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Why there is no turning back on changing membership standards...

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  • Why there is no turning back on changing membership standards...

    OK, so anyone who's been on here or has read a post by me knows my stance on the upcoming membership policy vote... I would like to offer a voice for WHY the horse is already out of the barn and down the road while us scouters are left looking to hitch the wagon up...

    1) Morally speaking - its the RIGHT / CORRECT thing to do. This above all else should be the driving factor in the decision making process. I am not gay, I do not condone the lifestyle. I personally think there are serious problems folks in a same-sex relationship bring / force on their children that would not be there if they were not in a same-sex relationship. I'm not sure that I'd go far enough to say its against God's will. I know its against the teachings of the God I believe in. Not sure for other Christian faiths. Not sure for other non-Christian faiths. Pretty sure its not my place to judge that. I know MY God says that judging someone is just as bad, if not worse as being gay.

    I know gay people. My kids have friends whose parents are gay. I'm quite certain my kids have teachers at school that are gay. I know for a fact there are people, good, loving, honest people (both gay and straight) that have either not enrolled or pulled their kid from scouting in my imediate unit area because of the membership issue. Some because they don't agree with the current policy. Some because they just don't want to associate with an organization that can't seem to stay away from such a lightening rod issue. I personally know a gay female couple, who have a son that would benefit greatly from the scouting program... they won't let him near it, for obvious reasons. Even if they were OK without being allowed to be leaders, why would they put their son in a position to be called out / cast out / bullied because of his mothers' living situation. we would NEVER think to allow this in BSA for a single parent kid, or a black kid, or a bi-racial kid... but a gay kid, or a kid with gay parents.... it OK ?!?!

    Tolerance and inclusion does NOT equate to endorsement. There are kids / families right now in scouts (some in my unit), that I don't personally AGREE with how they live their life. I don't agree with their religion, or how they vote, or in some instances how they interpret the BSA rank achievements or the Scout Law. The idea of "morally straight" and "reverent" is an internal convenent to do your best to hold yourself to your personal and family standard. Its not my place to judge others, nor theirs to judge mine.

    We can have opposing views on this and still live, work, and scout together! That is what we as leaders should be teaching our youth!

    2) The kids DO NOT CARE !!! Even national's surveys have figured this part out. For most in the younger generation. This is a non issue. So, the question for OUR generation is: do we want to be the ones to progress the BSA into new life? or do we want to be the generation that our kids LAUGH at for being so overcome and frightened that we could not act on this issue? I laugh at my father when he tells me about the "controversy" of having the first black kid ever in his scout unit.... same crap we see today... some parents threatened to leave the BSA. Some were fine with the black scout just so long as my son isn't forced to tent / shower / swim / bunk / (insert activity here) with him. It looks so STUPID to me today. Much as I guess we will look stupid to our sons once they have youth of their own in the program.

    3) Not changing has already SOILED the honor of scouts way more than changing the policy ever could. We talk alot about tradition. Good moral character. My favorite - "core values". Well those "core values" have ALWAYS and will always be defined by the norms of society as a whole. Acceptance of gays is increasing, not decreasing. Unless there is some type of gay Jihad or something unleashed upon the USA, I don't see this groundswell changing course. What does this have to do with the HONOR in scouting, you ask? Well...

    Not long ago, and hopefully still to this day.... being a scout and achieving the rank or EAGLE meant something. It meant you were a certain type of individual. You accomplished something special. Now, and if not already, very soon... it will mean something different. It will mean you are a bigot, you are unable to change, inflexable. Currently and in the past... a record of scouting was something you put on a college application, a job application / your Eagle goes on your resume. I only hope I can advise my son to do the same if / when he makes that rank. I don't know if we can say that anymore. Do you dare put that down for fear you do not KNOW the stance of the college admissions counselor who will read your application? How about that job interview? What if your potential new boss is gay? Kiss that opportunity goodbye.

    Without changing the current membership policy - we the adults - DILUTE the achievements of the youth we serve !! We refuse to change, in a generation or two an Eagle award may be held in the same regard as the "stars and bars" of the south or worse yet a swastika.... relagated to the ash-heap of history that demonizes and makes taboo those symbols that represent intolerance / bigotry / hatered in the world.

    I don't ever want to see that happen. The question is, does the national leadership of OUR organization want to lead into the future or let the organization die out?

  • #2
    Originally posted by DeanRx View Post
    Do you dare put that down for fear you do not KNOW the stance of the college admissions counselor who will read your application?
    Unfortunately, that may have already happened. At my last college reunion, I was with a group of alums and university folks, one of which worked in the admissions office. She said that mentioning you were an Eagle Scout on the application was a negative because of the association with bigotry. She recommended leaving any reference to the BSA off any application. Very sad. I didn't follow up, so I don't know if she was just giving her personal opinion, or the official opinion of the admissions office.

    Comment


    • #3
      I have heard also that the scouting rank in some colleges and job applications is becoming a negative. I suppose it depends on the company.. I am sure you will get a welcome for a job at chik-fil-a or HobbyLobby, or any college with a catholic affiliation.. It is just the fortune 500 companies and non-religious colleges you will have a difficult time with.. What a shame.

      Comment


      • #4
        Many parents now see the sum total worth of camping is in getting that Eagle Badge so you can put in on your college applications. I think it is far more than that. Dean, I know you don't feel that either.

        What if the admissions director is a radical feminist who hates the Boy Scouts because they don't let in girls (excuse me: Wimmyn) into the organization? We better start admitting girls.

        What if the admissions director is a Jehovah's Witness who doesn't like the Boy Scouts because we say the Pledge of Allegiance? Better stop doing that at meetings.

        What if the admissions director is an atheist who doesn't like the Boy Scouts because they don't admit atheists and because he likes to refer to "Sky daddy" and "the Flying Spaghetti Monster"? Better drop that requirement and all mention of God.

        What if the admissions director is a Marxist who despises the Boy Scouts because they advocate patriotism and love of country? Better add a line about "the class struggle" to the Scout Oath.

        What if the admissions director is a pederast who got turned down for an adult leadership position 5 years ago? Better drop the requirement for a background check.

        What if the admissions director is a cloet racist who doesn't like the fact that the Boy Scouts admit all races? Better stop all this race-mixing.

        When you start trimming your moral fabric to fit the fashions of the time, you are inevitably going to left with a pretty small garment. Best to advocate for what you think is moral and right, and let the chips fall where they may. Don't concern yourself with whether you are going to be popular.


        Comment


        • #5
          AZMike, I agree.. We should return to our time honored values pre-the 1990's.. When we were more welcoming to all, and get rid of this new fangled non-sense of the last 13 years...

          Comment


          • #6
            I meant 23 years.. I would have edited that, but sometimes you can edit, and sometimes you can't without adding a title that they won't let you type in, but you can't edit without typing in a title..

            Comment


            • AZMike
              AZMike commented
              Editing a comment
              When I read what you wrote, I think historical revisionism just leaned back and did a back-flip. The new paradigm for the Scouting For All movement seems to be that there was a warm Golden Age of Homosexual Acceptance in the Boy Scouts until the 1990s, when them evil Neocons and bible-thumpin' Religious Right members came and ruined everything for the wonderfully progressive and inclusive Boy Scout movement. Did you all just slip in from some alternative history parallel world timeline, or what?

              From National Headquarters, 1978: "Q. May an individual who openly declares himself to be a homosexual be a volunteer Scout leader? A. No. The Boy Scouts of America is a private, membership organization and leadership therein is a privilege and not a right. We do not believe that homosexuality and leadership in Scouting are appropriate. We will continue to select only those who in our judgment meet our standards and qualifications for leadership. Q. May an individual who openly declares himself to be a homosexual be a registered unit member? A. No. As the Boy Scouts of America is a private, membership organization, participation in the program is a privilege and not a right. We do not feel that membership of such individuals is in the best interests of Scouting."

          • #7
            My boys didn't join the BSA to pad a resumé or impress a college admissions officer. I didn't volunteer to be a Den Leader and Scoutmaster for those reasons either. Personally, I don't care that much what others feel about the BSA. Both of my boys earned the Eagle Rank/Award but neither wear it on their sleeve so to speak.

            In there eyes, they did it because it was fun and maybe a touch because they knew it made mom & dad proud. :-)

            Comment


            • #8
              Very good post DeanRx, you've put things in prospective in a very efficient manner.

              Comment


              • #9
                Well, it's a statement in a dustbin that was never endorsed and made public until the 1990's..

                No one followed it. If they did, the BSA would have not made George Takei a spokes person for the BSA in 1985, nor allowed him to be an assistant SM.. Nor, given George Takei's view on people who discriminate, would he have been associated with the BSA, let alone be a spokesperson endorsing the program.. George Takei being gay was a well known fact among the Star trek fans since the 1970's and with anyone who was a personal friend.. Some non-star trek fans may have been shocked when he stated it more publically in 2005, but his sexual orientation was public enough before then with anyone who knew (or followed his career) closely.

                The majority of BSA did not know of the existance of that paper until 1990, and therefore it was not followed or enforced.. Even by people high up enough in the organization who scrutinize over who their spokesperson should be..

                If a tree falls in the woods, but no one is around to hear it. Does it make a sound??

                Comment


                • moosetracker
                  moosetracker commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Well if all the homosexuals had to worry about was becoming a high profile star with a high profile agenda to speak out in favor of Gay rights, and broadcast their orientation in magazines and on TV, very few homosexuals would have little to worry about because the majority of them run a very low profile life with their significant other, otherwise going to work, raising kids and doing average normal things all of us straight or not enjoy doing..

                  What we are saying is it does not have to go as high as national to get kicked out.. It does not need to be so obvious a total stranger at council reads about it, or sees you on TV.. All it takes is an uptight conservative ratting you out, because he heard it from Joe, who heard it from Pete, who heard it from Sam.. No way was Takei well known in the hollywood circles and in groups that went to star trek conventions, and it did not reach the ear of one or two up-tight conservatives... Why wasn't it reported?.. Because it was not public policy.. It was simply a statement from some executive at National that was written up and then never left the drawer of his desk after that..

                  You can not state BSA was excluding gays since this paper was written in 1978, because a paper never put into effect until the 1990's is not a policy at all, it is a piece of paper and that is it..

                  If Takei was marching in Gay parades or speaking for gay rights on TV, etc.. BSA may have not have chosen him to be spokes person, same as at the time they might not have chosen Hugh hefner to be a spokes person.. But, they were fine with him as long as he ran his private life privately..

                  The point is someone who was in the know, who have thier panties bunched too tight would have squealed on him to his council, to National, and to everyone else who would listen, had the policy been enforced in the 70's and the 80's..

                • packsaddle
                  packsaddle commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Man you are sure right about that! So much for out-of-touch-with-youth leadership in Texas. It wouldn't have taken much effort on the part of any of their PR people to fill them in on things that were relevant to the times back then. In this case, either they knew and didn't worry about it, or they didn't listen to their PR people, or else they just didn't think to look into it in the first place. Which of those is the good thing?
                  But I'm OK with it. Their lack of awareness has provided one more wonderful irony for the stupid membership policy.

                • Peregrinator
                  Peregrinator commented
                  Editing a comment
                  "George Takei came out of the closet in 1995" ... actually, it wasn't until 2005. I guess those to whom Takei's sexuality was an open secret were disappointed when he did not speak out against the Dale decision.

              • #10
                There's plenty of irony... When the Dale case was heading to the supreme court, Boy's Life had an article on Langston Hughes (around January of 1999) about how he successfully ended segregated seating in his classroom at age 12. So while the BSA was arguing that gays were not good role models, they had a story about a gay man as a good role model.

                I pointed out in this forum that at least one of the 20 subcamps named after living explorers in the 2005 Jamboree was an outspoken atheist (James D. Watson).

                Comment


                • packsaddle
                  packsaddle commented
                  Editing a comment
                  As BSA incorporates STEM into the program, that is a minefield they'll have to tread through very carefully.

                • Peregrinator
                  Peregrinator commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Where can one find out more about Langston Hughes' supposed homosexuality? Scholarly articles and the like, I mean.

                  As far as Watson is concerned, do you think that the BSA's naming of a subcamp after him indicates some sort of approval or even tolerance for his views? Because he's said quite a few strange and/or silly things that the BSA would probably not want to be associated with.

                • packsaddle
                  packsaddle commented
                  Editing a comment
                  That's for sure about Watson. He didn't hold back one bit. Gotta admire him for that as well as his intellect, not so much for the way he and Crick treated Franklin. Science isn't immune to jerks.

              • #11
                Originally posted by Peregrinator View Post
                Where can one find out more about Langston Hughes' supposed homosexuality? Scholarly articles and the like, I mean. As far as Watson is concerned, do you think that the BSA's naming of a subcamp after him indicates some sort of approval or even tolerance for his views? Because he's said quite a few strange and/or silly things that the BSA would probably not want to be associated with.
                Why would someone write a "scholarly" article about a particular person's sexual orientation? Sounds to me like you're just trying to construct impossible-to-meet requirements.

                As for Watson, the BSA did write this:


                The 2005 jamboree subcamps are being named after great modern-day American explorers. All of the


                explorers are members of the Explorers Club in New York City, and many of them have been Scouts.


                Their accomplishments and achievements are an example for our Scouts of what is possible when you


                dedicate yourself to the pursuit of expanding mankind's knowledge and the quest to go where others


                have not yet gone.


                Certainly doesn't sound like they disliked him or anything. Why are you so desperate to pretend that Hughes wasn't gay or that the BSA wasn't honoring Watson?

                Comment


                • Peregrinator
                  Peregrinator commented
                  Editing a comment
                  "Why would someone write a "scholarly" article about a particular person's sexual orientation?"

                  How about a biography or something like that. You know, something better than "He had gay friends, wore a mustache, and was well-groomed -- therefore gay."

                  I did not say that the BSA wasn't honoring Watson. I was noting that in honoring him they were not honoring him for his personal opinions (such as melanin affecting sex drive, whites being smarter than Africans, etc.).

                • Merlyn_LeRoy
                  Merlyn_LeRoy commented
                  Editing a comment
                  PBS station WNET seems to think Hughes was gay: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/ihas/poet/hughes.html

                  Your objection to Watson doesn't change the irony. The BSA honored him but would not allow him to be a member because of his atheism (while his racist remarks would not have kept him out).

              • #12
                Originally posted by Merlyn_LeRoy View Post
                Originally posted by Peregrinator View Post
                Where can one find out more about Langston Hughes' supposed homosexuality? Scholarly articles and the like, I mean. As far as Watson is concerned, do you think that the BSA's naming of a subcamp after him indicates some sort of approval or even tolerance for his views? Because he's said quite a few strange and/or silly things that the BSA would probably not want to be associated with.
                Why would someone write a "scholarly" article about a particular person's sexual orientation? Sounds to me like you're just trying to construct impossible-to-meet requirements.
                I think that's pretty much all anyone writes about now in academia, Merlyn - whether someone is or isn't gay. Usually, you can make an academic career by claiming someone - anyone - is. Claiming they aren't really won't earn you any points. The sliding scale for gayness is pretty easily met nowadays.

                Some biographers have claimed Hughes was gay, others (like Arnold Rampersand) have written that he wasn't. No gay lovers ever came forward. He could have been asexual, and lacked a strong sex drive, or felt largely romantic but non-sexual feelings. Some people are that way. He could have had a same-sex attraction or a bisexual attraction, but remained celibate, which seems likely. That's not unknown. Not everyone feels a need to play out their sexual fantasies, and some people with a SSA may realized that they will not ultimately be happy if they become a practicing homosexual. A man who has an overwhelming attraction for a woman (who happens to be married to another man) may never pursue her, out of a realization that such an act would be immoral (as fornication or adultery), or likely to lead to greater unhappiness than he feels now.

                Ultimately, who cares? We'll probably never know.


                Comment


                • packsaddle
                  packsaddle commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Who cares? I guess that would be Peregrinator, perhaps Merlyn.
                  I'd like to note that in my academic career I have never written about someone being gay. Perhaps I need to rethink my strategy....

                • AZMike
                  AZMike commented
                  Editing a comment
                  What's your field, Packsaddle? If you're in a department that never uses the terms "deconstruction" or "Queer Studies," you probably don't have to worry.

                • packsaddle
                  packsaddle commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I 'profess' in a sub-field of biology, mostly related to ecology or environmental sciences but it involves a good bit of physics and chemistry.
                  What some of us refer to as 'hard' science is really the kind that searches for explanations from a reductionist view. Engineering is a good example of the applied outcome of that approach. The so-called 'soft' sciences are ones that attempt to find explanations for what sometimes are called, 'emergent properties' of complex systems, often in fields focused on human or other animal behavior. These suffer from having to employ a holistic approach and aside from the problems of working with human subjects, this approach just doesn't lend itself to experimentation very readily. Sadly, my field encompasses some of both and while I do quite well crossing boundaries to interact with physicists and engineers, others of my peers don't seem as comfortable.
                  One of my engineering buddies needles me by claiming that biology is the intellectual equivalent of stamp collecting. He's right, of course, for some levels (comparative anatomy, taxonomy) but at others (genetics, molecular biology) he's way behind the times. I enjoy his sense of humor, though, and needle him back about the apocalyptic blunders that engineers make from time to time.
                  Anyway, you're right. My studies of people mostly occur while I'm waiting at the boarding gates at airports. I really enjoy phenotypes. It's a kind of stamp collecting, you know.

              • #13
                Originally posted by Rick_in_CA View Post
                Originally posted by DeanRx View Post
                Do you dare put that down for fear you do not KNOW the stance of the college admissions counselor who will read your application?
                Unfortunately, that may have already happened. At my last college reunion, I was with a group of alums and university folks, one of which worked in the admissions office. She said that mentioning you were an Eagle Scout on the application was a negative because of the association with bigotry. She recommended leaving any reference to the BSA off any application. Very sad. I didn't follow up, so I don't know if she was just giving her personal opinion, or the official opinion of the admissions office.

                I'm not sure I would want my son in a college where being an Eagle Scout is considered a bad thing......

                Comment


                • King Ding Dong
                  King Ding Dong commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Yeah I would take a pass on that diploma mill.
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