Tag Archives: Boy Scouts

Fortunately, Most Christians Aren’t Like Micah Clark

The Boy Scouts did (half of) the right thing a couple of weeks ago, and triggered another of Micah Clark’s (tiresome and predicitble) rants.

Some of his bizarre assertions: the Indianapolis Star is “one of the largest homosexual advocacy organizations.” The Boy Scouts “decided to abandon their moral principles in favor of keeping pro-homosexual corporate donors’ money.” The Greenwood Church that withdrew from sponsorship of a cub scout pack is “one of the finest churches in the Greenwood area.” Gays make up “only 3% of the US population but are responsible for a third of all child molestations.” The Scouts’ decision is yet more evidence that “true manhood is under attack.”

Needless to say, Clark plucks his “facts” from thin air–or perhaps from the same “researchers” who broke the news that Sponge Bob Squarepants is recruiting for the armies of homosexual activists that Clark sees everywhere. (Which does lead me to wonder how a mere 3% of the population can be everywhere Clark sees them…)

I would ignore this latest roar of wounded indignation, but a friend sent it to me not an hour after I had spoken to a sizable group of Christian senior citizens about same-sex marriage. The average age of the audience was probably 80+. They all belonged to Christian denominations. All but one of them was white. (The common stereotype of such older white Christians, of course, is that they are the bulk of the nation’s culture warriors.)

Since Micah clearly believes that he speaks for all “true” Christians, this gathering must have been composed of “fake” Christians. Not only did they reject the sort of hateful homophobic characterizations and falsehoods that Micah and his ilk constantly spew, not only did they applaud the Boy Scouts’ decision, they were strongly supportive of marriage equality.

In fact, these senior-citizen Christians must be Micah’s worst nightmare.

Micah Clark and those like him can turn blue insisting that neutral reporting turns the daily newspaper into an advocacy organization. They can excoriate “liberals” like yours truly, and dismiss our positions out of hand. They can invent statistics and “facts” and insist that theirs is the proper “moral” standard. But all of that is window dressing. Their position rests, ultimately, on their conviction that they speak for the angry God of their version of Christianity.

But just as they stereotype GLBT folks, they stereotype their fellow Christians.

For every literalist, fundamentalist church that defines itself in contrast to sinful “others,” there is a Christian denomination that takes seriously the obligation to love one’s fellow-man.

For every angry, judgmental, morally-constipated “Christian” I’ve met, I can point to three or four others who see their faith as a prescription for love and understanding and who shrink from the very real transgressions of arrogance and self-righteousness.

I am neither a Christian nor a theologian, but I know the difference between people who are at peace with themselves and people who–for whatever reason–need to blame someone else for the demons that beset them.

Signs of Improvement

The U.S. left Iraq (mostly) over a year ago. We seem to finally be departing Afghanistan. And yesterday brought welcome signs that yet another war is ending: the Culture War. (This must be Eric Miller’s worst nightmare…)

Nationally, there were reports in several news outlets to the effect that the Boy Scouts would abandon their ban on gay Scout leaders, and allow each troop to decide such policies for itself. Given the fact that the national organization felt strongly enough to take its case to the Supreme Court not all that long ago–where they made the argument that being straight was an essential and defining characteristic of “scout-ness”– this is quite the turn-around. The cynic in me notes that Scouting lost a lot of members in the wake of that case, and that it generated a new, competing organization, “Scouting for All.” Nevertheless, the Boy Scouts have stubbornly persisted in this position, reaffirming it as recently as a few months ago.

So–I’d say this is a big deal, as cultural markers go.

Here in Indiana, there are signs that our legislators–so hell-bent on protecting my heterosexual marriage from the certain doom that would befall it if same-sex couples weren’t conclusively banned from the institution–have seemingly misplaced their sense of urgency over the need to insert a ban into the State’s constitution.

Republican leaders who previously insisted that the prospect of same-sex marriage was an existential threat are reportedly assigning a lower priority to the matter this year. Senators who had previously highlighted their opposition to both same-sex marriage and civil unions–not to mention anything that looked remotely, sorta, kinda like marriage–are expressing doubts about the much-debated “second sentence” of the current language of the ban. And several Senators are actually advocating prudence, suggesting that it would be wiser to delay action and wait for the Supreme Court’s decision in cases it will decide this term.

Even in Indiana, the electoral calculus has changed. Homophobia and mean-spirited attacks on gay folks aren’t the surefire winners they used to be.

We Americans can be slow learners, but just maybe we’ve figured out that–both at home and abroad–some wars are misplaced, and others aren’t worth fighting.