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qwazse

Helping Scouts With Objections

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I certainly would not bring his religious beliefs into question. That would be a big turn-off for a religious 17 year old. Personally, I agree with TJ in thinking that most anti-gay people are that way for reasons that have nothing to do with religion and use it as a justification, but that doesn't necessarily apply to a young guy like that. Talking about the fact that he will pretty much have to associate with people who have different beliefs of all kinds in his life would be a better approach. Certainly associating with people who are openly gay is going to be a bigger issue as time goes on, so preparing kids for that is not a bad objective in Scouting. I just read a local article about Gay Days at Disney World. The article points out how much more accepted they are now than back when they started Gay Days. Disney takes no stand on Gay Days, but they sell a lot of red and rainbow merchandise during this time of the year. :) It was mentioned that a straight parent was quoted as saying they purposely brought their kids during this time of the year just to expose them to the idea of tolerance. Who'd have thunk?

 

Along the lines of this issue, I keep hearing about the lack of anti-gay policies "back in the day,"

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If he's prepared to walk away from earning Eagle for his beliefs then tread lightly. Don't say anything that directly contradicts his belief system and do not, under any circumstances, call him a bigot.

 

If you or he want to be cynical; if he makes Eagle before 1/1/14 then it will be under the old membership policy.

Your post is an excellent example of bigotry. Way to go...

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If he's prepared to walk away from earning Eagle for his beliefs then tread lightly. Don't say anything that directly contradicts his belief system and do not, under any circumstances, call him a bigot.

 

If you or he want to be cynical; if he makes Eagle before 1/1/14 then it will be under the old membership policy.

TJ,

 

That went a little over the top. You do a disservice to our viewpoint when you act just as bad as a televangelist.

 

You may be right about a 1000 years from know but I doubt it. People are very uncomfortable with their mortality and will always seek peace with it. Science will never have all the answers to our existence and people want answers. Others provide those answers, I cannot disprove all of them nor do I want to. They may be right. Science does not have a solid explanation for something out of nothing.

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qwazse, I deleted your duplicate thread for you.
You missed the 2nd duplicate in the Working With Kids subforum.

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Unfortunately' date=' this scout is getting his hatred from home so there is not much that we as scouters can do about that...[/quote']

 

How do you know his objection is "hatred?" I did not see that in the OP.

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Tell him that if he will only associate with people who agree with him 100% he will be very lonely in life. You have to take the bad with the good in most cases. There are all kinds of immoral behavior that we don't kick people out of scouting for...love the sinner, hate the sin, and so on.
Did you pick "ThomasJefferson" as your username for the humorous irony of your childish petulance being associated with that name?

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Unfortunately' date=' this scout is getting his hatred from home so there is not much that we as scouters can do about that...[/quote']

 

How do you know his objection is "hatred?" I did not see that in the OP.

I thought K was referring to the scout (one of two) he actually had to deal with, not mine who I never met (who, by the way, I have yet to hear from).

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How about this: Tell him the truth - that this was the result of an extremely divisive vote, and that some adults in the organization voted to change the traditions of the BSA. It was a political decision, as factions within the BSA who felt it was the right thing to change the policy, contended against those who felt the traditional policy was correct and should remain. As a result of the vote, many friendships have been ruptured, many good men and women and scouts will be leaving the BSA, probably forever, and we will almost certainly see a net loss of leadership over the years. Those who support the inclusion of openly homosexual scouts also mostly support the inclusion of openly homosexual leaders, and this will probably almost inevitably happen, sooner or later. This will probably also cause a greater loss of adult leaders and scouts. Those who support the inclusion of bisexual men, homosexual men, and transsexual men in the BSA see their cause as such a worthy goal, that they consider the loss of all those people and the traditions of scouting as an acceptable price to pay. Many of these supporters also support the loss of your scout's friends and leaders as they think it will purify the BSA of people who don't think like them and don't share their values, and will lead to a more homogenous BSA. No pun intended.

 

Your scout's religious beliefs are in line with the vast majority of all religions on the planet, and they are nothing for him to be ashamed of. The fact that he holds his moral beliefs to be more important than being a member of an organization, or holding a title or a rank, or wearing a uniform, however hard he has worked towards those goals or however attractive they might seem to him, already means even if he chooses to leave scouting, he has already learned the most important lesson that the "old" scouting program had to offer him - that is, to do what he thinks is right even if it isn't popular, or if it isn't in accord with popular culture. He has fulfilled the goals of scouting in a manner far better, and far more impressively, than becoming an "Eagle" or anything else could do - he has become a Man, in the truest sense of the term.

 

Obviously, it is not your purpose, and it would be extremely objectionable, to try to argue him out of one of the tenets of his religious faith. That is not your role, or the role of anyone else in that scout's life except his family or his religious leader. I know no one on this forum would consider trying to do that.

 

But...

 

You may also consider telling him that as this was a political decision, it can also be changed... as a political act. This is one of the lessons of citizenship that we try to teach. If an organization (or a government) does something with which you disagree, you can quit...or you can stay and work to change it from within. Should he choose to stay in scouting, if he feels strongly about his beliefs, then he should make his goal to restore scouting to what he thinks it was, and could be once again.

 

You should tell him that this will be an extremely unpopular position to take, both with many adult leaders who feel that this is now the status quo as well as some scouts and parents, and certainly with the media, and that the decision to change the policy, in the words of the scout executives, will not be revisited. For many on the left, the feeling is that "what's mine is mine, and what's yours is...negotiable." Tell him that this, of course, is self-serving nonsense - nothing in politics is ever finally decided, and the landscape of American politics is littered with the shattered remains of ideas that were once held to be "settled." If he chooses to go this route, he should talk it over very carefully with his parents, but if he chooses to go forward with it, great! He will remain in scouting and still be true to his ideals. It will be a hard trail to take, and he should remember that, as James Thurber said, you should never wear your best suit when you go forth to fight for Truth and Justice.

 

You could recommend that he decide quite clearly what his goals are, and how to present them in a way that is consistent with the Scout Oath, the Scout Law, and the best ideals of citizenship and participatory democracy, and also how to present them in a way that is not needlessly hurtful or cruel to others. It will probably be more helpful, and honest, to frame the issue in terms of religious freedom and freedom of association, as those are constitutional principles that are directly applicable and with which most Americans are familiar. Suggest he decide what changes in the new policy he would like to see, at a council or at a national level, whether that is complete revocation of the new policy or modification. He should research how a member of an organization can effect change within that organization - the Citizenship in the Community merit badge handbook is not a bad start - and reading, and really understanding, Roberts Rules of Order is also helpful. He should educate himself on the administrative structure of the Boy Scouts, at the Council level and at the National level. It would be helpful for him to read some books on participatory democracy. Copies of Robert A. Heinlein's handbook on running a local political campaign, "Take Back Your Government" can still be found on Amazon or in Kindle edition, and it is still relevant as well as being a fun read. He can also probably find several books on how students with a traditionally religious or conservative background can effect change at a local level. He should also probably look at the other side's rulebook - Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals," if he's old enough enough to read it, can be an enlightening read.

 

One should always look at what the other side has done to see what can be learned from their successes, as well as where they faltered. The homosexual political pressure group "Scouting for All" made good use of social networks like Facebook petitions and Twitter campaigns, a tactic that was not really tried by those who wanted to keep traditional values in scouting. Your scout has the advantage of being young, so he grew up with, and is probably quite familiar with, digital media in a way that old fogies like you and I are not.

 

You could further advise your scout that if he feels strongly enough about his values to stay in the organization and fight for change, he needs to find allies. If other friends have left over the issue (and that's hard to deal with - we lost three scouts at last count, plus their parents, over this issue), suggest that he can call his friends who have left the troop, or boys he knows who have left other troops, or friends who have not been in scouting but share his values, and see if they would be interested in returning or joining to fight for what they think is right. As the well-publicized former eagle scouts who pushed (and continue to push) for adding a homosexual focus to scouting found strong allies in Scouting for Choice, GLAAD, and the ACLU, he should research legal foundations that are directly concerned with religious freedoms. He may need their help at some point.

 

Will he succeed? Perhaps not. But he won't know until he tries, and at least he won't ever feel like he didn't give his best. As the former Chief Scout Citizen once said, it is better to spend oneself in a worthy cause, knowing that if at worst, if he or she fails, one at least failed while daring greatly. And encourage him to stay in scouting as an adult leader, past Eagle.

 

Plus, it can be grand fun to be a burr under the plush saddles of the politically correct. Trust me.

That may be (and probably is) way more than your scout would consider. He may simply choose to quit and focus on school sports, or finding a summer job, or just stay home and play video games, or something. But here's hoping he doesn't. We need to retain people with high ideals in scouting.

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Tell him that if he will only associate with people who agree with him 100% he will be very lonely in life. You have to take the bad with the good in most cases. There are all kinds of immoral behavior that we don't kick people out of scouting for...love the sinner, hate the sin, and so on.
As the real Thomas Jefferson wrote a bill that called for homosexual men to be castrated, your choice of a screen name is weirdly ironic.

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Nothing under this new policy compromises HIS faith or beliefs. And from a very practical standpoint, it doesn't change his relationship to Scouting nor his relationship to others Scouts. SHould there be any gay Scouts whom he meets in his troop, he need interact with them just like any other scout -- and certainly in Scouting neither boys religion or faith or sexuality should impact the Scouting program. If it does for either him, or his fellow gay Scouts, that's not how it should be. Scouting should support his faith life, not define it.

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