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NJCubScouter

OK Bob (subtitled, Bumper Sticker Politics)

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For those of you who are not country music fans, please bear with me. George Strait is about as traditional country as they come. It is what he likes and it is what he sings. When producers have tried to talk him into singing more contemporary songs that will appeal to a greater market segment, he politely declines. He loves traditional country music. He says that is what he will sing, regardless of whether he fills a stadium to capacity or a tiny crowd in a roadside honky tonk. BSA is a private organization that can set it's own membership policy. Will the gay/atheist issue dwindle it's ranks someday? Possibly. But scouting is what it is and it's methods, policies and values are what they are. Change it to appeal to a broader market and it ceases to be the Boy Scouts. Those of us who have chosen to lead, have done so with full knowledge and acceptance of the policies. We will do it whether we have a billion scouts or a thousand.

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Ah gee whiz Wally, I don't about the rest of ya, but I think the Beav may be on to somethin here.

:)

 

Bob White

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By gum, It sounds like SR540Beaver is right on the money! And dssteele, excellent post!

 

Ed Mori

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dsteele,

 

Interesting story. I seriously doubt that I have the patience to sit through that kind of nonsense.

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Every time this issue comes up, it seems to go around and around the same way. Here are a few points to ponder in thinking about it.

1. BSA is a private organization that sets its own policies. How does it set them? What circumstances causes it to change its policies? What are its mechanisms for changing its policies?

2. What part, if any, should the views of the volunteer membership of BSA have in determining what its policies should be?

3. It's clear that there has been a shift in public opinion on the morality of homosexuality. I'm not sure that there is a social consensus on this one way or the other. It's primarily a religious issue, and religious groups disagree on it (there are disagreements within religious groups).

4. While we may want to say that shifts in public opinion shouldn't affect the principles of Scouting, can we really say that wasn't an element in previous policy changes on racial and gender policy by BSA? When the social consensus shifts enough, it becomes "obvious" that, for example, racial discrimination is wrong. I would argue that the social consensus on homosexuality hasn't reached that point (and may never reach it).

My conclusion: I see absolutely nothing wrong with people disagreeing with BSA policy and urging that it be changed. Their efforts to persuade the decisionmakers will succeed or fail, but it should be on the merits. BSA doesn't have a pope--and heck, even rank and file Catholics try to get the church to change its policies.

In short, I would urge people to debate this issue on the merits, and stop suggesting that somebody who disagrees should either be quiet or leave. Shouldn't we all speak up if we perceive a way to make BSA better?

(Note: if you think you can discern from the above what my personal view of having gay leaders in scouting is, you may be surprised.)

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SF540Beaver says:

 

But scouting is what it is and it's methods, policies and values are what they are. Change it to appeal to a broader market and it ceases to be the Boy Scouts.

 

I agree with part of this and disagree with part of it. The "methods" (meaning the content of the methods, not their identity) and the "policies" of the BSA have been changed many times and it is still the Boy Scouts. What does not change are the core values of Scouting, though the understanding of those values and their implications may change.

 

The key question here is one that I have asked several times and have never gotten a satisfactory answer: Which value or values of Scouting are violated by allowing someone who is openly gay to be a leader? Or, put another way, which value or values of Scouting require the exclusion of someone who is openly gay? The answers to these questions that I have seen demonstrate that the exclusion is "justified" solely by the beliefs of some (but not all) religions and by social taboos, not by any "value" that is inherent in Scouting.

 

And by the way, and this is in response to Mark and several other people: I have never said that society, or a consensus of society, accepts homosexuality or believes that homosexuality is moral. What I said is that the the social consensus that homosexuality is immoral no longer exists. I'm saying consensus, not majority. Consensus means near-unanimity. In the absence of a consensus, the advocates of the gay ban are essentially advocating that morality be determined by majority vote -- the very thing that some of these same advocates (i.e. BobWhite) say they are opposed to.

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NJ,

 

With rare exceptions that never lasted, homosexuality has been viewed by most religions, cultures and societies throughout history as an immoral act just as premarital sex, sex with animals, children, the dead and other people's spouses has been considered immoral. The norm is to be attracted to the other gender, not to the same gender. That is abnormal. In my late teens, I had a trusted leader (not scouts) who tried to fondle me. While shaken, I was not intimidated and was old enough to stop him. I later found that he had done this to many other young men. Now, my best friend is gay and to my knowledge, he has never tried to put the moves on young men in all the years I've known him. But the risk is too great to put homosexual men living what has been historically and traditionally considered an immoral lifestyle in charge of strapping young boys. Call me old fashioned!

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>>The "methods" (meaning the content of the methods, not their identity) and the "policies" of the BSA have been changed many times and it is still the Boy Scouts.

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Being a new member I have thought long and hard about entering the fray here in the Issues & Politics forum. Before I say anything let me say I have a great deal of respect for everyone here and that is one of the reasons I have chosen to participate. I am also glad that the Supreme Court ruled that the Boy Scouts are a private organization and have the right to determine who they will allow as members and in what capacity. I believe participation in scouting is a priviledge and not necessarily a right granted by God or the Constitution or anyone else.

 

Having said the above I would like to address the notion of gay immorality and society's acceptance. It has been noted we all have our own perspective. Let me add mine.

 

It is my observation that large segments of our society do not judge an individual's morality based on one's sexual orientation. It is not just a few liberals with extreme viewpoints. Entire states provide benefits to same sex partners of state employees as do many cities and major private corporations. Mine does and I am employed by a nationally ranked engineering firm with offices throughout the country and thousands of employees. It is not some specialty ice cream maker or herb tea distributor. It is an old company that operates quite conservatively. The employment practices at my firm, and many others, as well as many government agencies, federal, state and local, do not allow descrimination against individuals that are gay. In fact, if I were to express some of the thoughts expressed on this board related to gays with coworkers I could be subject to discplinary action, possibly termination. As I would if I expressed similar thoughts on minorities or members of other religions.

 

My state has elected openly gay congressmen, as have others.(I did not vote for them, but it wasn't because they were gay.) There is an openly gay Bishop of a major Christian denomination and other openly gay clergy. There are gay mayors and leaders in many institution of society including businesses, government and religious institutions.

 

I do not believe this would be possible if the tens of millions maybe hundreds of millions of people that comprise these organizations believed gay people were immoral simply because of their sexual orientation. Is this a majority of the country? I don't know. I do believe it would be the majority in many states.

 

If the BSA wishes to exclude gays from leadership positions, it has every right to do so. At some point though I believe (and this is where I agree with NJ), a significant majority of society will agree with the many millions of people that already do not judge an indvidual's morallity based on sexual orientation. As noted, the BSA can choose their own course regardless of how society's views of morallity change.

 

In my area units have lost access to meeting facilities and some municipal governments are openly hostile to the BSA. Right or wrong this increases the challenges of delivering the program to the youth members.

 

SA

 

 

 

 

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Although I disagree almost entirely with Nj on this topic I do feel I need to say when he is correct as well as when I believe he is incoorect.

 

To say that the methods and policies of scouting have changed over the years is an accurate statement.

 

When Eagledad counters with "HMMM not really.........I can't find any changes that challenged the aims or the program ideals of the day." that's because the aims and mission of the program are not the same as the methods and policies.

 

Policies are the rules of the program. For instance it used to be a policy that women could not serve as Scoutmasters. That has changed.

 

Methods are the way we reach the aims. Competition used to be a method of scouting, it no longer is, so yes the methods have changed.

 

Where NJs argument bites the dust in in the false premise that at one time avowed homosexuals were acccepted as members in the BSA. That has never been true. In earlier times in our culture avowed homosexulas were not accepted by anyone including by "closeted" homosexuals. It is only in fairly resent years that the BSA chose to form a publicly stated policy, because as a private organization they technically and legally are not required to have one.

 

But yes, the methods and policies of the BSA do change sometimes. It is even possible they will change o this topic, however I find than very unlikely.

 

Bob White

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I agree entirely with Bob White.

 

Anyone can go to the BSA National web site -- www.scouting.org and look under media center. Click on position statements or click on press releases. There you can find the official word on standards of membership. One link in particular, a press release relating to the Supreme Court decision also comments on the resolution passed by the national officers of the BSA (all volunteers) to uphold the membership standards of the Boy Scouts of America. At the bottom of the page is a link to the actual resolution.

 

It doesn't sound to me like it's going to change in the forseable future. I don't think it should change, so I'm happy with the decision and find myself in full agreement.

 

DS

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>>Policies are the rules of the program. For instance it used to be a policy that women could not serve as Scoutmasters. That has changed.

 

Methods are the way we reach the aims. Competition used to be a method of scouting, it no longer is, so yes the methods have changed.

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