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Trevorum

When will National realize this *IS* affecting membership

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I understand that there are emotional (and even visceral) responses to the matter of opening BSA membership to gay persons. Some folks will never be able to frame the issue as one of diversity and inclusveness. However, public opinion across the nation is steadily and irreversibly becoming more tolerant and welcoming of gay persons. As this happens, the BSA policy will increasingly become problematic at the unit level. I feel that at some point, National is going to have to face the reality that this policy is severely limiting membership, not from those gay persons who would want to join (truly a minority), but from other mainstream Americans who increasingly see the policy as exclusive, intolerant, and hateful.

 

FOR EXAMPLE, below is a REAL email recieved this week from a Wood Badge participant.

 

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"Well here is a question that I always get every year. We have lost several scouts because of it and actually i would love to do something about it.

 

Our sponsor has a policy of ALL inclusive. That directly conflicts with the gay issue. A few weeks ago I got a call from our cubmaster who has kids in his pack that both parents are gay. They would love to help out with the pack and become den leaders.

 

I addressed the issue that since our sponsor is all inclusive, and has no issues at all with gay people, we have to swim somewhere in between. We allow kids from gay people to join our pack and troop but we do not allow openly gay leaders. Meaning that if you are gay and you walk around with it all the time you cannot be a scout leader. I had many nasty discussions about it because it is considered by our sponsor to be discrimination. My reaction is don't ask don't tell, especially don't tell and do not be open about it, especially not around the scouts.

 

What is y'alls opinion, should we deny those children to participate in the program or should we deny them. In our case this has in the past and will in the future cost us a lot of scouts, not because they or their parents are gay, but because they do not agree with the policy of exclusion.

 

Do we not say somewhere that we do not discriminate?"

 

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I tell my two sons that by the time they have sons in Scouting, this will be a thing of the past.

 

 

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The BSA does not refuse any boy participation in scouts because the guardians are openly gay. They just prohibit openly gay individuals from serving in leadership positions. As a former Eagle scout, I personally embrace the ideal of holding a moral high ground, despite what society embraces.

 

It doesn't mean that I hate gay people (because I don't). They are free to embrace whatever they want to and we'll just agree to disagree on whether or not their behavior is 'sin' (oh no, I used the forbidden S word.) It *does* mean that I (and for time being the BSA) believes their sexual preference is not in the best interest of the boys.

 

If I go really radical on you... You are in a tricky spot with your chartered org but if they can't respect the BSA policy, maybe they shouldn't sponsor the pack/troop.

 

I predict that if the BSA embraces a liberal agenda like you are proposing, a group of people would express their opposition, if by nothing else starting a new org that embraces the traditional values. It has already happened to the girl scouts (see http://www.frontiergirls.com/alternativetogirlscouts.html)

 

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I think it would be reasonable to change it so the CO's can choose whether or not to have gay Scout leaders. That said, other than a few limited geographic areas, I think it would be disastrous. Not many parents would send their boys out on a weekend camping expedition with openly gay males as leaders.

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Of course, there are people who see allowing Gays and Atheists in the BSA as being their "Moral Higher Ground", so both sides can claim to occupy the higher ground while still being polar opposites

 

Will allowing gay leaders generate enough of a membership spike to account for the loss of the LDS units on a national level?

 

Anybody know the average age of the National Membership COmmittee and what their tenure is? The policy will shift when the membership shifts

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Yes, Trev shows one letter that is pro gay role models, but how many does National see with the opposite view?

 

OGE is right, follow the money. National will not change until the monetary risk is minimal.

 

Barry

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You will lose alot of membership besides the LDS folks if homosexuals are allowed in. When it was announced that SCOTUS was going to take the Dale v BSA case, I had one CO drop their pack because they were afraid that the case would be decided against the BSA, no matter what I said, they did not want to have anything to do with an organization that allowed homosexuals to be leaders. Again this was before DALE was decided.

 

After Dale, Scouting for All, a group that wants to repeal the BSA's ban, did a series of protests at council offices in major cities throughout the US. One of those protests was at the council service center I worked in. That local council got a bunch of phone calls supporting the BSA's position, wanting to know how they sign their kids up, and did not realize Dale was decided in the BSA's favor.

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OGE

 

It is not just the LDS but the myriad of conservative Christian churches, as well as the Catholic church. IMO the BSA should allow a local unit option since I do not believe that any religious institution should have a controlling influence on the scouting program.

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In the case presented by Trev in the op, I think the issue is between the CO and the Council. The DE should have made clear what the BSA's expectations are regarding membership eligibility. Perhaps the CO and the BSA are not a good fit and they need to relinquish the pack. Of course the DE will not do anything to jeopardize his "numbers", so he/she is content to let the unit leadership field all the discontent. Not fair. The unit should never have been chartered to that CO. IMHO. That being said, I believe the BSA's stance to be anachronism, and is, sadly, merely catering to the big supporters.

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The problem is while people are tolerating the Gay lifestyle, saying they don't care what people do in thier private life, The vast majority of parents would draw the line at having the son go camping with openly gay leaders. That is the crux of the whole arguement.

 

The average person doesn't care if your gay, just not alone with my son. If you don't think so, just ask your parents at a private meeting to vote, by secret ballot, Would you allow your son to go camping with openly gay leaders?

 

 

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My unit may be more conservative, but speaking for my pack, i wouldn't limit it to just camping either. I suspect that if I did the 'secret ballot' test asking 'Would you keep your boy in the den/pack' if one of his direct contact leaders were openly gay? It wouldn't even be CLOSE!

 

 

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Well then those people who fear their son camping with a homosexual had better get educated as to the difference between a pedophile and a homosexual..

 

A homosexual is no more a threat to your son then a heterosexual female Adult leader is. The female is interested in men also, but it doesn't mean she is chasing after the young ones, nor forcing her attentions on them unwanted.

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I won't speak for anyone but myself... this is not for my unit, my chartered org, or the BSA.. but if you look at the danger to the boys (homosexual vs pedophile), you're only capturing a portion of the problem. I don't believe homosexuals pose danger to the immediate safety of my son. Instead, I'd frame the problem is defining the standard you use to conclude homosexuality is contrary to the idea of a scout remaining morally straight. And if you have a leader that is openly against that principle, then I argue there are other people that would be better role models- and should be.

 

Lest you think I am hypocritical, let me also make a lot of people angry and say that I apply this standard across the board. For an extreme example, I believe that scout leaders that are morbidly obese also violates the principle of a scout remaining physically fit and I don't think they should be leaders either... but that is a topic worthy of yet another thread.

 

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Ya know trev...... I have leaders who I suspect are gay or lesbian.......They are some great people. Ya know what I am going to do about my suspicions, absolutely nothing.

 

I am not going to ask them their sexual orientation, it really isn't any of my business.

 

Sure the rule book and bible thumpers will beat me up. I simply don't care.

 

 

The BSA is rich white and suburban for the most part, they don't want the rest of us to play.

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My understanding is the prohibition is against activist homosexuals and the meaning is simply don't talk about sex whether hetero or homo one way or the other. Why do people make things harder than it has to be. If BSA did adopt a open policy towards sexuality I would leave it though

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I offer one case in opposition to Trevorum's one case. I consider the policy to be exclusive, intolerant, and hateful. And I am still a member. Moreover, BSA allows me to continue to be a member. It's still an exclusive, intolerant, hateful policy however...IMO.

 

What I don't get is how an argument that starts out as something founded in a particular view of morality so quickly transforms into an argument about numbers and money. Why not just stick with the moral argument if that's what it's really all about? But NOOOOO, we have to justify the continuation of the policy on the basis of how much monetary impact might occur if the policy changed. To be true to the moral position, there should be no consideration of membership numbers or money at all...even if the long term impact was that BSA would be whittled down to a marginalized shadow of its former self, viewed as a fringe organization of extremists (and let's face it, that view is more and more common these days). At least, in that case, the organization would still be true to its principles.

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