boy-scoutsDue to the "complexity" of the issue of admitting openly gay members to its ranks, the Boy Scouts have put off until May a decision to announce whether they'll repeal the current policy, which bars the possibility. It's inevitable that the Boy Scouts of 2013 would find themselves faced with such a dilemma—and this one in particular. The very idea of "boys" learning and growing together has become maximally vague.

Should the Scouts allow gay members? Does scouting have anything to do with gay people?

Required reading on this topic should be Michael W. Hannon's "Don't Say Gay: Against an Unnatural & Unhelpful Categorization." Apart from leveling a pretty convincing philosophical case for the vacuity of the "gay" moniker, Hannon's thoughts give context to the screwiness of very mundane (but increasingly normal cultural) phenomena, like the Scouts' dilemma. In a nutshell, he argues that identification as "gay" suggests and relies on a natural order where none is available.

The point is that “gayness” is not in any way natural, i.e., that a sexual orientation is not an essential property of man in virtue of his humanity. It is merely a reductionistic cultural construct that mistakenly treats a complicated, dynamic, and chance set of tendencies, attractions, and temptations as a simple, static, and basic fact about man’s nature.

The Boy Scouts example shows why "gay" is not only "complex" and unnatural, but also incredibly unhelpful and impractical. At its core, scouting is a theater of formation for civic virtue, charity, and patriotic community. Wedding scouting to such contrived identities as "straight" and "gay" misconstrues the whole purpose of its organization. Self-professed sexual identities are, de facto, wholly irrelevant to the nature of Boy Scouting, provided that members be at least boys, and at least in practical alignment with the type of civic virtue and community promoted by the organization.

Rather than barring entry for "gay" scouts, the BSA should focus simply on the nature of its principles, and on the actions of its members. If same-sex attracted boys can benefit from a Boy Scouting program, and can contribute to it actively and meaningfully, then their admittance is hardly a problem. On the other hand, if their public personal actions openly conflict with BSA identity and purpose, then regardless of their self-proclaimed sexual identity, such boys should be excluded from participation.

Andrew M. Haines is the editor and founder of Ethika Politika, and co-founder and chief operating officer at Fiat Insight.