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Mr. Gates Address At National Meeting

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As for half the membership leaving, don't think so.   I have said this so many times but I don't think the majority of BSA members ever agreed with the membership policies.  It was forced on the organization by a conservative executive board.

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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.

 

 

Really? This issue is about CO power to get the leaders they want? 

 

I'd be willing to bet you a year's salary that 99% of units out there get nearly all of their adult leader applications confirmed by their CO without so much as a "who is this" from the CO. That is, unless they are subject to background checks by the CO.

 

I'd love to see the stats of the leaders being excluded versus those that will leave. At best it's a wash, but the 2013 and 2014 membership stats don't seem to bear that out do they?

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Usually I don't comment on the stuff in I&P because it can get pretty nasty and no matter what, people are going to believe in what they believe in and anything I say is not going to change it.

 

I personally don't agree with BSA's policy on homosexuals as it stands now, however, I also don't agree with all the people outside of scouts that vilify BSA and scouts in general because of it.  I have always accepted that it is a private group and if that is what they want to do it is their choice.  But just because I disagree with one aspect of the group, doesn't mean I have to reject it as a whole.  

 

Just like many others on this forum there is a lot of good in scouting that, to me, outweighs the things I disagree with.  I saw what Scouting did for my sons, and I have seen what it has done for other boys in my troop.  That, to me is what is important, not the politics and stuff that goes on at national.  I have seen leaders that care a lot about the boys in the troop.

 

For those of you who say that your convictions are so strong that you would quit if this local option came into place, I applaud you for your strong convictions, but I also think that you are doing a disservice to those boys that rely on us volunteers to give them an outdoor program that builds character.  It may not be perfect, but there is still value.

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For those of you who say that your convictions are so strong that you would quit if this local option came into place, I applaud you for your strong convictions, but I also think that you are doing a disservice to those boys that rely on us volunteers to give them an outdoor program that builds character.  It may not be perfect, but there is still value.

 

Yes!  I could have left the BSA because I don't agree with the membership policy as it stands now.  However, I choose to stay and help give the youth the experience I had when I was their age.  Leaving or staying?  Either was it's one's own personal choice, but I don't think leaving is good for our Movement.  The kids could not care less about this whole issue; they want the promise of Scouting:

 

 

"You are an American boy. Before long you will be an American man. It is important to America and to yourself that you become a citizen of fine character, physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.

Boy Scouting will help you become that kind of citizen. but also, Scouting will give you fellowship and fun.

Yes, it’s fun to be a Boy Scout! It’s fun to go hiking and camping with your best friends… to swim, to dive, to paddle a canoe, to wield an ax… to follow the footsteps of the pioneers who led the way through the wilderness… to stare into the glowing embers of a campfire and dream of the wonders of the life that is in store for you…

It’s fun also to learn to walk noiselessly through the woods… to stalk close to a grazing deer without being noticed… to bring a bird close to you by imitating its call. It is fun to find your way cross country by map and compass… to make a meal when you are hungry… to take a safe swim when you are hot… to make yourself comfortable for the night in a tent or under the stars. In Scouting you become an outdoorsman.

But Scouting is far more than fun in the outdoors, hiking and camping. Scouting is a way of life. Scouting is growing into responsible manhood, learning to be of service to others.

The Scout Oath and the Scout Law are your guides to citizenship. They tell you what is expected of a Scout. they point out your duties. The Scout motto is “Be Prepared†– prepared to take care of yourself and to help people in need. The Scout Slogan is “Do a Good Turn Daily.† Together the motto and slogan spell out your ability and your willingness to serve.

Your life as a Scout will make you strong and self-reliant. You will learn Scoutcraft skills that will benefit you as you grow. In time you will develop skills of leadership as well.

So pitch in! Swing into action! In your patrol and your troop you will have some of the best times of your life.

William ‘Green Bar Bill’ Hillcourt – page 9, Scout Handbook, 9th Edition, 1979"

I don't see anything in there that says anything about sexuality.  Let's not make it about sexuality.  Instead, let's deliver the promise of Scouting.

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I can't comment on everything here, so I will just pick out a few:

 

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.

Well, "promoting" a particular sexual orientation (whether gay or straight) probably would be grounds for removal regardless of any change in policy. I guess it depends on what you mean by "promoting". But I think it is clear that Scout leaders are not supposed to be promoting sex.

 

"Openly declaring" one's orientation is another story. There is sort of a presumption in our society that someone is straight unless they say otherwise, and therefore many gay people feel that they are hiding their true identity (or however you wish to phrase it) by staying "in the closet." I also think that we straight people "declare" our sexual orientation simply by the way we live our lives. I don't walk around saying "I'm heterosexual," but I talk about my wife, she attends events such as fundraisers and Courts of Honor when possible. I am "openly straight." I see nothing wrong with a person being "openly gay." It says nothing negative about their "maturity, discretion and judgment." I have known people with questionable "maturity, discretion and judgment", of all orientations.

 

On organization competence, why are we contemplating the introduction of such an obviously incongruent element that the program is not designed to handle?

The program doesn't have to handle it. The program can ignore it. That's the whole point.

 

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.

If that is the case, it seems likely that your unit - maybe all the units in your area - will continue to exclude openly gay adults when local option is implemented. I, however, know a number of people who would support a local option. They include all of the Scouters in my unit with the likely exception of one. They include my wife, who though not a Scouter, has supported her son and husband in their (our) Scouting activities. They include many others both inside and outside Scouting, including my brother, an Eagle Scout, who has avoided any recent involvement with Scouting because of the membership policies. (He has no children himself, but he would be a great merit badge counselor at least, and I bet he would do it if he didn't so strongly object to the membership policy.)

 

There's another interesting fact about my brother in this context. He is not married and lives with a woman. Some units would say he is unfit to be a leader because of this, some would say it isn't a problem. National takes no position. Local option! Or as Mr. Gates put it (paraphrasing), each unit gets to choose his own leaders. But if his cohabitant was a man, suddenly National has to step in and say he's banned? It's just all so unnecessary. Again, as Mr. Gates says, leave it up to the churches (and I would add, the synagogues, the Hindu temples, the mosques, the community centers, the veterans' groups, the parent-teacher groups and all other CO's) to decide what is right for their units.

Edited by NJCubScouter
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As for half the membership leaving, don't think so.   I have said this so many times but I don't think the majority of BSA members ever agreed with the membership policies.  It was forced on the organization by a conservative executive board.

You've got to be kidding.  If the executive board were more conservative, the membership policies would not have changed.  And now look where we are.

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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?

I think what he might be refering to here is that many states have anti-discrimination laws that effect employment. And the BSA has long held that employees are also members? I understand that is the issue the camp in New York ran into. The gay Eagle Scout in question was being hired as a paid employee of the camp.

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The change to allow gay scouts to remain was forced onto the board by a revolt in the membership.  Two thirds wanted the policies to change.  I don't believe there was ever a majority of members who wanted to exclude gays and athiests.

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You've got to be kidding.  If the executive board were more conservative, the membership policies would not have changed.  And now look where we are.

 

Oddly enough if you look at the survey sent to members prior to the 2013 vote, @@ghjim will find out how wrong he really is. It's just easier to use revisionist history and unsubstantiated claims to get his point across.

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As I suspected, we continue to have the many who focus on the Gay issue, pro or con with little or no wiggle.  There was a number of other important comments in the address that are being ignored.

 

For example; the preliminary info on the Chief Executive pay scale and plan.  The comments about moving the professionals back towards the core issues in cooperation with the volunteers.  It is at least a bit of acknowledgement that some of the complaints coming from the trenches are starting to register, though it is only a start, and they have a very long way to go.  

 

In regard to the the Elephant in the room, I am with Calico on this one.  Just continue to not understand the fear of letting units continue to do what they already did and do for the most part still, dating to before the Dale disaster.  It is simply irrational to be afraid of what another group does.  You run yours, and we run ours.  As long as we stay within the confines of the basic rules, we will have little problem.  And if some other unit prefers to not associate with us for whatever reason, that is their prerogative.  

 

And, it is absolutely partly connected to the reality that the continued attacks and lawsuits under the current system are taking away from effectively focusing where we need to, and also taking very large monetary resources as well.  

 

As noted numerous times; why not just work your program as you see fit in your unit, and quit screaming that the "sky is falling" because something you may not like or agree with happens elsewhere.  

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The change to allow gay scouts to remain was forced onto the board by a revolt in the membership.  Two thirds wanted the policies to change.  I don't believe there was ever a majority of members who wanted to exclude gays and athiests.

No! The change was forced on board by a MINORITY of people, some corporate sponsors and outside organizations.

 

Stop being revisionist and get your facts straight. The survey was sent to members. In fact, the survey results noted "While a majority of adults in the Scouting community support the BSA’s current policy of excluding open and avowed homosexuals, younger parents and teens tend to oppose the policy."

 

The more liberal voting council is the one that went opposite to what the member survey wanted and voted overhwhelmingly (67%) to change the policy.

 

If you're going to spout an opinion at least get the facts straight. There's no hiding behind the fact that BSA acted AGAINST the will of the members they polled. You want to argue that opinion was over/under represented? Fine! But don't go saying that the survey supported changing the policy...that's simply not true.

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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.").

 

You make some false assumptions about my opinions, disregarding my position at the beginning of my post. Some of those assumptions are more subtle than the one thinking I'm afraid of the flaming homosexual at unit meetings promulgating the benefits of their lifestyle. 
 
Talk about straw men...churches CHOOSE to become CO's. It's not an assignment. They make that choice knowing fully the policies in place. If they make that choice knowing the policies but don't agree with them, that is an integrity issue within that CO, not one of disallowing leaders of their choice.
 
I don't have a problem with gay individuals being leaders, but rather the 'openly gay' portion of the definition. I am perfectly fine with a DADT type of policy as it removes the sexual preference element from the qualification and thus heads off the potential problem of scouts being present during comments and discussions regarding the topic.. If you feel you must be "openly gay" AND a scout leader, I don't think you have the ability to properly deal with boys in the age range you will be encountering as you would be willing to expose them to such a non-core topic and one that is most assuredly not appropriate for the majority of the age group involved. I remember hearing, as an 8 year-old at a Pack meeting, that sos-and-so's father (not a leader) was an alcoholic. Later I had to ask what an alcoholic was. 
 
I see no difference regarding someone's sexuality. A big fight was fought over "Stay Out of My Bedroom", it's reasonable to ask if you want people out of it, no need to bring it anywhere else, either. There are a LOT of things I believe in and do that don't have anything to do with the scouting program, but I don't mention them within scouting activities as it is not a contributory effort. Let's leave it that way. But if not, don't be surprised that people are just plain tired of this fight and rather than tolerate it, they just exit the scene. Now what service is that providing the program and the boys?
 
As for respecting others beliefs, do we honestly expect that this influx of new members will be so willing to have that same respect for others? The vocal protest indicates that they don't have that respect to begin with, allowing us to operate a program in a manner we desire for our youth. Instead  they demand we change the program we value to conform with THEIR desires instead. I have no reason to think that merely joining the BSA is going to afford them a newfound level of respect that they haven't displayed before.

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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 also love how the BSA saying no to gays is "standing up for their values", but another private group standing up for their values and choosing to no longer donate money is "blackmail".

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If you're happy and you know it clap your hands.

If you're happy and you know it clap your hands.

If you're happy and you know it,

Then your posts will surely show it.

If you're happy and you know it clap your hands.

 

If you're a Beaver and you know it slap your tail.

If you're a Beaver and you know it slap your tail.

If you're a Beaver and you know it,

then your cheerfulness with surely show it.

It you're a Beaver and you know it slap your tail.

 

 

A Scout is Cheerful.  Let's remember that the kids don't need to worry about this stuff.  

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. I have no reason to think that merely joining the BSA is going to afford them a newfound level of respect that they haven't displayed before.

 

This will be the interesting thing to observe.  A few comments from the NYT online article suggests to believe that local option will clear up the issue is foolish.

 

R. Traweek

Los Angeles, CA 19 minutes ago

Gates seems to want to have his cake and eat it too basically saying, "We should not allow discrimination in the Boy Scouts of America while continuing to let our local chapters discriminate." If you are going to condemn discrimination, you have to condemn (and ban) all of it, not just some of it.

 

"At the same time, religious organizations that sponsor a majority of local Scout troops, including the Mormons and Roman Catholics, should remain free to set their own policies for leaders, said the president, Robert M. Gates."

 

No. If you are going to end discrimination, then end it. Do not say, we are ending discrimination but only for people who want to end it. Do not say we embrace those who want to end discrimination and endorse people who want to continue discriminating.

 

birddog

eastern oregon 33 minutes ago

Well its a start. However I note this leaves much wiggle room for certain US religious leaders to contend that their understanding of the Gospels prohibits Boy Scouts from being gay, and therefore the scout troops who these religious groups sponser must continue to remain untainted by these wayword individuals. Can't wait to see what happens with the National Boy Scout Jamborees when they are scheduled to be held in Utah, for instance

 

Carl Ian Schwartz

Paterson, New Jersey 41 minutes ago

So Mr. Gates seems to want it both ways--no discrimination in "secular" scout troops, but "religious liberty" in the majority of troops, which seem to be sponsored by religious groups.

 

Lisa Evers

NYC 1 hour ago

Unbelievable. So apparently the Boy Scouts still 'wishes the world didn't have gays' but since it does, they must deal with it? Well I suppose that's SOME improvement? But then they go on to say that religious groups (the scourge of the world as we know it ;-) should remain free to 'set their own policies' (continue to discriminate) with regards to their own troops and who can be leaders? How many Scouting groups have you ever heard of that were not aligned with religious groups? So basically nothing it seems will change.

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