Santorum says scouts may not survive if gays allowed
February 4th, 2013
11:38 AM ET
1 year ago

Santorum says scouts may not survive if gays allowed

(CNN) – Potential changes which could end the ban on gay boy scouts signal "a challenge to the Scouts' very nature," conservative activist and former Sen. Rick Santorum wrote Monday.

His column, published online on the right wing website World Net Daily, comes as the Boy Scouts of America prepares to discuss changing their longstanding national ban on gay scouts and scoutmasters at an upcoming meeting.

Removing that ban is "another example of the left attempting to remove God from all areas of public life," Santorum alleged in his op-ed, pointing to a "long list of liberal victories" that he said included abortion, affirmative action and "sexual liberation."

"Scouting may not survive this transformation of American society, but for the sake of the average boy in America, I hope the board of the Scouts doesn't have its fingerprints on the murder weapon," he wrote.

The potential change to the Scouts' rules follows protests after a den leader was forced out of her post because she is openly gay. The organization made no changes to their policies on gay membership after a recent lengthy internal review, but the issue is expected to resurface at a meeting this month.

One possible change to national policy would allow local chapters to determine whether to accept gay members. If the national board approved that measure, individual troops could dictate membership "consistent with each organization's mission, principles, or religious beliefs," according to a statement last week.

That alteration of policy would be equally devastating, Santorum wrote, since troops that maintain their ban on gay scouts would no longer be protected from legal protection against civil lawsuits. He also predicted those troops hoping to preserve the ban would simply leave the organization altogether.

"Many will simply leave and pursue alternative ways to continue to invest in the development of their young men's character, leaving the Scouts hollowed out at its core," he wrote.

The former GOP presidential candidate also identified a socio-economic divide in the debate over allowing gay boy scouts, asserting the wealthy CEOs who comprise the Boy Scouts' board would be shielded from the negative effects of lifting the ban.

"It makes sense that men at the top of the food chain whose boys are insulated, although not immune, from the harmful effects of societal change are behind this effort," he said.

Rick Perry, the Texas governor and another former GOP presidential candidate, weighed in against the ending the ban on Saturday, telling a statewide gathering of scouts that "most people see absolutely no reason to change the position and neither do I."

"Scouting is about teaching a substantial amount of life lessons," Perry, an Eagle Scout, said. "Sexuality is not one of them. It never has been; it doesn't need to be."

CNN's Gregory Wallace contributed to this report.


Filed under: Rick Santorum
soundoff (147 Responses)
  1. Simple minded guy

    If the BSA is so shaky that this could topple it then it's not stable, anyway. And if it's based on homophobic concepts, it may be time to call it quits.

    February 4, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  2. Dave

    eddiethegeek

    It's clear...if the Boy Scouts cave in to politically-correct pressure, it's time to form an alternative organization for boys that adheres to the values the BSA will have been abandoning.

    --------------
    Exactly Eddie. Looks like a lot of the troops in churches will pull out unless, as rumored, the BSA passes the buck and leaves the decisions up to each troop.

    February 4, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  3. Moby

    John Wayne .. I was a Cub and Scout Leader for about 10 years as my boys were growing thru that organization.. I don't ever remember anyone taking a shower with the boys .. maybe you're thinking of college football in Pennsylvania

    February 4, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  4. Ron

    It is amazing how full of hate and bile Santorum is. I wonder if he can hate and chew gum at the same time? I doubt it–too much for his one-track mind.

    February 4, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  5. Mikey

    @Robert Long – If the Boy Scouts excluded Christians, would you feel the same way? "We don't persecute them, we just exclude them, because we find their beliefs and lifestyle aberrant."

    February 4, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  6. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It appears that Santorum is under the impression that anyone can choose to be a homosexual, and nature has nothing to do with it. That does concern me. Where does he get this idea?

    As for the scouts (girl or boy), anyone who wishes to learn the lessons of being prepared and doing activities scouts do. These groups do good work in preparing the young for life's lessons. Why should anyone be denied because they are a homosexual? I don't see that as a good reason.

    February 4, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  7. Al-NY,NY

    Robert Long

    I care what Santorum thinks. I also care what Perry thinks. I care what you think, but I can't make you think as I do. Scout are for building male character and knowledge useful in our society. It is not there to help gays feel normal in their aberrant lifestyle.

    The Scouts don't persecute gays, the gays should not persecute the Scouts. Traditional values are important to the survival of this country.
    ----------------

    straight from the right wing thumpers' talking points......hey Robert. Your son just came out on Facebook. I guess his membership in the BSA is now void according to you, right?

    February 4, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  8. Richard Sutton

    Is there really anyone out there who believes that the BSA is not already full of gays? No program or organization that receives tax dollars should be allowed to discriminate on any basis. Period. Bigotry and narrow-mindedness as well as self righteousness are dying systems. If they spout and sputter in their final exertions, I don't think that means it's worth basing any opinion on.

    February 4, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  9. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It appears that Santorum is under the impression that anyone can choose to be a homosexual, and nature has nothing to do with it. That does concern me. Where does he get this idea? Does he have any research showing this?

    As for the scouts (girl or boy), anyone who wishes to learn the lessons of being prepared and doing activities scouts do. These groups do good work in preparing the young for life's lessons. Why should anyone be denied because they are a homosexual? I don't see that as a good reason.

    February 4, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  10. Loki

    is this part of the new and improve Republican party?

    February 4, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  11. Mikey

    @John Wayne – So by your logic, males should not coach girls and females should not coach boys? How about teachers? Separate classes for boys and girls because adults of the opposite sex can't be around them? Where does it stop?

    February 4, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  12. TD

    I am a former scout and a lot of the scouts in my troop as well as in other troops close to my area were extremely uncomfortable with even the possibility of there being gay scouts in the troop. I was there when all it took to start a fight was accusing someone of being gay. If you want to change the policy, be prepared to deal with ALL of the repercussions.

    February 4, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  13. Jim

    Joe Perry is right. The scouts are not about teaching sexuality. Which means there should never have been a ban in the first place.

    February 4, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  14. Albee

    Can you believe this man was once a senator and candidate for president! He puts shame our political system.

    February 4, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  15. chuck187187

    The GOP is nothing more than a fringe hate group. It is the GOP that will not survive.

    February 4, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  16. jim

    Does Santorum believe that gay young men not need help in becoming decent, responsible adults? I am gay and reached the rank of Eagle Scout. I never came out to my troop, knowing that doing so would be an unwise decision. I can readily assure all of the homophobes that I did not join the Scouts hoping to engage in repeated orgies with other scouts. Only someone ignorant would have such a motive. Part of being a Scout is learning not just how to build a fire, but realising and accepting people are different and learning to accept and respect others. So many gay boys have little support or acceptance from father figures and desperately need positive, caring male role models, which Scouts can give

    February 4, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  17. Ken

    I thought conservatives were all about "states rights"? Why doesn't that trickle down to their other beliefes? It would seem consistent, in my opinion, in allowing each troop to do as they please. Oh, that's right, the conservatives want government out of you lives UNLESS it has something to do with their religous or personal view, and then, by God, they want to dictacte what we all can do.

    February 4, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  18. MesaMom

    I hope attitudes like Santorum's don't survive. There is zero evidence to show that a gay scout leader is any more likely to molest than a "straight" one. Personally I question any man who wants to spend a lot of time with children that are not his own. Won't be happening with my kids.

    February 4, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  19. Sly

    If the Boy Scouts cannot adapt and they leave, fine – that is the process of change and evolution.

    Obviously our nation will no longer tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, religion and sexual preference. In the past, the Boy Scouts had to adapt to allow minorities – they did, and they benefitted.

    I'm not quite sure how Santorum's God enters the picture, but I suspect Rick consults with God prior to making any decision – such as choosing between McDonald's and Taco Bell. So, let this wierdo blather on about this 'calamity' – he'll calm down eventually and get used to gays in the Boy Scouts.

    All of you will. And remember – change is good!

    February 4, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  20. steve

    The BSA has been investigated by federal authorities for misclaiming their numbers. Pretending to yourself that there are more members than you really have would be fine, except that they use those numbers to qualify for money from federal grants and the United Way.
    It is a good thing that is run by racketteers. That is what Santorum should spend his effort on, cleaning up the BSA and Catholic church. Start there my friend and then we will have your conversation about hte gays and there role in the demise of the boy scouts.

    February 4, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  21. mjdkid100

    Dave

    eddiethegeek

    It's clear...if the Boy Scouts cave in to politically-correct pressure, it's time to form an alternative organization for boys that adheres to the values the BSA will have been abandoning.

    ----–
    Exactly Eddie. Looks like a lot of the troops in churches will pull out unless, as rumored, the BSA passes the buck and leaves the decisions up to each troop.

    ------–

    Good point and we know the church has no gays or pedophiles in it, so we should be good to go....

    February 4, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  22. tony

    The scout are for building male character.
    what about females,and minorities, or it's only for white males? listen people stop attacking God and attack the people who are hiding behind religion to discriminate against people. can't you see these guys are hypocrits Jesus call them out before, do you remember the scribes and pharisees? These guys are trying to clean the the peebles out of your eyes while at the same time they have boulders in theirs.

    February 4, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  23. Derek

    I find it ironic that extremist Christians would rather put their children in the 'responsible' hands of priests who have a terrible history with abusing children, rather than more culturally diverse adults found within the LGBT who DO NOT abuse children... I mean, where' s the real logic? One cannot argue Santorum's claim with straight faced logic, one can only sigh and explain it as his God given right to an opinion.

    February 4, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  24. OB-1

    Why exactly are traditional values important to the survival of the country? In any industry, adaptability and flexibility are needed to progress. Certain traditional values that are fairly universal, such don't murder people for the heck of it, are needed in order to maintain basic law and order, but why in the wide world should we exclude boys, or girls, from a great institution simply due to what the are attracted to? I firmly believe that if a group is to receive tax monies, they hold be considered an arm of the government and held to the same standards.

    February 4, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  25. Northerncalculus

    If Rick's Cathloic church expelled every priest likely to molest children it might not survive either.

    February 4, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
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