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1. Define "Natural law". I can find you US federal law, state law of the various US states, UK law, laws of various religions all written down because they are laws created by various groups of people to givern the way their communities live. So what is natural law? I am confused.


I can see why you're confused because everything you've listed is positive law, which may or may not reflect the natural law.

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Cambridgeskip, I'm looking forward to that answer to your question about 'natural law'. I just wish he'd keep his sexual obsessions more to himself - it begs the question: how does he know so much about this stuff?


You mean it raises the question. Begging the question is a logical fallacy that relies on an implicit premise within a proposition to "prove" the proposition.



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Eagle if you have the time or are interested....I would love to hear the story behind the court case, scouting and the internet......since the PM system doesn't work, email me at Basementdweller1@gmail.com



All you folks doin the oh poor boy thing need to have read his social media thing......


Young man was not living the oath and law.



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My point is that on the basis of YOUR standard, Buddhists would be excluded. But BSA accepts them. Therefore YOUR standard is in conflict with BSA's. How do YOU reconcile that?


Whoa, whoa, whoa. It's not my standard. I'm not making up any standards. I'm not crazy enough to try to set my own standards in this minefield. All I did was list the actual BSA standard that they print on every membership application. If someone comes forward and says, "I don't meet those printed standards", then I will take them at their word that they don't meet the standard.


If Buddhists claim that they meet the standard, that's fine with me. We could always try to encourage a test case for the BSA. Have a Buddhist go into his Eagle BOR and say he's a practicing Buddhist and that he has no duty to God. Then maybe we can get an official BSA ruling on how to reconcile the two facts. You could probably find an even easier case if you got a Buddhist adult leader to go to his SE and state that he doesn't believe people have a duty to God and wants to know if he can still be a member. My belief, based on what I've seen from the BSA, is that they will not publicly accept a member who outright states that he does not meet the requirements as stated on the membership application (and technically, it says "obligation to God", so I guess that's how you'd want to use the language.)


In practice the BSA accepts lots of people who don't really believe that they have a duty to God. The BSA just won't accept anyone who states outright that they don't meet the membership requirements.


I'm not letting the National Buddhist Council on Scouting off as easily as you are. They have authorized a religious award that is specifically given to people who state that they have a duty to God. So do they accept that having a duty to God is consistent with Buddhism? (I honestly don't know what they'd say - it's hard to find a clear answer to this question.) If they do, then there is no issue.

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I don't know. I do, in fact, find it very odd. I guess one could go with the theory that some Buddhists might also claim that they have a duty to God, and any Buddhist willing to sign up as a member of the BSA is signing a document that says that he or she does have a duty to God. That's the only way that I can see it being consistent.


Some Buddhists do believe in God. Buddhism is one of those religions that really lends itself to syncretism.

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Natural Law?


Have to admit to not knowing very much about it or ever giving it a lot of thought.

I tend to like to think that I'm a fairly normal type of fellow.

I was born into a fairly normal family and had a fairly normal up-bringing.

Somewhere about the age of about 14 or 15, I found out about sex.

I had all the right equipment and kinda thought that I wanted to put it to use.

Maybe if the girls that I knew and went around with had been a little more obliging? I very well might have.

I have a cousin, the son of one of my Mother's sisters. He is one of five boys.

He is openly gay.

I don't know why? I can't see any real reason why he is the way he is.

My best guess is that he is just wired differently.


Some while back on the PBS show Nature, they followed a group of Gorillas. A group of young male gorillas were left without any female gorillas. During the time that there were no females around the males participated in what we call homosexual acts. When they were able to attract some females they returned to acting as heterosexual gorillas.

While I do believe that I'm related to these gorillas, I tend to think that no matter what happens I'm not ever going to go gay.

In the correctional facility where I work sex between inmates is against the rules as is sex between staff and inmates. We do of course have inmates who are gay. They were gay before they got locked up. We have a lot of inmates who are not gay. We also have some who maybe because they are where they are earn the title from staff as being gay for the stay.


Talking with a pal of mine who teaches in a local high school. He says that over the past few years there seems to be a lot more girls becoming pregnant and a lot more boys claiming to be gay.

I have no real idea why this might be the case?

I kinda think that back when I was a teenager, girls didn't want to be seen as being "Easy" and none of my male friends ever wanted to be called "Queer". Having said that, I know a few of the guys who I went to school with have come out and now admit that they are gay.

At first I was a little upset with these guys. My thinking that they had fooled me. But back then I think any teenager who said he was homosexual ran the risk of being very badly bullied.

I'm not bright enough or clever enough to know why people are the way they are. I think that we need to accept people for what they are.

I do understand that some people are out of their comfort zone when they are faced with dealing with people who are different than they are.

Some things some of us can accept and some things are just unacceptable. It is up to each of us to work this out for ourselves.

I don't have a problem with anyone being gay. I maybe don't understand the sex part? I hope that they will allow me the fact that I don't understand it and understand that there are things that they might do which I have a hard time with.

Life isn't always easy. I work with people who have done some really nasty things, things that I can see little or no reason for. While I'm trained to be very aware of what they might do and that a good many of them are trying to manipulate me, trying to use me for their own good. For the most part, I don't allow what they have done in the past get in my way. I treat them as fairly and as consistently as I can.

The law of nature tells me that I have choices, I can fight or I can flee. It seems to forget that somewhere between the two there is a gray area.

Over the past few years the media has not only passed on the message that it's OK to be gay. But at times the message seems to be more than that. Maybe going as far as to say that it's cool to be gay?

While I think that some people are wired differently and I'm OK with that. I do worry that there are some young people who get lost in the hype.

Because of this I'm not so sure that not allowing membership to youth members is such a good idea.







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"Buddhism is one of those religions that really lends itself to syncretism."

I don't know about Buddhism but Christianity sure did a pretty good job of that.


Oak Tree, the religious awards, as I understand them, are for those particular faiths and can be earned by any youth, not just scouts. BSA merely recognizes some of them. But not all youth who earn those religious awards are scouts.

If you're implying that BSA's standards are somewhat ambiguous or unclear, I agree. Here's what BSA had to say about it in a question/answer document dated 7 June 1991:


"Q. Some people maintain that God is a tree, a rock or a stream. Would a person believing such be eligible to be a member of Scouting?


The BSA does not seek to interpret God or religion. The Scout Oath states a requirement for a Scout to observe a duty to God, and the Scout Law requires a Scout to be reverent. Again, interpretation is the responsibility of the Scout, his parents and religious leaders."


So if rock worship meets the standard as you read it, all is well. Seems to me that if the interpretation (as BSA clearly states) "is the responsibility of the Scout, his parents and religious leaders" then everyone else, including BSA, should just butt out.


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I have avoided posting to this thread because of my direct involvement in this situation. I am not an adult leader in troop 212, but I am the district approval authority for eagle projects and met this young man and his father either in late August or early September, I do not remember which, to review and approve his eagle project. I had not heard of this family or this scout before that meeting. His project was unusual and Ryan volunteered that in the past he had been a target of bullying. I did not ask his sexual orientation and neither he nor his dad volunteered any information on that, but I felt very strongly at that time that Ryan was gay. I did not know that he had come out earlier in the summer and that his SM was apparently aware. I did note his pending birthday in October and approved his project. He actually had samples of the tiles he was going to use and the marking pens that would be made available to the schoolchildren. Once the tiles were up he was going to coat the tiles with some kind of protective material that would prevent the tiles for running in the rain.


I do not know all the details of how this happened, but I can tell you that you need to understand a few things about troop 212 to better understand how this could happen.


Troop 212 is a 50 year veteran troop. For years it was the only troop in Moraga. The troop has a very strong program and demands 100% participation in its activities. Thus the boys in that troop typically are not involved in sports or other activities that conflict with the troop schedule. Historically the troop limited its intake to 10 Webelos per year. They had unusually high retention so they had, and presumably still have, a very even age profile of the youth in the troop. They are also very exclusive.


When we first moved to Moraga several years ago, I and my scout age son (one of three) visited all the troops in town. When we visited troop 212 I was told in very strong terms, "We don't normally accept transfers." I don't think any of the boys at that troop meeting bother to even introduce themselves to my son. We joined another troop and have been very happy with our decision.


Troop 212 does not go to regular summer camps operated by any council. For years they have run their own summer camp at a place called "Camp Timberwolf" in the Plumas National Forest. This camp is currently run by a separate non profit corporation and other groups can rent the camp during the summer. I don't know the financial resources behind this, but clearly some folks have invested a great deal in this camp. It has its own web site so you can look it up.


I mention the camp since that is pertinent. Troop 212 has a reputation for tolerating, perhaps even encouraging, hazing. I don't know if anybody from troop 212 is following this thread and if I am wrong or unfair, please speak up. I am only saying that the troop has a reputation for hazing. I have no evidence to support that claim. Based on this reputation, it did not surprise me that Ryan described being hazed by his fellow scouts at camp. Operating your own summer camp helps hide these kinds of things, if true, from outside view.


The chartered organization is a well organized active church in the town of Moraga. I suspect that there will be some soul searching going on at the church about its relationship to the scout troop.


I can also tell you that this episode has got the local scouting community, both boys and adults, very stirred up. I have not met or talked to anyone who agrees with what was done to Ryan. A great many people, including ordinary scouts, have reached out to the Andresen family to express their support.


The current SM is relatively young and new to his position. I understand that he has a family, but that none of his sons are yet old enough to be in the troop. I also understand that, due to the volume of threats and hate messages, the SM has temporarily moved his family out of town.


I suspect that one or more of the older adults in the church who did not like the idea of seeing an "avowed homosexual" getting an eagle blew the whistle with the scout executive at the council office. How else would the council have become aware? It is difficult to make sense of the SM's actions otherwise. He approved the project. I saw his signature on the workbook. Yet he subsequentlty declined to sign the eagle application. I think that somebody put a lot of pressure on the SM.


Another fact: Ryan's dad was the committee chair. I think he chose to describe his role as "chief administrative office" since that is something most simple minded reporters could understand. I understand that he resigned this position after this blew up.


One has to have sympathy for the family and the mom. I did not see their appearance on Ellen Degeneris' show yesterday. We all as parents are very emotionally invested in our children. At a minimum the parents were very likely shocked and disappointed when they first realized that Ryan was gay. They have had a lot to deal with, and then this. I think that the mom made a tactical error in putting up her online petition, but I can understand why she did so. Because I am listed on the council website as a district volunteeer involved in eagle projects, I too have gotten unsolicited, but not threatening, emails from scouters around the country.


I personally think that what the BSA national office did in this situation was wrong. Ryan was going to age out anyway. They should have let him at least let him go to an EBOR. Something positive may yet happen for Ryan. In the last year BSA has awarded some eagles years after the 18th birthday. Ryan did complete all the requirements for his eagle before his 18th birthday. BSA national could easily climb down a bit if it wanted to do so.


Notwithstanding its history and the strength of its program, I think troop 212 will have trouble dealing with this. Some boys may leave scouting altogether or transfer to another troop. The troop has lost its committee chair, and may lose its scoutmaster and possibly even its charter if the church decides it does not want to be involved in this kind of controversy. I hope the troop survives, but right now I would not bet on it.


Anyway I hope readers find this informative.(This message has been edited by eisely)(This message has been edited by eisely)

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eisely, thanks for the insight.


" I also understand that, due to the volume of threats and hate messages, the SM has temporarily moved his family out of town."

This is shameful. Wonder who's threatening the SM? Could it be the ones who demand tolerance from everyone but themselves?


"BSA National could easily climb down a bit if it wanted to do so."

They could but they won't. It would show weakness and encourage other who would expect the same bending of the rules (for any reason) when enough pressure is applied.


I think it's quite plausible that someone went to the Charter Organization with information on the boy (maybe his website) and they decided the boy would not be awarded Eagle. It seems like the ones who count in the troop (SM and CC-dad) were on board but someone higher up put the stops to it.


If you missed the Ellen interview you can see it on Youtube here:



Very nice interview but a little short on facts.



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Thanks E. balanced reporting is hard to find. and thanks E732 for the summary of Degenres' show. Saves me watching.

So are true friends in the Internet, pity the mom.


If th SM and CC were trying to break the tradition of hazing, I can see how this kind of project would get pushed forward. I can also see how two adults in a go-your-own-way troop like this might be naive enough to think they could shelter their boys from a national firestorm.


I've explained to boys that they might not make rank for less controversial reasons, and they all still went forward with their projects. If the SM knew about the issues, maybe he could have done something similar. It might still cause the same firestorm, but everyone would be better prepared for it.

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Interesting Troop culture....Only One new scout patrol per year and 100% participation.


Private summer camp.....


thx Eisely for the background info.....


I watched the ellen thing....That is one rich family.....troop going to alaska and canada on trips....


Mom is a mess......


So they hand a millionares kid a check for $20k what the heck is up with that?????



The boy should hand the check to Someone else more needy.(This message has been edited by Basementdweller)

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I didn't see the lads facebook page - wouldn't have looked at it anyway. Without any details, some who say they looked at it say he was unscoutlike. I'm not ready to accept that the lad was unscoutlike based on biased and incomplete reviews of the lads page by folks on an internet thread. The "I saw it and he was unscoutlike" argument just isn't enough. I sincerely doubt you would trust my judgment without question if I had said I saw it and saw nothing in it that was unscoutlike.


I've still not seen any proof that he didn't meet the Duty to God parts, either - we have a National/Council claims one thing, Lad and family say the complete opposite. My opinion is that the BSA realized they were stpping in it and pulled a desperate Hail Mary pass out of their arsenal hoping folks would bite - and it appears that some did.


I'm still floored by the assumptions about this lad and his family - but concede that part of it could be from folks not being on the same page as to what wealthy means - to someone living in a working class suburb or impoverished urban area, someone living in a suburb with a median income of $116K could be wealthy. I think that's part of the whole raise taxes for the rich debate - we can't agree on what is wealthy. $250K sounds right but living in a suburban area where folks making $100K plus per year isn't unusual, one sees how even those folks live from paycheck to paycheck - admittedly from the same kind of bad choices that folks that make less money make - but it's a pretty fine line. But I guess that since we can now judge people by their possessions, it's fair to go into Basement's negighborhood and deny food stamps and financial assistance to impoverished people if they have flat screen televisions, or go on trips to Disney World, even if they once had jobs that once allowed them to afford those things and now they don't?


There are also so-called "facts" being bandied about which just aren't. No where on the father's property management firm's website does it say they're the largest in the SF Bay area. At 7,500 (apartment) units and about 1 million square feet of retail and commercial under management, they're no where close. The largest commercial management firm in the SF Bay area is CBRE with close to 40 million square feet under management. The largest apartment manager in the SF Bay area is a firm called John Stewert with around 30,000 units under management. The website say's they are one of the most respected (business hyperbole - try and prove them wrong) and touts an award they got, it appears to be from 2010, saying they are the #1 Property Management Firm - #1 and Largest is not the same thing (another assumption, I take it?).


Interesting that the assumption is made that because the guy owns what is essentially a small business (75 employees isn't that many), that he's a millionaire. Now it's possible, perhaps even probable, that cumulatively over the years, he has managed to sock away in savings and investments a few million dollars - but you have no idea what kind of salary he takes per year, or how much he takes out of equity every year. For all we know, he could be like many small business folks - struggling but putting up a good facade while dumping personal funds back into his business. You just don't know, but you'll swear by your assumption.


Finally, I'm perplexed by the following:


"why does this kid need eagle?????


He had got the world by the throat.....No problem with food on the table....college is a given.....probably a trust fund when mom and dad pass....... Kid probably has more in his checking and savings account than I do......"


Is this advocating making a change to the rules so that Eagle Scout is awarded on a "needs-based" system, because that's what it sounds like. Sorry, Suburban Scout whose daddy makes $116K per year, we know you went through a lot (even perhaps a decade - yes, I'm including the Cub Scout years as part of the trail) and think you've earned the Eagle Scout rank, but you're daddy makes a lot of money so we've determined that you don't "need" to earn Eagle Scout rank so we're going to go ahead and deny it to you.


The question should never be "why does this keed need Eagle" but if asked, should be answered "Because he EARNED it".



I'll say it again - it doesn't matter what the insiders think anymore - what matters is public perception - the BSA keeps getting black eyes over this issue and the issue is not ever going to go away. It's not going to be one grand moment that sways either the BSA or the public one way or another - it's going to be a series of moments, which is what has been happening. The "Three G's" issue is chipping away at the mountain that is the BSA, and it's eventually going to be changed.

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Surprised that noone has noted that there did not appear to be any discussion of the duty to God element on the Ellen Show. Of course, since I did not see the social media stuff, I cannot say anything; but if it was as questionable as some have said, that would certainly give me cause for concern if I was to know about it on a board, as it points at overall character. Too often young people, especially ones who already have issues, tend to make things worse for themselves by pushing limits to the breaking and trying to somehow become more accepted by risky activities and statements.


It is not likely we will ever get the complete truth on this now, as it is now simply a circus of innuendo and finger pointing. At the same time, if the information is accurate on the non acceptance of religious element, then it should stand period, IMO. As far as the more publicized element goes; by making it into a media slugfest, he and his family have gone too far I feel. Without all the details on the project, knowing what "actually" happened within the troop leadership, and having seen how the PC people blow things far out of proportion, I feel National should stand their ground.


That being said, I still feel like the local option should be inclusive of unit decisions period, unless they relate to actual illegal stuff or "true" youth protection issues. This one though likely would have blown up anyway, based on the info given. It appears the family was simply looking for a fight for whatever reason. That it should be in the Bay Area is not surprising. BSA is not soon going to find much support in the media, no matter what they do. They have now become the whipping boy of choice by the PC agendas.


Back to worrying about my own unit and the challenges that are important, while trying to protect the kids from the fools that care little about anything but their own self importance and opinions.

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