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Pushing the envelope?

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Just got this email from our council. Seems to me that it is pushing the limits of using the scout uniform for political gain. What say you?


Greetings to all,


In January Representative Kent Lambert, Senator David Schultheis, and Representative Terrance Carroll (all Eagle Scouts) began the process of our State request for a Scouting Centennial license plate.


WE AGAIN NEED OUR SCOUTS ASSISTANCE! We want to pack the State Capital and the room where the Senate Transportation Committee will read the bill on Thursday, March 13th. We need as many Scouts and Leaders/parents in uniform to meet at the State Capital at 9:30 am. The reading will take place in Senate Committee Room 352 on the 3rd Floor near the elevators. If there is time before the bill is read, there has been a special tour of the capital arranged for participating Scouts and leaders. If the bill is read right at 9:30 the tour will be conducted after the reading. Please enter the capital through the visitor's entrance on the south side of the building.



Thanks in advance for support of this important event!


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I see what you are talking about Gern but don't understand the concern. It's not like they are stumping for votes although I'm sure this little stunt won't hurt when the time comes.


Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

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I'm reading this I think it's a great cause. The Council is looking for scouts and scouters to stand up for something that they believe in, the program. They are looking for scouts and scouters to be present to show that this issue impacts normal people.


Plus the scouts and scouters will get a free tour of the capital.

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I'm trying to understand the concern. I can see a problem if anyone interprets the council message in way that causes some form of coercion to attend. On the other hand, if the boys decide for themselves to attend I see no problem. I guess that for me the question is whether anyone feels pressured to attend or not.


A similar situation could arise for me. There is abundant legislation that can affect me and my students. And I am free to announce that 'such-and-such' legislation is pending, or that 'such-and-such' votes are going to occur. However, if I make any kind of statement that leads even one student to believe his participation will affect any part of his academic standing, I will have crossed that ethical line.

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Heck, here is requirement 2 for Citizenship in the Nation Meritbadge:


2. Do TWO of the following:


a. Visit a place that is listed as a National Historic Landmark or that is on the National Register of Historic Places. Tell your counselor what you learned about the landmark or site and what you found interesting about it.


b. Tour your state capitol building or the U.S. Capitol. Tell your counselor what you learned about the capitol, its function, and the history.


c. Tour a federal facility. Explain to your counselor what you saw there and what you learned about its function in the local community and how it serves this nation.


d. Choose a national monument that interests you. Using books, brochures, the Internet (with your parent's permission), and other resources, find out more about the monument. Tell your counselor what you learned, and explain why the monument is important to this country's citizens.


Seems like it could be viewed as completing a merit badge item.


Pressured to attend? In scouting we hardly require trainig, let alone going to the state capitol, How far a trip is it?

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Slippery Slope.


It makes it harder to deny a request by Representative Kent Lambert, Senator David Schultheis, and Representative Terrance Carroll (all Eagle Scouts)for Scouts and Scouters to appear in uniform for some future events - not that any of these gentlemen asked for uniformed Scouts and Scouters to appear at this one.


This is much different from Scouts going to the capitol to fulfill a merit badge requirement, or a unit taking a tour of the state capitol - this is a plea from this Council to request that Scouts and Scouters insert themselves into the legislative process for a particular piece of legislation.



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It isn't campaigning for a given candidate. It's being part of the process in a process that affects Scouting.


I've appeared at school board meetings in support of Scouting, in uniform with our district commissioner, district chair and DE, also all in uniform. Why? The school board was making decisions regarding Scouting and the schools.


This is no different.


The guidelines are very clear and this is okay. It is also okay if one of these reps asks Boy Scouts to do a flag ceremony and they do so.

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Received this a week ago from our DE, its the National Policy on Scouting and Uniform/Ect wearing and Politics. I have ssen it posted on several Council websites.


Since we are in a presidential election year, it is a good time to restate the BSAs long-standing policy regarding the participation of Scouts in political rallies and other political events.


Uniformed unit members and leaders may participate in flag ceremonies at political events and may lead the Pledge of Allegiance; however, they should retire after the ceremony and not remain on the speakers platform or in a conspicuous location where television viewers could construe their presence as an endorsement or symbol of support. In addition, photos of candidates or Scouts in uniform or BSA marks and logos are not allowed in political campaign materials of any kind.


Volunteers and professionals must be alert to situations that would imply that the BSA favors one candidate over another. Strict observance of our long-standing policy against the active participation of uniformed Scouts and leaders in political events is mandatory.



The scouts will be endorsing an idea, that is different than a person(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

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Me, I think of it as 'tickling the tail of the dragon'. OK, instead maybe the boys just decide to go en masse and in uniform to support legislation in support of gay rights. I think that's exactly what the opening activity describes (except for that gay rights part).

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I used the term pushing the envelope because I do beleive the council is operating within its guidelines for the political use of the uniform. I just think its on the very edge of it.

First its something as harmless as a vanity license plate.

Next its supporting some other cause the BSA has an interest in.

Next its supporting some legislation banning gay marriages.


Where's the line? Is there one?


I agree on the benefit to the Citz badges. I think every scout should visit the state capital and sit in on committee sessions. I even think they should do so in uniform. But where this crosses the line is that the council is recruiting uniformed scouts to make a point on a particular piece of legislation, perhaps create such a scene as to get media coverage. Is that what we are all about?

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Since, I've already done the "other cause the BSA has an interest in" thing, that's moot.


Banning homosexual activities. BSA doesn't have an interest in that so it isn't likely.


Being the color guard in a gay parade, don't have a problem with it but it isn't likely to be well received by the homosexual community.

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