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BSA Membership Policy Change Proposal

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  • #16
    A friend of mine in Texas said her Council had the first of three meetings last night on the issue. They invited unit leaders, CCs and CORs. Was attended by 200+ people she said. BSA had national and Council folks present. It was an open forum to discuss the resolution and how units/COs felt. According to her the people there were overwhelmingly against any change in policy. The Council folks revealed that much of the feedback they had received was going that direction too. They are having two more meetings this week to reach the rest of the Council. She was in the "urban" area so the suburbs and rural areas are next. Her take away was that the Council was mostly likely leaning to keep the status quo rather than change anything. I think she said that Council had 7 or 11 votes? Not sure.

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    • #17
      I'm giving serious thought to not pursuing any sort of future for my kids in the BSA if somehow this policy change is voted down. Although I doubt that will happen. But on the off chance it does happen, I think I'll be looking elsewhere to fulfill the aspects of citizenship and the outdoors that I'd like to instill in my kids. I'd even consider starting up a local Baden Powell Service Association unit. Heck, to be honest, I'm considering that regardless of the BSA vote. But I've got some time to think about it, my son is still a few years out from Scouting age, and the vote this month will certainly weigh heavily into any decision I make about which organization I opt to continue my family's Scouting tradition in.

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      • #18
        ...and not just from BSA.

        Comment


        • #19
          Patriots' Path Council here in New Jersey has released a statement on the vote, which I happen to agree with:
          [URL="http://signs-up.ppbsa.org/2013/04/30/executive-board-decision-on-membership-standards/"]http://signs-up.ppbsa.org/2013/04/30/executive-board-decision-on-membership-standards/[/URL="http://signs-up.ppbsa.org/2013/04/30/executive-board-decision-on-membership-standards/"]

          Patriots’ Path Executive Board Statement on National Membership Standards Resolution

          Patriots’ Path Council, BSA continues to support the idea of membership standards that would welcome youth and adult participation regardless of race, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry, disability, or sexual orientation.


          We are disappointed to learn that the resolution proposed by the National Executive committee, to be voted upon at the National Annual Meeting on May 23rd, would continue the policy of excluding gay adults from membership. However, if approved, the proposed national resolution would change the current membership standards and would permit gay youth members to benefit from Scouting. We strongly feel this is a step in the right direction. We have always been guided by the best interests of our youth members. In keeping with that philosophy, we will support the proposed resolution and continue to work toward further change.

          Comment


          • #20
            People people people......

            I asked my PLC their thoughts on it....... To a man they didn't care one way or the other........


            THE BOYS ACTIVE IN THE PROGRAM DON'T CARE.


            This is just more adult generated drama.

            So why not start a BPSA group......Because the only reason the BSA still exists .......The EAGLE. That is the huge reason this is such an issue.

            Our council produced nearly 400 eagles last year......a ridiculously high number.

            Comment


            • #21
              Operationally this will be a nightmare to manage. What happens if the resolution is passed and now a Scout comes out? Do we disclose to the whole troop or keep it a secret? Do we tell the parents of the other Scouts in case they object to having their son sleep in a tent with an openly gay Scout? If we don't disclose to those parents, what liability do the adult leader run into in the event there is an incident?

              Passing this resolution without clearly guidelines on how to uniformly manage such situations leaves us the leaders open to all sorts of liability and political/social issues we are not equipped to handle. It takes the focus off of why were are there in the first place.

              Comment


              • EmberMike
                EmberMike commented
                Editing a comment
                Why would it be an issue? Schools manage it just fine. If a kid comes out to a teacher, that's as far as it goes. The teacher doesn't inform the parents of the other kids in the class. And yet life goes on just fine. Kids still interact, share a gym locker room, go on trips, stay overnight in shared hotel rooms, etc.

                If this issue "takes the focus off of why we are there in the first place" in the BSA, why doesn't it do the same everywhere else?

              • Krampus
                Krampus commented
                Editing a comment
                I'll point out the obvious: BSA is a private membership organization and the liability that adult leaders are exposed to is FAR more than that of a public school. Schools are covered by far more case law and statue than are private organizations.

                I have already heard of units with parents that have demanded that, should the policy go into effect, that their son be "kept away" from any gay Scouts. I have equally heard of other units where parents have said they will leave if the policy is not adopted. So with this polarization as a background, suppose a Scout comes out to a leader and says he wants it kept quiet. Do you tell his parents? What about those parents that don't want their child around a gay Scout (if known)?

                You cannot dismiss this with your school analogy so simply. It is not even remotely the same set of circumstances.

            • #22
              Originally posted by Krampus View Post
              Operationally this will be a nightmare to manage. What happens if the resolution is passed and now a Scout comes out? Do we disclose to the whole troop or keep it a secret? Do we tell the parents of the other Scouts in case they object to having their son sleep in a tent with an openly gay Scout? If we don't disclose to those parents, what liability do the adult leader run into in the event there is an incident? Passing this resolution without clearly guidelines on how to uniformly manage such situations leaves us the leaders open to all sorts of liability and political/social issues we are not equipped to handle. It takes the focus off of why were are there in the first place.
              EmberMike,

              The difference is that in terms of schools we don't have gay students sharing very close living quarters with straight students.

              Comment


              • #23
                Our council has told us that they were allocating their five votes in proportion to how the council board voted: 4 in favor, 1 against.

                Comment


                • #24
                  Krampus, there's nothing that says gays can't be in scouting now, they just can't admit it. So they're already sleeping in close quarters. What does "not avowed" really mean anyway? So a kid knows he's gay, is part of the local gay organization, but denies he's gay. He's not avowed. What an ugly mess.

                  I talked to my DE and it looks like council's South of the Mason Dixon line and East of Texas (including Texas) are voting against, North and East of the Mississippi are voting for (not sure about Florida). The West coast is for. The center of the country is following the red/blue map.

                  Comment


                  • #25
                    Originally posted by MattR View Post
                    Krampus, there's nothing that says gays can't be in scouting now, they just can't admit it. So they're already sleeping in close quarters. What does "not avowed" really mean anyway? So a kid knows he's gay, is part of the local gay organization, but denies he's gay. He's not avowed. What an ugly mess.
                    Oh, I don't disagree at all. We have sort of a don't-ask-don't-tell policy now. I guess those who are against gays are somehow fooling themselves now that gay scouts don't exist and their son is not currently associating with them now. But given that current policy it sort of gives scouters an "out" if you will in that we are not supposed to ask or know if a scout is gay and, if he is, he has to leave. If this new policy goes into place that all changes and rises issues about what scouters should or should not do if they find out a scout is gay.

                    [QUOTE=MattR;n373527
                    I talked to my DE and it looks like council's South of the Mason Dixon line and East of Texas (including Texas) are voting against, North and East of the Mississippi are voting for (not sure about Florida). The West coast is for. The center of the country is following the red/blue map.[/QUOTE]
                    Not sure I follow your geography. Are you saying everything south of PA, north of FL and east of TX are voting against? What I heard from a national employee was the the south (TX, LA, MS, AL, GA, TN, AR, NC, SC, WV) were voting a majority against. Split states in that region were VA and FL. They said OK, KS, NB, ND, SD were split but leaning against.

                    He too characterized it in political map terms but from what I understand the states are weighted much differently. That's about the extent of my knowledge and it is all second hand.

                    Comment


                    • #26
                      The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS) just published a pastoral letter opposing the proposed new policy: http://wmltblog.org/2013/05/boy-scou...hange-matters/

                      Boy Scouts of America: Why the Proposed Policy Change Matters




                      A statement by the Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, President,

                      The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

                      May 16, 2013




                      Western culture is at a crucial moment in history. After 103 years of existence, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) may vote to change drastically its membership policy. For those who may be unaware, the BSA, in recent months, has discussed allowing both gay Scouts and Scout leaders into its organization. Recently, however, the BSA has changed its course. Now the vote will determine only whether to include openly homosexual Scouts as members.



                      LCMS leaders have been carefully monitoring the proposed BSA policy changes. When news of the proposed change was made public, I sent a letter to BSA, imploring its leadership not to make the proposed policy change. And even though the initial proposal to focus on Scout leaders has been shelved, I believe the current proposal still has unknown implications for the future of BSA as well as LCMS support and involvement. The proposed change will highlight sexuality, which has not been and should not be a matter of focus for Scouts. I suspect it will make it more challenging to care for young people struggling with same-sex attraction and perhaps open our churches to legal action.



                      This vote matters to the LCMS. The proposed change in BSA policy on values and membership to include openly homosexual Scouts adversely affects, even supersedes, the authority of the local pastor and congregation by allowing and promoting a moral position that we as LCMS Lutherans believe is against the will of God and in opposition to Holy Scripture.



                      This vote matters because, if enacted, the proposed change to BSA policy on values and membership will cause a crisis of conscience for our church leaders, pastors, parents and congregations. Even if the decision of values and membership remains at the local level, Scouts from troops sponsored by congregations of the LCMS will be affected because, as part of the scouting program, they also participate at regional and national scouting activities.



                      This vote matters because, for more than a century, scouting has sought to uphold moral values at a level greater than that of general society. The capitulation now to societal pressures would mar the long and honorable history of the Boy Scouts to honor the natural law of God, which at least for now, is still reflected in the current scouting membership policy.



                      For these reasons, I and some 25 other Protestant church leaders have signed onto a statement, copied below, that implores BSA not to change its policy, noting that, “In our current culture, it’s more important than ever for our churches to protect and provide moral nurture for young people and for the Scouts.” The statement will be released in conjunction with its delivery to the BSA office and before the organization’s vote, which will take place May 24.



                      I share this with you today because it is difficult to know which of our LCMS BSA members will be part of the 1,400 members who will vote on the policy change later this month. I am hopeful that all of you will share this information with those in your congregation who are involved with BSA and even those in your community who will cast votes later this month.



                      As the church awaits the BSA vote, we still have much to do. We repent, and we pray. We confess Christ and elevate marriage among us. We do what the church does best: We bear witness to Christ, show mercy to those in our midst — including those challenged by same-sex attraction — and care for all in our life together.



                      Pastor Matthew C. Harrison



                      President, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod



                      Statement



                      We strongly support the Boy Scouts of America current prohibition on open homosexuality and retaining it without revision. Nearly 70 percent of BSA troops are hosted by churches and religious institutions. Upholding traditional morality is vital for sustaining this partnership, for protecting Scout members, and for ensuring BSA has a strong future. A proposal from the BSA board to prohibit “discrimination” based on “sexual orientation or preference” for BSA members potentially would open the Scouts to a wide range of open sexual expressions. In our current culture, it’s more important than ever for our churches to protect and provide moral nurture for young people and for the Scouts. We implore members of the upcoming BSA Council to affirm the BSA’s present policy, which the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed, and which has served BSA well.






                      Bishop David C. Anderson, Sr.



                      President, American Anglican Council






                      Sara L. Anderson



                      Executive Vice President



                      Bristol House, Ltd. (United Methodist)






                      The Rev. Canon Phil Ashey



                      Chief Operating & Development Officer



                      American Anglican Council






                      Dr. Robert D. Benne (Lutheran)



                      Jordan Trexler Professor Emeritus



                      and Research Associate



                      Religion and Philosophy, Roanoke College






                      Dr. Robert H. Blackburn



                      Past Chairman, National Association of Covenanting Congregations






                      The Rev. John Bradosky, Bishop



                      The North American Lutheran Church






                      Pastor Mark C. Chavez



                      General Secretary, North American Lutheran Church






                      The Rev. Sue Cyre



                      Executive Director of Presbyterians for Faith, Family and Ministry (PFFM)






                      The Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison



                      President, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod






                      Doug Harvey, Executive Director



                      Disciple Heritage Fellowship






                      The Rev. Charles Huckaby



                      Dean, Western Classis of the Calvin Synod Conference United Church of Christ Term 2010– 2013






                      Dr. Jeffrey Jeremiah



                      Stated Clerk



                      Evangelical Presbyterian Church






                      John Lomperis



                      Director, United Methodist Action






                      Alex McFarland



                      Director for Christian Worldview and Apologetics






                      Senator Patricia Miller



                      Executive Director, Confessing Movement (United Methodist)






                      Bob Morrison



                      Secretary, REVIVE! (Iowa United Methodist renewal)






                      The Rev. Dr. Mary Holder Naegeli



                      Minister-at-Large, San Francisco Presbytery; Moderator of the Presbyterian Coalition






                      Rev. Kevin C. Rudolph



                      National Covenant Association of Churches



                      Windwood Presbyterian Church



                      Houston, TX






                      The Rev. Dr. Frederick J. Schumacher



                      Executive Director, American Lutheran Publicity Bureau






                      The Rev. W. Stevens Shipman



                      Director, Lutheran Coalition for Renewal






                      The Rev. Paul Stallsworth



                      President, Taskforce of United Methodists on Abortion and Sexuality






                      David M. Stanley



                      Director, Institute on Religion and Democracy



                      Chairman, United Methodist Action Steering Committee



                      Co-Chair, REVIVE! (Iowa United Methodist renewal)






                      Bishop Ray Sutton



                      Ecumenical Officer, Anglican Church in North America






                      Mark Tooley



                      President, Institute on Religion & Democracy






                      The Rev. Dr. David Wendel, Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism



                      The North American Lutheran Church






                      Dr. George O. Wood



                      General Superintendent



                      General Council of the Assemblies of God








                      Comment


                      • packsaddle
                        packsaddle commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Anyone want to guess at how many times "Western culture" has been "at a crucial moment in history"?
                        And because of a BSA membership policy?
                        Gimme a break.

                      • Kahuna
                        Kahuna commented
                        Editing a comment
                        And it's a meaningful surprise that the Missouri Synod would take this stance?

                    • #27
                      I spoke with a friend Thursday who is active with a troop in California. He has been told by his CO's rep that if the resolution passes, the congregation will no longer be able to be a CO. He is worried that many other troops in his council will be left adrift if the resolution results in religious CO's rejecting the relationship with the BSA, and that will also lead to the scouts who are members of the CO church leaving the troop in solidarity with their church and their religious faith (which understandably have a stronger hold on their loyalties than the BSA), and he is further concerned that the fact that the BSA still will not allow LGBT adult membership means that the schools, civic organizations, and military units who have to follow corporate or government policies on LGBT "inclusion" will not be willing or able to step up to offer to be COs for the unchartered troops.

                      We may devolve into a movement of Lone Scouts.


                      Comment


                      • #28
                        Originally posted by AZMike View Post
                        I spoke with a friend . . . he is further concerned that the fact that the BSA still will not allow LGBT adult membership means that the schools, civic organizations, and military units who have to follow corporate or government policies on LGBT "inclusion" will not be willing or able to step up to offer to be COs for the unchartered troops.
                        You won't get (public) school or military units until atheists can join. It's not rocket science.

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