Honor trumps hate, stupidity

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By John Pawlak

Harlan Ellison once remarked, “The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.” And equally astute observer of the world, Frank Zappa, retorted, “There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe and it has a longer shelf life.”
Lately, I’ve seen less and less hydrogen in the world.
Thus marches in the Sultans of Stupid to debate the recent decision by the Boy Scouts of America to allow membership by gay children under the age of 18.
The tempest is boiling with small brained homophobes across the nation. With Alabama competing for Olympic gold in stupidity (this is news?), some churches in that state have made headlines by announcing that Boy Scouts will no longer be allowed to meet at the church.
Pastor Greg Walker of the Baptist Church of Helena summed up his charter of tolerance and love with his shortest sermon ever: “You’re not welcome here!” When questioned as to why a church would exclude children, church members chanted, “Sinners should burn in hell, not attend services of worship with good people.”
These are good people? You know, hell is looking a lot better and better these days.But Alabama has to work harder to win that gold. Aaron Butler, a Cub Scout leader in Roseau, Minn., announced that he and his son are leaving the troop. He explained, “It’s my duty to God and my country to help people at all times.”
And standing next to him is Mike Miller of Holly, N.C., who likewise proclaimed his ignorance and his decision to pull his 9-year old son out of the scouts. When his own son said that scouting should be like a church, accepting everyone, Miller turned up his internal volume of stupid and said, “The purpose of a church is to seek forgiveness, not to be all-inclusive.”
It takes truly self-confident proud people to stand on a pedestal and announce to the world what monumental idiots they are. Stupid, but proud.
Well, that pedestal is getting crowded. Father Derek Lappe of “Our Lady Star of the Sea” in Bremerton, Wash., directed his church to cut all ties with the BSA. He argued that the new Scouting policy “doesn’t align with the values and teachings of the Catholic Church.”
Dumb Derek should read his own organization’s handbook. The Catholic Catechism states (Paragraph 2358), “They [homosexuals] must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”
Hey Aaron, Mike and Derek, have you guys ever thought about moving to Alabama? There must be at least three villages there who miss you.
But the winner (so far) in the race to homophobic stupidity is the American Family Association of Mississippi, a state known for strong family values (with family trees shaped like circles).
The AFA is actively encouraging churches to reject all scouting events. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (which has more Scouting troops than any other religious denomination in the country) gave its blessing to the BSA’s decision to lift the ban against gay children and teens. The LDS Church encourages its member to be “compassionate in discussions about homosexuality” and “loving and respectful toward gays and lesbians.”
The AFA responded by suggesting that the Mormons support the BSA’s decision because they hope the “momentum of evil” will lead to the legalization of polygamy. Seriously, how much stupid can AFA members fit into their small heads?
I commend the LDS Church’s and BSA’s decision to promote tolerance and acceptance. When I was a Scout, I was taught that “reverence” meant compassion and goodwill, not homophobic hatred and exclusion.
The Boy Scouts of America is dedicated to helping our youth build character and accept the responsibilities of constructive citizenship. Isn’t that something we should applaud as a nation?
The voices of dissent and intolerance we hear each day, shrouded by veneers of sanctimonious moral obligation, should be recognized for what they truly are. George Bernard Shaw explained it quite succinctly; “When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.”