Fear, hate and separate — this odious triumvirate drives the intolerance that pollutes our religious and political landscape, as exhibited by Michael Chol’s exhortation to fear the malevolent influence homosexuals would have on the Boy Scouts (The Advocate, July 5 letter).
Fear exacerbated by its constant companion misinformation — fear that somehow association with a boy, or leader of a different sexual orientation, would “confuse” the presumably innocent child by “injecting” homosexuality (like a noxious venom), putting some sort of pressure on the boy. In short, Chol exhibits the religious right’s fear of, obsession with and drive to control sex.
Let us examine that position. Homosexuals make up a small minority of the population. This means that homosexual activity is unattractive to most persons, and strongly suggests (although it may not be provable scientifically) that homosexual orientation is not contagious. On this basis, there is little likelihood that one’s sexual proclivity would be changed by any relationship with anyone.
But let us grant that some boys do have genuine personal confusion about their sexual orientation. It seems reasonable that a mentoring relationship with a caring adult, including a Scout leader, might help an adolescent discover, understand and cope with his feelings without endangering anyone, unless he tries to indoctrinate his scouts with his personal religious, political or sexual views. Does Chol fit that description?
But what of his anti-gay bias? The good news is that Cokie and Steve Roberts (July 9, op-ed page) state that the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll shows that 53 percent of Americans now favor legalizing gay marriage, and quote Mark DeCamillo that “the numbers are inexorably moving in one direction,” due to old people dying. As an old person not quite dead yet, I am not enamored with that statistic, but am pleased that Cokie and Steve attribute that change to experience.
I can personally agree with that. I was one of four adolescent acolytes (altar boys) in my church, one of whom was “openly gay” long before that term was invented. In any event, we and the church accepted him, as did most everyone else, which may be why I have found nothing to fear (or hate) in homosexual persons.
The good news of late is that a staunch conservative with whom I trade friendly barbs, has recently confessed that after working with a homosexual man, he has changed his previously negative opinion of homosexuality.
In summary, I am sure that homosexuals pose no danger to the Boy Scouts, but I am not so sure about Scoutmaster Chol.