction, has been discussed in previous posts.
The Church also stated in the same press release, “Scouting exists to serve and benefit youth rather than Scout leaders.” While acceptance of gay leaders within scouting is a good goal, there are other leadership and service opportunities open to gay individuals within the church. The Latter-day Saint Christian youth program however, which accepts all youth regardless of gender attraction, has embraced the Scouting movement, and therefore should likewise accept all youth in order for it to continue its place within the LDS church. In a question of priorities, Scouting is about turning boys into men, teaching them to live the Oath to their dying day.
While the priority is, and should be, on the youth, the continued prejudice against those who are gay is somewhat disturbing. I have heard many times the sentiment expressed that gay leaders should not be involved in the scouting program, particularly on overnight activities. The stated concern is such a situation would be like the proverbial fox guarding the hen house, implying individuals who self identify as gay are pedophiles who are unable to control themselves, particularly around so many nubile penises and butt holes. Such worries are, in my opinion, very insightful about the speaker. Should the speaker of this sentiment ever be a chaperone for an overnight outing with the young women? All those nubile young vaginal cavities might be too much of a temptation for them to overcome.
To illustrate this hypocrisy and prejudice consider both the Latter-day Saint and Boy Scouts of America policy regarding camping with members of the opposite sex.
The BSA requires at least one leader of each sex when co-ed camping takes place. Leaders are not to sleep in the same facilities as the youth. For Venturer age crews it is required that all youth participants sleep in facilities with their same gender with a leader of the same gender.
The Latter-day Saint Christian stand on the issue is a bit different. There is one standard applicable to all of God’s children, and it is called the law of chastity. (LDS Scouting Handbook 8.1) Leaders are not to sleep in the same tent with boys or girls, unless they are their own sons or daughters, or another leader of the same gender is present. (Handbook of Instructions Vol. 2 13.6.12) A minimum of two deep leadership is required, chaperoning the chaperones. (LDS Scouting Handbook 8.7) Youth are discouraged from participating in co-ed overnight activities although some exceptions may occasionally be made for temple trips, youth conference, and ward camp outs. (Handbook of Instructions Vol. 2 13.6.12)
The most applicable standard to the one being discussed here, male leaders with same gender attraction camping with boys, would be the church’s recommendations on overnight activities for the young women. Young women activities require both young women leaders and adult priesthood leaders. Why? Is this not another fox and the hen house situation? Should there be a special provision that gay priesthood leaders are to be preferred for this duty? The principle here is the presence of the priesthood, not gender attraction. Adult priesthood leaders are to provide support and protection. (Handbook of Instructions Vol. 2 13.6.12)
In summary the church’s policy on camping is not gender specific, nor gender attraction specific, but rather based on worthiness to hold the priesthood, the authority to act in God’s name. If God has placed His stamp of approval on a boy or a man, stating they are worthy and authorized to act in His name, who are we to say otherwise?