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  • Religious CO policy modification

    I have mentioned this in other threads but feel this topic should be separated. My UC has informed me that there has been a modification in the Membership standard. I have not seen it in writing and am curious if anyone else has heard if it. This is how it was described to me. If a religious CO only has members of its own organization in its unit, it may continue to bar gay youth. He has told me this modification has been used to satisfy several COs that were not going to recharter.

  • #2
    havent seen the changes yet either but just like in the past if the co can kick out members of its church for being gay/living gay lifestyle. naturally once these people were out of the church they wouldn't be welcome in any of their churches activities or groups anyway. CO's have had the ability to limit membership in their scout groups to their particular organization since roughly around the beginning of bsa in this country.

    Comment


    • #3
      The policy adopted by the national council voting body states :

      Youth membership in the Boy Scouts of America is open to all youth who meet the specific membership requirements to join the Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, Sea Scout, and Venturing programs. Membership in any program of the Boy Scouts of America requires the youth member to (a) subscribe to and abide by the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Scout Law, (b) subscribe to and abide by the precepts of the Declaration of Religious Principle (duty to God), and (c) demonstrate behavior that exemplifies the highest level of good conduct and respect for others and is consistent at all times with the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Scout Law. No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.
      I do not see how they could change the "No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone" part of the approved resolution without another national council vote. I also have not seen this anywhere but here in your post.

      Comment


      • #4
        The document posted in the other thread specifically addresses the issue in this point in the FAQ:
        Will local units be able to deny membership to youth based on same-sex attraction?
        No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of same-sex attraction alone.

        I suppose you could argue that means a CO can restrict membership to only members of it's organization (church or Elks or Moose or otherwise), but it's law suit bait from my perspective.

        Comment


        • #5
          You beat me to it, dcsimmons. Here is the link again, and I think this thread IS the right one in which to discuss it:

          http://www.scouting.org/filestore/tr...tation_FAQ.pdf

          So here, again, is the question and answer:

          "Q. Will local units be able to deny membership to youth based on same-sex attraction?

          A. No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of same-sex attraction alone."

          Unfortunately, as with many BSA statements over the years regarding this issue, it is not quite as clear as it might be. One might say, it doesn't answer the question at all, because exclusion from a particular unit does not equal exclusion from the entire BSA. But the way they have answered their own question, it seems pretty clear (to me, anyway) that what they MEAN to say is that a unit may not exclude a youth for being openly gay. So maybe some units might not like that. There does not seem to be a "local option" to exclude gay youth. But before anybody else leaves, I would suggest reading this entire document. The BSA seems to be trying to clarify what "openly gay" means (notice the use of the term "same-sex attraction alone") and to draw a very clear line between expressions of "same-sex attraction" (ok), and "conduct." (Not ok, and never ok, regardless of what gender the Scout is attracted to.)

          I also found this Q and A very interesting:

          "Q. What should a Scout or leader do if a youth member lets them know that he or she is attracted to members of the same sex?

          A. It is an individual’s choice how public they wish to be about their sexual orientation. As always, Scouting teaches respect and courtesy for all people. It is the Scout leader’s responsibility to address the issue with concern and sensitivity, while ensuring the member understands the boundaries. The leader should emphasize that there is no place in Scouting for any sexual conduct by youth of Scouting age."

          ​So they are making it clear, expressing a same-sex attraction is not "conduct", and it is not "flaunting." There are other interesting statements in the document, and as I said in the other thread, I wish I could cut and paste the whole thing. Just cutting and pasting those two Qs and As took a lot of tweaking to avoid having text scattered all over the place.

          Comment


          • #6
            Makes sense to me.. Unless they allow gay members of it's own organization but wont let them into BSA.. Otherwise they would have a policy of "members only" but have to accept an outside youth if they were gay.. Members only is Members only doesn't matter if your group doesn't allow gays, blacks, jews or native American Indians..

            You can not deny membership in BSA on the basis of same-sex attraction ALONE.. Meaning they can be denied for other reasons, same as any other youth.. You can still deny membership to a gay youth if they are a disruptive influence in your group by bullying, or threatening others with a knife, or if they do molest another youth, or if you have a membership Only policy.. You are not denying them because they are gay, you are denying them based on different reasons that you would equally deny other kids membership for.

            Comment


            • #7
              I don't see what the restriction to members of the CO is going to accomplish. What if there is an openly gay youth whose family is a member of a church, and the youth is also a member of the troop chartered to the church? Are they going to kick the whole family out of the church so the youth is no longer a member, and get him out of the troop that way? Or are they going to tell the family, you are still members of the church, but your 17-year-old son isn't? Is any church really going to do that?



              Maybe the more important question is, how many times does anyone think this is really going to come up? I really doubt that there are very many OPENLY gay kids 17 years old and below. Maybe I'm wrong. But it seems to me they are still in the process of figuring out who they are, and not very many are ready to advertise it.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by NJCubScouter View Post
                Are they going to kick the whole family out of the church so the youth is no longer a member, and get him out of the troop that way? Or are they going to tell the family, you are still members of the church, but your 17-year-old son isn't? Is any church really going to do that?
                Both have happened. Maybe not in LDS churches, but it's happened in others. Now, "get him out of the troop" was probably not a result of that action, so don't go there. But individuals and families have been "kicked out" of churches for --ahem-- behavior issues. "Christian values" doncha know....

                Originally posted by NJCubScouter View Post
                Maybe the more important question is, how many times does anyone think this is really going to come up? I really doubt that there are very many OPENLY gay kids 17 years old and below. Maybe I'm wrong. But it seems to me they are still in the process of figuring out who they are, and not very many are ready to advertise it.
                Amen (pun intended). And one of the reasons "the decision" really has very little in terms of consequences to Packs' and Troops' programs. Crews? Well, they were already dealing with heterosexual issues, so maybe not so much there either.

                Comment


                • King Ding Dong
                  King Ding Dong commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Maybe not that many 10 or even 5 years ago, but now....it's no big deal among their peers. The BSA survey showed that. The majority of the youth in the BSA don't want the COs to have the power to deny membership to gays. That number will only climb.

              • #9
                Oh, there are openly gay kids of that age group, you hear about them on the news all the time, usually they make the news because they committed suicide or were bullied about it, or both.. But, I would go with the fact that if their family was a conservative family and the kid feels he would be disowned by not only his church, but his whole family, he would be less likely to be open about it until they were self-sufficient.

                I do think these churches would disown anyone openly gay. Would not doubt it for a second..

                Comment


                • #10
                  Originally posted by King Ding Dong View Post
                  I have mentioned this in other threads but feel this topic should be separated. My UC has informed me that there has been a modification in the Membership standard. I have not seen it in writing and am curious if anyone else has heard if it. This is how it was described to me. If a religious CO only has members of its own organization in its unit, it may continue to bar gay youth. He has told me this modification has been used to satisfy several COs that were not going to recharter.
                  I have known Unit Commissioners that sometimes "speak with forked tongue." My guess, if he was describing an actual situation, is that this was a modification made by your Council peeps. This might work for a bit. National could turn a blind eye to it, but sooner or later it will probably bite them in the form of a discrimination suit.

                  Comment


                  • Merlyn_LeRoy
                    Merlyn_LeRoy commented
                    Editing a comment
                    sooner or later it will probably bite them in the form of a discrimination suit.

                    The BSA is still a private organization; the only lawsuits that could succeed under the new membership policy are identical to the lawsuits that could succeed under the old policy, and no lawsuit over mere membership could win. The BSA probably doesn't even need to be consistent or follow their own written policies.

                  • WAKWIB
                    WAKWIB commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I'm wondering if this opinion has any merit or significance?

                    http://www.adfmedia.org/files/BSALegalRamifications.pdf

                  • skeptic
                    skeptic commented
                    Editing a comment
                    WAKWIB; I think the comments made in the very conservative and anti Gay group are slanted and likely questionable in their suggestions of issues. They are simply alarmist in order to scare some people and maybe a church a sponsor or two. Possibly some of the actual legal experts might weigh in; but it seems to me these are not reflective of the average run of the mill scouters or their sponsors. JMO of course.

                • #11
                  Hmmmm... Just thinking here.. If BSA vs Dale was won on a long time LONG STANDING, unified national policy (which is bunk, because the didn't have it until about this time, but I digress).. Then what will protect a new upstart program that in starting creates these same type of rule.. I mean they won't be long standing rules, therefore aren't they ripe for Lawsuits..?

                  Basically just a rhetorical question. If the new group is a private org. then they will be fine, BSA will be fine because it is a private organization, also.. But, at this time if the adult homosexuals did try to sue for membership acceptance, I have question how hard BSA would fight it.. Seems BSA is now more open to this change, but are trying to inch their way across the finish line, to let some conservative view a little time to accept it and relax over the fact the program didn't change drastically due to the welcoming of a few gay youth.. So, if a gay adult does try legal action, I wonder if they would secretly welcome it.. Then again, they may just fight it, just because their egos got in the way of the mission to right this wrong.

                  Anyway.. WAKWIB I agree with skeptic a bunch of "what-if" dooms-day scenarios that if you really think through what is being said is total non-sense. But, it will get their base all hyped up, and maybe scare a few to gullible to really think through what is being said. Religions can't be sued based on practicing what is part of their religious faith, and can't be forced to change by court order.. Some Evangelicals and Mormons are just now getting around to giving a few more equal rights to African-Americans, and some still have a way to go.. Public opinion may turn on them when their practice is found out, but they can't be sued.. Beavah HAS already said as much in a different thread, and he is one of our legal experts.. But, I could have told you that without having the law degree..

                  Comment


                  • #12
                    The rule seems pretty clear, if a youth is eligible for membership according to CO rules, then he is allowed in regardless of his same sex attraction or opposite sex attraction. However, there is no obligation of the CO to accept people if their membership policies prohibit it. The BSA rules prohibit sexual activity for scouting age youth regardless. Though in practice it seems more likely that a scout having a girlfriend would not be assumed to be sexual activity while a scout with a boyfriend would be more likely to do so.

                    Honestly, a conservative church based group uncomfortable with gay scouts needs to close their troop to just members of the church, and ban the youth for behavior at the church level and remove them from the unit, while they transfer elsewhere.

                    This seems like such a mountain over a molehill.

                    Comment

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