Editors of USA Today should be ashamed of themselves for publishing a disgusting and inaccurate article by a known bigot that knightwarns opening up the Boy Scouts to gay men will lead to pedophilia. Robert Knight, who formerly worked for the Family Research Council, a Southern Poverty Law Center hate group, penned the poisonous piece.

The editorial board of this newspaper should realize that freedom of speech does not mean freedom from facts. Knight should never have been given carte blanche to libel an entire group of people, who had no opportunity to defend themselves from his pernicious lies. Knight is no expert, as he fancies himself to be, just an extremist who has little knowledge of, or regard for, the human beings he so casually maligns.

To begin with, Knight falsely claims that allowing gay people will cause much harm to the institution.

This would destroy the Boy Scouts, a bastion of traditional values. Without parental trust, the Boy Scouts, which was founded in 1910 and has been instrumental in helping millions of boys transition to manhood, would implode like a popped balloon.

To the contrary, it would strengthen the group by promoting honesty and teach Boy Scouts to respect differences in other people. Such critical lessons will only better individual Boy Scouts and make them superior human beings. It will also thin the ranks of those who define themselves by whom they can exclude — rather than include. People of such poor character and distorted ethics only bring down the Boy Scouts brand and retard the development of youth into upstanding men.

Next, Knight predictably uses the thoroughly debunked pedophile card:

The policy change would be a real and present danger to the boys, as vividly illustrated by the still-simmering molestation scandal involving priests. As the Vatican works mightily to prevent further incidents, the Boy Scouts seem to be on the verge of going in the other direction.

A 1994 book, Scout’s Honor by investigative reporter Patrick Boyle, revealed 1,800 cases in which Scout leaders had been dismissed for abusing boys. In 2010, a jury awarded $18.5 million to a man abused by a pedophilic Scoutmaster. Given all this, it’s unfathomable for the Scouts to flirt with the idea of opening their ranks to males attracted to other males. Some of the perpetrators were married, but they obviously had same-sex inclinations.

By sleazily conflating homosexuality with child molestation, Bob Knight misses a key point. In the Catholic Church and in the Boy Scouts openly gay people do not exist. Thus, it is the darkness of the closet that attracts discreet perverts, many of whom are married men with children, who can hide in the shadows and exploit their access to children — all while posing as family men or holy priests. It is quite interesting that the heinous child rape scandals that are epidemic in the Catholic Church, for example, hardly exist in gay community centers and churches.

Furthermore, pedophilia has zero to do with homosexuality or heterosexuality. Gay and straight men and women are oriented USA Todaytowards having sexual and romantic relations with adults — and find the idea of sex with children nauseating. A 2000 study by Dr. Michael R. Stevenson concluded, “A gay man is no more likely than a straight man to perpetrate sexual activity on children.” A 1994 study by Dr. Carole Jenny found that less than one-percent of the children in her study were abused by a gay man or lesbian. In 1978, Drs. Nicholas Groth and Jean Birnbaum found that none of the 175 molesters in their study had an exclusively homosexual adult orientation.

Why didn’t Knight mention these studies? Perhaps, because he has spent his entire, pathetic career twisting science in a shameful effort to stigmatize LGBT people. It is disgraceful that USA Today would give a platform to one with Knight’s grotesque track-record and dishonorable reputation.

Finally, while I applaud the Boy Scouts for taking affirmative steps, leaving decisions on admitting gay Scouts to local chapters is unacceptable. Whether a vulnerable gay teenager is honored or humiliated, praised or made into a pariah, should not depend on the luck of where they are born. All Scouts should be treated with dignity and respect — and none should be tormented because they have the misfortune of growing up in an anachronistic town with small minded Scout leaders. Discrimination is wrong — period — and a good Scout chapter leader should never impose his misguided or malevolent values onto a gay youth who wants nothing more than to join his peers by participating in this organization.

It is time that the Boy Scouts finally become morally straight and make a clean break from the past by accepting gay members with no exceptions. If bigoted people like Knight slither away, good riddance, this would result in the organization only becoming stronger.