Emory theologian Kenneth Hosley, who was kicked out of the Boy Scouts for being gay in 2005, is providing a voice of reason to counter that Cobb County pastor spewing self-righteous hate over a potential policy shift that would allow gay scouts and scout leaders. Hosley was a decorated Eagle Scout then chaplain in the BSA’s Atlanta Area Council before he wrote a letter condemning the policy. He sprang to be a faith-based voice of reason as soon as Cobb preacher Randy Mickler hit WSB to spread his eye-rolling, sanctimonious bigotry. He countered Mickle with his personal experience to give WSB's coverage some balance, then again in a subsequent interview with CBS Atlanta (video above). Hosley's message of tolerance stands in stark contrast to Mickler's bile. Coming out as a Scouts leader back in 2005 and again standing up in the current media storm as an advocate appears to be a no-brainer for him.
"It's easy to kick them out and treat them as inhuman," said Hosley. "If you actually have to look someone in the eye and say 'That's the person I'm condemning, that's the person I'm hurting and saying they're not like me,' then you have to hold yourself accountable."Hosley, now an Episcopal monk in seminary study at Emory, later gave a more in-depth interview to Canada’s CBC, including his experience hearing confessions as chaplain about suicidal thoughts by scouts who were perceived to be gay.
"Scouting was the last place I was ever really closeted," said Hosley, now 32. As chaplain, Hosley says, he heard confessions about suicidal thoughts from youth taunted by other boys who suspected them of being homosexuals. He heard stories in which scouts targeted as effeminate would return to the campsite and find their belongings tossed into the lake. One boy was ambushed and then bound to a tree in the woods and left alone for hours. "So many [scout leaders] said, 'We can't have any of these “fags” in our troop because they're going to molest all our boys,' " Hosley says. "And for them to say that — not knowing the person they were talking to was in fact gay — it’s insulting. To call me a pedophile is beyond description, it's absolutely terrible."The Boy Scouts’ national board leaked, then punted, a plan to make a decision about the gay ban under an intense media spotlight. Members will now vote on the policy at the BSA national meeting in May, and if lifted, individual chapters will be able to decide if they will allow gay members and leaders. Hosley says it would be hard to predict where the council would fall on the gay membership debate because Atlanta is known as a blue spot in a red state. He also described in detail his love for the Scouts but not being able to reconcile it with the sanctioned discrimination in the organization.
In a 2,000-word letter to the Atlanta Area Council in 2005, Hosley declared his love for his scouting family but objected to "prejudice, hate, abuse and intolerance" against homosexuals in the scouting culture. "I finally got to the point where I was either going to be completely who I was and live my life without fear, or continue in that role," he says. "I didn’t want to live in fear anymore, to realize I couldn’t go out with someone I was dating, or even to be open in conversation about my life." Hosley was booted from the organization shortly after he posted the letter online. He also returned his Eagle badges.