The Posting on TR and Scouting
- Regarding TR and the Boy Scouts, I'd like to share my perspecive. I am an
ardent fan of TR, a Trustee of the Theodore Roosevelt Association (though I
don't claim to speak for that fine organization), and a good friend of James
Dale, the Eagle Scout whose dismissal from Scouting led to the ten-year battle
which resulted in the close (5-4) Supreme Court ruling which gave the Scouts the
right to discriminate against gays.
I also hold a Master of Divinity degree, and have given a lot of thought
over the last 25 years to church/state relations, the influence of religion on
society, and the influence of the state on religion.
I'd like to make two points: first, we should be very cautious in equating
morality with a particular sexuality. We have learned a lot about human
sexuality over the last 50 years, and much more so in the last 2000. Basing
morality on good and right conduct is one thing - basing it on status is
another. And I, and many others, hold that there is nothing inherently wrong
about the status of being gay.
Some of the leadership of the Boy Scouts feel differently, and a closely
divided Supreme Court gave them the right to discriminate, though it did not say
it was right to discriminate.
Second, James Dale is one of the most upstanding people I have ever met.
He is a decent, fair, truthful and, yes, moral man. James' challenge to Scouting
came from the lessons he learned in Scouting, the lessons that made him an
exemplary Scout. They are qualities that should be encouraged and admired in
everyone - gay or straight, young or old, male or female - James Dale or
What some view as an "attack" on Scouting and religion is made in large
part by people who value Scouting and who themselves are people of faith, but
who realize the need to move individuals, organizations and societies forward,
recognizing that our understanding of the human condition continues to grow, and
that our fears, based in ignorance and misunderstanding, must be overcome if we
are to grow as a society. What some would see as a failing society, I see as a
society adapting to the steady stream of revelation God pours down upon us.