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The local option on gay membership in BSA

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There is not one organized program I have ever heard of lead by gay leaders for gay scouts. Why is that?


I don't know -- why haven't you heard of Scouts Canada's Rover Crew 129?


Most Scout units that accept gays wouldn't be just for gays, just as most Scout units that accept Jews aren't just for Jews. Girl Scouts don't kick out gay members; the BSA's own Explorer program doesn't kick out gay members.

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I think resources are a major problem to other groups forming their alternative scouting programs.


Sorry Zahnada but that doesn't wash. The Scouting movement in this country started with Zero dollars. Individual kids reading the same book got together for shared outdoor activities. Soon organizations with similar interests sponsored regular activities based on the concepts of scouting. It took nearly 6 years for the first organized council to develop. Where are all these kids and leaders? Where is the support of even one sympathetic organization? Where are the parents wanting a gay leader for their boys?


Even the "Scouting for All" organization doesn't sponsor a single youth group where they can learn character and decision making while playing in the outdoors. Their goal is not to benefit from a scouting program or even a scouting-like program. They are not looking for ways to improve service to young people. The goal is social acceptence through the coercion of the scouting program. That is not the way to win the hearts and minds of the majority.


Just an observation,

Bob White



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Bob, comparisons between the BSA's origins and any new group are faulty. Over nearly a century, things change. And the circumstances are much different. If nobody's taking initiative, why don't you start up an organization for them?


Some people are fighting for social acceptance and are using BSA as an example. Others want to help the boys. Scouting is a great organization and it cannot simply be replaced in a few years.


But here's an honest question I have. What if the Supreme Court overturned the decision and made BSA accept gays. Would the people in this forum who are against such a policy leave scouting? Would you start your own scouting-like program? I'm trying to gauge the reaction to such a decision.

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You could ask COL Council Scout Executive Bill Dwyer, but he is in an awkward position here, being paid by Irving to support the Council volunteers.

As one on those volunteers I only speak for myself, but I have heard the opinion of others and I have some understanding of area politics. The Council includes Philadelphia and two suburban counties, Delaware and Montgomery. Philadelphia is primarily Democratic. Suburban county voters are primarily registered Republican, but, being well educated and affluent, tend to vote for Democrats as often, if not more than, Republicans. (The area has voted for Clinton, Clinton, and Gore; we recently chose the liberal Jewish former Philadelphia mayor as our new governor.) We tend to favor an 'inclusive' policy toward others.

I have heard some Scouters speak against homosexuals, but I've heard more speak against the 'exclusion' policy. Some are concerned that this policy has hurt our recent recruitment efforts. Our United Way funding has not been reduced and I have not heard anyone express the opinion that we should compromise our standards to maintain funding. Our desire to be inclusive is about morals, not lobbying, pressure, or money.

Furthermore, rules do change. Until some time in the 50s or 60s, it was possible to become an Eagle Scout at 42. Women could not hold certain Scouting positions because of a national exclusion policy until a Council in the 70s registered a woman as a Scoutmaster. That defiance of national policy eventually led to a change in national policy; see http://members.aol.com/randywoo/bsahis/women.htm. My council (along with other Councils) has submitted a resolution to change the homosexual exclusion policy; see http://www.bsa-discrimination.org/New/Attempt/attempt.html. That resolution was rejected.

Nationals policy is inconsistent with our promise to obey the Scout Law by being friendly: "A Scout is a friend to all. He offers his friendship to [others] ... even if their beliefs and customs are different from his own." The Cradle of Liberty is engaging in the process of changing the rules.

Who can become a Scout? Any boy (regardless of race, ethnicity, physical or mental capabilities) who subscribes to the Declaration of Religious Principle. Except homosexuals. That is a discriminatory policy that the Cradle of Liberty Council does not condone and seeks to change.

Yours in Scouting,

Bobwhite Bill Kuhfuss, Cradle of Liberty Council

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If the BSA is discriminating against gays, aren't the United Way's discriminating against the BSA for NOT accepting gays? Doesn't the Notre Dame Club discriminate since you must be a graduate of Notre Dame to be a member? What's the difference?


The BSA has stood steadfast in this policy & I as a volunteer am glad they have. Yes times change but not all change is good or correct.


Ed Mori


Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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You raise a central point to this issue. BSA is a private organization and should have the right to choose it's membership. Then why is BSA being held to different standards than other organizations? I really don't know. I can only offer one real reason.


Sexuality is vague. There is not much argument about the religious policy because that's pretty cut and dry. You're atheist or you're not. Same with BSA not allowing girls. There's a clear definition of what is a girl and what is a boy. But what is "avowed" and what is "gay"? Is a gay person someone who engages in sexual activity with the same sex? Or is he someone who simply finds the same sex attractive? Where do bisexuals fit in? What about gay people who suppress their desires? Other topics have dealt with the problems with the word "avowed". It's a problematic policy.



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I would really like to know why the Scout Law and Promise is dissected to further the means of certain groups. Why can't the Scout Promise and Law be seen as a whole?


There are three parts to the Promise and twelve points to the Law. Each One of the parts and points supports the other. It is our very Foundation. You cannot just say, "Oh, how about this law. We'll just follow that one and maybe this one too" or "We'll just follow the 2nd and 3rd part of the Oath/Promise because that fits our needs and our lifestyle".


For those who like to pick and choose here are two others that maybe overlooked for whatever reason: A Scout has a Duty to God and A Scout is Reverent.




Yes, I would leave. Yes, I will start my own Scouting Program. God is first in my life. I pray that it doesn't have to come to that.



Matua(This message has been edited by matuawarrior)

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The issue really isn't about gays, the real issue here is C.O.L. Council going against the rules and policies that our National Council and the Supreme Court has set forth for us to abide by. If the supreme court said the B.S.A. has to let gays in we wouldn't be having this discussion. My question is how is letting gays in our organization going to help the majority of the youth in the U.S.A.? Do the gay people want to be accepted into our organization just like everybody else or do they want to be included and still have to be recognized as gay. come on all I want is that "all" councils abide by the same rules. if national changes their policies we all will have to. but using discrimination against us. come on, are people born homosexual or is it a lifestyle? I could care less who is homosexual, but just don't flaunt it in front of me!!!!!!!

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"What if the Supreme Court overturned the decision and made BSA accept gays."


That is a misleading question. It suggests that the Supreme Court ruled that the BSA could restrict gays from membership. They did not. The Supreme Court determined that the BSA was a private organization and as such had complete authority over their membership. They didn't say the BSA could discriminate against gays, they said the BSA could discriminate against anyone for any reason.They determined that private citizens and organizations have freedom of association, and can choose to socialize with those they choose and to not associate with those they choose.


So are you asking "What if the Supreme Court ruled that private individuals and organizations cannot select who they associate with, but could be forced by the government or special interest groups to accept however they were told, what would we do then"? I would kiss the Constitution and the Bill of Rights good-bye, because thats what it would take for the USSC to make such a ruling.


If the BSA ever changes there stance on this topic it will not come from the Supreme Court or from extorcion tactics from special interest groups. It would come from meaningfull dialogue with the representatives of the BSA executive committee. A tactic not yet exercised.


Thank you, Merlyn,

For admitting that the BSA has a program that does not determine membership based on religion or sexuality. A national program for youth that is larger than any similar program sponsored by or directed toward gay youth members. It's even bigger than the one crew in all of Canada. Yet, the special interest groups still complain, why? because they do not want a program they can belong to. Their goal is not to participate in the BSA. They want to force acceptance of their political agenda through acceptance of a particular lifestyle by the "Boy Scouts".


Please don't point to any other country and say "look what they do, why don't we?" That is a pitiful excuse for doing anything. Co-ed units in Sweden skinny-dip together, I don't think that is cause to suggest it here or to expect BSA parents to approve of the activity.


Any idiot can knock a building down, But it takes a craftsman to build one


Bob White

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Skinny-dipping in Sweden? My wife and I were wondering what to do for our vacation this year. Hmmm . . .


Sorry. Just had to inject a tiny bit of levity here. I am kidding.


Actually, I applaud the debate in this thread (and others.) I beg your pardon, however, that I truly must remain on the sidelines. It seems that everyone here knows the current standards of membership in the Boy Scouts of America. Scout Executives (and by extention their staffs) are charged with maintaining them.


Perhaps I should re-iterate what has been pointed out numerous times by the good people who run this website -- Scouter.com is not an "official" part of the Boy Scouts of America. I participate at their pleasure and, evidently, with their permission.


My point is that you, as volunteer members of these forums are free to express all opinions allowed by the folks who host us. As a professional, there are some debates that I will watch with interest, but can not, in good conscience participate in. This is one.


So kindly ignore the man on the sidelines, and continue your discussions.


In return I promise to keep my scrawny little hide encased in at least a bathing suit and stay out of Sweden.



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I Have seen our council dwindle since the loss of United Way Funding. (as a direct result of our national council's stance) This has hurt all in our council. Its trickle down affect has hurt programs, camps, and eventually the boys themselves.(due to diminshing support from the cut backs in council support staff and programs due to the lack of funding).


By taking such a stance, our national council put a strangle hold on quasi-public funding to the local councils of the Boy Scouts of America.


The third largest council in the country,has had by far the largest cut in quasi public funding. We can all go crawl under a rock and pretend this didn't happen, it did. This is not a (NIMBY) Not in My Back Yard kind of issue. Running a successful scouting program at the pack,troop, crew, district and council level costs money. There is precious little of it out there and the united way was a major supporter of scouting in South-eastern Pennsylvania.


The National Council in turn did little or nothing to help with alternatives sources of revenue. Like dogs left on a chain, The councils were left to fend for themselves. This caused utter chaos in areas where United Way Funding dried up overnight. such as our council. On a positive side the lack of funding brought some much needed belt tightening to our council. But there no more holes left to punch. Our alternative funding sources are being pushed to the limit and the lack of money is hurting scouting in our council.


But lets face it, Scouting is accomplished at the unit level. Each unit raises the funds it needs to survive and flourish. If the council can not raise the funds it needs to survive and flourish, then the boys and the boys alone ultimately suffer.


The values of scouting are taught by the unit leaders. This will not change. The coucnil must and will do what it needs to survive. Is this stance wrong, I am not one to judge, I leave judgement to the lord.


I am glad for what our council did.


I will continue as a scouter to teach the morals of the scouting program. Discrimination, is not and will never be a moral character trait. So why all the confusion. Get back to the boys and help them become better leaders and moral citizens, from your units and chartered organiztions. Like it was in the beginning and remains today. The aims of scouting are taught in your unit. Leave the politics to the paid professionals to worry about.


Perhaps if you dont agree this financial stance you should send your tax deductible contributiuon to the Cradle of Liberty Council. We can certainly use the funds to bring the programs back to their pre supreme court decision levels.


You can find our council's address on our website www.colbsa.org.


Thank You.



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Bob White writes:

Thank you, Merlyn,

For admitting that the BSA has a program that does not determine membership based on religion or sexuality.


Only for the last few years, and only because gays and atheists sued government agencies that were running the BSA's "no gays, no atheists" groups. If it were up to the BSA, there would still be no gays or atheists admitted to the Explorer program.


A national program for youth that is larger than any similar program sponsored by or directed toward gay youth members.


Why are you so hung up on only comparing it to organizations "geared toward gay youth members"? That's an artificially restrictive comparison, since most youth groups DO NOT CARE if you are gay or straight, or a theist or an atheist; the BSA is about the only one left. You ought to compare it to youth organizations that do not discriminate, but then you'd be vastly outnumbered.

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My guess is, Mike Long has probably figured out the eventual end to this sad story -


"Most likely the Council Committee will have their individual memberships revoked."


We can only hope. What I really hate about this story is that it never goes away...it keeps coming up year after year. Homosexuals are determined to pry their way into every social and political organization possible, even ones that are contrary to their cause, perhaps most especially so. The more it distrupts a group...the more a group refuses to yield...the more homosexual advocates seem to seek it out. It's a tiresome annual event. But, if they think we're folding up our tents and allowing them to take the reins of the Scouting movement, I think they'll discover that we're just as determined to fight them and maintain our values.

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