Dear Tell All: It's been painful to watch the Boy Scouts of America puzzle over the issue of gay rights. They can't figure out whether to allow gay people to join the organization as if they were, you know, real human beings. I was struck by something the Scouts said in an official statement when they decided to postpone their decision on lifting their gay ban: "Due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review."
Complexity? No, the issue is very simple: Don't discriminate against people because of who they are. The Brooklyn Dodgers could have fallen back on the "complexity" excuse in 1947, but instead they integrated baseball because it was the honorable thing to do. The Scouts, by contrast, can't summon the courage to do the honorable thing.
As usual, the Madison Catholic Diocese is bringing up the rear in matters of morality. The Diocese weighed in with an official statement in favor of the ban: "the Boy Scouts' present policy does not amount to unjust discrimination."
Barring innocent young men from a club in the U.S. of A. does not amount to unjust discrimination? A century from now, a more enlightened world will shake its head over such a shameful statement, just as we now shake our heads over pro-slavery statements from the 19th century.
Dear Brother: You're overlooking a bright spot in this bleak picture: Madison Scouts. The Wisconsin State Journal has reported that a local Boy Scout troop quit to protest the ban, and that some local schools and churches won't deal with the Scouts because of their discriminatory practices. That's a good way of applying pressure on the national organization. Meanwhile, Madison Scout leaders insist that they're as inclusive as they can be, practicing "don't ask, don't tell" while hoping that the ban will be lifted.
Maybe the local Scouts should invite national leaders to Madison to meet a few boys who happen to be gay. Hopefully, the leaders would realize that such boys can be as "trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly and courteous" as anybody else, in accordance with Scouting law.
Do you have a question about life or love in Madison? Write Tell All, 101 King St., Madison, WI 53703. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.