A recent letter by Lynn Winter was critical of the Supreme Court decision giving the Boy Scouts the right to exclude self-proclaimed homosexuals from leadership positions. I found Ms. Winter's charge that the Boy Scout uniform "represents bigotry and discrimination" because the Scouts do not accept her definition of "morally straight" to be itself indicative of a bigoted and intolerant attitude on her part. We seem to have here two irreconcilable points of view on the meaning of "morally straight." Ms. Winter evidently views homosexual acts as being morally acceptable. But in the view of many traditional Christians, Jews and Muslims, "morally straight" behavior would preclude homosexual acts, and for that matter, adulterous acts. Among others, my church, the Roman Catholic Church, believes the homosexual orientation to be objectively disordered and homosexual acts to be contrary to natural law and gravely immoral. My church also teaches that homosexual persons should always be treated with respect, compassion and sensitivity, and should not be unjustly discriminated against. This is how my wife and I treated my best friend of 20 years, a homosexual who was one of the first to die of AIDS in 1984.
Unjust discrimination would include most, but not all, forms of discrimination in such areas as housing and employment. Based on the Scouts' understanding, and mine, of the term "morally straight," I would support precluding self-proclaimed homosexuals and adulterers from leadership roles on the basis of that understanding alone. But beyond that, based on research I have seen and used in debates on the subject, because homosexuals themselves were far more likely than heterosexuals to engage in pedophilia, there is in my view an additional reasonable and logical basis for precluding active homosexuals from serving in certain leadership roles with children. Based on this, and the fact that many homosexuals and their organizations are active propagandists for their lifestyle, I personally support the Boy Scouts in prohibiting active homosexuals from leadership positions. What I resent, however, is your suggesting that my religious beliefs are bigoted or intolerant simply because I believe certain behavior to be immoral. Instead, when I see someone use that kind of language to describe my church's beliefs, I must conclude they themselves are hostile to my church and are therefore themselves religious bigots. Sometimes people use the language you used, not out of religious bigotry, but out of ignorance. I hope that is the case here.
Frank J. Russo, Jr.