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Hawkwin

National, Religion, Membership, Oath and Law

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Just now, mashmaster said:

I do appreciate peoples beliefs, but I don't appreciate people telling everyone that we all should follow his beliefs.  Scouting is interfaith always has been.  I accept people having different beliefs than mine and am doing this for the youth.  I do not see the value in chastising people for sticking with the program for the youth.  If you can't follow it, then find an organization that you can follow without throwing stones.

That's my feeling too.

While I understand that people disagree with the recent decisions, all this talk of the BSA becoming immoral is out of character with the non-denominational tone of the Scouting movement.

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6 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

That's my feeling too.

While I understand that people disagree with the recent decisions, all this talk of the BSA becoming immoral is out of character with the non-denominational tone of the Scouting movement.

Not too long ago the BSA didn't allow gays in the program. That was a moral policy in a nondenominational program. Atheist are still not allowed as members in the BSA. I would say that is also a moral policy in a nondenominational program. 

I think everyone has their limits of immorality, even atheist. The BSA has reached that limit for a lot folks. 

Barry

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11 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

Not too long ago the BSA didn't allow gays in the program. That was a moral policy in a nondenominational program. Atheist are still not allowed as members in the BSA. I would say that is also a moral policy in a nondenominational program. 

As I (and others) said in this forum while the gay-exclusion policy was in effect, the BSA was not really acting in a non-denominational way by having that policy.  It was enforcing the beliefs of some religions, denominations, etc. over the anti-discriminatory beliefs of others.  

I also don't think the exclusion of atheists is a "moral policy," meaning that I don't think it is compelled by moral principles.  I know people who profess a belief in God, who are not very moral people, and people who are atheists who I consider to be very moral people.  And if you look at atheism as a religious belief (in the sense that it is a belief about religion), then the BSA isn't acting non-denominationally in excluding them, anyway.  (And I am not necessarily saying that policy should be changed.  I would actually be ok either way.)

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10 minutes ago, NJCubScouter said:

As I (and others) said in this forum while the gay-exclusion policy was in effect, the BSA was not really acting in a non-denominational way by having that policy.  It was enforcing the beliefs of some religions, denominations, etc. over the anti-discriminatory beliefs of others.  

I'll play devils advocate here.... bear in mind I am completely pro LGBT inclusion.... However..... while I would agree with you that its was enforcing certain denomination's beliefs at the end of that policy you don't have to go back very many years to a time where, while it was perfectly legal to be gay, it was still looked upon by the majoirty of the population, regarldless of their religous faith or lack their of, as still imoral. At that time, say go back to the 1970s, BSA was simply enforcing what was a widely held moral belief, ie that being gay was imoral, because at that time that is what most people thought.

I look back on my teenage years, the early to mid 90s, and the idea that anyone could have come out as openly gay and not been subjected to a torent of abuse and all kinds of difficulty is ludicrous. It just wouldn't have happened. Speak to any 14 or 15 year old now and they all have friends who are openly gay or bi. Most schools have LGBT societies. I have an 18 year old Assistant Scout Leader who is openly bi. Our district commissioner is openly gay. None of that would have been possible 25 years ago. Now they are. Things have moved on in a massive way.

Things changed from the mid 90s onwards this side of the pond, from what I understand they did likewise your side as well. At some point in that time I'd argue that BSA went from using establish morals as part of their code to those of certain denominations.

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7 minutes ago, NJCubScouter said:

As I (and others) said in this forum while the gay-exclusion policy was in effect, the BSA was not really acting in a non-denominational way by having that policy.  It was enforcing the beliefs of some religions, denominations, etc. over the anti-discriminatory beliefs of others.  

I also don't think the exclusion of atheists is a "moral policy," meaning that I don't think it is compelled by moral principles.  I know people who profess a belief in God, who are not very moral people, and people who are atheists who I consider to be very moral people.  And if you look at atheism as a religious belief (in the sense that it is a belief about religion), then the BSA isn't acting non-denominationally in excluding them, anyway.  (And I am not necessarily saying that policy should be changed.  I would actually be ok either way.)

Well, we just have to disagree as you and I always have in many these things. But from your words, you appear to be mixing your theory of atheism into the intent of the founders of the organization. From my perspective, why would any organization not allow atheist if it isn't based in some way with morality? After all the BSA states that: "The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the value of the Scout Oath and Law."

Add to that the reference of reverence and god in the oath and law, morality is a specific point of reference to the program.

Barry

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On 5/13/2018 at 12:48 PM, ParkMan said:

As an aside - interesting how much smaller the number of scouts is in Canada. I know Canada has a population about 11% of the US - but even accounting for that, the US numbers are still significantly larger.

From the BSA 2016 annual report:
Cubs: 1,262,311
Scouts: 822,999
Venturers: 136,629

 

Scouts Canada is about 1/4 the size it was in 1965 (its peak) and 1/3 the size it was in 1990.

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41 minutes ago, NJCubScouter said:

As I (and others) said in this forum while the gay-exclusion policy was in effect, the BSA was not really acting in a non-denominational way by having that policy.  It was enforcing the beliefs of some religions, denominations, etc. over the anti-discriminatory beliefs of others.  

I agree with that. We have no argument there.

The new policy is no more non-denominational than the old one. BSA switched sides. It is still favoring the beliefs of some religions, denominations, etc. over the beliefs of others. Only now, BSA is on the other side.

If BSA had amended the scout oath/law to completely remove "morally straight" from all of its literature and policies, that would have been non-denominational. It didn't do that. BSA did not want to face the hailstorm of criticism it would have undoubtedly received from such an announcement. 

BSA has, in effect, declared that homosexual conduct is morally straight. That is not non-denominational. This declaration flies in the face of the moral teachings of many of the religions that have had a long association with scouting. 

 

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I think that's the crux of it.  The BSA is a reflection of society held to a higher standard.   Society's view on homosexuality has changed.   That doesnt mean everyone has changed - but in my lifetime it clearly has.  As a result of this change, the BSA changed it's position.

We are all going to view these changes differently.  Those that favor the change are going to generally say "it's about time."  Those that oppose are going to decry it as wrong.  That's no different from society as a whole.  It's fine that you don't like it.  It's fine if you reach a point where you think "this has just gone too far."  If you want to walk away, that's fine too.

The argument over the choice is fine.  That's what we do in free societies. 

The problem I have is that it's becoming personal and derogatory.  The leaders of the BSA are not moral.  The BSA itself is no longer moral.  People who are homosexual are immoral.   This feels patently wrong to me.  Scouting is not about imposing your personal moral code on others by denigrating them.

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13 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

The problem I have is that it's becoming personal and derogatory.  The leaders of the BSA are not moral.  The BSA itself is no longer moral.  People who are homosexual are immoral.   This feels patently wrong to me.  Scouting is not about imposing your personal moral code on others by denigrating them.

If you feel this way, then you should be arguing the case that BSA should have no moral code. You should not be imposing your moral code on us by insisting that we respect something that we feel is the very definition of immoral. You shouldn't be asking that we keep quiet about it either.

 

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1 minute ago, ParkMan said:

I think that's the crux of it.  The BSA is a reflection of society held to a higher standard.   Society's view on homosexuality has changed.   That doesnt mean everyone has changed - but in my lifetime it clearly has.  As a result of this change, the BSA changed it's position.

We are all going to view these changes differently.  Those that favor the change are going to generally say "it's about time."  Those that oppose are going to decry it as wrong.  That's no different from society as a whole.  It's fine that you don't like it.  It's fine if you reach a point where you think "this has just gone too far."  If you want to walk away, that's fine too.

The argument over the choice is fine.  That's what we do in free societies. 

The problem I have is that it's becoming personal and derogatory.  The leaders of the BSA are not moral.  The BSA itself is no longer moral.  People who are homosexual are immoral.   This feels patently wrong to me.  Scouting is not about imposing your personal moral code on others by denigrating them.

It seems your last paragraph conflicts with the first. How does one share their differences and not sound personal or even derogatory. I have made many of what I felt were objective nonpartisan comments on this forum over the years that resulted in a lot of emotional responses. Your words could be interpreted as anti religious. Is that what you mean?

Maybe you are just over reacting to certain words. For example, a great many people feel that homosexuallity is immoral. Do you believe your opinion is superior over them, or just different? How you react could come off as personal and derogatory.

Barry

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4 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

It seems your last paragraph conflicts with the first. How does one share their differences and not sound personal or even derogatory. I have made many of what I felt were objective nonpartisan comments on this forum over the years that resulted in a lot of emotional responses. Your words could be interpreted as anti religious. Is that what you mean?

Maybe you are just over reacting to certain words. For example, a great many people feel that homosexuallity is immoral. Do you believe your opinion is superior over them, or just different? How you react could come off as personal and derogatory.

Barry

We have a steady stream of pot shots at the BSA & it's leadership. 

One that is fresh in my mind was from the topic on Executive Salaries.  There @David CO writes:

"We get a failing organization with drastically declining membership and morally bankrupt leadership. We should pay extra for this?"

In this topic, we had an example from @LegacyLost:

"It is better for the BSA to collapse than to persist as a vehicle of societal corruption. Particularly due to the BSA's historically wholesome and patriotic image from its past. This image makes the BSA especially dangerous, unfortunately, due to the arsenic it now carries"

There's a ton of stuff like this.

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help help i'm lost down the rabbit hole....

BSA is making decisions based on polling trends, membership numbers, money, and occasionally marketable tradition and scout nostalgia. If the overwhelming majority of boys wanted a heavily Christ centered youth camping anti-gay experience then by gum National would find away to capture them. But looking at programs like Trail Life and American Heritage Girls that is not what most youth or families seem interested in. The CO overlay is a bit of a 'fudge' to shift liability away from National to some CO's.

For some boys the wishy washy BSA higher power requirement is a deal breaker.

But.....BSA is a voluntary organization....if any of us have an moral issue with a national policy we must examine our own conscience and act accordingly. Some BSA leaders with daughters are not comfortable with GSUSA, some are. 

 

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I do not know why BSA would be immune to the splitting of society that is taking elsewhere at shared institutions. This is part of that process.

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22 minutes ago, David CO said:

If you feel this way, then you should be arguing the case that BSA should have no moral code. You should not be imposing your moral code on us by insisting that we respect something that we feel is the very definition of immoral. You shouldn't be asking that we keep quiet about it either.

 

Not at all.

The BSA doesn't have a rigidly defined moral code.  It's about challenging yourself to be the best person you can be.  

A scout is: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. 

On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout law, to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

The BSA gives scouts and families wide latitude in how to interpret this. 

All the BSA changed was who can try to apply these.  They in no way changed the fundamentals behind it.

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Tampa Turtle said:

I do not know why BSA would be immune to the splitting of society that is taking elsewhere at shared institutions. This is part of that process.

We're not immune, but the oath and law should guide us to handling it better.  

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