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What would Jesus do?

Earlier this week, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed into law a bill that some have described as “the most intense anti-queer legislation” ever to pass in America.

Reuters described it like this: “The far-reaching law allows people with religious objections to deny wedding services to same-sex couples. It also clears the way for employers to cite religion in determining workplace policies on dress code, grooming and bathroom and locker access.”

And like North Carolina’s recent anti-LGBT law, this one is total bullshit, as well.

Fortunately, a non-profit organization named Planting Peace responded by purchasing billboard space and posting one of the best religiously-themed billboards I have ever seen. Check it out:

And that’s how it’s done! (Planting Peace)

That’s right, haters! Jesus was about love and understanding, not hate and discrimination—and even an agnostic like me knows this! Time to tighten up on your theology!

No Eagle Scout for you!

Ryan Andresen still takes pride in his achievements (courtesy of the Andresen family)

To me, Ryan has all the qualities expected of a Boy Scout with one very important exception: he is also gay. And because he just came out to his family and friends, news which obviously got back to his scoutmaster, Ryan will not receive his Eagle Scout award. His family is protesting this decision, of course, but it doesn’t look good.

Last month, the Boy Scouts of America reaffirmed their policy of excluding gays from joining or providing leadership in their organization. This exclusion policy was challenged in 2000, but the U.S. Supreme court ruled 5-4 that it in no way violated anti-gay discrimination laws.

Of course, this is the same organization that kept detailed “perversion files” about suspected pedophiles and sex offenders for decades without sharing them with law enforcement. Thanks to a recent court order, though, they now have to release twenty years of files to the proper authorities.

Although I disagree with the BSA’s anti-gay policy, I can understand why they cling to it so. There are a lot of people who demonize gays and even some who equate homosexuality with things like child molestation and pedophilia. To my knowledge, there is no clear evidence to support these fears, aside from the actions of a few bad apples, which you will find in almost any organization.

Is it fair to judge all gays based on the actions of a few misguided or unstable people? I certainly don’t think so. That would be no different from saying that all African-Americans are criminals simply because most newscasts focus unfairly on crimes committed by blacks. It just isn’t right.

I certainly feel terrible for Ryan Andresen. Here he is on the cusp of receiving the Boy Scouts’ highest honor, Eagle Scout, only to have his hopes, dreams and hard work negated for nothing more than his sexual orientation. It truly is a shame and I hope future leaders of this important organization someday find a way to include everyone.

Lord knows that all our boys and young men could benefit from the life lessons and positive experiences the Boy Scouts provide.

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