This week, the board of the Boy Scouts of America will meet to discuss a change to its policy on gay members and leaders, from one that imposes a blanket ban on “open and avowed homosexuals” to one that allows local groups to set their own membership rules. The potential shift was prompted by months of damning criticism and a steady exodus of corporate sponsors unwilling to be associated with such a monstrous policy. It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely an improvement.
Reading the news reminded me of the South Park episode ‘Cripple Fight’, in which the boys lead a protest against the Scouts’ anti-gay policy after their beloved Scoutmaster, Big Gay Al, is forced out over the parents’ concerns. After Big Gay Al is kicked out, his replacement is a robustly heterosexual, married army guy, who takes advantage of his position, photographs the boys naked and threatens to kill them with a hammer if they tell their parents. A funny and confronting episode, it explores some pretty dark subject matter, perfectly satirising what is really the foulest prejudice against gay men.
Since the Boy Scouts signaled that it might allow gay members, what’s emerged from the conservative religious groups opposed to the move is the very unambiguous claim that gay men represent a threat to children. What’s funny and silly on South Park is considerably less so when it’s coming from real life groups pushing such a horrible argument.
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