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Someday soon, all families may once again associate Scouting with good character

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  • Someday soon, all families may once again associate Scouting with good character

    I just published my thoughts on Scouting's policy change to

    I've maintained since 1994, and for many years it has been my remaining connection to a life that once had room for little more than Scouting.

    I haven't shown a heavy hand on this controversial issue, instead preferring to let good Scouters gather around this online roundtable to voice their own opinions. There have been many times when I felt my lack of public force on this issue wasn't courageous enough. But for more than a decade, this forum was one of the few places that people felt free to express their opinions and debate this issue, and I didn't want to discourage that by coming down from the top and squelching any voice.

    Years ago, in the early days of this forum, there were very few voices that opposed Scouting's policy. But over time, over the years, we've all witnessed more and more of the forum membership come forward to try, in some small way, to affect change. I decided - rightly or wrongly, that the best thing I could do was just create and keep this open forum active.

    And frankly I have often gotten busy with life, and only been able to check in on the forums from time to time. A long time ago I asked a handful of people to serve as moderators, and in choosing those people I tried to pick a diversity of perspectives. All have been wonderful, cheerful servants for these discussions, and their participation allowed me to step back from active participation. I never wanted this site (or the magazine that was its genesis) to be about me.

    More than 100,000 users are registered on this forum, and more than 50,000 people visit the site each month. It may seem like only a relative few that join this debate, but far, far more are nonetheless participating.

    I don't begrudge anyone on this forum their beliefs or opinions... one universal truth remains: we all love Scouting, and the potential it has for positively changing the world, one life at a time.

    I will tell you that your voices here have made an impact... for years this forum was very closely (if begrudgingly) monitored by key decision makers. And more than that, it served to organize and flush out some of most reasoned, articulate arguments for all sides of the debate.

    There were plenty of times when I wanted to step in and "go on record", but often others were already passionately representing my point of view.

    Years ago I had the chance to meet one of our moderators face to face, and I shared with him my most basic observation about how this debate (and opinion) played out on the more we allowed the most ardent supporters of the BSA's anti-gay position to speak, the more likely it was for people without a strong opinion on this matter to be repelled by that point of view.

    I can say without doubt, my own personal politics on a variety of topics have been shaped significantly over the nearly 20 years of reading this forum, and usually by recognizing just which side of any argument I found myself relating to less.

    I recognize good, well meaning people believe differently than I do. I also realize that hearts and minds have changed so much on this issue, and it's long past time for BSA to become more inclusive.

    So, there it is... I'm thrilled that Scouting seems close to finally embracing the only obvious solution that's been before us for decades. As I argued in Forbes, the real moral high ground (and, coincidentally the best business decision) in my opinion would have been 13 years ago for the BSA to have immediately announced local option after prevailing in the Supreme Court, and leaving the matter of qualified leaders to local parents.

    That being said... I don't want to discourage any discourse or make anyone feel unwelcome in this, our little virtual campfire, and encourage you all to throw another log into the embers. I don't plan on joining back into this discussion much... carry on.


    The Business Of Scouting And A Crisis Of Our Own Making

    FORBES: - For twenty years following the Supreme Court case, the only obvious answer for Scouting has been to allow local chartering partners and parents to make these morality decisions. Now only time will tell if the business of Boy Scouting will rebound from a two decade old bad business decision.

  • #2
    Oh my, God has come down from the mountain tops and has spoken to us!

    That was an attempt at light hearted humor - not meant to be condescending or cynical.

    Terry, as a moderator, sometimes I feel I shouldn't weigh in on issues as much and let others carry that torch, but usually that feeling fades after awhile. I sure you feel the same sometimes - times ten.

    Thanks for all you've done for this forum for so many years.

    Now, excuse me while I try to hunt down a Forbes article.


    • okccal
      okccal commented
      Editing a comment
      It's sad that good character is now associated with being homosexual, andr accepting homosexuality. Openly homosexual individuals should no more be allowed in Scouting as leaders any more than individuals living together outside of marriage (I'm not talking about just roommates).

      Our society has been so inured to immoral behavior that anything is now accepted. Immoral behavior, even flagrant immoral behavior, is not only tolerated, but accepted as normal. Lying, cheating, infidelity, homosexuality, pornography, sex outside of marriage are all accepted now as okay or even normal. It's our right to do these things. Then, we have the audacity to tell our kids that sexting is bad, that they shouldn't be cheating on tests, they shouldn't spread falsehoods about other kids, they shouldn't bully others. They look at us and think "Who are you to tell me what is good or bad. I'll decide that just like you did".

      Good character used to mean moral behavior! And that morality was not decided by individuals or by groups pushing their agenda/s. It was not decided by decades of entertainment/news media pushing their lowest standards. It was based on standards that were in place from our beginnings as humans. Whether we like it or not, it has been a standard in place in the Bible and most every major religion in the world.

      Not so very long ago living together outside of marriage was not accepted as moral. Now it's normal and accepted. Not very long ago looking at porn, that demeans both men and women, was not accepted as moral. Now it's a matter of freedom of speech, and addiction is rampant. Not so very long ago sex between kids as young as 13 was not accepted. Now "teens will be teens". They're going to have sex, so let's just give then access to birth control, without parents consent or knowledge, up to and including killing their baby in the womb. Not so very long ago many, many behaviors, such as homosexuality, were not accepted as moral behavior. Now it's pretty much accepted by most because "that's the way they were born". (Which is not a scientific fact.)

      Right now, sex between a thirteen year old and an adult is not accepted, unless it's a woman and a boy. Soon, very soon, that will change and our society will say it's okay as long as the child consents. There are organizations already saying they are bring deprived of their rights by man boy love being illegal. Our society now says the individual should define what character/morality is to them. Situational ethics now rules.

      So very, very sad that now Boy Scouts of America are considering jumping on the bandwagon, because of financial and societal pressure. I guess Character no longer counts!

      The more we reject real GOOD/MORAL character, the quicker this country will decline. I will not be jumping on the Immorality Bandwagon!

    • acco40
      acco40 commented
      Editing a comment
      That's the crux of the issue - who gets to define "real GOOD/MORAL character? You? The BSA? The charter organization? My wife won't eat meat during lent on Friday. I will. Some religions accept homosexuality as moral, some do not. The question is if the BSA declares itself to be nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training, why ban individuals based on the religious training of only certain sects?

  • #3
    Terry, very thoughtful, heartfelt and well written article.

    That passage of time has come, and today the Boy Scouts of America have announced theyre finally close to dropping this policy, and returning the choice of leaders and members to the local communities and parents where it always should have remained. That decision may come within a week, or certainly will come some day soon.

    Is this public knowledge or do you have inside information? Also, do you think that was a business decision or a ethical decision on the part of the BSA to drop the policy? Probably a coalition of both is my guess.


    • #4
      Sad to say, but the only thing that your forum seems to value discussing is this divisive issue.

      I joined about two years ago, and rather than be "repelled by the point of view" of those who support the BSA policy, I have been disappointed that the only topic which seems worthy of discussion is whether the BSA should bend to forces that demand they permit openly gay men to volunteer as mentors to post-pubescent youth. I shudder to think who will be eager to step into

      I wish that would have been kept busier with topics that more closely accrue to the program of scouting, rather than whether a gay man has the "right" to volunteer for an organization that does not ask for, nor desire, his service.


      • #5
        Terry, Thank you for all you've done. As for the article, well-written, well-reasoned, and persuasive.


        • #6
          Very well said Terry, in both your post and your excellent article.

          And, as always, thank you for providing this open forum for us.


          • #7
            Terry - thanks for posting.

            Your article and your post cover different related topics, and both are well done. Thanks for your ongoing service to the community.


            • #8
              I agree with Garrison cap above.

              Homosexual activity is gravely immoral. It's damaging to those who do these things.

              It's a sign of grave weakness in the organization to even make this announcement: it means the BSA has lost its compass.

              Scouting loses if the policy changes.


              • #9

                Like many I appreciate the labor of love you've invested into this, even as you do all the things you do for technology education in Chicago.

                I only occasionally come to I&P, most of the time I hang out at other parts of this forum.

                Thank you for this place.

                YIS, John


                • #10
                  Thanks Terry for all you do!

                  Nice to know that our opinions are being heard, by someone in National. Whether in this forum, or elsewhere.. But, now I need to watch my P's & Q's more closely... (Yeah, Right, that will last about a week, before I'm tearing into someone about something again..)


                  • #11
                    The links didn't work for me, but I was able to search on "Howerton" and get there. Thanks for all you do.



                    • #12
                      As far as I know, only RichardB from Irving has had the cojones to come face us mano a mano. I admire him for that.


                      • #13
                        Well said, I am one of those lurkers who doesn't post much, but gathers a lot of good info from the forum. I am thrilled BSA is finally going to follow the Scout Law. Thanks SCOUTER-Terry!


                        • #14
                          Only been a member for a few months, but I have enjoyed this forum. Especially outside of I&P I have expanded my knowledge of Scouting and met some great men and women here.

                          Thank you Terry!


                          • #15
                            I wonder how CO units will identify themselves? Pro-gay or anti-gay? Or will parents just ask around. Could add a new component to "Troop shopping".


                            • packsaddle
                              packsaddle commented
                              Editing a comment
                              For some reason this comment didn't show up in the right place before - maybe a bug? Anyway,
                              Tampa Turtle, around here the model I would use to answer your question is the churches (which would be the CO in some cases). They are loosely known as 'community' churches (as opposed to one conventional flavor or another) or, if they ARE a conventional flavor, they're called 'welcoming congregations'. Both of these designations seem to be code for churches which truly welcome all people including those who are openly gay. So perhaps the modifiers, 'community' or 'welcoming' might be attached to the unit.