Chuck Norris is in the news for what some are describing as "taking a stand" against changes that would permit homosexuals to volunteer to serve the Boy Scouts Of America.

I don't intend to address this issue directly, but it raises a question that I first mentioned in Inappropriate Conversations #8.  On the topic of The Sexual Revolution, I asked if "celibate homosexual" has tangible meaning in our society.  The related question is whether "homosexuality" is an inherently sexual concept.

For some this will sound silly.  After all, the word "sex" is embedded within the term in a way that intends to communicate something other than gender.  No, I'm going to keep gender out of this.  But must there be a link between orientation and sexuality?  We don't limit the term "gay teen" to sexual experience.  There is such a thing as a sexually-active gay teenager versus a gay teenager who is completely inexperienced in the area of coupling.  So, clearly, we can -- and, therefore, should -- make a distinction between orientation and sexual practice.

What does this have to do with the Boy Scouts Of America?

The answer is hidden inside this question: who in this debate is sexual-izing (making something "about" sex) the concept of homosexuality?

To connect back with IC #8, is there such a thing as a celibate homosexual?  (My answer is Yes, by the way.)  Would that individual be welcome to serve as a Scouting volunteer?  Let's focus there, rather than on Chuck Norris.  Frankly, he isn't asking the right questions.

Here's the dilemma you must face if you favor the long-standing Boy Scouts ban:

1)      If a celibate homosexual would not be welcome as a BSA volunteer, then this really isn't about sexuality at all.  It's just about discrimination and prejudice.  Rather than teaching these young men the values that have made America strong, the organization is doing the exact opposite.

2)      If a celibate homosexual would be welcome (please don't turn the word "allowed" into a pejorative and demeaning qualifier), while others would not, then perhaps the issue is solely about sexual practices ... but who is making "sex" the issue?  Certainly not the volunteer.  Gay parents who want to help surely aren't sexualizing the conversation unless they are volunteering solely for a topic like sex education.

Who is making sexual orientation "all about sex" in this situation?  I think we know the answer to that, and those people should be ashamed of themselves.

I'm not saying that it is wrong to consider this conflict, or many other examples, as a question of equality and discrimination. I'm also not saying that the BSA organization cannot decide to keep discussions of sexuality out of their mission.  I'm only saying that supporters of the long-standing BSA policies are the ones who have put sex in center stage when the debate (if necessary) should be solely about orientation.

That is a very different thing.  We need to start asking more pointed questions of people who confuse the two concepts, or try to confuse others through willful obfuscation.

There is no badge for deception.


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