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shortridge

Where does BSA tell us homosexuals are not allowed?

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Barry, lots of people know the policy, and lots of people don't know the policy. These are not contradictory statements. There are at least (2 x 'lots') of people in the US.

 

Abel, yes, that's a statement - there are similar things around the web, but can you point to someplace that this appears in an official Scouting publication?

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The term "official Scouting publication" is a bit broad. Anything on the BSA's official web site could be considered an "official Scouting publication." I think shortridge was talking about something that Scouters are expected to refer to in carrying out their responsibilities, such as the Scoutmaster's Handbook, the Troop Committee Guidebook, or perhaps something in an official training syllabus. It's not in any of those things.

 

I found the document that Abel found kind of interesting especially where it stated that "the Boy Scouts of America does not accept homosexuals as members or as leaders." Note the words, "as members." (As in, youth members.) Of course this is from 20 years ago, but I think the main changes since then have been changes in terminology, not necessarily in meaning. But one cannot be certain; this passage talks about "homosexuals" whereas they sometimes talked about "avowed or known homosexuals," and more recently "avowed homosexuals", as in the 2002 resolution that I linked to in my previous post (though I just realized the link doesn't work because I apparently included the period at the end of "pdf" in the filename, you need to delete that to get to the page.) These phrases do not necessarily all mean exactly the same thing.

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The following used to be published on this official BSA website. The links from this page have stopped working.

 

http://www.bsalegal.org/litigation-222.asp

 

Boy Scouts of America believes that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the obligations in the Scout Oath and Scout Law to be morally straight and clean in thought, word, and deed. The conduct of youth members must be in compliance with the Scout Oath and Law, and membership in Boy Scouts of America is contingent upon the willingness to accept Scoutings values and beliefs.

 

As for finding this in a BSA publication you can buy off the shelf at the Scout store, I do not believe you will find it.

 

Regardless, the policy is still enforced by the BSA. And Scouters are still being dismissed.

 

There are BSA publications, rules and by laws that are kept at the Scout office usually in the SE's office. Perhaps it is in those publications that these policies are written and kept from view from the general volunteer ranks. Perhaps all one has to do is to request from your SE to view them.

(This message has been edited by abel magwitch)

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Abel

 

Nice try. That website is NOT an official BSA site but a private organization using the BSA logo, check the note on the very bottom of the page, "filed on behalf of the BSA". Never take a website at face value as being authentic.

 

So again nothing in any OFFICIAL BSA site or publication.

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bsalegal.org is run by a communications company (owned by Robert Bork's son) for the BSA. But that's precisely NOT the kind of source I am looking for. To get there, you'd have to do some very specific searches.

 

I'm thinking about this issue from the perspective of a brand-new volunteer, perhaps joining a brand-new troop, who signs up, goes through training, attends Roundtables, etc. At what point is he or she officially told "We don't allow gays"?

 

We are told about policies on tour permits, policies on unit leadership, policies on patches. But we aren't told about one of the most fundamental membership policies of the BSA. I think it's very reasonable to ask why not?

 

(Since the policy clearly exists, and it's obviously not going to change anytime soon, I don't think those of us who argue it should be changed are risking anything by asking that it be codified and distributed through official channels, not just sent to SEs in a memo.)

 

Perhaps more to the point, at what stage are COs told about this policy?(This message has been edited by shortridge)

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BadenP, bsalegal.org IS an official BSA website:

http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/04-400.pdf

 

BSA INTERNET RESOURCES

The following is a quick guide to the various Web sites operated by the National Council. Please note that some of these sites are for internal use only and are not meant for a public audience.

 

Legal Issues Site (www.bsalegal.org)This site provides information about the legal issues the BSA is currently facing. Audience: Members and the general public.

 

Like shortridge says (and like I've been saying for years, see e.g. http://www.scouter.com/forums/viewThread.asp?threadID=32239&p=2), there's still nothing in the materials that normal members get that says gays can't join.

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Yah, hmmmm....

 

I think most of this strum and drang is a product of the fact that da average volunteer just doesn't understand the real relationship of the BSA to the units. Everyone keeps thinkin' of the BSA as a central, controlling organization that dictates "policy" down the chain on everything from who can be a leader to what color socks yeh can wear on a campout in May.

 

That's just not the way things are set up, eh? The BSA is a program materials provider that gets hired by various community organizations who want to provide that program to kids in their organization or community. The BSA does not set or dictate policy to 'em. They don't want that responsibility or liability.

 

So almost everything is local option, eh? And by and large da BSA respects and supports the mission of the Chartered Organizations and doesn't interfere. A CO can pay for a Boy Scout charter and follow da program to a "T", or it can pay for a charter and never use uniforming or advancement at all, and just make use of council facilities and insurance for its youth outdoor program. Either is just fine.

 

Da only thing where the BSA does have an interest itself is in protecting its "brand" and reputation. So yeh shouldn't totally cheat on da advancement program, yeh shouldn't use the uniform to misrepresent the BSA or endorse a product, etc. Those aren't CO program issues, they're BSA public image issues.

 

And that's where da other stuff comes in too, eh? Is the BSA goin' to take action when an ASM declares in a major newspaper that he's gay and works with teenage boys in a scout troop? Yes, because that affects their brand image and reputation, for good or ill. Are they goin' to go out of their way to deal with a kid who at a First Class BOR claims to be an atheist? Of course not, they're goin' to leave that to the local folks and the Chartered Organization to deal with. At da edges, there's goin' to be some give-and-take, where da BSA balances its service commitment and respect for da CO with its need to protect its brand, image, and intellectual property.

 

That's it. So like everything, yeh can't view da BSA as some big, hyper-centralized, standardized, policy-making body. Yeh have to understand it for what it is. A business that markets a product, supports community organizations, and has an interest in protecting its brand.

 

Beavah

 

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Beavah - That "local option" point of view does not apply in this case. Irving has gone to court to defend its position, making it clear that the ban on gays is a NATIONAL POLICY, not one that local units have an option on.

 

What I want to know - and which no one seems to be able to answer - is where is that policy written down, how is it communicated to COs, and how is it communicated to volunteers?

 

Word of mouth and rumor do not suffice on something this big.

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Beavah - That "local option" point of view does not apply in this case. Irving has gone to court to defend its position, making it clear that the ban on gays is a NATIONAL POLICY, not one that local units have an option on.

 

Nah, you're not understandin' things, shortridge.

 

The BSA went to court to defend its right to remove Mr. Dale, who had in a feature article of a major regional newspaper talked about being actively gay, working with young people exploring their sexuality, and being an assistant scoutmaster working with young boys in da context of the same article.

 

A court case is a dispute about a particular matter, eh? That is its nature. In our adversarial system, in such a dispute yeh make your best argument.

 

Like most, you're startin' from a false assumption, that the BSA acts primarily through establishing "national policy". All in caps, even. :) Instead, I'm tellin' yeh that the proper way to think of it is that the BSA provides program and support for paying customers/partners, and acts to protect its interests and brand image. Yeh have to stop thinking of it like it's a government body, and start thinkin' of it like it's a corporation.

 

Beavah

(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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Shortridge, let's face it, no one is telling you where it is because they can't. It isn't there.

Beavah, if what you say is true about the image and brand, then Trevorum's prediction has greater validity. In time, BSA will be susceptible to the changing public views and in time, membership policy will follow that trend as a way to preserve the brand and image in that changing public eye. Perhaps the market is working after all.

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Beavah, if what you say is true about the image and brand, then Trevorum's prediction has greater validity.

 

Yes and no. Just depends what da BSA sees as its membership and market, eh? Right now, its membership (as in voting membership, the Chartered Organizations) consists of a very large majority that support da current approach. In fact, the short-sighted efforts to pull schools and other organizations out has shifted things strongly in favor of the current approach.

 

I think Trevorum is makin' an assumption that in da long run people are goin' to change on this issue. I'm just not seein' the same data he is. While young folks are always a bit more open-minded and liberal than older folks, it does not follow that they stay liberal as they get older, eh? In fact, they don't. So just because polls show more young people are accepting of a gay lifestyle doesn't mean that they will always be as they become more mature. And there's also a strong trend of young people of faith becomin' somewhat more traditional in their faith than young people of recent generations, eh?

 

Plus, to be quite frank, the religious faithful value life and tend to have more kids. Easy abortion and delayed family and homosexuality tend to select against the beliefs of those who practice them. ;)

 

Beavah

(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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I guess we'll have to wait for the 20-20 hindsight. Things sure did change with regard to race. But the suggestion that selective pressures favor a certain political view? I'm not so sure I'd want to have to defend those assumptions. The average age of the US is increasing at the same time that attitudes towards gays are becoming more accepting. And you have noticed that Italy, the most Catholic of all European nations, also has the lowest fertility rate? ;)(This message has been edited by packsaddle)

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Beavah,

 

I totally see your point about the structure of Scouting, and about court cases involving a specific situation. But BSA made it clear through its statements in the Dale case that a ban on gays *is* a national policy.

 

Its own legal brief stated: "Boy Scouts believe that homosexual conduct is not 'morally straight' under the Scout Oath and not 'clean' under Scout Law." No equivocation - no local option - no statements about merely being a supplier of program materials; no comments about protecting the brand. The message is clearly: "This is our organization; this is our organization's policy."

 

My question therefore remains unanswered. Based on available information, BSA has a ban on homosexual members. Yet that national policy is not communicated to its volunteers; it's unclear whether it is communicated to the chartered organizations that use its program.

 

I'd be happy to be proven wrong. If you can tell me where I can find, in writing, the authorization for units to establish a local option on membership rules, I look forward to it.

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Nah, more likely that people tend to return to more traditional religious belief with poverty and stress, eh? So da upcoming economic collapse is likely to change da equation significantly. Either way, I'm willin' to bet on God and da power of ideas that have survived thousands of years across many cultures and peoples over da modern boutique notions of a few spoiled western elites. ;)

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Unless you ask a very pointed question, and receive a perfectly honest answer you will never know for sure. Of course there will be gossip.

 

A scout is kind as well. gossip and presumptions don't follow the law.

 

I know a number of scouters who may or may not be gay or lesbian, ya know it doesn't really matter cause they are better people than some devout heterosexuals.

 

I gotta giggle here. years ago watched an episode of scout park that had a gay scoutmaster who had been in the position for years, boys loved him and the troop ran great. Well he got kicked out for being gay, they bring in a drill instructor kinda guy who was a whole lot less fun and took pictures of the boys less than fully clothed.

 

 

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