Blogger’s note: This started as one post with three points, but as it grew way too long, I chose to break it up into a series of three posts all about the Boy Scouts (BSA’s) decision to allow gay youth but continue to discriminate against gay adults.

Intro:

For me, yesterday’s progress with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) voting to allow gay youth was exciting, and by the reactions, it is clear that this was real progress yet there is more work to do. There are folks extremely unhappy on both sides of the issue, which often happens when something is too much for some and yet not enough for others. And that’s where the BSA is today.

For me, there are three points I want to make about the BSA vote, and these are articulated across three blog posts, parts 1, 2, and 3.

There is a need for more real dialogue and a need for more people to speak truth to counter the lies and hate speech.

The stuff coming out of those opposed to gay people has been just crazy since this was announced. Twitter was a zoo last evening with stuff flying around that was just absurd. Rachel Maddow captured some of it:

Matt Barber, a lawyer with a group called Liberty Counsel, said the Scouts have become the “latest formerly honorable institution to crumble” under the “homofascist agenda.” The American Family Associations Bryan Fischer added, “BSA now stands for Boy Sodomizers of America, because that’s what will happen. Mark my words.”

But the lies and misinformation is not limited to very public speakers or groups known for spewing hate.  I had a few folks on Twitter sending me flack about a post I made:

#BoyScouts did a good thing. BIG step towards real equality and serving all youth.

To which a person, who turns out to be an 18 year old female christian, replied:

Bullying a private conservative chritian org is sad (misspelling was her’s)

and

extremists bullied them when they have rights to be christian

and

a private owned one at that

Much of what happens on Twitter during something like this isn’t very useful. Folks on either side throw barbs back and forth. But this young christian’s posts are telling. I’ll call her Chris for simplicity. Chris demonstrates the basic talking points of the homo haters. Where is she learning these? But more importantly, how do we stop the flow of misinformation? As Chris shows us, the opposition isn’t about the BSA at all. The opposition is about Far Right Christians.

Bullying: Far Right Christians use this word on purpose because 1) it dismisses and hides the effects and damage of real bullying; and 2) it makes them out to be the victim. But the truth is that no one was bullied! 1400 individuals cast votes and those in favor of allowing gay youth was 60% That means about 720 persons voted for it, and no evidence is there to show that they were bullied. The first record I saw, said that they approved it by a margin of 60%, although I can’t find that news story today. If that were true then the vote was 80% for, and 20% against.

Private: Yes the BSA is a private organization, and they won a US Supreme Court decision which stated they had a right to exclude whomever they wanted. But the BSA is also a democratically run organization where this assembly voted, and a majority was for this change. The BSA had everything it needed to never make this change with that US Supreme Court decision under its belt. So why did it  change? Because the BSA wanted to change.

There is one element of “private” which is a little misleading. The BSA relies upon funds from organizations and a number of large donors have refused to keep funding the Scouts because of the ban. “Private” implies they don’t need anyone else, or don’t have to listen to anyone else, and that just isn’t true. Real conservatives ought to see this as the free market system working. Donors didn’t want to fund a broken product, so the product adapted to the market. Don’t conservatives love the free market system?

Christian: Here’s the biggest fallacious argument!  The Scouts is NOT a Christian organization.  They accept members from any faith background. They do not use the Holy Bible, they don’t do worship, or prayer. While a moral code is at the basis of Scouting, and the founders brought this from their own Christian beliefs, the organization isn’t Christian.

Bryan Fischer’s comments about Sodomites parallels this lie. (And for the record, bearing false witness IS a Sin.) Sodom, Sodomite- these are Biblical references. The opposition to accepting gay youth is all about radical Christians who know that when people (in general) see real gay people for who they are- just people, they will be accepting.  The crazy Christians are losing their ability to keep demonizing gays.

Extremists: The homo haters love this word, extremists. It serves a few purposes by implying that those who accept gays are mainstream and it promotes the demonization of gays. It also deflects criticism away from the homo haters. If they can convince people that their opponents are extremists, then they can appear as mainstream when in reality, they are the true extremists here.

Few people who make these types of claims stop long enough to consider that the BSA was segregated up to the late 1940’s.  While there had been black troops since very early on, many souther white troops threatened to leave scouting if backs were allowed to join, even in separate tribes. Like today’s issue surrounding gay youth, cultural changes assisted the BSA to do the morally responsible thing to do.

No matter where it is occurring- on Twitter, in the blogosphere, in verbal conversations or elsewhere. The solution to the intentional telling of lies and misinformation must be countered with the truth and dialogue. There is no room for simple name calling or dismissal. Rather, there must be a sharing of the truth. In the end, the truth will always win out if we seek to spread the truth. If you encounter a person like this, don’t just call them a name. Tell them what they have wrong ad counter it with truthful information.

Please read part 1 and 3

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