MUGGER: Your 7/5 argument against the Supreme Court decision and the Boy Scout leadership completely overlooks the distinction between the "average" partially-in-the-closet homosexual and the in-your-face gay-pride type affected by this decision. Few parents want their children exposed to the latter as a role model.
Your judgment on this is so poor that I won't be looking to your column for explanation of other issues.
John Connolly, San Diego
"MUGGER Is Good When He Agrees with Me"
MUGGER: Hope you had a nice vacation. Your 7/5 piece was very good...except for the last paragraph. That one was as fucked up as a football bat.
First off, I'm like you. When I was in Troop 9 here in Houston, no one ever sexually harassed or harmed me either, and so far as I know, there were no homosexual Scouts, let alone Scoutmasters. Were there any members of my troop who turned out to be gay? Who knows? Most of us were only 12 or 13, and not quite up to speed on this sex thing at that point. But then, this is not about the kids, it's about the adults in positions of authority over them.
But as you correctly pointed out, the Boy Scouts are a private organization, and can constitutionally place in positions of authority over their charges whomever they choose. It's not the business of the idiots in the New Jersey government, or any other government for that matter, who they allow to be Scoutmasters.
And MUGGER, the Boy Scouts are not a fucking country club. Jeezus Christ, is that the best analogy you could come up with? Hell, if it were a country club, we would not be having this discussion.
But I can tell you what the Scouts are?an organization that millions of parents across this country trust their children to in various venues away from their homes. And just what do you suppose would happen to this organization the first time one of their politically correct gay Scoutmasters discovers he just can't resist the cute little 15-year-old Jimmy So-and-So, and gives little Jimmy a buttfucking he won't soon forget?
(And this sort of thing happens a lot more than the "gay community" would like you to believe. I've had gay friends and coworkers since I was a teen, and I've heard this story repeated all too many times. It happens. Deal with it.)
It won't matter if little Jimmy loved every inch of it. His parents find out and proceed to sue the living shit out of the Boy Scouts organization, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, not to mention the incredible amount of bad press it would generate.
Look at what has happened with the Catholic Church in recent years when all these ex-altar boys came forward with stories (and lawsuits) about those priests who gave them the high hard one when they were kids.
No, I don't blame the Scouts one iota. And to place this on the same level as some kind of ethnic thing (the two are not equivalent to begin with) is disingenuous in the extreme.
Pat Myers, Houston
MUGGER: I just read this, and I can't believe you personally wrote it:
"Finally, in another adverse Supreme Court decision, it was ruled that the Boy Scouts of America have the right to exclude gay leaders from their ranks. I suppose that's constitutional?the Scouts are a private organization (sort of)?but it's wrongheaded nonetheless... I do know that I won't allow my sons to join the Boy Scouts in light of this un-American verdict, just as I'd never apply to a country club that excluded Jews, blacks or other people who aren't deemed worthy."
No offense, MUGGER, but when was the last time you heard of a country club that had an oath and a code of conduct? The Supreme Court didn't say that the Boy Scouts had a right to restrict membership based on popularity votes or undebunked Darwinist social theory. It said that the Boy Scouts have the right of expressive association under the Constitution, and that Dale's presence would force the group to send a message it didn't want to send, since it believes homosexual conduct is against its values.
The issue is not about who shops at Wal-Mart, or who was last to the drinking fountain. This issue is about whether groups with ideological motives have the right to attempt to be honest in their promotion of this view. If the shoe were on the other foot, and James Dobson were seeking membership in, and the presidency of, ACTUP, the gay activists would have no problem seeing the issue. If Charlton Heston were seeking the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee, the DNC would see the issue. But because this decision frankly undermines the ability of countercultural advocates to perforate the fabric of society by infiltrating ideological strongholds of the right, the Boy Scouts have suddenly become a bus driver who just told the (place racial slur here) to get in the back.
But we (the same "we" John Strausbaugh was getting smart with in his 6/28 piece about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?the Midwesterners, fratboys, farmboys and old folks) have come to expect this kind of stupid double standard from the left, and from the gay movement as well. What is stunning is that this curt dismissal is coming from you, with this justification:
"I was a Scout for several years, as were all of my four brothers. Of course there were gay members; there were probably gay patrol leaders and Scoutmasters as well. At the time, I couldn't really tell. I do know that I was never harassed or harmed, and can't think of a more revered figure in the town of Huntington than Troop 12's longtime commander, Wilson Mott. As I recall, Mr. Mott was married with children, but who can tell about his surrogates? And who cares?"
It's kind of shocking that you're willing to shade or demean the reputations of the Scout leaders in Troop 12 because you "couldn't really tell" if they were gay. This especially in favor of a political group that is more interested in making sure all other political groups honor and respect them, but certainly do not oppose them.
The Boy Scouts are not just a country club, or some kind of dance class or soccer team. They are expressly about a specific ideology. The Scout Law says, "A Scout keeps his body and mind fit and clean. He goes around with those who believe in living by these same ideals. He helps keep his home and community clean." The Scout Oath also cites God and Country as key issues, and when somebody breaks ranks, they ask them to leave. Compare that to the gay ranks. When was the last time you heard anybody "out" say that it was okay to disagree with their lifestyle without their calling that decision "hate speech" or "homophobia" or "Nazism"? When was the last time you heard a gay advocate call somebody who left the gay lifestyle anything civil?
Frankly, I don't care if you encourage or discourage your boys from scouting. But to do so for the reasons you list here is to be a moralist guided by something other than actual morality.
Frank Turk, Pittsburgh
MUGGER: Can't wait to see your column if and when some gay Boy Scout leader molests your kid. Kind of like seeing the leopard change spots.
Kenneth Parady, Grand Rapids, MI
How to Pitch Tents
I predict that the Boy Scouts will grow more than ever now?and that they would have been destroyed had the ruling gone the other way. Until the homosexual lobby stops talking about homosexually active 12-year-olds (or until something changes the mores of society to make unconscionable heterosexually active 12-year-olds?and even younger, we now hear), parents will not want their children placed into situations where their prepubescent children are placed into possibly sexual situations (boys seeking sex with other boys). If the Boy Scouts admitted homosexuals, they might as well have coeducational overnights, with coed showers, for every age group. Of course, that is just what the NAMBLA types who run the homosexual lobby want.
As to a pro-choice vice president, why would George W. Bush want to give Republicans a reason to vote for Pat Buchanan? The simple solution would be to nominate Elizabeth Dole or another nominally pro-life woman. But some are already saying Sen. Lugar might be the one if it is not Tom Ridge?a candidate who might win the day because of his opposition to partial-birth abortion, which is infanticide.
Duggan Flanakin, Austin, TX
MUGGER: I quite enjoyed your 7/5 column, as usual, until the last paragraph dealing with the Boy Scouts of America.
You are certainly within your rights to withdraw your regard and support for the Boy Scouts or any other organization, but beyond that, your reproof is something too round.
Unless I am mistaken, there are no bars to the admission of "Jews, blacks, or other people" into the ranks of the Boy Scouts organization. Therefore your forced connection between prejudiced discrimination and the Boy Scouts' policy regarding homosexuals is patently false and unnecessarily vindictive.
You may be off the mark, too, with your suggestion that the Boy Scouts organization finds homosexuals unworthy, a strongly connotative and therefore inappropriate word if it is the truth of the situation that you seek. That may be your from-the-hip take, but consider the difference to a carpenter between a steelheaded hammer and a rubber hammer. The former is appropriate to his intended purpose, while the latter, which may indeed be an excellent tool for some work, is inappropriate for driving nails. In my opinion, the Boys Scouts have their traditional notions, which they have the right to maintain, and these include the inappropriateness of homosexuals in responsible charge of young boys.
Just a thought. I look forward to your next column.
J.H. Rea, Cherry Log, GA
Notes on Camp
Re: MUGGER's 7/5 column:
As a Jew, I have a different feeling about those who would exclude me. If a private group wants to exclude me, it should be their right. I wouldn't want to join a country club where they don't want Jews, even if they are forced to let me in. I live in Long Beach, on the South Shore. Long Beach and Lido Beach have large Jewish populations; Point Lookout at the end of the barrier island has almost no Jews. When I was a real estate broker in Long Beach, I was told not to even bother trying to get a listing there.
The point is, why would one want to join an exclusive (excluding) organization if one wasn't part of that group? As for the Boy Scouts of America, do you see them drawing the line further and in the future excluding Jews or blacks? The real Civil Rights blacks (not the phony Al Sharptons) deeply resent comparisons between the gay and black struggles. They are not the same.
If you still lived in Huntington or Baltimore instead of the one place on the East Coast where gays can be completely open, flamboyant, etc., you would probably feel differently. This is a guy who does spend time in Manhattan. I'm not intimidated or afraid of gays. I think they are funny and sad, and I feel sorry for them. After all, a majority will not enjoy the blessings of a long life. But they should not enjoy any special rights or privileges because they stand up and announce they are different.
Jeffrey Rosner, Long Beach, NY
Carnal Union Club
MUGGER: Old boy, you are generally right on in your rants, which I enjoy immensely. However, you're off base in your sanctimonious comment, "I'd never apply to a country club that excluded Jews, blacks or other people who aren't deemed worthy."
That's pure, thoughtless, craven, peecee bullshit. People are tribal in their nature and operate on a duel code of ethics best described as one of amity within, enmity without. Clubs are by definition for birds of a feather. It's their very reason for existence.
As American Jews gained wealth and prominence this century, they countered their exclusion from WASP clubs by buying land and building their own, from which they excluded Others. In your very own Baltimore, German-Jew elites flocked to the Suburban Club, which they reserved for their own kind, leaving later-arriving Russian Jews to build Woodholme (which has a far better golf course than the Suburban Club), and the later-to-prosper Polish Jews to build yet another country club for their own use.
Freedom of association is precious. It's being demolished in the name of "equality" with dire consequences for the very concept of liberty. Country-club exclusiveness is not a question of "who aren't deemed worthy," but rather of people of like mind and like background wishing to socialize together freed from the presence of those farther from their natural affections.
I wish to remain nameless because of how unwelcome the candid are these days.
Name Withheld, Larchmont, NY
You'll Get Warts, David
MUGGER: What fun it's been reading your stuff these many months. But your 7/5 column about your dissent from the Supreme Court decision about the Boy Scouts has me scratching my noodle.
Has your libertarian antenna failed you here? I would have thought you, of all pundits, would have applauded this ruling, because it reaffirms the right to free association. This is not a gay issue per se, but one that supports an organization's right to freely associate with those who share its common values. So what if there are and have been gay Scouts? Would you expect, then, that the KKK should be permitted, and in fact compelled, to join the NAACP? Why should they exclude them, after all? The issue here is freedom, not a disguised prejudice against gays. You can see through the bullshit of the Times and the Clinton crowd with such ease, but you demonstrate here the wounded kneejerk outrage of a flummoxed liberal. Give your head a shake.
By the way, your mail section is better reading than most magazines' features. Keep after Al Gore. Is your paper available in Toronto? I'm sure there's loads I'm missing, but your site gives like-minded surfers plenty to chew. I love Taki's hate mail. There's much envy out there?so many pompous readers who are so outraged at the slightest impolitic utterance. When you get tired of bashing the Times, aim your guns north and look at two ripe targets here, the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star. You'd enjoy doing a post-mortem on them.
David M. Dorion, Oakville, Ontario
Russ Smith replies: My oh my, you'd have thought I endorsed Al Gore for president. But this is a serious issue and I'm afraid these many correspondents took to the keyboard without thinking through the ramifications of the Supreme Court decision. Yes, the Boy Scouts are a private organization and have the right to dream up any vows, oaths and declarations, no matter how loathsome. When I was a Scout, I never took the manual very seriously; none of my friends did either.
But I write about this case as a Boy Scout advocate. What concerns me is that the Supreme Court ruling will simply further isolate the Boy Scouts and make it a fringe organization. The benefits of being a Scout?overnight hikes, learning to tie knots and identify trees and leaves, going swimming and playing archery?at one time outweighed the paramilitary overtones. Now, with homophobia a de facto tenet of the Boy Scouts, I believe that many parents, such as myself, just won't bother encouraging their sons to join. Right there, that lessens the diversity of the organization.
Also, it's inevitable, with this ruling, that finger-pointing at this Scoutmaster and that patrol leader will occur. Many decent men will be harassed unfairly.
Obviously, any person who molests children?whether it's in the Boy Scouts, private or public schools, athletics or church groups?deserves to be prosecuted. But it's my belief that this Supreme Court ruling?as destructive as the partial-birth abortion decision?will relegate the Boy Scouts to another era, as membership rolls shrink, especially in urban areas, where the positive aspects of the organization are perhaps most useful.