I think it was Ulpian, the classical Roman jurist, who enunciated a fundamental principle of law: If you put a two-bit lawyer in a black nightgown, you can call him “Judge,” but he’s still a two-bit lawyer in a black nightgown. Which brings us to homosexual Scoutmasters. (Bet you didn’t see that coming, did you?) Anyway, the Supreme Court of New Jersey has ruled that the Boy Scouts must allow homosexuals to be Scoutmasters, joy to pedophiles everywhere. Oh good.
Decisions of this variety are usually couched in terms of civil rights and the duty not to discriminate against homosexuals. This of course isn’t the issue at all. The questions are, first, the practical question of whether a figure in authority should be put in charge of children in whom he might have a sexual interest; and, second, the question of sexual privacy: should people be forced to live in intimate contact with those who are sexually interested in them. Homosexuality really has nothing to do with the matter.
First, the practical question: Would we want young sexually obsessed heterosexual males, which is simply to say young heterosexual males, to be in charge of pubescent Girl Scouts? Especially given that Scoutmasters have the moral authority of adults whom, after all, children are accustomed to obey? Do we want sexually active young males sharing tents with girls? Showering? I hope not, because I know exactly what would happen, sooner rather than later.
The difficulty is not that heterosexuals are evil people. The difficulty is that heterosexual males have an intense, clamoring, damned near irresistible interest in female flesh, certainly including that of semi-denuded girls of fourteen. Any man who denies this is lying through his teeth, and all the rest of us males know it. If you add that girls fairly early learn to provoke such interest, sometimes making a game of it before they are old enough to quite understand what they are doing, you have a recipe for trouble. Society generally is wise enough not to allow men to be tempted by excessively young females. Most men would successfully resist. Some wouldn’t. We all understand this.
Do we believe that homosexual males lack a parallel sex drive? That they are somehow immune to the lure of the carnal? Don’t kid yourself.
Why then do we think it wise to put homosexuals, who as Scoutmasters enjoy moral authority as well as that stemming from simply being adults, in intimate contact with young boys? Remember that sexually provocative intimacy is the norm in groups of the same sex: A young girl will think twice before parading around nude before a male adult, but a boy of eleven won’t.
No, I don’t think that homosexuals are particularly inclined toward molesting children, any more that I think heterosexuals are. But I know it to be unwise to offer either group the opportunity. And, while I don’t think that most homosexuals are pedophiles, some certainly are–and you don’t suppose they would seek out positions as Scoutmasters, do you?
Second, there is the question of sexual privacy. Most of us want to be exposed, sometimes, to people who find us sexually interesting. Most of us want, sometimes, to provoke that interest. Thus we date, flirt, wear uplift bras and tight tee-shirts. The rest of the time we want to be left the hell alone, to avoid the strain of constantly dealing with overtures or the expectation of overtures. This is particularly true of those, notably women, who tend to be the recipients of advances. It is far more true when the advances are made by those whom one finds sexually distasteful.
This is true not only of Boy Scouts. Here, really, is the objection to having the openly homosexual in the military. Men do not like being eyed by other men in the barracks and showers. Pretending that the issue is discrimination rather than sexual privacy makes harder arguing against homosexuality in the barracks, which is why the pretense is made. The reality is that soldiers don’t want a gunny sergeant, who they know is gay as an Easter bonnet, who has the power to make life miserable, leering at them if the towel drops.
If I suggested that male soldiers be permitted to shower with the women, everyone would understand without explanation the objections of the females. If I then suggested that I suffered discrimination because I couldn’t shower with the women, people would laugh.
But, for reasons that elude me, the objection to unwanted intimacy is thought frivolous if the sexual predator is of the same sex as the prey. It isn’t frivolous. Especially when children are involved, it isn’t.
As for the Supreme Court of New Jersey, if there were a tax on brains, they would get a rebate. Either that or the members of the court know better and lack the moxie to say so. I worry about men in nighties.