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May 24, 2013 1:00 PM Faith, Family and Scouting

By Ed Kilgore

Texas Gov. Rick Perry somehow felt compelled to put out a formal statement in response to the decision of the Boy Scouts of America to admit openly gay participants:

The Boys Scouts of America has been built upon the values of faith and family for more than 100 years and today’s decision contradicts generations of tradition in the name of political correctness. While I will always cherish my time as a scout and the life lessons I learned, I am greatly disappointed with this decision.

We hear this sort of crap so often that it’s easy to avoid thinking through the “logic” involved. What part of scouting requires a particular sexual orientation? What is the essence of “straight scouting,” and how does it differ from “gay scouting?”

Then there’s the “faith and family” bromides. Plenty of gay folk are people of faith. Plenty of straight folk belong to faith communities that don’t have a problem with gay people. Who made Rick Perry Pope? As for family: who comes to mind when you think of those who have fought against allowing gay people to have normal family lives? Rick Perry truly lives in a house with no mirrors.

Finally, there’s the obligatory swipe at “political correctness,” a mindless conservative habit that’s really beginning to bug me. Here are two words that describe the national effort to open up previously closed institutions to all Americans that are a bit more descriptive than “political correctness:” justice and equality. And if that’s too much for Rick Perry, how about the official motto of his state: Friendship. Some kids will get to experience scouting, a development that has zero impact on Rick Perry, and he can’t even refrain from expressing his “disappointment,” which I’m sure he will express a lot more savagely next time he’s running in a Republican primary or sharing his idea of the Gospel of Peace and Love at some borrowed conservative evangelical pulpit.

Shame on you, governor.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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