Wednesday, July 31, 2013

New Anti-LGBT Boy Scouts Alternative Forming

A new boys youth group is being formed in response to the recent vote by the Boy Scouts to remove restrictions on gay scouts. The group doesn't seem to have an official new name yet, but it's currently being hosted at the On My Honor website.

The website for the group contains a page that lays out ten reasons for opposing the removal of the restrictions on gay scouts, in addition to containing a page highly critical of the Girl Scouts for being too secular and progressive.

The organization also goes to lengths to detail the differences between the Boy Scouts and their new program. It's mostly a list of the organization proudly affirming its discriminatory, anti-LGBT policies whilst using Christianity as justification. No surprise there. What I want to draw attention to are the following differences, from the website:
"3) The BSA’s new policy appears to require troops to accept transgendered [sic] boys whose 'sexual preference' [sic] is to dress and act out like a girl. The new group does not. 
4) The BSA’s new policy also appears to allow girls who subjectively want to act out as boys as their 'sexual preference' [sic]. The new group specifically requires youth members to be 'biologically male.'” 
Here, whoever actually wrote this guide tries to articulate an opposition to accepting transgender kids in youth scouting groups. The person, either deliberately or ignorantly, creates a straw caricature version of what being transgender is - a version that mostly succeeds in revealing an ignorant, awkward conflation of sexual orientation and gender identity, as they refer to "transgendered" kids as having a "sexual preference" of wanting to be a different gender.

Previously, I have written that I believe a big barrier to civility is understanding. And, specifically, that the language we use to describe our opponents, or even the issues themselves, can often determine whether civil dialogue is even possible. When I see people forming an organization that is greatly opposed to something or someone, I think it is reasonable to expect these people to at least understand that something or someone they're so vehemently opposed to and that they think is immoral.

I'm not sure what a perfectly civil response to this sort of reactionary group is, a group that thus far mischaracterizes and excludes certain groups of people from its membership whilst nonetheless citing the Golden Rule as one of its provisional beliefs.  Maybe they just have a narrow definition of who counts as their neighbors.

I think it's possible to critique a group while supporting their right to freely associate and all that. Along those lines, though, I will continue to struggle with the Christianity-enabled cognitive dissonance that seems to go on in which people treat their neighbors unkindly while professing that they do not and while demanding that we all view them as moral upstanding folks. 

Go ahead. Let people have their anti-LGBT groups and Patriarchy Indoctrination Clubs. But I refuse to succumb to the Tolerance Trap in which people holding bigoted, ignorant, and yes - mean - views demand that we not characterize them as such.

On Bigotry, Again

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