Jump to content

NJCubScouter

Moderators
  • Content Count

    7405
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    70

Everything posted by NJCubScouter

  1. NJCubScouter

    What it really is and why it really matters

    twin-wasp says: Personally, I advocate leaving it up to the sponsor and the troop committee. Today a committee can reject a volunteer because he is not of their religion. I think scouting would be better served if committees were free to accept or reject gays, with national and the council staying out of it. I am also all in favor of rules about what can and cannot be discussed with the boys. I also support the Supreme Court decision. Scouting is a private group, and the court should not impose membership rules. However, that does not mean that the rules that exist are just. Welcome to the forum twin-wasp, another advocate of local unit option -- the only rational solution. Unit option exists today on almost every possible criterion for leadership -- religion, gender, and a wide range of present "vices" and past conduct that some would see as immoral, and others would not, and that some would see as permanently precluding a leadership position, and others would admit the person as a leader after some period of time. National sets, and should set, very few absolute criteria for leadership -- age, citizenship (or agreement to abide by U.S. law), lack of convictions for pederasty (which is the act; pedophilia is a condition that sometimes causes the act), and not much more than that. Sexual orientation, avowed or otherwise, should not be on that list of absolutes.
  2. NJCubScouter

    Are all BS Round Tables boring?

    It is all a matter of who is presenting the roundtables and coming up with ideas (if any.) Up until a few months ago our district's Cub roundtables were boring and pointless -- basically all announcements and statements by the commissioners that were basically repetitions of council and district newsletter articles and e-mail announcements. Very little in the way of program ideas or advice on program planning, and very little interactive discussion from the "unit" side of the table. Now we have an "acting" Cub Roundtable Commissioner who is doing a great job. The handouts he gives look like they are the same ones he used 15-20 years ago, when he was really the Cub RT Commissioner, but they serve the purpose and are better than anybody else seems to be willing to do. At the same time, we on the unit side now get involved in the meetings and shoot back ideas that we have used, both successes and failures, and the best of the ideas are printed in the district newsletter so others can benefit. Meanwhile, the Boy Scout roundtables are held across the room at the same time (it's a very, very big room, it's the cafeteria for a wholesale auto auction, but the cross-noise is still annoying enough that options are being explored for our own meeting-place within the district.) They do seem to have better attendance over there (usually about 20 people in a district with 27 troops, whereas we usually have about 15 Cub unit people from 37 packs) but I am not sure exactly what they do. Yet.
  3. NJCubScouter

    A better question

    Rooster says: A Scout is free to believe in whatever faith he so desires. I don't think anyone in this forum ever suggested otherwise. Well, I think at least one person in this forum has suggested otherwise. Possibly two. That is why I asked the question. (Neither of the two are you, Rooster, though I was interested to see how you would respond as well.) I will wait for some more responses before commenting further on the responses so far.
  4. NJCubScouter

    A Rather Interesting Comment

    Weekender says: I'm not saying the UW is doing bad things. But if they object to the BSA upholding moral standards then they are misguided. I don't think they "object to the BSA upholding moral standards." I think they object to the BSA discriminating against gays. You may see one as equivalent to the other, I do not, and the local United Way here (and more recently, elsewhere) do not. (And at least nine BSA councils, those who officially requested that local unit option be made the policy, apparently also do not -- are they immoral too?) Or, to look at it another, the BSA is upholding your "moral standards," but they are ignoring my moral standards and those of a lot of other people who otherwise support the BSA. Mistreating people because of what it says in a book that you, but not I, regard as stating the literal word of God, does not sound very moral to me. More specifically, it does not seem consistent with the BSA's claim to be "absolutely nonsectarian." But why should the BSA worry about BSA policy, right?
  5. NJCubScouter

    Scoutmaster (Lousy attitude)

    The "term" of any adult leader is until the unit's next recharter. (I was going to say the term is one year, but you can recharter for I think up to 16 or 18 months, presumably you would do this only once, to change your recharter month.) The chartered organization (the IH or CR) can remove a leader at any time, but at recharter time the CO "reappoints" the leader by signing the charter paperwork that has the leader's name and position on it. If the CO wants to change Scoutmasters at recharter time, the new name is included in the charter instead of the old one, and if the new SM is not already a registered leader, he/she must also submit an adult leader application which must be signed by the CC and the CR (or IH). (Actually in my council they want a new application when someone becomes SM, CM, CC or CR, even if the person is currently registered in a different position.) Since the appointing authority rests in one person (or body, represented by one person), there should not be a need for "term limits." The number of times the IH or CR signs a charter with the SM's name on it, that is how many years he/she is SM. If there is an "election" for SM, it would be a vote of the CO's governing body, if that is how they make this type of decision under their by-laws. Having said all that, I recall that when I was a Boy Scout, my father become Scoutmaster in the 70s through a vote of the troop committee to remove the previous SM and then another vote to install my father. (I peeked at the minutes once.) I suspect that the CO was an absentee and basically let the committee do what it wanted. I heard that the previous SM appealed this action to council and was denied, so maybe things were different then, or maybe they got the CR to sign off on the action (or maybe the CR was a member of the committee, but I know they took a vote.)
  6. NJCubScouter

    What do you wish they woulda told you in training?

    Ed Mori says: What I wish training would cover is dealing with the parents who want their son's to be "given" advancements just because they were there. This is probably the most frustrating part of Scouting I have encountered. I agree with that, and I would broaden it to include "dealing with (other) parents in general," with specific mention of advancement and perhaps some other specific areas. When I attended Basic Cub Leader Training (under the old training continuum), we heard a lot about the "ages and stages" of boys, and that is very important and was presented well, but a few words about those "adult behavior issues" would have been helpful as well. (Topic A, advancement, Topic B, Pinewood Derby!, subtitled, How to Deal with 40-Year-Old Men Who Act Like 9-Year-Old Boys.)
  7. NJCubScouter

    What do you wish they woulda told you in training?

    Just my opinion here, but if someone lost a boy's advancement records, it was because they were careless. Maybe they are always careless with paperwork, maybe they were just distracted at that moment and misplaced them. Maybe they also tend to lose their personal financial papers, papers from work, etc., or maybe they are good about keeping papers that are important to them but bad at caring for things that impact on others. Either way, I doubt very much that sitting in a training course for three hours, or three weeks, is going to change whatever it is that caused the person to lose the papers. You can tell the guy all day about notebooks and zippered pouches and that is not going to stop a blue card from getting stuck between two other unrelated pieces of paper, or falling off the car dashboard out the open car door, or whatever other dire fate befell these blue cards. I speak as someone who has lost a piece of paper or two or... in his lifetime. But I have taught myself to put things in folders and subfolders and to at least put all Scout-related stuff in one box so that at least I know it's in a defined area. Unfortunately, my Cubmaster is 10 times worse than I am, some things have gone into a black hole somewhere in his home and have never emerged. (And yes, I know that committee members are supposed to be handling the paperwork, unfortunately we are have a shortage of those. Committee members, that is, not paperwork, which is always in ample supply.)
  8. NJCubScouter

    A Rather Interesting Comment

    I was aware that this was a decision by each local United Way, though that has not been much solace to my council. Unfortunately, I live within the territory of one of the Original Eight listed by BobWhite as having eliminated BSA funding (except where a donor specifies our council as the recipient) prior to June 2000 (when the U.S. Supreme Court decided the Dale case.) (I guess it is fairly obvious which one of the 8 I live in.) We unit guys hear about this at Friends of Scouting time. "Reduced support" is always mentioned during the presentation, and at least once the United Way has been mentioned by name. I can't fault my local United Way for what they have done, though I wish they hadn't done it. Better to keep funding the BSA and retain some leverage to eventually overturn this misguided policy from within.
  9. NJCubScouter

    A Rather Interesting Comment

    Slontwovvy, you ought to be one of those tv political shows, because you can "spin" with the best of them. The United Way cut funding to the Boy Scouts "because of our freedom of association"? No, I think it was probably because of "our" ("yours" or "theirs," not "mine") discriminatory policy, which violates the funding guidelines of the United Way. I am not and never have advocated that any group cut funding or association with the BSA, but at least be honest about why the United Way (or at least some United Ways) have done what they have done. As for your appropriation for the BSA of the line "we don't want anyone to be excluded": Ah, I see. The BSA is the victim in all this, right? Not the 5 or 6 people who have been thrown out of an organization with 4 or 5 million members, but the organization itself is the victim? That is such a "spin" that you are making me dizzy.
  10. NJCubScouter

    American Heritage Girls

    SagerScout, I want to thank you for your perspective on the Girl Scouts as they really are -- not the distorted version portrayed in the first link contained in the post that started this thread. (The AFA link, the AHG site seemed fairly bland in the brief glance that I gave it.) It agrees with my own more limited experience with the Girl Scouts. Each of my daughters spent a too-brief period in the Girl Scouts, and I have worked on school-related issues with women who hold positions at various levels in the local GS hierarchy. What I have learned from this is that Girl Scout leaders and parents, at least on the local and council levels in my area, provide and expect the same fundamental things from their program, for their daughters, as their counterparts in Boy/Cub Scouting. And that includes principles of morality. In fact, we have a number of families in our pack that also have daughters in the Girl Scouts; some of our parents (including our IH) are Girl Scout leaders; and at least one of our leaders (our Cubmaster)is married to a Girl Scout co-leader. And she has now become our pack's CC as well. So while the programs may differ, since the groups of people running the programs in my community overlap so much, it is difficult to imagine how the "moral tone" could be much different. It is regrettable that all of the responses to SagerScout's post have focued on one ill-considered comment. Her basic point is correct. In light of this, I had to laugh when I opened up the local section of my local newspaper this morning and saw the headline, "Scouts honor trailblazing women," and right underneath that was a picture of two women hugging and kissing each other. Don't worry, the two women were a present and a former Girl Scout leader, one giving the other a congratulatory hug and peck on the cheek regarding an award she had just received at a Girl Scout dinner. I know the older of these two women from some community work I have done, to which she and her husband of about 60 years are financial contributors, and they also have been school board members, Chamber of Commerce honorees, benefactors of local artists and symphonies, and on and on. If she is a lesbian, there sure would be a lot of surprised people in my town, not the least her husband, children and grandchildren.
  11. NJCubScouter

    Merit Badges

    In addition to those school-related subjects mentioned by BobWhite, and the summer-camp badges, there are various things that a boy might be doing anyway that would allow him to earn a merit badge without major distraction from the First Class requirements. When I was a Boy Scout, merit badges could be earned after making Second Class, and I remember that the first one I ever earned was Coin Collecting. I had an active coin collection anyway, and meeting the requirements was just a matter of showing the counselor what I had and discussing it, and discussing those items in the merit badge pamphlet that were not in my collection. Similarly, I remember the Dog Care MB (or maybe it was Pet Care, I think they have both now) not being a major strain. I was the main guy for our family's dog (when I wasn't at school) anyway, and just a bit of extra reading and discussing how I cared for the dog got me the badge. (I don't remember if I had to bring the actual dog along or not.) There are probably a few others like this, unless of course they have changed the requirements in the past 30 years. No reason why a boy going for First Class should not be able to spend an hour or two applying what he already knows to earn a merit badge.
  12. NJCubScouter

    YPP works

    YP does indeed work when it is enforced, though I think it remains to be seen whether this story is a good example of that. Although the story says that nobody has come forward to claim abuse by this guy over the 30-plus years that he was a Scoutmaster and Scouter, this may now change. People who are abused as chidren or teenagers are often very reluctant to come forward, and often the publication of a newspaper story like this will bring out others who claim that the same person abused them years earlier. This can be due in part to people fearing that they will not be believed, but once the person is a "known abuser," they then feel more secure because their claim will have more credibility. Another aspect is "recovered memory," a current hot topic of controversy in the psychology biz. So I would not necessarily assume that Scouting's YP policies provided complete protection in this particular case. If in a year nobody has come forward about this guy, then you might be able to draw that conclusion. Also, this guy was a Scouter since 1968, long before there were any YP guidelines at all. Since this is the "Issues" board, I will depart from the YP topic and point out that nowhere in this story is any indication that the guy was "openly" or "avowedly" gay. (I am assuming for purposes of discussion that he is in fact considered "gay," since he was trying to pick up a 14-year-old boy. I know that this is another hot topic in psychology, but I don't want to get into it.) It seems safe to assume that someone who was an education director at a Catholic school, and well enough respected in his Catholic diocese to be appointed liaison to the Boy Scouts, never told anybody he was gay. Otherwise he would have been kicked out, either by the Church or Scouting or both, even without any evidence of his actual conduct. So if anybody thinks (contrary to what the BSA says) that the anti-gay policy protects the kids, here is an example of that not being the case. Here is a closeted gay person who was a child abuser. Nothing in the BSA anti-gay policy would have caused this guy to be removed.(This message has been edited by NJCubScouter)
  13. NJCubScouter

    American Heritage Girls

    Well, well, a discussion of what Jews think about Christianity. I didn't see any of this when I made my post earlier. Merlyn Le Roy, or whoever you are, said: If the Jews are right, Christians are in violation of the 7 laws given to Noah, because worshipping Jesus as a god would constitute idolatry. To which Weekender responds: I've not once heard a Jew claim Jesus to be an idol. Weekender, it does not surprise me that you have not heard a Jew claim that; generally we do not go around saying things like that, partly to be polite and partly to try to avoid the massacres and stuff that I mentioned earlier. To be slightly more theological about it, sometime in the last millenium or the one before that, Jews adopted a prohibition against proselytizing to non-Jews, and there is definite historical evidence that this was done not so much as a matter of religious doctrine, but as a common-sense effort at self-preservation. For most modern Jews, this common sense generally means that you don't discuss what you think about Jesus Christ. This is not just an abstraction. I was brought up to not discuss religion except with other Jews. And it does not single out Jesus Christ, it would apply equally to a Jew living in a Muslim country -- and even more so at this moment in history, though the number of Jews left in Muslim countries is a tiny fraction of what it was just 50 years ago. However, the fact is that Jews do not believe that Jesus is God or the son of God. Belief that he is, would in a sense violate the commandment that "thou shalt have no other Gods before me," and a painting or sculpture of Jesus (or indeed of God himself) would consitute idolatry. However, as I have suggested above, "we" would not claim that Christians are "violating" the commandments because we do not apply our own relgious beliefs to others -- a courtesy that, sadly, has not always been returned.
  14. NJCubScouter

    American Heritage Girls

    Weekender, just out of curiosity, I have a question about this statement: Personally though, I find that the basis for building character MUST be an unchageing, unchangable set of moral standards that do not necessarily conform to societal norms but require an individual to understand that there is absolute truth and that there is right and wrong and that sometimes society is wrong. Short of there being a living God there can be no such standard. If we make the rules at our level then the rules are subject to change and interpretation. My question is this: Do you think that a person who does not believe some or all of the above statements some can still be "reverent" and do his "duty to God" as required by the Scout Oath and Law? In other words, would you exclude from Scouting someone who believes that moral standards do sometimes change; or that on some issues there is no absolute truth, but only differing opinions; or that there is no "living God" but rather that God is a supernatural creative force and higher power that created the Earth, or set its creation in motion at some earlier stage like the Big Bang, and has had no other involvement in the affairs of mankind? And question 2 would be, regardless of what answer you would give to that question, what do you think the BSA's official answer would be? I also have to ask you about this: Just so no one can say that they never knew...Jesus is the son of God, he came to earth to pay for your sins and mine, he died on a cross at Golgotha and on the third day he was raised back to life. He now sits at the right hand of God the Father. Salvation is yours for the asking. Jesus said he is the way the truth and the life and that no one comes to the father except through him. He also said that if you deny Him now he will deny you later. My question here is, do you really think that this forum is the appropriate place to proselytize (had to look that up in an online dictionary, still doesn't look right) for your religion? Isn't there a religion forum somewhere that you can go to say that? This is a Scouting forum, and in Scouting we who do not believe a word of what is quoted above are supposed to be welcomed. Including those of us whose ancestors have spent most of the last thousand-plus years (right down to this century) getting massacred, forcibly converted, inquisitioned (when the "conversion" wasn't good enough), exiled, imprisoned, accused of drinking the blood of Christian children, and massacred a few more times, all because they did not believe what you believe. I do hope it's okay with you if we are in Scouting too. (By the way, nothing against Christians, I am married to a Catholic and have Catholic children, but as you might guess, we do not discuss religious history very often.) Finally, there is this: If I'm wrong...no harm done. If you're wrong it's eternity in the smoking section. Isn't it worth finding out? We're all going to find out. As I have said in the past, although I do not believe in a "final judgment," if there is one, it's quite possible that (among other things you don't even suspect) God made about 5 percent of the population gay as a test for the rest of us to see how we treat that portion of his creation. If so, you may be one of those who finds himself in the smoking section. I wish I could see the look on your soul's face if that happens. At least you'd have plenty of company.
  15. NJCubScouter

    American Heritage Girls

    Rooster says: We don't like the GSUSA's political spin. Yeah, I always thought those Thin Mints were curved to the left a little bit.
  16. NJCubScouter

    Eagle Award Question

    My guess (based on no facts whatsoever) is that if the BSA ever does actually revoke an Eagle, the vast majority of instances would be where someone's application (already approved) is found to contain false information. In other words, the person was not entitled to the award in the first place and the revocation is necessary to protect the integrity of the award. But for cases where the person properly earns the award but then "goes bad," revocation would seem pointless. There might be a point to it if the BSA were disassociating itself from a criminal -- but BobWhite says the revocation is kept confidential, so they are not acutally disassociating themselves from the person at all. The whole idea of revoking a murderer's Eagle seems darkly comical to me. Here's a guy sitting on death row or in prison for life (I am not sure which in the Matthew Shepard case), and then along comes the Boy Scouts of America to inflict more punishment? It would be well-deserved, but I can't see what purpose it would serve. "Boy, my life was really going along great here in solitary confinement for the rest of my life, until I got that letter from the BSA, now things are really bad."
  17. We should always beware of overgeneralizations. I don't think anyone would suggest that all youth sports coaches stress winning over sportsmanship, team play, leadership, etc. I have known coaches, especially at lower age levels, who stress equitable playing time for team members and are interested in everybody having a positive experience and improving their skills to the maximum extent possible, regardless of their "incoming" skill levels or aptitude. However, I have also known coaches who don't. As I said earlier, I know of some coaches, as early as the 4th-5th grade level, who seem to adopt a "boot camp" philosophy where every activity other than school and his (it's usually a him) team is seen as a negative, and where practices seem to be scheduled so as to accomplish this end. We do have some boys in my pack who manage to balance sports and Scouting, sometimes arriving late or leaving early from camping trips in order to make a game, or showing up in their sports uniform rather than their Cub Scout or Webelos uniform. We happily accommodate all of this, figuring that some participation is better than none, and the "competing" activity is worthwhile if kept in proper perspective. I would also estimate that out of the 50 or so families in our pack, about a dozen of the parents are sports coaches, including the Cubmaster. Beyond anecdotal evidence, I think it is clear that there is a general trend in youth sports away from sportsmanship and toward winning as the ultimate goal. Although none of my children is currently involved in team sports, I have seen the prevailing attitude reflected in my son's Cub pack, especially at Pinewood Derby time. Winning and getting the biggest trophy far outweigh "sportsmanship," and unfortunately a number of the parents only seem to encourage this. Fortunately, most if not all of the boys in this category, and their parents, are about to graduate. This is probably due to the fact that our former Cubmaster was of the "winning is everything" school of thought, and our current Cubmaster is not, and these attitudes have been directly reflected in the attitudes of the leaders, parents and boys who joined under one regime or the other. Obviously, Scouting has also been affected by the explosion in youth sports, especially at the elementary and middle-school level. When I was growing up, it was mainly baseball, there was also Pop Warner football. Basketball and soccer were high school team sports, but did not exist at the lower age levels or outside of school. Now kids as young as kindergarten are playing baseball and soccer, and as they get older there is basketball, football, ice hockey, lacrosse, and probably a few others I am missing. The intensity is also greater, where everyone is competing to be on a "traveling team" instead of one that just plays other teams from the same town. And this is before they get to high school. It is, as someone said, difficult for Scouting, with its "hokey" image and uniform, to compete with all this, but hopefully there will always be a percentage of parents who recognize the benefits of Scouting and can convey this to their sons.
  18. Sorry about the formatting of that last post, I wrote it offline and some glitch in my computer prevented me from transferring it to the forum the way I usually do, and it ended up have line-breaks where I didn't want them.
  19. First let me comment on the title of this thread: Are Internet Forums the Correct place to protest BSA Policy First of all, I would not describe what anybody does in this forum as being "protest." We are discussing the issue and stating our viewpoint, on all sides. It is not necessarily "protesting" any more than a post in the other sub-forums saying that the uniform shorts are uncomfortable, or that the Webelos hat is ugly, or that Cooking should be a required merit badge, or any of the other things that Scouters believe could be improved. Second, I would say that the answer to your question depends on what anybody's purpose is in commenting in this forum. If someone expects to change BSA policy with their comments here, it probably is not "the correct place" to achieve that purpose, because that is not its function. It is conceivable that the discussions in this forum could help persuade some rank-and-file Scouters (specifically those who read but do not post on the subject) that the policy should be changed, and when combined with the dozens or hundreds of other places online where people discuss this, someday there might be enough of a movement to change the policy, that change occurs. I'm not saying it's likely, perhaps it's more in the category of "anything's possible." Perhaps we're all just venting, but there is nothing wrong with that either. However, if the question is whether Internet forums are an appropriate place to comment on BSA policy, the answer is, sure. This forum is provided by the owner as a place to comment on Scouting subjects, including "Issues and Politics" in Scouting, hence the name of this sub-forum. This obviously is one of those subjects. If one want to change the policy, there are other ways to attempt to do so that may be more effective; though at the moment, I suspect that the "official channels" will be no more receptive to change than posting in an Internet forum, or shouting your opinions from a mountaintop, for that matter. For the time being, anyway. Quixote asks: NJ - you're the lawyer here - Are internet forums such as this one public or private speach - or does it matter? For purposes of whether it is appropriate to post here about controversial subjects, I am not sure that it matters. The public/private distinction in matters of speech usually concerns whether a place or forum are public or private, in order to determine whether the government (or in rare cases, a private owner) is permitted to prohibit or regulate speech in that place. One area I can think of where it matters whether speech is "public" or "private" is in the law of defamation, because in order to win a case for libel or slander you have to prove that the offending statement was "published." I believe that courts have generally held that a statement that appears on the Internet is indeed "published." The problem, of course, is that people do not necessarily use their names, or their real names, on the Internet, but if you can prove who did it, you can sue them. The same goes for things like "cyberstalking." What i'm getting at is let's say i'm for having cigarette smokers as leaders and there is a national ban on cigarette smokers as leaders. If i dress up in my leader uniform and picket council, i am obviously an avowed cigarette smoker advocate and am making cigarette smoking a political issue and bringing attention to myself in the process - should my membership be revoked? Same question, but i'm not in uniform. I raise the issue at round table and debate my fellow scouters on the subject - is this public or private speach? bringing attention to myself or the "cause"? I mail letters to national protesting the policy and asking that they re-address the issue - with appropriate copies to coucil, district and CO. Based on current law, which of the above are allowed? I'm not sure exactly what you are asking. What the BSA can legally do, what the BSA would do, and what the BSA should, are three different questions with up to three different answers for each of your scenarios. In the case of what the BSA can do legally, I agree with BobWhite's posts that the BSA can probably remove any leader who speaks out against any of its policies. As for what the BSA would do, to date the only removals I am aware of for simply speaking were for two (or so) people who were accused of advocating to Scouts that the policy was wrong. As for your cigarette scenario, this is hypothetical because smokers are not banned as leaders, in fact it is not even prohibited to smoke in front of the boys, only "strongly discouraged" (the last time I checked.) But going with your hypothetical, my guess would be that if you picket council in uniform to end the anti-smoker policy, you probably would be asked to stop, and if you did not, you probably would be terminated. Doing it out of uniform might change the answer. At a roundtable, I don't think that raising the issue would result in any sanction, though of course at a roundtable there is (or should be) an agenda or program, and any more than a brief discussion of BSA policies probably would be disruptive. My guess (again) would be that chronic disruption of roundtables probably would be cause for you being asked to stay away, but not to be terminated as a leader. I think the content of your comments would be less important than the fact that you are "off topic," so to speak. Mailing letters probably would result in no adverse action, after all, that is essentially what several councils did to request a reconsideration of the anti-gay policy.(This message has been edited by NJCubScouter)
  20. NJCubScouter

    Undue Influence?

    KoreaScouter says: I only asserted that it's easier to reconcile your membership in an organization when you're in agreement with its policies. As someone who is not in agreement with one of the BSA's current policies, I would agree with that statement. It would be easier if that policy did not exist. However, life isn't always easy. For me, the reasons for me to be involved outweigh the reasons for me not to be involved. What makes it easier for me to be involved is the knowledge that this policy is not in keeping with the true principles of Scouting and that eventually it could be changed. The irony here is that many of us embrace Scouting in large part because the values of Scouting harken back to a time when morals weren't relative and character wasn't so hard to find. Yet, when it comes to this issue, some are perfectly okay with moral relativism and all the baggage that comes with it. Well, here we go again with the "moral relativism" routine. I have dealt with this in the past. For all the times I have read this phrase, I still don't know exactly what values the people who use it think are lacking in those who are considered "moral relativists." "Moral absolutism" basically seems to mean, "this is what I believe and anybody who doesn't believe all of it is a moral relativist." One problem with this attitude is that it ignores the fact that no matter how many things you believe are "immoral," there are others somewhere in the world who have a longer list and who believe that you are wallowing in sin. Ask not for whom the pointy finger of moral condemnation tolls... Having said that, it is true that Scouting harkens back to an earlier time, though frankly those early times weren't always as "moral" as we would like to think. I don't consider racial segregation, in which the BSA did participate in an earlier time, to be particularly moral. As far as sexual morality, I don't think it's as much a matter of people acting differently in the olden days, as people being more honest about it now. One good thing about being a moral relativist, I guess, is that you can accept the historical fact that society's understanding of what is right and wrong can change and improve. It happened with slavery, it happened with with racial and gender discrimination, it happened with treatment of the mentally ill, and it is happening now with homosexuality. When someone justifies something because it's "the right thing to do", we just started careening down a slippery slope. That's interesting, I thought that when something is "the right thing to do," that is a description of what is moral. Again, I am left with the impression that you have been appointed the sole arbiter of what is right and wrong, and yet I read the newspaper every day and was not aware of the appointment. Here's why: it's the right thing to do as defined by...you, but not necessarily by me, or him, or her, or somebody else. Moral relativism knocking at the door. Which is why morality, or at least enforceable morality, is defined by a consensus (not necessarily a majority) of society. And as for homosexuality being immoral, I don't think that consensus exists anymore. According to the legislature of my state, homosexuality is not illegal, but discrimination in employment or public accommodations based on sexual orientation is illegal. That tells me where the morality of my part of society stands. I won't even comment again on the references to NAMBLA and kiddie porn, both favorite subjects of those who wish to divert attention away from the issue at hand. I'm not trying to link the two, and there's already another thread on this, but if anything good can come out of the current scandal in the Catholic Church, it could be that it opens our eyes again to the fact that there are creepy people out there, and not all behavior is okay. I think we all know there are creepy people out there, and I think we all know that not all behavior is okay. However, we also know that some behavior is okay; the difference is that some people want to limit that category to only behavior that they engage in or want to engage in, while others (including me) are willing to allow that our own behavior is not the exclusive definition of morality.
  21. NJCubScouter

    How to convince parents about summer camp....

    I did not realize there was so much variation in the cost of Scout summer camps. The $400 for a week of beach camp in Southern California seems out of line, it must be a very good program. But $125 is a major bargain. Our council's camp charges $225 for the week, $200 if the troop registers before April 30 which I assume most do. Last summer I paid $175 for a week of Cub Scout DAY camp, and that's with NO meals included, though bus transportation is provided. I think Scout camp is a bargain compared with most other activities. And the boys aren't really getting the full program, at least at the Boy Scout level, without it.
  22. Sctmom, I agree with you about youth sports. It is a wonderful thing in theory and if kept in the right balance with the rest of life. In reality it is often way overemphasized. Practices EVERY weekday, as you say, and don't dare miss one; kids being on multiple teams with 2 or even 3 games on weekends; traveling to games all over the state and sometimes elsewhere; this is not uncommon. And this is at the age level you are talking about, 4th-8th grade. And it only gets worse for boys on a high school team. In a couple of cases I have heard about, it almost seems as if the coach (and this is at the pre-high school level) is intentionally trying to prevent the boys from being involved in any significant activity other than his team. I had to stifle a laugh recently when my Cubmaster told me that his son was concentrating too much on baseball and that he wanted to send him to Cub Scout day camp so that he doesn't spend the whole summer just playing baseball in various leagues and camps. Here is a man who has encouraged his son to play baseball (and other sports in other seasons) non-stop, seems to have him on 2 teams at a time and in every tournament that comes up, including one team that traveled to Florida, sends him to summer baseball camp -- all of which is great. But don't then wonder why the kid is neglecting things other than baseball. Oh, and the boy is NINE YEARS OLD. He's a Bear Cub Scout. And he has been this active in baseball for at least the last 2 years. At least he is still in the pack (and he'd better stay, because I don't want to be Cubmaster.)
  23. NJCubScouter

    Undue Influence?

    BobWhite, as the sentence of mine that you quoted makes clear, I was not talking about what is the right thing for me to do. I know what my job in Scouting is. I was talking about what is the right thing for BSA-national to do, and that is to change the policy, even though (as you have repeatedly mentioned) it has the legal right to keep the policy as it is. Regardless of how violative of the true values of Scouting and of the Declaration of Relgious Principles it may be.
  24. NJCubScouter

    Undue Influence?

    sst3rd says: As a long time Scoutmaster, I, the CC, nor the COR, have of yet to receive in writing, any policy (new, amended, or otherwise) concerning gay leadership being rejected. I continue to review the adult application, and I still don't see any mention of rejecting gay leadership (or to be on the look out for it). A "policy" has never been discussed at the many levels of training that I've been involved in, nor have I heard it mentioned at Roundtables, District, or Council meetings. Yes, this is a major peculiarity of this situation. I cannot think of another position taken by the BSA as to what you can or cannot do, or who should or should not do what, that is not expressed somewhere in some official literature that is either distributed to leaders or that leaders or units are expected to purchase. The Cub Scout Leader Book has many references to BSA policies, in fact I believe there is an entire chapter on BSA policies. I assume the Scoutmasters Handbook is similar. Generally when the BSA wants you to do something or not do something, they tell you what it is, in writing, often in excruciating detail. (The Guide to Safe Scouting is probably the best example.) But not so for the gay-exclusion "policy." Yes, it has been mentioned in press releases, on the BSA's web site, and in Scouting magazine, but never in terms of what units should and should not do. I cannot agree, however, that this amounts to "unit option" on the issue. It is clear what BSA-national's position is, and in their recent statement they specifically say that unit option is not permitted.
  25. NJCubScouter

    Undue Influence?

    BobWhite says: But the bottom line is if you speak publicly as a member of the BSA against the values of the program, the BSA rights to free association allow for you can be removed. I have seen nothing in the BSA literature that says that if you advocate against the policy, you will be removed. Let's assume that legally the BSA can remove you, I have not seen any policy that would do that. I have seen an indication that it is a violation of BSA policy to advocate against the policy to youth. That presumably was the basis for the adults in that PBS documentary about Scouting for All to be de-registered. BobWhite, the main problem I have with your recent posts is that you are focusing on what the BSA may legally do as opposed to what is the right thing to do. The other problem I have is with your statements about advocating against the policy from within the program. I agree that you should not put on a uniform and go to a rally that is protesting against the BSA. I agree that you should not stand in front of a group of Scouts and criticize the BSA. But what about the BSA councils that have approved resolutions asking the BSA to modify its policy? Or what if someone at a troop committee meeting proposes such a resolution, with a request that the CR introduce it at the next Council business meeting? They are not violating the policy or asking that anyone else do so, and they are not advocating that anyone cut funding or quit. They are working within the system to change the policy. That is ok, right? And what about posting on an Internet message board to advocate against the policy, that's ok too, isn't it?
×