Scoutmaster Musings - BSA Membership Discussion

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Scoutmaster Musings

BSA Membership Discussion
See BSA Media Statement

Boy Scouts of America
Monday, Jan. 28, 2013
Attributable to: Deron Smith, Director of Public Relations

For more than 100 years, Scouting's focus has been on working together to deliver the nation's foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. Scouting has always been in an ongoing dialogue with the Scouting family to determine what is in the best interest of the organization and the young people we serve.

Currently, the BSA is discussing potentially removing the national membership restriction regarding sexual orientation. This would mean there would no longer be any national policy regarding sexual orientation, and the chartered organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with each organization's mission, principles, or religious beliefs. BSA members and parents would be able to choose a local unit that best meets the needs of their families.

The policy change under discussion would allow the religious, civic, or educational organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting to determine how to address this issue. The Boy Scouts would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units, members, or parents. Under this proposed policy, the BSA would not require any chartered organization to act in ways inconsistent with that organization's mission, principles, or religious beliefs.
Posted: 17:23 01-28-2013 941
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Site Disclosure Statement

 Jan 28, 2013 - Victor Polonski
I was a Scout Leader (Den Leader, Cub Master, Assistant Scoutmaster, Committee Chairman) for 10 years for both my Cub Scout Pack and Boy Scout Troop.  I can not believe the BSA would consider such a change.  This goes against all what we stood for.  I ask you to re-consider this option and maintain our values.

If my son were in Scouts today and this was an option, I would consider other alternatives.  I would also not have spent 10 years serving the boys of my community in Scouting. It was very rewarding 10 years but I would not have considered it if this policy had been in place.
Victor Polonski
Jan 29, 2013 - James T Colville
  I am a Cub Master and my wife is a Den Leader, Treasurer ( an many other jobs as well) We joined Scouting 4 years ago and have enjoyed our journey on the Scouting trail. I believe that failing to take a stand on issues like the ban on gay leaders is failing to lead. Simply saying that it's up to the packs and chartered organizations to decide is a complete endorsement of gay leaders. It will make it impossible on Packs/Troops to exclude anyone without fear of litigation,rebuke...We will be slipping from tolerance to acceptance. We can not on one hand talk about "Duty to God" and " A scout is Reverent and faithful to his religious duties" and then tell them to ignore what Gods word teaches.
    Chartered organizations will be forced not to allow Scouts to meet in many churches. Funding and participation in Scouting will be greatly diminished.
    I respectfully ask that consideration to change policy be rejected.
Thank You
James T Colville
 Pack 145
Jan 29, 2013 - Debra Hinson
January 29,2013

I am Committee Chair and my husband is Cubmaster. We joined scouting about four years ago and have loved having our seven grandsons involved. However, the direction BSA seems to be taking regarding their stand on endorsing gay leaders is one that brings many questions to our minds. What a contridiction of moral principles. To teach reverence and faithfulness to one's religious duties to first God, himself, and his community would be sheer mockery. For the BSA to pass on this is a step backwards not forward as far as leadership. I with much respect ask that you carefully and prayerfully reconsider such a move with knowing that it will interfere with the organization growing. Many chartering organizations would be forced to pull out all together and to look for other alternatives for their boys activities.
Debra Hinson
Pack 323
Jan 29, 2013 - Robin Rau
The three basic steps for civil acceptance are; exclusion, segregation and integration.  I'm sure that in 1910 that African Americans were excluded from Boy Scouting.  In the 1940's there were segregated African American Boy Scout Troops.  Today Scouting is open to all races without qualification.  The same pattern is occuring here, I just hope that we have learned from the past and can skip the "segregation" step that would see segregated "gay troops".  Scouting has survived social integration before and has become stronger through the process.  I'm sure that this will be the case now.
Jan 29, 2013 - Yukon Jack
So let me get this straight...a few complain, a few thousand support those complaints, and now a few million will be forced to go along with bending a private organization to the desires of the few.

The gay community has always been free to create their own scouting program.  Why do they insist on changing the existing one from the inside and leaving the rest of us without a place where we and our kids can be free from the influence of this perversion?

I have been in the BSA for 18 years and I would most likely resign completely if this was implemented.  All this will teach the boys of America today is that if you whine enough, you can force immorality on the masses.

Notice that nothing I said advocates violence or denies a person's right to live their live as they wish.  That's tolerence.  They want acceptance and ultimately indoctrination.  Not acceptable.
Jan 29, 2013 - Michael Fitzgerald
I will resign as a Commissioner if the BSA adopts the proposed policy, as I can not support it.  Units that do not comply with the Gay Agenda will be subjected to endless lawsuits once the national shield is removed.  Common sense tells us that we should not be promoting a program where we allow homosexuals to take boys off onto the woods.
Jan 30, 2013 - Mike Brown
I attained the rank of Eagle in 1987.  Scouting was a huge part of my life and family.  To this day, many of my closest friends are people I met through scouting.  We were taught acceptance of all.  That's ALL, not the ones that someone deemed appropriate.  The only thing that makes me sad is the intolerance of someone else that doesnít meet your description of what is right.  Are African Americans OK?  How about Jewish scouts or Muslims?  They donít follow the Christian views of the Bible, therefore they should be excluded too based on your narrow minded views.  Scouting for me was a place for acceptance, friendship, and camaraderie, and Iím glad that my Scoutmaster (whom I am still friends with at the age of 44) was not as narrow minded as many that I see here.

And BTW, the leader of the local Episcopal church where the local troop meets, is a Lesbian.

Jan 30, 2013 - Yukon Jack
Sadly, that's all I hear from the gay community.  Those of us who support the current policy are NOT being intolerant of people or telling them they can't be involved.  We are saying their BEHAVIOR is inappropriate.  Would you call us 'narrow minded' if we said no burglars as scout leaders?  What you call 'narrow minded' we view is classic family values.  Yes, of Judeo-Christian foundation, but by no means exclusive to any religion.  Its all about behavior and personal accountability (or the lack thereof).  Even if they never mention their sexual orientation, by allowing gay scout leaders, we send the unspoken message to the youth of America that choosing to act on any sexual orientation is acceptable, when it is not, any more than acting on a predisposition to kleptomania is acceptable.  Such people deserve love and help, but not to have their choices condoned and accepted as proper.  And definitely not to teach our children that anything goes as long as it makes you happy.
Jan 30, 2013 - Frank Williams
I'm an Eagle Scout and have spent over 35 years in the program, with 6 troops scattered over 3 states and Germany. I know at least 2 of my Eagles came out later as gay and one of my brothers, also an Eagle, was gay.  I have also dealt with the painful after effects of sexual abuse by a Red Cross swim instructor who abused 8 of my Scouts.
I see nothing but problems from this policy. My first priority is the safety of my Scouts.  Parents trust me to take their 11 year olds off to camp because of our two deep leadership, moral code, and that all scouts/leaders live up to these standards.  I can still guarantee that in my troop, but summer camp, Jamboree, even staffing Cub weekends will make them think twice.  Many will not even want their vulnerable boy exposed to this.  Chartering orgs will not want to face the risk from either denying gays and getting sued or, worse, having children endangered and will just drop scouts. Sexual predators will see this as a green light to join us. Sad
Jan 30, 2013 - B. Scott MacInnes
  Homosexuals are not necessarily pedophiles. As long as they don't push their sexual orientation off onto the heterosexual boys, or make sexual advances toward them, I have no real problem with this issue, However it does turn me off to see effeminate men mincing about as some do with their unusual affectations. In my 60 + years in the program, I have only known four Scouters whose orientation I would have questioned. I believe the boys should have masculine role models, However I am not excluding mother image women, as I believe they too have a lot to offer our boys, some of whom, sadly, may not have worthwhile mothers in their lives.
Jan 30, 2013 - Lu Ann Ferguson
I have a friend who was not allowed to be a Cub or Boy Scout back in the 60s and early 70s because he was of Mexican ancestry.  I'm sure that argument sounded a lot like this current one.  The national policy states that the chartered organization will not be forced to compromise their "values" (and I use that word while holding my nose) in this situation, but if it's not an organization (church) that has a long-standing stand about this issue, that unit will be subject to the non-exclusion rules.  But, as usual, there's a wild cry about a policy change and people conveniently ignore many words in the document.

It's about time!  Most pedophiles are heterosexual.  Where's the outcry about allowing heterosexuals to lead? My kids aren't racist, homophobic, or any of those other things that we so carefully made sure they wouldn't be. This is a non-issue to them.  And they are well-versed in right and wrong and act accordingly.  I think there are many adults who need to do the same.
Jan 30, 2013 - Eric Chaney
I am a den leader and have two boys in scouts with another boy that will be joining when he is old enough. With this policy I will be pulling my boy out and will no longer be associated with BSA.
Jan 30, 2013 - Yukon Jack
How can a pedophile not be homosexual?!?!?!  If a man sexually molests boys, he is gay.  Just because the males are minors, does not make it not male on male sex!  100% of male scout leaders that have molested boys are gay.  Fact.
Jan 30, 2013 - C Lebakken
Interesting article on the similarities of the proposed policy change to racial integration:

Jan 31, 2013 - Yukon Jack
There is a big difference between race (which a person cannot control nor does it dictate the quality of their character) and homosexuality, which is a choice to act upon and is an example of a choice made by people with low moral character.  Kleptomaniacs choose to steal, do we condone it as a life choice or say that theft is wrong?  It is wrong and scouters would be dismissed accordingly.  Likewise for homosexuals.  The BSA has said for 102 years that this behavior is improper, the Supreme Court affirmed our right to set membership behavior standards.  Why is this still an issue?!  Make your own scouting program and set your own standards if you so desire!
Jan 31, 2013 - Brian L
As the Cub master of a Pack consisting of 60 Scouts, I would lose almost all of my Scouts. My families have been emailing me non-stop concerned that National will abandon morality. I hear words like Trustworthy, Brave, morally straight being used in their emails to me. They will leave Scouts if councils and C.O.'s are left to the wolves to fend for themselves. BSA will not survive the mass exodus of scouts and scout leaders, and the activists that are pusshing for this will not step up, their intent is to divide and conquer. All of those who think this is about "tolerance" and accept homosexuality, you are PollyAnn to think that. This is about removing anything about right and wrong in this country. Should this happen I will look into starting American Heritage Boys, just like AHG did with the GS.
Jan 31, 2013 - Dan M,
Boy Scouts of America needs to do what is best for the scouts.  In scouting we take (often excessive) safety precautions before chopping wood, climbing rocks or swimming, but now BSA suggests gay men should be scoutmasters because they might not be predators.  That strikes me as ironic!

The idea that kids are being excluded for being gay is spurious.  I have two boys in scouts and I have been a leader for over 5 years.  None of us have been asked about our "orientation". Changing the rule will simply allow activist behavior.  (Anybody ever seen a "gay pride" parade?) That is something we ought to avoid.

I think most scouts' parents, like myself, want to be the ones to teach their boys about right and wrong.  I don't want to send my boys to a camp or scout event and have a LEADER telling them about his "lifestyle" and how it is a valid choice for them.  
I don't want them to go to resident camp and see the boys from the "gay troop" holding hands at the next campsite.

Jan 31, 2013 - Dan M,
Is there such a group as "American heritage", mentioned above?  My sons' troop will be looking for a new organization next week if this change passes
Jan 31, 2013 - Yukon Jack
Dan M, sadly no, not yet.  The American Heritage Girls was formed in 1995 because the Girl Scouts of the USA wouldn't give up their pro-lesbian policy.  They're small (about 20,000 girls) but they stuck to the original scouting values.  In 2009, the BSA officially 'adopted' them as a partnered organization.  If the gay ban passes, you will likely see an 'American Heritage Boys' group form and it will quickly grow beyond 20,000.  But let us be hopeful that our voices will be heard and such an organization will not be necessary.
Jan 31, 2013 - Jeff
Can we say enough to sway the decision of the directors? We can only pray our voices will be heard and considered.
If BSA changes its policy on this issue this narrow minded born again believer in Jesus Christ will not support the BSA nor will I allow my son who by the way loves scouting to continue in scouts.
Narrow minded you say you got that right. Jesus said narrow was the way that leads to life and broad is the way That leads to destruction.
If BSA changes its policy they are taking the broad road along with all the others that say ( what could possibly go wrong) at some point we have to say absolutely not and this is the time ..
I say absolutely not. Do not change the policy if homosexuals want a scouting program they have a right to start one . Just leave mine alone  
Feb 01, 2013 - Yukon Jack
At the time of this posting, I have polled the responders (not posts, but distint individuals) to this and its parter thread in recent days:

*8 support changing the BSA policy.
*2 made unclear statements or only cited an article.
*18 oppose changing it.  Of these 10, 12 indicated they would leave or consider leaving the BSA.

So there it is.  Roughly 2:1 support (64%) of the current policy and about 43% of the 28 responders would leave in the change is implemented.  Unscientific poll I know, but still interesting nonetheless.

Also interesting is 0% of the 18 said anything of the sort that gay supporters can't or shouldn't make their own scouting organization, but many were called bigots by wanting a morally upstanding scouting organization to exist (even if it has to be remade elsewhere).
Feb 01, 2013 - Eagletrainer
I'm a 46 Year old recently tapped SM. I went on my 1st scout camp at the age of 5 being that my father was the SM. I have been actively involved all my life the only paid time was as a camp counselor. I KNOW scouting and the positive influence that it has had on 100's of young men...There is an indescribable knot in my stomach as I fear the demise of one of the greatest iconic organizations on the planet is before us.....They dont want to be in it just destroy it....As my COUNTRY fades does the BSA............On my honor....
Feb 05, 2013 - Yukon Jack
Unofficial Poll of this Site.

Change the policy: 11 posters (27.5%)
Vague: 2 posters (.5%)
Keep the policy as is: 27 posters (67.5%)
Will leave if policy changes: 14 (35%)

So to summarize, at least a 2:1 ratio supporting the ban and a minumum loss of 35% of scouters if the policy is lifted.  Extrapolates to a MINIMUM of 1.3 Million scouts and scouters will leave out of 3.7 Million currently registered.

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