Jump to content
skeptic

Mr. Gates Address At National Meeting

Recommended Posts

Long-time lurker here, but also a long-time scouter (Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Eagle Scout, OA, Philmont, summer camp staff, adult leader). I find this development dismaying, but not because I have a fundamental problem with divergent sexual orientations.

 

When confronted with over-bearing and nonsensical policies, we complain that we are not allowed to excersise our judgement and rely on our competence when dealing with our Scouts. But the opposite of these restrictive polices, opening up the program to disruptive topics and conflicts, I believe further encourages a LESSER standard of judgement. 

 

I truly believe that anyone who feels compelled to make their sexual orientation such a core component of their identity that they MUST openly declare and promote it does not possess the maturity, discretion, and judgement to lead and mentor youth in the age range of Scouting. It opens the units, leaders, and parents up to the question of "What is gay?" among boys that do not have the maturity or experience to properly discuss and process topics regarding sex and sexuality. And I certainly do not believe that the vast majority of these individuals are qualified to lead any such discussion as they almost certainly will arise.

 

On organization competence, why are we contemplating the introduction of such an obviously incongruent element that the program is not designed to handle? And by past evidence, the ability of the organization to move in an efficient and effective manner to address these issues in a  timely and reasonable manner is sorely lacking. I lack complete confidnce in an organization to create sexual topic policies when they ban water guns for inter-youth play.

 

I'm disapointed by the abandonment of the 10th point of the Law: Brave. Rather than take a stand and defend the preferences of the majority of the families participating in the program, policy makers would rather bow down to supposedly popular and noisy sentiment and cave to corporate blackmail (see public comments and policies by AT&T, Disney, etc). 

 

I am also discouraged by the abandonment of the 2nd point of the Law: Loyal is also troubling. I have yet to personally encounter anyone within or outside of the Scouting program that is in favor of the direction policies regarding sexuality are headed. Instead of standing by the vast majority of those in the program (you know, the ones actually PARTICIPATING and DOING things in Scouitng), the powers that be are listening to the noise-makers, the cultural band wagoners, and those who state that THIS topic is the only thing keeping them from joining. I find it hard to believe that policies are being altered in fundamental opposition to the core beliefs of the program to the point of hypocrisy based merely on protests of a vocal minority.

 

I also fel there is a violation of the 9th point of the Law: Thrifty. Instead of being smart with the most valuable resource at its disposal, the active membership and supporters, The BSA is willing to throw this capital away in favor of appeasing a far lesser population that has yet to prove their participation in and value to the program.

 

I see the BSA following a path that leads to irrelevance and decline, both internally within the membership and externally to its value and influence. 

 

Sad.

Edited by numbersnerd
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would really like someone, anyone at all, to answer one question - How does a CO and Unit accepting gay and athiest scouts and leaders (local option) affect their own unit without going in to some kind of side rant about "tradition" and "family values" and "moral values", or some irrelevant discussion about whether membership numbers as a whole drops or rises.  I want to know precisely how one thinks a unit in the next campsite over, or in the next town over, that allows gay and athiests in negatively affects their own unit.

 

I have yet to find anyone that has ever been able to answer that questions, just like I have yet to find anyone that can explain just how the gay couple down the street's marriage affects their own, or how the Jewish couple moving in next door affects their own home.  So far, the gist of every argument I've ever seen boils down to "But then I can't ignore them". 

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OUR OATH CALLS UPON US TO DO OUR DUTY TO GOD AND OUR COUNTRY. THE COUNTRY IS CHANGING AND WE ARE INCREASINGLY AT ODDS WITH THE LEGAL LANDSCAPE AT BOTH THE STATE AND FEDERAL LEVELS. AND, AS A MOVEMENT, WE FIND OURSELVES WITH A POLICY MORE THAN A FEW OF OUR CHURCH SPONSORS REJECT – THUS PLACING SCOUTING BETWEEN A BOY AND HIS CHURCH.

Which is why the BSA has to go to some form of local control, it's the only way. Either that, or the BSA admits that "completely nonsectarian" is bunk and become another Trail Life.

 

As for the atheist issue, the BSA has to dump that too even if it's just for the reason they don't appear to understand what the word means.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would really like someone, anyone at all, to answer one question - How does a CO and Unit accepting gay and athiest scouts and leaders (local option) affect their own unit without going in to some kind of side rant about "tradition" and "family values" and "moral values", or some irrelevant discussion about whether membership numbers as a whole drops or rises.  I want to know precisely how one thinks a unit in the next campsite over, or in the next town over, that allows gay and athiests in negatively affects their own unit.

 

Simple: Members. Our members don't support it (the change). They will leave scouting, just as several units in our district have folded since 2013 for that very reason. Just as BSA saw a steep decline in membership after the last decision. Our members don't want to be part of an organization that allows this change. 

 

How is that position ANY DIFFERENT than the people who don't want to join scouting because of the current policy? The ONLY difference I see is that the current members stay in scouting because the believe and abide by the ideals and policies. Those who don't belong want BSA to change, though it is unclear if allowing gay scouters will be enough change for them.

 

Clear enough?

Edited by Bad Wolf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would really like someone, anyone at all, to answer one question - How does a CO and Unit accepting gay and athiest scouts and leaders (local option) affect their own unit without going in to some kind of side rant about "tradition" and "family values" and "moral values", or some irrelevant discussion about whether membership numbers as a whole drops or rises.  I want to know precisely how one thinks a unit in the next campsite over, or in the next town over, that allows gay and athiests in negatively affects their own unit.

 

 

One word: fear.  Before the Dale decision in 1999, I had a CO tell me that when the charter expires, they will no longer charter the pack. Reason being they were afraid teh Dale decision would go aganist the BSA and their religious beliefs. No matter what I said, i.e. you (the CO) have the ultimate decision in who the leaders are within the pack, their concearn was that whil they could chose and trust their own leaders, they couldn't trust the leaders of other units when the units were involved in distirct and council level events. They were afraid that leaders in other untis would try to harm their Scouts. 

  • Upvote 1
  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not surprised, although I did think they would give it more of a rest than two years.

 

Glad I'm retiring.

 

Hey, does this mean we can ignore the squirt gun ban too?

Edited by Twocubdad

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not surprised, although I did think they would give it more of a rest than two years.

 

Glad I'm retiring.

 

Hey, does this mean we can ignore the squirt gun ban too?

 

We are. We are seriously going to do water guns at our next meeting. Planning black powder for June. ATVs for July.

 

If councils can ignore policy so can units.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As much as I applaud this move am I missing something here....

 

How can any court affect the BSA membership policies after SCOTUS has already ruled?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Change is hard to accept sometimes.  I personally don't see this a caving in to outside pressure, as has been said many, many, many times.  My point has been all along that homosexual parents and non-parents who want to be volunteers in Scouting are just people.  Hopefully my message has been consistent.  One's personal definition of morality does NOT necessarily mean that's what is meant by "morally straight."  

 

There are a ton of heterosexual volunteers with questionable morals.  If opposition to a potential membership policy change is strictly based on not caving for the sake of caving then I say get over it. In my mind this is not about caving and saying "oh well, let's just throw in the towel because 'the gays' are bullying us into it."  It's more about giving a quality program to the youth without having to deny to a mom or dad the ability to participate in a Scouting with her/his son simply because they happen to be homosexual.  Homosexuals can live as moral a life as anyone else.  If your particular religion says otherwise then so be it.  Not all religious institutions agree.  Mine certainly doesn't.  Our CO, a Methodist church, stands firmly behind our Pack, Troop, and Crew and opposes the membership policy of discrimination.

 

(I thought I was done earlier but I guess I wasn't.   ;) )

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As to the "mission" and "policy" of the BSA, why is it not "officially" (I have yet to see this) based on the Scout Promise and Scout Law? 

"Transperancy" = Trustworthy

"Local Option"  = Loyal (to ones faith)

 and so forth....

The bureaucratese  that is often inherent in a large org such as BSA often comes from folks wanting to "make their mark", not so much clarify or define things.  What is a simpler guide than these long established and tested guidelines?  What better way to judge one's behavior or business?

 

I know from my own experience and hearing the stories of others, both here and elsewhere, that the biggest problem with some of our professional Scouters is a lack of adherence to those four promises and 12 "suggestions".

 

I wanted to hear Mr. Gates make more mention of Irving's ultimate "customer', the boy, but he did mention the Dens and Packs and Troops and their volunteer leaders.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found this statement interesting:

 

"AND IF WE WAIT FOR THE COURTS TO ACT, WE COULD END UP WITH A BROAD RULING THAT COULD FORBID ANY KIND OF MEMBERSHIP STANDARD, INCLUDING OUR FOUNDATIONAL BELIEF IN OUR DUTY TO GOD AND OUR FOCUS ON SERVING THE SPECIFIC NEEDS OF BOYS."

 

I interepret that to mean he thinks we better cave in to the gay issue or we will be forced to accept athiests and girls too.

 

Yes, that is what he is saying, except he is using the word "could" and you are using the word "will", which is not exactly the same thing.

Edited by NJCubScouter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As much as I applaud this move, I  am confused.  Hasn't SCOTUS already ruled on this?  How can any further court decisions change the BSA membership policies?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I truly believe that anyone who feels compelled to make their sexual orientation such a core component of their identity that they MUST openly declare and promote it does not possess the maturity, discretion, and judgement to lead and mentor youth in the age range of Scouting. It opens the units, leaders, and parents up to the question of "What is gay?" among boys that do not have the maturity or experience to properly discuss and process topics regarding sex and sexuality. And I certainly do not believe that the vast majority of these individuals are qualified to lead any such discussion as they almost certainly will arise.

This is a straw man argument, but one that is often made. There is this idea that if the BSA allows gay leaders, that the next day we are going to see ASMs showing up wearing feather boas and announcing to the troop how great it is to be gay. That isn't the issue. It's not about leaders wanting to promote being gay!

The issue is that the BSA is not allowing COs the freedom to apply their own values when picking their leaders for a unit they own. That in the past, we have seen units have leaders they wanted forced out by councils and national over the objections of those COs and units. That we have COs being told that people the COs consider excellent role models (such as their own ministers!) are unacceptable leaders for their own scout units.

 

You want to talk about a Scout is Brave? How about the bravery to actually follow a Scout is Reverent and allow other churches to apply their own values? You do realize that there are a lot of faiths out there (from more welcoming Christian denominations to many non-Christian faiths) that don't consider being gay a sin? Or are you one of those people that think they are wrong so their faith doesn't count?

 

Yes I understand that there are a lot of people that believe being gay is a sin, and they want society at large (and the BSA) to enforce that idea. But we live in a pluralistic nation and we need to figure out how to get along. The BSA claims to be a "completely nonsectarian" organization, so it needs to stop trying to pick sides on this issue. If it doesn't than it will be failing in it's own values ("A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.").

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×