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Can private organizations like BSA discriminate?

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2 hours ago, mds3d said:

I think there we are feeling the effects of both sides of this argument.  First people left (or didn't join) because we were discriminatory. Then another group left because we "abandoned traditional values" without the first group really coming back. The statement of religious principle still prevents many others from viewing us as non-discriminatory. 

It was not a 50/50 of opinions for or against. When the gay issue started coming up, Dozens of posters attributed the membership loses to the gay issue. I was a district membership chair at the time and all tracking of membership losses were attributed 100% the program. Zero was attributed to social and political correctness. 

I do agree that the BSA carries a stigma, but it’s not about agreeing or disagreeing with policy, folks just do not want to hassle with taking some kind of side.

Obviously the agenda is to take down any Christian related organization. The BSA is not specifically Christian, but it is labeled as one by the PC activists, so it’s a target. Is there hope for traditional values in any organization today?

Barry 

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The denial of gay scouts didn't affect membership much. But what it did affect was corporate donations.

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23 minutes ago, malraux said:

The denial of gay scouts didn't affect membership much. But what it did affect was corporate donations.

Agreed, but I heard the lose of donations from alumni was worse after the gay policy change. I’m sure it’s more complex than that, but I personally know of long time donors stopping after that.

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Politicians focus on retaining their "core constituency."  BSA, not so much.

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From what I've seen the membership losses are a result of two general areas - relevance/alignment with families and program quality.

  • We all think that Scouting is great - but  many families are either not interested or have looked and just don't find Scouting all that compelling for their kids.  
  • Many families try Scouting, but just don't find the program enough to continue year after year.

Did Dale impact this?  I don't know.  But, even if it did it was caught up in a much larger trend where Scouting is becoming less and less relevant to many families.  I think it's more likely that it just simply furthered the already ongoing trend where families just didn't even consider Scouting.  A sort of death by a thousand paper cuts.

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5 hours ago, fred8033 said:

I did not know that, but it could be BSA admitted girls but at a lower level (volunteer and paid leaders, but not participants).   I still would argue that there is a reasoning / logic link between the two.

BSA has admitted females as youth members in some programs since 1969 (Exploring, when it was a mainline BSA program for 14-17).

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2 hours ago, TAHAWK said:

Politicians focus on retaining their "core constituency."  BSA, not so much.

Yes - but politics has a different dynamic.   In an election there is a definitive winner.  So, since we live in a primarily two party system it becomes a binary choice.  So, appealing to the core constituency of one of those two choices is generally a good thing.  In Scouting, there's not such a stark choice.  The vast majority of available kids do not join Scouting.   Further, there is not one political constituency in Scouting.  I live in a pretty progressive, secular area.  What matters to families in our area is very different than in others.

Frankly - the BSA made a huge mistake ever letting itself get aligned with any particular belief set.  All these issues around admitting gay youth and adults, girls, and specific religious beliefs are done more to hurt the program than they've helped.  Admit gays you tick off one group, don't admit gays you tick off another.  The BSA should have stuck to providing the program framework and should have stayed away from all all this admissions stuff.

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19 hours ago, Eagledad said:

Obviously the agenda is to take down any Christian related organization. The BSA is not specifically Christian, but it is labeled as one by the PC activists, so it’s a target. Is there hope for traditional values in any organization today?

Yes.  Religious institutions.  And most of them have "in-house" youth programs of some kind. 

It makes perfect sense that religious institutions would want to leverage Scouting programs to expand the activity options for their youth while keeping those youth in a values-based program consistent with the values of the religious organization.   And it makes perfect sense that BSA would want to partner with organizations that have a lot of youth in order to efficiently grow and maintain membership.  And it made sense that once those religious organizations became major BSA constituencies, BSA had strong incentives to stay on the good side of those organizations.

14 hours ago, ParkMan said:

Frankly - the BSA made a huge mistake ever letting itself get aligned with any particular belief set.

We have to keep in mind that Baden-Powell had a lot to say about religion being integral to Scouting.  BSA's Declaration of Religious Principle was adopted early in BSA's history, and is consistent with the social norms of the early 20th Century.  And discrimination against homosexuals was socially acceptable until only recently and is still the subject of legal disputes. Still, BSA's opposition on moral grounds appeared extreme because BSA was considered a patriotic community organization, not a religious organization.  Further, BSA's claim that homosexuality was not "Clean" seemed particularly odd and offensive.

Remember that BSA marketing tagline, "America is returning to the values that Scouting never left"?  Did BSA really believe that?  I think the real problem was that BSA was too slow in realizing that it didn't matter whether it had the right to discriminate, because it was actually dependent on public support, not its religious partners.

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On 11/15/2019 at 4:21 PM, Eagledad said:

It was not a 50/50 of opinions for or against. When the gay issue started coming up, Dozens of posters attributed the membership loses to the gay issue. I was a district membership chair at the time and all tracking of membership losses were attributed 100% the program. Zero was attributed to social and political correctness. 

I do agree that the BSA carries a stigma, but it’s not about agreeing or disagreeing with policy, folks just do not want to hassle with taking some kind of side.

Obviously the agenda is to take down any Christian related organization. The BSA is not specifically Christian, but it is labeled as one by the PC activists, so it’s a target. Is there hope for traditional values in any organization today?

Barry 

I am not sure which end of the "gay issue" you mean.  Around here Dale caused packs previously sponsored by parent-teacher organizations and meeting in elementary schools to have to find new accommodations.   In our district alone, the reversal of stance caused no less than 4 churches to decided scouting no longer aligned with their values.  One of these churches sponsored a pack, troop, and crew.  Granted, only one openly told the BSA that it was why they were leaving, but the leadership was pretty clear with their congregations that it was the reason. 

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To the main question.  The answer is yes.  But, the price we paid by accepting the role of cultural punching bag in a social fight forced on us by group of Scouters who temporarily asserted control was catastrophic.  Let's just move on to better and more-hopeful discussions.  We chose by an overwhelming majority to move in a great direction a few years ago.  The fight is over and won.

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Yes, private organization can discriminate if they can prove it conflicts with their organization mission/values.  The Supreme Court has been fairly consistent.

While I personally believe BSA made a mistake banning gay youth in the first place and an even bigger mistake fighting it so publicly in court, I don’t believe it was a primary cause of our massive membership drop.  Nor do I believe that reversing the decision was the primary cause for further loss.   If this was the case, the Coed Campfire program and the conservative Trail Life program would each have hundreds of thousands of youth.   Both are barely the size of an average council.

I’ve never had a youth leave the program that brought up the social issues.  Only once, with a close friends who don’t join, was the gay ban brought up.  They said they wouldn’t sign up their scout because of it... I explained that changed... they still didn’t sign up.

BSA, outside of Eagle Scout, is not in the formula for getting little Jonny into the best colleges.  STEM or STEAM education has replaced the Scout Law as the National crisis.  Patrol method is messy, parents are not patient to let it work.  Youth have plenty of other opportunities for entertainment and are typically already over scheduled. 

Done right, scouting is a fun experience that does teach critical values and skills our nation needs. Unfortunately, too few know this and I see further declines in membership ahead.  

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On November 19, 2019 at 5:33 PM, Cburkhardt said:

...  We chose by an overwhelming majority to move in a great direction a few years ago.  The fight is over and won.

Won by who?

Edited by qwazse
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Local FB page:   Mother opens with "Looking for local places/activities for middle schoolers to do and keep busy". 

I respond with "Seek local Scout Troop, Cub Pack,  click on www.beascout.org."    She responds , "the kids aren't into scout stuff. We are looking for fun stuff like Jump Up, Kids Gym, etc. Otherwise all they do is hang out at the Micky Dees." 

My response:  "depending on what your kids are "INTO",  Scouts can do that:  movies, bowling, the zoo, hikes, nature, trampolining, etc."   She responds,  (smileyface). 

 

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On 11/28/2019 at 10:13 AM, SSScout said:

Local FB page:   Mother opens with "Looking for local places/activities for middle schoolers to do and keep busy". 

I respond with "Seek local Scout Troop, Cub Pack,  click on www.beascout.org."    She responds , "the kids aren't into scout stuff. We are looking for fun stuff like Jump Up, Kids Gym, etc. Otherwise all they do is hang out at the Micky Dees." 

My response:  "depending on what your kids are "INTO",  Scouts can do that:  movies, bowling, the zoo, hikes, nature, trampolining, etc."   She responds,  (smileyface). 

 

I sort of doubt that "middle schoolers" are interested in "Jump Up, Kids Gym, etc." They're interested in getting away from mom. That's why they're hanging out at "Mickey Dees."

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