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Is your troop/pack in danger?

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I talked briefly with my UMC minister this sunday. His position was he loves having a large Troop in a small church. And he says he can be welcoming to Gays at the church and at the Troop while not embracing the lifesttle. BUT his main concern was, in a small cash strapped church, the fear of a local option leaving the local church on its own to spend $$$ to defend itself from litigation from either disgruntled side. So he is waiting on National Methodist leadership to figure that out. But he was worried and he is a pretty level-headed pragmatic minister.

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Change is hard. There probably would be an initial drop but nobody knows how much. A lot of people said they'd move to Canada or secede right before the last two presidents were elected and I'm not sure either did.

 

I suspect there are a lot of boys out there that would like what we have to offer but don't really know what that is because it's filtered by their parents who also don't know. National recognizes this and has said they don't control the message. They're right about that. Right now the message is gays. It doesn't matter what side you're on. For outsiders that want things to stay the same they see Boy Scouts as the last place they can put their kids. For outsiders that want a change they see it as a place with bigots. They're both wrong. For most of us that volunteer we see it as fun with a purpose, nobody talks about gays. I'd like to see the message get back to fun with a purpose.

 

If the boy scouts can gain control of the message I think the membership will rise. Right now, the message couldn't be worse.

AZMIke, if we left it up to the boys, the policy would change today

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My dad is a health insurance salesman and he is really struggling right now. He's very liberal and was excited for the new healthcare program, but now admits healthcare is more in a mess than ever and people are scared. But, he said, the biggest problem he is seeing is folks are just plain tired of talking about it. They just want the discussion to go away. That's what concerns me, folks are just plain tired of hearing about the BSA and leaving or not joining is the easiest way of staying out of the conversation.

 

As I said before, other scouting organizations in North America took big hits when they changed their policy to accept gays, and athiest for that matter. However, I've been wondering if the BSA drama could help those programs now, or make it worse for everyone. Is youth scouting in general on it's way out leaving it to local sponsors to use as youth programs?

 

Barry

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I talked briefly with my UMC minister this sunday. His position was he loves having a large Troop in a small church. And he says he can be welcoming to Gays at the church and at the Troop while not embracing the lifesttle. BUT his main concern was, in a small cash strapped church, the fear of a local option leaving the local church on its own to spend $$$ to defend itself from litigation from either disgruntled side. So he is waiting on National Methodist leadership to figure that out. But he was worried and he is a pretty level-headed pragmatic minister.
I don't know of any suits of a troop allowing homosexuals attend. And I don't know on what grounds such a suit would be raised. As long as the troop was following BSA policies, the BSA will defend them and the CO.

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Replying to what bnelon said, I would assume that the Dale decision applies to other private, non-governmental organizations as well, allowing them to set membership standards. Suing the chartering organizaition (a scout unit is not a legal entity), would be akin to a Jewish kid suing the local Catholic church because they won't let him be an altar boy. It's a non-starter.

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Why can't BSA just have a form of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"? I mean, as Scouters we never wear our religion, politics or sexual orientation on our sleeve, so why this need to be "openly gay" in Scouting. I am not "openly heterosexual" when at Scouting events, so why wouldn't don't ask, don't tell work? I think this will open up a whole can of worms which is being covered in another thread. Guys not wanting to tent with a gay scout, harassement, teasing, etc. I mean, we are talking teenage boys here...not the most sensible lot in the world to begin with.

 

I sort of feel like Dana Carvey doing his "Grumpy Old Man" bit, but somethings are just better left alone and unsaid. We should be focusing on leadership development and teaching these kids outdoor skills. Having openly anything that is not Scouting is a distraction from that mission.

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Change is hard. There probably would be an initial drop but nobody knows how much. A lot of people said they'd move to Canada or secede right before the last two presidents were elected and I'm not sure either did.

 

I suspect there are a lot of boys out there that would like what we have to offer but don't really know what that is because it's filtered by their parents who also don't know. National recognizes this and has said they don't control the message. They're right about that. Right now the message is gays. It doesn't matter what side you're on. For outsiders that want things to stay the same they see Boy Scouts as the last place they can put their kids. For outsiders that want a change they see it as a place with bigots. They're both wrong. For most of us that volunteer we see it as fun with a purpose, nobody talks about gays. I'd like to see the message get back to fun with a purpose.

 

If the boy scouts can gain control of the message I think the membership will rise. Right now, the message couldn't be worse.

AZMike, I agree that scouting likes old fashioned skills. No doubt using cast iron is nothing to brag about at school. But I don't know any parents that wouldn't like their kids to know responsibility, teamwork, being selfless, how to take care of yourself, service, problem solving, .... Service is a popular thing now with younger people. Both my son and daughter are going to central america over spring break to help out. Two very different programs. They just want an adventure and someone else is willing to pay for it (nope, not me). Adreneline junkies like the outdoors. Hiking the grand Canyon is flat out cool. Tall ship sailing is so much better than a movie. Kids find more fun with the oddest things in the outdoors. To paraphrase a movie, we have the right stuff.

 

The churches can be the flash point of the culture war. It's not for me. I want to be able to walk into any school and be welcomed by all the teachers as someone that can help their students. Now, I can't even borrow a school parking lot for two hours while we collect food for the foodbank without the principal complaining.

 

We may have to agree to disagree on a few things, but there is a future for scouting.

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An article from the Hoover Institute that suggests the final solution for the BSA may be schism, and that the best we may be able to hope for in the Boy Scouts is the sort of velvet divorce that sundered Czechoslovakia into the Czech and Slovak Republics. Kind of depressing, and I doubt that even a split BSA (the Orthodox Boy Scouts of America and the Reformed Boy Scouts of America?) would shield the Orthodox from legal challenges to their use of government space and facilities:

 

 

"The shape and size of any collective organization requires a trade-off between two benefits. On the one hand, organizations can gain strength by admitting additional members, which gives them more resources for programs and more political and social clout. But, as that membership increases, internal cohesion starts to diminish, and the costs of governance of the organization increase when the preferences of its membership start to diverge.

 

 

"As the level of disagreement intensifies, the costs of maintaining the unified front increases. The single institution may well be better off if it divides itself into two halves, each of which is free to go its separate way. When religious disputes produce a schism, for example, it is necessary to decide which assets belong to which of the two dividing groups. This can often inject civil courts into religious disputes that they have little inclination to resolve. It would be better for the Scouts to reach an amicable separation before the organization has to resort to costly and bitter litigation.

 

 

"To this outsider, it looks as though the separation of the two factions—who are in conflict over the issue of admitting gays—will happen. That, on balance, will be for the better. Any effort to introduce a federalism-like solution whereby each particular troop or subunit is entitled to go its own way under a national umbrella will not ease the situation. The deep divisions here are along moral lines. So long as the subunits of the larger entity have to engage in any cooperative activities, the division of sentiment on the matter will only engender the old rivalries, which indeed are likely to go stronger as the separate blocs become more emphatic in their views.

 

 

"Come next May, when the Scouts reexamine this question, they should work for an amicable separation instead of a fractious union. Mutual toleration and peaceful coexistence may yet turn out to offer the best way forward."

 

http://www.hoover.org/publications/defining-ideas/article/140321

 

 

 

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That is very interesting, AZMike. I think you're correct about the legal challenges and I would think that a 'Reformed BSA' would probably grow and prosper partially BECAUSE of those factors, while the 'Orthodox (read: exclusive) BSA' would become increasingly marginalized. I think Hoover has a good idea, though, that just might work. The effect, essentially, is what is happening anyway.

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bnelon,

 

My point was his fear of the hassle and potential expense--warrented or not- leading him to decide that the perception of POTENTIAL of problems was not worth the distraction from his core mission. Which might kill the Troop in any case. Hence the need for clear guidelines from BSA and National CO's for local operators on the issue.

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I am the former SM of a troop sponsored by a volunteer fire company. The troop closed a few years ago, with no apparent connection to scout membership policies. Most of the families moved to another troop, which had just been chartered by a church, which to my knowledge, has no policy on gays as leaders. I am no lawyer, but I do know a bit about law. A fire company or a public school must operate under whatever state, federal or local law applies regarding discrimination. It does not matter if they are a BSA charter oeganization or not. A religious school or a church is protected by the first amendment, which apparently also covers BSA National. So in my opinion, if BSA adopts a local option religious CO's that retain a no gays policy will be in no additional jeapardy, and secular CO's that are bound by non discrimination laws will be relieved of a degree of risk.

 

I also think that BSA enjoys a huge reservoir of good will even among its criitics, and people are sometimes reluctant to attempt legal action.

 

Anyway, I see the local option as a win-win. It need only be as simple as "Scout leaders must be acceptable to the CO".

 

 

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I am the former SM of a troop sponsored by a volunteer fire company. The troop closed a few years ago, with no apparent connection to scout membership policies. Most of the families moved to another troop, which had just been chartered by a church, which to my knowledge, has no policy on gays as leaders. I am no lawyer, but I do know a bit about law. A fire company or a public school must operate under whatever state, federal or local law applies regarding discrimination. It does not matter if they are a BSA charter oeganization or not. A religious school or a church is protected by the first amendment, which apparently also covers BSA National. So in my opinion, if BSA adopts a local option religious CO's that retain a no gays policy will be in no additional jeapardy, and secular CO's that are bound by non discrimination laws will be relieved of a degree of risk.

 

I also think that BSA enjoys a huge reservoir of good will even among its criitics, and people are sometimes reluctant to attempt legal action.

 

Anyway, I see the local option as a win-win. It need only be as simple as "Scout leaders must be acceptable to the CO".

 

Like other posters on this forum, I am having a difficult time understanding the views of the people against the local option. It would seem that the fact that they can run their troop the way they want ought to satisfy them (everyone). But somehow their world view requires that everybody be forced to subscribe to their value system. This is something about conservative thought/philosophy that has puzzled me ever since childhood.

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AZMike, very interesting points. I especially align with the old fashioned thing. I am sort of drawn to the old fashioned and simple things. I don't really live that way, but I sort of long for the simpleness of them.

 

You said old-fashioned people are less common..... maybe. But maybe the definition of old-fashioned has changed. To us, it frontier skills, lashings, cast iron, or what have you..... but old fashioned to our younger generation just might be 8-bit computer games or "old" technology. To these people, our old-fashioned may just be plain old ancient :)

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That is very interesting, AZMike. I think you're correct about the legal challenges and I would think that a 'Reformed BSA' would probably grow and prosper partially BECAUSE of those factors, while the 'Orthodox (read: exclusive) BSA' would become increasingly marginalized. I think Hoover has a good idea, though, that just might work. The effect, essentially, is what is happening anyway.
So who gets Philmont?

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Why can't BSA just have a form of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"? I mean, as Scouters we never wear our religion, politics or sexual orientation on our sleeve, so why this need to be "openly gay" in Scouting. I am not "openly heterosexual" when at Scouting events, so why wouldn't don't ask, don't tell work? I think this will open up a whole can of worms which is being covered in another thread. Guys not wanting to tent with a gay scout, harassement, teasing, etc. I mean, we are talking teenage boys here...not the most sensible lot in the world to begin with.

 

I sort of feel like Dana Carvey doing his "Grumpy Old Man" bit, but somethings are just better left alone and unsaid. We should be focusing on leadership development and teaching these kids outdoor skills. Having openly anything that is not Scouting is a distraction from that mission.

That's currently what it is. They took the "are you gay" question off of all the forms years ago.

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