Mr. Crayton still clings to an outmoded notion, long since disproved, that pederacy and homosexuality are the same thing. They are not. Believing this not only inflicts incredible pain and besmirches the reputation of gay men, it does something far more insidious. It leaves children in danger and allows the perpetrators to escape responsibility for their actions. I know that this is a conversation about the Boy Scouts, but sexual assault is far more common against girls. In fact, were we to look at world wide statistics 150 million girls and 73 million boys have been sexually assaulted (50 percent of those girls are under 16).
He suggests that sexual assault in churches is confined to Catholic priests against boys. There have been grievous cases that have come to light, that is true. But it is wishful thinking to believe that sexual trauma occurs only in Catholicism; it happens in all religious traditions. Sadly, statistics tell us that priests are no more likely to commit sexual violence than any other men, but it must be said that men commit 85 percent of all sexual assault against children. Sexual assault is an abuse of power enacted against those with less or no power. The perpetrator may indeed derive a perverted sexual pleasure, but at least as much pleasure comes from the exercise of power.
Mr. Crayton is not alone in choosing Biblical texts to enforce other people’s behaviors. We’d all rather look at what others are doing “wrong” than at our own missing of the mark, which is the most apt translation of the word sin. I believe BSA has also made this mistake as well as the deliberate, unscientific choice to confuse homosexuality with pederacy, and as long as they do, they will never address their problems with child abuse. This leaves children at risk from their male leaders.
I can work to protect our children. In the Women’s Clergy group, we are spending quite a bit of time discussing how we and our directors of religious education can enact policies for our places of worship which will help keep our children safe. But I must look to the wonderful men in my life and in the greater world, men of strength and good conscience, to design processes that protect the children rather than revere antiquated and dangerous ideas. I appreciate the work that has been done recently to question funding to the BSA and the United Way’s courageous decision. It is an important start. Our gay sons deserve the opportunity to be scouts; gay scout leaders deserve to serve as well. Now let’s work on the safety of our children, each and every one of whom is precious.
The Rev. Ann Keeler Evans, Minister, UUCSV