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The Posting on TR and Scouting

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  • Gary Clinton
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 12, 2000
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      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
      Theodore Roosevelt.
      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.
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