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Where do you draw the line?

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  • Where do you draw the line?

    For those who support the "Local Option," at what point do you draw the line?

    Should COs be allowed to choose to include:
    • Girls?
    • Boys over or under the current age limits?
    • Atheists?
    • Transgenders (a girl who says she identified as a boy, or vice versa)?
    • Adult leaders who were previously convicted of a child sexual offense, but are no longer required to register as a sex offender?
    • An adult with a DUI who wants to drive kids to camp.
    If you feel gays should be allowed but not, say girls, or polygamists in Colorado City, why do you feel the CO should be able to change one national membership requirement, but not another one that displeases you?
    Last edited by AZMike; 07-15-2014, 02:35 PM.

  • #2
    • Girls?
      I would say yes, but that would conflict with the agreement the GSUSA has with the BSA
    • Boys over or under the current age limits?
      No, except for the current exception
    • Atheists?
      Yes
    • Transgenders (a girl who says she identified as a boy, or vice versa)?
      Yes
    • Adult leaders who were previously convicted of a child sexual offense, but are no longer required to register as a sex offender?
      No
    • An adult with a DUI who wants to drive kids to camp.
      No

    Here's a question for you, AZMike (or anyone) -- I know of a Venture Crew chartered by a government agency. What should happen if the national BSA discovers an atheist as a member of that Crew?

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Merlyn_LeRoy View Post
      • Girls?
        I would say yes, but that would conflict with the agreement the GSUSA has with the BSA
      • Boys over or under the current age limits?
        No, except for the current exception
      • Atheists?
        Yes
      • Transgenders (a girl who says she identified as a boy, or vice versa)?
        Yes
      • Adult leaders who were previously convicted of a child sexual offense, but are no longer required to register as a sex offender?
        No
      • An adult with a DUI who wants to drive kids to camp.
        No
      Here's a question for you, AZMike (or anyone) -- I know of a Venture Crew chartered by a government agency. What should happen if the national BSA discovers an atheist as a member of that Crew?
      So, no local option.

      Re your question, I (unsurprisingly) wouldn't have a problem with it. Congress gave a charter to the BSA, and government entities offer use of government reservations and armories and equipment to Scouts knowing their policies. The agency would be within its rights to decide not to be a CO if they couldn't tolerate the membership requirements. They are already sponsoring an organization that discriminates against girls, and if a government agency supports the GSUSA, that organization discriminates against boys.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by AZMike View Post

        Re your question, I (unsurprisingly) wouldn't have a problem with it. Congress gave a charter to the BSA, and government entities offer use of government reservations and armories and equipment to Scouts knowing their policies. The agency would be within its rights to decide not to be a CO if they couldn't tolerate the membership requirements. They are already sponsoring an organization that discriminates against girls, and if a government agency supports the GSUSA, that organization discriminates against boys.
        First, it's a Venture Crew - they allow girls.

        Second, you didn't really answer my question -- what should the BSA do?

        As an aside, no government agency can decide to discriminate on the basis of religion.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Merlyn_LeRoy View Post

          First, it's a Venture Crew - they allow girls.
          I understand that. My point was that the government provides support and officially recognizes the Boy Scouts, which DO discriminate against girls, as well as atheists. Why should they not be able to provide support, or charter, or be a chartering organization for a group that has membership requirements based on religion, including simple theism?

          The government enters into partnerships with other religious organizations that discriminate against atheists, such as the Catholic Church and various Jewish and Muslim charities, which receive grants and funding for a variety of services.

          Second, you didn't really answer my question -- what should the BSA do?
          Advise them that someone can't be a member of the crew and be an atheist, and if the CO isn't willing to abide by the agreement, cancel their charter.

          As an aside, no government agency can decide to discriminate on the basis of religion.
          They do that quite frequently. They just fought a legal battle with SCOTUS over their desire to discriminate against the religious owners of Hobby Lobby, in violation of a statute signed into law by President Clinton. They have ended contracts with Catholic adoption agencies over their commitment to abide by their religious beliefs. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires the federal government to recognize religious belief as a protected class, and while LGBT, ethnic, and other groups have received official recognition days, weeks, and months, they have failed to provide similar status for Christians or to provide programming where prominent Christian ministers and priests are invited to government offices to discuss their beliefs, to be webcasted to the agency's population at large.

          What kind of government agency is doing this? Federal, State, County, City, Tribal? Or is this a hypothetical?

          Comment


          • #6

            I understand that. My point was that the government provides support and officially recognizes the Boy Scouts, which DO discriminate against girls, as well as atheists.

            They've been losing support from the government due to lawsuits. The government doesn't always obey their own laws.

            Why should they not be able to provide support, or charter, or be a chartering organization for a group that has membership requirements based on religion, including simple theism?

            Because it violates the constitution. You might have noticed that the BSA didn't even try to fight when they agreed to stop chartering units to public schools in 2005.

            The government enters into partnerships with other religious organizations that discriminate against atheists, such as the Catholic Church and various Jewish and Muslim charities, which receive grants and funding for a variety of services.

            But those same charities are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of religion in the distribution of those services.

            Advise them that someone can't be a member of the crew and be an atheist, and if the CO isn't willing to abide by the agreement, cancel their charter.

            The CO can't legally abide by the agreement, so your answer is, in effect, "cancel their charter".

            By the way, I'd argue that, since the BSA freely entered into this agreement, they have tacitly agreed to admit atheists to this Crew. After all, they weren't forced to accept the CO.

            They do that quite frequently. They just fought a legal battle with SCOTUS over their desire to discriminate against the religious owners of Hobby Lobby, in violation of a statute signed into law by President Clinton. They have ended contracts with Catholic adoption agencies over their commitment to abide by their religious beliefs.

            No, the Catholic adoption agencies ended the contracts, because the government would not grant those contracts to agencies that excluded gays as potential adopters. Those agencies could have either agreed to the contracts, or continued without government funding.

            Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires the federal government to recognize religious belief as a protected class, and while LGBT, ethnic, and other groups have received official recognition days, weeks, and months, they have failed to provide similar status for Christians

            What? Christmas is still an official federal holiday where I'm from. And it isn't hard to find official recognition days for various groups, including religious groups.

            or to provide programming where prominent Christian ministers and priests are invited to government offices to discuss their beliefs, to be webcasted to the agency's population at large.

            You'll need to be more specific.

            However, you might want to consider that the first amendment is a double-edged sword. Since LGBT, ethnic, and other groups aren't religions, that sort of thing doesn't infringe on the first amendment. Now, if you DO start adding religions, you'll need to handle them equally, like the Satanists who want a statue of Baphomet by the Oklahoma state capital because the city agreed to put up a ten commandments monument and said any other groups could do the same.

            What kind of government agency is doing this? Federal, State, County, City, Tribal? Or is this a hypothetical?

            State.
            Last edited by Merlyn_LeRoy; 07-16-2014, 05:25 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              • Girls?
              Yes
              • Boys over or under the current age limits?
              In general no, but I think there is a valid exception: when dealing with developmentally challenged youth. Should a 14 year old that is developmentally an 8 year old be allowed in cub scouts if the unit wants them? In some cases I would say yes.
              • Atheists?
              Yes
              • Transgenders (a girl who says she identified as a boy, or vice versa)?
              Yes, but only if the unit is coed. Just because a girl says she is a boy, doesn't eliminate all of the issues around having boys and girls together.
              • Adult leaders who were previously convicted of a child sexual offense, but are no longer required to register as a sex offender?
              This is a hard one. Like everything, it depends on the details. There are registered sex offenders who's offense was playing doctor when they were ten years old. Not many, but there are a few. You also have the 18 year old that had sex with his 17 year old girlfriend. I would expect the majority of ex-offenders to be unfit as leaders (or to be around children at all), but I am willing to recognize that there are exceptions. Should COs be allowed to recognize those exceptions? I don't know.
              • An adult with a DUI who wants to drive kids to camp.
              Again, it depends on the details. If you are talking about someone that had three DUIs in the last ten years, then absolutely not! If you are talking about a 50 year old that had one DUI when he was 19 and hasn't had a problem since? Then yes.

              I don't like zero-tolerance rules, as they are usually about avoiding judgment and responsibility. Part of the idea with local control is trusting the COs to do the right thing. In theory at least, the CO know their leaders better then we do. Mistakes will be made, just like they are under the current rules.

              Comment


              • #8
                I will weigh in only because I have been absent on this forum for so long.

                I like Rick's answer best.

                Jim

                Comment


                • #9
                  I can get behind Rick's answers, too.

                  I don't think I would support all those options for my unit, but that's why they call it "local option." But it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg if the troop down the road takes advantage of those options. I do think accommodations would need to be made for multi-unit activities, coed week at summer camp, for example.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Rick does seem to have a reasonable approach.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I like Ricks answers as well. I like the discussion we are having. Perhaps the question belongs in a new thread but, why girls? Isn't there value, like in single sex sports leagues, in giving boys and girls a place where pressure to impress the opposite sex is not present?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sentinel947 View Post
                        I like Ricks answers as well. I like the discussion we are having. Perhaps the question belongs in a new thread but, why girls? Isn't there value, like in single sex sports leagues, in giving boys and girls a place where pressure to impress the opposite sex is not present?

                        I'd say yes and no. I certainly have no objection to that if that is what the demand is for. However my experience here in the UK is that that pressure doesn't really seem to be present in scouts. When the uniform goes on they stop being boys and girls and they just see each other as scouts. It all seems to work quite well.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          In a perfect world, the Boy Scouts of America at the National and Council level are providing the program and materials (ie the Cub Scout program for ages 7 to 10, the Boy Scout program for ages 11 to 18, the Venturing program for ages 14-21, the OA program - including rank requirements and standardized patches, badges and pins that go with the program); support for the program (such as camps, summer camps, day camps, record keeping, etc.) and granting charters to organizations allowing them to use all or parts of the program (is there really any reason a church couldn't get one charter allowing them to run a Cub Scout, a Boy Scout and a Venturing group while an organization that works only with youth up to age 10 gets a charter only allowing them to run a Cub Scout pack?) with policies geared only to keeping the integrity of their programming intact (Eagle quest, except for rare circumstances, end at 18, etc.) and minimal policies dealing with anything out side that scope - things best left to the judgment of the chartering organizations rather than a bureaucracy in an office building somewhere.

                          Rick points out the difficulty in one size fits all policies. The bulk of any policies affecting units (other than those coming from their chartering organization) should be coming from the local Council where the chartering organization can make their needs and wishes known. Does it really make any sense to have a policy saying 10 year olds can't use a wheelbarrow in an area where those 10 year olds have been driving the farm tractor since they were 6? Does it make any sense to have a rule saying a 16 year old can't use a power drill when he's been wielding a chain saw in the family woodlot since he was 12?

                          The biggest threats to the BSA isn't women, it isn't gays, it isn't girls, it isn't athiests, it isn't sex offenders (I note that the question didn't say boo about adult sex offenders), it isn't DUI's. The biggest threats are people who want to control what other people and other units do, it's nonsensical policies written by lawyers and insurance people afraid of dirt and bugs who think that stepping off the sidewalk onto grass is dangerous, its parents and grandparents that are abdicating their responsibilities and are quick to find someone else to blame (and a lawyer to back them up) and it's insurance companies and lawyers for the BSA who are quick to settle instead of standing up in front of a jury and tell them point blank "Boys climb trees - and sometimes they fall out of them and break their arm - it's an accident - it's happened hundreds of thousands of times before - why does fault have to be assigned to anyone?"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I'm not convinced local option is the panacea that folks think it is. If local option means scouts can march in Pride parades does it not necessarily imply then that scouts participating in decorating Confederate headstones on Decoration Day is also just as local of a decision? The challenge with local option is the BSA brand is a national brand. The actions of units in one area of the country do affect the perceptions of folks in other areas of the country.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by dcsimmons View Post
                              I'm not convinced local option is the panacea that folks think it is. If local option means scouts can march in Pride parades does it not necessarily imply then that scouts participating in decorating Confederate headstones on Decoration Day is also just as local of a decision? The challenge with local option is the BSA brand is a national brand. The actions of units in one area of the country do affect the perceptions of folks in other areas of the country.


                              A also do not think it is the panacea either. I don't think there is one. However of all the things you listed, how many of them are boy-led issues. Is the group of boys who happen to be scouts going to go decorate the headstones without the push and prompt by an adult with an agenda? If the problem is the "brand", is that the boys issue or the adults worried about the BSA from a business perspective? Publicizing the actions of boys' good turns or using them as fronts for any agenda are adult decisions for the purpose of the "organization", not for the boys in it.

                              Comment

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