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Mr. Gates Address At National Meeting

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Welcome to the forums, angler. It isn't often that one first-time member challenges another first-time member. I hope you will take the opportunity to join other threads as vigorously. As noted to the object of your comment, the Issues & Politics forum can sometimes be rough around the edges. I hope you'll come to enjoy the more-positive areas of the forums as well.

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Thank you packsaddle for your kind welcome.  I generally prefer to introduce myself with a courteous-but-firm knock on the door and a handshake, rather than a battering ram and a flash bang.  But sometimes the latter is more appropriate to the situation.

 

I appreciate that political forums can get a bit rough; I don't relish antagonism.  In the proper spirit of scouting among scouters I'd like to speak the truth as best I understand it, without personal insult but also without apology or dilution, and be open to fair persuasion and education from others.  You probably won't see me here very often but I appreciate the opportunity to participate and I hope I'll contribute something useful.

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Adamcp, welcome to the forums. Please be advised, Issues and Politics sometimes can be rough around the edges. The other forums, on the other hand, offer help and support for a wide variety of scouting topics.

Thanks for the welcome, and I appreciate the advice. Compared to other sites on the interwebs, this site seems quite well reasoned and respectful, even on the more sensitive issues.

 

I know it was my first post, inspired by the facts that I do have strong feelings on the matter, I hope to stick around and contribute/ask advice on matters more relevant to the day-to-day Scouting that my boys and I do (and my wife is wonderful to support). We're a rather "all in" scouting family.

 

And it certainly was nothing personal with Bad Wolf. I agree with quite a lot of his posts on other forum topics and appreciate his scouting wisdom.

 

Thanks again.

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Separate but equal was properly struck down as a policy of government in the United States.  That decision has no relevance to the proposal within scouting to repeal the ban against homosexual adult leaders.  Insinuating that those whose values you reject are racists is an intellectually dishonest argument.

 

Do you seriously contend that organizations cannot maintain membership standards which exclude some people?  That is the implication of your statement.

There was no insinuation that the original poster was racist, and that is a poor reading of my point. Rather, my point is that a separate scouting program would not be equal (and would exclude boys/adults from their own community) and therefore would be a poor solution to membership issues of any kind. TrailLife is certainly entitled to creating their own program (and I wish them well, there are boys lives and futures at stake after all), but it is not, in my opinion, a viable solution to the larger issue.

 

And yes, I contend that organizations cannot maintain memberships standards which exclude people when those standards are inherently discriminatory at the level of basic human rights. That is exactly what I am intending to convey. I imagine that you disagree on his particular topic. Not likely either of us will change our mind.

 

I imagine we may agree on many other topics relevant to Scouting, and I hope we may greet one another on those issues, at other times, and in other forums.

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Yes, welcome Adamcp..  Didn't notice this was your first post to the forum..  So ditto and what Packsaddle said...   But, perhaps you have been a lurker for a while so know your way around, seeing that the moderators have changed things so you have to work harder to search this area out. Seeing that your first comment is in this area, it sort of points to this.. Or perhaps your interests lie in I&P, and you found this thread by surfing the web for this specific topic.. Which if you have posted or read comments from other political arenas around the web, well then we are quite rough for scouting but mild compared to other political discussion boards.. We try to argue (strongly at times) the comments and the ideas and we don't go into personal attacks..

Thanks, moosetracker. You were correct in your first assumption. As I have taken on a more active role in my Troop, I have looked to this forum for advice on Patrol Method, uniform issues, advancement tracking, service projects, and much more. This far, I had always been granted plenty to chew on simply from lurking and searching, so I had not posted. (Thanks to all for your collective wisdom and previous guidance.)

 

Yes, I feel strongly about this particular membership issue, and I have been one of the members of the scouting community who participated in the BSA program with trepidation because of my disagreement with the former membership policies and the former (potential) implication that I was tacitly endorsing those policies via my participation in Scouting.

 

But I also enthusiastically participated in Scouting because of the benefits that Scouting granted my sons and my family from standpoints of community, leadership development, skills, fun, and friendship.

 

No worries about the thickness of my skin. I'm in as a Scouter for the long haul. And I also appreciate that good people can have extremely disparate opinions, and still be good people.

 

Thanks again for the welcome. And yes, I am heading back over to the Program sub-forum now! :-)

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There was no insinuation that the original poster was racist, and that is a poor reading of my point. Rather, my point is that a separate scouting program would not be equal (and would exclude boys/adults from their own community) and therefore would be a poor solution to membership issues of any kind. TrailLife is certainly entitled to creating their own program (and I wish them well, there are boys lives and futures at stake after all), but it is not, in my opinion, a viable solution to the larger issue.

 

And yes, I contend that organizations cannot maintain memberships standards which exclude people when those standards are inherently discriminatory at the level of basic human rights. That is exactly what I am intending to convey. I imagine that you disagree on his particular topic. Not likely either of us will change our mind.

 

I imagine we may agree on many other topics relevant to Scouting, and I hope we may greet one another on those issues, at other times, and in other forums.

 

I can't take seriously your argument that "separate but equal" carries no insinuation of racism.  The term has a long and well-established context in the legal and social history of the United States.  But I'll consider that your use of the term was merely naive rather than ill-intentioned, and I accept your quite reasonable argument that a separate scouting program would not be as effective as BSA.  I'm not convinced that would be a permanent condition, but it would certainly be true at the start.

 

Yes, I disagree with you on the fundamental that private organizations can't exclude people, for any reason they choose.  Many of those reasons for exclusion are certainly malignant, but is free association itself not a basic human right?  I admire and respect the uncompromising and forthright statement of your belief in response to my challenge, but I find it logically hard to sustain.  You concede that Trail Life is entitled to create its own program, but the very reason for that program is to maintain a membership standard which you argue that no one is entitled to maintain.  Are they entitled to maintain their program and standards or not?  If yes, then why can't BSA maintain its standards?  If no, why would you not advocate compelling Trail Life to change, rather than extending them sincere good wishes?

 

You and I probably would agree and collaborate on a long list of other items.  I appreciate very much that you would make that suggestion in this thread, and I join you in hoping we'll have the opportunity to do so.

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I can't take seriously your argument that "separate but equal" carries no insinuation of racism.

 

It doesn't.  "Separate but equal" is from the 14th amendment, which requires "...the equal protection of the laws."  This qualification of equality isn't restricted to racial equality, even if the most famous application was on race in Brown v. Bd of Edu. et al.  The exact phrase appears in other court opinions, and it's been applied to sex a number of times, and gays in Romer v. Evans.  It was even the basis of Bush v. Gore.

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It doesn't.  "Separate but equal" is from the 14th amendment, which requires "...the equal protection of the laws." 

 

The 14th Amendment does not include the term “separate but equal.† “Separate but equal†was ratified into American law with the Plessy decision of 1896, which was about race, and properly expelled from American law with the Brown decision of 1954, which was about race.  The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment provided the basis for the latter decision.  So not only is “separate but equal†*not* from the 14th Amendment, the 14th Amendment was the righteous instrument of its destruction as an acceptable policy of American government.

 

Yes the Equal Protection Clause has been used in other contexts, appropriately so.  “Equal Protection†is much broader than race.  “Separate but Equal†was strictly about race, both in its origin and its demise.

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So what about "Historically black colleges"  that want to STAY dominated by AfricaN aMERICANS

 

Affirmative Action plans that guarantee minorities proportional representation in employment, government contracting and college admissions whether the people being advantaged are equal or not?

 

Maternity leaves and family leave that gives women a right to take time off from work not needed for medical reasons?

 

 

My liberal friends do not oppose race, sex and other discrimination  --- not if they control the agenda of who receives the benefit. 

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The 14th Amendment does not include the term “separate but equal.â€

 

I know.  That's why I I quoted the 14th.

 

“Separate but Equal†was strictly about race, both in its origin and its demise.

 

Wrong.  The phrase "separate but equal" has been used in other court opinions that are not about race.

Edited by Merlyn_LeRoy

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Genders still get the separate-but-equal treatment in a lot of things.. Schools, sports, scouting.. I don’t know if schools are now better at this, one would hope so now that it is not assumed the #1 goal of a girl is to marry well.. Sports definitely unequal, obviously the money, time and promotion is all about the boys/men, women are lucky to get offered the ability to play the sport, and usually get the hand-me-downs in equipment and not the prime times for practice or games.. Best for girls to participate in a sport that is integrated like swimming, track, biking, skating etc..  Scouting I know little about the GSUSA, but know many girls would prefer the program BSA offers while I know of no boys who would prefer to join GSUSA (accept for the transgender child), so I would say it is not equal.

 

Starting a new Scouting program today has a lot of disadvantages to when BSA was started.. BSA was started when their were few after school programs for youth.. It now has history and tradition and recognition and still it is difficult for them to hold their own in a culture that offers a wide variety of programs for youth.. Also it is very expensive and difficult to find large plots of land to create a camps unless they can get the money to buy a camp BSA is selling.. Some might consider not having camps as a positive, but it does make it harder to bring large groups of people together in order to feel part of a large movement..

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So what about "Historically black colleges"  that want to STAY dominated by AfricaN aMERICANS

 

I don't see this a big liberal push on our agenda. It is simply the minority is not pushed to change as they are not doing it to enforce a superiority advantage.. Personally I hope to see these integrate as the more people intermingle (especially our youth) the more we will not judge by the color of our skin.

 

Affirmative Action plans that guarantee minorities proportional representation in employment, government contracting and college admissions whether the people being advantaged are equal or not?

 

This was never a separate but equal program.. It is the opposite it is to integrate a society that preferred separate but equal. Compared to what it was in the 70's and 80's it is quite weak now.. Luckily for the most part most schools & companies are past the need, although there are a few stubborn hold outs.

 

Maternity leaves and family leave that gives women a right to take time off from work not needed for medical reasons?

 

Again not a separate but equal program.. To be that mothers got maternity leave, and men/(women who do not have babies) would get __________???  Liberals are advocating for fathers to get maternity leave which would help make it equal for male/female parents, but no help for those who never have children.. What would you propose?

 

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Genders still get the separate-but-equal treatment in a lot of things..

 

Thanks Moosetracker for a fresh perspective on the question and a thought that challenges the position I've taken.  Merlyn_LeRoy and I aren't going to agree, but if there is an area where the words "separate but equal" have been interpreted in a legal opinion unrelated to race, it would probably be some kind of Title IX case.  I'll still contend that the common meaning of the term is the now-discredited legal doctrine of racial segregation in American government, regardless of where the term is used.  I suspect a google search on the term would confirm my position.

 

But continued dispute about that doesn't help scouting, or even illuminate the original issue of this thread.  You've done good work as a moderator in helping steer the discussion back toward the best interests of the scouts.  I wonder how much the "large movement" part of scouting is really vital.  I've only been in this game a few years, compared to the decades or generations of perspective other scouters bring to the table.  But the benefit I've seen in my son, and I hope the benefit I might have been able to provide to other scouts, has been at a more relational, small group level.  My son didn't learn his scouting skills in a group of thousands; perhaps a dozen on average.  And the opportunities I've had to encourage a boy during a Board of Review or in helping with an Eagle project didn't come from scouting's written standards or the BSA national council.  They were immediate things close to home, listening to what he felt he was up against and trying to share something from my own life that might inspire or clarify or encourage him.

 

The distinction between the national standards and the local unit will be a key to some sort of resolution on this membership proposal I think.  I've certainly come to draw a stark distinction between the two.  Some feel that the proposed change in national standards is a moral problem, others feel that the existing standard is a moral problem.  I'm not a moderate on this, I have a definite opinion.  But we all volunteer and work with actual people, not with a standard.  We do have to have written standards, and they should not be ignored once adopted; scouting advocates not only morals but spirituality, so we will unavoidably have fundamental issues of potential disagreement.  But if we can see scouting first as the face of a 13 year old kid learning to be self-reliant, rather than as a book of rules and standards to debate, maybe we can find our way.

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I'll still contend that the common meaning of the term is the now-discredited legal doctrine of racial segregation in American government, regardless of where the term is used.

 

"Separate but equal" means just that -- it's been in the news quite a lot regarding civil unions vs. gay marriage.

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I can't take seriously your argument that "separate but equal" carries no insinuation of racism.  The term has a long and well-established context in the legal and social history of the United States.  But I'll consider that your use of the term was merely naive rather than ill-intentioned, and I accept your quite reasonable argument that a separate scouting program would not be as effective as BSA.  I'm not convinced that would be a permanent condition, but it would certainly be true at the start.

 

Yes, I disagree with you on the fundamental that private organizations can't exclude people, for any reason they choose.  Many of those reasons for exclusion are certainly malignant, but is free association itself not a basic human right?  I admire and respect the uncompromising and forthright statement of your belief in response to my challenge, but I find it logically hard to sustain.  You concede that Trail Life is entitled to create its own program, but the very reason for that program is to maintain a membership standard which you argue that no one is entitled to maintain.  Are they entitled to maintain their program and standards or not?  If yes, then why can't BSA maintain its standards?  If no, why would you not advocate compelling Trail Life to change, rather than extending them sincere good wishes?

 

You and I probably would agree and collaborate on a long list of other items.  I appreciate very much that you would make that suggestion in this thread, and I join you in hoping we'll have the opportunity to do so.

 

Angler, I think you have a good point, and thanks for helping me think it through some more. It is inconsistent of me to suggest that Trail Life can sustain a program and set their memberships policy in the exclusionary ways that they have, while also suggesting that for the BSA (or for any group) such policy would be unsustainable due to that policy's discrimination against (my opinion) basic human rights.  I have to rethink my position on Trail Life (and I guess I already have). The fact that I hope that those boys and families have a good experience in their scouting endeavors should not affect my principles (especially when arguing principles!).  

 

Much obliged and good Scouting to you.

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