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eagle77

Cradle Of Liberty Council Has Given In

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I don't have time to go into a whole constitutional dissertation right now, but I think the premise stated above is incorrect. In fact, the Supreme Court has applied different standards for scrutinizing laws based on race and gender. ("Strict scrutiny" for race, "intermediate scrutiny" for gender.) The current standard for examining laws based on sexual orientation is somewhat of a mystery to me, partly since I have not really had the opportunity to study "equal protection" issues very much since law school, and let's just say the legal/constitutional status of gay people has changed just a bit in the past almost-30 years. In fact it may be changing again in the next week or so.

 

Of course, none of this is necessarily relevant to BSA policy. The BSA is legally entitled to have its own membership policies. ("Race" is probably an exception to that, but nobody's going to make it an issue at this point.) That, however, does not mean that every possible decision the BSA makes, or could make, is the "right" decision. It just means a court can't step in and prevent it, or award anyone damages because of it. And the same decision does not necessarily have to be made on each category. Many people view the issue of girls, gay people and non-believers in the BSA differently and believe that different results for different categories are acceptable. I personally think it is acceptable for the BSA to deal with one hot-button issue at a time. It does not have to tear itself apart all at once.

 

Sorry, but none of this addresses why gays would be a different membership issue versus allowing girls. Both are currently prohibited. Both are covered by the same "policy" exclusion. Nothing above articulates the differentiation between the two issues...mostly likely because one does not exist.

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Sorry, but none of this addresses why gays would be a different membership issue versus allowing girls. Both are currently prohibited. Both are covered by the same "policy" exclusion. Nothing above articulates the differentiation between the two issues...mostly likely because one does not exist.

I wasn't talking to you.

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Are you suggesting that National will install an SE who is more in line with the current National policy? Can National actually do that? Can National impose a new SE without council approval? (I ask these questions in all seriousness; I do not know how that process works.) And if these things happen, what difference will it make? I get the impression from the article that this was a decision by the Council Executive Committee (although I don't think the articles identified that body by name.) It wasn't a unilateral decision by the SE.

National can remove any employee and the SE is the top BSA employee in Council. In the past, National could either retire/fire an employee who could still be a volunteer member or revoke membership and begone. The latter seems more rare today.

 

The Executive Board selects the SE. My experience is this is someone recommended by National (after all National trains them) and is rarely local talent but maybe that is a coincidence.

 

What difference does it make? It shows there are consequences for disobeying,  embarrassing, or surprising National. IMO, a joint announcement would have been more scout-like. Maybe National was offered and declined?

 

The above is my understanding.

 

Related official document:

http://www.scouting.org/filestore/commissioner/pdf/33161.pdf

Edited by RememberSchiff

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What difference does it make? It shows there are consequences for disobeying,  embarrassing, or surprising National.

I'm sure there are, usually. But when I read the excerpts from Mr. Gates speech (quoted above in this thread), it looks to me like the President of the BSA was expecting more councils to defy the policy. It's almost as if he is inviting them to do so. Now, it is true that he made these statements as an individual. When mentioning that councils would not be de-chartered for defying the policy, he said "I will not take that path". (Which I thought was an interesting statement from someone who is, after all, a volunteer.) But was this really just him speaking on his own? Do you think Mr. Gates decided to "go rogue" and say things that did not have at least tacit approval from the other higher-ups at National? Or at least, their prior knowledge? If he did, talk about embarrassing and surprising National. But there don't seem to be any consequences for Mr. Gates. No calls for his resignation that I am aware of. Not even any "discouraging word" from anyone else at National. The only comment that I have heard from anyone on behalf of National is that Mr. Gates' proposal will be voted on in October. This leads me to believe that he was not acting on his own and that he had "cleared" his statements with whoever he needed to clear them with.

 

I also believe, as I have said before, that there were some behind-the-scenes communications between National and Cradle of Liberty before the council did what it did. I have been accused of speculating in this regard, and so I am, but it just doesn't make any sense to me that the council president (or whoever is quoted in that article) would say (paraphrasing) there are not going to be any consequences from National, unless he actually knew that there are not going to be any consequences from National. National was probably not happy about the council's action, but I do not think they were surprised by it.

 

IMO, a joint announcement would have been more scout-like.

I agree with that. But, continuing with my theme from above, we don't know what communications went on between National and the council, if any. We can only speculate. (There's that word again.) We don't know that the council didn't offer to make a joint statement with National. I am kind of curious, however, as to what you think National's part of the statement would have sounded like. I personally think National wants no part of this issue at the present time. They are walking a tightrope between alienating the big CO's who want the policy to stay the way it is, and the councils in the Northeast and elsewhere for which the current policy is simply not viable. So, as I have suggested previously, maybe this is actually how this issue is going to be "resolved", though it's not really a resolution. The councils that want to adopt a different policy will do so (probably between now and October), while National does nothing to stop them and ends up saying little or nothing about it. The large CO's (the ones who would like the policy to stay as is) in the COL and the other like-minded councils will exercise their local option (assuming there is one), but I don't think they will fold their units. (I should clarify that I am not talking about the LDS Church here; I cannot "speculate" about what they would do, but I do know that their numbers in the Northeast are far lower than in some other parts of the country.) The other councils and large CO's that like the current policy will be upset, but since there will be no change in their area, I predict they will let it pass. Meanwhile, those within the BSA who want local option nationwide also will not be happy. But with what result? Will the fact that the councils where a majority favors change, can actually make the change for their area, reduce the pressure to make a nationwide change? Maybe to the point where the issue basically goes away?

 

Is the best solution to a really difficult problem the one that makes everybody somewhat unhappy, but not to the point of leaving? Some people would call that a compromise. It's difficult to call "my" scenario a compromise, or a good solution, but maybe it is the best the BSA can do at the moment.

Edited by NJCubScouter

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It's both money and politics.  On the money side, notice the councils that are now "defying" National - New York City, Philadephia, Denver.  I wouldn't be surprised to see LA, Chicago and San Francisco join that list.  Think about the kind of people that wll be invited to sit on the Executive Board of those councils.  Think about the kinds and sizes of the corporations these people will be working for, and think about the positions these folks are going to have with those corporations and compare that with the kind of folks that will be invited to serve on the Executive Board of a counsel in say, Iowa.  That council might get the CEO of a regional chain of convenience stores but they really won't have as much pull with National as a guy serving on the Board of New York City's Council who is a Senior Vice President of a major media company.  It's all about the Benjamins - except that it isn't.

 

There is politics involved as well.  Those major city Executive Board Members are far more likely to be working for a company that not only has a comprehensive non-discrimination policy, but is both actively recruiting from many different groups of people and is actively funding them as well.  Maybe National's threats could work 10 years ago, but do you really think that National could get away with revoking the charter's of large city charters?  Beyond those big dollar donors and the corporations now souring on the BSA, many States will likely intervene as well - when Chicago Council was embroiled in their fight over Owassippee and folks were challenging the official slate for the Board, National threatened to revoke the charter - that threat was quietly withdrawn when the Attorney General contacted them and told them that the Council was registered under Illinois law and if they proceeded to remove the charter, the law would require that all property of the Council, including it's cash reserves, would become the property of the State, which was under no obligation to hold that money or property until a new council was formed.

 

Remember too that the presumptive successor for Gates is the CEO of AT&T, who was actually on deck for the current Presidency.  AT&T is one of those big corporations with a comprehensive anti-discrimination policy and a comprehensive diversity program.  Though he has stated he opposes the no gay leaders/scouts policy, had he stepped in to the Presidency when he was "supposed" to, he would have faced enormous pressure from his employees and his Board to change the policy immediately of to resign from the board and cease funding the BSA.  It is quite likely that Gates was brought in because the BSA couldn't change that quickly and that when the policy did change under Gates' watch, no one could accuse AT&T of being the cause of the change.

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So councils can make their own policies and rules and keep their charter under the current system?

 

Well...given what you see that is actually happening, what do YOU think the answer is?

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I wasn't talking to you.

maybe not, but the point still stands.

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Sorry, but none of this addresses why gays would be a different membership issue versus allowing girls. Both are currently prohibited. Both are covered by the same "policy" exclusion. Nothing above articulates the differentiation between the two issues...mostly likely because one does not exist.

 Bad Wolf you are only looking at 2/3 of the examples I gave to justify your position - effectively saying "BSA can exclude girls so that justifies excluding gays."  Would you use the same logic to say it would be ok to exclude blacks?  If this forum existed in 1974 would you be arguing BSA policy says segregation is ok so let's keep segregating the troops?

 

I ask all these questions to demonstrate complexity of the issues. I suspect in the current world we live in, we are generally ok excluding girls, not ok excluding blacks, and are hotly divided on excluding gays.  What explains why we are ok excluding some groups, but not others?

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 Bad Wolf you are only looking at 2/3 of the examples I gave to justify your position - effectively saying "BSA can exclude girls so that justifies excluding gays."  Would you use the same logic to say it would be ok to exclude blacks?  If this forum existed in 1974 would you be arguing BSA policy says segregation is ok so let's keep segregating the troops?

 

I ask all these questions to demonstrate complexity of the issues. I suspect in the current world we live in, we are generally ok excluding girls, not ok excluding blacks, and are hotly divided on excluding gays.  What explains why we are ok excluding some groups, but not others?

 

I agree it is a complex issue. But the underlying membership policy that this issue is concerned with is the same. You correctly pointed out, can BSA exclude "insert group here" from membership. That's the policy. Can BSA exclude blacks, gays, left-handed people or gingers legally? Well, the Supreme Court seemed to think they could, though I confess I am not sure if their rule covered race or not. I assume additional challenges (assuming they made it that far) might further challenge the BSA membership policy.

 

My only answer to your last question as to what explains why we exclude some groups and not others, lays along political, religious and moral lines. As a membership-based organization, BSA will always run the risk of exclude someone who does not agree with them. They are at a cross-roads. I think allowing people of race (and integrating them) was the first hurdle they crossed. The second was allowing women. I think that one was a bit easier because women had been the backbone of Cubs for so long. I think this issue is less clear cut. As you note the battle lines are nearly evenly divided. For an organization that is driven by members and volunteers, they have two choices: Stick with their current policy and manage as they have been, or change policy and risk losing that half that disagrees.

 

It will be interesting to see what happens in the next year and beyond.

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 What explains why we are ok excluding some groups, but not others?

Pragmatism. The goal of the program is to develop boys into making ethical and moral decisions. Race has little or no influence to do with that goal. Girls dilutes the program quality because boys of this age are biologically distracted during the activities intended to develop their decision making maturity. And homosexuality is an issue of moral role modeling. If one is capable of leaving their emotions and biases out, the membership structure makes sense to achieve the best performing program for the vision.

 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad

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And homosexuality is an issue of moral role modeling.

Well, the BSA states the issue (or used to) in terms of whether an openly gay person can be a good role model for the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Law. That's pretty close to what you said. But many people believe the answer to the question is, yes, they can be. Many people also believe that excluding gay people from an organization that welcomes everybody else is itself immoral, and in some cases a violation of their religious beliefs. The BSA can and should accommodate these beliefs while allowing those who disagree to practice their beliefs as well. Right now one group is imposing its beliefs on the other... well, unless you are in the Cradle of Liberty Council.

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Pragmatically, the line of acceptance of a role model is when the actions or reputation of the role model are considered safe for a scout to imitate in his own behavior as a result of his observations or respect of the role model.

 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad

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Pragmatically, the line of acceptance of a role model is when the actions or reputation of the role model are considered safe for a scout to imitate in his own behavior as a result of his observations or respect of the role model.

 

Barry

 

OK, before we get too far into this, my comments on this topic so far and below are in the interest of debate only.  I am not arguing a side.  I find the topic interesting because of the many ways either side can justify their stance.

 

Barry, to your comment, what if a scout was gay? To the degree any leader's marriage rolls into scouting, wouldn't it be good for him to have a model? 

 

*This question assumes one believes orientation is not a choice.  If one believes it is a choice, this question won't get anywhere.

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