When the Boy Scouts is Boy in Gender Only and Not in Essence…

… Do you know how hard it is to cultivate in my son’s life these pockets of boyish refuge? Exceptionally hard. Young men are constantly surrounded by a cloud of femininity that is hostile to their boyhood. Teachers especially. The education system is dominated by women, most of whom do not have the time, patience, or know how to educate fidgety young men. When teachers aren’t telling our boys to shut up and sit still, the media and entertainment industries fill in the gaps of the chorus.

Enter the Boy Scouts.

The Boy Scouts is such an attractive notion to parents of young men because it promised to provide that refuge, giving boys the opportunities they need to learn how to be men, to cultivate healthy male friendships, and to be learn to be comfortable with their boy-ness.

Now with the Boy Scouts considering an end to their ban on homosexuals, prohibiting them from their organization we are forced to ask … What happens if the Scouts renege on that promise? What happens when an entire organization devoted to boyhood suddenly decides that boyhood is no longer important? When the only thing “Boy” about the Boy Scouts becomes it’s name and not it’s essence?

My son loves being a scout and it would pain me to have to make the decision to end our association with the organization. However, if the Scouts decide to continue on this path to self destruction we will move on. It’s hard to articulate the reasons because all people hear is “homophobia” and “bigot”. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to be intimidated by political correctness at the expense of my only child’s safety and emotional well being.

I’ve been hard pressed to read anything that properly explains why the idea of homosexual Scouts and leaders is so profoundly disturbing. Then I read this. It’s long but I implore you to carve out the time to read it over. It’s a thoughtful piece and deserves to be thoughtfully read.

A Boy’s Life with Unisex Scouts by Anthony Esolen.

An excerpt.

“The boy in the title was, if anything, more important than the scout. If a certain boy in the ranks were caught trying to entice others in things unmanly, and here I am including also the unmanly things that boys attracted to girls do, he’d have been taken aside, or sent to the counseling he badly needed, or quietly dismissed from the corps.

Luke’s father now asks what should happen if one of the troubled boys makes his predilections public. He remembers the tumult of puberty all too well. He remembers the confusion of feelings, the longing to be one of the boys, the fear of embarrassment, and the strangeness of girls, many of them for a brief time taller than Luke will be.

He does not want any word, or suggestion, or tale, or touch, to make Luke’s passage through the straits any more troublesome than it must inevitably be. Most especially does he not want a young scoutmaster with an eye for young men to drop a casual hint about his life, as if it were as moral as eating.

Luke’s father has a right to expect that people will not obtrude themselves into his son’s normal growth to manhood. It is wrong to lay a snare in the boy’s path. It is downright wicked to do so, when the life held forth not only frustrates the natural aims of Luke’s parents and the natural fulfillment of the boy’s masculinity, but also leaves those who are snared prone to an array of terrible diseases, both physical and moral.

He notes with wry irritation that Luke’s teachers are apt to wag their fingers at perfectly innocent things, like cupcakes in a lunchbox, but will cheer when a boy publicizes his entry into the bizarre and self-destructive.

But it isn’t just the pitfalls that the father is thinking of. It occurs to him that the Boy Scouts and he have come to an impasse. There is no reconciling them. The Boy Scouts now proclaim that there is nothing to being a boy, and nothing to the boy’s becoming a man; they might as well be the Unisex Scouts, as they are in Canada, where the scouting movement has collapsed.

In other words, Luke’s father is being asked to enroll his son in a group specifically limited to boys, but one that does not recognize the nature of boyhood and its progress to manhood. Thus there is no real justification for the group; that its membership is male is accidental and not of the essence. He and they do not see the same being in Luke. He sees his boy, and the man-to-be; they see a neuter. He sees a father-in-training; they see an immature human thing, a bundle of appetites that are not in themselves subject to moral judgment.

Alternatives to Scouting:

Federation of North American Explorers and the Colombian Squires, a Knights of Columbus organization.

St. John Bosco, pray for us.

About Katrina Fernandez

Mackerel Snapping Papist

  • Noor

    I don’t think you need to worry. Homosexuality doesn’t change one’s gender and exposure to gay role models won’t change a child’s future sexual orientation. I was raised in a very traditional and religious family and society where even the concept of homosexuality is absent and yet i am completely gay.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      It depends on how much weight you place on nature v. nurture. I do believe exposure to certain things influence behavior.

      • Noor

        It’s reasonable to believe that gay role models will influence a child’s perception of homosexuality but there’s no evidence that such role models will influence the child’s sexual orientation.
        As far as i know even in countries with extreme anti-gay policies, homosexuality is as prevalent as anywhere else.Although no one really knows much about sexual orientation the evidence generally side with nature.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

          I agree regarding the sexual orientation. As a parent I choose not to have my child’s perception of homosexuality influenced , most especially if that influence is in direct opposition to what I and they Church teach him.

    • TheodoreSeeber

      Really? You are in the minority of gays who weren’t raped or sexually abused then.

      I’m not as worried about them changing my son’s sexual orientation- he’s so straight that he’s already, at age 9, thinking about marriage and spending his life with one woman forever.

      I’m worried about them tying him down and raping him. Because I remember being a heterosexual teenager.

      So let the gays have the military and the scouts- I’ll take the Knights of Columbus over either of those organizations.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

        While I think the tying down and raping part of this comment is extreme, I will contend that it is disquieting to think my son would be at camp with teenage boy who are attracted to other teenage boys. Just as I would not allow a teenage boy to camp over night with teenage girls.

        And I think there is a statistic somewhere indicating that the majority of people who identify as homosexual did have some abuse in their childhood, especially in the prepubescent age when sexuality is just beginning to develop. I’ll have to to see if I can locate it and post it later.

      • m5783

        This is a very real possibility. I have always talked to our son about what is good and right as well as what is evil. At boy scout camp when he was 13, one of the older scouts wanted him to do something vile. Our son refused and told me. I talked to the ‘leaders’ they all knew about this scout and did nothing. We changed troops. I tried to report it higher up the chain, but because our son was strong enough to say no, nothing happened, so leadership could do nothing.

  • Heloise1

    Follow your heat and your head in this decision. I have long expected the day to come when boyhood will be outlawed. Youth at risk takes on an entirely new meaning when you look and listen closely to the messages that bombard our children.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004666776280 Noah Smith

    so gays can’t be boys?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      Where did you see where I wrote that? Wanna try leaving a more intelligible comment next time? Thanks.

    • TheodoreSeeber

      The entire intent of homosexuality is to deny male adulthood and sexualize male relationships. Gays can be boys, but I’m thanking my guardian angel right now that my son didn’t want to be a scout.

      The gays want the scouts and the US Military- fine. My family will not be participating.

  • Carter

    I am an Eagle Scout. I was a very rough and tumble Boy Scout, a summer camp staffer, an Order of the Arrow member and a leader in my Troop. I am also gay, and first realized that fact when I was 12 years old. Nothing about me being gay in any way endangered or harmed the Scouts I led, hung out with or taught to camp or swim. Nothing about me being gay was incompatible with the values and appreciation of the outdoors that I learned from Scouting. Nothing about me being gay made me less of a boy, or makes me less of a man.

    And to respond to a lie posted above, I was never molested or abused. None of my gay friends — and I presently have many, of course — were molested or abused as young people. None of us were raped. None of us chose to be gay. None of us molest children.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      Congratulations on making Eagle rank. That is quite an honored accomplishment. I appreciate your candid comment and welcome your perspective here. I don’t want you to feel like your sexuality implies you were abused or would harm children. That is not my opinion on the matter.

      My issue, as a parent, is who is placed in my son’s path as an influencing factor. My faith doesn’t not condone an active lifestyle of homosexuality. Since children are young and impressionable I don’t think it’s unreasonable to not be expected to place my son in situations where role models who will influence him might teach him contradictory messages to what our faith teaches.

      He has plenty of time to grow up and be exposed to things that challenge his faith but right now… this is my time to be the influencing factor. My job is to plant sturdy roots and reinforce our beliefs and not intentionally throw snares in his path from boyhood to manhood.

      • Carter

        The policy being discussed covers only Scouts, not Scouters. Such young men would be held to the same expectations as every other Scout, which is that they would not be sexually active. As a youth leader, how is a non-sexually active Scout any worse of a “role model,” to the degree that Scouts are role models to each other, than any other non-sexually active Scout of similar temperament, experience and character?

  • GoodCatholicGirl

    It seems many of the folks commenting here equate gay men with pedophiles; they also seem to think that gay men aren’t manly. I would think that in this day and age, we no longer subscribe to the stereotype of gay men being “swish” (and lesbians being “butch”). Gay men can even be professional athletes! On the other hand, straight people can be pedophiles; in fact, some are parents of their victims or the friendly parish priest . . .

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      No one has made that equation. The concern here is that that practicing homosexuals in the Scouts would influence boys’ morals by suggested that there is nothing wrong with that lifestyle… which is contrary to our faith. The influence and moral acceptance is the issue. Homosexual men sexualize male friendships and young men are at that stage where they need to develop healthy relationships with other boys unencumbered by inappropriate sexual baggage. I do not think it is unreasonable to expect that a homosexual influence not intrude in my son’ path of development from boyhood to manhood.

      • GoodCatholicGirl

        Oh, but read Theodore Seeber’s comments. He certainly does equate homosexuals with pedophiles. How would a boy be influenced by a gay scout leader or teacher? If the person is good at his (or her) job, they will be discreet about their private life, Practicing or not, gay people are not inherently immoral. What if the man was a swaggering straight bully? Would that be the kind of manly influence that would be good for boys?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

          The influence would be the role model “normalizing” the behavior to a young impressionable boy.

          Gay people are no more inherently immoral than you or I, yes. We are ALL disordered and sinful as a product of Original Sin. Acting on those sins is what is immoral or leading a child to believe living an active homosexual lifestyle is OK and normal is immoral.

          I would be more concerned with other prepubescent and teenage scouts preying on other scouts than I would about leaders targeting boys – though that is also a threat. But no more a threat than anywhere else where children are put in positions away from the protection of their family. Abuse can happen at school, with another family member, and sadly yes, in church. I am no fool.

          Men should be free to develop healthy friendships with the same sex w/out the pressure of unnatural sexual tensions. That is why this is such a very bad idea.

          • http://twitter.com/11thdegree becky

            I think what you sense, correctly, is that the move away from holding up a single ideal of sexual orientation for boys opens the door to the imperative of sexual experimentation for boys.

            Which is not new; it has been bad and will be bad and will make things even worse for girls, and for babies. Young people don’t want to keep their zippers zipped.

            And so it takes a village to teach one man to be faithful to one woman to raise the baby they bring into the world.

            When young boys are given choices, e.g. role models of two men as parents, or one man and one woman as parents, it forces the child to answer the question, “how then shall I live? gay or not gay or somewhere in between? what will maximize my sexual satisfaction, and when can I stop experimenting? when should I ever settle for sexual satisfaction with one person who only has one particular biological apparatus?” And you have privileged the ideal of sexual optimization, instead.

            Until we can check under the tails of newborn baby boys to determine whether they are gay or straight, and so direct them to a faithful, forever partnership with one other person…

            I’m not giving up on privileging the ideal of heterosexual orientation for boys in order to benefit babies, and the girls who will someday bear babies. Because, science.

            And the alternative to A Dad is The Government.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

    Reading comprehension helps. Please try re-reading what I wrote in the context in which it was written.

    • pillgirl

      It also helps to not denigrate people that disagree with you. If your statement doesn’t mean that gay boys aren’t really boys, then what does it mean? You said that if the BSA decides to allow gay members, then they don’t think being a boy is important.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

    In schools typical boyish play [cowboys and Indians cops and robbers] is considered aggressive and not permitted on the playground. Fidgety boys are fed Ritalin to get them to behave, Instead of nurturing boys natural tendencies for adventure and action, their creative and active minds, boyish traits are labeled violent. Boyhood is under attack. This is what she means and it is very much possible.

  • George Roberson

    Katrina, you are an exemplar of charity in the amount of work you put into explaining your posts to people who deliberately misread them. I think the comment on not letting the teen boy camp with teen girls is the clearest statement here. The point seems to be to remove the distraction of attraction so the boys can be themselves. Simple as that. Hormones and SSA would create the same environs as putting teen girls in the mix with hetero boys. If you think that is a good thing, then proceed with your cultural experiment without our boys, because we are discussing a completely different goal for the activity.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      Thank you. You caught me on a good day. Normally I’m much more cantankerous. However, I always appreciate a contradictory opinion now & then, as long as it’s expressed respectfully, which it has here. Admittedly, this blog gets stuck in the Catholic bubble preaching to the choir with rare chances for different views getting expressed and represented. And that gets boring. I’d like to commend everyone that participated in this discussion and added their insight respectfully.

  • Nan

    My brother’s scoutmaster was a pedophile who had washed out of teaching; rumors of his actions got to the scout parents and he threatened to sue if they brought up unfounded allegations to get rid of him. They recorded all scouting policy violations and got rid of him that way. He avoided parental involvement, instead preferring to have young assistant scoutmasters who we believe he molested; one of the assistants drove a schoolbus and was arrested a few years ago for molesting children who rode the bus. Over 10 years ago, I found an article about the scoutmaster, living in another state, being prosecuted in criminal court for molesting his foster sons.

    Part of the problem is that in the 70′s and 80′s molesting children wasn’t a court issue; it wasn’t until the late 80′s and early 90′s that people started to be prosecuted so this guy was out there for years molesting kids.

    For those questioning why gays shouldn’t be in scouting, if gay scoutmasters are allowed, they won’t hide their sexuality as it’s sanctioned by scouting. They’ll be inappropriate role models for scouts if they introduce their partners or boy toys to the boys. Normalizing that which isn’t normal is the danger of allowing gays in scouting; it will also teach the boys that it’s okay to do deviant things that aren’t actually okay. As Katrina says, it also models a lifestyle other than that sanctioned by the Church.

    If gay scouts are allowed, that just encourages them to bully the straight kids into acting gay; look at the school that forced girls to kiss under the guise of an anti bullying program. The objective isn’t to allow gay scouts, the gays objective is to corrupt straight kids.]

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      “The objective isn’t to allow gay scouts, the gays objective is to corrupt straight kids.” … that is all the homosexual agenda was ever about.

  • exboyracer

    You are deceiving yourselves if you don’t think boys don’t experiment with their new found toys at summer camp — do some searches you will find boys/men talking about it – it is a common experience and probably always was. I know it was happening in 1962 when I was 12 — it doesn’t turn you gay – there is actually nothing that can turn you gay. So it works out that it is about 12 for boys and college for girls to have that little experience.