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"Straight." Does the institution need to change?

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Here's some membership data I compiled several years ago from BSA annual reports. The formatting is lost, but you can parse the numbers


Year Cubs Boy Scouts exp/ven total traditional LFL total

1991 2,145,870 988,270 367,262 3,501,402 648,257 4,149,659

1992 2,110,633 975,589 367,093 3,453,315 696,833 4,150,148

1993 2,067,279 979,192 380,903 3,427,374 737,799 4,165,173

1994 2,031,282 978,608 393,444 3,403,334 784,689 4,188,023

1995 2,063,547 989,343 407,905 3,460,795 837,407 4,298,202

1996 2,095,811 1,000,078 422,366 3,518,255 880,422 4,398,677

1997 2,152,387 1,016,383 455,268 3,624,038 949,850 4,573,888

1998 2,171,987 1,023,442 188,075 3,383,504 1,161,733 4,545,237

1999 2,181,013 1,028,353 202,486 3,411,852 1,373,615 4,785,467

2000 2,114,420 1,003,691 233,858 3,351,969 1,589,988 4,941,957

2001 2,043,478 1,005,592 276,434 3,325,504 1,697,701 5,023,205

2002 2,000,000 1,000,000 315,296 3,315,296 1,721,957 5,037,253

2003 1,914,425 997,398 288,395 3,200,218 1,555,226 4,755,444




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Nope, sorry. I've seen the numbers, but not recently and I don't remember where. If I recall, membership grew relentlessly through the 1960s when it peaked at about 5-6 million. The 1970s saw a precipitous drop; every year declined until the early 1980s when things leveled off and we showed modest annual gains once more into the 1990s. I'll see if I can find those numbers again.


My personal take is that BSA membership is a function of two factors. It (1) reflects wide social trends in the American fabric rather than responding to single social issues, and (2) responds swiftly to BSA policy. The decline in the 1970s can be attributed most easily to #2 (the failed paradigm shift) but certainly was a function of the widespread social millieu of the late 60s and 70s (anti-uniform, anti-"establishment").

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Thanks, Trev, just curious. That's how I remember the numbers as well.


On the other part of post, I'm not sure. My personal take, and just my opinion, is that you are right about BSA membership reflecting wide social trends, but I don't think that BSA national leadership is necessarily doing the same. Depends on what side of the fence you're looking from, I guess.





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Most of us involved in scouting are religious, since there is a God component in scouts. Those of us who are Judeo-Christian know that the Bible says that it is wrong to ACT on homosexual impulses. This means that even if people are born "that way," they are not to act on their impulses.


I've had a question for some time and wonder if anybody has an answer. IF homosexuality is genetic, then is there any research done on a way to prevent it? Other disabilities have tons of research trying to prevent the problem. Why not help prevent people from being born with something that will cause them much stress in their lives?


One last thing. For those of us who believe homosexuality is wrong, please remember we should hate the sin but NOT the sinner! I do feel sorry for people who think they are attracted to the same sex. Theirs is not an easy life.

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I guess the question I'd have, funscout, is why we'd want to make such genetic changes, if homosexuality is indeed found to be genetic. You speak in terms of other diseases, as if it's assumed that homosexuality is a disease.


I'd hazard a guess that the only people who think homosexuality is a disease are some subset of those who believe in that interpretation of the Bible. Whether there's been any research to see if that genetic trait could be eliminated (if it is a genetic trait), I would doubt it, really, because news of work like that would probably set off a firestorm of commentary. I don't remember seeing anything like that. I'd bet that there have been people who've thought about it, sometime, someplace, somewhere.



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Welcome to the forum - glad to have you join us!


However, I take issue with your statement that homosexuality is a "disability". From both medical and psychological perspectives, it is simply a "condition" like having blue eyes, or having AB negative blood, or being left handed. Actually, that last is a very good analogy. Left handedness has been suppressed or moral grounds in various times and places, just as homosexuality is today. With neither condition is there any inherant disadvantage. Only when a society disapproves of one condition or the other have they been "problems to be corrected". That being said, you are correct in that some Judeo-Christians (and most Muslims) believe that homosexuality is wrong. The rest of the world doesn't necessarily agree however.


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I hope I made myself clear that I am not against Homosexuals, I am against the acting out of homosexuality. As a Christian, I can not believe any other way. I understand that many in our world believe differently than me, and we just to have to agree to disagree.


One point to ponder, though, if we're talking morals, here: I had the opportunity to hear Peter Marshall speak a few years ago. He's the grandson of the woman who was the inspiration for the book and T.V. show "Christy." He pointed out that no civilization that accepted adultery, abortion and homosexuality as normal has ever survived. Babylon and ancient Rome are two examples of those that were poweful, yet have fallen. He pointed out that our modern world is heading in the same direction. Scary thought.


Getting back to the original question of whether Boy Scouts can be forced to accept something that they don't believe in, no, I don't think it will come to that.


As for the left handedness, I can see where you can look at homosexuality and say it's just the way they were born. If I didn't believe so strongly in God and the bible, I could probably fall for that line of thinking. But, no, I'm staying on God's side.


I appreciate being able to discuss this with out anyone getting angry. Aren't we scouters great human beings?



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Funscout, yes, I understand how starting from that premise you would need to make that conclusion. I'm unfamiliar with Peter Marshall or Christy. However, I'd like to point out that the logic linking social behavior and the fall of civilizations is severely flawed. NO civilization has EVER survived. Ever. Ask any archeologist. All civilizations rise, flourish and then either 1) decay, 2) collapse, 3) are conquered, or 4) are absorbed.


Gern, great quote! Lincoln showed a true understanding of humility during a terrible war. Very unlike "Gott mit Uns!"

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After the elections today, it looks like the Canadians have had their fill of the liberal left ruling party. Will the country's move to the right pull Scouts Canada along with it, and right that sinking ship? Or will that organization continue in free fall until there is nothing left but a sad history? Only time will tell...

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Ah, I knew it was only a matter of time until somebody brought up the Canadian elections.


From what I've read, the Liberal loss at the polls was not about their social agenda, it was more about a series of financial scandals that have rocked that administration, and came to a head only a couple of months ago; not unlike the unfolding financial scandals we're seeing in our own government. According to a news story today, Canadians remains solidly pro-choice, and in favor of equal treatment and rights for gays.


I seriously doubt the election results will have any impact on Scouting Canada. Seems like there was more going on there than the political issues.

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I'm just curious... In scouting organizations that do allow females and homosexuals, how do they handle sleeping arrangements? Since homosexuals are attracted to other boys, they couldn't bunk with a boy, but it's also not appropriate for them to bunk with a girl. So, do you just make sure each of the kids has their own tent and no one bunks together?


On another note, I'm thankful BSA sticks to their guns and maintains separate sleeping quarters for males and females. My brother in California kept his daughter home from a girl scout camp out when he discovered the female leader was going to be sharing a tent with her boyfriend.


Brent Allen, you're lucky to live in a red state! Every member of my family is a conservative living in a blue state. We have to fight for basic moral principles every day!

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