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My Council, Right or Wrong???

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Has our National Council fabricated values?


The flagship claim from Texas has been that homosexuality is "inconsistent with the values held in the Oath and Law." As an Eagle Scout and ten year member, I find this very tough to swallow.


Although I have made many demands for clarification of this issue, no one at the state or national level seems to be able to tell me precisely how homosexuality is inconsistent with the Oath or Law. However, according to BSA claims, there is a value in the Oath and Law that is against homosexuality.


Duty to God left as a very subjective goal. When we teach that a Scout is "Clean," we do not mandate how often showers are to be taken or how often toenails are to be clipped. No, these values are far to subjective for such concrete interpretations. In fact, a closer examination of the values in the Oath and the Law reveals that they are all very broad and ambiguous. This is by design.


When the founders of the BSA drew up the Oath and Law ninety years ago, homosexuality was quieter and far more secretive. It is only in the last ten years that it has surfaced as a real part of the mainstream of American life.


Keeping in mind that the values in the Oath and Law are highly subjective and open to interpretation, and that homosexuality was seldom (at best) discussed when the program was incorporated, I find it absolutely impossible that the founders of Scouting intended to take a side on the issue of homosexuality.


Apparently there is a value in the Oath and Law that is inconsistent with homosexuality, but I can't find it (and I'm a pretty smart cookie). No one at the national level has enlightened me as to what this mystery value is. Perhaps it's a secret value, and perhaps they just haven't figured out what to call it yet. I call it prejudice. I call it intolerance. I call it unfair, and I call it hatred. As for me, I've decided that I won't stand for sitting by and watching as national fabricates interpretations and waves the flag of values as they discriminate.

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You're wrong. Page 389 of the (current) 11th edition of the Boy Scout Handbook clearly states "bathe regularly- once a day if you can." I dont consider that open for much interpretation. As a Scoutmaster, do I monitor this? Yes- Not in person of course but in a manner consistent with the role of a Scoutmaster.


Duty to God? Whats so subjective about page 54? It plainly states A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others. This is very consistent with what we teach, which is actually very un-subjective.

1. There is a God.

2. Do whatever your religion tells you to do with regard to item #1.

3. Understand that others may not have a 1 or 2, but respect them anyway.


And youre wrong again, the values in the Oath and Law are not highly subjective or open to interpretation. Since the foundation of your argument is based on an incorrect premise, it would follow that the rest of your argument is unsubstantiated. What is so highly subjective about trustworthiness, loyalty, helpfulness, friendliness, courteousness, kindness, obedience, cheerfulness, thriftiness, bravery, cleanliness, or reverence? Are you one of those people trying to figure out what the meaning of is is?


Nonetheless, I will answer your question. You have questioned the National Councils policy regarding sexual orientation. You have questioned what part of the Scout Law or Oath directly says no gays? Well, if you didnt look to page 389 to find out how many times you should shower, I doubt if you looked on page 371 which talks about Your Family. Line 5 says father and mother. The entire page is a very good resource about what the BSA believes a family is. All throughout history, it has been well accepted that families are what makes up Scouting. The BSA believed so much in the importance of the family, that it added Family Life as a required merit badge for Eagle in 1994.


The Boy Scouts of America has selected its leaders using the highest standards because strong leaders and positive role models are so important to the healthy development of youth. Today, the organization still stands firm that their leaders exemplify the values outlined in the Scout Oath and Law.


Dont private organizations have a right to determine the standards required for its members in leadership positions? I have chosen Scouting because it fits with my set of beliefs. Many parents have chosen Scouting for the same reason. They want leaders that are consistent and inline with their own beliefs. Having the opposite would be counterproductive, inconsistent with the familys beliefs, the Mission of the BSA, and each group's definition or morality. And of course Scouts keeps himself "morally straight"!


Remember, God commanded that we love one another, not that we agree with one another

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Okay, cjmiam. Let's get a few things straight.


So, It sounds like you did your homework. I was not looking for chapter and verse on the "clean" thing. I failed to find how often I'm supposed to clip my toenails, as well. My point with the "clean" is that all people understand all points of the Scout Law in their own way. We all strive to be trustworthy and loyal, but clearly we must all interpret this differently because good scouts all over the world display varying levels of trustworthiness and loyalty.


As for the reverent part, you have done your homework in saying that the book reads A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others. I still maintain, however, that this is very subjective. Everyone is reverent towards God in a different way.


The other points of the Law are freely interpreted by members, as well. Are scouts being loyal when they turn their backs on members of their group who share different opinions? Are labeling and prejudice examples of courtesy? As you can see, we all have our own way of interpreting these ideas.


For the record, a state-level BSA official has agreed with me that the values held within the Oath and Law are, and I quote, "highly subjective and open to interpretation."


No, I am not trying to figure out the meaning of "is." However, this very conversation demonstrates how we have each interpreted the Oath and Law differently. Obviously, if we both had the same definitions of loyalty, kindness, and reverence we wouldn't be having this disagreement. I consider you to be a good Scout, though I never met you, and I consider myself to be a good Scout. If two good Scouts disagree on the interpretation of the Oath and Law, then the values within must be subjective to some degree. As you said, we won't always agree on everything.



Ahem. "A very good resource about what the BSA thinks a good family is." Since when is it hte BSA's job to decide what makes a good family? By suggesting that families with a father and a mother mliving together with children are the only type of acceptable families and that other styles are less than acceptable, you alienate many families. In fact, a closer examination reveals that no two families are alike. I was also unable to find any family that perfectly exemplified the BSA's ideal family. News flash! If a member of your family announced that he was gay, the right thing for you to do would be to accept and love him. Similarly, if a family associated with the BSA has homosexual parents, the right thing to do is to acept and love them. "Father and Mother" families indeed are most common, but ignoring the fact that other families exist and refusing to accept them is shameful and contrived.


My point still stands firm because you have failed to tell me how homosexuality is inconsistent with the Oath and Law. Which points of the Law and which phrases of the Oath say that you can't be homosexual? A Scout vows to live by the Oath, not by the handbook. Furthermore, the Oath and Law have never been changed and the handbook is in its eleventh edition. My question asked for specific points of the Oath and Law that would prohibit homosexuality, not for the phrases in the hanbook that you so eagerly quote as if it were Shakespeare.


Your final paragraph is inexcusable. The phrase morally straight has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with sexuality. Morality is the distinction between right and wrong, and having straight morals means that you understand this difference and listen to your heart when you're doing the wrong thing. Do you actually think that the founders of the BSA meant "not gay" when they wrote "morally straight"?


We don't have to agree on everyting, I agree with you there. Our disagreement as good scouts demonstrates that the Law and Oath are indeed subjective, and the failure of you and BSA officials to explain how the Oath and Law are inconsistent with homosexuality show that they have fabricated values.



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Listen, if you want to think that defining what being trustworthy means is open to a lot of interpretation, thats fine, just dont come around my troop. There is a very clear line when it comes to trust with my Scouts. If I tell them, well ya know, I really could go either way on that trust thing, `cause it could mean oh so many different things, and ya know it really doesnt matter in the long-run anyway, after all who am I to say what trust is. Give me a break! Just what am I teaching them? It does them no service to say there are no absolutes. And their parents expect me as their Scoutmaster to teach them the meaning of the Scout Oath and Law. Oh yes, it may be my interpretation, but it is certainly not unclear what the words mean, unless youre an attorney or past president I suppose.


I do have a lesbian family member and I do love her very much. Would I let her be a leader in my Scout troop? Absolutely Not! She comes with her friend and is very welcome at Christmas time, the Holidays ect. She is a very welcomed member of our family. However, it is very much inconsistent with the values and morality of our family. Listen, Id give my left lung for her, but she still cant be in my Scout troop!!!


An "ideal" family has a mom and a dad with healthy children. Call me whatever you like, but I would bet all the divorced family moms and dads out there would agree, that being divorced is not something one should strive for. I never said that they were bad people, but if there is no ideal family, then it's like saying there is nothing to strive for. If a family doesn't have both parents, I'm NOT saying it's a bad family! You are drawing your own conclusions, instead what I'm saying is that the "ideal" family has both parents- a mom and a dad.


Is this old fashioned thinking? Probably. And I don't really care if it's not politically correct. Im not saying these things to appease anyone. I do believe this is an issue of morality. Yes indeed!!! Because I and (we) the overwhelming majority of the vast civilization, believe homosexuality is wrong. That is the whole argument, you think two guys having sex with each other is fine, but most dont. God didnt intend that or he would have made them reproducible. If a species cant survive as a species, it dies.


And thus, will enter the name calling and the attacks on my character right? Well, I must be a homophobe, closed-minded, bigot, etc, etc, etc right? Absolutely not! Just because I dont agree with you does NOT mean I hate gays or that I think the world should cast them over a cliff. Remember my last statement, God said to love one another, not agree with one another. I have a major problem with people that try to instill their belief system on me and the rest of society. Especially the ones that claim others are being discriminatory if they dont want to hang-out with them because of it. Why should I and rest of the BSA have to change? This is an issue of morality. Just like the Right to Life people believe it is wrong to kill unborn children. You wouldnt expect them to be allowing pro-abortion people to be members now would you? But because they dont allow pro-abortion people to be members theyre discriminating? Give me a break!


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Please understand, I am not attacking you or anyone personally, however, I believe most of the answers to your questions are very clearly printed in the current Boy Scout Handbook and have been a part of this program since the first printing, A Handbook for Boys. I get the feeling that people are trying to re-write the meaning of the Scout Oath and Law to fit their own personal needs, because the current meaning is not convenient to them. Just because something is difficult to live by does not mean that it should be changed to something of a lesser standard.


You ask what specifically says no gays? Well, I'd urge you to better understand the program of the Boy Scouts of America. Never has the BSA attacked, named or waged war on any group or individual. However, it has stated its values. If the BSA had added "A Scout is Not Gay" to the Scout Law, it seems to me that it would have been very un-Scoutlike and out of the aims of the program, not to mention specifically calling attention to a certain group. We don't attack others for their beliefs, we simply state our beliefs and hence others are attacking us. Tell me, where is the injustice? If I start a program in my neighborhood and set the standards for membership, which includes belonging to a church, being pro-life, being straight, and being a kind, respectful and friendly person, you are telling me that I can't? You are telling me that you can decide who my members are? You are telling me that I need to change my membership standards because they dont coincide with your beliefs?!?!


Just because an organization is successful at doing what it does and gains the support of millions of people, does not mean that the organization becomes a public entity. Remember what got the organization where it is today. The organization has not survived and flourished for 90 years because it had unclear values or simplistic membership requirements. The organization is and continues to be the best organization for character development in the world, because it hasnt faltered in its standards!


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