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Everything posted by NJCubScouter

  1. Uniform award transfers - Cub to Boy Scouts

    Bob White says: The Webelos badge may now be worn temporarily, until the Scout Badge is earned. I had not heard that before, and it is directly relevant to my son, who was awarded the oval Webelos badge 5 days ago and will be crossing over in a year, give or take a few days. (He is still in the blue shirt, which has gotten tight, but we were waiting until he got the Webelos badge to buy the tan shirt, put the Webelos badge on there, and transfer the "diamond" rank badges and arrow points to the red patch vest.) So what you are saying is that after my son (and his den-mates) cross over, and put on their red shoulder loops to attend their first troop meeting, they may keep the Webelos badge where it is until they have satisfied the Scoutmaster that they have passed the Scout requirements and are awarded the Scout badge. This seems logical, but it points out what I think is a quirk in the rank progression, which has been underlined by the creation of the oval Webelos badge. When my son crosses over, his current rank will NOT be Webelos, it will be Arrow of Light, even if he receives the Arrow of Light badge a few seconds or a few minutes before he walks over the bridge, as is the tradition in my pack. Why didn't they make the Arrow of Light an oval patch too? If the answer is, "because the small rectangular Arrow of Light has been around for x number of decades," I can understand that, tradition is important and my own patch collection includes my Arrow of Light rectangular patch from 1969. But there is still a break in the logical flow of things when the second-highest Cub rank is the same shape and in the same position as all of the Boy Scout ranks, and the highest Cub rank is in a different shape and position. It's really not a big deal and I suspect my son won't analyze it that closely, but I have to wonder whether National really thought about this enough before they did it. I am wondering, is there a publication that states what you have mentioned about wearing the Webelos badge temporarily until Scout is earned. I can't help it, I'm a lawyer and always like to read things for myself.
  2. Eagle Problem

    After reading FScouter's comments, I want to clarify my earlier answer. My point was that the Scoutmaster is wrong to make his request. That does not mean that you want to have a confrontation with him. As FScouter says, diplomacy is called for, and as jmcquillan says, it might be appropriate to have an adult intermediary deal with the scoutmaster. Usually Scouts should be able to deal directly with the scoutmaster, but that assumes that the scoutmaster is acting in his proper role of teacher, advisor, counselor, role model, mentor, etc. Even disciplinarian, when necessary, if it is something that is beyond the junior leaders' ability to deal with. But I think he has stepped out of those roles, and is now acting like a commanding officer. (Would I be wrong in speculating that he holds such a job for a living?) I agree that that is for an adult to deal with. As for DedicatedDad's comments, I agree with them also, if I interpret them correctly. I do not believe he is necessarily suggesting which way you should go, just trying to give you something to think about as you make your decision. DedicatedDad is also perhaps assuming some things about your life that we don't actually know. Perhaps you are Bill Gates' only son and don't have to worry about how you are going to survive in this world. (I know, I know, Bill doesn't have a teenaged son and perhaps no children at all. But you know what I mean.) Perhaps you are planning to join the Army at 18 and want to keep your long hair until then. If, however, you are committed to the "normal" path of finishing high school, going on to college and a job, then it is certainly true that learning which battles to fight and which not to fight, when to compromise and when not, and when and how to be flexible, are essential survival skills in life. Not... and I promise, this is an observation and not a jab... Not that I necessarily expected DedicatedDad to be the one to make the point about flexibility. There is a particular sentence in his post that almost made me choke on my coffee, in light of the goings on in other threads, but rather than send grekonsz's thread hurtling off in an unforseen and unhelpful direction, I will post my comments elsewhere when I get a chance. Just as a point of interest, by the way, somewhere in my brother's possession is a picture of him with fairly long hair at age 18 at his Eagle Court of Honor, in 1982. Also in my parents' house is a picture of my Philmont crew from 1974, with hairstyles ranging from military to shoulder-length (neither of which were mine, but as I said before, my hair was not short.) As I recall the photo, however, only one Eagle badge is visible, and I think that kid had short hair.
  3. Eagle Problem

    Assuming that this is a serious question: With all due respect to your Scoutmaster, it seems to me that what you really need is not six "long-haired" Eagle Scouts, but a Scoutmaster who requires you to meet the actual requirements for Eagle and doesn't add to them. As for "long hair," I don't even know what that means. I grew up in the 60s and 70s, when long hair went from meaning anything that wasn't a crew-cut to hair that went down to someone's waste and in some cases was not kept in, shall we say, a healthy condition. In high school I had what would be considered "long hair" today. (I stopped at Life, but it wasn't because of my hair.) I guess what I am trying to get at is, I suppose it is possible for long hair to be kept in such a way that one is not doing one's best to be "Clean." If that is not the case with you -- if you are showing Scout spirit by doing your best to live by the Oath and Law -- the length of your hair should not have anything to do with making Eagle.
  4. The ACLU

    Ed Mori, you say a discussion of the ACLU does not belong in a Scouting forum but then immediately discuss it, with your comment that "The ACLU is neither American or about liberty." Is this consistent? On the issue you raise, I think an argument can be made that discussions of issues directly related to the First Amendment and the rest of the Bill of Rights (which includes the placement of the 10 Commandments on public property and most of the issues dealt with by the ACLU) do have at least peripheral relevance to Scouting. One of the aims of Scouting is to teach and promote citizenship. I think this requires, among other things, knowledge (by both leaders and eventually by the Scouts) of our basic government documents and how they impact upon our lives. One requirement for the Citizenship in the Nation merit badge is to read and discuss with your counselor the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, among other things. So if, through discussion and debate, some or all of us (including the non-posting readers) gain a greater understanding of these subjects, perhaps it is adequately related to Scouting. Even if you are not a CintheN counselor, you still cannot be harmed by a perspective on the issues that the boys might discuss in the merit badge. And even beyond the merit badge context, citizenship is more than just saluting the flag. It is, in part, knowing what is going on in your country, and why, and having the capacity to advocate changes if they are warranted.
  5. Now that we disagree, can we agree?

    cjmiam, could you please sing "Far, Far, Away"?
  6. Now that we disagree, can we agree?

    While I was reading this thread, y'all have added a page! IMHO, you folks need to get off the computer and go Scouting with your Troops/Packs/Crews! Go camping, go hiking, go jump in a lake! I have only been here a for a couple of weeks, and I, too, have noticed that several people seem to have quite a bit of time on their hands. Let's see, Monday night I went to a meeting of a school district committee to evaluate the need for new facilities; Tuesday night I went to a school board meeting; last night I had a pack and den leaders' meeting; tonight I went to pick up the Pinewood Derby trophies to be given out at the blue and gold dinner and drop off some materials to be used for a ceremony to my Cubmaster; and tomorrow night is the blue and gold dinner. Makes it tough to keep up with responding to the posts. Congratulations on reaching page 10 though, everybody.
  7. OldGreyEagle, perhaps not so old and grey, says: I may be old and grey and dont always remember things as I should, but wasnt Oliver North the guy who LIED to congress about Iran-Contra ? And later he admitted he LIED to Congress based on his belief he was right? Yes, you remember correctly; in fact, the article you were responding to says: North, a former national security adviser to President Reagan, was convicted of a quintet of charges that included conspiracy, making false statements to Congress and obstructing congressional inquiries into the Iran-Contra affair. As the story also mentions, his conviction was overturned because Congress foolishly (the article doesn't say foolishly, I do) gave him immunity in order to testify at the hearings, when in fact they should have let him take the Fifth if he wanted and let the prosecutors prosecute him. You may notice that the Congressional investigators into the Enron matter have learned that lesson and are not throwing around immunity to the key players. I also recall, though I am not positive, that he still could have been tried on some of the charges, such as lying to Congress, but by that time the limitations placed on the case in the various appeals (I think it went up and back 2 or 3 times) made it more trouble than it was worth, and the prosecutors decided to just forget the whole thing. Didnt he shred documents that were subpoenoed and snuck others out the door in Fawn Hall's boots and other articles of clothing? Indeed he did. Actually the part about the boots I don't specifically recall, but who could forget then-Senator Howell Heflin, one-time Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, drawling, "So it seems Miz Hawl stuffed all them doc-yaments in her unda-gahments, heh heh." Ah, the good old days. If I am wrong, I have no doubt I will be suitably rebuked, and will deserve it for spreading more urban legends but I am not sure Oliver North is a guy I want to have anyone model, much less a scout Actually, I would not be surprised if you find yourself being rebuked for being right.
  8. Re: the news article about Ollie North: Someone stated earlier that this subject (the constitutionality of placing the 10 commandments on public land) is of questionable relevance to Scouting, and it seems to me that the discussion is getting further and further afield. If the article about North is relevant to Scouting because he spoke at a Boy Scout luncheon, that would seem to be appropriate to a folder on Events In The Councils or something like that, if there is one, and this presumably would be outside the Issue and Politics area. But I am not the folder police, and would not want to be accused of trying to stifle free expression. As for Ollie North, I sit here attempting unsuccessfully to identify his credentials as an expert on the Establishment Clause, or any other aspect of the First Amendment for that matter, which would justify a news article reporting what he thinks. Perhaps he could claim some perspective on the Fifth Amendment, because that is the amendment by which he escaped punishment for his crimes. I can't help thinking that Ollie North and his supporters would ccomplain that someone whose conviction was overturned on the same grounds had gotten out on a "technicality" -- if the beneficiary were someone other than Ollie North or one of his ideological ilk. Which now makes me realize why Ollie North is relevant to Scouting -- to show that Boy Scout councils need to be more careful about who they choose as role models.
  9. Do you home school, public school or private school?

    OK DedicatedDad, I'll take you on your word that your use of "publik" instead of "public" was completely unintentional, after all, a Scout is trustworthy, and as I said before, I don't comment on typos or spelling since I make my own share of errors. I was just wondering, since I don't recall ever seeing you misspell anything else.
  10. ScouterPaul, I believe that slontwovvy drew you into this in error; the statement he seems to attribute to you (95 percent agreement with the BSA, as well as the ACLU) was actually made by me. So I'll take the heat for it. I do, however, fully agree with your post, ScouterPaul, although it may appear otherwise. You say: I stand for 100% of what Boy Scouts Stand for. I am however against the few who choose to make their personal predjudices those of the BSA. And I say I agree with the BSA about 95 percent -- the 5 percent being those 1 or 2 issues on which the BSA has adopted the positions of "the few who choose to make their personal predjudices those of the BSA." So I think we are basically saying the same thing. And as for slontwovvy, who seems to think that my 5 percent disagreement means that I "don't like what the BSA stands for", I have to say that 95 percent is more than I agree with anybody else about anything. I probably don't agree with my wife anywhere near 95 percent of the time, but I have no intention of quitting my family to find a new one. Nor do I have any intention of quitting the BSA to find a different youth organization for my son, because I know that none of them would have a combination of program and policy that is anywhere near 95 percent to my liking. And the reason that I am not just a parent but a leader is that my son's den needed a new leader, and then the Cubmaster needed an Assistant, and I felt I could contribute something to fill the need. If I continue on after my son finishes Webelos, it will be because a troop needs something that they and I feel I can contribute. I don't do or not do things for ideological or political reasons where my children are concerned, I do what I think is best for them considering all factors. I hope everybody can agree with that. As for ScouterPaul's statement: I feel that I have a right to work within the system to change the system. Contrary to serveral posts in other threads I believe that a healthy debate between Scouters is working within the system. Since I come from the 70s and we didn't have "bumps" or "dittos", all I can say is "right on."
  11. Do you home school, public school or private school?

    DedicatedDad, I notice that four times in a fairly short post, you spell "public" with a "k" instead of a "c" at the end. Now, I learned many years ago that it is poor online etiquette to point out typos and spelling errors in other peoples' posts, so if that is what it is, please excuse the interruption. However, since you never once spell it with a "c" (at least not in that particular post), I have to wonder whether it is intentional, and if so, why you do that. Maybe your computer keyboard is starting to short out. I have seen ultra-left-wing-radicals spell "America" with a "k" instead of a "c", maybe their keyboards have the same problem. Or maybe whoever made their keyboard thought that changing a "hard c" to a "k" imparts a Nazi connotation to whatever word is being altered. I would never, of course, attribute such an intention to someone unless they admitted to it. If you need a replacement ceyboard, er, keyboard, Walmart sells a good basic one for about $13, but don't let your kids drink Coke near it because it doesn't really resist spills like they claim on the box.
  12. Now that we disagree, can we agree?

    bigbear says: Through discussion, I know the parents of our Troop do not want the boys exposed to the homosexual lifestyle in the Scouting environment. Me, too. Unanimous. Nor do I. I don't think parents want their sons exposed to ANY sexual lifestyle in the Scouting environment, whether it be gay or straight. And it is interesting, and not mentioned often enough, that in the case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court, James Dale NEVER "exposed" the boys in his troop to the "homosexual lifestyle." There is nothing in the court opinion to suggest that anyone connected with the troop even knew he was gay. In effect, he was an "avowed homosexual" in one life, the life that he had in college, but just a guy with no announced sexual preference in another life, his Scouting life. A story appeared in a newspaper about a conference he attended on the problems faced by teenagers in coming to terms with their sexual orientation, and he was one of the people quoted. He was identified as an officer of a gay advocacy group at his college. And that was it -- apparently someone in the council saw the article, matched up the names, and he was out. I don't even think there is any evidence that anyone in his troop saw the article, at least not before the whole thing became nationwide news. So changing the policy (to allow local option) will not necessarily expose any boys to anything. Requiring that leaders not discuss their sexuality with boys has nothing to do with permitting someone whose sexual orientation is known to adults from being selected as a leader. The Dale case is a perfect example. And also note that he followed every single rule, regulation and policy that existed in writing at the time, and was still booted out. Lawyers are people, too. But watch 'em. (G) As a lawyer, I agree. Same advice applies to most members of most other professions as well, though.
  13. DedicatedDad says: The ACLU is not pro Scouts either. And yet, here I am, having been at various times a member of both. (I let my ACLU dues lapse awhile back.) I agree with each about 95 percent of the time. But somehow, the BSA has managed to make the focus of everyone outside the organization that small fraction in the middle where the two organizations disagree.
  14. Now that we disagree, can we agree?

    I agree with ScouterPaul that what is considered "moral" by a consensus of society does change over time. And you need not go back as far as slavery. In the chosen year of 1910, society in general had no real problem with discrimination against racial minorities and women. Segregation, denial of basic civil liberties including the right to vote, discrimination in employment, none of these things were considered "wrong," or if you will, "immoral." Some people fought against these things even then, but there was no societal consensus that they were wrong. In some states, it was actually illegal for people of different races to marry; this remained the case until about 1970, and it was the Supreme Court that had to step in and strike down these laws. Things gradually changed after the era in which the BSA was formed. Of course, women got the right to vote around 1920, but it was not until the 1970s that a societal consensus really began to develop that discrimination against women was wrong. The same process for blacks started in the 1940s, and made very slow progress that still continues today. But in each case, a time came when the moral consensus changed from acceptance of discrimination, to condemnation. I believe the same thing is happening with homosexuality. The societal consensus that homosexuality is wrong has begun to erode, and the idea that what is wrong is discrimination against gays has begun to take hold. In my own state of New Jersey, laws against sodomy were removed from the books in 1979, and discrimination in employment and in public facilities and accomodations was outlawed in 1991. Vermont now officially recognizes gay marriages, though it calls them civil unions. The situation varies among the other states. Now, someone will point out that women and blacks have no choice but to be those things, so its unfair to discriminate against them, while gays choose to be gay, so they get no protection. From my other posts, it is obvious that I do not agree with that, but that is not the point. So you don't have to say it. We know. The point is that whether some of you like it or not, the change IS happening just as it happened with minorities and women. At some point, whether it takes 5 years or 50 years, the societal consensus will finally solidify in the direction it is now moving, against anti-gay discrimination. The question is whether the BSA is going to keep in step, be dragged kicking and screaming, or simply never change and be relegated to a small niche organization that only serves certain religious groups. So, what is considered "wrong" or "immoral" CAN change, it has on other subjects, it is changing now on this one, and it will continue to change. And as I have said before, in the end we may all be graded on how we have treated our fellow human beings. I have no worries about my grade.
  15. OldGreyEagle writes: I am not sure how important this is, but was the monument to be publicly or privately financed? It is difficult to know how important that fact would be. As the article suggests, the state of the law on this subject is so fragmented that it is difficult to predict what the ruling would be on any set of facts. It would literally depend on which state supreme court or federal appeals court is the last one to hear the case, because 6 justices of the U.S. Supreme Court are enough to decide that the case will not be heard at the highest level. In the semi-long-run, the outcome of this issue may depend on when Rehnquist on one hand, and O'Connor and Stevens on the other, decide to retire, who is president at the time, and who that president appoints to replace them. If I had to guess, it would be that who pays for the statue should not effect the constitutionality of its installation on government property. Even if the statue itself is privately funded, the government would still be using part of its land for this arguably religious purpose. It may only be a few square feet, but I don't think that would matter. If its unconstitutional, the amount of area occupied by the offending structure should not make the difference.
  16. Now that we disagree, can we agree?

    cjmiam says: hmmmm... while things have quieted down, I think I'll sing. This is my favorite verse. Sing along with me now Our fathers' God, to thee, author of liberty, to thee we sing; long may our land be bright with freedom's holy light; protect us by thy might, great God, our King. Animatedly, cjmiam "Now go do the right thing" Dr. Laura I personally would like to thank cjmiam for reminding us of God's role in all this. I personally would not want to be the current BSA executive board members, or the leaders of certain religious organizations, or some of the posters on this forum, or Dr. Laura for that matter, when they get to the Gate of Judgment and learn to their dismay that God made 2 to 5 percent of his children gays and lesbians as a test for the rest of us, to see how well we treat all aspects of His creation. And that the writers of the Old Testament fire and brimstone about how he who layeth with a man as with a woman shall surely die, are still serving 5-to-10 (thousand) in purgatory for failing the same test. So I'll gladly sing along with you, cjmiam, if nothing else, as practice for the Heavenly Choir that I'm pretty sure I'll join someday because, if I do say so myself, I'm passing the test. Animatedly back atcha, with tongue about half in cheek, H.T., Assistant Cubmaster, somewhere in the great Garden State of New Jersey
  17. Graduating Webolos

    First of all, it sounds to me like perhaps too much weight is being placed upon this Cubmaster -- perhaps by the other parents in the pack not being active, and perhaps by the Cubmaster herself in not knowing how to accept help and how to use volunteers, and most likely a combination. My pack has a similar problem, though not to the degree you describe. So what I did was look through your post with an eye to, What tasks is this Cubmaster trying to perform, or being expected to perform, that someone else should be handling? As I am sure you know, the Cubmaster is in charge of carrying out the program, while the committee is in charge of administration. I will be the first to "admit" that my pack is one of those where this is only true on paper. We do not have anyone interested in being on the committee, so the Cubmaster and I (an assistant cubmaster), together with our treasurer, really perform the majority of the committee functions in addition to our official duties. Things have also gotten "backwards" with our chartering organization, to the point where the CM and I just selected a new CR -- the position that is supposed to select US. So I know all about responsibilities falling where they shouldn't, and adapting what's in "the book" to the "facts on the ground." One thing that did jump out at me was training. You say that leaders did not get trained because the CM did not "follow through." Without getting out my Leader Book, I am pretty sure that this is NOT the CM's responsibility. The CM should encourage other leaders to be trained and should of course be trained herself, but someone else should be in charge of getting the dates, setting up special meetings, getting the Fast Start videos, making sure the VCR is working, whatever. Under the old book this was a committee member function (and it may still be), but now there is a new position called Pack Trainer. This also partially replaces the old "coach" position, but I believe the thrust of the new position is to make sure everyone gets trained, rather than doing the actual training. So the pack CC should find someone to take on this function, with or without the new official title, or do it him/herself. Another thing that jumped out at me was that this Cubmaster apparently is an essential ingredient to having a pack meeting. If she cannot be there, other parents wait awhile and then leave. This is bad. Where are the other leaders? Is there an assistant cubmaster? Even if not, how can the den leaders sit by and watch a meeting crumble away like that? As crazy as things sometimes get in my pack, in my 3.5 years as a parent in the pack and then as a leader, no pack meeting has ever simply dissolved like that. (Den meetings, yes, and we have had a pack picnic or two on the schedule that de-materialized, but never a pack meeting.) SOMEONE would step forward and take charge, and now it is someone's job (mine) to do that if the CM is detained somewhere. A related issue is, are there program planning meetings of the leaders? They should have an annual program plan (which admittedly my pack does not) and monthly meetings (which we do.) Are the dens making presentations at the meetings? By the time you get to a pack meeting, everybody should know who is supposed to be doing what, and in good months, my pack actually has at least a handwritten agenda of what is happening at the meeting. So it shouldn't all fall on the Cubmaster; she is supposed to be leading the program, not BE the program. In fact, if things are REALLY going by the book, the Cubmaster should have little to do at pack meetings other than being the master of ceremonies, introducing the den leaders who put on the presentations, the advancement chair to handle the awards, etc. This, of course, is mainly theory in many units, including mine. I know from painful and current experience how difficult it is to get parents involved as leaders. But the CM does not need a huge group, often one or two people stepping up to the plate will make a huge difference. Maybe what this person needs most of all is an assistant cubmaster to work very closely with her, know what is going on, and do what she is not doing. (I visit my CM, just me, 2 to 3 times a month to help make sure nothing major is falling through the cracks, and to have conversations that you can't really have at leaders' meetings.) This could even give the CM a chance to realize that perhaps someone else should be doing the job. But it would be in the name of "help," not the painful and difficult process of trying to remove a leader who does not want to leave and has the CO's support. And to get back to your own personal concern for your troop, perhaps that assistant cubmaster should be an ASM in your troop who is a former leader in the pack -- since they are sister units I am sure there is at least one such person. That way you would have a liaison looking out for the interests of both units -- and above all else, the boys. On a related note, an entire chapter of the new edition of the Cub Scout Leader Book (chapter 22, I just pulled it out) deals with the Webelos to Scout transition plan. It describes a partnership among the CM, Webelos leaders and troop leaders to get the boys transitioned into a troop. This would fit right in with one of your ASM's working with the pack. Finally, if the CM is not cooperative in all this, I would probably contact a commissioner first before getting the DE involved. I would look at it as a situation in need of "help" and not one involving official actions. As I suggested before, the more the CM sees outsiders trying to help, the better chance she will get the message that her performance is lacking, and will either shape up or ship out. Good luck.
  18. Now that we disagree, can we agree?

    DedicatedDad, I have a question for you. Don't worry, it is not about whether you know any gays or whether you had any disturbing childhood experiences. My question gets back to the original theme that tjhammer started this thread with, and that I joined in on, which is local option. You have repeatedly attempted to equate homosexuality with bestiality and with adult incest, and you argue that the BSA policies on these orientations/behaviors should be the same. Without debating that point, let's say for purposes of this discussion that I agree. Let's treat homosexuality like we treat adult incest and bestiality. But how does the BSA treat those things? Has anybody ever received a termination letter from national or a council, banning them from all units (as James Dale received) for being too friendly with animals or adult relatives? Is there, anywhere, any suggestion that these behaviors will automatically result in exclusion from BSA leadership? Unless the answers to either of these questions is yes, I have to conclude that the policy (I guess it's more a "practice" than a "policy") toward these things is local option. Can you prove otherwise? While we're at it, let's add in unmarried heterosexual cohabitation to this discussion. I raised that as an issue at one point, but I have not seen you add that to your list of things you morally equate with homosexuality. I assume that you believe it is immoral for unmarried persons to live together in a sexual relationship, regardless of whether they are of the same or different genders. But again, where is the proof that an unmarried heterosexual cohabitant will automatically receive a termination letter from national or council? Isn't that also a matter of local option? So unless you can prove that the BSA has an automatic nationwide policy excluding bestial or incestuous leaders, or unmarried persons of opposite sex sharing living quarters, as it does for gays, then logically you have no valid argument against local option on the issue of gay leadership. Nor does the BSA have any valid argument against it, for that matter.
  19. Now that we disagree, can we agree?

    Bob Russell, who I take it is a fellow attorney, says: The application that I signed a long time ago contained no policy regarding homosexuals that I recall. Nor did the one I signed less than 2 years ago (after the Dale decision.) Nor does the one that I had our new committee chairman sign last week. It's just not there. So to determine the exact rules and policies that we are to follow, I went to the BSA website and searched it for BSA's policy regarding homosexuals. I confess I could not find one. Imagine that, the most important policy in the public eye and it's not clearly set out on the website for all to see. I would think that this important policy would be easier to find. Maybe I'm just missing it. Having gone to the BSA web site several times over the last year or so, I can tell you that there have probably been two postings (prior to the one this month) that have stated the BSA's position. (I wouldn't exactly call it a policy, although that's the word everyone uses.) There was a piece on "60 minutes" at some point, and the BSA web site included a bunch of documents to refute what they apparently felt was the "slant" of the story. These documents stated the same litany of gays not being a good role model for the traditional values expressed in the Oath and Law. NOWHERE do they explain which exact words in the oath and law support their position. The explanation has at times been so convoluted and vague that I wondered if they were doing it on purpose to throw people off. The writing was so bad, it was "good," in the sense that some lawyers use and abuse the language to attain their ends. It's too bad you didn't get to see these documents, you might have "enjoyed" them. Maybe they are still there, I haven't looked. And I will confess, I've never seen it in writing anywhere. The only place I have seen it is on the website as I mentioned; in reading the Dale decisions by the S.Ct. and N.J. S.Ct., as well as a few other cases I have gotten off the Internet; and that's really it. There was a letter from my council executive and president in one of our council newsletters, but I think it mainly referred to the policy without really stating what it was. There have been a few oblique references in Scouting magazine. But much more interesting is where the policy isn't stated. It is not in the Cub Scout Leader Book, 2001 edition, which is the official guide for me as a Cub leader. That book has page after page of policies and rules, on youth protection, safe scouting, smoking and drinking, camping, fundraising, handling of money and a myriad of other topics. Not a word on what, as you suggest, is the subject that most often defines what people outside Scouting think of the organization today. Not only that, it was never mentioned in my training, which as I said, occurred after Dale. There have been a few offhand references at roundtables, mostly in an attempt to explain why the United Way has de-funded my council and so we need a big push for Friends of Scouting. Perhaps most interesting to me is the fact that I, as a leader, have never received a single word from the BSA stating what I am supposed to do if an avowedly gay person applies for a leadership position. Nor has anyone else in my unit, including the institution head, c.r., c.c. or unit leader. (That actually is sort of an assumption; we are a very small leadership group and I have to think that if such a directive had been received, I would know about it.) In other words, the B.S.A. has never informed my unit of this policy, or how it is to be carried out. I really only know about it from the media (of which the Internet is a part.) It is conceivable that there are some leaders somewhere who actually don't know about it. And as far as I am concerned, I don't officially know about it either. (Not that the subject has come up, and if it did, I don't think I could ignore what I actually know. What I would actually do, I'm not sure.) It would therefore appear that unless a person declares assuredly or declares openly, bluntly and without shame that he/she is homosexual, the policy expressed in the press release is not violated. Would everyone here agree? I absolutely agree. And I think it undercuts the logic of the whole policy, especially when you consider some of the comments we see on this forum. Apparently the BSA thinks "perversion" is ok if you keep it a secret. Frankly, as a parent, if I had a choice between an openly gay person or someone who kept their orientation repressed and had to constantly lie when asked why they weren't married or whatever, I would choose the former. It seems more healthy. But the BSA policy does not excluded closeted gays from being leaders, only those who are openly gay. And could anyone help me out here and point me to a clear official written statement of the BSA policy. Please let me know, too, but having been involved in many discussions of this topic on AOL and the Internet, I have to think someone would have pointed it out to me long ago. Since I have looked in the likely places (mentioned above) and it is not there, I have to conclude that it does not exist. What's on the web site, including documents that may be difficult to find (because the BSA's web site design leaves something to be desired) is the closest you are going to get. And I wouldn't call it a "clear official written statement" of the policy.
  20. On a slightly Different Subject

    None (in my pack, you said troop but I assume you meant all units.)
  21. Now that we disagree, can we agree?

    dan says: There has been something bothering me about these and I could not figure it out until last night, it seems that some of the people I see debating only post in this forum. I never see them in any of the other forums on this board. It makes me wondering if they are really scouters! or just someone trying to stir things up. You can't be talking about me, I have been on here less than a week and my third post was in the Uniforms area, about the new Webelos hat. (My son's verdict: More comfortable, but why is it so ugly?) As for really being a Scouter, I just got back from district roundtable? Or maybe you can help me with my recharter forms, our former Cubmaster seems to have made a mess of things...
  22. Now that we disagree, can we agree?

    Hey, I see I am a "Junior Forum Member" now. Thanks, scouter.com, it has been a long, LONG time since I was called a junior anything. Though I know that with the passage of time, this honor will be yanked away as well.
  23. Now that we disagree, can we agree?

    DedicatedDad opines: Yep, that elusive morally straight thing is pretty weak if you choose to accept the practice of perversion as virtuous behavior. As I assume you have figured out by now, I do not agree that homosexuality is intrinsically immoral. Therefore, a gay person can promise to be "morally straight" without being dishonest. I don't think the meaning of "straight" as "heterosexual" was even dreamed of when the words "morally straight" were made part of the oath. "Morally straight" means to be of good character, an upstanding person, honest, a good egg, a mensch, etc. I believe a gay person can be those things, or not, just as a straight person can be those things, or not. You apparently do not agree that a gay person can be morally straight, and it seems rather unlikely that anyone will change your mind. OK. We're both part of the same organization. So how about you don't have any gay leaders in your unit, and if my unit wants to admit one or more, let us. Can't we all just get along? (Well, I know, we probably can't, not on this subject.) As for "perversion as virtuous behavior," I accept neither the perversion part or the virtuous part. It is just behavior. Well, actually I think that sexual orientation is genetically influenced, but I understand that this has not been conclusively proven scientifically, and my opinion that it is not immoral does not depend on the ultimate scientific outcome. Your litany of leadership candidates with the former digressions analogy is just that, former. Those who confirm their current status of practicing homosexuality are neither former nor repentant of their wrong behavior. Your analogy is invalid. That is incorrect. First of all, I believe 2 of my examples were of CURRENT, not former behavior -- the person living with a woman to whom he is not married, and the man who is morbidly obese because he eats too much. (The latter may not be a great example of what I am talking about... if a unit rejects him it is because he sets a bad example for the boys, not because they necessarily believe he is of poor character. But the first example involves morality, straight down the line. I would expect that about 75 percent of units would reject the cohabitant but 25 would not, assuming that he is otherwise qualified and has no other problems.) Second of all, on my examples of past indiscretions, I think you misunderstand what I am saying. The unit that rejects the guy who smoked pot 20 years ago does so NOT because they think he had poor character 20 years ago, but because they think his past acts are evidence of poor character NOW. Let's say it wasn't 20 years ago. It was 10 years ago, or 5, or 2 or 6 months ago, or last week. And let's say it wasn't just possession of pot, it was that he sold a small quantity. Or a large quantity. Or he sold cocaine on a playground. And then take each example forward from 20 years to last week. As the offense gets more serious, and as the time gets closer, more and more units (and eventually all units) are going to reject the person because they feel his proven past acts are evidence of bad character NOW. But somewhere on the spectrum, there will be units that accept him and units that don't -- all because they are reaching a conclusion as to what he is like NOW -- not just in the past. And if you don't like the drug example, consider driving offenses. Speeding ticket, reckless driving, drunk driving, hit and run, and they happened 20 years ago, all the way down to last week. For each of the infinite points along the seriousness/time continuum, the percentage of units accepting the guy will change -- all based on their judgment of his character now, as evidenced by his past behavior. So the analogy is a good one. You are saying that the fact that a person is gay shows bad character, though you phrase it more colorfully than that. I say, let the unit decide whether he may be of good or bad character -- the same decision the unit makes when faced with the petty drug offender or the errant driver. Or the fat Cubmaster or the living-together Scoutmaster. (I said)If a unit wants a paroled murderer to be Scoutmaster, and nobody in the unit complains, I know of no reason to believe the council will step in. I have one word for that too, ridiculous. An extreme example, I admit. I'd be interested though, to see if there is an actual written document that says that a paroled murderer can NEVER be a leader, if a unit is aware of the offense and chooses him anyway. What if he is not on parole but has served his sentence? What if it is manslaughter instead of murder? Or robbery? It is still extremely unlikely that any unit would approve the application in any of those cases, but as we get further down the seriousness scale, some unit is going to say yes, and we get into the same issues discussed above. And again, I know of no written policy that says where the line is in these cases. It is left up to the unit. (I said) So don't you see, the national standard banning avowed gays is an EXCEPTION to the usual rules governing who can be a leader. No not really, the difference between repentant wrong behavior and avowed wrong behavior are mutually exclusive. As I say above, I am not necessarily dealing with "repentent wrong behavior." I am dealing with what the person's character is NOW, in the view of the unit. And gay orientation fits perfectly into that, because some will see that as automatic proof of bad character while others will not. And since an avowed gay orientation is not necessarily "avowed wrong behavior," my analogy remains valid. A unit should get to choose. As long as nobody is getting hurt or coerced (as in pedophilia, adult-to-child incest and, your apparent favorite example, bestiality), the unit should get to choose. (By the way, I suspect that bestiality may also violate the Outdoor Code. ) By the way, if local option WERE allowed, I suspect a large majority of units would choose your way, and at the same time I might stop hearing from some of work colleagues that I have enrolled my son and myself in a "hate group," and I could stop worrying that our pack might not be able to meet in the public school anymore if the wrong politician chooses this as his pet issue, and the United Way would give us some of our money back. That would be best for Scouting and for the boys, and it would allow you to preserve your morality and for me to preserve mine. This sounds better and better the more I talk about it.
  24. Scouting's Real Gay Policy

    Scouter Paul writes: Tread carefully NJ or you will be labeled a troll. Not to worry, someone called me that once on America Online when I first started posting. I ignored it and kept on stating my opinions. I have learned to take a little name-calling in stride, after all I have 2 teenaged daughters. I actually enjoy it when people call me names in a debate, it just demonstrates the lack of substance in their arguments.
  25. Now that we disagree, can we agree?

    For about a year on America Online, I have been pushing the idea of "local option" on gay leadership. The folks there who favor the current discriminatory policy were never really able to tell me why they opposed this, other than a few weak comments about "sharing a campsite with the 'gay troop' at the camporee." It is interesting to see that the group here is much more animated on the subject, but I find the reasoning just as weak. I read here that "local option" will be the end of nationwide standards on everything from leadership criteria, training and advancement to all of the other values that make up the BSA, trustworthy, loyal, etc. Uniforms will no longer be, um, uniform. The BSA will vanish as a national organization. I respond with one word: Ridiculous. Specific standards for leadership (other than age and citizenship) are a local matter now, except for only two criteria of which I am aware: Pedophilia, and avowed homosexuality. And maybe avowed atheism. Except for those (and maybe 1 or 2 others), a local unit can choose whoever it believes has "good character." A prospective leader must provide certain information on the application, and the unit should do a background check, but what that unit does with the information is its own business. If a unit wants a paroled murderer to be Scoutmaster, and nobody in the unit complains, I know of no reason to believe the council will step in. Of course, the likelihood of the unit doing so is virtually non-existant. But there are many other situations that vary from unit to unit. What if the prospective leader puts on the application that he was convicted of possession of marijuana 20 years ago while in college, but a background check confirms his claim that he has been "clean" since then? What if he had an adulterous affair 10 years ago, and it became known in town? What if his drivers' license was suspended for 6 months, 10 years ago? What if he is divorced and living with a woman he plans to marry? What if he is grossly overweight due to overeating, but otherwise has skills of use to to the troop? What if he is known to drink to excess on occasion, but swears he will not drink or be drunk in front of the boys? What, in other words, if he has one or more of these common human failings but the people in the unit think he has something to contribute? On each of these issues, some units will say, no thanks, you are not of "good character," while others will say, welcome aboard (but we'll be watching.) If there is a dispute within the unit, the council may step in and determine for itself whether the person is of good character. But it is not AUTOMATIC as it is for avowed gays, who get a pro forma termination letter when the council learns of their status. So local option exists, with the BSA well aware, on all of these subjects and an infinite variety of others. As someone else pointed out, female unit leaders were once on the "never" list but have now joined almost every other issue as a matter of local option. And the BSA has not collapsed. The uniforms and the training and the advancement requirements have all survived. Mount Phillips and the Tooth of Time still stand. And what about camping trips? I might look around at a district camping trip and say, how can that unit have that guy as a Cubmaster, he must weigh 350 pounds, he's a bad example for the boys. And that den leader from Pack 5, I saw him stumbling out of Kelsey's Bar a week ago. And I heard that that unit commissioner was caught in a drug sweep when she went to college in the 70's. (These are made up except for the fat Cubmaster.) But it's none of my business. That other pack wants him, they've got him, and hopefully he does a good job. My boys have to look to me and my fellow pack leaders for the example. If one of my other-unit examples applied to us, we might accept him or we might not. But it's not up to national or council, it's up to our CO, who will listen to us guys in uniform and will usually agree. So don't you see, the national standard banning avowed gays is an EXCEPTION to the usual rules governing who can be a leader. On almost no other issue will council AUTOMATICALLY issue a termination letter. And those few other exceptions are much different. Avowed atheism specifically prevents one from accepting the Scout Oath and Law in their entirety, so even though I might have mixed feelings, I understand why such a person cannot be a leader. A pedophile is a criminal and someone who hurts children who do not have the capacity to consent to, or refuse, his improper acts. On the other hand, and despite some of the comments I have seen in this forum, I believe that a gay person can be of good character, and some of the gay people I have known have been of exemplary character. Some of you might not want any gay person in your troops or packs. But if one applied to my unit and I and the other leaders and the CO thought it was ok, national or council should not step in and prohibit it. Leave us alone as you do on almost every other leadership issue. So yes, let's have national standards on leadership -- but those standards, in almost every case, leave it up to the local unit to determine whether the standard has been met.