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Petitions delivered by Eagle Scout over Anti-Gay Policy

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We all agree that whether or not the activity is disdained, the individual person should not be denigrated, right? The problem lies with children having a reduced ability to "hate the sin but love the sinner". To have an authority figure openly engage in a disdainful activity engenders the perception that the activity must not be "that bad".


This is why virtually every school district now bans teachers from smoking anywhere that kids could see, even if there's zero chance of second-hand smoke inhalation. Several times I've told Scouts or school kids or some other group of children that smoking is bad, only to have one child hold up their hand and say, "But my parent smokes." That's a tricky situation to be in, to have to explain that their parent, who is a good person, has chosen to engage in an activity that the child shouldn't choose to engage in; that participating in the "bad" activity doesn't make the parent a bad person, even though they're choosing to do a "bad" thing (like smoking).


By the time a youth is a Venturing Scout, they should be old enough to make the distinction between people and activities, in my opinion, although I remember back then still thinking that people who ate bugs were "weird", for an example of a non-mainstream activity which engenders disgust in many people. A 10 or 11 year old Boy Scout could maybe make the distinction. A Cub Scout? Probably not.


I know some will say (and have said), "But there's nothing wrong with homosexuality." Ok, that's your opinion. Other people have other opinions. some religions preach that people should view their religion's teachings the same way that Scouts view the Guide to Safe Scouting -- even while we don't agree with everything that the Guide says, we'll still do our best to follow it. I'm only writing this post in the hopes that the discussion will die off, we're sort of beating a dead horse here.


The BSA isn't going to reverse a policy that over 50% of its charter member organizations actively support. No organization could do that and hope to really survive.

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I can live with asking a homosexual scouter to follow the same rules we give a smoker, BSA doesn't ban the smoker, they simply ask him to smoke away for children.. Most don't do that well when in crowded conditions.. They may move away from their group but in eyesight of yours.. Or outside the scout meeting, but people coming and going still see him..


The tell-tale signs of a smoker, will be similar to the tell-tale signs of a homosexual.. Sure you may see them with their partner.. But, they will not have sex at a BSA meeting, nor will they have long discussion promoting homosexual behavior, just as you will not promote heterosexual behavior during a BSA meeting..


Thing is, I raised my child with smokers around.. Yes, he did embarrass me once by walking up to a complete stranger and lecturing them on how bad smoking is for them, and they needed to quit..


Unfortunately for many homosexuality is not as easy as smoking.. It is like teaching and lecturing someone to not have freckles is going to do the trick.. But, if it makes you happy, have at it.. Perhaps you can at least lessen the effect, maybe the person who freckles can choose to live a life indoors.. But, I fear though they may not have as many freckles they still will have freckles. I am one who is born to freckle.. Don't know how I would have grown up with good self esteem is my parents told me day in and day out my freckles were a sign of the devil and that not being able to control my freckles showed my weakness to being a sinner. Love the idea that keeping me away from other people who freckle would keep me from freckling..


Even if homosexual leaders became a Local option, CO's are not going to open to open discussion about it.. The subject will be as downplayed as discussions on heterosexuality. Smokers do not hide the fact they are smokers by simply smoking out of sight of children.. Their clothes and breath still reek of smoke.. They may be seen outside the local grocery store by a scout, while smoking.. Children will know, yet can still be brought up not to smoke..


Homosexuals may raise children who are accepting of others who are homosexuals, but they do not raise their children to be homosexuals. That would be like my having a child who does not have my freckles and teaching him to have freckles. But, at least he has learned from having a mother with freckles to treat freckled people as equals and with respect. Regardless of if they choose to venture out in the sun or not.. Also if he had been one born to freckle, he would have been raised in a loving and supportive environment. He would have had a feeling of self-worth, and not choose to commit suicide over his freckles. Or commit suicide due to his weakness for wanting to do outside activities that would cause him to freckle more, when he has the choice to remain indoors all of his life.


Sorry homosexuality is not a bad habit like smoking or alcohol. Keeping your child away from homosexuals will do nothing to assure they will not also be homosexual..(This message has been edited by moosetracker)

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So no SMs who have been divorced?


Why are gays, who for the most part and most of history couldn't get married, suddenly to blame for straights getting divorced? And why is the solution to exclude gays/outlaw same sex marriage instead of the bleeding obvious -- exclude divorcees/outlaw divorce?

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Well you unable to understand, that sexual orientation is not something you can learn, not something you are born with.. While most of those of us who can understand that some could be choice, but most is not.. Too many "sheltered" people who didn't know others where homosexual, and could not explain why they felt the way they do.. Of course now adays since so many homosexuals are open about it, it is hard to get these isolated souls.. But, many, many of the past.. Ignorance does not keep a homosexual straight..


Although I think divorce is too easy.. Those married & divorce within a year is ridiculous.


I also belive there is need for divorce. The spouse who is abusive to their spouse, or children.. Staying together for the children while they suffer listening to the arguing and being brought up in an environment where their parents don't respect each other.. People married to someone they find out is a serial rapist or murderer..


Divorce may be bad for children, but sometimes it is better for them then the alternative.


Does this have anything to do with a homosexual who wants to form a family unit with their partner and possibly one of their children, or by taking in the unwanted children of the world?.. No.. Selfish & Self-serving may be those heterosexuals or homosexuals out for sex with not commitment or responsibility.. Selfish & Self-serving does not charactorize any relationship where you care for another person deeply.. Put their well being above your own. And since homosexuals have been proven to be great parents, they are even able to care and nurture others besides their other half very successfully.


Humans have become over-populated.. Sometimes Nature... Sometimes God.. will take care of that.. The homosexual may be part of God's answer to our overpopulation.. Well it is better then having a flood to wipe us all out, or destruction of the whole world.

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One of the aspects of this discussion seldom touched on is the reality of early pubertal children, especially boys. Having spent many hours in many schools as a sub for 14 years now, I have noted that kids in grades starting at about 3rd or 4th, but especially in middle or junior high levels, are almost manic about "gays being unacceptable". Boys are particularly obsessed with making sure people do not think they are gay, and also in their abhorrence of the idea.


This observation contradicts the statements about acceptance, at least at this stage in development. As such, it is certainly a reason to seriously consider the strictures on leadership now in place. That is not to say they will not grow out of this paranoia eventually, and that some may not eventually decide they really are gay; but confusing them even more at that age may not be constructive in the short term.


Girls at this age do seem less likely to be put off by lesbians, at least they are far less vocal it appears. Whether due to being female, or because women being together long ago became normal in our society, so pretty much lost its public stigma; though even in the past, there were some who gossiped about the "old maid" couple down the street. But the stigma was far less damaging because of the strictures segregating the genders at that time. If they chose to be blatant about their "lifestyle", then they became scandalous and were shoved to the fringes of the community.


Another cultural change, in our country especially, is the continued almost prudish attitudes relating to public and group interactions of genders, while blatantly dressing as provocatively as possible. School dress codes are not generally strictly enforced for whatever reasons. I know that I personally have on occasion asked a female teacher to deal with a truly serious violation, and do not have any problem with speaking directly to boys; but the fact that parents allow it anyway, even with the so called codes, is reflective of how contradictory we are. Yet, kids are no longer required to actually shower in gym; we make every effort to make sure that adults and children are not exposed physically in public dressing rooms and so on, even if the same gender; and we continue to allow more and more provocative exhibitions in movies and tv, as well as sexual and violent activities.


So, basically, we tend to only confuse kids in general in regard to sexually related issues, and even the boundaries related to speech and violence.


These are simply observations. But in regard to this thread, I too agree the issue should be a local one so we can at least maybe deal a bit more easily with it when necessary. Also, I truly wish that somehow the media would stop applying their comments to youth members. There IS NO BAN ON YOUTH members relating to this; it is on LEADERS.

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The problem with the BSA stand on both sexual and religious preference is that it has to do with a person's identity rather than a person's behavior. I'd much rather see a ban on smokers, drug users, pedophiles, thiefs, etc., rather than on parents and kids that can and do hold to the principles of scouting. These things are actual behaviors that are harmful to children, yet because a person can say they are a heterosexual Christian, he or she is perfectly qualified to be a Scout leader even though their BEHAVIOR can cause actual harm to children.


Even "belief in God" is used as a way to ban people, yet there is no way to absolutely define God, though there are many that say they know absolutely what God is for themselves. My personal beliefs probably run closer to the athiest direction, but I have never had even a little bit of problem with the Scout Oath and Law, because there is absolutely nothing that restricts me from defining God in my own terms. I actually believe in a higher power, though not that it originates in some separate entity sitting in judgement. Rather I see it as something that originates in human relations, cooperation, aligning in common thought and practice, and in relation to the world around us. My own moral compass and deep reason for life and existance is extensive. I even believe in ever-lasting life, but it comes for the difference we make and the impact we make while we are here, not in professing some particular belief. Are you doing things to be remembered for, that will have a positive impact on the generations that follow you?


The particular bans that Scouting is holding onto are nothing but discrimination. They look exactly like discrimination for racial differences that existed not so long ago in our country, and just as we now recognize how wrong is that discrimination, BSA should be a leader in recognizing the discriminatory policies they are holding onto are plain wrong. Judge actual behavior, not identity. Units and even chartering organizations should be able to define what that is for their organizations. That would allow units to be chartered by churches like mine, and schools, and other organizations whose underlying non-discriminatory policies will not currently allow them to support Scout units under current BSA policy.

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There were a whole bunch of posts essentially saying, "I can't understand why some people would not want homosexual leaders in the Boy Scouts. Why not?" I attempted to explain why. I didn't expect several posts in response comparing whether or not homosexuality is more or less bad than smoking. That wasn't the point, it's just an example, an allegory, a means of explaining why some say no -- it wasn't an exhaustive reason either, there may be other reasons. Don't get hung up on smoking, though, it's just an example. :)

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BartH - I agree, some of us have a hard time understanding why some people would not want homosexual leaders in the Boy Scouts. The only type of explanations I've seen from your posts is the "because some folks think it is wrong" explanation. Okay, I know that.


Why do they think it is wrong?


Because the Bible says so? We don't ban folks who eat shellfish.


Because some religions say it is wrong? We don't ban folks who are not circumcised.


Because homosexuality is different from what they feel and it makes them uncomfortable? We don't ban folks who have different musical tastes than ourselves.


Seriously, why? Is it because we feel our sons may fall victim to a sexual predator? Is is because some feel by allowing gay folks to become Scout leaders we would be giving tacit approval to their existence? Give approval to some sort of behavior? Lifestyle?


I think many are in my camp. If we feel certain behaviors are abhorrent, why don't we ban the behavior? Black males are incarcerated at a much higher percentage than whites in this country. We don't ban black males from joining the BSA. Why not? Is it because we don't like certain behaviors? Again, if so, let's ban a behavior. If a homosexual, celibate priest (I do not feel those are mutually exclusive terms. I knew I was heterosexual while I was still celibate) acts as a COR, should we ban that?


In actuality, the BSA is sort of hiding behind a few things to ban the behavior, not the "being" so to speak. The BSA states that they do not actively seek out the sexual identity of their members and only self-avowed homosexuals are banned. I'm not sure what this means. Does answering a direct question about ones sexuality constitute be avowed of that sexuality?


The whole issue confuses me. I for one don't like this recent trend that we seem to have taught our youth today. Why do we celebrate the fact that folks are Irish, Polish, Black, Gay, etc.? Folks just "are" certain things. I did nothing to achieve my ethnicity. I can see celebrating accomplishments like earning Eagle, graduating from college, athletic feats, musical prowess, etc. but ethnicity? So yes, gay pride activities are not something I relish but I think I get it. Maybe it's just the proclivity to theater in many gay folk? :)


Hey, it's late. The above may just with the daily "most rambling post" award of the day.


(This message has been edited by acco40)

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"but the evidence is there and my observations and experiences in my life have supported what I believe."

Thanks, Eagledad, for answering my question. I picked out the above part of one line because I'm hoping it is the key to unlocking the rest of your thoughts. I think all of us have a tendency to use our observations and experiences to form our ideas and I think that is good. From my observations and experiences, I always try to ask myself, "Do I believe because of the evidence? Or do I 'see' evidence because I 'believe'?"

I was raised by persons, and in a manner, that nurtured the idea that black persons 'truly' are inferior, that black persons have an evil tendency that qualifies under most of the things you just mentioned as counter to 'family'. And this 'truth' was based first and foremost, according to their claims, in evidence and in Biblical scripture. It was a 'belief' first...and every observation and experience after 'naturally' tended to support that belief.


At the same time, I also heard my teachers (ALL of the adults around me) often use the phrase I read in these threads about condemning the behavior (sin) while loving the person (sinner). It was when I began to trust my own observations and experiences that I began to question persons who held the above beliefs and who excused those beliefs with the above phrase regarding sin and sinners.


This was also when I realized that it is possible to view individuals as individuals, not part of some 'category'. The contradictions between this realization and what I had been taught all my life are obvious and this became the basis for my 'exile' from the Presbyterian church - by mutual agreement.


Incidentally, it is on this basis that on numerous occasions I have been advised in these threads over the years to leave scouting and form my own youth organization. I probably should have remained Presbyterian as well, lol.



But the essence of the problem, to my mind, is opening our minds to 'know' the individual rather than to categorize them and then reject them as part of a category. And the only obstacle that I can see to this, in my observations and experiences, is the pre-existing beliefs, sometimes justified using scriptures.


To me the solution is at the individual level. It seems only at the level of the 'category' that prejudice pretends to be 'evidence'. At the individual level we see the person more clearly and while in forming whatever opinion we might form there also might be error - but at least that is error about an individual, not a whole category into which we thoughtlessly place many other individuals.


In BSA membership policy, INDIVIDUALS are accepted as members. It is when they voluntarily allow themselves to be viewed as a CATEGORY by openly 'avowing' something that they are rejected. Do you see the fundamental problem with this?

In the subject of the OP in this thread, do you really see the individual gay woman whose son is an Eagle scout as 'anti-family' or something along those lines? Really?

Your answer categorized people. It did not view a person, this person, the person named in the petition, as an individual. It ignored the fact that everyone around her, including her FAMILY, who viewed her as an individual, see her as a good person whom they want to remain as a member and a leader...except that she has now fallen into a 'category'. Do you not see how thoughtless her ejection from scouting is? There is no pedophile threat. There is no criminal activity. Nothing but a thoughtless category.


The person who is accepted as an individual but rejected categorically is the same individual in both cases. The only difference is the way that BSA (and some of us) 'categorizes' those individuals. To me this approach, as with black persons before, finds its strength in allowing comfort with prejudice and its weakness in ignoring the individual.

And THAT most certainly IS a 'choice' that we make. Sadly, IMHO.

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Excellent Packsaddle!.. Well said..


You combined a few individuals into one.. So I just wanted to offer up the three individuals.


Zach Wahls Eagle scout that carried in the patition. By all we have seen of him a fine upstanding young gentleman. Not only in how he presented himself with the patition, but their are clips of him speaking in front of the Iowa House Judiciary Committee.. Raised by two homosexuals.. Two individuals that created a loving family environment for this boy to grow up in. One he will proudly talk about to anyone who is open minded enough to listen.


Jennifer Tyrrell the mother and ex-den leader of a small boy who was a cub scout. The person that the den she was den leader for welcomed her as an individual who had similar beliefs to them in wanting to raise their children with good values. Many indivual parants of many young boys, who saw this mother as a good role model for their children. Accepted her as their childs den leader and protested her removal. -- "Boo the Boy Scouts".

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I'm reminded of liberals who suggested that making divorce easier was no threat to the family --- it would just make it easier to end failed marriages.


Of course they were wrong. Liberalized divorce laws have brought on a plague of divorce which has devastated families and profoundly changed society.


Legitimizing homosexuality is already imposing further burdens of society, and no doubt that will get worse. The weaknesses of homosexual "families" will result in continued further demands for subsidies and special policies to try to make the unequal equal.


Fathers will continue to be ever more marginalized, and in Cub Scouts there will be less and less male influence as multiple mother households increasingly predominate --- something that single mother households has already made bad enough.


Boy Scouts will see ever fewer men available to provide leadership as multiple mother households fail to find even one mother interested in doing fifty milers and other high adventure activities.


Hard to say the long term impact of multiple mother households. Certainly the unanticipated effects of greatly expanded single mother families have been profound for society.




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Yah, packsaddle, well said and thought through.


All of us Christian types believe in followin' the example of our Savior, who always approached each sinner as an individual. There were times he condemned individuals and even groups, because they were choosing a destructive "lifestyle" ("woe to you, priests and scribes, hypocrites!"), and times he exercised compassion ("neither do I condemn you, but go and sin no more.") There were no times, though, when he condoned sinful action. Even when exercising compassion, he admonished to avoid the particular sin in da future.


So the piece that yeh miss is that lookin' at each person as an individual does not imply that yeh don't have general rules as a society or group so as to guide individuals. You are tryin' quite nicely to equate homosexuality with being black, and that makes sense because that struggle was particularly seminal in your own life, which introduces a bias toward approaching other issues in da same way. But for the rest of us the proper analogy is to parallel homosexuality with being alcoholic. It's a propensity that we don't understand; perhaps personality-based early in life, perhaps genetic in part, perhaps a product of depression and experimentation in early adolescence when certain brain pathways are formin'. It's hard to say anything about the propensity, other than it is a burden that person must carry. But what we can say is that if yeh are alcoholic, yeh have to stay away from alcohol. If yeh choose to act on your propensity, it will drag yeh down and be self-destructive, and like all self-destructive behavior it ultimately has an effect on others and on society as a whole. It increases medical costs for everyone. It increases auto accidents and insurance costs. It hurts others. Those societal costs are hard to quantify, and da connections aren't always clear. What's the loss in productivity? The loss of businesses and harm to other families' livelihoods because of da loss of productivity? The indirect association with crime? On and on. Like all sin, it ripples out into the world.


Da parallels to addiction particularly with gay males are to my mind pretty clear. Crazily high multi-partner activity (reflected in high disease transmission rates), very high rates of domestic violence and all the rest. Of course non-alcoholics also abuse alcohol at times, and since there are so many more of 'em, the damage they do is broader. In the same way, heterosexuals also behave promiscuously or inappropriately, and there being so many more of 'em, the fallout from that in unwanted pregnancies and divorce and such is grim. But in some ways they are part and parcel, eh? Condoning alcoholism or celebrating it contributes to alcohol abuse among da general population, I'd argue, just as condoning alcohol abuse or celebrating it leads to higher alcoholism effects. Similarly one might argue that condoning homosexuality or celebrating it may contribute to higher levels of sexual experimentation and abuse among youth and more damage to marriage-based sexual commitment, and conversely perhaps divorce and promiscuity contributes to higher homosexuality or at least worse homosexual behavior in relationships.


So on that basis, even as we act with compassion toward each person as an individual, we also make some general rules and statements for the instruction of young people and for society. Makin' such rules or offering such guidance is itself also an act of care and compassion for the individual.


Even when, like every alcoholic, they deny it and resist and don't want yeh to.



(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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I am often surprised at how willingly people go down the road of comparing sexual orientation to mental illness, drug addiction, or felonious criminal behavior. Seriously? People can make these comparisons without a shred of doubt or sense of hyperbole?



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