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jmenand

Personal beliefs versus BSA policy

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I will talk in X's and O's. Rule X is a bad rule and I am an American with the freedom of speech so I can say that rule X is wrong. The BSA says that they are charted by the Congress of the U.S. but they are also a private club and people do not have the freedom of speech in their private club, so out the door I go for violating the sanctity of their private club by condeming Rule X. This appears to me to be a contradiction in principle.

 

But let's say that the BSA has been prosecuted because something about pre-Rule X allowed a bad element into the movement and kids were hurt. The BSA was sued because they had not taken preventive steps to stop the results of pre-Rule X, so the BSA passes Rule X knowing that it is a wooden rule, one that doesn't prevent all of the bad results but wants to show good faith. They also know that many people will question Rule X because it appears to be wooden and not truly a good rule. They ask people to bear with them but people persist. The BSA knows they can't remove Rule X so they ask everyone to blindly accept it because they really don't know what else to do. People continue ranting about how bad Rule X is, so they just tell everyone, we are doing our best so shut up or get out. Their actions would then be less a violation of free speech and more of an organization trying to defend itself and maintain in a complex and difficult world.

 

Somebody has to run an organization and maybe they are doing their best. That's all they are asking of me.

 

My next tact is to say that Rule X violates my Religion. The BSA is an organization that asks us to be reverent but Rule X clearly violates my religious doctrine. If I am a strict believer, then I must leave the BSA or I must reslove the problem. Also, I could do what the BSA asks me which is to practice my religion in my own way but not to the exclusion of others or to the detriment of others. So just because I am in the BSA and I do not personally believe in Rule X, I am asked to be quiet about it while I am in the BSA. Anytime an organization gathers together groups of religions, the only way to find unity is through silence or a very good rule.

 

But let's say that Rule X sticks in my crawl and no matter what, I have got to work on it. I am still an Amercian and I have the freedom of speech. I can help to change society so one day things can be different and so will the BSA. It is possible that I can lead the movement that will help the BSA find a better rule by showing the world a better way. There are many examples of this in the world and in our nation of people changing X-laws.

 

Also, Rule O, a good rule, one easy to accept and it is noted as being reasonable and practicle. As I remember what we disagree most about in this forum are very few things, so my assumption is that the glass is more than half-full. I would venture that the BSA has an outstanding record for good rules. They bring many people together from all walks of life and somehow they are brought into agreement. I am sure the BSA finds it difficult at times and there is bickering but it is resolved we all move on. That is how a democracy works; it's messy. FB

(This message has been edited by Fuzzy Bear)

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SR540, you have to read that charter agreement, eh? And the other BSA materials. And the BSA's legal filings.

 

The Chartered Org. agrees to run a youth program "according to its own policies and guidelines" (as well as those of the BSA). The "troop is owned by a chartered organization." The BSA "respect the aims and objectives of the organization and offer the resources of Scouting to help in meeting those objectives." The BSA "provides the program [materials] and support services, and the chartered organization provides the adult leadership and uses the program to accomplish its goals for youth."

 

The CO's goals. The CO's ownership. The CO's policies. What's more, the legal structure in terms of liability and insurance coverage makes it crystal clear that this is the CO's sandbox. Theirs is the responsibility and liability.

 

Like it or not, dat's the structure of scoutin', eh? That approach is why we have big organization partners like LDS, Catholics, and Methodists. If you want a centralized organization with absolute control over it's own sandbox, you'll have to quit the BSA and go start your own program. In the U.S., you just won't be able to call it Scouting.

 

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To complete an overly silly analogy for those who care, it's the CO's sandbox, but the BSA is the sand provider. The CO gets to decide who comes to play, and whether the sand is used to just dig around in or is mixed with water to build sandcastles or with cement to build a skateboard park.

 

The BSA can choose not to sell them sand each year. And the BSA has a monopoly on sand. So they can leverage the monopoly in certain ways to try to make the CO do some things with its sandbox, by threatening not to deliver sand. In the big world of adults, we usually call such a practice a violation of the antitrust laws.

 

But it doesn't change the legal and ethical reality that unit volunteers work for the CO, and have a fiduciary duty to follow the CO's instructions and policies first and foremost, because the CO owns the sandbox, "hires" the adults, and is the party legally responsible for what goes on.

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Packsaddle gives us an example of a threat to revoke membership if a critical op-ed was published--is anyone aware of anything like that actually being done? It seems to me that it would be pretty bad PR for BSA to kick out somebody for disagreeing in an orderly fashion (it would violate the Scout Law).

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Maybe I should just go ahead and do it anyway to find out if that was an empty threat. It is tempting....

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Beavah,

 

I won't disagree with a lot of what you said. The CO is responsible for recruiting and approving leadership and they can further restrict membership to their unit than what the BSA standard is. In the agreement they have thru the charter, they have those rights and many more in how they run the unit. There are many things they can't do as well. Bottom line, the BSA can refuse a selected leader over what the CO approves. Think background checks. They can also pull the charter or refuse to recharter the CO the following year. Ultimately, they trump the CO. BSA can't exist without CO's. But without the BSA, CO's couldn't have a unit. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? No BSA, no Boy Scouting. It may be the CO's sandbox, but it is the BSA's playground.

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Not to get overly picky about nits, but it is important that we all understand da relationship, eh?

 

The BSA's actions are limited to refusing to grant a charter to use the BSA's Boy Scout program materials. They can refuse to deliver sand to the CO's sandbox in the CO's playground.

 

The BSA can deny registration to an adult, as part of its duty under the charter agreement to "assist" the CO in leader selection and training. But the CO can still allow the adult to participate in its youth programs, including the troop, in the same way that it can allow non-registered parents, its youth ministry director, its pastor, outside consultants, etc. to participate.

 

And of course, if the BSA chooses to stop delivering sand, or the CO chooses at any point to dump the charter or refuse to renew, the CO can continue to run an outdoor leadership, character development program on its own or in partnership with someone else. For a small CO, that might not affect the BSA much and might increase the burden on the CO. For a big CO that already runs other youth programs and therefore has insurance and an infrastructure, this is not that big a deal. But it would devastate the BSA.

 

 

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I do not agree with all BSA policies. But when I registered as an adult I agree to follow those policies. I will do that. Hopefully at some time in the future some of the policies I do not agree with will change. Much like blacks sitting in the back of the bus and having different water fountains has changed.

I still think this is one of the best programs to teach boys leadership skills.

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Much like blacks sitting in the back of the bus and having different water fountains has changed.

 

Excellent example, Lynda J.

 

Those segregationist laws didn't change until courageous women and men chose to disobey them, often inspired by the values of the church to which they were "chartered."

 

Hoping had very little to do with it, eh?

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There were a number of civil rights leaders who didn't think civil disobedience was the right path--they favored working through the courts, and they achieved some mighty victories, such as Brown v. Board of Education. Personally, I think both approaches (working within the system to change it in an orderly fashion, or publicly defying it and taking the consequences) can be ethical. I'm not sure which would be the most effective in this particular case. For the civil rights movement, I think change came from a combination of both approaches.

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Much like blacks sitting in the back of the bus and having different water fountains has changed.

Well, a good example except to this extent: When blacks had to sit in the back of the bus and use separate water fountains, not to mention schools, it was a matter of law. They had no alternative other than to leave the state or the country, which was not an option for most. The BSA on the other hand is an organization which you can leave whenever you choose.

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The BSA on the other hand is an organization which you can leave whenever you choose.

 

This is only a matter of degree, eh?

 

A person can choose to leave a state or country, it's just expensive and a serious headache. Workin' for change or makin' change by refusing to sit at the back of the bus might be a better choice... not just for oneself, but for the community.

 

A person can choose to leave a job, but it's difficult and a headache. Workin' for change or makin' change by starting a union drive, going on strike, bein' a whistleblower, etc. might be a better choice... not just for oneself, but for one's fellow workers.

 

A person can choose to leave da BSA. But da BSA has a monopoly on Scouting for boys in the U.S., so the choice is to leave that kind of youth work. That's annoying and a bit of a headache. Workin' for change or makin' change by doing what's right within your own unit might be a better choice... not just for oneself, but for the kids that you serve.

 

 

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Excellent point Kahuna, and absolutely correct.

 

However, fully comparable to the legal injustices that were suffered upon Blacks in the early part of this century are similar injustices that are still suffered upon other minorities in this country, and with the loud approval from some quarters. The sad fact is, many Americans are still legally prevented from entering into a marriage contract with the person they love. These Americans work, pay taxes, buy homes, go to church, and in many cases raise families, but they are unjustly discriminated against and are not allowed to marry. As with Blacks, moving to a state or countrye where they CAN legally marry is generally not an option. It's not right.

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Trevorum, We might all decide to advocate that people should not be the object of discrimination because of personal characteristics. We might advocate that all people should have equal access. We might advocate monogamous, loving relationships. Nahhhhhh!

 

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"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

 

Unfortunately, these truths are not as self-evident to everyone as we might hope.

 

SA

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