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quasi govt sponsors of BSA units

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Let me ask you this:


My pack has several fundraisers each year. We do this to collect money to support our program. Should we register as a charity since we solicit funds and spend them on community individuals?


Popcorn sales and recharter pays for professional scouts. These same professional scouts try to increase the number of scouts in order to bring in more money.


Doesn't that make it a for profit group?


BSA has it's own rules, regulations, uniforms, training and advancements. Has it's own ceremonies and ritualls and practices. Doesn't that pretty much sound like any cult?


I gave money to my school to help with the playground equipment. My son's school has a fall festival which helps the school raise money. The school also recieves money from a yearly community fish fry. Doesn't that make the school a charity or community organazation?


Merlyn: You get any tax deductions this year or last year? You accept any stimulus money from either Clinton, Bush, or Obama?

You might be government!




Every time you buy something from any retailer, it is under the auspices of federal and state laws. The way you buld your house is too. Every time you drive a car, it is under auspices of state laws. As well as your bank accounts, credit cards, telephone and cell phone ( and not excluding internet use) fishing, boating , camping, and even watching tv. Matter of fact, being born and dying are covered too!


Government funding is everywhere. Government regulation is too. It might be city, county, state or federal, but it's there.


And we spend all day every day working real hard to be able to take this green government paper and coins home in our wallets.


Yep... everything I buy, build, every time I talk on the phone, write on this website, drive a car or go fishing..is is under the oversight and regulation of the state or federal government.


I guess that makes everybody and everything government!


I would say except breathing air, but government controls and has laws about that too!(This message has been edited by scoutfish)

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It's hard to believe that there would actually be any debate about whether public schools are part of the government. That part is pretty clear.


And I'm sure that most/all states have laws that public schools/government cannot discriminate on the basis of religious creed. Schools can offer some programs just for girls (e.g. volleyball team) and they can have programs with age-restrictions, but they really cannot discriminate on the basis of race or religion or a bunch of other things. In some states they may still be able to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, I'm not sure.


I don't have a problem with VFDs sponsoring a unit, although I believe that some Scouters on the forum do.


But the idea that schools aren't actually a part of the government? That's a pretty fringe legal position.

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All right. Let me pose this question then.

Should an organization that allows athiests and gays to be members of it, charter a BSA unit? Doesn't that demonstrate a conflict with the values of the BSA movement? Shouldn't the BSA hold their chartering partners to the same level of standards that it imposes on itself?

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Well, yeah,I know it was an example. But?

Alot of colonies were around. Alot of people had all kinds of ideas about alot of things. But that doesn't matter because they didn't write the Constitution!

There were also colonies that were founded as colonies of England and also only followed the Church of England as the only recognozed religion. And that doesn't matter either because they didn't write the Coinstitution.


Put it like this: Lets say that I worship oranges for whatever stupid reason. You worship apples. We both have ideas about the way our lives should be run.

One day, the steak worshipers fight and win everybody their freedom. Then the steak worshiper write up a new governement and all it's principle policies. Neither you or I can say it was our own ideas that the new government was founded on. We may have shared SOME ideas, but some isn't the same as Steak basing their laws on OUR views.


Same with Mass. Sure, they had their views, but so did alot of groups. The consitution wasn't based on any one groups ideas.

If it was, it would have specifically said that there would be a seperation of church and state.

Instead of saying that the government couldn't establish ( read: create) it's own religion or deny one.



And another thing: it is still not the governmemt that is being predjudiced,. It would be the Co or the BSA.


Every year, there is a music festival at the Marine Corps Base that is about 5 miles from my house. Budwieser sponsors it big time. At the end of every radio ad and tv ad, and at the bottom of every flyer, there is a disclaimer that staes: (not qiouted by the way) Just because the governmemt is allowing the beer company to sponsor the event, it doesn't mean the government or Marine Corps, Dept of the Navy, Defense Dept, etc.. and eventually governmemt endorses it!



Basically, I will say ( using your logic) that if you are a member of BSA, then you fully support, endorse and sponsor discrimibation and predjudice! How can I say that? Because you joined BSA, you pay dues to and are active in BSA....which is predjudiced.


Meanwhile the government isn't DIRECTLY involved with BSA. The government is only supporting a group that just happens to want to start a unit. The group does, not the government.


I might hate Chinese cuisine. But If I give my son an allowance, and he spends it on chinese food...Does that mean I support Chinese food or culture? No! It just means that my son, who I support( and lives in my house, follows my rules/laws, etc...), happens to support/like/ use Chinese food. The Chinese and I are seperated.


Yet, you guys ( a general term, not sexual okay?)* are DIRECTLY involved with, dues paying members of and highly active participants of a group that you readily admit is predjudiced and biased ...yet you have a problem with the group that isn't directly ( and realistically as you very well know) involved?



You know what the real problem is? You might just be scared that the government will come in and say: "You know what? The predjudiced attitude ends now or you lose your charter!"


Let's recap":


BSA is predjudiced.


The religious CO's are predjudiced.


You belong to the BSA and a CO.


The government isn't predjudiced.



And you have a problem with the government?



* I use the terms guys, and man pretty loosely. I do not mean male or female when I say this!

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One last thing: WE will just have to agree to disagree!


Let me say one thing about myself. I may not agree with you on certain subjects, But that does not mean I look upon any of you in a bad light. It doesn't make me think any less of any of you.


To me, it's no different than you having red as a favorite color and I having blue. We are all different and have different views.


Diversity is what makes the world great!


While I may not agree with your views, I completely defend and support your right to have them and discuss them. Even if they are wrong! LOL!


I am a NASCAR fan, I am used to being your best friend, totally rooting for/supportimng a different driver than you,and still being your best friend.


I can argue without hard feelings.


Just hope nobody looks down on me in other subjects or walks of life just because I might not agree on one.

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Scoutfish, I didn't read back through all the posts, but I don't think most of the Scouters used the terms prejudiced or biased. Those terms have certain connotations. What we do all agree on is that the BSA does discriminate on the basis of religious beliefs. Churches certainly discriminate on this basis - you cannot be a member of a church unless you agree with some faith statement, typically.


High school basketball teams discriminate on the basis of basketball-playing ability. They also pretty much discriminate on the basis of physical or mental handicap, too, insofar as that ties into basketball-playing ability. What many people feel, though, is that they should not discriminte on any basis that is unrelated to how well they play basketball.


When most people look at Scouts, they don't see a "religious organization". They see a group teaching outdoor skills, or teaching about nature, or practicing leadership skills, or just doing worthwhile things. To them it does not seem like it makes sense to discriminate on the basis of religious beliefs in order to join that group.


Gern asks Shouldn't the BSA hold their chartering partners to the same level of standards that it imposes on itself?


Well, the BSA does have a subsidiary Learning for Life that does not have a religious requirement. If BSA is willing to have a subsidiary like this, clearly it's ok to have chartering partner with those characteristics. And it's not really contradictory - a VFD, for example, may feel that atheists and gays are completely able to fight fires, but may not make the right leaders for a Boy Scout unit.


This question cuts in both directions (BSA->CO and CO->BSA) and both tighter and looser. The real question becomes how dissimilar must the beliefs be before the relationship is terminated.


BSA will not charter to more liberal groups that will insist on non-discrimination nor to more "liberal" groups like Wiccans, but it also will not charter to more conservative groups that would insist that they can tell the Scouts that there is one correct religion.


And likewise, some more liberal (and I know I'm not using this term exactly right) groups will not sponsor BSA groups, either for legal reasons or just because of the message it sends. There are also conservative groups that won't sponsor Boy Scout units - Assemblies of God has Royal Rangers instead. The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod at one time did not allow congregations to sponsor Scouts.

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Oak Tree writes:

but [the BSA] also will not charter to more conservative groups that would insist that they can tell the Scouts that there is one correct religion.


I don't know what you mean by the above statement -- the BSA is perfectly willing to charter units that only allow members of a particular religion, typically churches that only want members of that church/religion to be members.

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Ed, "separation of church and state" is exactly what at least some of the Framers meant, as indicated in their writings.



I disagree. One of the reasons the Framers left their homeland and came here was to have religious freedom. They didn't want the state dictating their religious beliefs and visa versa.


In any event it doesn't really matter, because that is how the religion clauses have been interpreted -- correctly, in my opinion.


Incorrectly in my opinion.


Why would we want it any other way? The government should not be practicing religion, should not be imposing religious practices or beliefs on anyone, and should not be interfering in religion. The "wall of separation" metaphor seems as good as any a way to describe this concept.


How is the government practicing religion by sponsoring a BSA unit? And since the government employs priests and ministers, is that practicing religion?

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this is from the school district in the community where I live (as opposed to my school distrct ;)


"... shall be subject to all federal and state laws and regulations prohibiting discrimination in admissions, employment and operation on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, religion,ancestry or need for special education services."


I don't see how that clause could allow the school to Charter a BSA unit. Chartering a BSA unit means the unit must discriminate on religion (or lack there of) and sexual orientation.


And I am ok with that, I don't want a governmental unit sponsoring a group that has religious or sexual orientation restrictions. It would seem to be ok now, but what if in the future the School starts to sponsor a neat after school activity that appeals to a lot of kids and all you have to do to attend is to worship Allah and denounce Christianity. How much fun would that be? So if the School sponsors a Gay, Lesbian and Bi Teen Dance and the students had to denouce Heterosexuality as the only accepted form of sexuality, to get in how would that be?


DOn't laugh too loud, I am using hyperbole to make a point, things change, we should not be comfortable with a situation just because its the way we like it. It wasn't all that long ago the Democrats had a filibuster proof majority and they dreamed grand things, one thing changed, one guy won an election and the whole foundation of what they counted on changed.


We keep saying we are a private organization and we should act like one. There are private universities that do not take Government money so they can run things the way they want. We should model them.



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boomerscout, I'm stopping my own government from unlawfully discriminating against atheists. You have a problem with religious freedom?


And exactly how is your government unlawfully discriminating against atheists, Merlyn?

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Ack, Ed, not the same discussion again...


Merlyn writes:Oak Tree writes:

but [the BSA] also will not charter to more conservative groups that would insist that they can tell the Scouts that there is one correct religion.


I don't know what you mean by the above statement -- the BSA is perfectly willing to charter units that only allow members of a particular religion, typically churches that only want members of that church/religion to be members. Yes, correct. I was referring to the situation where a church is happy to run a unit that is open to all, but which involves some religious instruction - that is, pretty much like the way church youth groups work. I believe, for example, that Royal Rangers works this way, which makes it different from BSA. Some units may actually run this way, but it's very clear policy that In no case where a unit is connected with a church or other distinctively religious organization shall members of other denomination or faith be required, because of their membership in the unit, to take part in or observe a religious ceremony distinctly unique to that organization or church.

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