Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Teach Us to Care for People, for All Not Just for Some

this past weekend several hundred boy scouts from our area gathered in the park across the street from our home for the annual “scout-a-rama.”  as my wife and i walked in the park, i thought about the controversy over the admission of gay scouts and leaders to the boys scouts in the united states, as well as the scouts’ position on atheist and agnostic scouts and leaders.  it would be reasonable to believe that at least one of every ten scouts is gay.  what do the policies of this organization and the constant condemnation of gay people say to those closeted gay scouts?  how do children who are raised in non-believing homes feel when they see other boys enjoying membership in scouts while they are excluded?

perhaps the harm done to atheist/agnostic youngsters is not as great as that done to gay boys, because the former are prepared by their parents for the discrimination they will face.  young gays have no such support in most homes.  these boys learn early on that they must hide who they are and listen to jokes about “fags” from their peers.  they must keep secret their true selves while adults who are their leaders, and often their parents, talk about the “sin” of homosexuality and preach about the absurd idea that those who are gay are pedophiles or that they are bringing the wrath of God down on american society.

the difficulty of being a gay young person in our society was brought home to me as i watched these boys having fun at their event during my walk.  my heart went out to those among this group who carried with them the burden of having to keep the secret of their sexual orientation hidden in order to be included.  what a great weight it must be to be constantly reminded that something that is at the core of their very being is a source of ridicule and the most vile condemnation!

my prayer today is that our society will wake up to the great harm we are doing to thousands of young people by our unreasonable gay-bashing, that we will open our hearts to accept each person for who and what they are without judgment or persecution, and that each of us will do what we can in our daily lives to support those who are different from us, no matter what that difference may be.  shalom.

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