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  • Help me understand your point of view

    Several posts on here have mentioned that if (when) national lifts the ban on openly gay individuals being Scouts and Scouters, they and/or their unit/Chartered Org will be leaving BSA. This action confuses me to no end. The changes made on a piece of paper in Irving Tx will have little to no impact on the program that I run here in New Hampshire. I feel that inclusiveness, especially when coupled with local choice is the best possible option for the National organization.
    My confusion lies in three basic questions:
    1. How does this in any way affect the program and unit that you currently have?

    2. How does having gay Scouts or Leaders at camp change anything regarding Youth Protection or the issues currently faced with the mixture of male and females at Scout functions?

    2. Are you really homophobic enough to take your son out of the wonderful program that is Scouting because there MAY be a gay Scout or Scouter in the Troop three towns over? (and just to let you know, they are already there)

  • #2
    Starting to see the difference between the normal religious person and a bible Thumper??

    Well not being of this group, I can't really speak for them, but this is my perspective.

    First, there have been a few in this forum who have time and time again stated that they could not understand why those of us who wanted the change, stayed and argued the cause.. They would say something like "Go, start your own scouting group, Why stay if you disagree?"..

    For those who told us to leave, and now are planning to leave if changes are now not what they like, you have to give them credit.. We didn't understand their point of view that said we should leave, but they did.. So, now if things go against their viewpoints they will follow their own advice..

    Many people did leave or never joined, due to the current policy.. Those who wanted change, but did not see it benificial to fight from the outside, or felt the good parts of BSA outweighed their faults.. We still can't see that point of view.. So, leaving just doesn't make sense.. That is the group you fall in PChadbo.

    Comment


    • #3
      pc, Although I'm of the ilk who think that constraining one's sexual persuasions is good for soul and body, I'm fairly neutral about the national BSA pronouncement. Mainly, because I was a scout before the explicit ban and there were plenty of other forms of expression efficiently chipping away at our collective morality.

      Frankly, when harm was done to my units, it came from backbiters and gossipers. (You know, the "we need to pray for so-and-so" types.) I would have been been better served by a national ban on those folks.

      I think the local option will not be satisfactory. Parties on both sides want the BSA to be a conduit for disseminating their practice of morality. The anti-homosexual movement had their way for a few decades (longer than Cromwell's parliament -- to their credit), now that the pendulum is swinging the other way they probably fear that if they exclude a nice homosexual couple, other CO's will push for a national non-discrimination statement on the aggrieved party's behalf.

      It would be nice if they could do it quietly, however. As my SPL put it: "I'm just sick of hearing about it. All I want to do is hike and camp."(This message has been edited by qwazse)

      Comment


      • #4
        Pc I have know a number of gay scouter for most of my adult scouting career. The only thing this does for me is remove the worry that someone with an ax to grind can't use this against me or the gay scouter.


        I have said it before, the gay scouters I know are much better people than the bible thumping drive by parents.

        I say let them go.....

        Local option.

        I will say that I will have a problem if guys start showing up to flags in drag.....but we already have guys insisting on wearing kilts.....so??????????

        Didn't the LDS just take the stand on gays, Hate the sin not the sinner?????

        Comment


        • #5
          Yah, pchadbo, I'll try, eh?

          If you're from a religious Chartered Organization, your purpose for opting to take on da liability and headache of running a BSA program is to teach young people a set of values that match the mission of your organization. While the outdoors and leadership bits are nice and fun and traditional, the goal is one of raising values-centered young men. That's why our churches are involved. That's why many of us give our time.

          The way boys learn is not by bein' lectured to, it's not by memorizing, it's not by public policy statements. It's by watching and doing. So da absolutely most important component of the scouting program is providing an environment of caring, centered adult leaders who by their word and lived example teach what we want to teach. Because our fundamental reason for doin' this is to teach those values, and the only way to do it well is by example. To have adult leaders who the boys are taught to trust and respect who by their word and example undermine those values in important ways undermines our primary mission. Doesn't matter if it's da pair of leaders in the site next door; the lads are watching.

          Now for my part I appreciate da arguments about citizenship, eh? In a pluralistic society, we have citizens of all stripes, and they all deserve respect and compassion. Our churches and Scouting have always taught that, though. LGBT folks are fellow citizens who deserve our compassion and respect, our prayers and love and support.

          I also appreciate da arguments about gay scouts. Despite ScouterTerry's unfortunately misinformed Forbes article, almost none of us would ever remove a boy from scouting who was struggling with homosexuality. We would be there for the boy and his family, with counseling and friendship. Da BSA policy has always been focused exclusively at adult leadership, not on youth. In adults we want da sort of folks who teach the values we believe in by example.

          Now pchadbo's questions are a bit loaded from one side, but since folks find me confusin' I'll try some direct answers as well.

          1. At this point, I have no idea how it will affect our area programs. I believe da net result over time will be a continued steady decline of membership. In da shorter term we may see some big displacements, though, and I expect a substantial loss of contributions. No realistic assessment would suggest that da folks who are happy with the change are goin' to change those net losses. I expect it ensures that we will see more council consolidations and closed camps.

          2. It probably doesn't, though we have a lot more college-aged young adult males around male youth than we have females around, old or young, eh? So da real risks have always been of boy-on-boy and young-men-on-boy, particularly at camp. There are some complex issues, though, in terms of things like tenting arrangements, that would need careful thought. It's not appropriate for a boy and girl (presumed to be straight) to be in da same tent, or for an unmarried man and woman to share a tent. Is it appropriate for a gay boy to share a tent with another boy? Two gay male adults to share a tent? If a straight boy doesn't want to share a tent with a gay boy, is that a disciplinary matter for not treatin' a fellow scout equally? Or is it a YP matter? How about for da adult? These sorts of things will get pretty muddled and need to be thought through.

          3. "Homophobic" is an offensive term that shows a lack of courtesy and reverence. No one is pathologically afraid of gay men or lesbians. Lots of people have principled religious or natural law stances on the morality of certain behaviors. There are lots of families who don't let their young boy scout go to PG-13 movies, eh? Just because they want to give their child the opportunity to grow up in an environment without undue exposure to violence or bad language or sexual issues or innuendos durin' their formative years. Surely it's understandable if they want the same sort of protection in the far more impressionable real life world of Scouting.

          Beavah

          Comment


          • #6
            Moose, qwazse, and BD,
            Thank you for you responses but I am looking for enlightenment from "the other side" as to why they will be running and screaming away from BSA due to a piece of paper in Texas.
            not to call people out, but I am looking for responses from those like: ASM59, airborneveteran, Jeffrey H and raisinemright
            why would you leave? What has so catastrophically changed by a piece of paper that still allows you to run your unit EXACTLY THE SAME WAY??

            Comment


            • #7
              I want to respond before I read any other replies as I want this to be from the heart.

              1. One of the things we really try to teach the young men in our unit is to not compromise their core values because of pressure. A living example of that: we have had boys bullied because they are in scouts rather than sports, particularly those in high school. They aren't called "gay". They are called "goody two shoes" and the equivalent, because they don't bully others, they are respectful to adults and other youth, they are conscientious about doing their school work, chores, etc. We spent a great deal of time talking about how it wouldn't matter if they were in scouts or not, they would still be the person they were being made fun of for being, as to change to please the masses would simply backfire - those people would continually pressure them to compromise until who they are gets totally lost. In order to successfully teach youth not to cave to peer pressure then we as adults must do the same. IMO, that is exactly what BSA is doing right now.

              2. This is two different questions, so I will answer them differently. Scouts first. We don't house boys and girls in the same tents because - well, most of the time boys and girls have an attraction to the opposite sex. We do not put our young people into the most intimate position possible - sleeping quarters and/or asleep - and subject them to the possibility of being abused by the other. We also all know that an 11 year old or an 18 year old do not have the reasoning abilities - the simple brain development - to think through consequences. It is an incredibly experimental age. So, how is putting a young man who openly states he is attracted to other young men in that setting any different? And many young people (and adults) find the idea that someone of the same sex finds them attractive in that way rather repulsive. And, many of yes (yes, many) are teaching our children about sexual purity and the virtues of waiting until they are married. I wonder how much abstinence is taught in the homosexual community? (I don't expect you to address that question.)

              That said, I would also deprive a boy of the scouting experience. Gay boys will/are/would be expected to operate by the same guidelines as any boy - sex is not the topic de jour and acting out sexually will get you sent home packing pronto. What we may end up doing is going to individual tents, however.

              Adults - that is difficult. I do not want to discourage anyone from helping with the unit. However, I do want people who share my core values teaching/mentoring my child. Yes, there are things he can learn from all people that has nothing to do with sexual orientation. However, when that adult makes their orientation an issue then that pushes that front and center.

              3. Have you quite beating your wife so that your kids get the benefit of a loving home? What the heck kind of question is that? Certainly not one that is inviting honest dialogue. I am not homophobic, whether you want to believe it or not. You don't get to determine reality for me. Sorry. I do believe I answer to a much higher power than you and conduct myself accordingly.

              Dang, I should have read all the way through YOUR post before I gave it the time and effort to attempt to address your questions honestly to see if that was really what you were after. :-((This message has been edited by MomToEli)

              Comment


              • #8
                Beavah, you said that so much better than I did - and you said exactly what I was trying to.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Beavah,
                  Thank you for your well thought out and presented ideas, I truly appreciate them and am educated by them. This was what my sometimes dense skull would not wrap around.

                  I understand the point about us adult being the role models for the youth, but that does not change from what we have today, several threads have been dedicated to inappropriate PDA of the male/female type and would apply equally to male/male or female/female, the Scout event isn't the place for games of tonsil hockey, regardless of the gender(s) involved.

                  "It's not appropriate for a boy and girl (presumed to be straight) to be in da same tent, or for an unmarried man and woman to share a tent. Is it appropriate for a gay boy to share a tent with another boy?"
                  Are both parties agreeable. . . ok. Are they a "couple"? Treat 'em as unmarried couple that they are, no tenting together

                  "Two gay male adults to share a tent?" see above, if they are married, do as you would with a married hetero couple.

                  "If a straight boy doesn't want to share a tent with a gay boy, is that a disciplinary matter for not treatin' a fellow scout equally?" Yeah, would not want to be the Scoutmaster for that conversation but I wouldn't think it would be much different that the boy who does not want to tent with Johnny because he has bad body odor.

                  I also get the point of the sheltering environment of Scouting but we parents can also use those situations as teachable moments for the young 'uns.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    MomToEli,
                    I appreciate your honesty and candor and truly respect and, quite frankly, agree with most of your positions, however, we are dealing with two seperate questions that I did not make quite clear enough. You have addressed the second: what would you do with a gay person in your Unit. The question I am asking though is not the hypothetical "if you had a gay leader. . ." question it is why would you leave simply because BSA National no longer bans all gays?
                    I understand and respect your answers and this could begin to be a serious YP issue, but that is a bridge for another day.
                    So I restate: why would you leave simply because BSA National no longer bans all gays?

                    Comment


                    • Woapalanne
                      Woapalanne commented
                      Editing a comment
                      " why would you leave simply because BSA National no longer bans all gays? " Because I believe that the Scout Oath means something. I took that oath many years ago, and I have never seen anything indicating that it had an expiration date. (Same with another one I took a few years later.)

                  • #11
                    PC - I thought I did address that in point #1 - sorry. I will try to say it a different way.

                    For National to make policy changes/compromises based on peer pressure does not set the example that re-enforces what I am teaching my own son, nor the boys in our troop for that matter. I teach them that right and wrong are not simply matters of majority vote, popular opinion or found in the quest to necessarily get along. I want my son to be a man of conviction. National is now undermining that teaching. We joined an organization that supported our values and they are choosing not only to depart from that, but to do so for all of the wrong reasons.

                    Is there ever room for dialogue about right and wrong? To a degree, depending on what defines right and wrong in the first place. For me and my household that standard is established by God and laid out in the Bible (the Christian - cannonized - Bible specifically). That is not open for debate for me. I will stand and fall - die on the or by the sword - on that standard. That is me. Can there be conversations about interpretation? Absolutely - and that is where there is room for compromise and changing opinions. For the BSA, I would have preferred they have a change of heart based on conversations with someone other than the money sources. I feel like they have been bought and sold out. At least then I could disagree with them on principle. Instead all I see is a group of men who value money more than honor. There is a whole lot of that going on these days. That is not the example I want for my young man. I am raising him to be willing to risk standing alone if need be. Many men of God have done just that through the centuries.

                    My allegiance is not to the BSA. It is to a set of values that it has supported. The BSA is a tool that, in the form it existed when we joined, supported what we are teaching our child. The day may well be coming that it will support someone else's values and we need to find a different tool. Honestly, other than the rank of Eagle, which in the past has meant a great deal, there is little that can not be accomplished in a little different setting.

                    Does that make sense?

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Here's where I am right now.
                      Prior to this upcoming weekend, because I'm a member of the BSA I feel labeled as an anti-gay bigot (previous thread here) or homphobic. I am neither.
                      After this weekend, because I'm a member of the BSA I will be labeled as pro-gay. I'm not that either.
                      I think that corporations (contributors), chartered orgs, churches, etc might not be interested in supporting an anti-gay organization. I also think that other corporations will not wish to support an organization known to be pro-gay.
                      The labeling by the press is what's going to damage us the most. We have an image or branding issue (always have). The name calling does us no good, especially when it's from our own people.
                      I think that some may choose to hang it up, rather than supporting a pro-gay organization. I get that, but it's due to the name calling. Ultimately, I don't think much will change ... just the labels. What caused Eagles to turn in badges will now cause the headache of retro-active Eagle-wannabes trying to get what had been denied. It's going to be a mess. I hope it gets defined quickly and carefully (I think it will). Sure would be nice if this could be handled outside the view of the press, who are chomping at the bit to write a sensational story for the front page. I'm embarrassed by it, but I'll live.
                      Respectfully, BDPT00
                      (not pro-gay nor anti-gay, so don't slap a label on me)

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        I don't think pro-gay is an organization that lets your unit decide for themselves. Pro-gay is an organization telling you that you must accept gays, or change the program to accomidate gays.

                        MomToEli - If your unit makes the choice not to accept gay leaders or scouts, would this not teach by example of standing up for your principles and values and regardless of peer-pressure?.. Do you think your CO will tell you that your unit has to now accept homosexual adult leaders if they are acceptable as a leader in every other way.. Should your son quit his karate class if they allow in a homosexual student? Quit his school if they allow a club for gay youth? In the future quit his job because they have an equal hiring practice? How do you teach him to stand for his values even if pressured by others, if what you do is run away from any pressure, and live in a bubble of safety? No one is forcing your unit to change, unless your CO does..

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          I don't think you can demand answers from "the other side" be strarting
                          Questions with the phrase, "Are you really homophobic enough..."

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            It is very difficult to reconcile the two major perspectives involved here. There are those who believe God has decreed that homosexuality is a sin and that someone who is openly gay is a person of poor character who should not be in a position of leading youth. (At least, that is how I have always understood the main justification for the BSA's current policy.) And there are others (including me) who don't believe that, but who instead believe that it is wrong to discriminate against people simply because they are openly gay. Some of the latter group (including me) believe that such discrimination goes against the true values of the BSA. There may be other beliefs on the spectrum that don't line up completely with these descriptions, but I think these are the the main perspectives. The position of the BSA national leadership, up until now, has been that they will accommodate only the first of these perspectives. Now they may be in the process of deciding that both perspectives have a place in the BSA, and the only way to accomplish that is to leave the leadership decisions to the local level, which is where 99 percent of those decisions were being made already. I think this would be the correct decision. If that causes some people to leave the BSA because they believe the BSA is "endorsing" conduct that they find sinful, or for any other reason, I'm sorry about that, but it doesn't change the fact that I believe the policy should be changed to "local option."

                            As for money influencing the decision... well, there are those of us who believe that money had some role in keeping the current policy in place. For me, the motivations of the BSA leadership in making this change (if they actually do make it) are secondary. I would prefer that they do the right thing for the right reasons, but if they do the right thing for partially-wrong reasons, at least that's better than doing the wrong thing for the wrong reasons. "Right" and "wrong" being, of course, matters of perspective.

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