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A possible solution to the gay issue

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After the Dale decision groups such as Reformed Jews, Unitarians, and United Way stopped supporting Scouting. I was worried that Scouting would turn into a right wing organization. My boys joined as Tigers in 2003 and I was pleasantly surprised to find that Scouting had not changed very much since I was a Scout in the 60's and 70's. I have been reading these forums for about 6 years and am happy to see that there are many dedicated Scouters who respect each other even though they disagree about some political issues.

I believe that homosexual behavior is unhealthy, but I also think the current BSA policy is wrong.



Some people think that the BSA is an evil organization that discriminates against people simply because of who they are.

Some people believe that anything short of absolute, zero tolerance towards homosexuality is an unacceptable compromise of basic Scouting values.

A possible solution


Modify the policy so that Boy Scouts of America discriminates because of behavior, not orientation.

Create a carefully worded "Declaration of family values" that new members need to sign. This will not prevent anyone from joining scouting, but will make it clear what behavior not allowed.

Local units will never be required to accept gay Scouters, but some units may choose to accept help from openly gay volunteers if they sign the "Declaration of family values" and promise to live a morally clean life.

Possible benefits of a revised policy


Some charter organizations that left after the Dale decision will renew their support of Scouting. These organizations (religious and otherwise) are not necessarily pro-gay, but think it is wrong to discriminate against people with a condition they have no control over.

Some familieswhoare bothered by theban on gay volunteerswill let their kids join again.

Very few gay people will actually join Scouting. Only those who think being a Scouter is more important than being gay, and are willing to sign the "declaration of family values" will want to join.

Socially conservative groups and individuals will have no reason to leave Scouting if the "declaration of family values" makes it clear that Boy Scouts of America is not lowering its moral standards. (This message has been edited by a staff member.)

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Just a minor pick, the United Way has not stopped supporting Boy Scouts. One must relaize that United Way Chapters are not run nationally, some United Way Chapters may have stopped supporting Boy Scouts, but not ALL United Way Chapters and to say that United Way has stopped supporting Boy Scouts as a blanket statement, well that's just not true. When I spot such an obvious error in the opening statement of an opening post I have to wonder about the veracity of the poster, what other errors are there that I dont know about?

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Welcome to the forums, TomTrailblazer. Starting in this particular forum might be like a "trial by fire". I hope you come away unsinged. ;)


I would like to see what you think would be a starting draft of the declaration that you propose. As is, it is kind of left to the imagination.

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well then what about "the local option" a chartering organization selects whomever they want to be their adult leaders, Gay, Atheist, whatever and then the responsibility for the actions of the leaders is with the Chartering Organization.


No need to change the program, unit leaders are chosen by the Chartering Organization by whatever criteria they have


Don't define family values, can't be done, it's like each political party saying they stand for Tradiitonal American Values, I don't know what that means


The Family Values of a strict Roman Catholic Family may differ than those of a Unitarian Family and that is only based on Religion. The family living in the rural south may have quite a different take on Family Values from those in the San Francisco Bay area. Note, none of these are "wrong" they are just different and by the time you get an acceptable wording for everyone you aint sayin squat, if you know what I mean ?


(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

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"So what happens if anything to a chartered scout unit, when its CO (a church) installs a new minister (the unit IH) who happens to be gay?"

Nothing. He /she doesn't fill out an application, there's not even a code for IH. How would BSA even know if they were gay? When a unit recharters the IH's name is on that but BSA knows nothing about that person. They are not a direct contact person so no background check is done.

I recently had an interesting conversation with a gay co-worker about Scouting. He was aware of BSA's position on gays. I explained to him that units are run by the unit leaders under the guidance of the charter organization which is kind of like a franchise. We run the store but BSA retains the right to make some of the rules. I also explained that in reality, as the unit leader (SM), I don't know or care if any of my leaders are gay. We never discuss it, we're too busy trying to run a quality program. Now if someone wants to make an issue to prove a point then I guess BSA would not approve their application. If that's the case then maybe the leader is in it for the wrong reason.

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Not all Unitarians have "stopped supporting Scouting". The Unitarian Universalist Scouter's Organization (UUSO) has a Memorandum of Mutual Support with the BSA (www.uuscouters.org/memorandum.htm) and actively promotes a program of UUSO religious awards for Cubs, Boy Scouts, and Venturers (www.uuscouters.org/awards.htm).

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Sorry I wasn't clear, it is common public knowledge that the new IH is gay. Most of the congregation and troop membership is okay with that. Council is aware of the situation. What happens? Does Council block recharter, tell and defer to National? Could appear to be a public contradiction of BSA policy.


I am not saying that you are wrong, but I would hope some background checks are done with IH's and certain key leaders(scouts execs) though they may be considered not direct contact.


My $0.02


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How would this change anything?


If your statement still outlaws homosexual behavior, groups will still very much object to it. I don't think it buys you anything in terms of good will.


You would now welcome people who openly said they were non-practicing homosexuals. Is there a large pool of those people to draw from?


I don't think you would actually see benefits 1, 2, or 4, and I don't see how 3 is a change or a benefit.


I think that such an open "Declaration of Family Values" would accelerate the perception of Scouting being a right-wing organization.


There is inevitably going to have to be a local option.

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"I am not saying that you are wrong, but I would hope some background checks are done with IH's and certain key leaders(scouts execs) though they may be considered not direct contact."


Does the IH fill out an application and/or go through a background check? I don't think so since there's no code on the adult application for the IH.


Scout execs are employees of the Council, they are in a whole different ball game.

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I think local units should be allowed to decide whether or not to accept gay volunteers. However a number of people in this forum have said that many chartering organizations would leave Scouting if local option were allowed. I have wondered for years (I am sorry about lurking for so many years without posting) if there is any way to allow a local option without losing the socially conservative groups.


Packsaddle wrote


"would like to see what you think would be a starting draft of the declaration that you propose. As is, it is kind of left to the imagination."


It would be intentionally ambiguous, like the Declaration of Religious Principle. Some people believe the DRP excludes atheists, while others simply see it as a statement of one of the ideals of Scouting. I think it means that atheists are welcome in Scouting, and can be good citizens, but are not considered by Scouting to be the best citizens.


The "declaration of family values" could say that Scout leaders need to be good role models to prepare boys to grow up to be good fathers and husbands. I know that "declaration of family values" is a terrible name, but "declaration of sexual principle" would be even worse.


Thanks for your responses. You have have helped me decide that any form of declaration dealing with the gay issue would probably do more harm than good.


I have decided instead to talk to the liberal minister of my wife's church about starting scout troop and/or pack. My boys received their religious award in the church while in Cub Scouts. The congregation is fairly liberal and has a number of gay members. It also has an active youth and family ministry. I will explain that even though gay church members may not register as official leaders, they will still be allowed to help at the unit level.


I meet a lot of people who think it is wrong for me to be involved in an organization that discriminates. I try to explain to them that Scouting is a very decentralized organization and that local units have a lot of freedom. The best way for Scouting to shed its current image as a right-wing anti-gay organization is for more liberals to get involved.

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Don't wave your lifestyle choice in my face and I won't wave mine.


I've met many heterosexual people who make similar statements, thinking they're being open-minded. They're OK with gays, the reasoning goes, just as long as they don't talk about their sexual orientation. After all, these folks believe, I'm not flaunting my sexuality. So they shouldn't either. It's a very simplistic type of thinking that falls apart fairly quickly.


Under that logic, if a heterosexual male talks about his wife or girlfriend, that's considered OK. But it's not OK for a homosexual male to talk about his husband or boyfriend. Make sense? The only way you can say "don't wave yours / I won't wave mine" is to apply an across-the-board ban on any discussion of personal lives. No chatter about what you're getting your girlfriend for your anniversary. No discussion about the great dinner your husband cooked the other night. No reminiscing about the family vacation last year unless you can avoid any mention of your spouse's gender.


See how unnatural that would be? Could you live or work like that? Yet DADT, whether applied in the military or in Scouting, keeps some people from doing what many more people take for granted - being open and honest about their lives.


Under Tom Trailblazer's plan, just what "behavior" would be banned? Talking about one's personal life? Would the SM's wife be allowed to give her husband a kiss in the parking lot in front of a group of Scouts? How about the ASM and her husband, a committee member, sharing a tent? (After all, they might have sex.)

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