Friday, May 24, 2013

Joseph O. Patton: No merit badge for bigotry

  I could spin all sorts of cheerleader-esque rhetoric in response to yesterday’s monumental decision by the Boy Scouts of America. After months of controversy, infighting and ample wallowing in prejudiced mud, the organization opted to lift its ban on “openly gay” Scouts. One side calls the decision a victory for equal rights and the other is upset that they can no longer practice unapologetic discrimination.

  But what struck me with the most force in this squabble has been the incessant referencing of “morality.” Countless individuals waving the banner for bigotry have taken to social media and shouting at their friends to exclaim that they cannot support lifting the ban because it’s at odds with their “morality.” Many are even threatening to sever ties with the organization and snatch their boys out of its ranks. Good riddance?

  Morality, eh?

  To them I say that if your morality compels you to advocate discrimination and actively discriminate against others; to offer relentless, self-righteous condemnation and judgment; to demean, bully and harass others; to cast someone as inherently evil just because their sexuality differs from yours; to feel entitled, as though your “morality” gives you license to treat others as less than yourself and to deny them the same opportunities you enjoy, then your “morality” makes you a pretty fucking awful excuse for a human being.

  The Boy Scouts will go on, perhaps even evolving to the point where LGBT parents of Scouts can become Scout leaders again. Camp fires will burn, badges will be earned and mosquitoes will plague every moment of every camping trip. They will go on, but will you? Discrimination and hatred never win out. Open your heart and your mind before both harden into worthlessness.

  About the author: Joseph O. Patton is the editor-in-chief and founder of the Capital City Free Press. He is a former news editor for the Coosa County News, lead reporter for the Montgomery Independent and editor-in-chief of the AUMnibus, the student newspaper of Auburn-Montgomery. Patton is also the creator of and writer for the satirical news radio segment "Goat Hill Gossip," which previously aired on WAUD in Auburn, Alabama and has appeared on several Central Alabama radio programs as a political analyst.

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