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Someday soon, all families may once again associate Scouting with good character

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I just published my thoughts on Scouting's policy change to Forbes.com: http://bit.ly/VNAETb'>http://bit.ly/VNAETb


I've maintained SCOUTER.com since 1994, and for many years it has been my remaining connection to a life that once had room for little more than Scouting.


I haven't shown a heavy hand on this controversial issue, instead preferring to let good Scouters gather around this online roundtable to voice their own opinions. There have been many times when I felt my lack of public force on this issue wasn't courageous enough. But for more than a decade, this forum was one of the few places that people felt free to express their opinions and debate this issue, and I didn't want to discourage that by coming down from the top and squelching any voice.


Years ago, in the early days of this forum, there were very few voices that opposed Scouting's policy. But over time, over the years, we've all witnessed more and more of the forum membership come forward to try, in some small way, to affect change. I decided - rightly or wrongly, that the best thing I could do was just create and keep this open forum active.


And frankly I have often gotten busy with life, and only been able to check in on the forums from time to time. A long time ago I asked a handful of people to serve as moderators, and in choosing those people I tried to pick a diversity of perspectives. All have been wonderful, cheerful servants for these discussions, and their participation allowed me to step back from active participation. I never wanted this site (or the magazine that was its genesis) to be about me.


More than 100,000 users are registered on this forum, and more than 50,000 people visit the site each month. It may seem like only a relative few that join this debate, but far, far more are nonetheless participating.


I don't begrudge anyone on this forum their beliefs or opinions... one universal truth remains: we all love Scouting, and the potential it has for positively changing the world, one life at a time.


I will tell you that your voices here have made an impact... for years this forum was very closely (if begrudgingly) monitored by key decision makers. And more than that, it served to organize and flush out some of most reasoned, articulate arguments for all sides of the debate.


There were plenty of times when I wanted to step in and "go on record", but often others were already passionately representing my point of view.


Years ago I had the chance to meet one of our moderators face to face, and I shared with him my most basic observation about how this debate (and opinion) played out on SCOUTER.com: the more we allowed the most ardent supporters of the BSA's anti-gay position to speak, the more likely it was for people without a strong opinion on this matter to be repelled by that point of view.


I can say without doubt, my own personal politics on a variety of topics have been shaped significantly over the nearly 20 years of reading this forum, and usually by recognizing just which side of any argument I found myself relating to less.


I recognize good, well meaning people believe differently than I do. I also realize that hearts and minds have changed so much on this issue, and it's long past time for BSA to become more inclusive.


So, there it is... I'm thrilled that Scouting seems close to finally embracing the only obvious solution that's been before us for decades. As I argued in Forbes, the real moral high ground (and, coincidentally the best business decision) in my opinion would have been 13 years ago for the BSA to have immediately announced local option after prevailing in the Supreme Court, and leaving the matter of qualified leaders to local parents.


That being said... I don't want to discourage any discourse or make anyone feel unwelcome in this, our little virtual campfire, and encourage you all to throw another log into the embers. I don't plan on joining back into this discussion much... carry on.




The Business Of Scouting And A Crisis Of Our Own Making http://bit.ly/VNAETb


FORBES: - For twenty years following the Supreme Court case, the only obvious answer for Scouting has been to allow local chartering partners and parents to make these morality decisions. Now only time will tell if the business of Boy Scouting will rebound from a two decade old bad business decision.


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Oh my, God has come down from the mountain tops and has spoken to us! :)


That was an attempt at light hearted humor - not meant to be condescending or cynical.


Terry, as a moderator, sometimes I feel I shouldn't weigh in on issues as much and let others carry that torch, but usually that feeling fades after awhile. I sure you feel the same sometimes - times ten.


Thanks for all you've done for this forum for so many years.


Now, excuse me while I try to hunt down a Forbes article.


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Terry, very thoughtful, heartfelt and well written article.


That passage of time has come, and today the Boy Scouts of America have announced theyre finally close to dropping this policy, and returning the choice of leaders and members to the local communities and parents where it always should have remained. That decision may come within a week, or certainly will come some day soon.


Is this public knowledge or do you have inside information? Also, do you think that was a business decision or a ethical decision on the part of the BSA to drop the policy? Probably a coalition of both is my guess.

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Sad to say, but the only thing that your forum seems to value discussing is this divisive issue.


I joined about two years ago, and rather than be "repelled by the point of view" of those who support the BSA policy, I have been disappointed that the only topic which seems worthy of discussion is whether the BSA should bend to forces that demand they permit openly gay men to volunteer as mentors to post-pubescent youth. I shudder to think who will be eager to step into


I wish that scouter.com would have been kept busier with topics that more closely accrue to the program of scouting, rather than whether a gay man has the "right" to volunteer for an organization that does not ask for, nor desire, his service.



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I agree with Garrison cap above.


Homosexual activity is gravely immoral. It's damaging to those who do these things.


It's a sign of grave weakness in the organization to even make this announcement: it means the BSA has lost its compass.


Scouting loses if the policy changes.

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Like many I appreciate the labor of love you've invested into this, even as you do all the things you do for technology education in Chicago.


I only occasionally come to I&P, most of the time I hang out at other parts of this forum.


Thank you for this place.


YIS, John

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Thanks Terry for all you do!


Nice to know that our opinions are being heard, by someone in National. Whether in this forum, or elsewhere.. But, now I need to watch my P's & Q's more closely... (Yeah, Right, that will last about a week, before I'm tearing into someone about something again..)

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