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The Boy Scouts Are Misinterpreting the Meaning of Moral

Last year, a fourth grade teacher at my daughter’s intermediate school was arrested for soliciting a 13 year-old girl (or so he thought) online.

Also last year, a teacher at my son’s middle school was arrested for child abuse and identity theft. Two weeks ago, she pleaded guilty to the identify theft, but she is still awaiting trial on 11 counts of child abuse.

Other than the fact that both were teachers in Berkeley County Schools and neither is gay, I don’t think the two have much in common. Yet, they were both engaged in immoral activity because their behavior was harmful. They used their power to hurt, control or take advantage of others, which I think most people would agree is anything but moral. The definition isn’t that fuzzy, at least I’ve never thought it was.

Unfortunately, some people are trying to redefine the meaning in order to fit their own narrow and bigoted views.

This week, the Boy Scouts postponed a decision to “sort of” lift its ban on anyone who is openly gay. I say “sort of” because the potential policy change would simply allow local organizations make their own decisions.

Photo/Richard Rodriguez)            NYTCREDIT: Richard W. Rodriguez/Associated Press

Photo/Richard Rodriguez) NYTCREDIT: Richard W. Rodriguez/Associated Press

I was reading about the situation in the New York Times. While the content of the article bothered me, I was even more disturbed by the accompanying photo, which showed scouts and their parents holding signs that proclaimed “Keep Scouts Moral and Straight.”There was so much wrong with that photo, and I felt sorry for the young boys who are obviously being taught that discrimination is appropriate.

My kids are taught that discrimination is immoral:

Moral people don’t exclude but instead include.

Moral people don’t make broad judgments but instead ensure that every individual is given respect.

And moral people don’t define others by who they choose to love but rather by how they treat others.

Rex C. Curry for The New York Times

Rex C. Curry for The New York Times

Just as important, national organizations that demonstrate moral leadership don’t waffle on potentially controversial issues and, instead of taking a stand, cower by relinquishing their decision-making authority to locals.

Even more importantly, they don’t bow to bigots who make unsubstantiated and untrue generalizations about any group of people. Yet, the decision to delay a decision on the ban on gays came after rallies like the one at the Boy Scout headquarters in Irvine, Texas where protesters claimed that prohibiting gay membership equates to protecting their children.

After the incidents last year at my children’s schools, no one rallied with signs asking the school system to protect my children.

But maybe that’s because there’s no organized effort to rally against straight people who commit immoral acts. But maybe there should be.  After all,  I’m pretty sure statistics would show that’s where the real “danger’ lies.