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The Boy Scouts Controversy

Mike Haley's Letter
Mike Haley is on the staff of Focus on the Family and has participated in the Journeys Email list. He has given permission to Bridges Across to use his letter along with a response.

Ken McPherson's Response

Ken McPherson is the host of a talk show in San Francisco. A longtime gay activist, he has been heavily involved in the scouting issue. He is the webforum administrator for Bridges-Across.


Cumberland Times-News, August 12, 1999 

Box 1662,Cumberland,MD,21502 
(Fax 301-722-4870 ) (E-MAIL: )

 Letter: Gays' Scout strategy aimed at next generation

On Aug. 4, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the Boy Scouts of America must allow homosexual Scout leaders in its organization. The Boy Scouts have appealed. The fate of this great organization is now up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

 This assault on the Boy Scouts by gay activists should leave no doubt in anyone's mind what the gay rights agenda is really all about - it's not about tolerance or civil rights, but forcing private institutions to promote the acceptability of homosexuality to the next generation.

 The prize to the winner of this culture war is the children.

 I should know - I was once a gay teen.

 I was drawn into homosexuality through my first sexual experience with an adult male when I was only 12. Thus began a series of homosexual encounters that continued through my teen years.

 Simply put, I was starved for love. I was desperate for attention from adult males, in large part to make up for the attention I hadn't received from my father.

 In school, I remember feeling different from the other guys. I must be gay, I concluded.

 I became completely hopeless at the age of 16 after being told by my high school counselor that I was born homosexual and couldn't do anything about it. The message that I couldn't change - not intolerance by society - is what drove me to despair.

 Convinced that my sexual orientation was unchangeable, I began a 16-year journey steeped in homosexual sex and empty relationships. It led me to feeling dirty and worthless. In my experience, gay life was far from satisfying.

 It wasn't until years later - through the power of God - I began my walk away from homosexuality. I began to understand what real love is, and that my worth comes from my Creator, not from other men.

 I now have a new perspective on life and a freedom I never thought was possible when I was a teen-ager. I can at last look in the mirror without feeling overwhelmed by guilt and remorse. With my wife by my side, I am working to reach youth with the message of hope that I never had as a teen.

 This is why I am troubled by what gay activists are doing to the Boy Scouts.

 Unfortunately, sex with minors is not universally denounced by all segments of the gay community. National gay rights groups have allowed pro-pedophilia organizations such as the North American Man-Boy Love Association to march in gay rights parades. The pro-gay American Psychological Association attempted to excuse adult-child sex as not necessarily abusive in one of its recent journal articles. Gay lobby groups support lowering the "age of consent" in state law.

 My own experience with sexual abuse from an older man would naturally make me concerned if I had a child in a Boy Scout troop with gay Scout leaders.

 But I would not argue that most gay activities want to infiltrate the Boy Scouts in order to facilitate sex with children for pedophiles.

 The larger agenda is what I am most concerned about - a mission to change the hearts and minds of the next generation. To teach children, especially boys in this case, that homosexuality is normal, socially acceptable, and even good.

 That's why gay activists are also promoting gay teen support groups within public schools and teacher-training films such as the PBS lesbian-produced documentary, "It's Elementary" to promote the acceptability of homosexuality among elementary grade students.

 I wouldn't want my son in the Boy Scouts if his role model was a man who would tell him that being gay is healthy and moral. If I had heard another perspective besides my school counselor's opinion that I was born gay, end of discussion, then maybe my life would have taken a different path. Perhaps I could have been spared years of misery and regret.

 I don't want any Boy Scout to go through what I did as a boy. And that's what this battle is over - the lives of vulnerable boys whose parents trust that the Boy Scouts will provide strong, moral role models.

 If gay activists want to start their own Scouting program, more power to them. However, they should not be legally empowered by pro-gay judges to hijack a 90-year-old institution that morally objects to having homosexuals as role models. After all, that's what freedom and diversity is all about.

 (Mike Haley is the Youth and Gender Specialist at Focus on the Family. Founded by Dr. James C. Dobson, the Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family is an international non-profit Christian organization dedicated to strengthening the family.)

Response to Mike Haley's letter
by Ken McPherson

In a August 12th letter, Mike Haley from Focus on the Family offered his perspective as an ex-gay person regarding the anti-gay policies of the current leadership of the Boy Scouts of America. 

Mr. Haley makes huge leaps when he projects his experiences onto all gay people. I should know. Not only was I a gay teen, but unlike Mr. Haley, I was also a Cub Scout and then a Boy Scout. 

Today, I am an openly gay talk radio host who gives advice to tens of thousands of teens across the San Francisco Bay Area. And the lawsuit that Mr. Haley is complaining about was launched from my living room. 

I do not question Mr. Haley's story, I just wish he wouldn't trash my story by implication in the process. We had such different experiences. 

Like most gay people, I was never molested. But by fourth grade, the same year I joined the Cub Scouts, I knew I liked guys the way I was supposed to like girls. I knew that meant I might be a "homo". 

That's one of the reasons I was attracted to Scouting; I thought it might help me become straight. I was in Scouting for over 5 years and I never had anything remotely like a sexual experience even though I knew I was gay from the beginning of my Scouting career. I mention this because I tire of the stereotype that gay guys can't "control themselves" around non-gay guys. As an adult, I realize how silly it was to think I could "turn straight" by participating in Scouting. It just doesn't work that way.

I have nothing but fond memories of my Scouting years; though like most gay boys, I lived in terror of being "found out". Ironically, it was the very values I learned in Scouting that eventually made it impossible for me to stay in the closet. Living in the closet is a lie and good Scouts don't lie. 

I guess that's why when I met Tim Curran, the Eagle Scout who launched the original California legal challenge to the BSA's anti-gay policies, the issue really meant something to me. I had been taught "Once a Scout, always a Scout." 

I joined together with Alan Shore, William Boyce Mueller (the openly gay grandson of William D. Boyce, the founder of the Boy Scouts of America), and 25 prominent openly gay Americans, all of whom had been scouts, many of whom were Eagle Scouts, to create "Forgotten Scouts". 

We were quite up front about our purpose. We wanted to demonstrate that many openly gay men who had been Scouts have become valued members of their communities. We wanted to prove that gay young people had always been involved in Scouting and that the often played "pedophile card" was demonstratively false, though perpetuated to this very day, even in Mr. Haley's letter. We began receiving hundreds of letters from all across the country with the stories of gay men who had been Scouts. The high percentage of Eagles was remarkable. 

I began corresponding with a young man named James Dale, an Eagle Scout who had recently become an assistant Scoutmaster. He had been identified as gay in a newspaper article. Despite universal objections from all the Scouts, troop leaders and parents who had known James all those years, BSA headquarters in Texas had ordered his termination; even though his conduct was never at issue, just as conduct had never been an issue with Tim Curran. Apart from their sexual orientation, no one in the BSA ever suggested either was other than an exemplary Scout. 

James agonized over what to do for months, and finally launched his lawsuit while visiting me for the summer. Forgotten Scouts was responsible for providing the testimony of members whose stories/resumes easily demonstrated that openly gay people can be excellent roles models by all standards usually applied in making that determination.

So, on this point, Mr. Haley is correct. Of course we are suggesting that gay people can be excellent role models. Many of us lead lives that are testaments to that fact. Is that fact supposed to be a danger to the public? Why does the idea of well adjusted gay people bother Mr. Haley and his associates so much? 

I am truly sorry for the experiences Mr. Haley endured as a young person. However, I hope at some point he chooses to take full responsibility for the decisions he made. His decisions had nothing to do with his sexual orientation. Most gay people do not make the unfortunate decisions Mr. Haley chose during the period he considered himself to be gay. Because of the kind of values I learned in Scouting, I did not participate in the kind of seamy activities that apparently, Mr. Haley did choose.

The error Mr. Haley makes is projecting his own sordid experiences onto the rest of us. Most gay people could care less if an individual chooses to become ex-gay. However we care a great deal when ex- gay people try to trash all openly gay people in the process. 

I use the lessons I learned in Scouting to this very day when I advise young people of whatever orientation on my radio show. I can still recite the Scout Oath and Pledge from memory. I consider that a good thing.

America has the option of encouraging new generations of young gay people to participate in those institutions which teach respect and responsibility, or America can shun young gay people and forfeit them to the types who got their hands on Mr. Haley.

Mike Haley's Intro

Mike Haley's Testimony

Ken McPherson's Hibernia Beach Website


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