Relax, Evangelical Voters, Mitt’s Not Going to Mess With the Boy Scouts

Yesterday morning, I got a flurry of emails about Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul reaffirming that Mitt supported the right of Boy Scouts to define their own membership policies but also would apparently prefer that the Scouts allow gay scoutmasters.  This has been Mitt’s position since 1994, and — quite frankly — I (partly) disagree with him. I don’t think the Scouts should have gay scoutmasters.  But I’d go farther than the Scouts do — I would prefer that scoutmasters step down if they’re engaged in any kind of extramarital sexual activity.  I don’t want my son taught by an adulterous scoutmaster, by a scoutmaster who’s shacking up with a girlfriend, or by a scoutmaster who’s addicted to porn.

(And frankly, a scout is far more likely to encounter an adulterous scoutmaster than a gay scoutmaster.)

But from the standpoint of a government official — or an aspiring government official — the key policy question is whether you’ll try to use government power to interfere with the membership policies of a private organizations.  And on that point, the only point that really matters for a President, Mitt’s answer is exactly right: The Boy Scouts’ personnel policies are for the Boy Scouts to decide.

So relax, Mitt is not going to mess with the Scouts.

But that brings up a larger point.  We are trying to defeat the most pro-abortion president in history, a man who’s launched an unprecedented attack on religious liberty through HHS regulations that require Christian groups to violate their beliefs as a condition of doing business.  Our candidate is not only pro-life, he’ll undo the Obama administration’s HHS regulations within 24 hours of taking office.  The stakes are simply too big to waste one more second of time arguing about Mitt’s personal opinion on Boy Scouts’ personnel policies. As I’ve argued before, abortion is morally comparable to slavery — yet do you think the abolitionists let a candidate’s irrelevant and extraneous personal opinions deter their support or diminish their zeal to transform our politics?

There is not a politician alive who will agree with you on every point.  There is not a person alive who agrees with you on everything.  But the presidency is about getting the big things right, and Mitt’s right about all the big things.  He’s for life, he’s for liberty (including the Scouts’ liberty), and he understands our economy.

Let’s stay focused.

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  • David Walser

    David,

    I fear too many conservatives let their desire for perfection prevent them from supporting a candidate who’s merely outstanding. Yesterday, a conservative friend told me he wasn’t bothering to vote because “there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference” between Obama and Romney.

    Huh? With the exception of the 1860 presidential election (won by Abraham Lincoln), voters have never had a more stark choice than between Romney and Obama. As you point out, Obama is pro-choice and Romney is pro-life. The contrasts are just as dramatic in other areas. Romney promises to repeal Obamacare. Romney promises to repeal the HHS regulations mandating the provision of birth control. Romney promises to cut the deficit and to take a stronger stance against China and Iran. Etcetera, etc., etc. Yet, because Ann Romney once gave money to Planned Parenthood or because Romney refuses to call Obama a socialist, too many conservatives cannot see any differences between Obama and Romney.

    These voters need to get their eyes checked. Romney’s not perfect, but, on any reasonable scale, he’s far more conservative than Obama. Some say he’d be the most conservative president since Reagan. Even if he wouldn’t be, he’d still be miles and miles more conservative than Obama. And, that’s our only choice — Obama or Romney.

    • Brandon from NJ

      As I have always heard, leadership must have a great deal of example as part of it. The important part of what Romney said was exactly the part where membership of a private organization should depend on the decisions of the group. In that case, whether or not he agrees with the membership is one thing, but the group doesn’t have to go by his rules, so long as it leaves other people well enough alone. The other part is the fact that Romney has pressure, and simply will have pressure on him to do at least plenty of conservative looking policies, because simply, the right got him in, he can be voted out by the right just as fast.

  • Liz

    Mitt said that? It is mildly disturbing, most parents don’t want sexual deviance of any sort modeled for their children, including adultery as you aptly pointed out. Nonetheless, I appreciate that he doesn’t meddle in private affairs as a general rule.

  • Candy

    As an active Mormon, and the mother of an Eagle Scout. I agree with you David, on the Scouts. Even though I agree, I have a couple of friends that are gay, Eagle Scouts and would be wonderful Scout Masters. They are not participating in the gay lifestyle and are celibate and very religious and only a very small handful know that they are gay. Either of them would be fantastic Scout Masters. They would be better than most of the Scout Masters that I know. The boys would never know. The scouts would be more likely to be molested by a hetero man than them. But as I said, I prefer to have the Scout Master rules not allow gays to be Scout Master. I believe that the Scouts have the right to make their own standards and rules, and I am very glad that Romney feels that the Scouts have that right and he would not be interfering with that. I shutter to think what our country is going to become when our government makes all the rules that private organizations have to follow. I am glad Romney is going to let the Scouts make their own rules. Those that are saying Romney is just like Obama couldn’t be further from the truth!

    • Steven

      Candy — your comment resonates with thoughts I have had. Romney’s statement from 1994 is ambiguous, in that it doesn’t differentiate between gays who are actively living an immoral lifestyle and those who are simply persons who struggle with same-gender attraction but who are celibate and moral. If Romney were to elaborate his position in a private setting, I would be very surprised if it wasn’t simply that he supports the idea of moral commandments-keeping individuals who struggle with same-gender attraction serving as Scout leaders, but that he is still against the idea of gays who are living immoral lifestyles from serving as Scout leaders. The problem with making that differentiation in a public way is that there is so much sensitivity to making the assertion that living a gay lifestyle is immoral in the first place. It’s wise for him, politically, to keep his distance from that subject and instead focus on things like the economy.

  • Phil

    I don’t know the details of Mitt’s ideas on this subject, but for myself, my feelings on this subject have changed over the years. My belief is that a person can identify themselves as “same sex attracted” but not practice the modern “gay” lifestyle of having sexual relations with someone of the same sex. I used to think that same sex attraction was not something that a person can be born with, but I now feel otherwise, based on all that I have read on the subject recently. Given that, I think a person could be allowed to be a scoutmaster as long as they are living what the LDS call the “law of chastity”, that is, that they are not having sex outside of a heterosexual marriage and not viewing porn, etc. And I think someone that is “same sex attracted” can live this law, and that there are many who do, at least in the LDS faith. Again, I can’t speak for Mitt, but wonder if this is perhaps the scenario he is referring to.

    • Jeff

      Phil, I, sure that every LDS Ward will fling open its doors to deviants. Let’s let your Cub Scouts be first in line for pederasty. Why has this man not been excommunicated? It would seem to me that he is making public statements that conflict with LDS practices and instructions if not direct doctrine. I’m not Harry Reid or anything, but I say excommunicate Romney NOW.

  • Deena

    Food for thought – what does Obama think about the Scouts and gays?!?! Seriously…

    • Christian

      Obama hates the Scouts. Obama wants gaiety to be the norm. He wants people who speak against it to be punished, like liberals want Chick-fil-A to be punished.

  • Kristen

    David – I think you are underestimating what is at stake. this isn’t just a “pro-abortion, anti-religion” prezzie – he’s anti-freedom period. If he’s reelected, we will have government control of where we work, what we eat, where we can go, etc. He will turn the United States into a third-world country. He has already done a bang up job of sending US taxpayer dollars to various muslim groups. (e.g. he tried to undermine mitt’s visit to israel by sending israel $70M – but he’d already sent $1.5 Billion to the palestinians) He has redirected the focus of NASA – to muslim outreach and that is where they are now spending their money. He has bypassed congress to the point they have become extraneous – he’s ruling by executive fiat. I was recently at a small private gathering with two US congressmen – they are concerned if we lose this election – there will never be another election for president in the United States of America again.

    Mitt will close the loopholes obama is using (and has an entire team searching for so they can be exploited) so no future president can do what the obamao is doing/has done. He will return the power to the people that the constitution put in place – but has been erroded to the point we have a tyrant wanna be in the white house.

    • Brantley Gasaway

      Really, Kristin? Good grief–your whole comment is as ridiculous as when Democrats foamed at the mouth over George W. Bush. Facts and reason just ain’t what they used to be…

  • GotMullet

    One’s sexuality, in or out of marriage, should not be an any place of authority. Promiscuity should not be the subject of any public activity.

    • GotMullet

      I take some of that back. Yes a persons morality has a huge role to play in places of authority, in my opinion. My point was meaning to be…. my child should not know, nor care, about his teacher or leaders sexuality or sexual prowess.

  • Jack

    Tired of discriminations gays? Try PozKiss, com. No embarrassment and no discriminations!

  • JL Fuller

    For those who do not know, Thomas Monson, President of the LDS church, is a recipient of the Silver Beaver award given to adults for their work in the Boy Scouts. In just about every American LDS ward (congregation) the male youth are part and parcel of the Boy Scouts of America. The Boy Scouts may not have survived in some areas if it was not for the LDS Church. These Mormon boys are brought up on Boise Scout ethics, history and practices. Just so you know. Mitt Romney will not do anything that interfers with this excellent organization despite the junk you may here from the chattering classes and the media.

  • JL Fuller

    Maybe I should have included in my comment above that the LDS Church is struggling right now with how to address the issue of including certain homosexual members in the church. It appears that orientation is not the key. Activity and practice is. One cannot be a practicing homosexual and be a member in good standing. A homosexual can be a member in good standing if that person does not advocate or practice the homosexual lifestyle. But to throw out people who struggle with their disorder if they can abide by church policies and practices seems to be going too far – at least until and unless the person proves he or she can’t.


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