Scoutmaster Musings - Postponing Membership Decision

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Scoutmaster Musings

Postponing Membership Decision
BSA Membership
The Boy Scouts of America have postponed decision on membership policy changes until the May, 2013 national meeting. Here's the news release:
For 103 years, the Boy Scouts of America has been a part of the fabric of this nation, providing it's youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. In the past two weeks, Scouting has received an outpouring of feedback from the American public. It reinforces how deeply people care about Scouting and how passionate they are about the organization.

After careful consideration and extensive dialogue within the Scouting family, along with comments from those outside the organization, the volunteer officers of the Boy Scouts of America's National Executive Board concluded that due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy.

To that end, the executive board directed its committees to further engage representatives of Scouting's membership and listen to their perspectives and concerns. This will assist the officers' work on a resolution on membership standards. The approximately 1,400 voting members of the national council will take action on the resolution at the national meeting in May 2013.

Scout On
Posted: 10:01 02-06-2013 945
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 Feb 06, 2013 - Yukon Jack
Disgusting and cowardly.  My stomach is in knots at the possible elimination of values and ethical standards (note I did not say exclusion of any person, just improper bahavior) in the BSA foundation.  Make a decision already so we can continue the great work of scouting and moral development of youth or resign in protest and re-form under a new banner where family values are still respected rather than spat upon.  This just prolongs the agony and uncertainty.
Feb 06, 2013 - Michael Adams, Sr.
My letter to Scouting:

As an Eagle Scout, I must say that I love the Boy Scouts.  I am a Pack Master and I have two boys currently in Boy Scouts.  My family is very involved.   Why are we involved?  Because Scouts teaches young boys to become quality young men with a respect for God and country.  

The idea of changing our membership policy to allow alternative lifestyles in as leaders appalls me to the point that if it happens, I may pull myself and my boys out of Scouts for good, and I would certainly NOT do any further fund raising.

This policy change would go against everything that Scouts has stood for all of these years.  It would also open the door to child abuse.  How do you expect the boys to show reverence for God (the 12th point of the Scout Law) when the organization is allowing something that God abhors?  It also goes against the Scout Oath.  How would you teach a child to be "morally straight"?
Feb 07, 2013 - Larwence Tracy
I did some research on this. The Scouting Association in the UK (home of the world Scouting movement, if you remember) has had a no-sexual orientation discrimination policy for over a dozen years. In response to an email from me on this, the spokesperson from their organization said they were proud of that policy, and attribute it in significant part in increasing membership in the Scout Association. Scouting requires a belief in a God. Period. There are millions of Scouts around the world whose religious beliefs do not consider homosexuality a mortal sin requiring the complete shunning of homosexuals. Even among American churches, there are many who welcome gays and lesbians, like mine. I've researched it, and most sexual predators are otherwise "straight" and do not consider themselves as gay. And I am satisfied with the current Boy Scout child protection policies (two deep leadership, no one-on-one, etc.) as being adequate to protect my son and my other young men no matter what.
Feb 07, 2013 - DEG
According to World Magazine; after the Boy Scouts of Canada allowed homosexual leaders in 1999, membership dropped by 36 percent over the next five years, from about 200,000 to about 122,000.  Membership in Canada has continued to fall, to less than 100,000.
Feb 07, 2013 - randy johnson
i was a scout in the late 50's. if you accept gay's as troop leaders or members, my grandchildren will not become members and i will not donate any more. yall need to get back bones or step down and let real men and women run the boy scouts of america.
Feb 08, 2013 - L.A. Davis (Scoutmaster)
I am a Life SCout of the late 60's through late 70's.  I am a former Army Officer and current Scoutmaster in the Washington DC-metro area.  Although it may seem fair to have this decision rest on Council, District or even Troop desires I fear that will make matters worse.  That will result in a de facto two tier system with some units accepting homosexuals while others do not.  I think that as a practical concern some units are doing that now anyway.  That acceptance becomes the National norm would I think be counterproductive.  I could not in good conscience serve with or accept an openly homosexual leader in my Troop.  I would not recommend that to my parents or my Chartering Organization. A Scout would be a matter of a different sort.  Irrespective of the current PC climate I think that the status quo is working and unless we have evidence to the contrary we ought not to change the status quo to serve the interest of those otherwise opposed to intent and goal of Scouting anyway.
Feb 08, 2013 - David Gaston M.D.
There is no need to change the Boy Scouts but if the they are forced to cave in under pressure, they should do this.  

1. If a person is gay or lesbian, they should identify or medically prove by lab or exam what their prefrred sex identity and join their identity. For example, a truly gay maie should join the girl scouts and a true lesbian female should join the Boy scouts. A gay male should not be scouting or supervising boys in the same way that women are not boy scout masters. Choose one or the other but not both. To allow a gay male who thinks he is a female to scout a boy in the boy scouts unfair to other women who want to join boy scouts or men who want to join girl scouts. If they are bisexual they should not be allowed either because of sexual risk. We do not want another Sandusky problem.

Boy scout pledge requires reverence so a homosexual should be dismissed if sponsoring homosexuality since it is an abomination in the Bible (Leviticus 18 and 20. Romans 1.

Feb 08, 2013 - Justin Time
@David Gaston --

Going with the assumption that you're trolling, I'm going to disregard your apparent confusion between sexual orientation and gender identity.

However, I do want to highlight a couple of things about other points you have made:

> A gay male should not be scouting or supervising boys in the same way that women are not boy scout masters.

There is no policy restricting women from becoming Scoutmasters in the BSA.

> a homosexual should be dismissed if sponsoring homosexuality since it is an abomination in the Bible

I'm pretty sure there's nothing specific to the bible in the BSA policies. A belief in a god is required, but keep in mind that there are lots of ways to do that, that don't involve excluding people. "Reverence" has nothing at all to do with the bible either... it simply means adhering to your own religious tradition, while respecting those of others who may be different.
Feb 08, 2013 - Yukon Jack
@ Justin.  And what of the thousands of registered scouts and scouters whose religious views are being ignored for the complaints of the few?  Do you really think that a million new people will join the BSA to replace the million-plus that will resign?  I'm not saying you have to view the Bible as I do, what I am saying is that a majority of scouters do, and majority is supposed to rule.  On top of that, this issue is beyond just beliefs.  100% of male scouters who have abused boys are gay by the very definition of the word.  I don't care if they claim to be straight or are married to women.  If a male has sexual contact with a male, regardless of age, it is homosexuality, and my boys will be shielded from such perversion.  I can't believe that Americans have vilified the BSA for months now in one breath, and in the next expect us to change our policy to let more people in that are the very villains that gave us the black eye to begin with.  A return to family values is our only hope.
Feb 08, 2013 - Justin Time
@Yukon --

Nobody's religious views are being ignored. The ONLY item on the table is whether the National Council will eliminate the MANDATORY exclusion of those who identify as anything other than heterosexual. Individual units will be able to maintain their own standards for membership if they prefer to, which would include the exclusion of non-heterosexual members; nothing has to change.

And I'm not sure how the issue of pedophilia keeps creeping into the discussion, since an adult sexually abusing a child is in no way, shape, or form the same as two consenting adults (who happen to be of the same gender) falling in love with each other. Being "gay" is not about wildly prancing around and trying to force yourself on anyone of the same sex that you see, any more than being "straight" means trying to force yourself on anyone of the opposite sex that you see.

Adults who molest and abuse children are sick and have no place in scouting; hence the background checks and YPT protections.
Feb 09, 2013 - Yukon Jack
My religious and personal views are that homosexual acts are a choice, and a horrible one, that no child should have shown to them as an acceptable moral choice.  If you're not ignoring that, then respect that I have a right to be in an organization that supports it.  Just as you have a right to be in a differing organization.  What you do not have the right to do is come into my organization and tell me to change it to suit you.  The relationship between churches and the BSA is nearly as old as the BSA itself.  That partnership measured in generations should take precedence over any and all PC ideals of the current era that are designed to shatter bonds overnight that took decades to build.  Why can't you just create your own independent scouting program?  Why do such people claim to want to be involved in the great BSA with its morals when they want to change those morals?  They just want to tear us down, drown us out, and live in their imaginary world of PC ideals.  Time's a'comin.
Feb 09, 2013 - Yukon Jack
And the reason the child abuse issue keeps coming up is that you can't just dismiss it as 'in no way, shape, or form the same' thing.  There are tens of millions of Americans that believe it is.  And just because two people consent to something doesn't make it right.  What about consenting hetero siblings?  At least that is still taboo in our society, but the gay agenda will only push us one step closer to that perversions as well.  The problem is that today's world tells people that no matter what they do, as long as it makes them happy it is okay.  Personal responsibility is gone and the BSA is trying to hold to that idea...and are vilified for it.  If the gays win the BSA, millions will leave and they can celebrate their victory.  But it will be a hollow shell of the BSA they claim to have wanted to be in and no matter how much the gay agenda wins, it will NEVER make them right.
Feb 09, 2013 - Yukon Jack
Also, homosexual attraction may be genetic, but you can't tell me that acting upon it is not a choice.  Do we really want people who can't circumscribe their passions in charge of kids?  I say not.

And to continue the defense of family values and old-fashioned morality, did you see how Jennifer Tyrell (the lesbian den mother) and the gay alliance stated that the proposed policy change (compromise to allow units to determine gay membership) was unacceptable and that nothing short of total inclusion (i.e. national forcing gay inclusion into every unit) was their goal?  Sounds to me like they ARE ignoring our religious views and are not willing to compromise, just dictate and steamroll over.  This is just a line in the sand.  If changed, its only a matter of time before they yell again and our religious rights are encroached upon a little bit more.  It is time to stand here and now.
Feb 09, 2013 - Justin Time
Well Jack, I think you and I have some fundamental differences in belief that cannot be properly resolved on a random website, so it's probably not worth either of our time to try and make the other person see reason. :)

Just a couple closing thoughts.

Automatically making the association that "all homosexuals are pedophiles" is no different than saying "all black people are criminals" or "all Muslims are terrorists". It is certainly your right to believe so, but please be aware that such statements are not grounded in reality. Read up on it.

Feb 09, 2013 - Justin Time
> Why can't you just create your own independent scouting program?

This has been done, in a way, with organizations like Camp Fire USA and the Baden-Powell Service Association. The problem with "go start your own Boy Scouts" is that the Boy Scouts of America holds a federal charter that makes them the exclusive provider of a "boy scout" program in the U.S. They maintain exclusive branding and program rights, and I have no doubt that they would be willing to exercise those rights in the judicial system if they felt that another organization was too-closely mimicing their own.

So a compromise might be for the BSA to make no change in membership policy, but instead to release their federal charter so that other Boy Scout groups could be started in the USA without fear of legal reprisal. Would you support such an action?
Feb 09, 2013 - ElGringo49
Homosexuals are humans also.... plain and simple.They should have every right just like straight people. And that includes being a member of the BSA.
Feb 09, 2013 - Yukon Jack
First, I have never said that all gays are pedophiles, just that all male pedophiles who abuse boys (i.e. male on male) are gay.

Second, I believe that you over-sell the importance of the federal charter.  As you pointed out, the Campfire USA (formerly Campfire Girls) and American Heritage Girls were both created in opposition to the Girl Scouts of the USA, and the girl scouts also hold a federal charter similar to the BSA.  So if people are scared of lawsuits stemming from the BSA if an independent splinter group was formed, then why was no one afraid to create the named groups for girls?

I would be far more likely to support the compromise you propose than to change the membership policy, but I see it as unnecessary.  Anyone in the USA is free to create a scouting organization, just change the name so its not similar enough to get sued.

@El.  Gays are indeed humans, but a 'right' does not extend to forcing membership in a private organization.  SCOTUS 2000 decision.
Feb 09, 2013 - Justin Bradshaw
@Yukon Jack
Your attitude is upsetting but I suppose it's the sad reason the BSA has chosen to stay discriminatory for so long. I wish for your heart to find some peace with the idea that gay boys can and should be given the same opportunities as straight ones. "Sexually straight" people do not have a monopoly on being "morally straight" and keeping this bigoted policy will only serve to send the Boy Scouts of America into irrelevancy.

I speak as a straight Eagle Scout who started as a Cub at 7. I cherish my many experiences with BSA... I'm a self employed professional who would love to enroll my 16 month old son when he's ready to join our local chapter... and be a scoutmaster too! The problem is that if they don't change this policy I will absolutely not be involved. I have strong faith that tells me all men and women, gay or straight, were created equal. God does not judge gays the way you do... and I hope for their sake that the BSA will side with me and the other justin on this!
Feb 09, 2013 - Justin Bradshaw
Think about this...
From the mother of an Eagle Scout who is also a ranking officer in the military currently:
"A primary reason Baden Powell formed the Scouts was to provide training to young men that would prepare them for military service and leadership. It is the policy of the United States military that gay men and women are accepted and valued within the ranks at all levels. If the Boy Scouts want to continue preparing young men for military service, then they need to align their policy with the military's."
Feb 10, 2013 - Yukon Jack
Glad to know that my religious values make for an attitude that upsets you.  Heaven forbid that my attitude, shared by generations of past Americans, be valued.  Perhaps your attitude upsets me.
Also, learn your history.  At a 1922 (post-WWI) jamboree, BP saw boys from around the world and wanted the military aspect of scouting minimized.  That is why a few years later scouting stopped using ribbon bars and used patches, to get away from a militant appearance.
And for the last time, I AM NOT discriminating people, just POOR behavior.  While an extreme example, we don't allow convicted felons (poor behavior) to be scout leaders, this is no different from a moral pov.  And while sexually straight people do not have a monopoly on morality, homosexuality is not morally straight, so before gays point out the mote in my eye, perhaps they should remove the board from their eye.
Feb 10, 2013 - Bruce Anderson
Yukon Jack, your perverse and limited understanding of sexuality, morality, and the teachings in the bible have no place in their application to Scouting.

They don't, because your understanding is fundamentally wrong.

Scouting exists to teach young men and women character, citizenship and fitness.

Your lack of character expressed in your dismissal of anyone different than you because they're flawed (and not you of course) is sad.

Your sad attempt to suggest gays remove the board in their eyes before you "remove the mote in my eye" points out of course exactly the point of that verse - your personal arrogance is stunning.

The more youth we can reach in Scouting the better our country will be.  The less people like yourself that so miss the point of Scouting remain associated with the program the stronger Scouting will become.
Feb 10, 2013 - tim from oh
i typed this in earlier but it didnt show up. oh well.

yukon jack- what if my church is accepting of gay people (it is) and allows them to participate in our scout troop (it does)? if we think it is okay for someone to be gay and be in scouts, why does your church get to tell my church how to run our troop? why cant we make our own choice for members?

and dont tell me to just go start our own boy scouts, lol........ the boy scouts *of* *America* should represent what most Americans want in a scout program now, not just what some people wanted 50 years ago or whatever.

Feb 11, 2013 - Brad
Well, I'm not getting into the whole religion vs. homosexuality conversation.  I would like to just point out a couple of things.

1.  From Bruce's statement, "The more youth we can reach in Scouting the better our country will be."  I have noticed that more and more people are not believing in a higher power and some people contribute the rise in criminal activity to not having a fear of what will happen to you in the afterlift.  Scouting is a program that can put morals and "good" choices into the minds of our boys.

2.  From Tim's statement, "the boy scouts *of* *America* should represent what most Americans want in a scout program now, not just what some people wanted 50 years ago or whatever."  I think the statment has already been made that more people are against this policy change than are for it.
Feb 11, 2013 - tim from oh
hey brad when you say more people are against it, do you mean just people who are scout leaders and parents, or did you also ask people who dont have their kids in scouts?

if most people are against it, why are they considering it......?
Feb 12, 2013 - Brad
When I say "most" people I mean most people involved in Scouting.  Of course I can't know this for fact, but with the people that I am in contact with it's a pretty large majority.

If most people are against it then why are they considering it?  Well the answer to that is the way that America is progressing... We have turned into a society of people who are afraid of hurting people's feelings for fear of reprisal or being sued.  That, in my opinion, is why thet are considering it.
Feb 13, 2013 - Justin Bradshaw
Well, it looks like we will find out whether Brad is right about the majority opinion in BSA (at least it's leadership which I would hope represents the majority of members) when the 1400 voting members cast their votes.

@Yukon and Brad:
if you think gays lack morals and that BSA teaches morals, why not include them so you can help someone who needs it? Or are you worried somehow that they'll turn your son gay? HA.

The main point here, made again by Tim and earlier by others, is that each troop and church should be allowed to make their own decision on this, so as not to force anyone to go against their own majority beliefs. Seems like a sensible and irreproachable compromise, at least for now.
Feb 14, 2013 - C. Turner
I'm saddened by the dilution of standards that continues throughout our society; this consideration of 'inclusion' is just another example.  When the vocal minority gets it's way that is not 'democracy'; of course, majority rule isn't how we should run this organization, either.

Majority rule is when two wolves and a sheep decide what's for dinner.
Feb 14, 2013 - Justin Time
For a real-life perspective from a British scout leader who has had gay scouts and leaders in his troop, have a look at post #10 in this thread:

I can't find a way to link directly to the post; username is Cambridgeskip, and he offers his observations. And guess what? It sounds like it's no big deal. Definitely worth a read for anyone worried about it.

Now, granted... everyone is still free to consider non-heterosexual orientations wrong or immoral; however it doesn't seem like allowing them to participate in the BSA will be the death knell that some are predicting.
Feb 25, 2013 - Michael
Ok.  I am going to look at it from the guide to safe scouting.  Looking at summer camp right now staffing wise, you have to have separate quarters for the following: Males under 18, females under 18, males over 18, and females over 18.  

So if there is a change you are essentially creating four more areas that have to be created to house staff.
Apr 10, 2013 - C. Turner
Our Districts' experience is withdrawal; we are shuffling existing meeting places and event locations because those who were regular and consistent supporters with resources dedicated are now no longer providing that support... it will get worse if the WRONG decision is made.  Just sayin'...
Apr 22, 2013 - Darrin
Allowing homosexual marriage, admitting them into scouting, etc. will not make the act right, moral or less abhorrent.  Let them in, what's the difference, they've destroyed our culture, twisted morality and denigrated our religious beliefs beyond repair already.  They've already won.  The idea is not equality, justice or tolerance.  The idea is to destroy all traditional or conservative institutions.  They don't want to be Boy Scouts, Catholics, or any such thing.  They want to make it so that no one is and that only their world view is relevant.  The end is upon us.

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