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NH195SM

Is your troop/pack in danger?

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I don't think that we are in any danger. Our troop is sponsored by a theologically conservative church, but we are in an upscale professional area and more understanding of shades of gray, I suspect. I've started a conversation with the church leadership on the topic and my sense is that the local option is satisfactory. The church still gets to pick the leaders, they should not be any more vulnerable to lawsuits than they are right now over who they pick for Sunday School teachers, and the values of the Scout Law have not changed. In all these respects, really, nothing has changed. Between the church leaders, the Scout leaders, and all the parents, there are well over one hundred adults - and thus far not one has yet expressed any concern to me.

 

I do not expect any change, and the absolute farthest I'd imagine they could possibly go would be to ask the troop to be sponsored by a "Friends of" organization (or other organization) but would still be able to meet at the church. There are quite a few church members involved in the troop, and the church tends to be responsive to its members.

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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".

 

On ghjim's comment, do you feel that liberals do not also require that everybody be forced to subscribe to their value system? Do many liberals not require that contraceptives and abortifacients be paid for by all employers, regardless of their religious views? Do many liberals not feel that a (liberal) government will be the best judge of how a person's earnings should be reapportioned? Do many liberals not feel that the importance of public education is such that voucher-based school programs should not be allowed? This is something about liberal thought/philosophy that has left me puzzled ever since childhood...

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I realize that some sponsors may have concerns about discrimination suits, but as a practical matter, the Dale case established that the BSA (and therefore its COs) is a private organization and may set boundaries on membership. Local option would not change that. Which is not to say there might not be test cases, but those are possible under current BSA rules.

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I realize that some sponsors may have concerns about discrimination suits, but as a practical matter, the Dale case established that the BSA (and therefore its COs) is a private organization and may set boundaries on membership. Local option would not change that. Which is not to say there might not be test cases, but those are possible under current BSA rules.
Didn't the BSA contend in Dale that exclusion of homosexuals was part of its core mission? If the BSA is no longer stating that, then the Dale precedent may no longer stand.

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What some of you seem to not understand is that the BSA has been taking membership hits, some very hard since the 1970's because of some of the half baked ideas and changes that have come out of National, and has still survived. At least the CO will have the control on this issue since National is too cowardly to take a stand. You might be surprised how little impact this change will have on an already struggling organization.

 

For the proscouters at National it is all and only about the money, they need deep pocket corporate sponsors to keep the Summit, HA bases, and the obscenely high salaries at National going.

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I haven't had any serious converstions with our CO yet. We may continue with the program but our troop will not participate in any council activites. No camp, camporees of FOS campaigns. It really won't matter because BSA will be a mere shadow of itself in ten years, if it exists at all. Does anyone really believe that there will be a massive influx of new members because of this? Look to Scouts in Canada as a reference. As I understand, their membership declined by 50% after they made the decision.

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The day before the postponement of the decision was announced, we heard from one of our LDS Stakes that they were not going to recharter their units if the decision went to change the policy. That is 35% of our units. Take that for what it is. They are now rechartering but it could all be up in the air again in May.

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The day before the postponement of the decision was announced, we heard from one of our LDS Stakes that they were not going to recharter their units if the decision went to change the policy. That is 35% of our units. Take that for what it is. They are now rechartering but it could all be up in the air again in May.
WalnutDC, do you think they are really going to let their charters expire because some OTHER units may no longer be automatically excluding gay leaders? I'll believe it when it actually happens. It seems so illogical. I guess I have seen stranger things in my life, but not much.

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The day before the postponement of the decision was announced, we heard from one of our LDS Stakes that they were not going to recharter their units if the decision went to change the policy. That is 35% of our units. Take that for what it is. They are now rechartering but it could all be up in the air again in May.
There are LDS troops in Canada. Also, I wonder if the local LDS stake or ward has a say in the matter.

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Walnut

 

As far as the LDS is concerned that decision will be and can only be made by the Church President and council in Salt Lake City who governs all LDS stakes nationwide. As NJ stated I doubt as well that there will be a mass signup of gay scouts and scouters if this change goes through. As far as boycotting council events all you will be doing id depriving the boys of the full scouting experience which is a little short sighted and immature if you ask me. What are you afraid of your boys will turn gay or what? I doubt strongly you or the boys will even be able to tell which scouts are gay at big events.

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Like NJ I'll believe the mass exodus when I see it. There may be a small number of COs that pull out, but most once they understand they are free to continue to discriminate based on sexual orienatation will stay on.

 

1. Loss of a CO doesn't necessarily mean loss of a unit. In many cases another CO can be found that would support a unit either allowing or not allowing gay members.

 

2. How many Christian congregations have folded because some other Christian congregations accept gay members?

 

SA

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I agree with BadenP and Scoutingagain. I also think there is a lot of misunderstanding "out there" about what the proposed policy actually is. The media focuses on "the Boy Scouts may admit gay members" and a lot of people think it will affect their unit, and the result appears to be that some people are getting ready to stampede out the door, over nothing. (Well, almost nothing.)

 

I saw a lot of this misunderstanding last week when the subject came up among the adults assembled at our troop meeting. (It was kind of interesting because as far as I know, our troop has never had a "group discussion" of this subject before, or at least in the past 10 years.) Misunderstanding of both the current policy and the prospective future policy was rampant. I tried to clear up the situation, but some people weren't ready to listen. And it wasn't that anyone was really upset -- I think the Scouters in our troop are prepared for our CO to impose an "inclusive" policy if given the opportunity to do so, and nobody is likely to leave over it (though I'm not sure about some of the parents) -- it's more that people think they know the facts and aren't ready to believe otherwise. I would "credit" BSA National, and the haphazard and confusing way they have handled this issue over the years (and especially in the last few weeks) for the widespread misunderstanding of the situation and the proposed change.

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ghjimcommented

 

#20.1

 

 

Yesterday, 01:25 PM

 

 

Editing a comment

 

 

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.

.....................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Just one of many reasons, but the biggest question that comes to my mind at this moment, is how then do the local units differentiate?

Should the gay friendly unit now advertise as such?

Should the heterosexual only unit advertise their stance?

That in itself is counter to what I believe scouting is and should be.

I personally don't want this issue of "orientation" even mentioned to the boys.

It is, plain and simple, inappropriate and out of place in an audience of kids!

 

 

 

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Side comment to BadenP: Usually your negative (and sometimes nasty) comments about BSA National seem very exaggerated and unnecessary to me. But on this subject, it is difficult for me to image a group of highly paid professionals, with their public relations advisors and consultants, handling a situation worse than National has handled this one, and I am talking specifically about the last month. It is almost as if they were TRYING to damage the organization that pays their salaries. I don't think they really are, which I guess just leaves massive incompetence as the explanation. However this all plays out, and assuming there is still a BSA to run after it's all over, I hope this organization can figure out a different and better way to govern itself.

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ghjimcommented

 

#20.1

 

 

Yesterday, 01:25 PM

 

 

Editing a comment

 

 

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.

.....................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Just one of many reasons, but the biggest question that comes to my mind at this moment, is how then do the local units differentiate?

Should the gay friendly unit now advertise as such?

Should the heterosexual only unit advertise their stance?

That in itself is counter to what I believe scouting is and should be.

I personally don't want this issue of "orientation" even mentioned to the boys.

It is, plain and simple, inappropriate and out of place in an audience of kids!

 

 

Perhaps some will advertise, use word of mouth, or it will just be apparent from the membership.

 

It doesn't take long to feel unwelcome. Back in the "60's I attempted to join my church's troop but was turned as were all "public school" Catholics. I was welcomed by a Presbyterian unit down the street which accepted all denominations but not all races. Neither unit would accept blacks due to "safety concerns".

 

One Monday night, another spawn of the devil arrived, a "public school" Catholic. He wore leg braces. He asked to join our troop. The reception was mostly cold. What activities could he participate in, what happens if he gets hurt, how could he advance (they were no alternate requirements)? He said he would do just do his best. That response gave our adult leaders pause and we had our first handicapped scout. A few other handicapped scouts joined in following years but none stayed long. Someone proposed that if there were alternate rank requirements, handicapped scouts might stay in Scout longer in order to advance. They did stay longer but I think because they felt more welcomed by the alternate requirements.

 

I wonder there are countries where any boy who wants to be scout may join any unit without mention of denomination, race, handicaps, or orientation.

My $0.01 for rambling,

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