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OGE, R.Reagan...really now. That was as delicious as pierogies with sauteed onions, farmers cheese and mashed potatoes (that was cruel ScoutParent). But please don't forget about our coke-snorting and drunk-driving current POTUS and VP. Rooster, don't hurt yourself leaping out of the chair.

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kwc57 raises a good point in many ways. Could a scouter who is divorced or considered an adulterer be refused membership as a unit leader? How about an overwieght scouter? How about one who has excessive parking fines? The Answer to each of these is YES. The Chartered Organizations are allowed to be be even stricter than the BSA in approving unit volunteers that they feel are fit (physically mentally and emeotionally) to represent their organization and be a role model for their scouts. It would be nice if more Charter Organizations spent more time exercising that control.


The National BSA membership rules are also set by the chartering organizations that use scouting. They feel the the mission of scouting (not the physical skills of scouting) cannot be met without the scout and scouter possessing, or at at least being open, to specific principles held by those organizations.


As unit volunteers it is not our program or our decision. The ownership of the program is represented by the heads of the charter organizations and their representatives on the National Executive Committee as they have been for over 90 years. As volunteers we agreed to follow the BSA program not to determine it.


Look at the mission, there is no possible way to deny a duty to God and be able to achieve the mission. As far as homosexuality, that is the decision of the National Committee based on the values of a majority of it's members. That's how governing in the US works. It's the system we teach in patrol and troop elections and in our advancement program. Why is anyone surprised by this method.


One member of this board chose to leave the program because he could not support this policy. I admire him for living his principles. In my opinion, to belong to a group whose principles you cannot accept is being dishonest to yourself. The BSAs decision in this issue is truly 'We won't ask, you don't tell'. Just follow the rules and program, and support the mission. The BSA doesn't distinguish between an avowed homosexual and a person who speaks out against the BSA. They both are counterproductive to the mission. It's a private organization, the BSA can choose to say "if you don't share our opinion then leave" and they have the force of the US Supreme Court and the US Constitution to support them.


Each of us has the right to make that decision. But (again in my opinion) to stay and to berate the program that you volunteered to join is immature. You become the worm, eating the apple from the inside out. If you must protest the policies of the BSA, do so as an adult and bite at the apple from the outside. Live your conviction and stop representing an organization whose principles you cannot accept.


Respectfully submitted,

Bob White(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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Bob, as I have said before, and as I think TwoCubDad said recently: If I thought that exclusion of gays was really a principle of the BSA, I probably would leave. But it isn't. It hasn't even been adopted as a rule or policy. It is just based on an interpretation of the Scout Oath and Law, and I think it is a misinterpretation. And the fact that the representatives of representatives of chartered organizations interprets words a particular way, does not make it right. Also, as I have explained before, this is really about reps of one group of religions imposing their religious beliefs on others, in violation of the BSA's Declaration of Religious Principles. So it is the majority of the national executive committee who won't follow the rules. If anyone should leave, it is them, not me.


Some day, this error will be corrected.

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You raise interesting points NJ unfortunately they are not supported by any actual facts or process of the BSA as you represent them.


Basically the points you raised were untrue at the very least and fear mongering at the worst.


There is no single religion conspiracy. There are membership requirements. The voices of the charter organization representatives on the Executive Committee do matter.


This is all alot of spitting in the wind. You wear the uniform and bask in the name and heritage of a group who's principles you do not except. That's inane. We teach young people to make ethical choices throughout their lives. Why not make an ethical choice. Is it ethical to wear the uniform of an organization whose principles you do not share?


I hold no malice to those who choose to leave the BSA because of their chosen principles, or to those who stay because they share the principles of others in the group. But I worry that my son or grandson would end up with a leader who could not make such a simple decision based on principles, because how then would they make the difficult decisions when it mattered most.


Bob White

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"The BSA doesn't distinguish between an avowed homosexual and a person who speaks out against the BSA."


Be careful here BW. What exactly do you mean by "speaking out against the BSA?" You want to make changes for commissioners with respect to roundtables. Is that speaking out against the BSA? IMO, no. NJCubScouter may want to change the BSA policies on sexual identity. Is that speaking out against the BSA? You may argue that one is a procedure and one a basic "ethic" or "moral" but I believe that is hollow.


I agree with NJ and the BSA about the Declaration of Religious Principles "... but is absolutely non-sectarian in its attitude toward that religious training."


OBEDIENT. A Scout follows the rules of his family, school, and troop. He obeys the laws of his community and country. If he thinks these rules and laws are unfair, he tries to have them changed in an orderly manner rather than disobey them.


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You need to know that the BSA has established and practiced a policy that says that an avowed homosexual or athiest may not hold membership in the BSA. In addition a member or who publicly supports these interests or publicly speaks out against the BSa on these membership policies can (and have had) their memberships revoked.


The BSA recognizes the constitutional right of citizens to free speech. They inturn want you to know they have the right and will excercise the right to free association and can choose who may and who may not hold membership.


The BSA in keeping with the ideals established in the scout law, specifically 'obedient' have said that if you want to voice your opinion on this matter it is to be done through contact within the scouting channels to your SE or the National Executive Board.


IF YOU GO PUBLIC you can, and likely will have your membership revoked. So they are saying if this is what you choose for your legacy then resign from the program you disagree with, if you feel the need to publicly criticize it.


If you want to be obedient and seek change then take action that might actually cause change. Tell the national office how you feel. There will be no repercussions for having an opinion even if it is not one they share. They insist however to be a member in good standing that you not work against your own program in public.


Bob White(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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That, BW, is a very reasonable policy. I just wanted to make clear that not agreeing 100% with all of the BSA's policies does not automatically make one a candidate for expulsion. Their is a proper and a non-proper way to go about change as you have stated.


I remember a few years ago when the Supreme Court decision was first made, a group of Scouters in the St. Louis area (I read an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch) wanted to form a parallel scouting organization that accepted gay leaders. I emailed to them my opinion that if they wanted to change the BSA policy that they should work within the system to change it. Voice their displeasure to 'national' in a constructive way.


My family happens to be very involved in the Trails End popcorn fund raiser at the unit, district and council level (#4 in the nation mind you). This past year we had a handful of stores that had granted us access for store sales in the past, deny us access and the stated reason was that they disagreed with the BSA policy. Although I feel they were somewhat misinformed, it was well within their legal right to do so. When I passed along this fact to my Council Executive, without stating any of my beliefs (nothing but the facts) the CE got pretty defensive and argumentative with me. I guess he just did not want to deal with the subject. By the way, it was brought up one on one and not in "public."



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Bob says:


There is no single religion conspiracy.


Very clever Bob, change what I say and then respond to that, instead of responding to what I actually said. I don't even know what "single religion conspiracy" means, and I have never used the word "conspiracy" at all on this topic. What I am saying is that it is impossible to justify exclusion of gays except on religious grounds. I have seen people try to do it, by saying that anti-homosexuality is an established societal moral principle, but they end up running headlong into the fact that in our society, today, the consensus against homosexuality no longer exists. There is often then a discussion about whether morality can change from time to time, and the obvious answer is that, sure it can: Unless it's dictated by God.


So it always comes back to religion -- not a single religion or denomination, but that group of religions and denominations and sub-denominations that believes both that homosexuality is immoral and that exclusion of the gays is appropriate. The BSA's web site itself refers to faith-based values, ignoring the fact that other religions (including the one of which I happen to be a member) have values that are different. I believe Acco quoted the Declaration of Religious Principles: Absolutely non-sectarian, it says. The practice of excluding gays based on moral grounds is absolutely sectarian.


There are membership requirements.


I know, I've seen them a number of times. Not once have I seen anything about sexual orientation.


The voices of the charter organization representatives on the Executive Committee do matter.


They may matter in a practical sense, but if they are contradicting the fundamental documents of the organization, which they are, in a higher sense they are irrelevant.


I also need to go back to one of your other posts, Bob, where you mention that leaders can be ousted by their units for marital infidelity, other wrongdoing, or even just being a bad example (obesity, etc.) The difference is that, as you say, the unit can remove them. It is a matter of, shall I say it? Local Option. So if you want to analogize these things to avowed homosexuality, I am right with you. The policy should be exactly the same. The unit should be permitted to make the decision.


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Boy Scouts of America


WHEREAS, the Resolutions Committee of the Boy Scouts of America (on behalf of the Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America) on June 1, 2001, assigned the Relationships Committee of the Boy Scouts of America with the responsibility for considering and making recommendations to the Executive Board with respect to various resolutions submitted by members of the National Council at the annual meeting concerning the appropriate flexibility to be employed by the Boy Scouts of America in establishing standards for leadership; and



WHEREAS, the Relationships Committee duly formed a Task Force on Resolutions, composed of a cross section of representatives from religious and civic chartered organizations and others represented in Scouting, to consider these resolutions and make recommendations to the Relationships Committee; and



WHEREAS, the Task Force has reported the results of its thoughtful and extensive deliberations to the Relationships Committee, which submitted the report to the Relationships/Marketing Group Committee, both of these committees having approved and adopted the Report of the Task Force on Resolutions as their own; and



WHEREAS, the national officers, having received and considered the Report, unanimously adopt the recommendations of the Report without reservation; and



WHEREAS, the national officers agree with the report that "duty to God is not a mere ideal for those choosing to associate with the Boy Scouts of America; it is an obligation," which has defined good character for youth of Scouting age throughout Scouting's 92-year history and that the Boy Scouts of America has made a commitment "to provide faith-based values to its constituency in a respectful manner;" and



WHEREAS, the national officers agree that "conduct of both Scouts and Scouters must be in compliance with the Scout Oath and Law" and that "membership is contingent upon one's willingness to accept the values and standards espoused by the Boy Scouts of America," and



WHEREAS the national officers further agree that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the traditional values espoused in the Scout Oath and Law and that an avowed homosexual cannot serve as a role model for the values of the Oath and Law; and



WHEREAS, the national officers reaffirm that, as a national organization whose very reason for existence is to instill and reinforce values in youth, the BSA's values cannot be subject to local option choices, but must be the same in every unit; and



WHEREAS, the Boy Scouts of America respects the right of persons and individuals to hold values and standards different than the Boy Scouts of America, the national officers also agree that the Boy Scouts of America is entitled to expect that persons and organizations with different values and standards will nevertheless respect those of the Boy Scouts of America;



THEREFORE, the national officers recommend the National Executive Board affirm that the Boy Scouts of America shall continue to follow its traditional values and standards of leadership.




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NJ, Yo be precise, you said "this is really about reps of one group of religions imposing their religious beliefs on others".

nnd that NJ is your personal opinion and has no basis in any fact.


You want every location of ebery organization to be able to determine what the program is and that is not going to happen. Anyone can see the chaos that would follow that.

The representatives of the chartering organizations have determined the mininum requirements of the membership in order to be in keeping with the mission of the program. They have told the individual charter holders that they can be more restrictive but not less restrictive, not unlike the relationship between the federal government and state government when it comes to many of our laws.


If the BSA changes it will be rational dialogue with the people who make that decision not from disgruntled volunteers who malign the values of the program they claim to lead. If you really disagree with the policy tell national but why tell us? We do not make the change, and I have only met a few scouters who want that change to be made.


Again I return to a day back in the 70s when I was invited to join a local Moose lodge. After being selected the class representative and going through the initiation ceremony for my fellow inductees we attended a very nice reception. I was asked to be on the membership committee and after suggesting some mixwer type activities where we could meet potential members I was cautioned that we had to be careful how we invited people since we did not allow black members. I was appalled and immediately resigned from the group, took my fiance by the hand and left. I have never looked back. The Moose have since changed there membership rules. I guess I could have put my principles aside and waited for the day when they agreed with me, but I left. I also told every one I knew of there policy and I know I cost them some members and attendance at dances and such.


I could not imagine being a member of an organization whose values differed so much from my own. Nor could I be a member of a group and criticize it so vehemently either. So I made a decision based on my principles and left. That is what I learned in scouting as a boy and practice as an adult.


Bob White

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You can get bounced for "speaking out" against the BSA? Wow, our DE is going to be very lonely at district committee meetings. Of course, the meetings will be MUCH shorter......


But to the point, the problems with that and with the the don't avow/don't listen/three monkeys policy on gays is that it very quickly become governance by the whim of local officials, not by clear national policy.


How do I know what is or isn't out of bounds? If a reporter sticks a mic in my face and asks me my opinion of the gay policy, can I speak my mind or do I have to spout the party line? And what's public? A frank discussion at a Roundtable? How about while taking a break from a training session (ask the athiest kid in Washington to answer that)? Or how about a Internet bulletin board? Absent a clear policy, who stays and who goes is left to the whim and descretion of the Scout Executive. And does anyone think some poor, underpaid SE sweating United Way cuts is going to give the same sway to a big-bucks donor running his mouth at a FOS banquet, versus some 20-year-old ASM talking outside a training session?


And another thing -- the system of COR and CO heads having the only vote on the council and national committees may have been handed down on stone tablets by Lord Robert Baden-Powell himself, but it's a pretty lousy system too. People in those positions have the least knowledge of the program, the least experience, and the least involvement of anyone in the program. But maybe that was the point. Heaven forbid if they give a bunch of curmudgeonly old Scouters the right to vote on policy issues.


I know, I know. These are the people who own the charters and own the units. So what. For 150 years, US Senators were appointed by state governors, before we citizens were given the right to vote on them.


I hope these comments aren't over the line.

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As a unit volunteer you are a spkesman for no one but yourself. you are not a spokesman for your chartering organization and you are not authorized to express views or comment on behalf of the Boy Scouts of America. Aas long as you make that clear you are free to speek your mind, just know that if your opinion conflicts with poicies and mision of the BSA you may find your membership revoked.


The only local persons authorized to speak on the behalf of the BSA is the Council Scout Executive or his/her assigned spokesperson. Believe me it can be very frustrating. Often times I have heard the BSA misrepresented on a radio talk show and was sorely tempted to call in...but is not my place to to that.


Is Roundtable the place to discuss this? Who at Roundatble can change a policy. We are required to dicuss this with the SE or the National Scout Office. Anywhere else in public is not productive and could lead to loss of membership if you are in disagreement with the policies of the BSA. Besides debate is not the purpose of Roundtable.


Training? The purpose of training is to learn what scouting is not argue what it should be in someone's opinion.


An internet Bulletin Board? The path we were given was SE or National office. This Board is neither. If you want to post your name and speak against the BSA policies you risk your membership and rightly so. Eat the apple like a worm from the inside or an adult from the outside.


An underpaid SE? Good Luck finding one of those.:)

If you believe that the big bucks Friends of Scouting get listened to more than you try increasing your pledge, it could be an interesting experiment. :) :)


And really the BSA isn't being any of the monkeys. They are saying if you don't agree with the program be the monkey with his mouth covered because they are looking, and they are watching, and if you say or do anything to damage the program on this topic they will help you resign.


By the way, no one said it was one CO one vote. It is not. Organizations that have more charters have more votes (before you say A HA see the LDS has the most units so they control the decisions, HORSE HOCKEY. They may be the largest CO but they do not have anywhere near the majority of the votes so sit back down.). I give the people on the executive board credit for understanding why we do what we do better than most unit leaders. We often get caught up in the "what we do" and never even learn the "how" or the "why".


If unit leaders voted on every decision we would veer back and forth like a sail boat without a rudder traveling only where the strongest wind of opinion blows with no real course to follow.




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TJ, it took me a while to get around to responding. I see no reason you should quit scouts. So long as you do not discuss it with the boys, you are within BSA program guidelines. BSA has never asked all gays to quit ( there would be quite an exodus) and BSA has never put out one single directive to the committees, sponsors or troops to get rid of gays.


If we quit all the organizations disagree with, I would be without a job, a political party, a church and a union, not to mention BSA.


I will conclude with a few paragraphs from a letter I sent to the local newspaper after the Dale decision.


"The BSA National Committee believes that no homosexual can live up to the principles of Scouting, no matter how he lives his life. It is only a short step from there to a conviction that no homosexual can be a moral person, and that no homosexual can find salvation before God.


In fairness, BSA does not allow boys in scouting to persecute, haze or show disrespect to other youth they think are gay.


However, young boys are very acute observers of adult behavior, and they imitate what we do much more readily than they follow what we say. As a scout leader, how can I possibly be a credible example of tolerance when I support intolerance among adult volunteers? The national committee seems terrified of the example that a gay volunteer sets, yet seems unconcerned about the example of homophobia and intolerance they are setting themselves.


No matter what, some young men will realize that they are gay as they grow to adulthood. The way a homosexual lives his life and contributes to society will depend on the values he has learned, the role models he has had, and the friends he has made as a youth. It is horrifying that BSA would order us to cast this young man out from our midst like an Old Testament leper.


Among the gays I know personally, none would be a bad influence on my children as a BSA volunteer."


Yours in scouting






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Bob I've very disappointed to learn that the BSA's top leadership could be that, well, un-American.


I am fully aware that as a private organization, BSA has the right to pick and choose its members. Unlike governmental entities, they are not bound to respect the rights of others. But as a whole, I think Americans expect that the people and organizations they deal with do respect those rights -- to they will have a democratic voice in the direction of the organization and be able to speak freely and even critically of the organization policy and leadership. Even in business, a company as autocratic as the one you discribe will have a difficult time attracting and keeping good employees.


I can only hope that while BSA may revoke a membership for the reasons you list, that they show more restraint and respect for their individual members than that. It would be instructive to know the circumstances under which memberships have actually been revoked for "political" reasons.


I'm also disappointed that you apparently think so little of the unit leaders' ability to participate in the policy decisions of the organizations. You wrote, "If unit leaders voted on every decision we would veer back and forth like a sail boat without a rudder traveling only where the strongest wind of opinion blows with no real course to follow." No one suggested that unit leaders should vote on "every decision," any more that the COR's vote on every decision now. My suggestion was that the people closest to the program -- those with the most passion, the most knowledge, and the most experience -- be given a seat at the table.


As to your suggestion that I raise my contribution as an experiment, I will tell you that my current level of giving speaks for itself. I have laid eyes on my Council Executive exactly five times and have had the chance to speak with him on four of those occasions. Two of those times and one conversation were at program-related events. Most of the conversations I've had with the man were at FOS patrons' luncheons. As the politicians say, your donations may not buy influence, but it sure buys access.

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