scouts-l Mail Archive for July of 2000: Whys and Wherefores
Anthony Mako (ajmako@NLS.NET
Sat Jul 01 2000 - 00:40:53 CDT
Q: Why are homosexuals fighting for their rights?
A: Because they are a minority.
Q: Why would New Jersey add "sexual orientation" to its anti-discrimination
A: Because this is the United States. An important aspect of government in
the US involves protecting the rights of the minority. That's what makes the
US such a great country - every citizen is covered by the Constitution.
Everyone in the majority has the right to speak freely and associate with
whomever he or she pleases. Everyone in the minority has those rights as
Q: What's the big deal with the Supreme Court's decision?
A: The big deal is that we rely on the Supreme Court to uphold the rights of
every citizen and wisely settle disputes when the rights of one infringe on
another. The decision is important only in that it reaffirms a fundamental
right of private groups. If reaffirms the right of PFLAG to determine its
own membership and leadership standards - they cannot be forced by the
government to accept as a member or leader someone who's beliefs are
incompatible. PFLAG cannot be forced by anyone to accept a member or leader
who believes all heterosexuals should be imprisoned . Likewise, they cannot
be forced to accept a member or leader who believes all homosexuals should
be imprisoned. Of course, to illustrate this I changed the organization that
was involved in the case.
Q: Why doesn't the BSA just accept that homosexuality is now acceptable
behavior in the US and change it's membership policies?
A: Since 1910, the BSA has held certain beliefs. True, some of those beliefs
remained unspoken for a long time, but for much of the 20th century they
were shared beliefs with society-at-large. As social attitudes changed, it
became necessary for the BSA to make a decision. They chose to stick with a
belief that is still shared by a great many people. An individual shouldn't
be forced to change his beliefs just because they aren't popular or mutually
In the US, we cannot go around forcing others to change their beliefs simply
because we don't agree with them. That is what is known as Totalitarianism -
the values and ideals of the majority are forced upon the minority. In such
an environment, women would never have gotten the vote because the majority
would simply have stifled the women's movement. The same could be said of
the civil rights movement of the '60's. The majority would have shut up the
movement. They couldn't because, in the US, everyone has a constitutionally
protected right to form their own opinions, express them, and associate with
others who hold those beliefs.
Q: So why was their a lawsuit in the first place? If everything works like
you said, there shouldn't have been a reason for the lawsuit.
A: Because, great as the country is, it's still made up of human beings.
Human beings are not perfect. Their understanding of the rights outlined in
the Constitution isn't entirely perfect. As society changes, there will
always be some new technology, social theory, or human condition that
challenges the system. And the system _has_ to be challenged, otherwise our
society will stagnate.
Q: So which side was right?
A: In truth, both sides were right. The BSA was right because it enjoys the
same rights as any other private organization - to choose its members,
select its leaders, and determine its beliefs regardless of whether their
choices are popular or agreeable. Mr. Dale was right because he did what he
thought needed to be done. He forced the system to deal with an issue it
would rather have ignored.
Q: Why do news programs refer to Mr. Dale as a "former Eagle"? Did the BSA
take that away from him too?
A: The BSA didn't take Mr. Dale's accomplishments as a Scout away. They
couldn't. I really don't know why the media refers to him that way, but I
wish they'd stop it. There is not such thing as a "former" Eagle Scout. Mr.
Dale earned it, and he deserves it.
A. J. Mako, Scoutmaster, email@example.com
Old Portage District, Great Trail Council