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tjhammer

What it really is and why it really matters

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I can't allow some of the responses to go without specific observation. In the same thread where I cite true stories from the headlines, personal experience and court documents and still get accused of misrepresenting facts, it's unacceptable for me to allow my opponents to do that which I was accused.However, I would claim that admitting gays is a risk on the BSA's part, and a big one at that.Even the BSA doesn't claim that. Youth Protection works, regardless of whether we're dealing with heterosexuals, homosexuals, child abusers or pedophiles. Disagree?Eisely earlier quoted a statistic that 50% or gays have had sex with a minor. That is an obscene total!!That's also an absurd total. Where in the world did that "statistic" come from?Even that alone should be enough to exclude or heavily limit gays from the organization.Gays are not pedophiles. Neither are heterosexuals. Pedophiles are pedophiles, and Youth Protecting protects our boys from them.Secondly, I believe the BSA does not allow gays because they fear the gay-rights activism that often follows. I would fear for the BSA if their name was tied to gay-rights activism, etc.Huh? So the reason we're acting so staunchly anti-gay is because we're really afraid people will think we're a radical gay activist group? This mentality is pure irrational homophobia. That's not an epithet I'm hurling, just labeling the mentality for what it is.Thirdly, we are talking only about avowed homosexuals. These are people that are members of activist groups, or are at least intent on disseminating such material.Hardly. Better check your dictionary, or just ask anyone to define the word for you. "Avowed" means they don't lie when asked if they are gay; "avowed" means they put a ring on their finger and tell a few friends in Scouting that they've decided to form a lifetime commitment with someone. Check my examples above of true stories of expulsion from BSA already... those folks weren't "handing out pamphlets".Again, do we really want to let these people in? I don't think it would be a good business decision, for then we would be attacked on more sides claiming that we've turned left wing.Is this all about a "business decision"? While I have cited a drop in membership and expressed concern over the way our organization was being typecast, I've really rarely used that as a major argument for overturning the new gay ban policy. As soon as we can get back to the basics and keep the focus on the real value of Scouting the better for all. Any fool who looks at Scouting's real value as being a safe haven from gays is no less a fool than one who would look at Scouting as a gay group after the policy is overturned.Lastly, one must see how little information there is on the subject. Little information about the homosexual condition is known. Almost none is definite. The BSA is being cautious here. Hmm. Well this argument does hold some water. Fear of the unknown can be justified sometimes. But I think we take that out of the equation by leaving it up to the parents, leaders and charter partners at the local level to determine whether or not they want to let a kid named "Bob", who happens to be gay, join their unit. See, they are not only going to know Bob is gay, that are also going to know that he's a good person, and that he is the kind of person they want in their troop. Regardless of the "mystic and mystery" of the science of homosexuality, I think those folks won't have a lot of "fear of the unknown" in Bob's case.While it may not be morally right (which will be hotly debated), the BSA is circling the wagons so it can provide Scouting for as many as possible without losing a large portion of members who would quit if the BSA changed its policy.Any person who would quit Scouting because the BSA decides to let local units admit gays (if they want to) is a huge fool. They are a fool for believing that Scouting's value is gone just because some unit across town or across the country has a gay member. (I also don't believe most people who say they would quit really would when the time comes.)You're right! You also have a legal right to believe that homosexuality is not a sin and that the BSA is bigoted for choosing to protect its youth from the influence of a sinful lifestyle...But that doesn't mean it's the right thing to do.And since we both believe we have the right to include or exclude and believe or not believe, let's both keep those rights. Local unit option is the best way for you and I to both preserve our rights.Rooster opines: I have a strong suspicion concerning the statistic... I'm willing to bet... as a group... homosexuals... more like a 13 to 17 year-old boy and a 35 to 60 year-old coach, teacher, family friend, priest, etc.

 

I think many, if not most homosexuals, are predators.Well, this all certainly sheds some light on your perspective and on what specific aspects of the debate you should become educated on.Rooster continues: I think their ranks are filled with men (and women) who are militant about their cause. Their cause being - 1) "recruit" the young [i'm sure that'll draw fire] and 2) make the rest of the world accept us.Well, the vast majority of gays are not militant, left wing radical activists. Just like the vast majority of conservatives are not fanatical, right wing, Bible-thumping fear-mongers. As in both cases, the majority of the world lives between the extremes.

 

And of course I would disagree with your assertion that gays seek to "recruit" new "members", even the Catholic Church understands that people don't "sign up" to "be gay". But I think you are correct in that most gays would definitely like the rest of the world to accept them, if by accept you mean an end of prejudice and hatred and discrimination and fear of them.

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You're right! You also have a legal right to believe that homosexuality is not a sin and that the BSA is bigoted for choosing to protect its youth from from the influence of a sinful lifestyle...But that doesn't mean it's the right thing to do.

 

Man, I wish I woulda said this! I can't agree more.

 

Homosexuals have no place in Scouting. They are not good role models no matter what they do for a living.

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1(This message has been edited by evmori)

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TJ,

 

Well, this all certainly sheds some light on your perspective and on what specific aspects of the debate you should become educated on.

 

Perhaps. Nevertheless, I must tell you I regularly read the newspapers and periodicals. I watch the evening news and the special reports. Given the day, it is almost impossible not to be "educated" on this subject from all aspects and perspectives. From the evidence that I can gather, homosexuals are intent on promoting their lifestyle until the world accepts it as normal. However, all of nature, common sense, and morality screams it is not so.

 

Prejudiceperhaps, but not without reason. The essence, the basic meaning of this word, is to prejudge. Do I prejudge homosexuals? Yes, I find their behavior immoral and I will not trust my children to their care. If I was to base this judgment on a physical characteristic (such as race), I would be ashamed of this fact. However, my judgment is based on their self-admitted behavior which I'm convinced is a perversion.

 

Hatredno. Certainly there are people who hate homosexuals. In my case, my faith as well as my heart, tells me this would be wrong. Yet, I do find their behavior to be shameful.

 

Fearno. In fact, I doubt that most people actually fear homosexuals. This is a claim, created by homosexuals and their supporters, to maneuver others into accepting them as normal. I, and most of my like-minded friends, are not so naive that we can be controlled by such an manipulative accusation. If I have any fear, it is this - Society will accept the behavior as normal and continue a downward spiral to an amoral world. For many, including homosexuals, this will probably be a time to celebrate. For me, it will be a very sad day.

 

Discriminationonly if it means I'm forced to leave my children in their care. Who's the victim? The self-professing homosexuals who demand the right to teach your child? Or, is it the parents who want control over who and how their children are educated, but is told to yield to the homosexual for the sake of his\her rights?

 

Just like the vast majority of conservatives are not fanatical, right wing, Bible-thumping fear-mongers.

 

Hmmm.

Fanatical, as in one who is passionate about what he/she believes?

Right wing as in Republican; or as in one who is pro-life, against the welfare state, and pro-family.

Bible-thumping as in one who is willing to quote the Bible as if it's truly God's word?

Fear mongers as in one who has concerns about the direction the country is heading?

 

If my definitions are rightthen I guess the shoe fits. If you want more ammunition, here's some more.

 

My family belongs to an evangelical church that believes in the Bible.

We home-school.

We've marched in D.C. for the rights of the unborn.

I'm a member of Promise Keepers.

I don't own any guns, but I believe in the right to do so.

I don't think Dan Quayle was an idiot. I saw him as a victim of the liberal media.

I think Ronald Reagan was a great president and a great man.

I am extremely happy that George W. Bush is my president. I try to pray for him daily.

 

I suppose I could go on and on, but the point is the same. By many folks' definition, I fit the description of the fanatical, right wing, Bible-thumping fear-monger. I can accept that as long as folks don't add and subtract attributes at their pleasure. In other words, I can accept the label as long as you don't use it as a catchall to infer things about me that may or may not be true.

 

For example, it has been said that a fanatical will compromise his morals to achieve an end. Not true. Most of us believe in moral principle above anything else.

 

Many folks who sit in the right-wing are accused of being racists. Not true. Most folks I know want to share the right side of the isle with all races. The morethe merrier.

 

Some folks like to infer that Bible-thumpers don't read any other books. Again, not true. We're as well educated as the next guy. There are even Christian scientists who can support and argue for creationism as well as any evolutionist.

 

Finally, some folks say "fear-mongers" are indiscriminate, arbitrarily spreading fear for the sake of disharmony. As you might have guessed, this is not true. Discord and anxiety is not our goal. To the contrary, it is our hope that our words will bring unity and focus. Our intention is to act as a lighthouse, not a haunted house (must be some Jessie Jackson in me somewhere).

(This message has been edited by Rooster7)

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Rooster, I do appreciate the thought you put into your response. And always, I respect the consistency with which you put forward the basic tenants of your argument.

 

I trust that you agree if I associate you with the Christian Conservative wing of the Republican Party. While that is not a wing of the party I associate with, I doubt seriously that your "Republican credentials" are much stronger than even my own. I, too consider Reagan to be our greatest modern president (just finished my fourth biography on him, and have now moved on to a Teddy Roosevelt bio). I have always been frustrated that popular belief is the "more right wing you are the more Republican you are", or the more "left wing, the more Democrat". I don't recognize that as true at all, for either party. Both political parties have factions and wings, some of them quite extreme. And most of those extremes beat their chest a lot and claim to control their parties. In recent years though, it seems the extreme wings on both parties have been neutralized and are more irrelevant. Neither Jesse Jackson or Pat Robertson (and their respective camps) carried much weight in the recent elections or in the public arena.

 

 

But I digress, and back to the specific debate. My point above was to suggest that you and I (literally and symbolically for our respective sides of the debate) are not as different as you suggest. And herein is actually one of my basic premises.

 

You see this argument as "me versus you" or "us versus them" you have portrayed all those who disagree with the BSA policy (and thus you) as being everything from just plain wrong to being a radical activist. The fact is, even you and I (Rooster and tjhammer) probably have more in common than most other folks, yet we're at polar ends of this debate on this forum.

 

You believe that homosexuality is nothing more than behavior abhorrent behavior at that. I recognize homosexuality is innate and neither a matter of choice or morality. I consider neither the "state of being" nor the "activity" as immoral, and I see no negative effects on society (granted, there are very public exceptions, but not the rule).

 

And while we probably would find that we agree on more issues than we disagree on, I just think you are wrong on this one. And that's OK. You can be wrong. You aren't alone you're not even in the minority. You're also correct in asserting that, for political purposes, this is an issue that typically follows major party lines, though certainly not exclusively.

 

And it's just fine that you believe I am wrong. It's also fine if you don't want to "associate" with me because of my belief. If you don't want me in your troop, I'll understand and just start another one across town. This new policy can change, so that neither of us are forced to accept the other person's opinion or live by new rules established by the other.

 

May I draw a specific focus to this debate and ask why this should not be a matter of local choice?

 

We empowered local parents and units to choose women Scoutmasters, if they wanted. And we've empowered them to determine what faith (if any) they want to follow as a group. Why can't you and I both have our own beliefs without tearing apart or dividing an organization that we both love and value? I don't believe I have ever heard or read a real thought-out argument against this solution.

 

Why can we not empower these same parents to make this decision for themselves? Why can't this become a complete non-issue by taking it to the local unit level? How would your unit be effected if a troop across town or across the country were to allow a 16-year-old gay Scout to remain a member or admit the gay father of a boy to be an Assistant Scoutmaster for the troop?

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Hmmm...

 

First of all, I think what the Catholic Church is saying is that homosexuality is sort of a mental illness. If it is a mental illness, it can be treated or overcome (see OCD, depression, schizophrenia, etc.). In fact, the latest statistic I read was that just less than 50% of those who are gay will change back to being heterosexual during their lives (I know several myself). Thus, I think it's a lot less difficult to break the circle.

 

Secondly, I do believe that homosexuals are slyly recruiting the young. In this PC age, we have become so anxious not to offend someone that we've set up the perfect scenario for gays to swell their ranks and increase their social standing. They're succeeding. Why? Because we've banned prayer in public schools. Because we've passed out condoms at school, saying sex is only harmless fun. Because we've given more rights to the minority than the majority possesses (hate crimes anyone?) Because we've tried to cut God and accountability for one's actions out of the picture.

 

Thirdly, I'd found an update to the 50% statistic. New latest is 34%, still much higher than heterosexual. And no, it doesn't matter if one's 18 and the other's 17.

 

Lastly, I'd like to remind everyone of the meaning of tolerance. It does not mean that we should let people do whatever they want without fear of contradiction. There are absolutes in this world; among them are gravity, life, death, taxes and morality.

 

Whew, I'll add my $0.02 to the pot.

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You see this argument as "me versus you" or "us versus them"

 

I may see this as "us verses them", but I think we'll both lose perspective if it becomes "me verses you". I believe in what I'm saying (as you probably do). If I take your response too personally (for the good or bad), I will present a poor argument. In the end, I suspect that you are right in your conclusionyou and I (Rooster and tjhammer) probably have more in common than most other folks, yet we're at polar ends of this debate on this forum. This fact can make it difficult to debate you (as well as some of my friends), because I want the discussion stay friendly (as for the most part, it has been). It's not my intent to offend.

 

For the sake of argument, view homosexuality through my eyes and try to stay with me until the end (before you formulate your counter arguments). What do I believe?

 

It's a behavior.

It's wrong.

It's immoral.

It may or may not be a mental disorder.

It may or may not be innate.

It can potentially put others at risk (because of the "slippery slope"one can become more and more depraved).

 

Okay(before anyone gets too excited), that's my list of concerns (not necessarily BSA's). If you accept the above list, then one could quite easily equate homosexuality with a number of other vices. For my purposes, I want to use alcoholism.

 

Now, let's revisit your statementIt's also fine if you don't want to "associate" with me because of my belief. If you don't want me in your troop, I'll understand and just start another one across town.

 

Suppose you are an alcoholic.

 

I would not want you to be a Scout or Scouter until your condition was resolved (i.e., recovering alcoholic). In other words, you'd need to recognize your condition, admit to its wrongness, and get on a road to recovery. Nevertheless, I would still be willing to "associate" with you. I have no fear or hatred of you because of this condition. However, I would not want you as an active member of a troop.

 

If you were not willing to recognize and/or resolve your condition, after time, I probably would disassociate myself with you.

 

Suppose you're not an alcoholic, but believe alcoholism is not a problem. Suppose, "some of your best friends" drink a lot and you see no reason to discriminate against them.

 

If you honestly believe this, I would vehemently disagree with you (as we are doing right now over the condition of homosexuality). I would try to convince you that alcoholism is wrongshow you the destructiveness of the behaviorshow you how its an evil that will ruin lives. As long as I'm convinced that you and others are arguing because "you see no evil" then I will always try to be polite and diplomatic in my arguments. Moreover, I would see no reason to disassociate myself with you. Additionally, I would see no reason why you could not be in a troop as a Scout or Scouter.

 

However, if you made your position known within the troop in an overt manner, then I would argue for your removal. You would be subverting an established BSA policy (i.e., homosexuals are not proper role models). On the other hand, if you pursued this argument through proper channels via the BSA (not at the troop level), then I would not argue for your removal. Although, I would still disagree with your position and counter your arguments via any process available to me within the BSA.

 

If I discovered that your motives were less than noble. That is to say, if you demonstrated that you recognized the evils of alcoholism, but were intent on seeking its acceptance, I would probably become much more hostile in my replies (not by design, but as a human reaction). I would have to presume that you prefer a world without judgment (right or wrong)a world without morality or consequences. Which, for many of us, would make living a whole lot more comfortable. I see a philosophy presented by some (not necessarily by you), which would embrace that day. I'm convinced that many folks are willing to accept just about anything, because in the end, they see it as a way to permit them to do just about anything. If you showed yourself to be such a person, I would disassociate myself from you and argue for your removal.

 

So, I hope this clears up my position. As I've said, I don't hate homosexuals. This would be wrong. I view them in the same way as I view alcoholics, adulterers, and drug addicts.

 

Nor do I necessarily want to disassociate myself with someone who supports them. The key word here is "necessarily". It all comes down to motive. This can be difficult to discern at times. For the most part, I try to give folks the benefit of the doubt. If a person ignores a cogent line of reasoning, or if one argues in a circle (repeating points that were already disproved), I tend to believe that such a person has less than noble purposes. I like to think if two moral and logical persons share an intellectual conversation, they'll come to an agreement. Unfortunately, I can't prove this theory. I'd have to be God to truly know another person's motives.

 

Why can we not empower these same parents to make this decision for themselves? Why can't this become a complete non-issue by taking it to the local unit level?

 

First, there would be no national standard for what it means to be a Scout or Scouter in the BSA. Your troop's definition of moral and reverent would be dramatically different than mine. Of course, there are some differences now, but we're talking about a basic tenant (not whether or not one should pray five times day or continually, or whether or not one should go to their place of worship on a Saturday or a Sunday).

 

Second, the founders (and if not them, then the current powers-to-be) want it to be this way. An organization should be able to define itself. If you can convince the majority of a bridge club (and/or the ones overseeing such a club) to let poker players join, then more power to you. However, by all appearances (and thankfully so from my perspective), the current overseers of the BSA and the majority of Scouts and Scouters like the organization as it stands today. It has a national standard for membership. It has a national standard for rank advancement. It has national standards for almost every aspect of the program. Consequently, we all know what it means to be an Eagle Scout. I don't have to be a member of that boy's troop to appreciate and understand his fitness, abilities, and character as an Eagle Scout. At least, that's the goal. When one becomes a Scout, and in particular an Eagle Scout, there should be a definitive meaning and understanding of that event. It shouldn't be something that changes from troop to troop.

 

How would your unit be effected if a troop across town or across the country were to allow a 16-year-old gay Scout to remain a member or admit the gay father of a boy to be an Assistant Scoutmaster for the troop??

 

First, see the previous paragraph again.

 

Second, we would have contradictory standards. What kind of message does that send to the Scouts? It's immoral in the Mid-West but not on the West Coast. It's okay in D.C., but not in Baltimore. Worse, it's wrong on the south side of "Smallville", but not the west side.

 

Third, we would not be able to share the same facilities. We would not be able to camp together. Imagine the struggle BSA would have trying to balance that logistical nightmare. I don't think it can be done.

 

Forth, imagine the political squabbles that would result between troops, particularly if one troop were given access to a resource, which precluded the other. Imagine the exchange of words between troops supporting membership for homosexuals and those that do not. Don't you think the media would have a field day? Reporters would use it as a catalyst to pit troops against one another? "Scoutmaster John Smith says thisHow do you respond?

 

Fifth, imagine the squabbles within each local troop. What happens when Scouter Jane Doe (having just arrived in Kansas from Berkley) decides that the local troop should change its policy? How much harm could this do to a troop?

 

Sixth, I would be morally against any BSA policy that would encourage a 16-year-old boy to accept and/or embrace homosexuality as his fate. I find this idea to be reprehensible. This, in fact, is one of the ways homosexuals seek to recruit the young. They want to encourage young boys (and girls) to think about homosexuality as something that they may want to embrace. They want to "counsel" confused boys and direct them down that road.

 

I think BSA is taking the wisest course of action, which in my mind, is also the right course of action - Maintain a national policymaintain a national standardprohibit homosexuals from membership in the BSA.(This message has been edited by Rooster7)

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Well, a Cub Scout camping trip seems to have gotten in the way of me keeping up with this forum, but I have finally read everything posted since Friday morning. Chances are I will never have the time to write responses to everything I would have otherwise, but there were a couple things in Rooster's latest post that jumped out at me, so I'll say something about them and maybe catch up with the rest later (or maybe not.)

 

Rooster says:

 

Second, we would have contradictory standards. What kind of message does that send to the Scouts? It's immoral in the Mid-West but not on the West Coast. It's okay in D.C., but not in Baltimore. Worse, it's wrong on the south side of "Smallville", but not the west side.

 

"We" already have "contradictory standards" on this issue, as in We the People of the United States of America. And these contradictions reach down to the local level. In some states homosexual conduct remains illegal (though in some states it is prohibited by "sodomy" statutes that literally apply to certain heterosexual conduct as well, but are in practice only enforced (if at all) against gays.) In other states, it is illegal to discriminate against gays in employment or public accommodations. (It was New Jersey's statute in this regard, combined with the decision of the New Jersey Supreme Court that the Boy Scouts is a "public accommodation," that set up the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the "Dale" case.) In one state, all of the legal benefits and responsibilities of marriage are made available to committed gay couples, but instead of calling it a "marriage," the state calls it a "civil union." In another state, several municipalities prohibited discrimination against gays, while the voters of the state as a whole not only refused to do so, but attempted to nullify the local actions. (The U.S. Supreme Court declared the nullification unconstitutional in Romer vs. Evans.)

 

Each of these groups of states and localities have made a moral statement about homosexuality, as expressed through its laws. Some states say homosexuality is immoral and will punish that immorality by law. Other states say, in effect, that it is immoral for a private employer or place of public accomodation (though privately owned) to deny participation on the basis of sexual orientation. It is implicit in such statutes that homosexuality itself is not immoral, otherwise they wouldn't prohibit employers and others from discriminating against gays. Vermont thinks it is wrong, or immoral if you will, to deny gays the benefits of marriage.

 

Now, how does the BSA fit into all this? The BSA seeks to involve all boys. It is part of our society and culture. I know some may say that the BSA should not follow society down the drain of degradation. But my state's law against discrimination was not passed by some transvestite Hollywood actor, it was passed by the elected legislators of my state, on the whole a group of moderate-to-conservative people, to my knowledge all straight, and not given to displays of flamboyance. (And by the way, the same legislature that banned anti-gay discrimination also has tried to get prayer into schools through the back door, including a "moment of silence" that was declared unconstitutional.) So you have BSA units in states and communities that have taken drastically different approaches to the "gay issue," and often the units and councils reflect that division. It is my understanding that nine councils (most if not all from urban areas) requested that the BSA permit local option, but the BSA's current leadership rejected that request a few months ago.

 

So if the BSA adopts a position that allows contradictory moral positions in different areas, what message does that send to the boys? It doesn't necessarily send the boys any message, because I don't think there is any need to discuss this issue with the boys one way or the other. But to the extent that the boys read the newspapers, it sends the message that our society is divided on the morality of sexual orientation. In other words, it sends the truth. We like that in the BSA, the truth, don't we? And ultimately I think if local option were adopted, the whole issue would fade away and the boys wouldn't even think about it -- unless people like you, Rooster, continued to make an issue of it.

 

Rooster also says:

 

Third, we would not be able to share the same facilities. We would not be able to camp together. Imagine the struggle BSA would have trying to balance that logistical nightmare. I don't think it can be done.

 

You have absolutely no evidence for that statement. There is no reason at all why units that have an anti-gay policy could not share facilities with units that do not discriminate. (Remember, the BSA says that the anti-gay policy is NOT related to youth protection.) I suppose a small proportion of units might refuse to attend a camporee or summer camp because the unit in the next site MIGHT have an openly gay leader -- though statistically the number of openly gay leaders would be extremely small. But I doubt it would be more than a small proportion of units. One religious organization that has charters for a large number of units might become even more insular in its attitude toward Scouting than it already is; maybe it would abandon Scouting in those states where anti-discrimination would be the norm, though its numbers are probably small in those states anyway. But most day-to-day Scouters and Scouts would just go along, doing Scouting. Fact is, you wouldn't even know about the policies of the troop in the next campsite unless you did an investigation. And who wants to do that?

 

And, although I know supporters of the temporary BSA policy absolutely hate this analogy, the argument of "we will not be able to camp together or share facilities" is exactly the same argument that was made in the late 40's against racial integration in the military. Opponents said that many white soldiers, especially in or from the South, would never share a barracks or a bunk with a black soldier. Well, once the deed was done, those white soldiers got over it, because they had no choice. Maybe a few who had the option of getting out of the military did so. But we were able to fight a war shortly after that. In the long run, the BSA would be fine, this issue would die away, and to paraphrase one of the prolific posters in this forum, everyone could get back to the business of Scouting.

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I promised myself I would not respond to any more posts concerning this issue. Most of the people posting on this are expressing core beliefs. People don't change fundamental beliefs because of pressure or discussion. We disagree at the base level, alternate life style vs. perversion. Acceptable behavior vs mental illness.

 

NJCubScouter writes And, although I know supporters of the temporary BSA policy absolutely hate this analogy, the argument of "we will not be able to camp together or share facilities" is exactly the same argument that was made in the late 40's against racial integration in the military. Opponents said that many white soldiers, especially in or from the South, would never share a barracks or a bunk with a black soldier. Well, once the deed was done, those white soldiers got over it, because they had no choice. Maybe a few who had the option of getting out of the military did so. But we were able to fight a war shortly after that. In the long run, the BSA would be fine, this issue would die away, and to paraphrase one of the prolific posters in this forum, everyone could get back to the business of Scouting.

 

Well NJCubScouter the deed has been done, BSA has chosen to exclude gays. Are you going to get over it? Can we get back to SCOUTING? Well we can't get over it either. Let's agree to disagree and stop beating this horse

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NJCubScouter said "You have absolutely no evidence for that statement. There is no reason at all why units that have an anti-gay policy could not share facilities with units that do not discriminate. (Remember, the BSA says that the anti-gay policy is NOT related to youth protection.)"

 

NJ,

Whats the point of having a local option then? The reason why they can't camp together is not for youth protection reasons. It seems to me if one local area believed it was immoral then I gurantee they wouldn't want to share facilities with a troop that accepts homosexuals. Also, it could easily be the other way around too. The troop accepting homosexuals may not want to camp with a troop that "discriminates". I don't think it would be fair to force either troop to share facilities. This being said, I agree with Rooster7 , it would be a logistical nightmare.

 

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NJ Said:

 

Vermont thinks it is wrong, or immoral if you will, to deny gays the benefits of marriage

 

Check your wording - vermont gives them the benefits of a "civil union" - marriage is still reserved, even in vermont, to two people of the opposite sex.

 

The BSA seeks to involve all boys

 

I think it is obvious that this isn't the case, otherwise we would accept atheists and homosexuals as MEMBERS into this PRIVATE organization which has MORAL standards.

 

it was passed by the elected legislators of my state, on the whole a group of moderate-to-conservative people

 

I live in the same state, and while I wouldn't paint NJ with the same brush as CA or VT, it is definately not "moderate-to-conservative". At least from my perspective.

 

And ultimately I think if local option were adopted, the whole issue would fade away and the boys wouldn't even think about it -- unless people like you, Rooster, continued to make an issue of it.

 

Apparently the sause isn't good for the goose here as the issue isn't being allowed by NJ and TJ to "fade away" because they feel they are on (for lack of a better term) moral ground. The decline in moral values of society isn't something to let fade away.

 

So if the BSA adopts a position that allows contradictory moral positions...

 

That's why we have some moral standards- so you don't have "contradictory" moral positions. Positions are moral or they are not, as much as you like to subscribe to moral relativism, morals without a solid foundation are indeed build on sinking sands.

 

temporary BSA policy

 

It is BSA policy period, not temporary BSA policy.

 

Longhaul,

 

Good point, i agree that someone's position on this topic is formed by their moral base in that they either believe that homosexuality is a choice or lifestyle as homosexuals themselves say it is, or it is a genetic trait that they can't overcome. I for one believe that the ability to overcome "what you are born" is one of the things God gave man to seperate him from beast.

 

Youngblood,

 

I agree with your points as well, I know how i would react if i knew that the camporee was going to be attended by homosexuals - my troop would NOT attend.

 

NJ, hope the campout went well, we had a campout last weekend, have one coming this weekend and one scheduled for next weekend.

 

YIS

Quixote

 

 

 

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I agree with LongHaul and Quixote. This debate/discussion is not likely going to change anyone's mind that has taken a position based on a "core value" (i.e., centered on one's faith and/or sense of morality, or lack thereof). However, I am not arguing to change NJ's mind. My effort and concern in this debate is focused on convincing the "fence sitters" (and I'm assuming this is true for NJ as well). I want to present sound arguments to Scouts/Scouters that are still undecided. If this debate ever reaches national again, I'm hoping there will be more of "us" verses "them" to ensure the policy remains intact.

 

Having said this, I have three quick counter arguments for NJ:

 

In regard to having a standard, my point was focused on BSA as a private organization. Of course, there are different opinions and laws concerning this issue across the nation. Nevertheless, BSA as a values based group should have a consistent moral stance across the nation. And the boys will think about it, contrary to your suggestion.

 

In regard to camping together, it will be become an issue for many troops. In particular, it will be for troops that do not want homosexuals in their ranks. Furthermore, if you think this will only affect a few "fanatical" troops, I believe you're very much mistaken.

 

Finally, your last paragraph in which you invoke the ugly stories and memories associated with racial discrimination is nothing more than a cheap ploy. I'm not an African American, but I know this. Many African Americans take offense to your analogy. Why? Because it compares behavior (a sexual perversion) to a physical trait (race), and the latter has nothing to do one's character. If you want to make this kind of comparison, then talk about "apples and apples" not "apples and oranges". Your comparison is not only flawed analytically, it is grossly inflammatory to people of color. Furthermore, as someone who takes his faith seriously, I find your comparison offensive as well. It insinuates that my position (as well as the position of most others posting on this issue) is based on bigotry and hatred as opposed to morality. Again, a weak and distasteful distraction, created to sway attention from the real arguments.

(This message has been edited by Rooster7)

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Isnt the BSA stance really against people who want to make their alt lifestyles public where BSA moral stance (from late 19th century) is that certain things are private and should remain that way? The example of the Alcoholic could be if he is not known (Not avowed) there is no problem. Now a case could be made here, that for safety, this is a problem. But now people are looking into private behavior. I think that is why avowed is in the policy. Other personnel behavior could be gambling, swinging, nudism amoung others all if kept discreet should not be a problem, but if flaunted would not be positive role models to scouts. I'm rambeling here but I hope I have made my point

 

Paul

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I have stayed out of these conversations for a while, but recent comments bring to mind an issue that has not yet been discussed - the sharing of sleeping quarters, whether tents or otherwise. As you all surely know, I am in favor of the local option approach. However, if we get to the point where openly gay scouts are in a troop, how do we handle tent arrangements on outings? First, consider Venturing, which I am pretty sure does not allow male and females to share a tent. The reason must be because of possible sexual attraction. Parents of young people would, or should, object to teens of opposite sex sharing a tent on an outing. If this is a legitimate issue, how do we then handle two gay scouts who want to share a tent? If we allow two gay scouts to share a tent, when they may be sexually attracted to each other, how can we refuse to allow a boy and girl to share a tent? I pose these questions, and I don't claim to have an answer, because with a policy change, even one I support, we will have new issues to deal with. I suspect that if we go to local option, how we handle an issue such as tent sharing will still get BSA a lot of flack, no matter how it is handled.

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As you already know, I am not for the local option. Yet, your questions are interesting to me. Here are some more ugly realities to deal with:

 

1) If such a policy was going to be developed (i.e., for Safe Scouting), how would BSA attempt to enforce it? In other words, would they require us to ask each boy to identify his sexual orientation? Imagine asking each 11 year-old boy that question as he entered your troop. What if he said he wasn't sure? What if he lies about it?

 

2) Should a self-avowed homosexual Scout ever be allowed to sleep in the same tent with another boy? Would you ask a boy if he was attracted to a particular girl, as a litmus test, prior to allowing him to sleep in the same tent? No, we assume that healthy heterosexual boys, particularly teenagers, are attracted to most girls of the same age. What makes the homosexual boy any different?

 

3) What if the other boys refused to share a tent with him? Would troops force a boy to share a tent with a homosexual?

 

4) What if a 17 year-old self-professed homosexual boy and a 12 year-old heterosexual boy shared the same tent? What if mom and dad didn't know anything about it until after the camping trip?

 

5) What if the same 17 year-old convinced the 12 year-old to have sex with him? Would you say the 12 year-old made "a self discovery"...or would you say he was molested?

 

OH MY! What a tangled web we would weave! These are just some of the questions that popped into my mind (thanks to Bob's conjecturing). Given a little time and imagination, just think of the bizarre and twisted stories that would ooze out of Scouting due to such an "open minded" policy change. God help us should that ever happen.

 

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