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Boy Scouts close to ending ban on gay members, leaders NBC

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  • Sorry to say it, but I think it's a disaster. Of the 5 troops in my city, 4 are hosted by churches (3 of them Catholic) because they see boy scouting as an extension of their own programs/ideals. Now? And I can hardly wait to see the new youth protection guidelines. :^0

    BSA is a private organization and their right to keep their policies has been validated by the courts. They should stand firm. I'm sure those who feel strongly enough about it could start their own private leadership program as an alternative.

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    • Sorry to say it, but I think it's a disaster. Of the 5 troops in my city, 4 are hosted by churches (3 of them Catholic) because they see boy scouting as an extension of their own programs/ideals. Now? And I can hardly wait to see the new youth protection guidelines. :^0

      BSA is a private organization and their right to keep their policies has been validated by the courts. They should stand firm. I'm sure those who feel strongly enough about it could start their own private leadership program as an alternative.

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      • So. What is the rewrite of the Scout Oath going to look like?

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        • No rewrite for allowing homosexuals needed.. Morally Straight, is ones own viewpoint or that of their personal religion.. News Flash not all religions or community groups see homosexuality in the same light.

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          • Calico and others;

            When I said it was "local option" prior to Dale, I meant the decision, because it went to SCOTUS, led to the hopefully abandoned policy currently still there. There were a number of locally divisive cases across the country starting back in the 70's, and Dale was simply the final push it seems to me. The Gay proponents seem to have determined to push it through their legal groups and get it into national media. When whomever "outed" James Dale did it and it became a flash point, National made the poor decision, as noted by Terry, to somehow take the CO out of the equation on this issue. We all know that on occasion we may have had to deal with local intra-troop distractions in relation to this subject; but the units simply did what was best for them and moved on for the most part. There is a good chance that should the PC crowd simply left it alone back then that the issue would have already resolved itself, just as other political and public changes did before.

            That is the perception I have come to based on my own reading and study of the subject. As had been pointed out, we have always had Gays in the program; it was generally just not an issue, as nobody felt the need to make it one for the most part. And just like an abusive alcoholic, wiped out druggie, or an in your face womanizer, the occasional Gay that felt the need to disrupt the unit was simply removed.

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            • Calico,

              beg to differ...but having had this discussion with a few upset scouts the other week...they absolutely mean "gay" in full sexual context. Not gay as in odd, strange. The situation was a "school" event and the offenders were deliberate enough to use a food item as a prop. School yard bully. This was even at a religous based school.

              In the MTV world we live in, the average 10 year old knows the difference.

              From my perspective, many people appear to think this is a step in saving BSA from declining numbers. Trying to be "acceptable" to everyone.

              IMHO - In trying to be everything, you are often not good at anything.

              Where we have failed is that is now "popular" to hate the BSA. Just as it is now popular in many circles to ridicule people who beleive in God and more traditional values. That is where the serious "HATE" often comes from. I do not think this policy change will change that. It is cooler to play video games and talk trash like on MTV than to actually do something. Our youth models the behaviour on MTV rather than that at home.

              The only thing that will change this is time when people will miss what we had. Like "Un-cool" returning veterns in the late 60's and 70's, some day BSA will again be "popular".

              (BSA has given in to the bullying of the extreme left here, nothing more, nothing less)

              I don't intend on changing a thing I do as a result of this.

              I and my friends will still plan canoe and rafting trips,
              will still take boys on camping trips 20 days a year,
              will still be the only male influence for many scouts,
              will still take the boy whose father is in jail,
              will still set and example as the guy married to the mother of my children,
              will still take the scout with "two moms",
              will still protect the scouts from poor influences,

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              • When whomever "outed" James Dale did it

                Nobody "outed" him, he appeared in a newspaper article as one of co-presidents of the Rutgers University Lesbian/Gay Alliance. At the time, he didn't know gays weren't allowed.

                There is a good chance that should the PC crowd simply left it alone back then that the issue would have already resolved itself

                Stop with your continual "PC" strawman.

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                • CricketEagle:

                  This rule doesn't force units to stop discriminating. It just allows units who don't want to discriminate against gays to not have to. I think it's a fair compromise for everyone.

                  The BSA ended racial segregation. The Organization didn't die.

                  Scout associations around the World allowed in open homosexuals, they are doing fine.

                  The US Military allowed Open Homosexuals, we still have the best military in the history of mankind.

                  Like my other examples, the BSA will continue on in the future. Now religious charter orgs don't have to violate their beliefs while not forcing the rest of us to be governed by their beliefs.

                  Perhaps kids in your unit get called "Gay" for being a Scout. I did too if I remember correctly. However, kids in schools call each other a whole host of names for just about anything. I hardly see a little bullying as a reason to keep a discriminatory misguided policy, whether or not it is legal.

                  I know a few Scouts and Scouters who have been harrassed because the BSA is discriminatory. That doesn't really mean anything more than some Scouts getting lip at school because some loudmouth punk thinks Scouting is gay.

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                  • I guess I have written a lot about this issue in this forum over the past 11 years (give or take a couple of weeks) but I don't have very much time to write about it now, so I'll just say this:

                    When I started reading this thread I was firmly in the "I'll believe it when I see it" camp, but the fact that it is actually on the official BSA web site (http://www.scouting.org/MembershipPolicy.aspx) means that, at the very least, the BSA really leadership is "discussing" the change. Of course, saying it is being "discussed" technically leaves them an "out" to say "Ok, we discussed it, but we decided to leave the policy as is." Technically, but not in real life. It would be a public relations disaster -- which is not to downplay the BSA's ability to create public relations problems for itself, as they have in the past, but this would be a new low. So I doubt they would have said they are considering it unless it was pretty much a done deal.

                    Which most likely also means that they have gotten the representatives of the major CO's that had been opposing this to at least acknowledge that they won't turn in their charters en masse. That is not to say that some units won't fold or move to different CO, and it is not to say that some parents and leaders won't abandon the program entirely. It is clear from this thread and one of the others on this subject (the one that started under Open Discussion) that there are people who will not be content with the fact that their own unit can continue to enforce its own standards for leadership, but wish to determine the standards for other units as well. Hopefully these folks will end up deciding that the benefits of the program and the resources of the BSA outweigh their disappointment with the fact that there is local option -- just as I, for example, decided to remain part of the BSA despite my disappointment in their failure to allow local option.

                    Without responding to specific posts, I think some people need to relax and see what happens. (Of course, that's just a suggestion; if you want to run around yelling and screaming and quitting and whatever over this, that's your local option too, I guess.)

                    It does appear that, for now, the policy requiring belief in a higher power will not change. But keep in mind that six months ago, the BSA announced that after a two-year study, and after determining that the BSA's membership supported the current policy, they were retaining the current policy. Up until I started reading this thread yesterday, I still thought it would take 15 to 20 years for the BSA to adopt local option. Now it appears likely that within two weeks or so, the policy will be changed to local option. So hopefully once the "gay issue" has been put to rest, something can be done about the religion issue as well.

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                    • If "morally straight is ones own viewpoint..." and nothing more than why bother to have it in the Oath at all?
                      If you or I can decide what is right or wrong whenever and wherever we wish...
                      and what is a "personal religion?"
                      one I get to make up?
                      I mean no insult here,just don't understand.
                      Oldscout

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                      • I dunno, Why have any of it??

                        It is all subject to ones own interpretation.. Strive for the best you can be at any of it. You know when you have not met your own expectations. A unit leader might also have a bar they want you to reach, but his bar may be set higher or lower then the that of the troop who welcomes all the troubled youth in the area..

                        Thing is no one made you king, so everyone in the BSA needs to answer to your expectations.. I am sure I fall short of your expectations, but I am perfectly happy with my own perception of what being a good person to God, country and self is all about.

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                        • Merlyn; whether or not YOU think so, Political Correctness is a real problem in today's society. And Dale was "outed" in his own council by someone who saw the piece about the Alliance and his participation. At this point, hopefully this particular part of the debate will pretty much fade into the background until someone wanting to get attention or push a new agenda roils the waters again. Just my own opinion; so bluster all you want.

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                          • BS-87: I thought I felt a disturbance in the force.


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                            • At this point, hopefully this particular part of the debate will pretty much fade into the background until someone wanting to get attention or push a new agenda roils the waters again.

                              Atheists, of course, will still fight it. Of course, they're only being "PC" and trying to "get attention".

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                              • Changing this rediculous discriminating policy is the very best thing I've heard about Scouting since I've been involved again for the last five years. Ever since I was a youth in the mid '70s, I've never had a problem with the idea of "Duty to God," because there is not a single person on the planet that can tell me definitively just what "God" is. In every case it is something entirely personal, tied to a particular religion, a belief, a possibility, and there are different perspectives depending on who you ask.

                                Looking at the Scout Oath (I'm working with AOL Webelos right now), there are three duties we prescribe to as Scouts: 1) Duty to Self - no one has a problem with that one. 2) Duty to Other People - the idea of service is definitely part of Scouting. and 3) Duty to God, Country, and the Scout Law - think about it - the idea of this duty is to higher ideals and principles, a moral code, a way of living, and along the lines of the character connections that we've worked through in Cub Scouting.

                                I am now a member of a Unitarian Universalist church BECAUSE of the ideals of non-descrimination, acceptance, and respecting the belief of others, that I learned as a Scout. The only definition of God that matters to me is how I choose to define it. Even Christians say things like "God is love!" An athiest that can ascribe to the higher ideals that Scouting represents, and I know many who can and do, will never have a problem with the Scout Oath when it is from a non-descriminatory context - which is why the removal of the sexual orientation issue and a move toward local option is vital. Removing judgement based on comparing what one person believes to another is what this is all about. Just being a Christian (or Jewish, or Muslim, or any other faith that has specific ideas of how they see God) does not mean they they meet the "high ideals" standard. They are just as likely to be liers, cheats, killers, sexual molesters, etc. as anyone else.

                                My son, brought up Unitarian Universalist, accepting and respectful of other's beliefs, may never pass muster if judgement in a Board of Review is coming from someone with a Fundamentalist Christian perspective. That doesn't mean that he doesn't have his own ideas about God, about right and wrong, and about the higher principles that we all strive for as Scouts. Even our country is a work-in-progress when it comes to eliminating descrimination, but that doesn't mean we disregard the attempt. Top companies have all instituted non-descrimination as a core value. I'm glad Scouting is moving toward the same.

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