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  • #16
    None of these numerical counts are accurate. BSA was caught red-handed forging memberships to artificially inflate membership numbers in the 1990's. They lied about the entire increase throughout the 1980's. Auditors came in and scrubbed the numbers council by council and removed the false increase in members.

    Comment


    • #17
      By 1991, most of the headlines BSA was grabbing were related to the 3G's. However, in Los Angeles the Council was being audited because a former paid professional alleged membership fraud in the council's inner-city outreach program. BSA National refused to allow an outside audit of the council's rolls and reported that the council had indeed inflated its rolls, but only by about 1,800 youth. Other former paid professionals reported that the actual number was more like 16,000, from a total of 80,000. It should be noted that by 2000, the council reported about 41,000 registered youth.

      Another former paid professional blew the whistle on another membership scandal in 1994 on the Andrew Jackson Council (Vicksburg, MS). Brian Paul Freese, "wrote in his resignation letter that he had been threatened with termination for refusing to create fake units and pay their registration fees to national headquarters with diverted funds."
      "Phil Gee, a Scout volunteer who was among those who blew the whistle on the alleged practices, said local and national Scout audits found 6,000 inactive Scouts on the rolls. The council's numbers were reduced from 14,000 to 8,000 after all the "ghosts" were purged, Mr. Gee said."

      For the first time that we know of, an independent review of a Council's membership rolls (albeit a small section) was prepared in 1999. The University of North Florida conducted a study for the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, which provided funds to the Northeast Florida Council (Jacksonville, FL) to provide Scouting to youth in public housing projects (the report can be read here.). The Fund gave more than $327,000, over an eight-year period, to the council for this project. Of the 600 scouts the council claimed, the study could only verify less than 100 and only 125 of the 285 adult volunteer leaders claimed.

      After more than 25 years of public airing of BSA's fraudulent activities it should have come as no surprise to the Circle Ten Council (Dallas, TX), when federal agents raided their offices on the morning of 7 April 2000. This raid started a federal investigation into the Council's fraudulent membership reporting. The investigation resulted in the impanelling of a federal grand jury in 2003 to examine the evidence and hear testimony from government witnesses. As of January 2005, that examination was yet to be concluded.
      However, since the raid, the council has revised their membership rolls by -35%, or a reduction of 20,000 youth. The local United Way chapter, "which had steadily increased its contributions over 10 years based on Circle Ten's membership claims, has reduced donations" to the council each year, since 2000.

      "In Atlanta, independent auditors are investigating claims the metro area´s Boy Scouts inflated black membership numbers to 20,000 to gain more donations. A civil rights leader contends there are no more than 500 blacks actively involved." For more information on this current scandal, click here. At the end of 2004, we learned that the FBI was investigating the Greater Alabama Council (Birmingham, AL) for yet another fraudulent membership scheme. We'll probably read about the council revising their membership numbers in the next couple of months. However, until a paid BSA professional is prosecuted for fraud, there will be no incentive to other paid professionals to just say no to BSA National's insistence on inflating membership figures. Until BSA allows outside and independent audits to be conducted of its membership rolls, the public will have no confidence in the membership figures printed in BSA's Annual Report to Congress .

      Comment


      • eaglewolfdad
        eaglewolfdad commented
        Editing a comment
        Kristian says
        "some councils have totally made up numbers to meet certain goals though this practice isnt that common even though it continues despite repeated investigations."

        Do you have any evidence to back this statement up? Your other post relied on 10-25 year old data from a BSA hate site. Trying to understand your statement- totally made up/ isnt that common /even though it continues

      • DigitalScout
        DigitalScout commented
        Editing a comment
        I have found the the bsa-discrimination.org website to be fairly accurate. I would not call it a hate site. Its more like a watchdog site.

        Just spot checking, here's an article in the Topeka Capital Journal regarding the FBI investigation of the Greater Atlanta Council.. http://cjonline.com/stories/012605/pag_fbi.shtml

      • JoeBob
        JoeBob commented
        Editing a comment
        I believe you meant the Greater ALABAMA Council.

        I know, Atlanta has 3 'a's and an 'l' in the same name. We're both from the South. But the 'Greater Alabama Council' and the 'Atlanta Area Council' are not the same.

    • #18
      In fairness, given the antiquated systems the BSA has for adding youth (and no ability to remove them), I'm not sure that fraud is fair... I think that any membership number you get out of the BSA is practically a random number generator.

      Comment


      • ThomasJefferson
        ThomasJefferson commented
        Editing a comment
        Fraud has been proven and even resulted in investigations. It's not "unfair." It's a fact.

        Until BSA has independent auditors review all membership counts, I'm betting BSA's numbers are a complete and total forgery. All of those counts, even as seen on the anti-BSA sites, are invalid and overblown.

        I bet the only reason the girl scouts numbers are smaller is that they are honest about them.

        Really - is BSA is corporation that deserves government charters, trademarks, patents, and control over the boy scouting movement in this country? That monopoly hold needs to be broken.

      • Pack18Alex
        Pack18Alex commented
        Editing a comment
        Fraud implied criminal intent. I think that there is far more incompetency at the BSA than criminal malice.

        I don't think that the BSA's numbers are a complete and total forgery... Forgery implies that they are totally made up... they aren't totally made up, they are just wrong, imprecise, and not accurate.

        Nobody is at BSA inventing numbers. They total up the numbers from the Councils broken system, who total up unit numbers incorrectly, who have incorrect numbers because of broken tools.

        No one forged anything, but the numbers are all wrong.

      • Kristian
        Kristian commented
        Editing a comment
        having online registration only which would drop anyone who hasnt paid for that year would certainly help. of course if registered = active = member there still would be issues. having each council publish somewhere on their website the numbers of scouts in each individual unit would also help.

        some councils have totally made up numbers to meet certain goals though this practice isnt that common even though it continues despite repeated investigations.

    • #19
      As long as Scouting professionals are measured based on FOS, popcorn and booklet sales, new units and total numbers we will see the incentive system drive behavior.

      As long as units carry Scouts on the rolls, they will leave them there in case they come back (if the unit can afford the $25 or so annual carrying fee). My son is on the rolls for one unit, though he only shows up to help once a year or so while he is in college.

      As long as rechartering remains such a pain, units will also leave some people on the list rather than deal with the poorly designed interface.

      Comment


      • King Ding Dong
        King Ding Dong commented
        Editing a comment
        Having never been through the rechartering process, what is the advantage of having phantom members ?

      • perdidochas
        perdidochas commented
        Editing a comment
        My observation is that most phantom members are aged-out Boy scouts that are kept on as ASM's on record. It allows them to do OA activities, and continue their "active service" time.

    • #20
      KDD for the unit there is no benefit to having phantom members.......

      For the DE and SE on the other hand....Lot of money tied to those numbers.........then the Learning for life numbers...... All ya got to do is google BSA membership numbers fraud and look what pops up. Interesting our old SE left we lost 4k scouts the first year he was gone.


      Comment


      • King Ding Dong
        King Ding Dong commented
        Editing a comment
        Could you describe the ruckus, sir ?

      • Basementdweller
        Basementdweller commented
        Editing a comment
        Stand up at round table and demand answers in front of the room...

        Write letters and Emails asking very specific questions about money and/or membership.

        Question what a DE is doing.....

        Be a voice of opposition and begin to gain support.......

        I was warned once about it......Regarding District cub events......and again not to long ago in a thread regarding membership fraud.....I can't find it anymore.....I received an email telling me to stop..............

      • King Ding Dong
        King Ding Dong commented
        Editing a comment
        In case anyone missed it that ruckus was a line from Brian Johnson in Breakfeast Club. You took the bait.

        How many days of detention did you get ?
        Last edited by King Ding Dong; 07-04-2013, 12:48 PM.

    • #21
      It's very simple. The DEs either take names from the phone book or leave formerly registered boys and units on the books. They have to pay the fees themselves. It was easy enough back when I was a DE in the 70s and must be even easier now with computer inputs. As someone said, as long as professional Scouters are promoted and paid based on numbers there will be fudging. Not by all, but by some.

      Comment


      • Eagle92
        Eagle92 commented
        Editing a comment
        Fred,

        Unfortunately some pros DID commit fraud, andit is well documented. Phone books, school year books, and cemeteries, I have heard about. Renewing folded units' charters and refusing tor remove names from a charter is something I've seen first hand and had to deal with the repercussions of it happening.

        Officially I started 4 units in the 20 months as a DE. In actuality I had 2 additional units that were non existent for several years but still "active." Essentially I followed the new unit process to get them running. But got no credit since the charters were active.

        And when I left, 4 units I dropped were renewed by someone at the office. Although someone tried to blame me for faking them. Thankfully my volunteers knew I was dropping them, and I have copies of all the paperwork and notes about the units.

        I personally think the new UTVS that commissioners are suppose to use helps to prevent the problem because volunteers tend to keep the pros in line. if they see units dying or non exstant, it will get noticed faster.

    • #22
      The BSA needs to do a better job communicating their value proposition to the American public. They need to explain why kids' time is better spent in scouting rather than playing sports, playing video games, watching TV, etc. I don't see the BSA doing any advertising on social media, online media, or traditional media. I would like to see the BSA counter the negative media news by touting all the positive aspects of scouting like outdoor adventure, state-of-the-art youth protection, and leadership training.

      The NatGeo show "Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout" is a great way to get kids interested in scouting but there needs to be more along those lines.

      Comment


      • blw2
        blw2 commented
        Editing a comment
        I think I would agree with that.

        ...... now brace for the "where's the money for it come from" comments......
        I'd guess there's enough money now, just needs to be re-prioritized and used more efficiently. If not, raise our dues by a buck each.

    • #23
      Originally posted by DigitalScout View Post
      The BSA needs to do a better job communicating their value proposition to the American public. They need to explain why kids' time is better spent in scouting rather than playing sports, playing video games, watching TV, etc. I don't see the BSA doing any advertising on social media, online media, or traditional media. I would like to see the BSA counter the negative media news by touting all the positive aspects of scouting like outdoor adventure, state-of-the-art youth protection, and leadership training.

      The NatGeo show "Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout" is a great way to get kids interested in scouting but there needs to be more along those lines.
      The problem with a national campaign is that it depends on units and councils to work. If National spends $XX on TV spots in Townville, but the council isn't able, willing, or interested in facilitating a large influx of new recruits, then all National has done is waste that money and create ill will on the part of the new recruits who fall through the cracks.
      National has put the money in where they can best spend it, and created a complete marketing package that is available for free to any council that wants to use it: http://www.scouting.org/sitecore/con...ecruiting.aspx

      This could sound like excuse-making, but take a look at BeAscout.org and put in your own ZIP code. I use it routinely to try and find contact info for troops across the country, but it has almost always not been configured. Free marketing for every unit in the country, but virtually no units are taking advantage of it.
      Last edited by Scouter99; 07-03-2013, 11:02 PM.

      Comment


      • Twocubdad
        Twocubdad commented
        Editing a comment
        Oh please! If BeAScout is your example of BSA's crackerjack marketing efforts, then any others will be a waste of time and money, too.

        We were one of the first units in the area to configure BeAScout for our troop. In the years since, it has generated precisely TWO leads. But in order to pursue them, I have to check the site manually every day? That's an effective use of my time? We get more inquiries off a very simple district web site which shows a table listing troops, meeting dates and places and my email and phone number. Gee whiz, maybe if they had thought to add a function which would notify unit leaders by email when they get a hit, they could respond. Nah, that makes too much sense.

        My hunch is BeAScout was the result of some check box on the strategic plan launched with no training, no support and no follow-through.

      • Scouter99
        Scouter99 commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you for replying to your own thoughts on the matter, you are now welcome to read what I actually wrote, which did not include any praise for BeAScout.

    • #24
      Originally posted by Merlyn_LeRoy View Post
      The clause "if BSA stopped discriminating" implies that both the promise is changed (or alternate promises are available) and that atheists are allowed, because both would need to change in order for the BSA to stop discriminating.
      I respectfully disagree.

      The actual meaning of the promise is made abundantly clear by the OFFICIALLY PUBLISHED BSA POLICIES (sorry, I don't know how to make this editor italicize or embolden text). The actual wording of the promise does not need to be changed SO LONG AS OFFICIALLY PUBLISHED BSA POLICIES ARE ENFORCED AND ARE MADE KNOWN TO ALL PARTIES INVOLVED.

      The problem is that officially published BSA policies are not being enforced, but rather BSA itself is wantonly violating those officially published policies.

      In 1991, I could not find any OFFICIALLY PUBLISHED BSA POLICIES that required the exclusion of any atheist, especially of an atheist who wholeheartedly subscribed to the Scout Oath, the Scout Law, the Declaration of Religious Principles, the RELIGIOUS PRINCIPLES of the Advancement Guidelines, and the 1991 Reaffirmation of the Position of the Boy Scouts of America on Duty to God, INTERPRETED AS PER OFFICIALLY PUBLISHED BSA POLICIES. Since so far nobody here has indicated that there has been any significant change in OFFICIALLY PUBLISHED BSA POLICY, I can only conclude that there is still nothing in OFFICIALLY PUBLISHED BSA POLICIES that could possibly require the exclusion of an atheist.

      Of course, we have some members here, such as qwazse, who would wish to keep all possibly affected members ignorant of OFFICIALLY PUBLISHED BSA POLICY, but their own personal agendae should be considered null and void in the Light of Scouting.

      I reiterate: in 23 years, I have consistently failed to find anything in OFFICIALLY PUBLISHED BSA POLICIES that would require the exclusion of atheists. I have even testified in FEDERAL COURT to that effect. Can anybody at all please offer any reasonable reason why an atheist should be excluded from BSA membership?

      Comment


      • Merlyn_LeRoy
        Merlyn_LeRoy commented
        Editing a comment
        So just what exactly is "duty to God" supposed to mean. In the prescribed "absolutely nonsectarian" manner?

        It's nonsense, of course. "duty to God" is incompatible with "absolutely nonsectarian".

        Yes, the bald wording devoid of meaning from officially published BSA religious policy may appear daunting, but once you realize what it is really supposed to mean there should be no problem.

        You seem to think wordplay can get around a basic constitutional problem; it can't. As long as the BSA has any requirements for members to make a promise or oath to a god or agree to something like the DRP, the rest doesn't matter. It's already outside the limits of what a public school can do, so it still precludes public school BSA charters.

      • DWise1
        DWise1 commented
        Editing a comment
        My handbook is buried away in a box out in the garage, but here is the WOSM definition of "Duty to God" which sounds very much like what I remember the handbook saying (http://scoutdocs.ca/Documents/Duty_to_God.php):
        Let us now look at the definition of Duty to God. Duty to God is defined as "Adherence to spiritual principles, loyalty to the religion that expresses them, and acceptance of the duties resulting therefrom" (ibid:5). Fundamental Principles goes on to say: "It should be noted that, by contrast to the title, the body of the text does not use the word 'God'.... The whole educational approach of the Movement consists in helping young people transcend the material world and go in search of the spiritual values of life" (ibid). First, Scouting wants people to adhere to spiritual principles, such as valuing emotions and seeing life as having meaning.
        So "Duty to God" is in fact not making an oath to YHWH nor to any other god, unless the individual's religious duties require it. The problem is that the use of that word, "God", causes too many people to misunderstand and to misinterpret "Duty to God" and to even use it as a weapon against others, which is completely and utterly wrong.

        Could you please explain how this is a constitutional problem? I think a far greater problem was BSA's adoption of a lie that their lawyers told them to use in the lawsuits of the earl 1990's, claiming that BSA is and had always been a secret religious organization. Of course, when that was used against them in school access cases, BSA then tried to claim that they weren't a religious organization and had never been. Check which way the wind's blowing so we can figure out which lie they're going to use next.

      • Merlyn_LeRoy
        Merlyn_LeRoy commented
        Editing a comment
        So "Duty to God" is in fact not making an oath to YHWH nor to any other god, unless the individual's religious duties require it.

        That doesn't matter. Public schools can't run private clubs that require a "duty to god".

        Could you please explain how this is a constitutional problem?

        It's a constitutional problem only if public schools become chartering organizations again.

    • #25
      You know....you have to wonder what the purpose is for a DRP in the first place, or even those words in the oath, if BSA really doesn't care about whether or not members are religious? You have to wonder why BSA has so strongly resisted, even claiming to be a private religious organization, if for the past 23 years, they actually welcomed atheists as members?



      Before I could possibly consider claims that atheists are welcome as members, I'd have to first read such as explicit policy from BSA itself. And I'd need for BSA to answer my opening questions. Of course, there's also a diabolically delicious way to test all this....and that is for lots of atheists to submit their applications to become members. H'mmmmm? Merlyn, ready to give it a try?

      Edit to add: DWise1, welcome to the forums. I have to ask, was that really your first post here? BTW, if you click on the underlined 'A' in the message menu, it opens the editor so that you can do all sorts of cutesy things to the message.
      Last edited by packsaddle; 07-04-2013, 03:54 AM.

      Comment


      • DWise1
        DWise1 commented
        Editing a comment
        Yes, they're private, but they also have a congressional charter and they are a corporation. I don't know corporate law, but I would think that there have to be laws governing how a corporation conducts its business. BSA has bylaws, rules and regulations, and many policy statements. Why do that if they don't need them? Are they required to as part of the charter or the process of incorporating? But what use would there be to such requirements if they are free to ignore those rules. I was part of the process of merging two congregations into one and coming up with the bylaws was a very important part of that process, especially since the bylaws govern how the new church is to operate.

        The only use for their officially published policy that I've seen BSA use was to display their "absolutely nonsectarian" policies to donors who themselves have non-discriminatory requirements so that BSA could get their money. So BSA was lying to them in order to get their money, but to me appears to be fraud. And now that the courts have repeatedly found that BSA discriminates -- they just aren't subject to the laws against discrimination -- they have been losing sponsors and donors. So, yes, honesty and honor do matter. I have repeatedly seen BSA banking on the good will of the public for support for its outlandish discriminatory practices, which included many direct lies, lies which they also tried to tell the judges in the lawsuits they create but which at least the judges won't let them get away with. Now that BSA's true face is coming to light, the good will of the public is eroding away, so, yes, honesty and honor do matter.

        And I still cannot find any rule that would require the expulsion of atheists. Their "rule" requiring "belief in a Supreme Being" doesn't even exist (or at least it didn't in the 1990's; I joined here to find out if that has changed in the meantime) and was yet another bold-face lie that BSA was telling everyone, so that cannot be cited.

        And that is also part of a much larger question that has puzzled me for the past 50 years: why are atheists so hated? It makes no sense whatsoever.

      • DWise1
        DWise1 commented
        Editing a comment
        Originally posted by packsaddle
        Edit to add: DWise1, welcome to the forums. I have to ask, was that really your first post here? BTW, if you click on the underlined 'A' in the message menu, it opens the editor so that you can do all sorts of cutesy things to the message.
        I tried playing with that. It doesn't seem to support editing comments, but rather appears to just be for a new post.

      • DWise1
        DWise1 commented
        Editing a comment
        Originally posted by packsaddle
        Edit to add: DWise1, welcome to the forums. I have to ask, was that really your first post here? BTW, if you click on the underlined 'A' in the message menu, it opens the editor so that you can do all sorts of cutesy things to the message.
        I tried playing with that. It doesn't seem to support editing comments, but rather appears to just be for a new post.

    • #26
      The Declaration of Religious Principle is: "The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God and, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but it is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. Its policy is that the home and organization or group with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life.
      Only persons willing to subscribe to these precepts from the Declaration of Religious Principle and to the Bylaws of the Boy Scouts of America shall be entitled to certificates of leadership."

      So, without getting into rights and wrongs, it's very clear that if you can't support "an obligation to God" you can't be a member. Without doubt, people have expelled over silly BS, but those are the rules.

      Comment


      • Rick_in_CA
        Rick_in_CA commented
        Editing a comment
        Incorrect, that is not the DRP, but an excerpt from it. The complete DRP can be found in the Bylaws of the Boy Scouts of America, and have been reprinted on various websites (I got this from http://www.bsa-discrimination.org/html/bsa-drp.html). The DRP reads:

        The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizenship without recognizing an obligation to God. In the first part of the Scout Oath or Promise the member declares, "On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law." The recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe and the grateful acknowledgment of His favors and blessings are necessary to the best type of citizenship and are wholesome precepts in the education of the growing members. No matter what the religious faith of the members may be, this fundamental need of the members should be kept before them. The Boy Scouts of America, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. Its policy is that the home and the organization with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life.

        ACTIVITIES. The activities of the members of the Boy Scouts of America shall be carried on under conditions which show respect to the convictions of others in matters of custom and religion, as required by the twelfth point of the Scout Law, reading, "Reverent. A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others."

        FREEDOM. In no case where a unit is connected with a church or other distinctively religious organization shall members of other denomination or faith be required, because of their membership in the unit, to take part in or observe a religious ceremony distinctly unique to that organization or church.

        LEADERS. Only persons willing to subscribe to these declarations of principles shall be entitle to certificates of leadership in carrying out the Scouting program.
        Last edited by Rick_in_CA; 07-05-2013, 01:28 PM.

    • #27
      But, if someone chooses to directly challenge this as a member, they should be allowed to continue in membership because it is their right to force their beliefs on the others and demand it be change to accommodate them. Why? Because they say so. Exactly where does it say that ANYONE is REQUIRED to join the BSA or any other group for that matter?

      The real sad thing with all of this is that the problems are brought on by adults in almost all the public cases. Few children have actually settled on personal faith or spiritual beliefs. When they claim atheism, it is usually a reiteration of a parent of other adult authority figure. In the case of the Randall twins, their father made sure that "his" being a lawyer was well noted and that HE was fighting for his kids right to echo his own beliefs. I have always found it amusing that when one reporter actually got a statement from one of the boys, asking about explaining natural phenomena and so, the boy said it was "mother nature" that made it. Again, it is the adults that cause the problems for the most part. What is wrong with simply letting others live their lives without your interference, and others doing the same?

      Comment


      • DWise1
        DWise1 commented
        Editing a comment
        I knew the family personally in the 1990's. The breaking of the news of their problem was my first indication that there even was a problem. When they were able to get a stay from the courts that allowed them to continue to participate, a Cub Scout in our pack attending a different school that the CO but the same as the one that the Randalls were attending, invited them to join our pack, whereupon we welcomed them -- at the time, the Council was spreading a fear campaign among the volunteers that "the Randalls are coming!!!!!!". They were excellent Cub Scouts and, when they advanced on to Boy Scouts, their Scoutmaster praised them as exemplary Boy Scouts, saying that he wished that all his boys were like them.

        Here is what happened. On their own, the boys questioned the "Duty to God" wording. A number of wishy-washy compromises were proposed to them (eg, "read 'God' as 'good'."), but they still dare to question the wording. The very first indication that their parents had of any problem brewing was a rather confused phone call from a den leader who never actually broached the subject but intimated that there was trouble brewing. The second indication to the parent of any problem was a letter of expulsion from the Orange County Council. If not for that confusing phone call, that letter of expulsion would have been the very first indication to the parents of any kind of a problem. So how, then, could you assume that it was all the parents' doing?

        BTW, their father, Jim Randall, tried his best to resolve the problem at the lowest level possible. It was BSA who refused to allow any kind of resolution. For that matter, it was Orange County Council's SE, Kent Gibbs, who directly instructed Jim Randall to file a lawsuit against them. Which he did and won. Then BSA appealed the decision, but during that time the court granted a stay that allowed the boys to continue to participate in Scouting. They both completed all their requirements, with distinction, for Eagle. So as their Eagle Court loomed, BSA was able to pressure Californian state officials to intervene and to push their appeal forward to the California Supreme Court. The California Supreme Court did find that BSA does indeed discriminate on religious grounds, but it is not subject to the Unruh Act, which is what the lawsuit was based on (remember, we have no justice system, but only a legal system). And since BSA has been found to discriminate, they are losing the support of former donors and sponsors with anti-discrimination policies of their own.

        No, the only "adults" who are causing the problems are the BSA professionals. The mistake made by their original den/pack leaders was to refer the matter up the line to BSA professionals. Every single Scouting volunteer must make it his primary mission and imperative to keep BSA professionals as far away from his unit and from his people as is at all possible.

        What is wrong with simply letting others live their lives without your interference, and others doing the same?
        Nothing. But that is not the way of BSA professionals. Scouting is the solution; BSA is the problem.

      • skeptic
        skeptic commented
        Editing a comment
        "On their own, the boys questioned the "Duty to God" wording". Sorry, but I was well informed by local OCC people who knew the whole story as well. No way did two cub scouts at that age question the wording by themselves; their father admitted as such in at least one or two incidences when he stressed that was the "family" belief and what he taught them. I agree that there was an over reaction on the part of the council, but it was made far worse by Mr. Randall insisting on making it into publicity for himself as a lawyer. We all should recognize that most of these cases are caused by people with too much time on their hands, too big of egos, or really low self esteem making them unable to accept others as they are. But there seem to continue to be those that cannot let it go and must continue to mislead or over hype things to their own purposes.

        It still comes down to the same thing. Scouting has a religious element which is part of its basic foundation, no matter what one might choose to call that element. NO ONE IS REQUIRED TO BE A SCOUT; if a boy wants to be, but his parent cannot accept the program as it is, then it is their fault the boy may be disappointed, not the scouts. It is still a choice, afterall.
        Last edited by skeptic; 07-05-2013, 09:17 PM. Reason: extraneous word

    • #28
      I am so hoping that this forum software accepts the mark-up tags in use by others.

      Originally posted by Kahuna
      So, without getting into rights and wrongs, it's very clear that if you can't support "an obligation to God" you can't be a member. Without doubt, people have expelled over silly BS, but those are the rules.
      Yes, the rules are the rules. But precisely are the rules?

      What exactly is "an obligation to God"? What is the officially published BSA definition and interpretation of that term? Officially published BSA policy is quite clear on that point and it does not agree with what you are implying here. I read that you are implying that "God" must refer to YHWH, AKA "the God of the Bible". But how does that square with BSA's explicit statement in the DRP?: "it is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training." How can any policy that requires belief in YHWH also simultaneously be "absolutely nonsectarian"? That is a direct contradiction which would reduce the DRP to meaningless word salad. While you may wish to see the DRP as devoid of any real meanng, I take the opposite position, based squarely on officially published BSA policy which all the supporters of BSA religious discrimination choose to ignore.

      DRP:
      ..., but {BSA} is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. Its policy is that the home and organization or group with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life.
      That is what BSA demands, not allegiance to a specific god in violation of its being "absolutely nonsectarian".

      Rules and Regulations, ARTICLE IX. PRINCIPLES, POLICIES, AND DEFINITIONS, SECTION I:
      The Scout Law
      A Scout is: ...
      Reverent. A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in
      his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.
      But what is the officially published BSA policy on the definition and interpretation of "God"? More pertinent, the emphasis is on being faithful in one's religious duties and respecting the beliefs of others (meaning that BSA professionals fail in this point of the Scout Law).

      Advancement Guidelines, early 1990's, page 5, RELIGIOUS PRINCIPLES:
      The Boy Scouts of America has a definite statement on religious principles. The following interpretative statement may help clarify some of the points. The Boy Scouts of America:

      1 . Does not define what constitutes belief in God or the practice of religion.

      2. Does not require membership in a religious organization or association for enrollment in the movement but does prefer, and strongly encourages, membership and participation in the religious programs and activities of a church synagogue, or other religious association.

      ...

      4. If a boy says he is a member of a religious body, the standards by which he should be evaluated are those of that group. This is why an advancement committee usually requests a reference from his religious leader to indicate whether he has lived up to their expectations.

      Throughout life, Scouts are associated with people of different faiths. Scouts believe in religious freedom, respecting others whose religion may differ from theirs. Scouting believes in the right of all to worship God in their own way.
      Even though "God" is not defined nor may it be. Please note that officially BSA does not and cannot determine whether a member performs his "Duty to God". My minister wrote to BSA twice explicitly informing them that I do indeed perform my "Duty to God" in accordance with our religion, Unitarian-Universalism. Not only did BSA deliberately ignore him both times, but they also deliberately ignored those same letters every time I included them in my repeated requests for information on my review, which dragged on for several years. BSA yet again in flagrant violation of its own rules and policies.

      POSITION STATEMENT REAFFIRMATION OF THE POSITION OF THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA ON "DUTY TO GOD", 10 October 1985:
      While not intending to define what constitutes belief in God, the Boy Scouts of America is proud to reaffirm the Scout Oath and its declaration of "Duty to God."
      Reaffirmation of the Position of the Boy Scouts of America on Duty to God, 12 June 1991:
      While not intending to define what constitutes belief in God, the Boy Scouts of America is proud to reaffirm the Scout Oath and its declaration of duty to God.

      . . .

      Virtually every religion is represented in Scouting, and the BSA does not define or interpret
      God. That is the role of the Scout's family and religious advisers.
      Relationships Division deals with BSA's relationships with religious organizations. The director in charge of Relationships Division is in a unique position to think long and hard about officially published BSA religious policy and its ramifications.

      Letter from William McCleery III, BSA National Director, Relationships Division, 26 August 1985:
      It is NOT our POLICY to require a belief in a 'supreme being' in order to be a member of the Boy Scouts of America, adult or youth. We do require adherence to the 'declaration of religious principles' for adults and adherence to the Scout Oath and Law for youth. Interpretation and definition of 'duty to God' is not our business! It is the business of parents and religious leaders."
      Letter from Donald L. Townsend, BSA National Director, Relationships Division, 21 December 1994:
      Scouting is not a religion but Duty to God is a basic tenet of the Scout Oath and Law. Virtually every religion is represented in the membership of Scouting and therefore the Boy Scouts of America does not attempt to define or interpret God. The Boy Scouts of America does not require you to belong to a specific church, temple or synagogue nor does it require a belief in a supreme being. Any Scout that can repeat the Scout Oath and Law in good conscience is welcome to participate.
      Now, both letters explicitly state that "belief in a Supreme Being" is not required. Mark that well! But they were written at two different times under two different circumstances. In 1985, a newly adopted wording, "belief in a Supreme Being", which CSE Ben Love stated was meant to be more inclusive, instead caused a Unitarian Life Scout candidate, Paul Trout, to be expelled. After hundreds of letters of protest (mark that number very well!), BSA relented and reinstated Paul Trout as well as meeting personally with the head of his church, Unitarian-Universalist Association (UUA) President Dr. Rev. William F. Schulz in which BSA CSE Ben Love made personal assurances which included the dropping of that "belief in a Supreme Being" wording as a "mistake". CSE Ben Love then circa 1991 unilaterally broke all those personal assurances (Scout Honor, anyone?) and reinstated that "mistake" as the sole reason for expelling members by the hundreds, all while deliberately ignoring literally thousands of letters of protest (do you remember that I asked you mark those 1985 numbers well?).

      In the case of Townsend's 1994 letter, that was at a time when BSA was flagrantly violating its own officially published religious policies as it was flagrantly exercising a frensy of religious discrimination. I see Townsend's position as one of being in a position where his duty was to read and to research into officially published BSA religious policy and to think about it. James Randall, the father of the Randall twins (Randall v. Orange County Council, which when it broke in the local newspapers circa 1991 was my first indication that BSA was violating its own rules and policies; it was also undoubtedly the appeals on this case and the Curran case (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curran_...uts_of_America) that delayed my own review for so many years), obtained a copy of the Townsend letter and passed a copy on to me. When I showed it to my DE, his immediate response was to exclaim, "But that's what you've been saying all along!" Then I included it in my packet requesting information on my review. A few months later, I heard that Townsend had been bumped down from National back to a local council. I see his situation as one where he could see that truth and he dared to speak it, so the powers that be who are so embroiled in their own lies and deception had to remove him.

      BTW, BSA unilaterally and arbitrarily kicked out the Unitarian-Universalist Association. It seems that they could no longer deal with being constantly reminded that they are flagrantly violating their own rules.

      I have to admit that I have not had the time to assemble a very rigourous set of direct quotations from officially published BSA religious policies, especially since most of my materials are packed away, but the tone should be inescapable even to the most ardant advocates of BSA religious discrimination (though I am notorious for underestimating the power of the blinders that religious bigots can don). In brief summary, as I wrote in 1996 (https://groups.google.com/forum/?fro...ng/adi4Dl5TlZY):
      1. BSA does not define or interpret "God", "belief in God", "duty to God", nor the practice of religion, leaving all that instead to each member's family, religious leaders, and religious tradition.

      2. BSA strongly encourages, but does not require, membership in a religious association.

      3. BSA does officially recognize and accept that some members will choose to practice religion according to the dictates of their own personal convictions and will make every effort to determine the true nature of those beliefs as they apply to advancement in Scouting.

      4. Every member shall be judged by the standards of his OWN religion, not another.

      5. BSA does not judge whether a member performs his "duty to God," but rather only that member's religious leaders can make such a determination.

      6. A member's specific religious beliefs are not the business of BSA; rather they are the business of the member's religious leaders.
      So, Kahuna, as you appear to wish to imply that belief in YHWH is required of Scouts and of Scouters, officially published BSA religious policies say the exact opposite!

      You are, I trust, aware of the World Organization of the Scouting Movement (WOSM). As I understand, BSA is supposed to adhere to their standards. Here is what they have to say about "Duty to God" (What does Scouting mean by Duty to God? : Scouting embraces diverse spiritual expression, theistic or not, http://scoutdocs.ca/Documents/Duty_to_God.php, by Scouter Liam Morland, 1996):
      One of Scouting’s three Principles is titled "Duty to God." This statement has been interpreted in many different ways, some of which have lead to religious discrimination, a violation of Scouting’s fundamentals. What does Duty to God really mean to Scouting? Duty to God is about the development of the spiritual values of life and is not a statement about any required beliefs about the material world. This essay is based on the World Organization of the Scout Movement’s (WOSM) document Fundamental Principles which contains "the only authoritative statement agreed upon by more than one hundred member organizations of WOSM" (WOSM 1992:1). All quotations in this essay are from that document.

      ...

      Let us now look at the definition of Duty to God. Duty to God is defined as "Adherence to spiritual principles, loyalty to the religion that expresses them, and acceptance of the duties resulting therefrom" (ibid:5). Fundamental Principles goes on to say: "It should be noted that, by contrast to the title, the body of the text does not use the word 'God'.... The whole educational approach of the Movement consists in helping young people transcend the material world and go in search of the spiritual values of life" (ibid). First, Scouting wants people to adhere to spiritual principles, such as valuing emotions and seeing life as having meaning.

      Second, Scouting wants people to be loyal to the religion that expresses their spiritual principles. A religion is a set of beliefs and practises, not necessarily an organization. Some Scouts will be called to join a formal religious organization, others will express their spirituality outside of such institutions. In either case, Scouting believes that people should be loyal to their choice, recognizing that spiritual development would be impaired if a person were constantly changing their religion.

      Third, Scouting wants people to accept the duties resulting from their spiritual principles, to be active doers, not just passive believers.

      What does Duty to God mean? "[Duty to God] refers to a person's relationship with the spiritual values of life" (ibid) and not to certain beliefs about the material world. The material elements of religions are not important to Scouting. Just as Scouting does not care whether or not one believes in gravity, it does not care whether or not one believes that a god created the universe, in the material sense. Thus, atheists and agnostics are welcome in Scouting as both youth members and Scouters. Excluding such people violates the definition of the Scout Movement which states that Scouting is "open to all without distinction of origin, race, or creed..." (ibid:2). Of course, everyone in Scouting must be open to continual spiritual development.
      I added the emphasis in that last paragraph, but the actual wording remains unchanged, as you yourself can attest to by reading the article for yourself. Unlike the proponents of BSA religious bigotry, I have nothing to hide.

      So then, in light of what BSA's actual officially published religious policies say, what do you have to say?

      Comment


      • #29
        Originally posted by Kahuna View Post
        It's very simple. The DEs either take names from the phone book or leave formerly registered boys and units on the books. They have to pay the fees themselves. It was easy enough back when I was a DE in the 70s and must be even easier now with computer inputs. As someone said, as long as professional Scouters are promoted and paid based on numbers there will be fudging. Not by all, but by some.
        I'm not actually trying to refute your statements, but rather am using them as a springboard for my own statements on this subject.

        BSA is hampered by the effects of its own registration methods. Please let me present an alternative method that I am intimately experienced with.

        I am a retired veteran with 35 years of military service, the last 29 of them in the Navy Reserve. During the last decade of my service, I was in the Voluntary Training Unit (VTU), a catch-all unit of members without a pay billet who drill voluntarily without pay. In that decade in the VTU, I served most of the time as the XO (Executive Officer, concerned with the daily administrative paperwork; "Number One" to you Star Trek:TNG fans) as well as a few years as the CO (Commanding Officer) of the unit, so I have had a lot of exposure to the administrative requirements and practices of the Navy Reserve. I can only assume that the administrative practices and requirements of the reserve forces of the other branches are very similar if not the same as ours.

        Official Navy Statement at the start of each Nonresident Training Course (NTC):
        Although the words “he,” “him,” and “his” are used sparingly in this course to enhance communication, they are not intended to be gender driven or to affront or discriminate against anyone.
        All members of the reserve forces enlist for a period of time, just as every Scout and Scouter registers for a period of time, namely until the next rechartering. The Navy Reserve, like BSA, has membership requirements, though the Navy's requirements are more stringent. In particular, participation is a major requirement in the reserves. We take muster at the start of each and every drill (the period of time that constitutes one unit of attendance and service). We require a particular percentage drill attendance for each anniversary year (a 12-month period which starts based on the member's initial or last enlistment). If the member does not meet that particular participation requirement (95%, as I recall, but as a retiree my memory is admittedly fading), then he is subject to administrative separation (AKA "being ADSEP'd"). Additionally, each member's monthly pay depends directly on his having participated in scheduled or re-scheduled or equivalent drills.

        The point I am making here is that there is of necessity a system set up in the military reserve to track and document each individual member's participation in the reserve program. It is not just that there is a system in place to ADSEP a member for unsatisfactory participation, but rather that there is even a system in place for tracking individual members' participation.

        BSA doesn't have anything like that, because it has no requirements for tracking individual participation. My question here is to ask how reasonable it is to implement one.

        Here is what one of our DEs had described to me -- mind you, this was circa 1990 when we still rechartered on BSA's birthday in Februrary. The biggest registration numbers were in Cub Scouting, which always occurred in September, at the start of the new school year. Even though a large number of those original registrants dropped out within a month or two, they continued to be carried on the books until the rechartering in February. My DE showed me the graph of membership. It hit a low in February, after which it climbed steadily (with no way to track those who had dropped out, how else could it climb?) until September when it took a very steep climb, continued to climb steadily until February, when it plummetted and then started to steadly climb again.

        My point is that that is all that BSA has to work with. They can track new registrations, but they cannot track any members who drop out until time for rechartering comes around. The only way I can see for BSA to properly track active membership on a month-by-month basis would be for it to adopt a similar administrative model as the military reserve forces, but that would require monthly/daily reports of attendence and participation from all units in the field. Personally, I don't see that happening the BSA.

        Yes, in the meantime BSA districts and councils will continue to take advantage of the system in place. But I personally don't see much of any alternative.

        Comment


        • Pack18Alex
          Pack18Alex commented
          Editing a comment
          I'd like a drop form, like I have a registration add form. Sure at Re-charter I can fix, but why can't I remove a Youth that told me they dropped out. Instead of hitting my membership account all at once, hit it monthly, so I'd have a reason to drop people as they drop.

          I had one family come to two few meetings, be interested, dropped off a form at my house, never paid dues, and inadvertently their form went in with a bunch of other forms when I dropped stuff off at Council, about a month after re-chartering, by the way. Net-Net, I have a Scout that's never paid a dime registered, we paid for him for the year, and my Journey To Excellence Numbers are all knocked down by his presence. Another Scout dropped out a month after re-charter, 14/15 Tiger Beads done as well. Same story.

          For better or for worse, we run our program year Sept - Aug, and collect dues in September for the year. As a result, a Scout that shows up in September and drops out in February/March will be registered for 16 months. If they drop out in December, just 4 months. But the ones that don't come back after winter break may just never respond.

          It's a broken system, oh well.

      • #30
        Originally posted by JoeBob View Post
        Am I alone in that I don't care about the future of the BSA? We'll be okay for the next five years, and my son will be done. He is my primary concern.

        Sure, I d like for him to be able to proudly point to to a venerable organization of which he is an alum; but that horse is gone. BSA has devolved into a prissy politically correct financial enterprise.
        How do the BSA pensions compare to the GSUSA pensions?

        What the country really needs is a BSA type organization with a little more testosterone.
        What the frakkin' frik are you talking about?

        What you "quote" me as saying cannot be found anyway in what I had posted. That makes you a gorm-darned liar!

        Would you please attempt to clarify just what the frak you might be talking about?

        Comment


        • packsaddle
          packsaddle commented
          Editing a comment
          Look, YOU wrote to JoeBob about "What you "quote" me as saying...." It's in your post above this comment. So I looked in JoeBob's post and I didn't see where he quoted you. So I asked you to indicate where he quoted you. If you can't do that, that's ok. Just say so.

          That statement about keeping BSA professionals away....YOU wrote that.

          It was in YOUR comment to Skeptic yesterday at 644pm.

        • JoeBob
          JoeBob commented
          Editing a comment
          Hey Packsaddle,

          Got any good pie?

        • packsaddle
          packsaddle commented
          Editing a comment
          Blackberry is peaking just now! Yum!
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