Would you let your 12-year-old daughter sleep in a tent with an 18-year-old boy?
I was driving in to work earlier this week, listening to a local talk show, when I did something I almost never do. I called in.
The subject was the decision by the governing board of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to allow openly gay adults to serve as den leaders, scoutmasters, and camp counselors. How could I resist? I am an Eagle Scout, and I have a book coming out next week called Scarlet Letters that deals with this larger subject.
When the producer screened me about my stance, I decided to hold off on more complex issues like freedom of assembly and the historical scout requisite to be “morally straight” and focus instead on the pragmatic.
I told him that as an Eagle Scout, I can attest to the cross-generational intimacy of the scouting experience. Young boys, older teens, and men share a lot of private time. They swim together, shower together, sleep in the same tents together. On the everyday level, I told him, I would worry about the Jerry Sandusky factor.
The producer flipped. “Are you saying that all gays are pedophiles?” he shot back angrily. “No,” I said, “but would you let your twelve-year-old daughter sleep in a tent with an eighteen-year-old boy?”
He didn’t get my drift, so I had to explain it. For a man to find an adolescent sexually attractive is not pedophilia. It is human nature. Pedophilia means an attraction to pre-pubescent children, eleven or younger. To join the BSA, a boy must be at least eleven. The Scouts have always encouraged older adolescents to assume intermediate leadership positions. So it would not be unusual for an eighteen-year-old to share a tent with twelve- and thirteen-year-olds.
In her classic 1990 book Sexual Personae, Camille Paglia, herself a lesbian, wrote at length about the “beautiful boy of homosexual tradition.” That attraction has underscored much of Western art for the last 2,500 or so years. Writing twenty-five years ago, Paglia felt free to say the obvious.
That much said, gay men may have no more attraction to adolescents than straight men do. For instance, in his autobiography, Roman, director Roman Polanski expressed shock that “I should be sent to prison, my life and career ruined, for making love.” By “making love,” he was referring to the drugging and anal penetration of a thirteen-year-old girl. He saw that as perfectly natural, as, apparently, did much of Hollywood. Its denizens gave Polanski a standing O when he won an Oscar years after fleeing the United States.
Whether gay men have more or less attraction to young adolescents is beside the point. What they do have is more access. Now, in an act of institutional madness, BSA board members are licensing that access. They are putting the gay male in a position in which no one in his right mind would put a straight male. The sane answer to the question, “Would you let your twelve-year-old daughter sleep in a tent with an eighteen-year-old boy?” is, and always will be, “Are you nuts?”
What will the leadership tell the parents when the first semi-sanctioned cases of statutory rape come trickling in? More to the point, perhaps, what will the leadership tell the attorneys representing those parents?
The Catholic Church has already faced this quandary. Despite the headlines, only in rare instances was pedophilia the issue. The real problem was the age-old one of allowing homosexual men unfettered access to unsuspecting adolescent boys. The Church screens much more carefully now. As a religious institution, it can get away with doing so.
It seems ironic that the left was hammering the Catholic Church for its lack of vigilance at the same time it was hammering the BSA for its excess. This seeming contradiction makes sense when one understands that the left’s endgame was never to protect children or to advance gay rights. The endgame is to destroy by whatever means necessary the traditional institutions that undergird Western civilization.
Regardless of how the various church groups respond to the new BSA directive, the left has won this battle. Its foot soldiers have broken the feeble resistance of the governing board and eliminated the real Boy Scouts of America from the field. Scout leadership was no better prepared for this war than the French were for theirs in 1940.
From now on, at the top, at least, collaboration will be the name of the game. Within a generation, the Vichy wing of the BSA will collapse under the weight of its own pointlessness, and the resistance will fight on, even if without uniforms.