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tjhammer

Why it's relevant...

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Respectfully, Feathers, Eagle90, and others that just want this topic to go away:

 

You live in a vacuum. Either you feel this is just too difficult of an issue to deal with, or, more likely, you just don't see it as relevant. Perhaps youve never encountered a Scout in crisis because hes coming to terms with his sexuality under the shadow of the BSA policy. Perhaps youve never known a great Scout leader, who grew up in the organization, became an Eagle Scout and spent several years as a recognize quality leader only to receive a letter from Scouting banning him because word got out that he was gay and had formed a lifelong commitment to a partner. Ive experienced both (and no DedDad, neither of the two people Im describing are me).

 

But the truth is this is an issue that has great relevance to Scouting. It is an issue that, seemingly overnight, has become synonymous with Scouting to many non-Scouting people. (Remember when we used to lament over the fact that our public image was one of helping little old ladies across the street and a refuge for nerdy kids, when in fact that was very far from the truth? Now we've replaced that public image with this one.)

 

And lest I be accused of pandering only to public opinion (the "what do we care what others think of us" mentality), the real damage that is caused by this policy is that we're teaching 4 million kids right now a very dangerous lesson. We're saying to them (some of whom are mostly definitely gay themselves) that a gay child or adult is the ONE thing we have no tolerance for in Scouting; that we consider gay kids and adults to be of such little worth that we don't want them in our organization. We're also saying to them that it is OK to act this way against gays (I'm quite certain that we can all agree kids don't always understand the intricacies of our policy, they often just see the overlying message.)

 

Perhaps the lesson we're sending to our kids is, even if you disagree with something, it's best to avoid voicing your debate for fear of offending or boring the people who think differently. And if you really disagree with something, well then by all means be quiet for fear of being labeled a radical... no one could possibly be so passionate about any subject without being an extremist.

 

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TJ: Well said. I would just add: When I tell people about my son's and my involvement in Cub Scouting, most of them do not want to know about, or ask about, what my son is doing, what he has learned, what we do at meetings, how often we go camping, what "war stories" I have from running the pack's Pinewood Derby this year (and I do have some), or anything actually related to the program. To them, Scouting doesn't mean a program or activities, as I think it once did. To them, Scouting means opposition to gays and exclusions of gays. Some think the policy is a good idea. Others tell me that I am a member of a "hate group" (in the words of a former employer) or "an exclusive paramilitary club" (in the words of my sister-in-law's sister, speaking to me and my 63-year-veteran father, which she later somewhat sheepishly retracted.)

 

Point is, I want Scouting to mean what it meant when I was a Cub Scout and Boy Scout. Helping little old ladies across street corner, while obviously a caricature, meant that Scouts were supposed to give cheerful service to others. "Follow the rugged road." Anyone remember that? Or, "Scouting rounds a guy out." (Which, as someone else recently pointed out, has an ironic meaning when I look at my mid-section.) How about the TV commercial, probably from about 1972, in which a guy is walking down a dark alley, looks over his shoulder and sees two young men following him in the dark shadows. He looks very nervous until he glances back again as the two walk into a lighted spot, and he sees they are wearing Boy Scout uniforms. He heaves a big sigh of relief. I am not making that up, am I? That really existed. The message was that Scouts are good guys, and if you see a Boy Scout, you know he has received the lessons of respect and fair play. He is not a gang member, he's not going to beat you over the head and take your money. If you trip, he'll help you up. The BSA didn't use the words values or morals or character so much back then -- they didn't have to, because they showed them in action. A better way to get your point across, I think.

 

And the whole thing about how the BSA is a "private organization" is ironic because, back in those days, the BSA never would have called itself "private," at least not so anyone but other lawyers could hear. Join us, was the message. Now it's, join us if you meet the exclusive requirements for our private club, but the only rule we'll actually enforce across the board is the exclusion of gays.

 

So the point of this thread is a good one. The issue is relevant not only because the current policy erodes the organization's integrity and detracts from its true message, but also because it basically hijacks its public image and turns it into something it never was.

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I became a Cub in 60 and Scout in 63 stayed in till I was 18. I became active again when my son became a Cub in 84. I now have served for 18 years as a Scouter.

Scouting, my parents and my religious faith shaped my values. One of which was pluralism, a central value of our nation and one that is I always believed was core to the BSA. We require units not to force their beliefs on boy joining their units. We have only required that boys have a belief in a higher power or God not what that belief requires. For some Scouts that means no fish on Friday during lent, no pork on camp outs, and no coffee or cola. BSA has never been a Catholic, Lutheran, Jewish, Mormon, Methodist, Buddhist, or Moslem organization, but a place where all can meet, work, learn and play together.

It seems that in last few years the BSA has been taken over by a group that has their own agenda to promote certain conservative Christian beliefs. We have lost our purpose to reach out to all America boys in view of most of the public. While most units and leaders just ignore the issue and work hard to give Scouts a welcoming program, the national attitude encourages a witch-hunt.

 

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Quixote -- Instead of asking NWScouter to retract what he said, why don't you discuss why you think what he said was wrong or incorrect? I have read several magazine articles that discuss, in great detail, the same subject, and that demonstrate to my satisfaction, that what NWScouter said is correct. Perhaps "taken over" is a bit too strong, but "come under the influence of" would be accurate and would have the same functional effect. But if the discussion is limited to the "gay issue," "taken over" seems correct to me. What is your evidence to the contrary?

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Hmm. If I defend my faith here, will I be accused as being unScoutlike? And, just how am I suppose to defend it against such an accusation? Let's try this...It's not true! What is this so-called agenda? Is this another pretence to the homosexual debate? Will it never end?

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NJ - provide evidence that something isn't happening? I would think that's even tough for a lawyer to do. That being said, I simply feel that one doesn't have to attack "christian conservatives" rather it could be argued that some drift away from a more liberal interpretation of rules, etc. has taken place over x number of years.

 

Political correctness used to be called courtesy. Implying that some concerted right wing conspiracy is at work crafting the policies of the BSA, leads me to think that someone is looking for black helicopters.

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>Hmm. If I defend my faith here, will I be accused as being unScoutlike?

 

Rooster, I think you have plenty of latitude to defend your faith and your point of view without becoming unScoutlike. You've done a fine job of that to this point. I'm sure your message was a direct response to the recent removal of DedDad from these boards, but I think I can speak for most everyone here (except maybe you and one or two others), DedDad went way beyond "defending his faith". In fact, he never really claimed to be "defending his faith"... he avoided as best he could the inclusion of religion or God in arguing his point of view, which I feel was disingenuous. At least you have always been honest about what motivated your point of view.

 

>Implying that some concerted right wing conspiracy is at work crafting the

>policies of the BSA, leads me to think that someone is looking for black helicopters.

 

Guys, there's not really ANY doubt that this is the case. Whether it should be the case can be argued maybe. We've been through this part of the debate already, buy to summarize: the National Relationships Committee, which is the committee of representatives of the major chartering partners, is dominated by the Mormon and Catholic Church. When the Mormon Church made Scouting its primary boy program, they became the largest group within Scouting (by a landslide). The National Relationships Committee is the behind the BSA's ban on gay Scout leaders, and it was under specific threat from the Mormon Church that they would pull out all of their members (about 35% of the BSA) if the BSA changed their policy. The recent "affirmation" of the BSA policy was prompted by a "task force" of 12 to 20 members (all appointed by the National Relationships Committee).

 

This is the exact same process that we went through in years past: women were not allowed to be Scout leaders, largely blocked by the Mormon Church and the National Relationships Committee. It was not until the BSA said to the Mormons that they could set their own special rules to block women in leadership rules that they gave in to the pressure and allowed a change in that policy. A similar process also happened regarding the age of Cub Scouts, and the Mormons finally conceded when they were, once again, allowed their own rules.

 

There is no doubt that the BSA is controlled by money and members, and the Mormon Church controls both.

 

Suggesting that Christian conservatives are in the driver seat with the BSA is NOT an attack on Christian conservatives (thus I find the calls to "defend the faith" a bit extreme). Making such a statement is not necessarily an indictment of Christian conservative beliefs... I have simply maintained from the beginning that it is wrong for any secular belief structure to control the BSA, a decidedly non-secular institution.

 

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Does this "reaching out" mean the boy is always more important than any principle that BSA hold dear? I think not. "Reaching out" to all boys, does not mean accepting all behavior.

 

TJ, either you are misusing the word "secular", or we're in agreement. BSA is "a decidedly non-secular institution." Secular means "not regarded as religious or spiritual". That being the case, you are claiming that BSAis a spiritual organization (i.e., decidedly non-secular institution). I do agree with this thought. After all, one of BSA's main tenants is - "Duty to God". I am surprised that we are in agreement or was my presumption correct (you misused the word).

 

By the way, why has NWScouter and others singled out Christian conservatives as having a moral agenda? Why haven't they included Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and all of the other faiths that disapprove of homosexuality? Perhaps Christians (being a majority in this country) have spoken up more than others. Regardless, their views on this issue among faiths are hardly that of a minority. Most of the world's major faiths disapprove of homosexuality.

 

For the record, I already know the answers to my questions. Promoters of the gay agenda want to make it appear as if Christians only represent themselves. They want to make all of the other faiths think that Christians are "taking over and pushing them out". All so they (the promoters of the gay agenda) can gain allies and push God out of BSA. Once they do that, they can establish a foundation to change everything else. First and foremost of course, would be to open membership to gays.

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>Secular v non-secular.

 

Sorry, if I fire off my responses without slowing to type that's what you get. :) Yes, my point from the very beginning (and still) is that the BSA is secular (not relating to any specific religion) group.

 

>singled out Christian conservatives as having a moral agenda? Why

>haven't they included Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and all of the other

>faiths that disapprove of homosexuality? Perhaps Christians (being a majority in this >country) have spoken up more than others.

 

Rooster, you slide between the term Christian Conservative and just Christian. I do not believe that those two are all that similar, and certainly not the same. I myself am a Christian, though I am often repulsed by the views, statements and actions or the decidedly more conservative Christian sect (like Falwell, Robertson, etc). Specific to this conversation, I believe the Mormon Church is far more conservative than the majority of Christians in this country, and it is that Conservative Christian element that exerts too much control over the BSA.

 

>Regardless, their views on this issue among faiths are hardly that of a minority.

>Most of the world's major faiths disapprove of homosexuality.

 

Thats not entirely true. As weve cited before, major churches filed briefs against the BSAs position in the Supreme Court. And even within some other religions (like Methodist) there is considerable disagreement.

 

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Anyone who professes to be a Christian (like myself) and believes homosexuality is OK can't be a Christian. Read the Bible. Sodom & Gomorah were destroyed for this reason. God doesn't condone homosexuality.

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

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Evmori, from one of my earliest posts:Amicus briefs (filed with the Supreme Court) in opposition to the BSA policy were submitted or joined by the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church, The Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and the Unitarian Universalist Association. One brief noted that even some individual churches within the Southern Baptist Convention have ordained gay clergy.

 

Do you believe all of those folks to be mistaken Christians too? Or just me?

 

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They are most assuredly mistaken! I, as a Christian, hold no hatred toward homosexuals but I do feel they have chosen to pursue a practice that is immoral. Whether you call it a choice, a genetic predisposition, a desease, or a ham sandwich is not relevent. because even if it is not a choice to have the feelings (which I do not accept as fact) It IS a choice to pursue them and engage in the acts. Homosexual behavior is an abomination to God.

 

As with someone trapped in the homosexual lifestyle, I would feel compasion toward someone who, say, was addicted to gambling (some claim that's not a choice either) but I would not allow them to be involved in a boy scout troop. It comes down to role models being human and being allowed to make a mistake and be forgiven WHEN THEY'VE CHANGED THEIR BEHAVIOR. Some may argue that homosexuality is a condition and therefore can't be controlled...Homosexual behavior, however is an activity and can be controlled just as some priests can maintain celibacy. I would not want to be part of a troop where the scoutmaster was homosexual, the treasurer was an addicted gambler, the Outdoor activities director was agoraphobic, or the first aid provider was addicted to pain killers. There are simply some people whose personal life choices or lack of self control make them unsuitable to act as scout leaders...doesn't necessarily make them bad people...just not good scout leaders.

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TJ - thanks for clearing up exactly who are conservative christians - i hadn't realized that the Mormons had hijacked scouting to the degree you, NJ and NW point out.

 

As for implying that the SBC condones homosexuality in BSA by your reference to some churches who supposedly are SBC affiliated having gay clergy, i really don't think that fits in with the SBC statement on sexuality:

 

"We affirm God's plan for marriage and sexual intimacy one man, and one woman, for life. Homosexuality is not a "valid alternative lifestyle." The Bible condemns it as sin. It is not, however, unforgivable sin. The same redemption available to all sinners is available to homosexuals. They, too, may become new creations in Christ." from http://sbc.net/default.asp?url=bfam_2000.html

 

As for beleiving Scouting is a secular movement, i personally don't agree with that viewpoint. I think it is MOSTLY secular, but definately not entirely.

 

It is nice that we can agree to disagree however.

 

YIS

 

Quixote

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