Dear Boy Scouts of America,

I am writing you regarding you’re your policy which prevents gays from joining the scouts. It is discrimination to do so and your policy must change.

My Catholic caucasian parents were raised in New Jersey. In the early sixties my father’s work transferred him to Atlanta Georgia. He and my mother were shocked to see how blacks were treated there. Segregated bathrooms, schools, and water fountains were just part of the mistreatment of people of color.  After seeing this mistreatment my parents insured they educated their children about the horrors of discrimination. It is inhumane and unjust. I remember one of the simple ways they did this. My father brought a paint-by-numbers picture of Super Man and painted him to look as though he was a black man. He would tell us “Any man can be super regardless of the color of their skin.” My brother still has that hanging in his house for his kids to see.

I am a Catholic heterosexual with a great wife and raised kids, so some might say I have no skin in the game. I see it differently. I am an American and I can’t sit by and see any of my fellow Americans be discriminated against.

I understand this is a complicated issue. It involves religious views, financial donations, child safety, and basic human rights. I will briefly discuss each.

Religious Views: Despite a very small number of mentions of homosexuality in the bible, the religious right has made it and abortion two of their main platforms. Many theologians debate the interpretation of the passages the religious right use to enforce discrimination against fine gay people. In addition, if being gay is a sin, so be it. According to the bible we are all sinners, so every scout that has ever lived and whoever will live are sinners. In fact, lying and judging are defined much more clearly in the bible as sins than homosexuality.  Jesus never said anything against homosexuality and the large majority of his messages were about loving and accepting others. The religious right has a bigoted bias and cherry pick passages that reinforce this bigotry. They ignore passages that support slavery and sins of wearing clothes of different fabrics and so many others and instead look to find passages that support their hateful agenda.

Financial Donations: I understand you need money, but taking money from groups that support discrimination is simply wrong. If you lift the ban you will see more donations from people and corporations alike.  Please don’t compromise basic human rights for money.

Child Safety: There is NO correlation between homosexuality and pedophilia. That has been proven countless times by valid studies. Please don’t let ignorant homophobics who believe differently influence this human rights decision. 

Basic Human Rights: You have heard the stories. Fine young men who have been made to feel unwanted and less than their peers. Humiliated because of how God made them. Boys who have had to hide who they are for fear of being kicked out of boy scouts. Please don’t humiliate another child. Please don’t make them cry and wish God made them differently. There are enough hateful people in the world who will do this to them. I have heard some homophobics say they don’t want their boys to be with homosexuals, as if they aren’t already in schools, churches and neighborhoods. Studies show approximately 8% of people are gay and they are as fine a people as heterosexuals. Please don’t make another boy feel ashamed of who he is. Some of the finest and kindest men I have known have been gay. They would make outstanding scout leaders and implying they would be inappropriate with boys is insulting and ignorant.

I implore you to make the humane decision. The one that Jesus himself would make. Let these fine young men be who they are and let them be in the scouts if they so choose. Do not allow any troop to discriminate. It is hard for my children to believe when I was born that millions of people wanted segregated schools. I hope and pray my grandchildren will be equally shocked when they hear there was a time the scouts didn’t allow those who are gay into their organization.

Paul Musto
Sara Musto
Somerset, NJ