The Boy Scouts and The Oath of Hypocrisy

The Boy Scouts and The Oath of Hypocrisy

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6912a - The Boy Scouts of America have not been living up to their own oath. Despite claiming to be "moral," the 100-year-old group has come under fire for allegedly helping to cover up countless sexual abuse cases. All this and they still won’t accept gay leaders? Is that the smell of hypocrisy?

This isn’t the first time the Scouts have faced an abuse scandal. All other cases, however, have either been dismissed or settled out of court. There’s no hope for that this time. The current case revolves around a man named Timur Dykes, a former assistant Scoutmaster who was convicted of molestation three times between 1983 and 1994. Yet, despite these convictions, the Scouts continued to employ Dykes. Now he’s facing trial for allegedly molesting a Scout back in the early ’80s. And that trial could blow the lid off of hundreds of similar cases. A judge has ordered that the Scouts turn over its so-called "Perversion Files," which kept tabs on Scout leaders who have been accused of molestation or who were revealed to have not only molested children, but also to have ordered prostitutes or bought child pornography. The files, about 1,250 of them, range from 1965 to 1984. The case also references a 1935 case in which a Scoutmaster revealed that the organization had 2,910 files on people who have been accused of molestation. Though the group was keeping tabs, so to speak, they did not alert authorities or parents.

I’m completely astounded — though not surprised — that the Boy Scouts would completely and utterly ignore abuse. It’s particularly unsettling, however, because the group has a long history of anti-gay discrimination, and in 1978 made it official that gay people can’t lead within their ranks. Of course gay people aren’t to be equated with abusers like Dykes. The Scouts’ justification for their discrimination definitely qualifies as ironic.

In their 1991 position statement, the Scouts insisted, "We believe that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the requirement in the Scout Oath that a Scout be morally straight and in the Scout Law that a Scout be clean in word and deed, and that homosexuals do not provide a desirable role model for Scouts." The group would later, in 2004, strengthen their opposition that even Scouts themselves, who could potentially take leadership positions, should remain straight and narrow. Even if they are gay, they’re discouraged from revealing their true selves. So, we have two issues here: one is the Boy Scouts blatantly discriminating against gays, while allegedly covering up presumably straight — and sick — men’s actions. And then we have the group telling potentially gay members that they should keep their mouths shut.

The amount of hypocrisy seen here is rivaled only by the Catholic Church, which has also been embroiled in yet another nasty molestation scandal. It’s infuriating, to say the least, that these two groups would publicly rail against the so-called immorality of gay people, but tacitly condone molestation. Rather than facing the facts and coming clean, they chose to keep a "straight face" and deny their own shortfalls, all the while pointing a judgmental finger at something else.

The Scouts, and the Church, are not only degrading their own moral standing; they are denying kids positive role models who can teach a lesson on respect, diversity and, most importantly, honesty.

Editor’s Note: Andrew Belonsky is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn. He has been reporting on gay and equal rights for the last six years.

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