The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

April 10, 2013

Don't exclude others


— I know Alf Siewers, I like and respect him, and I think his “My Turn” essay about the Boy Scout Oath and Law was thoughtfully written and thought-provoking. We have sons the same age, and I share his concern about the seemingly inevitable extinction of diverse cultures as we grapple with existence as a global species.

I also think it is vital that we get our children into the woods, to foster their love and appreciation of this beautiful world we live in. However, the 20th century brought “traditional culture” up sharp against its evil twin — genocide. English against Irish, Turks against Armenians, European-Americans against African-Americans, Hutus against Tutsis and everyone (but especially the Nazis) against Jews. And in most cultures, including most American cultural traditions, it has always been open season on a confirmed bachelor or a single woman who golfed better than a man.

Some are eager to rush to a “post-racial global culture,” which assumes that everyone has learned the horrible lessons of recent human history. However, you won’t find many Irish, Armenians, African-Americans, Hutus or Jews who agree that the nastiness is all behind us. And I don’t know if you’ll find a single gay person who feels that way.

This is not a matter of sensitivity or a desire to be included, but a matter of survival, a matter of not being lynched, massacred or murdered. As far as “sexualizing” a children’s organization is concerned, I would actually lay this at the feet of the Boy Scouts, themselves. Their oath simply says one must be “morally straight.” The BSA are the ones who injected sex into the discussion by equating “morally straight” with “sexually straight.”

Besides the hateful and untrue slander that gay people prey on children (I mean, come on — we read daily in this paper about local child sexual abusers, and none of them are identified as gay), such ambiguous language allows the “traditional culture” to exclude others on any basis or no basis at all. “You don’t go to my church? Not morally straight. You don’t look like me and eat the same food? Not morally straight. You’re poor, poorly educated and not well-groomed? Well, we all know about such people — definitely not morally straight.” To the larger question of discussing sexuality in public, I don’t think it’s merely a matter of what we discuss — sex isn’t a philosophical concept, but a fact of life. Every organization that has worked to de-sexualize itself hasn’t fared too well — how many of you would entrust your child to a celibate priest simply because he proclaimed that he was morally straight?

Trey Casimir, Lewisburg