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Bob Russell

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Everything posted by Bob Russell

  1. Pioneer, if you read my post carefully, you may discover that there are many areas that we do not disagree. First, you point out that statistically, homosexuls lead a more dangerous lifestyle. Do I disagree, no. But my post was to the effect that if we recognize those homosexuals that lead a "normal" lifestyle, and I believe that to be many more than you recognize, the gay community can differentiate the mainstream from the fringe. If you want to only look at averages, you marginalize many fine people. Say we look at African-Americans - by percentages, are young black males more likely to commit crimes? Are black females more likely to have children out of wedlock? The answer is yes, so do we condemn all blacks? Of course not. I read an article many years ago comparing married and unmarried males. After looking at the statistics such as drug use, criminal records, life expectancy, etc., the article concluded by asking, based upon the poor image of unmarried vs. married males, would you ever want your daughter to marry an unmarried man? In other words, be careful with statistics. I do not disagree with your statistics regarding the % of homosexuals in the population. And I agree that the gay rights lobby can often be vicious. I consider the gay rights lobby to be a "take no prisoners" lobby, and I do not support the fringe. I said myself that the fringe lobby cares not for scouting but only for its agenda. Again, if you carefully read my post, we do not disagree on much of what has been said. However, all people should be looked at as individuals, and I personally know, like and respect too many gays to allow a knee-jerk reaction against them. I will continue to support inclusion of gays/lesbians in scouting, if the particular individuals want to participate for the right reasons. But the same is true for heterosexuals, I want only those who are here for the right reasons.
  2. NJCubScouter, welcome to the board, and thank you for your involvement in scouting. I hope you continue, as well as your son, into Boy Scouts. I believe that you will find many dedicated scouters that share your views. Your son when looking at Boy Scout troops needs to consider his comfort level with the policies and views of other members of the troop. DD, I disagree with your comparing bestiality and incest with homosexuality. As you know from reading my posts, I disagree with your views toward homosexuality. I do not believe that homosexual relationships are automatically wrong, anymore than I believe all heterosexual relationships are right. And I am sure that you agree that all heterosexual relationships are not right - you already mentioned incest, and most people agree that a relationship between a 45-year old man and a 12-year old girl is wrong today, although I am sure that historically this was once looked at differently - but morals can in fact change over time. However, I respect your viewpoint, and do not view you as immoral or "meanspirited" (I hate the use of that term) for holding your views. I believe that well-intentioned people can disagree. I would rather have committed relationships of homosexual couples accepted. Instead, let's object to harmful relationships and sexual practices. Of course I would include your examples of bestiality and incest, and include general irresponsibility such as mate swapping, swinging, etc. I would rather allow gays/lesbians to marry, and encourage such committed relationships, so that the gay/lesbian community can then object to the immoral portions of their communities, the bath houses and in-your-face shows of sexuality, etc.
  3. "I suspect that is the solution that will take hold over the next several years (either through action by National or simply by default out of local units ignoring the policy)." tj, I suspect that this is the solution that has already taken hold - that is, by default by local units ignoring the policy. I stated under a different topic, that would be my approach, if it has the concurrence of our CO and parent's committee. For gay/lesbian adults that want to participate in scouting for the right reason, and who are known to the troop and respected as individuals, I think that most scouters will look the other way. Will this be a real solution? No, from both sides. Those with strong moral opposition will not approve, and I understand this, and I am not here condemning these individuals. A number of posters here I am sure fall into this category, and I respect and acknowledge their view, as I respect their overall commitment to scouting. I merely disagree with it. On the other side, the strong gay rights advocates, who do not really care about scouting, but instead will oppose any one or any group that does not celebrate homosexuality , will also not be satisfied. But we can never bring all people together, and I suspect that the informal approach of "don't ask, don't tell" will ultimately become the norm.
  4. I disagree with those who say make it the CO's problem. Some of us are fortunate to have actively involved CO's, but we all know that probably the majority of CO's are there in name only. If you leave it to the CO, there is a good chance that the program will fail. The people who care about the scouting program are those of us in the trenches. I believe that the best course of action is to give a firm deadline, and then schedule a number of conflicts so that the outgoing CC is unavailable for the regular obligations such as committee meetings. Yet the outgoing CC can be available to assist others to make sure the troop doesn't fail.
  5. The right footgear depends on a number of factors you haven't mentioned. Steep and rocky trail or gentle trail? Deep stream crossings or are they small rocky streams that you can hop across? I'm in favor of light hiking boots for most hiking, and if the streams are small enough, you may be able to cross without getting feet wet. Assuming that the crossings will result in feet totally under water, I'd go with sandals or sneakers, w/o socks for the crossings. If the crossings are gentle, go with sandals - they are light and dry quickly. If faster current and rocky, I'd go with sneakers, since they lace up tighter and provide a better fit on the feet. Keep a small towel hanging on the back of the day pack for drying feet after each crossing, and the towel will then dry off, assuming dry and warm/hot weather. Same with the sneakers or sandals, just hook them to the daypack so that they can dry off.
  6. Since the boy was in scouts, I assume the troop or the pack has his original application to join scouts. This will have his birthdate on it. I would check this first to see if there is documentation as to his age.
  7. You sure do have a bunch of problems, but I will address the obvious first - the Eagle ceremony. Our practice, which I believe to be the norm, is that the Eagle scout and his family plan the ceremony. I would turn it over to the family, and then cooperate fully with their plans. Thinking like Ann landers would, I believe that you and the troop should take the high road and cooperate as fully as requested. I think you will look back on it later as the right thing to do. The other issue is your comment that the troop is dying. You said that is another story. I would rather change the subject of this thread to your troop's future, because the future, not the past, is what we should care about. There is a lot of experience among those posting on this site, and I am sure that everyone here would love to explore ways to keep your troop alive and growing. After all, we're here for our scouts.
  8. Rooster, my comment re "when, not if" did not address a change of the BSA policy. It recognizes the fact that there are families with gay/lesbian parents. In my community, my children have been on sport teams and gone to school with kids with gay/lesbian parents for as long as I can remember. The purpose of my post is to recognize the reality of the world around us, and to discuss how I expect to deal with this reality. I strongly support the US Supreme Court's ruling that permits the BSA to set its own standards. This is essential for any group that has values as a fundamental reason for its existence. These values must be decided upon by the membership of the organization, not by outsiders who care little if at all for the organization. You and I will disagree on the morality of homosexuality. The fact that we disagree does not make either of us bad, and I believe that we both agree on the fundamental goals of scouting and its value to young men growing up. I personally would like to see BSA allow each unit to decide on gay/lesbian leaders. However, I also understand the difficulty of making such a change. Units do not operate in a vacuum, but interact at camps and other activities, and therefore the leadership of one unit impacts all other units present. The reality is that any policy has impacts. The current policy hurts in my community, yet a change in policy may hurt in your community. There is no easy answer in a diverse world. If the policy does change, it must be a change from within, not forced from outside. Only if changed from within can it be done in a way that is sensitive to all points of view, and which recognizes the impact on all units. Any change will not be easy, and will certainly be slow in coming. And whether the policy changes or not, there will be scouts and scouters who will disagree, even though we all want the best for scouting.
  9. We can talk about gays/lesbians in scouting forever, and not reach a consensus. But how will we actually respond when we have to make an actual decision? As a scoutmaster, I have given thought as to what approach I will take when the troop's first scout with 2 moms or 2 dads joins up. (Notice that I said when, not if). How will I and the troop respond? I personally will welcome the scout and his family to our troop, and I will encourage family participation in all activities, just as I would with every other scout family. What if one of these parents wants to take a formal role in the troop? I will first talk to our Charter Organization to see if the church has a view on how it wishes it to be handled. If the church objects, and our parent committee concurs, I will do my best to explain the decision to the parent, encourage him/her to continue to participate, and hope that we do not lose a scout and his family. If the church has no objection, and I believe that our parent committee would likewise have no objection, I would welcome the parent on board, so long as the parent otherwise would be acceptable in the same role. By that, does the parent otherwise conduct himself/herself as a scout leader should? Is the parent's purpose in acting as a leader to benefit the boys and scouting? If however, the parent's goal is not to benefit scouting, but to present a gay rights agenda, making his/her involvement a public and political action, I would not accept him/her as a leader. After all, we are all here for scouting and our scouts. That should be our criteria. I suspect that my approach as outlined here is used by a number of scout troops throughout the country. I also suspect that my approach will be accepted by some here, and opposed by some, for various reasons. In responding to my post, I only hope that we all remember that a scout is courteous, and that we all love and believe in scouting, although we may disagree in the details.
  10. Merlyn, your lack of response and your repetition and sidestepping are growing tedious, so its time to end this conversation. Good Day.
  11. "You assume WHAT is directed at you? I try to quote what I'm responding to; if I quoted YOU, I'm generally responding to YOU. If I didn't, I'm not." Calm down Merlyn, the rest of the post was a response to my previous post, so I made an assumption. If you are not careful, your blood pressure may need checking. "And what did the ACLU say when you informed them about it? Oh, that's right, you don't believe in people fighting for their civil rights, so I guess you don't really care, you just want to gripe." Merlyn, I am not griping. I said that the program should continue as is, so I would not ask the ACLU to investigate. Programs that target some of the population should not always be subject to knee-jerk objections. I was pointing out that the ACLU, which automatically reacts to certain types of "discrimination" (there, used them again), looks the other way when its favored subjects come up. But then, I guess that some civil rights are more equal than others. BTW, I didn't catch if you had a problem with the police bureau's "discrimination." (there I go again)
  12. Merlyn, I assume this is directed to me. I've already stated that school sponsorship should be avoided, so quit trying to make an issue where there isn't one. But since you brought up the issue of Explorers and Learning for Life, let me tell you of our experience here in Portland. The issue of police sponsorship of an Explorer post came up recently, as it has in many communities. Our police chief decided to cut the ties totally, even though Learning for Life does not have the membership restrictions the rest of Boy Scouts has. He felt that the "discrimination" of the other parts of Scouting required this split. After his announcement, I reviewed the Portland police website, and much to my surprise (not really), I found a Bureau run program called WomenStrength. This program, run by the Bureau, with a paid staff member, offers a program only for women and taught by volunteers, who must be women. Now this program is well known, yet I have never heard of the ACLU objecting to this state-run discriminatory program. I guess the ACLU must have missed the articles and television stories on this program, as I am sure that they would have quickly objected to this blatant discrimination by our police bureau. Now here is where we will differ again, because I believe that the program should continue as is. I trust that, as you stated in regard to Explorers, that you "certainly see a lot wrong with the situation," and that the program should be removed from the police bureau.
  13. "And again, you are trying to hedge your bets and say the KKK might NOT be allowed. I thought you just said ALL means ALL." I have tried to state my position that all groups should be treated alike. However, I am aware that there are restrictions that schools can place, and to be honest I tried to point that out, without some absolute stance such as what you appear to take. Excuse me for trying to be less than absolute, where I understand there to be some power on the part of schools to restrict some disruptive groups or communications. I do not claim to be a constitutional scholar, and am merely trying to qualify what I say. That said, I disagree that the concept of disruptive speech or communications will equate the Boy Scouts and the Klan. This is like comparing the Nazis to our attorney general, or the Taliban to local groups, each of which some have done. The stretch is insulting, and the majority of Americans will likely be offended by such analogies. If a school district tries to ban both the Boy Scouts and the Klan, trying to equate them, I would not bet much on their chance of success. If you would like to try to compare, say, White Aryan Resistance (WAR), with the likes of Tom Metzger as an example of its membership, to the Boy Scouts, with such Eagle Scouts as Neil Armstrong and Gerald Ford, good luck. I'll be happy to bet against you, both in the court of law and the court of public opinion.
  14. "You keep OMITTING other discriminatory groups from YOUR list." Merlyn, I do not omit any groups, as I state that ALL groups should have equal access. ALL does mean ALL, and I do not need to name each group. If a jr. Klan group wants access, we may be forced to accept that. I do believe that schools have the right to restrict disruptive groups and expressions, and depending on the facts, the jr. Klan may qualify. If not, that is the price we pay for free speech. As you know, the ACLU defended the Nazi's right to march in Skokie. As despicable as the Nazis are, as are their ideas, free speech must triumph. Better to let the marketplace of ideas sort out the good from the bad.
  15. Could you give us a few more details on your method? I assume you squeeze as much air out as possible. Do you weight the bag down with rocks to sink it? If in more rapid current, do you use multiple stakes? Thanks.
  16. "Both statements are true: 1) the BSA gets special access other groups don't get. 2) the BSA *should* get the same access as other discriminatory groups." Merlyn, then in your posts you state: "The BSA should get the same access as other discriminatory groups." So we are not saying the same thing. I say that they get the same access as all outside groups. You know, EQUALITY. You limit to groups you define as discriminatory. If you agree that ALL outside groups, scouts, soccer leagues, little league, etc., are treated the same, then we agree. If you will not treat scouts the same as these other outside groups, you are discriminating againts scouts on account of religious beliefs. You may believe that scouts get special access, and in some communities they may get it. But that is not my position. I insist on equal access for ALL outside groups. All in or all out. Agreed?
  17. "It's the BSA's duty to KNOW the laws, and considering that a judge in Michigan found that both the school and the BSA violated the civil rights of an atheist student, they'd better start learning fast." Merlyn, you state this with the typical conviction of a true believer, one who cannot fathom that their are often 2 sides to an issue, and that outcomes are often in doubt. In most legal issues there are many viewpoints, and the result often cannot be predicted. That's why we have lawsuits, courts, lawyers, etc. And as you well know, many cases are determined one way at trial, reversed at the court of appeals level, and changed again at the final appellate level. So to say the the scouts are dishonest for maintaining their position is simplistic and wrong. With respect to the Portland case with the Powells, I am sure that you are aware that the ACLU and the Powells brought a similar case several years ago and lost. Therefore, the schools and the boy scouts were in fact operating under a court ruling in their favor, and the ACLU and the Powells chose to not accept graciously. So please can the dishonest nonsense.
  18. Merlyn, you keep twisting my response. I said: "If other groups are allowed to recruit in schools, and they often do, then to ban scout groups from doing the same type of recruiting is discrimination on account of religion." You then respond by stating: ". . . the Scouts got special access that other groups didn't get. The BSA should get the same access as other discriminatory groups." First you say special access that other groups don't get, then you say they can have the same access as other discriminatory groups get. This is not the same. I have agreed that if outside groups do not get access, neither do the scouts. But if any outside groups get access (regular, not special) the scouts should get the same regular, not special access as these groups. The same access, not special. (Please don't ignore this point as you continue to do.) And it has nothing to do with whether the groups or scouts restrict their membership. To not allow scouts the SAME access as other outside community groups discriminates against the scouts on account of religion.
  19. "I don't CARE what the BSA's reasons are; I care that the BSA continues to dishonestly charter units to government agencies that obviously can't enforce the BSA's religious requirements, and that the BSA continues to push for in-school recruiting." I believe that I stated earlier that I agree that it is probably impermissible for government agencies to sponsor a Boy Scout troop because of the religion requirement. I say "probably" because I'm not sure where the case law will eventually settle out, if it ever does. As we all know, court rulings change - remember when "separate but equal" was blessed by the US Supreme Court. The issue of religious discrimination has also been changing. Is it freedom from religion or freedom of religion? Might not the term "establishment of religion" be more strictly interpreted in the future? As Rooster says, it is not dishonest to wait to see what the courts decide. As to your problem with in-school recruiting, we disagree here. If other groups are allowed to recruit in schools, and they often do, then to ban scout groups from doing the same type of recruiting is discrimination on account of religion. If all groups are banned, then there is no discrimination. But you are not arguing nondiscrimination here, you are demanding a total ban on activities upon public property, solely on account of religious belief.
  20. Another explanation may be based upon the saying we have in the legal profession: "Good facts make bad law." The situation you described is the "white flight" phenomena which had the effect of stalling integration. Often it was done improperly with local government blessing. As you said, the feds came in and objected. If the result was a court ruling against the school, it was probably reached in federal court, and improper local procedures may have been found. Or the court, offended by the apparent white flight, just put a stop to it. (Hence the bad law). The reality today is that local government property is sold off, or even just leased, for private purposes. With school property, this is often done because the school-age population has gotten smaller in many communities, and the school districts need to unload surplus property. We have a situation like that here in Oregon right now. A smaller community has an unused elementary school that it has been trying to sell for some time. They have now received an offer., a lease with option to purchase, from a Portland Buddhist group, and they want to turn it in to a prayer and retreat center. I have not heard any legal objection to the sale to a religious group, but certain church groups in the community are up in arms about the Buddhists moving to this community. Some are claiming that the Buddhists are coming to steal away the youth of the community. Fortunately, many others in the religious community are supporting and welcoming the Buddhists. The press did however emphasize the opponents, with what I believe to be very intolerant quotes by them against the Buddhists. But the press has a way of showing a vocal minority, just to sell stories.
  21. Marcy, in planning your first campout, place an emphasis on one word you used: FUN. Make sure that both the scouts and adults have fun, and they will come back for more. Be sure to plan a program to keep everyone busy, but not overwhelmed. The campout is a good time to work on rank advancement, and also merit badge requirements. Also put in times for games and also unplanned free time. A campfire at night will add a lot to the experience. You referred to a 1969 Fieldbook that you have. Although I am not familiar with it, I can guess that much of what is in it is outdated. Boy Scouts now follows the Leave No Trace philosophy, which was not what was followed in 1969. Your Fieldbook probably refers to such things as trenching around tents, something which is not done under LNT. The Boy Scouts has materials on Leave No Trace camping, and I urge you to review this literature in your planning. Under the LNT philosophy, many of the things you talked about are unnecessary and not recommended. Entryways, flagpoles, latrines, etc. are best suited to established campsites. If you intend to revisit the site often and establish it as a regular site, since it is your own property, then these items can be developed. If your intent is a one-time visit, less impact is better, and the Leave No Trace materials will serve as a good starting place.
  22. Wiccans are allowed in Boy Scouts, based upon my personal experience. Several fine adult leaders I know are Wiccans, as are several recent Eagle Scouts.
  23. "I disagree, since the DRP (which all BSA leaders must subscribe to) states that only theists can be "the best kinds of citizens"; that directly implies that atheists CAN'T be the best kinds of citizens. I'd say that's teaching prejudice." Merlyn, I will always resist the labeling of Boy Scouts as being prejudiced, when what we have is a value-based organization following its values. And before you bring up the possibility of banning minorities, etc., characteristics such as race, sex and national origin are unchangeable and are not values. Religious beliefs, or lack of them, are values that can change in each of us. Boy Scouting picking its values is no different than other groups picking their values: the Sierra Club would certainly not accept its leaders if they advocated strip mining or clear cutting, and the NRA would not accept its leaders supporting gun banning. Beliefs such as religion should not be factors where views are irrelevant, such as in most employment and housing cases. But values-based organizations, whether the Boy Scouts, Sierra Club or the NRA, etc., should be able to set its values, and not be yelled at as being prejudiced.
  24. KoreaScouter, you inquired : "What do you all think of removing the grounds for the complaint by allowing youth members who do not profess a belief in God?" The problem with this approach is that under standard discrimination approaches, merely saying "lets all get along" is not good enough for our opponents. Recall the Citidel case, where first women litigated to be enroled, wanting to be part of the program. But then the program was too tough, and had an unfavorable impact on females, so the standards have to be changed. Just in the last week a court ruled that grace could not be said at meals, because it discriminates against athiests. Until all distinctions are removed, our opponents will not be satisfied. We could not do grace at camp meals, we would have to change the scout oath and law, no troop could compel its scouts to participate in religious functions. This might make Merlyn happy, I suppose, but it would lead to a great migration from scouting. And I do not believe it would bring in but a few to replace them. I belive that few of our critics care about scouting at all, they are merely attacking any group that does not embrace thir beliefs.
  25. Merlyn, you stated: "I feel it propagates prejudice against atheists and gays, and is a thoroughly dishonest organization, as shown by its government charters." The Boy Scouts follow standards that have become unfashionable to many in society, who do not feel we should judge others, yet by condemning Boy Scouts they in themselves judge. I have been a scout leader for many years, and do not believe that we propagate prejudice, as at no time do I or others I deal with in scouting state that athiests or gays are evil or wrong, but that the conducts or beliefs are not consistent with the organization. We teach our scouts to show respect others, and that would include athiests and gays. Boy Scouting never tells other groups what they must believe in, unlike all groups that criticize us. Critics of Boy Scouts are the intolerant individuals and groups. That said, I do believe that schools should not sponsor scouting groups, because of the religious requirement. This would probably cross the line with the constitution. However, as I have stated under another topic, I do believe that restricting scouting from recruiting in schools,even during school hours, when any other outside groups can, is an improper governmental discrimination against religion.
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