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Current BSA Policy Vs local option poll

Current BSA Policy Vs local option poll  

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    • Current Policy
    • Local Option

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I think a win' date=' i.e. reaching more kids and thus increasing membership, is possible by ending all discrimination (gays, atheists, girls) via local option. We need to get back into schools, military bases,... My $0.02 or more likely 2 aspirin as it will be painful no matter what at this point.[/quote']





What do we do about the Scout Oath if we let atheists in?

What do the scout atheists do now when they recite the Scout Oath? I think the BSA would get a lot more mileage with an "everyone is welcome" message than the current exclusionary policy.


I never understood why some people think atheists are such a threat. What's the worse thing that would happen if atheists were welcomed into the BSA? They would be exposed to an occasional prayer, interact with others who believe in a higher power, and see that Christians can be are welcoming and tolerant. It's all upside as far as I'm concerned.

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I think a win' date=' i.e. reaching more kids and thus increasing membership, is possible by ending all discrimination (gays, atheists, girls) via local option. We need to get back into schools, military bases,... My $0.02 or more likely 2 aspirin as it will be painful no matter what at this point.[/quote'] RememberSchiff, What do we do about the Scout Oath if we let atheists in?


How about the same thing when Explorer Posts got moved into L4L. Or make gods optional, like it is for oaths in court.



As an aside, here's a billionaire former scout on the issue:

ALLEN: Should the Boy Scouts of America rescind its ban on gay members and leaders?


GATES: Absolutely.


ALLEN: …Why?


GATES: Because it’s 2013.

That is awesome.
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I want Scouting to reach more kids, all kids that want to join. We need access to where they are, the public schools.


There are workarounds for the Pledge of Allegiance, swearing into office, taking the stand in court, joining the armed forces...and likely the Scout Oath and Law too.


Another $0.02


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I have no problem with the local option for gay leaders/scouts--as long as gay leaders are not forced on every unit--I think the CO should have the choice of leadership of their units. I have a problem with watering down the Scout oath to either be meaningless' date=' or to take out the reference to God.[/quote']


So do you think the Exploring program was adversely affected by moving to L4L, which (among other things) removed the religious references?



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Dan, I've heard that option (the "Czechoslovakian Option" or "The Velvet Divorce") floated as a possible solution. Usually from those on the other side, who would offer those who want a Boy Scouting + Gays (BS+G) offered the option of their own parallel organization. (Whether it becomes larger or smaller remains to be seen.) Both organizations would remain official programs of the BSA.





Let's say that National looks at the results of all the polls to which we've responded. They tally up the respondents who say that they want a BS+G org and will leave if they don't get it. They tally up all the respondents who want to continue the current policy (BS-G) and say they will leave if the policy is pushed on them. They tally up all those Mugwumps in the middle who advocate for the Local Option, and see how many will vote with their feet. For argument's sake, let's say the polling sample shows they will lose a lot more scouts and scouters with either a Local or a BS+G option. (Or, maybe the other way around.) Would you be okay with creating a smaller organization for those secular orgs or the liberal Protestant or other denominations who want to include gays, keep both groups under the BSA umbrella and give both groups access to all the facilities and camps, let them earn the same MBs and try for Eagle Scouts, but let the older group keep the Boy Scouts title. The BS+G org becomes the Boy Adventurers or the Boys United or the Rover Boys or the Boy Corps. Individuals and corporations could donate to whichever group they prefer with the check of a box. Parents and Scouts could choose which group they want to join. It's like charter schools - we let the marketplace of ideas contend. If the New Model Scouting (Local Option and/or BS+G) is the one boys clamor to join and parents want their kids to be a part of, it will survive and prosper and the traditional model will die out. Or, possibly the opposite.






For Merlyn, the New Model Scouting can have COs that will admit girls, that will admit atheists, that will admit polygamists, no discrimination at all. Let a thousand flowers bloom, let a thousand schools of thought contend.






The Czechoslovakian Option would probably work better than the Local Option, in my opinion. The traditional Boy Scouts retain their name, customs and traditional moral focus. The New Model Scouting organization gets what it wants, can admit anyone they want, and as they remain two separate organizations, the traditional Boy Scouts retain legal protections by not altering their core moral mission under Dale.






Now, many advocates of the New Model of Scouting may argue that they shouldn't have to give up the brand of Boy Scouts. Fair enough, I would be okay with giving the original title to whichever group is larger.






Or we could do like Czechoslovakia when it split, and divide the name up. The New Model could become the "Boys of America" ("a branch of the Boy Scouts of America, Inc.") and the traditionalists become the "Scouts of America." ("a branch of the Boy Scouts of America, Inc.) Both are free to identify themselves as part of the BSA.






I like this option more than the Local Option, actually. It's probably the best option we can come up with at this time, as some in National have screwed up so monumentally. It doesn't force people (on either side) into moral compromise, clearly differentiates the core missions of the two groups, and lets the free market decide which of the two models of organizations they prefer.





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"Czechoslovakian Option"? Really? I would walk if they were morally cowards enough to do that. For me it's basically the local option or nothing at this point. If they don't go with the local option, they are saying that they don't believe in their own by-laws ("totally non-sectarian" is incompatible with the current policy) and are caving in to bigotry. They will be saying that unless you are a conservative Christian, you are not welcome. That will be a sad day.


AZMike, since you obviously don't agree with the BSA bylaws and the fact that the B "totally non-sectarian", what are you doing here?

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>>and then interpreting (more like mis-interpreting as every passage has dozens or more different interpretations) it's meaning to bend it to their beliefs..<<


How do you know? Is any kind of interpretation really the problem? Several folks on this forum believe the bible is nothing more than an over-interpreted history book. How would they know what is mis-interpreted?


From these definitions, I think most of us here are Scouter Thumpers.



Well that is why I said "more like", as out of the 20 interpretations of the passage, they might have the correct interpretation as the writer intended.. But, then does the writer have the correct interpretation of what God or Jesus intended, or the original writer wrote in the original scrolls... Or is the Bible your reading from a more modernized revision, where the writer revised an English version to be more current English, but in so doing reinterpreted the Bible himself..


So even getting the correct interpretation of what the writer wrote, does not mean you have the correct interpretation...

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Interesting this is a fine policy with you MikeAZ.. Like Venturing the programs would mix & shuffle at camporees and summer camps... The district & Council volunteers & professional staff will need to support both, and being limited in staff and camp property, it will simply be practicle to combine them into merged events.. OH, NO.. Gays would still be at your camporees and camps !!! What will you do?? (oh yeah, they are there, you just are blissfully ignorant of who they are)


Seriously, a troop down the street that will accept gays has you up in arms if they are still called Boy Scouts, But a troop down the street that is called Scouts of America is fine to accept gays, because you are the Boys of America not the Scouts of America.. In the rest of the program you are the same, and still share the same camporees & scout camps & training..

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I am neither White, nor Anglo-Saxon, nor Protestant, Basementdweller.


Scouts have to deal with groups with homosexual members all the time, moosetracker. They can continue to do so with the two group policy that Dan suggested, and I would suggest that each group can pursue its own policies with a strict policy of courtesy and tolerance to those of the other organization, just as Scouts should do in their normal dealings with people outside the Boy Scouts. If, as you claim, Scouting membership will explode under the New Model policy you desire, then membership and staffing will no longer be a problem.


Rick, so you have made the decision to pull your kids out of Scouting if you don't get the Local Option?


Moosetracker and Basementdweller, do you feel the same way?


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Earlier today I posted the following as a comment to the March 14 Scouting Magazine blog on the membership topic:




I am grateful to BSA and my council for providing multiple opportunities and forums for discussion of this issue (including this blog  thanks, Bryan!). My position has evolved over the last couple of weeks as a result of trying to understand what others were saying and why, and trying to translate my own views and feelings into reasonable statements.


I am still firmly convinced that we need a Scouting program that is open to all regardless of sexual orientation or belief in God. But because of these discussions, I am also convinced that we need a Scouting program in which people of faith can feel comfortable, welcome, and supported in pursuing their duty to God, even when that means that sincere, reasoned, and well-formed belief requires the active avoidance of certain influences and environments. That is the program that the Boy Scouts of America has been providing. If BSA stops providing such a program, our members of faith will find it elsewhere or build it themselves, as they are entitled to do under our distinctly American principles.


There is no organization that can do a Scouting-type program in the United States better than the BSA. There is no reason that we cannot do it in both Vanilla Bean and Rainbow Sherbet flavors.


In fact, we already are. In 2012, there were 116,589 youth in 5,285 Explorer posts. The career-oriented Exploring program is under BSA’s subsidiary, the Learning for Life corporation (LFL). In 1998, BSA’s traditional Exploring program was split into Venturing, which remained a traditional program in BSA, and the current LFL Exploring program. And that split was a result of precisely the same issues we are dealing with today. Career-oriented Explorer posts were sponsored by governmental units and other organizations increasingly uncomfortable with BSA’s exclusionary membership standards. And so those posts were moved to LFL and are governed by LFL’s non-discrimination policy: “Color, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic background, disability, economic status or citizenship is not criteria for participation.†Explorer posts work just like traditional BSA units, and are supported by our councils just like traditional BSA units.


We already have the Venturing/Exploring experience as a prototype. Let’s use the structure and resources we already have to expand our Scouting program to serve not only our current membership, much of which is provided by faith-based organizations, but also the youth we have been missing out on all of these years because we have not been welcome in schools and other governmental and inclusive community organizations. We know what a strong outdoor-based character and leadership program can do. Now is the time for a complete (and fully co-ed) LFL Scouting program that parallels our traditional BSA Scouting programs. Those who seek a forward-looking non-discriminatory Scouting program can find it in BSA’s LFL Scouting; those who seek the comfort of a “traditional†Scouting program can find it in BSA’s current programs with their existing policies.


All this time, we could have done so much and served so many. America needs us now more than ever. It is not too late for us to come into the 21st century  or to capture it and make it our own.


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To AZMike's questions about the mechanics, my initial thoughts are these: (1) The current Boy Scouts of America traditional programs would remain exactly as they are. No changes to anything, including their nomenclature and policies. (2) The LFL Scouting program would be essentially identical except as needed to accommodate LFL's nondiscrimination policy and every program being co-ed. (3) Every current BSA unit and every current BSA member would have the opportunity to transfer to the new Scouting program under Learning for Life. (4) As for names, I was thinking something simple, like LFL Cub Scouts (Cub Scout counterparts), LFL Junior Varsity Scouts (Boy Scout counterparts -- since they would be co-ed, "Boy" doesn't work), and LFL Varsity Scouts (Varsity and Venturing counterparts), with career-oriented Exploring remaining as it is. (5) At least initially, we retain an identical rank structure, including Eagle Scout, and all completed requirements carry over from the traditional programs to LFL Scouting. With time, they may diverge, but keeping things practically identical will help the transition and ongoing support from Council and National. A lot of publications will need only some changes to the covers and excising material not compatible with the non-discrimination policy. Rank and position insignia and merit badges would all stay the same for both programs. (6) LFL SCOUTING UNITS WOULD _NOT_ PARTICIPATE IN THE SAME ACTIVITIES, TRAINING, OR OTHER EVENTS AS TRADITIONAL UNITS. If we've gone to all this trouble to not force folks with moral objections into rubbing shoulders with gay and lesbian Scouts and leaders, we can't "backdoor" it by forcing them together at events and activities. That would be no better than the "local option." That does not mean, however, that we need completely separate support structures. District and Council paid staff and some of the volunteers can service both organizations. This would likely be in the form of folks from the "traditional" side assisting with the LFL side, but not vice-versa. (7) The Order of the Arrow and any other multi-unit or broad-based organizations would remain only within the traditional BSA program. As with camporees, training, and other events and activities, we can't force frequent or regular mixed gatherings. Mixed gatherings would be similar to international events where people with different Scouting traditions gather. However, folks from the other program can always be invited to participate as guests in regular events. At least initially, I would expect that this would usually be the LFL folks inviting traditional folks. (8) Camps and high adventure bases would be open to both, but segregate them where reasonably possible.


Hope that helps.


Dan Kurtenbach

Fairfax, VA

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I think Az is looking to join the american Heritage boys. WASPhood at it's finest.



I am good with local option.....But I am also concerned how the Anti gay units will treat the units tagged as welcoming gays.

How does the comment "wasphood at its finest" help the discussion? It comes across sounding like a personal dig or someone making fun of gays or any other minority. I doubt if that was your intent.
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AZMike asks: "Rick, so you have made the decision to pull your kids out of Scouting if you don't get the Local Option?"


I am beginning to lean that way. I haven't decided yet, it depends on how it plays out. Basically, the BSA needs to decide, are they a conservative Christian organization, or do they believe their own bylaws and are "totally non-sectarian"? Are they going to continue to heap disrespect on Unitarians and other more welcoming faiths (I am Unitarian if you want to know)? A no on the local option is sending the message to non-conservatives that they are not welcome in scouting. What I do NOT understand, is how so many conservatives appear to believe that a yes on the local option means that they are no-longer welcome. Their COs will still be able to follow their own beliefs in their selecting leaders and members, how is allowing others to do the same an attack?


AZMike, I noticed you haven't given an opinion on how the current membership standard matches with being "totally non-sectarian". Do you think the BSA should try and live up to that part of it's bylaws? Do you think that is part of scouting values?

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