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. ART

    For some one who is religious Santorum sure is evil and dispicable

    February 4, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  2. 9thAmendment

    Sanitorium is a religious fascist If I ever saw one. When I was 12 yrs old I went to a scout meeting with my friend. We opened and closed the meeting with a christian prayer. All I heard was Jesus Jesus, Jesus. I knew they didn't want me, at least as I was. Didn't stop me from having my son join. Now they are tolerant of Jews, Hindus, and even Muslims. They'll change, they are a good organization.

    February 4, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  3. Hogan's Goat

    "I was there when all it took to start a fight was accusing someone of being gay." These days if you accuse someone of being gay, he'll say "No, sorry, try that bar downtown if you're feeling lonely. Oh, were you trying to start a fight? Haw haw haw. I thought you were going into heat." If you know someone is actually gay, it kinda takes the mystery out of it.

    February 4, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  4. Ray

    Hmmm....so the man who has a problem with gays and couldn't foresee his own future as a result of it is making a claim about an the future of an organization which has a problem with gays and we're supposed to trust him. Tell me again, CNN, why Rick Santorum gets a mouthpiece on your website?

    February 4, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  5. Don

    It may be that there are enough small minds that BSA opening up to gay scouts and leaders will harm it in the short term. If so, I will be disappointed. A scout is trustworthy (i.e. admits to the truths of his life), loyal (it's not loyal to his straight troop mates only), helpful (even gay boys need a foundation to grow from), friendly (exclusion is not friendly), courteous (how do you say "go away" courteously), kind (this should be self-evident), obedient (it's hard to obey a rule that leaves your friends out in the cold), cheerful (it's hard to be cheerful while harming friend not allowed in the door), thrifty (gay scouts pay dues too), brave (it's brave to follow the Right choice and include even people you don't agree completely with), clean (gay people are not dirty; they struggle with the same issues around love and honor as we all do), and reverent (gay people are God's creation and it is irreverent to keep them out).

    February 4, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  6. Annette

    I think it's safe to assume more young boys are at risk of being molested by a Catholic priest than a cub/boy scout leader.

    February 4, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  7. blkdoggy421

    What are the figures on this, are there more complaints from child molesting from the Scouts or from the Catholic church ?

    February 4, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  8. 1969er

    This is why he won the election, right? How do you spell L-O-S-E-R?!

    February 4, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  9. sybaris

    Santorum<<<<<<<< whew! we dodged a bullet with that guy

    February 4, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  10. zoviet

    "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." ....I guess tolerance is not one of those important life lessons either.

    February 4, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  11. john locke

    santorum<<<<<<<<<< whew! we dodged a bullet with that guy!

    February 4, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  12. TWS

    What sanctimonious drivel from another self righteous right wing person. Gays in scouting are not the problem, it is scouting "leaders" who are pedophiles, just like their analogs in Penn State football programs and the Catholic church in general. When I was in boy scouts for a year I awoke on a camping trip to see the scout master walking naked with an equally naked boy towards to swimming pool before daylight. I was too young to realize what was happening, but this was a "man" around 40 who was unmarried and still lived with his mother. Interesting facts?
    As a heterosexual male I have romantic relations with ADULT females. Homosexual men and women do likewise, with ADULTS, but with those of the same sex. Normal people, regardless if heterosexual or homosexual, do not target children like pedophiles do. I would much prefer having my son lead by a openly gay scouting leader than the scum that hide like Sandusky or hundreds of priests did and still do. Santorum and all his god-fearing followers should wake up and realize that gays are not the problem. The problems are the "men" hiding behind badges and the cloth to facilitate their vile pedophilia.

    February 4, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  13. KeninTexas

    Making this change may not completely destroy the scouts, but it will certainly alter it. It will become the brunt of jokes and a shadow of it's former self. Although some will cheer this change, most people will not want their kids to belong to such a group.

    February 4, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  14. Upper Dublin Mom

    What nerve HE has..."G-d" really....Where is G-d when the priest were having sex with alter boys...This man is crazy!..Just because someone is gay..should have NOTHING to do with the boy scouts....my son is one and they have over nights..they don't even change ther clothes...and thier dads are uaslly there.....This IS A DISGRACE!!!!

    February 4, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  15. Jimmy

    The permisiveness and liberal trajectory taken Western nations will be your greatest undoing. The anything-goes attitude is ruinous and implosive. Your forefathers were not fools in establishing a nation on strong Christian grounds... Prepare for your downfall!

    February 4, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  16. Ed

    Rick Santorum: Freedom of speech gone haywire.

    February 4, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  17. real American

    @ 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."

    Already exists. It's called the Taliban.

    February 4, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  18. datercon

    Oh come on! As an Eagle Scout and one who learned much from Scouting, I am appalled at Santorum's homophobic diatribe that flies in the face of all that Christianity supposedly teaches. I respectfully submit that it is time for this gentleman to move into the 21st Century. Incidentally have Santorum or Perry ever been Scouts, and if so, at what level did they participate? They remind of the chicken hawks who have never fought and those who have never been on the receiving end of automatic weapons fire. Perhaps we should leave the opining to those who have been there.
    Datercon
    New Jersey

    February 4, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  19. KeninTexas

    Making this change may not completely destroy the scouts, but it will certainly alter it. It will become the brunt of jokes and a shadow of it's former self. Although some will cheer this change, most people will not want their kids to belong to such a group.

    February 4, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  20. fiftyfive55

    Really brilliant ! Let's put a bunch of gay men in with a bunch of boy scouts and send them off camping for the weekend !
    Nobody seems to remember the abused scouts back in the 60s,many of us do remember!

    February 4, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  21. RSF

    Does anyone else think it strange that the scouts worry about allowing gays in their troops but kept reports of sexual abuse secret for more than ten years. No releif for the victims & no punishment for the offenders. Isn't that more of a death knell than gays?

    February 4, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  22. Go Scounts

    Open the door, Scouts! Gay kids are just like straight kids in their desire to grow, learn, and become responsible adults.

    February 4, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  23. reasonablebe

    right. and he has lots of credibility?

    February 4, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  24. EC

    I think the Scouts should firmly and loudly state its discriminatory policies. They should be even MORE forthright. Then, I would love to see my friends pull their kids OUT of scouting. I think if people turn a blind eye to what the Scouts now stand for - including its funding by the Mormon church - then people are contributing to such discrimination. I love it when my friends send their kids to the meetings saying, "But our troop would never discriminate against anyone."
    My son does not belong and will not belong to such an organization. I won't turn a blind eye.

    February 4, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  25. Jason B

    Alright Mr. Santorum and Mr. Perry, please explain to us why discrimination is a better course of action.

    February 4, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
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