ON Kilter: ‘Forced tolerance’ is a farce, bias in the Boy Scouts unpacked

OPINION – The decision of the Boy Scouts of America to uphold its stance against openly-gay leaders has brought about a predictable bit of fanfare wielding redundant mantras from both sides of the debate.

Here in Utah, where it could be reasonably asserted there exists a faction organization within the primary organization, this stance has had an even more predictable outcome: almost unanimous support for the decision.

The irony of this is worth noting.

In a state with a predominant culture whose entire existence is predicated, validated, and protected from discrimination against its religious beliefs, there is an overwhelming outcry from those same people against those who contend their civil liberties have been infringed upon by the BSA’s stance, i.e. gays.

Never mind the argument that the BSA is a nonprofit organization which receives and utilizes federal funds (i.e. tax dollars, even if indirectly so); never mind that, by default, federal funding however it comes at least mitigates its claim of exclusivity to operate as a private organization. Never mind that discrimination is illegal in this country.

Rather, think on this some:

The premise of the BSA’s stance is rooted in religious authority which defines marriage as a sovereign relationship between a man and woman and condemns homosexuality as an aberration of that relationship which is not to be tolerated. To be fair, this position of religious authority is not unique to Mormonism and the BSA did not originate with Mormons.

It is now implied by many defenders of the BSA’s stance concerning would-be gay participants, that by pressing the issue of civil liberties, somehow those calling the BSA to account are imposing a “forced tolerance” upon the organization.

While I see the argument as one that could be valid, it would require first that the BSA be a private organization, and second that it operate free from a mandate that is predicated on a religious belief system.

Add to this the sheer hypocrisy which exists in scouting here in Utah whereby troops are largely incorporated into the local religious culture. So much so, that some feel the organization has been hijacked and nonreligious-culture troops are formed so that people who want to be a part of the organization can do so without the religious influence thrust upon them.

And just for good measure, add to this scenario the nefarious financial and political support lent by the religious culture of Utah to the Proposition 8 fight in California and one could understandably conclude that there is an apparent ax to grind with gay people here.

This is to say that the Utah advocates who unwaveringly support the BSA’s decision in the name of the institution’s rights to do so – under a banner of protectionism – are quite possibly the worst kinds of bigots. That is, the kind who possess a heightened persecution complex when anyone questions their behaviors (which they will argue are constitutionally protected), while at the same time exacting with impunity their own religious mandate on others. By doing so, they are violating the very same laws and principles that protect themselves.

The stance the BSA took is one that shall be discussed for years to come and should be. There is much at stake when the issues of liberty and civil rights come into play.

But I question whether the religious culture here supports the decision for any other reason besides its agreement with the beliefs of their own religion.

Perhaps the teachings of Christ might be considered whereby He recommended the removal of the plank from one’s own eye before concerning oneself with the speck of dust in another’s.

See you out there.

Related Posts

Letter to the Editor: Perspectives column, ‘The sexual identity merit badge,’ makes one dizzy

Perspectives: The sexual identity merit badge

Perspectives: Scouting’s connection to personal freedom

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  • Elaine Wilson August 1, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    Excellent, excellent points. (And yes, I am LDS.) Thank you!

  • Monica August 2, 2012 at 12:36 am

    Coming from a family that moved here recently, and is not LDS, I find this article refreshing. I find many of the people of Utah to be prodominately small minded and single minded individuals. I say MANY, not all. The world is a large place, and respect for others beliefs and practices should be adhered to. TOLERANCE please. And as said in Matthew 7:3 “why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?”

  • Daniel August 2, 2012 at 8:10 am

    So having a moral religious belief that is similar isn’t enough to agree with a group and not be a bigot? That feels a lot like the same “irony” that Mr. Hyland felt was worth noting, let’s paint you guys into a corner and unless you agree with us you are the worst kind of bigot. Sounds like the real ax to grind here is with the “predominant culture”

    • Just an Observer August 2, 2012 at 10:17 am

      You would do well to recognize that by crying uncle like this, you one, miss the entire point of the article, and two, validate the authors assertion of a “heightened persecution complex.”

      The ax being ground is with hypocrisy itself. The rest was merely the vessel by which to illustrate the point and you proved it.

      Say what you will about him, but this was a witty bit of writing.

  • Curtis August 2, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Think on this some —
    Numerous court cases have established that the BSA is a private organization. Indirectly receiving Federal funding does not make it otherwise.
    Discrimination is not per se illegal in the US. Some discrimination is illegal. There have been numerous court cases — state and Federal — contending the BSA stance on homosexuality and religion (atheists and agnostics may not hold leadership positions) is illegal discrimination. I believe the BSA has won all of those suits.
    The LDS church is opposed to homosexual conduct, not homosexuality itself. The same position held by the Catholic and other churches.
    On whom is the LDS church imposing its religious mandate? The BSA rule regarding openly homosexuals is a mandate imposed by the BSA, not the LDS church. The blog notes that non-church sponsored troops are formed to avoid religious influence. I assume those troops also are governed by the BSA rules of conduct.
    Does the LDS church indulge in hypocrisy? Of course they do. I don’t know of an organization or individual who does not to some degree.
    The church favors those whose beliefs are consistent with their own and disfavor those whose beliefs are inconsistent. Wow !! Who would have thunk?

    • Just an Observer August 2, 2012 at 5:30 pm

      “The LDS church is opposed to homosexual conduct, not homosexuality itself. ”

      Please elaborate.

      • Curtis August 3, 2012 at 9:10 am

        “People inquire about our position on those who consider themselves so-called gays and lesbians. My response is that we love them as sons and daughters of God. They may have certain inclinations which are powerful and which may be difficult to control. Most people have inclinations of one kind or another at various times. If they do not act upon these inclinations, then they can go forward as do all other members of the Church. If they violate the law of chastity and the moral standards of the Church, then they are subject to the discipline of the Church, just as others are” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, Nov. 1998, 71).

        • Just an Observer August 3, 2012 at 3:21 pm

          You are validating a contradiction with a logical fallacy and furthermore falling into what is largely becoming what appears to be an intentional bait set by the author in the article. He is proving the heightened persecution complex thing flawlessly. Rather you and others like you who missed the point entirely are.

          The question is whether or not a moral imperative mandated by ANY religious group, (not just the poor thin skinned Mormons), should be at play here.

          As for court cases thus far there is some permeability to your “and that’s that” argument.

          First, can you source these “numerous cases”?

          Second, can you think of an example where it took a few losses in court for an idea to gain the ground it needed to eventually win?

          Going out on a limb here, not speaking for the author at all, but it appears the intention was to invoke a conversation about hypocrisy and perhaps to call out some people who cry loudest when it is themselves in question but have a pretty large voice in telling others what they can and cannot do.

          The quote from Hinckley, despite its semblance of compassion, still insists a moral imperative from a religious worldview and that was the main thrust of the argument here.

          Join the conversation and come a little more prepared Curtis.

          • Curtis August 3, 2012 at 4:19 pm

            You asked the question about the LDS church’s position on homosexuals. I answered it. Religious worldviews often contain a moral imperitive. As to the cases about whether the BSA as a private organization can discriminate — try Google. I’m sure there are many instances where a cause or idea had numerous setbacks in court before it gained acceptance, but the state of current case law is what it is.

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