Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Pale Horse

Congressional Charter

Recommended Posts

Well, in the '90s, the house judiciary committee sort of concluded that congressional charters weren't all that essential, and stopped issuing them.

 

Its purpose is (was?) to highlight organizations who do (did?) good by the USA.

 

It's part of Title 36, the same legislation that recognizes national holidays. An interesting read, compared to most legislative mumbo jumbo: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/36

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Serious question: Why do we need the Congressional Charter?

 

What purpose does it serve?

 

There can be only one.  A country can only have one Boy Scout organization affiliated with WOSM, so it was felt that Congress should make that decision on who gets to represent our country in WOSM.

 

If there hadn't been a Congressional Charter, we would have multiple scouting organizations in the United States.

 

What I find interesting is that so many of the scouters who will bludgeon other scouters with every nit picking rule in the book, will often ignore and disregard BSA's most important document, its Congressional Charter.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If there hadn't been a Congressional Charter, we would have multiple scouting organizations in the United States.

 

There are multiple scouting organizations in the US today. So in this regard, what the charter set out to do isn't really even in effect anymore. 

Edited by EmberMike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are multiple scouting organizations in the US today. So in this regard, what the charter set out to do isn't really even in effect anymore.

 

But only one affiliated with the world organization.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What I find interesting is that so many of the scouters who will bludgeon other scouters with every nit picking rule in the book, will often ignore and disregard BSA's most important document, its Congressional Charter.  

 

Well, "most important" is a matter of perspective.  The BSA does not really emphasize the charter to us out here who are toiling in the fields.  We don't have the equivalent of a RichardB talking to us about the charter all the time.  But they sure do tell us when there have been changes to the Guide to Safe Scouting, as that is one of the documents that guides our everyday activities, along with the handbooks, the Guide to Advancement, etc.

 

My impression is that the main function of the Charter is in trademark infringement cases.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would guess if the BSA were to abandon the wording of their protected Congressional Charter, it would open the door for others to step in and take.  Congress made it clear that there would be a Boy Scout for boys and Girl Scout program for girls.  If those organizations no longer want that designation, then another organization can step in and accept that mission under a Congressional Charter with a program just for boys. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Congressional Charter was issued in 1916 - signed by Woodrow Wilson on June 15, 2016.

 

WOSM was founded in 1922.  The Boy Scouts of America was one of the founding members.

 

The Congressional Charter was issued mostly as an imprimatur of support of the BSA's goals and objectives by Congress.  Though mostly honorary, it does give monopoly protections and adds a bit more weight to the BSA's copyright and trademark claims.  It wasn't issued as a desire by Congress that the BSA be the US's representative in WOSM.

 

That Congress gave a Congressional Charter to the BSA is more a matter of the BSA got to them first than anything else.  It could just as easily have been the Boy Scouts of the USA or the Lone Scouts that got the charter first.

 

In 1992, Congress stopped granting Congressional Charters - if the BSA were to fold tomorrow, a competing Scout organization for boys could not get a Congressional Charter.

 

I would suggest that a closer reading of the Charter suggests that the BSA is not prevented from offering programming and services to constituencies that are not boys but that the BSA must provide programming to boys and that they may provide the same programming to adults and girls if they choose.  It is only a violation of the charter if they stop offering programs and services to boys.  It is not a violation of the charter to offer programs and services to girls and adults.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would guess if the BSA were to abandon the wording of their protected Congressional Charter, it would open the door for others to step in and take.  Congress made it clear that there would be a Boy Scout for boys and Girl Scout program for girls.  If those organizations no longer want that designation, then another organization can step in and accept that mission under a Congressional Charter with a program just for boys. 

Except, congress isn't doling out congressional charters anymore.

Oh, here's a link for Title 36 in one complete document: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-105publ225/pdf/PLAW-105publ225.pdf

 

@@Stosh, you are wishing the tail to wag the dog here. Congress recognized BSA for what it was at the time. The charter allows for organizations to amend their by-laws to achieve their purpose. It's not a leap to imagine that going co-ed could enable more "boys to do things for themselves and others ..." in this day and age. Heck, that's why exploring came about, so that boys could work with their peers (including, and sometimes especially, girls) and do more things for themselves. Congress didn't pitch a fit then. The accept BSA's Report to the Nation from the hands of young women and men in our organization, so they aren't ignorant of our machinations.

 

Basically, it's not up to congress to tell us what to do. They will only recognize us for what we say we do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does every single thread in issues and politics have to turn into a discussion about gender?

 

Considering gender exists only in the imaginations of people.... sure, why not?

 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Considering gender exists only in the imaginations of people.... sure, why not?

Um... you seem to have quite the imagination yourself there, Stosh.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would guess if the BSA were to abandon the wording of their protected Congressional Charter, it would open the door for others to step in and take.  Congress made it clear that there would be a Boy Scout for boys and Girl Scout program for girls.  If those organizations no longer want that designation, then another organization can step in and accept that mission under a Congressional Charter with a program just for boys. 

 

So therefore, is Trail Life USA in violation of the charter?   Hasn't the BSA successfully shut down other organizations using the charter as their authority?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So therefore, is Trail Life USA in violation of the charter?   Hasn't the BSA successfully shut down other organizations using the charter as their authority?

 

Trail Life isn't a "Scouting Organization."

 

"Trail Life USA is a Christian Outdoor Adventure, Character, and Leadership Program for boys and young men."  BSA sued BPSA, so now the S stands for Service instead of Scouting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So therefore, is Trail Life USA in violation of the charter?   Hasn't the BSA successfully shut down other organizations using the charter as their authority?

BSA has failed (nor would it even try) to shut down any other youth organization.

Freedom of association and all that ...

As "pale horse" mentioned, they have defended their brand (http://www.scouting.org/Licensing/Protecting%20the%20Brand.aspx), but their right to do so is not dependent on Title 36.

Edited by qwazse

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
Sign in to follow this  

×