Santorum says scouts may not survive if gays allowed
February 4th, 2013
11:38 AM ET
2 years 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. Pander Bear

    If an organization cannot survive granting basic human rights to a group of people, perhaps it is best that the organization not survive at all.

    February 4, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  2. lance

    Santorum is a perfect example of everything that is wrong with religion.

    February 4, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  3. bearfoot

    the b.s.a. survived for a hundred years with closet gays in both the scouts and their leaders! what's the big deal? nothing new there.

    February 4, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  4. Mark in Seattle

    There goes Rick again. Thinking about the gays.

    February 4, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  5. ritmocojo

    "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."

    says the head Mullah of the American Taliban.

    February 4, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  6. Catskill-Cat

    Won't make any difference to the Scout organization....just as repeal of "Don't Ask – Don't Tell' did not affect the mission of the military.

    February 4, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  7. Scott

    David, since being gay and being a pedophile are two completely different things, yes I would let me son go camping with a gay scout leader. It doesn't even take into account the fact that there are never less than two adults that go on camping trips overnight anyway. The boys don't tent with the Scout leader, either. I am sure you must know all this since you were a scout, right? I was a scout as well and have a 2nd year Webelo right now, for your information.

    February 4, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  8. bententen777

    What is this idiot talking about, when, I'm sure, a lot of scouts are already gay.

    February 4, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  9. nothing new here

    More Chicken Little, the sky is falling nonsense? And so early in the weekday?
    If the BSA declines, so be it. Since when does anything last forever, esp. in this country? There will just be new organizations started, there are already numerous non-prof organizations that help out kids.
    Personally, I think ALL these so-called non-prof/religious organizations should be paying taxes. If they want to show everyone how "American" they are, then pay up, just like the rest of us stooges.

    February 4, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  10. Henry

    Rick Santorum's ideology – dating back to the middle of the 20th century – is exactly the reason he was unsuccessful in defending his seat in the the US Senate, and exactly the reason that only his fellow bigots voted for him in last year's Republican primaries. Rick is no doubt a bright guy and might even make a good neighbor, but he would do better running for Archbishop than for national office. Both Rick and his like-minded bigots need to be effectvely silenced, or removed from the Republican Party, if the GOP is ever to "rise again". What ever happened to Eisenhower and Rockefeller Republicans?

    February 4, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  11. NudeTruth

    Why don't they just make the Gay Scouts like the girls have Girl Scouts, problem solved.

    February 4, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  12. Jenny Oh

    @ Bob Jackibowski-The leader in question was a gay woman so I don't see any safety issues with that at all. Also, being gay does not make one a pedophile. Use the common sense that God bestowed to you and grab a dictionary if that's not enough for you.

    February 4, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  13. Reason

    Bob Jackibowski, your argument is total garbage.

    "So the ones that say it's ok for gays in scouts, let your kid go over night camping with a guy who interested in what kind of underwear your kids wearing."

    You are insinuating that all gay men are also peds. Not only is this horrendously incorrect, but I'd be willing to bet that there are more men out there identifying as "straight" that harm children.

    February 4, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  14. Bill

    Santorum is an idiot. Just glad he never made to President. He would try to run the country like the Talaban. Try to force his bigoted view on all of our society. Religion has no place in politics.

    February 4, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  15. Jimmy

    How on earth would you arrange the sleeping arrangements in tents? Gay/Non gay mix? NO, doesn't work. Gay/Gay in one tent, NO doesn't work. Each gay in his own tent? Ok, that works but is it feasible? No, it's stupid. Placing teenagers together in tents with people they are sexually attracted to is stupid.

    February 4, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  16. bententen777

    Forget about the scouts, I'm sure there are people in his family who are gay. Is it tearing them apart?

    February 4, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  17. Ender

    As an eagle scout I would feel more comfortable letting me children be around leaders that are openly gay. You never hear stories of an openly gay person harming a child, the individuals that do are usually the ones that keep it a secret.

    February 4, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  18. Namephyllis

    Where are the rights for straight young men and woman.

    February 4, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  19. Richard H

    Every Scout swears an oath to be "physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight."

    The BSA's rationale behind their homophobia is that being gay excludes you from being "morally straight." But I'd contend that this statement means the BSA isn't "mentally awake."

    February 4, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  20. Baden Powell

    BSA is irrelevant. A bunch of tired old men that have nothing better to do than hang with kids.

    February 4, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  21. keep it simple

    It is very simple. You dont want boys and girls to mix to avoid problems since boys are attracted to girls and vice versa.. you just keep it simple and very objective. But if you let boy gays to go with straight boys then you get concern as if you are sending your boys to a pj party with girls... it is very simple.. you want the kids to be free to be focused on learning the scouts skills without being concern about attraction from o to another kid.

    February 4, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  22. Stacey

    People were also certain the Scouts would self-destruct when they allowed African-Americans to join...in the 1940's. How about teaching acceptance as a boy scout virtue instead of exclusion and ignorance?

    February 4, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    What about all of that rhetoric about how the rights of "law abiding citizens" are being infringed?

    February 4, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  24. Peter

    Also, keep in mind that the BSA is a private organization founded on the principles of Christianity. It's also a person's choice to be in scouts and follow the organization's guidelines.

    February 4, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  25. bob dinos

    They'd better create new organization "Gay scouts", so parents can decide about their children (boys and girls) what to choose. They have enough money and involvement for this.

    February 4, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
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