Why can't BSA just have a form of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"? I mean, as Scouters we never wear our religion, politics or sexual orientation on our sleeve, so why this need to be "openly gay" in Scouting. I am not "openly heterosexual" when at Scouting events, so why wouldn't don't ask, don't tell work? I think this will open up a whole can of worms which is being covered in another thread. Guys not wanting to tent with a gay scout, harassement, teasing, etc. I mean, we are talking teenage boys here...not the most sensible lot in the world to begin with.
I sort of feel like Dana Carvey doing his "Grumpy Old Man" bit, but somethings are just better left alone and unsaid. We should be focusing on leadership development and teaching these kids outdoor skills. Having openly anything that is not Scouting is a distraction from that mission.
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- Feb 2013
- Apr 2012
- Dec 1999
That is very interesting, AZMike. I think you're correct about the legal challenges and I would think that a 'Reformed BSA' would probably grow and prosper partially BECAUSE of those factors, while the 'Orthodox (read: exclusive) BSA' would become increasingly marginalized. I think Hoover has a good idea, though, that just might work. The effect, essentially, is what is happening anyway.
- Feb 2011
My point was his fear of the hassle and potential expense--warrented or not- leading him to decide that the perception of POTENTIAL of problems was not worth the distraction from his core mission. Which might kill the Troop in any case. Hence the need for clear guidelines from BSA and National CO's for local operators on the issue.
- Sep 2000
I am the former SM of a troop sponsored by a volunteer fire company. The troop closed a few years ago, with no apparent connection to scout membership policies. Most of the families moved to another troop, which had just been chartered by a church, which to my knowledge, has no policy on gays as leaders. I am no lawyer, but I do know a bit about law. A fire company or a public school must operate under whatever state, federal or local law applies regarding discrimination. It does not matter if they are a BSA charter oeganization or not. A religious school or a church is protected by the first amendment, which apparently also covers BSA National. So in my opinion, if BSA adopts a local option religious CO's that retain a no gays policy will be in no additional jeapardy, and secular CO's that are bound by non discrimination laws will be relieved of a degree of risk.
I also think that BSA enjoys a huge reservoir of good will even among its criitics, and people are sometimes reluctant to attempt legal action.
Anyway, I see the local option as a win-win. It need only be as simple as "Scout leaders must be acceptable to the CO".
AZMike, very interesting points. I especially align with the old fashioned thing. I am sort of drawn to the old fashioned and simple things. I don't really live that way, but I sort of long for the simpleness of them.
You said old-fashioned people are less common..... maybe. But maybe the definition of old-fashioned has changed. To us, it frontier skills, lashings, cast iron, or what have you..... but old fashioned to our younger generation just might be 8-bit computer games or "old" technology. To these people, our old-fashioned may just be plain old ancient
- Nov 2004
I don't think that we are in any danger. Our troop is sponsored by a theologically conservative church, but we are in an upscale professional area and more understanding of shades of gray, I suspect. I've started a conversation with the church leadership on the topic and my sense is that the local option is satisfactory. The church still gets to pick the leaders, they should not be any more vulnerable to lawsuits than they are right now over who they pick for Sunday School teachers, and the values of the Scout Law have not changed. In all these respects, really, nothing has changed. Between the church leaders, the Scout leaders, and all the parents, there are well over one hundred adults - and thus far not one has yet expressed any concern to me.
I do not expect any change, and the absolute farthest I'd imagine they could possibly go would be to ask the troop to be sponsored by a "Friends of" organization (or other organization) but would still be able to meet at the church. There are quite a few church members involved in the troop, and the church tends to be responsive to its members.
- Mar 2005
I realize that some sponsors may have concerns about discrimination suits, but as a practical matter, the Dale case established that the BSA (and therefore its COs) is a private organization and may set boundaries on membership. Local option would not change that. Which is not to say there might not be test cases, but those are possible under current BSA rules.
What some of you seem to not understand is that the BSA has been taking membership hits, some very hard since the 1970's because of some of the half baked ideas and changes that have come out of National, and has still survived. At least the CO will have the control on this issue since National is too cowardly to take a stand. You might be surprised how little impact this change will have on an already struggling organization.
For the proscouters at National it is all and only about the money, they need deep pocket corporate sponsors to keep the Summit, HA bases, and the obscenely high salaries at National going.
- Oct 2007
I haven't had any serious converstions with our CO yet. We may continue with the program but our troop will not participate in any council activites. No camp, camporees of FOS campaigns. It really won't matter because BSA will be a mere shadow of itself in ten years, if it exists at all. Does anyone really believe that there will be a massive influx of new members because of this? Look to Scouts in Canada as a reference. As I understand, their membership declined by 50% after they made the decision.
- Mar 2012
The day before the postponement of the decision was announced, we heard from one of our LDS Stakes that they were not going to recharter their units if the decision went to change the policy. That is 35% of our units. Take that for what it is. They are now rechartering but it could all be up in the air again in May.
As far as the LDS is concerned that decision will be and can only be made by the Church President and council in Salt Lake City who governs all LDS stakes nationwide. As NJ stated I doubt as well that there will be a mass signup of gay scouts and scouters if this change goes through. As far as boycotting council events all you will be doing id depriving the boys of the full scouting experience which is a little short sighted and immature if you ask me. What are you afraid of your boys will turn gay or what? I doubt strongly you or the boys will even be able to tell which scouts are gay at big events.
- Oct 2003
Like NJ I'll believe the mass exodus when I see it. There may be a small number of COs that pull out, but most once they understand they are free to continue to discriminate based on sexual orienatation will stay on.
1. Loss of a CO doesn't necessarily mean loss of a unit. In many cases another CO can be found that would support a unit either allowing or not allowing gay members.
2. How many Christian congregations have folded because some other Christian congregations accept gay members?
- Feb 2002
I agree with BadenP and Scoutingagain. I also think there is a lot of misunderstanding "out there" about what the proposed policy actually is. The media focuses on "the Boy Scouts may admit gay members" and a lot of people think it will affect their unit, and the result appears to be that some people are getting ready to stampede out the door, over nothing. (Well, almost nothing.)
I saw a lot of this misunderstanding last week when the subject came up among the adults assembled at our troop meeting. (It was kind of interesting because as far as I know, our troop has never had a "group discussion" of this subject before, or at least in the past 10 years.) Misunderstanding of both the current policy and the prospective future policy was rampant. I tried to clear up the situation, but some people weren't ready to listen. And it wasn't that anyone was really upset -- I think the Scouters in our troop are prepared for our CO to impose an "inclusive" policy if given the opportunity to do so, and nobody is likely to leave over it (though I'm not sure about some of the parents) -- it's more that people think they know the facts and aren't ready to believe otherwise. I would "credit" BSA National, and the haphazard and confusing way they have handled this issue over the years (and especially in the last few weeks) for the widespread misunderstanding of the situation and the proposed change.
Yesterday, 01:25 PM
Editing a comment
Like other posters on this forum, I am having a difficult time understanding the views of the people against the local option. It would seem that the fact that they can run their troop the way they want ought to satisfy them (everyone). But somehow their world view requires that everybody be forced to subscribe to their value system. This is something about conservative thought/philosophy that has puzzled me ever since childhood.
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Just one of many reasons, but the biggest question that comes to my mind at this moment, is how then do the local units differentiate?
Should the gay friendly unit now advertise as such?
Should the heterosexual only unit advertise their stance?
That in itself is counter to what I believe scouting is and should be.
I personally don't want this issue of "orientation" even mentioned to the boys.
It is, plain and simple, inappropriate and out of place in an audience of kids!