Rick Perry, the Governor of Texas known for his extreme right-wing views, suggested last Sunday that the Boy Scouts have to get rid of gay people just like America got rid of slavery.
That’s pretty extreme even by his standards, but he also described being gay as part of “pop culture” and “the flavor of the month.” Yes, he really said that. Is he so ignorant that he believes being gay is a recent invention, created to destroy all moral values?
Perry was appearing on the Family Research Council‘s program “Stand With Scouts Sunday,” billed as an event where “You will learn what you can do to preserve scouting as its founders envisioned it – as a resource for young men to develop in morally, mentally, and physically healthy ways, free to be boys and teens without the invasion of cultural controversies.”
As you probably know, the Boy Scouts have been singled out for their policy of banning openly gay people from their ranks. However, as Care2′s s.e. smith reported here, the Boy Scouts’ National Executive Board will vote at their May meeting on a proposal to lift the ban on gay Scouts, allowing anyone to participate in the organization regardless of sexual orientation. Unless you want to be a Scout leader. Then, no gays allowed.
The Family Research Council, being an extremely conservative, Christian right group, is alarmed at this possibility. Their Sunday simulcast was an attempt to derail this vote.
Governor Perry certainly gave them what they wanted, and more.
You can watch the video of his speech, but here’s Perry talking about the Boy Scouts:
The fact is, this is a private organization. Their values and principles have worked for a century now. And for pop culture to come in and try to tear that up, which happens to be the flavor of the month so to speak, and to tear apart one of the great organizations that has served millions of young men, helped them become men and great fathers, that is just not appropriate and I hope the American people will stand up and say, “Not on my watch.”
Pop culture? What on earth does Perry have in mind? That people choose to be gay in May, straight in June, and maybe bisexual in July? Is he really that simple-minded? Or is he skillfully playing to his base?
The next step in his argument is far worse, as he compares opposing slavery to opposing LBGT people: both are necessary moral standards, according to Perry. The Texas Governor indicates behind him the image of Governor Sam Houston, whom he calls “the greatest governor in Texas’s history.”
Discussing the fact that Houston opposed slavery and opposed leaving the union in the pre-Civil War era, Perry goes on:
That’s the type of principled leadership, that’s the type of courage, that I hope people across this country, on this issue of scouts and keeping the Boy Scouts the organization it is today.
We can now line Governor Perry up with Pope Benedict XVI, who last fall told French Bishops that they must do everything they can to resist gay marriage as it “threatens” society, going on to imply that gay people aren’t fully developed humans.
Or perhaps with Justice Scalia and his fine choice of words as he likened gays to murderers, polygamists and advocates of animal cruelty.
Or there again, there’s always Ugandan parliamentary speaker Rebecca Kadaga, chief proponent of Uganda’s Kill the Gays bill, who believes that all gays are evil.
Perry concludes his speech:
And if we change and become more like pop culture, young men will be not as well served. America will not be as well served, and Boy Scouts will start on a decline that I don’t think will serve this country well as we go into the future.
Of course, none of Perry’s speech is out of line with his views: he is a solid right-winger, has an extensive history of anti-LGBT remarks, has vehemently opposed marriage equality, and supported Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
But I still don’t get it. Why are people so terrified of anyone who is not exactly like them?
What do you think?
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Photo Credit: eschipul