Jennifer Vanasco notes that, with the Boy Scouts thinking of ending their ban on gays, fear-mongering about gay pedophiles has spiked. Tony Woodlief attempts to justify the Boy Scouts ban with a nuanced version of the pedophilia argument:
I’m not acquainted with research comparing the rates of child molestation between homosexual and straight men, but I’m certain it doesn’t matter; this is about dogma, not data. That is why we shouldn’t expect a journalist to state the obvious, which is that if it defies good sense to send teenaged girls off into the woods with heterosexual men, it likely defies good sense to send teenaged boys off with homosexual men.
This is no aspersion against homosexuals, except insofar as they are men, and we know enough about men to understand that some of them find teenagers sexually attractive, and the older and more mature-looking these teenagers, the easier it becomes for seemingly decent men to violate them while pretending the act is consensual. It’s no slander, except that it disputes ground that is within the grasp of homosexual activists, and hence must be proof of homophobia, and therefore unreason, and should thus be disregarded.
The trouble is: the Girl Scouts already allow male troop leaders. According (pdf) to the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital (GSCNC), to “avoid even the appearance of impropriety and for the protection of leaders/advisors as well as the girls, it is GSCNC practice that at all Girl Scout sponsored activities there will be at least two adults, one of whom must be a female registered as a Girl Scout adult volunteer.” Safeguarding children from any adult alone is one thing – and certainly sensible. I don’t see why, on the same principle, any gay male or lesbian Scout leader should not equally be accompanied by a straight one of either gender.
The truth, I suspect, is that the closeted pedophile is the real danger. And out-of-the-closet adjusted gay men act like Kryptonite on that atmosphere of secrecy, shame and control. An outright ban on gay troop leaders and gay scouts merely encourages and helps legitimize the closet, which facilitates, as in the church, child-rape or abuse.
Honesty and sunlight and solid rules to make sure that no single Scout leader is left alone with boys or girls seems to me the most effective way to help sustain this admirable institution. It’s about ethical conduct, regardless of sexual orientation.
(Photo: Will Oliver, Eagle Scout , and Eric Andresen, former Scout leader, deliver boxes containing 1.4 million signatures urging the Boy Scouts of America to reverse the organization’s ban on LGBT Scouts on February 4, 2013 in Irving, Texas. By Tom Pennington/Getty Images)