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The BSA should get tough on scouts and scouters violating inclusion policies


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On 3/25/2024 at 9:07 AM, InquisitiveScouter said:

Let's be careful here...

Rules (and rulemakers) cannot perfectly address all situations.  Just like laws (and lawmakers) cannot.

There has to be room for judgment, common sense, and matters of conscience.

For example, take something simple like the speed limit.  It is the law.  Day to day, I obey it, even though it is really inconvenient.  (Yes, I am that guy on the road, in the right lane with cruise control set to the speed limit 😜 ) But, if I am transporting a Scout to the emergency room, you can bet your boots I am speeding.  I will break that law.  The situation demands it.

For most BSA rules and policies, although they are inconvenient, I obey them.   But I leave room for judgment, common sense, and matters of conscience.  For example, when my son asked to have a friend (who happens to be a Scout) sleep over, and friend's parents approve, it is fine with me, whether my wife is home or not.  I assert that BSA rules take no precedence over my private family life.

The case you cite is dead on, though... and exposes a hypocrisy.  I see many unit leaders shrug off rules and policies, simply because it is inconvenient.  IMO, these folks are dangerous, as they place themselves above rules, policies, and laws, in more and more situations, out of convenience.  These are the ones who slide down the slippery slope and get to the point where they ignore the rationale behind a certain rule, policy (or law).   And they can wind up getting other people (including youth) hurt or killed.

I'll list multiple examples of this, if you care...

 

4 hours ago, scoutldr said:

And which part of the Scout Oath and Law makes it OK to make up your own rules when you don't like the ones you agreed to follow when you signed your membership application?

5 hours ago, ToKindle96 said:

A Scout is Trustworthy. Full stop. That's my agenda--I'm not being secretive about it. I love the tortured logic to arrive at your conclusion though. 

I honestly do not see what's so horrible about having two dens share a meeting for pragmatic reasons. It was allowed for different ages already, and multiple ages could even be in the same den. All for pragmatic reasons I imagine. Like you say, InquisitiveScouter, you still have to apply some judgement and common sense. I don't see how that's against either the Scout Law or Oath, and definitely not that's a much worse rule-bending or breaking than many other such situations discussed here on the forum previously. Sure, some pragmatic rule-bending or breaking can be dangerous, but it doesn't necessarily follow that all rule-bending or breaking in all circumstances ever is dangerous or against the Scout Law and Oath. Could either of you please explain your train of thought here? Also - why trustworthy and not obedient?

The rule that dens must be gender-separated makes so little sense for a family pack that it made me wonder if there was a rule modification for packs participating in the pilot. (Think about it - there were girls-only packs and boy-only packs and they were testing family packs - if girls and boys can never be in meetings together, how is that not just a girls-only pack and a boys-only pack sharing a unit number? What would be the point of that? And like I said, if they can do some meetings and camping together but not other meetings - why? That makes no sense and I can find zero additional risk of... anything happening at all at the den meetings specifically. Maybe that's my failure of imagination, but if so it's an honest one.) One quick search later I now know that there was. So it wasn't actually breaking policy in the first place, I misspoke. I had just read the rules before joining, because I planned to abide by them, and it said girl and boy dens are separate on the BSA webpage. I accepted that, but was glad to find they weren't in practice. (They were on paper, though, if it makes anyone feel even better.) And now, as you know, it is allowed for everyone who would like to put girls and boys in the same den even on paper, so obviously national didn't deem it a very dangerous, un-scoutlike thing to do. Probably because literally millions of scouts have already done it that way. Normal people doing normal things.

Now, since at least ToKindle96 isn't actually commenting on the topic at hand but rather only on rule-following and interpretation of BSA policy no matter the context, perhaps a separate thread would be appropriate. That could certainly be valuable, since it's a topic that comes up from time to time, like here recently with whether being a registered cub scout prevents one from camping with a troop one is considering joining even though the rules would allow it if one wasn't a cub scout. I know I've read others where a conversation about the gray has value, too. But this discussion is about the need for the BSA to enforce YPT and certainly not contribute actively to scouts not being safe, or feeling like they're not.

 

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There certainly is room for discussion on those points, and on CO rights when it comes to membership, etc. My concern here is not about individual units, or CO discretion when it comes to who they all

My apologies for not understanding This is a challenging time for young people. Politics and cultural extremisms are driving everyone to pick a side with no gray area. Life was simple when I

Haters gonna hate. It’s hard to toe a hard line as BSA risks losing those who disagree.  Not meant as an excuse, just a reality.  Important thing is that BSA stays on track and does not waiver.  Chang

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23 hours ago, fred8033 said:

I really don't understand where these extremist comments are coming from?  It's out there.  ... Society has been debating major topics for decades and will continue to do so.  The "who can hit who and for what" is mid-evil.  I pray that's not the frame of mind brought to this forum.  ...

The topics now are balanced funding for both Women's Studies and Men's Studies departments.  Inclusion of women on men's sports teams and inclusion of men on women's sports teams.  Mandatory paternal parental leave.  Bring your son to work day.  Why are more women graduating college than men?  ... There is gender discrimination, but it goes both ways.  It's a real topic.  I just don't think it's a healthy discussion for inside a troop.   ... 

We should be treating each other well.  ....  Beyond that, I'd rather see scouts spending their time sharpening a stick to cook a hot dog over a fire.

I'm trying to point to that basic feminist values are not opposed to scouting values, including therefore BSA values, by asking the reader to really take in what RememberSchiff posted an excerpt from. Of course you recoil from gender-based violence because it is mid-evil, and it's not just you and me who think so. Having that gut reaction of NO! is the sign that this is outside the Overton window for whatever society you're part of. Of course WOSM is joining the UN in trying to get gender-based violence to stop, and to move the world closer to having gender equality, because it's totally the right thing to do. I really do not think there is any debate at all about whether this is wrong in US society. We all agree that's not ok.

The reason that's worth reminding people of less great things going on in the world in a somewhat sharp way is that the basic ground of broad, strong agreement on that seems to get overlooked on the topic of girls and LGBTQIA+ people in the BSA. We scouts and scouters are all united on that there is no exception in the scout law and oath for behavior towards women (and LGBTQIA+ people, even if you have some kind of aversion I cannot believe anyone here condones violence against them). There is no exception in 'kindness' that allows being mean towards fellow scouts who are girls or LGBTQIA+. Etc. I'm also hoping that people will notice in their reaction that aggression towards women is disallowed even by the latest traditional male gender role, so further unity regardless of what one thinks of gender roles... and many of the topics you mention in your second paragraph. We can disagree about tons of feminist-related things going on while having very solid agreement on core feminist values, which are the ones that are key to this discussion. The main problem FireStone is pointing to here is that the BSA is failing on its own value foundation here. 'BSA is failing' is being discussed, but I want to point to the importance and implications of 'own value foundation'. Own value foundation. There seems to be a persistent tendency to think about needing to be kind and friendly to female and LGBTQIA+ scouts as some kind of imposition from outside, but that's just not the case. 

I think this obliges individual scouters to think about what I would call Right Speech in scouting contexts simply by virtue of their own value foundation. Everyone else's religion may not have that concept or anything similar, I don't know, but the idea is certainly around, T.H.I.N.K. Before You Speak for example. You don't have to like girls or LGBTQIA+ people in the BSA, but when you express that opinion in the physical or digital presence of scouts that are female or LGBTQIA+, don't ask what's legal or what's in the Constitution, ask what's kind, courteous, friendly, and loyal. Being rude and a disloyal friend is 100% legal, and insulting your friends is also 100% free speech, but that doesn't mean that it won't have consequences for your relationships with others. In the case of complaining about some BSA scouts being in the BSA, hurting fellow scouts and by extension the BSA. Scouters that want to vent should do so somewhere where it won't be heard by those they're ranting about and they shouldn't do things that make others feel unsafe or unwelcome.

 

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AwakeEnergy: I grant that your Pack clearly violated a Scout is Obedient. I remember learning something to the effect of "A Scout is obedient. A scout follows the rules of his family, school, troop, community, and country. If he deems a rule to be unfair or unjust, he tries to have them changed in orderly fashion rather than disobeying them." So, yes, your Pack violated Obedient--perhaps with sound rationale, but a violation nonetheless. Maybe we can add that to the list of the things the BSA should crack down on!

I chose to emphasize Scout is Trustworthy because the ease at which people (not just AwakeEnergy) are willingly dishonest about what their Pack is doing. Even after being called out for it by multiple posters, AwakeEnergy chose to write "was glad to find they weren't in practice. They were on paper, though, if it makes anyone feel even better." I don't think AwakeEnergy was trying to be funny; it certainly doesn't make me feel any better. It appears saying one thing and doing another are perfectly acceptable and even laudable in this mindset. If AwakeEnergy can't see that line of thinking and open acknowledgement of it shows lack of trustworthiness then I don't know what can. 

Good luck to you AwakeEnergy! You seem like a very nice and courteous person so I'll move on. I'll stick with the tried and true meanings of both obedient and trustworthy. I hope your scouts, scouting together, can also learn their meanings.

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3 hours ago, ToKindle96 said:

AwakeEnergy: I grant that your Pack clearly violated a Scout is Obedient. I remember learning something to the effect of "A Scout is obedient. A scout follows the rules of his family, school, troop, community, and country. If he deems a rule to be unfair or unjust, he tries to have them changed in orderly fashion rather than disobeying them." So, yes, your Pack violated Obedient--perhaps with sound rationale, but a violation nonetheless. Maybe we can add that to the list of the things the BSA should crack down on!

I chose to emphasize Scout is Trustworthy because the ease at which people (not just AwakeEnergy) are willingly dishonest about what their Pack is doing. Even after being called out for it by multiple posters, AwakeEnergy chose to write "was glad to find they weren't in practice. They were on paper, though, if it makes anyone feel even better." I don't think AwakeEnergy was trying to be funny; it certainly doesn't make me feel any better. It appears saying one thing and doing another are perfectly acceptable and even laudable in this mindset. If AwakeEnergy can't see that line of thinking and open acknowledgement of it shows lack of trustworthiness then I don't know what can. 

Good luck to you AwakeEnergy! You seem like a very nice and courteous person so I'll move on. I'll stick with the tried and true meanings of both obedient and trustworthy. I hope your scouts, scouting together, can also learn their meanings.

Thanks for taking the time to explain! I understand that you're moving on. No problem. I did want to clear something up, though, for everyone still here, that seems to have been missed.

This was a family pack that, unbeknownst to me when we joined, was in the family den pilot with written explicit permission to have both girls and boys together in dens.

The relevant agreement bullet is

Beginning with the 2022-23 program year pilot packs may form Lion 
(Kindergarten), Tiger (1st Grade), Wolf (2nd Grade), Bear (3rd Grade), and Webelos (4th Grade Only) dens with boys and girls in them. Arrow of Light (5th Grade) to prepare them for Scouts BSA are to remain in single-gender dens (this is a requirement and not optional). Multi-rank dens such as a den of Wolves (2nd graders) and Bears (3rd graders) working on their respective badges of rank may also be formed with girls and boys.

It would be disingenuous of me to pretend that I disapproved when I didn't, pilot or not, so I didn't. I was completely honest and open with my understanding of what the pack was doing. But as a parent I wasn't really reporting that understanding to anyone. By the time I joined the committee, the family den program had officially launched so there was no question left.

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17 hours ago, AwakeEnergyScouter said:

I'm also hoping that people will notice in their reaction that aggression towards women is disallowed even by the latest traditional male gender role, so further unity regardless of what one thinks of gender roles...

I'm curious, what is the latest traditional male gender role that is considered a threat?

I'm one of those people who believe mixing females into the patrols puts the males at a disadvantage for personal growth, and possibly some harm by the adults. So, I struggle with the idea that girls are the ones at risk. I've seen way too much overhype on this forum to not be concerned for the boys. One poster was bragging just the other day about all the girl cubs on the podium after the derby races. What was the point of the statement? Were boys also on the podium? We don't know, but we can imagine that adults were saying plenty of the same type things in front of the boys. Normal adults doing normal adult things I guess. But that is an example of what boys will have to endure in mixed patrols. 

Barry

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Follow YP guidelines, live the meaning of Scout Spirit, and let the youth be youth as they figure it out.  We continue to try to make a mountain, and Scouting is only one more opportunity to find a path.  Balance and that shady concept, common sense.  

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3 hours ago, Eagledad said:

I'm curious, what is the latest traditional male gender role that is considered a threat?

I'm one of those people who believe mixing females into the patrols puts the males at a disadvantage for personal growth, and possibly some harm by the adults. So, I struggle with the idea that girls are the ones at risk. I've seen way too much overhype on this forum to not be concerned for the boys. One poster was bragging just the other day about all the girl cubs on the podium after the derby races. What was the point of the statement? Were boys also on the podium? We don't know, but we can imagine that adults were saying plenty of the same type things in front of the boys. Normal adults doing normal adult things I guess. But that is an example of what boys will have to endure in mixed patrols. 

Barry

Perhaps I wasn't clear. I wasn't saying that the latest traditional gender role is a threat. I was pointing to how wide the agreement that aggression and violence towards women (because women are a subset of people) is bad is. We agree on that even if we disagree on the accuracy of other feminist ideas and policies. And this agreement is what's relevant for this discussion. Feminist analysis of gender roles is out of scope for this discussion, but there is plenty elsewhere to read on the subject if you're interested.

As far as the PWD podium goes, that leader made sure to say it out of earshot if all of the scouts. No scout of either gender found out that the leader was happy about this, probably for the reason you point out. And the point of sharing that story was to provide a specific example of that there are native-born male American former BSA scouts now feminist scouters that want the option for girls and boys to scout together all on their own. There is genuine demand for that from within the BSA. Trying to cast the calls for that as some outside force trying to push the BSA isn't accurate. That's what I'm trying to say. The point was that there is genuine grassroots support for scouting together. 

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My apologies for not understanding

This is a challenging time for young people. Politics and cultural extremisms are driving everyone to pick a side with no gray area.

Life was simple when I was a scout, it was a little more complicated when I was leader, but nothing like now. My high school teacher son is very frustrated. He had a student commit suicide a few months ago. One of three in the past few years. The problem from his perspective is social media. Kids today get all their identity from social media and that puts them in a very volatile place to find themselves. One day social media approves of them, the next day they are the scourge of the earth. Those with weak family support get lost and search for acceptance in all the wrong places. He said at the moment they flock to be trans because the politics of it is very powerful and makes them feel powerful. But, that support is caustic, and dangerous and leads these vulnerable young people farther into a dark life they find hard to get out of. Schools don't help much because they are instructed to support these youths feelings without real counseling balance,  and even more, not tell parents. So, while the schools think they are protecting these youth, they are actually encouraging them to venture more into extreme acceptance from an extreme social culture. My son is even doing talks at area schools to help them understand the importance of parents.  

Scouting is a great program for finding healthy acceptance. I had several awkward scouts searching for a safe acceptance where they could feel good about themselves. Ironically, many are looking for a disciplined lifestyle because boundaries feel safe. I remember the mom of one of these awkward scouts telling me the troop was her son's only relief from feeling out of place. The troop was the one place he liked himself.

I try to pass my experiences to the next leaders, but there is a lot of resistance today from adults who are more protective of the political culture than they are of providing the youth with a program where the scouts develop moral and ethical decision-making through discovery in the scouting culture. 

Oh, many adults think that scouting is a good experience no matter how it is presented. But, there is no doubt in my mind that Scouts in my more traditional troop will be far ahead of any scout in a politically correct driven troop simply because progressive-minded adults will not let the scouts think differently than themselves to protect their ideology. 

The Scout Law and Oath don't differentiate between sexes, colors, cultures, and lifestyles. The values of the oath and law are equal for everyone. But, a person doesn't learn that from lectures and intimidation, values of respect and fairness have to be accepted and practiced to become a part of one's character. The problem is creating or allowing a unit culture that encourages that type of discovery and growth. That is why I will speak up.

Barry

 

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Isn't the argument about mixed gender dens moot out since it is now allowed until AOL?  Without them, there'd be very few girls in Cub Scouts in many areas.  In well-to-do areas, I'm sure the packs are large.  In others, a highwater mark of 20 post-COVID is acceptable.  Our pack maxed out a 4 girls - 2 AOL and 2 Tiger.  Honestly, if we didn't mix them, the boy in the Tiger den would have been denied Cub Scouting at our Pack, as would the 3 boys in the AOL den.  The DLs were parents of the girls and the boys' parents were unable to volunteer.  If our pack still exists in 2 years, that's exactly what will have to happen.  The boy in the AOL den will be sent away from the pack due to the rules.  

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On 3/27/2024 at 3:13 PM, Eagledad said:

My apologies for not understanding

This is a challenging time for young people. Politics and cultural extremisms are driving everyone to pick a side with no gray area.

Life was simple when I was a scout, it was a little more complicated when I was leader, but nothing like now. My high school teacher son is very frustrated. He had a student commit suicide a few months ago. One of three in the past few years. The problem from his perspective is social media. Kids today get all their identity from social media and that puts them in a very volatile place to find themselves. One day social media approves of them, the next day they are the scourge of the earth. Those with weak family support get lost and search for acceptance in all the wrong places. He said at the moment they flock to be trans because the politics of it is very powerful and makes them feel powerful. But, that support is caustic, and dangerous and leads these vulnerable young people farther into a dark life they find hard to get out of. Schools don't help much because they are instructed to support these youths feelings without real counseling balance,  and even more, not tell parents. So, while the schools think they are protecting these youth, they are actually encouraging them to venture more into extreme acceptance from an extreme social culture. My son is even doing talks at area schools to help them understand the importance of parents.  

Scouting is a great program for finding healthy acceptance. I had several awkward scouts searching for a safe acceptance where they could feel good about themselves. Ironically, many are looking for a disciplined lifestyle because boundaries feel safe. I remember the mom of one of these awkward scouts telling me the troop was her son's only relief from feeling out of place. The troop was the one place he liked himself.

I try to pass my experiences to the next leaders, but there is a lot of resistance today from adults who are more protective of the political culture than they are of providing the youth with a program where the scouts develop moral and ethical decision-making through discovery in the scouting culture. 

Oh, many adults think that scouting is a good experience no matter how it is presented. But, there is no doubt in my mind that Scouts in my more traditional troop will be far ahead of any scout in a politically correct driven troop simply because progressive-minded adults will not let the scouts think differently than themselves to protect their ideology. 

The Scout Law and Oath don't differentiate between sexes, colors, cultures, and lifestyles. The values of the oath and law are equal for everyone. But, a person doesn't learn that from lectures and intimidation, values of respect and fairness have to be accepted and practiced to become a part of one's character. The problem is creating or allowing a unit culture that encourages that type of discovery and growth. That is why I will speak up.

Barry

 

I agree that there is a strong narrative around saying that everyone has to 'pick a side', but I don't know that the narrative is correct. Why are there only two 'sides'? Why are these the sides? Why must I buy an entire 'side' hook, line, and sinker? Reeks of false dichotomy to me. I don't think the world works that way, and I think - to your later point - that in order to preserve scouting as a place to find healthy acceptance, we need to reject that basic frame. Everyone should feel welcome and accepted as they are, quirks and all, in Scouts. That can't happen if scouts/scouters are on two different 'sides'. And while I've read various suggestions for where the narrative came from, I think this is a case of "pull the arrow right out". Solve the problem without first comprehensively analyzing why it came to be. We don't have to participate in sorting people into two absolute categories. Or, if we do, the categories 'scout' and 'non-scout' make sense 😄

I don't haven't really come across anything that clicks with what you're saying about 'traditional' and 'political correct driven troops', so I'm not entirely sure that I know what you're talking about there, and I don't think my voice is needed in any discussion about a potential rise in transition regret rates, but I do agree that social media use by youth is a problem. So do lots of other parents, though, that's a pretty normative opinion among parents of Gen Alpha kids as far as I can tell. I think we think that because of what we ourselves and Gen Z have lived through, though, so I'm sure there's a lot of problems sill going on with the youth that did get smart devices and social media access too early. I just heard an interview with Jonathan Haidt about his new book The Anxious Generation, which sounds like it's a summary of all the research demonstrating the problem as well as what to do about it. His age limit recommendations and anti-phone pacts among parents in a friend group is what's emerged naturally around my own (cub) scout, actually. But those problems are a big part of what makes me think that the time is ripe for scouting to make a resurgence.

I mean, what are we offering? Offline friendships and experiences in an accepting and loving environment. That's a bullseye for several kinds of solutions for the loneliness that social media can lead to. Scouting being a place where youth can be accepted as they are is also key here. I think we have strong agreement on that this is very important to protect and make happen. I don't particularly want to get involved with people's sex lives and gender identities, I mostly care about that whoever and whatever they are, they can feel free to be genuinely themselves in Scouts, because that is the seed from which everything else can grow. Without the ground of experiencing one's buddhanature (even if not put in those terms), one cannot travel the path of scouting to the fruition of a better world. While we may be concerned about different specific obstacles to that, it seems like we completely agree on the goal.

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21 hours ago, AwakeEnergyScouter said:

I agree that there is a strong narrative around saying that everyone has to 'pick a side', but I don't know that the narrative is correct. Why are there only two 'sides'? Why are these the sides? Why must I buy an entire 'side' hook, line, and sinker? Reeks of false dichotomy to me. I don't think the world works that way, and I think - to your later point - that in order to preserve scouting as a place to find healthy acceptance, we need to reject that basic frame. Everyone should feel welcome and accepted as they are, quirks and all, in Scouts. That can't happen if scouts/scouters are on two different 'sides'. And while I've read various suggestions for where the narrative came from, I think this is a case of "pull the arrow right out". Solve the problem without first comprehensively analyzing why it came to be. We don't have to participate in sorting people into two absolute categories. Or, if we do, the categories 'scout' and 'non-scout' make sense 😄

 

I like what you're saying, but your posts don't reflect more than two sides. In the first discussion we had about mixed-gender scouts, you, in so many words, told me to butt out. I didn't and don't take offense, your style of moderate "my way or the highway" is common these days. But, how can you encourage a less pick a side discussion if you intimidate the discussion to go one sided? Is it so hard to not die on the hill of your opinion? 

That is why I keep bringing up using the Scout law for Civil discussions. The Scout Law is common to all of us, so we don't have to lecture or dictate our own set of rules on the group. But, allowing other opinions without intimidating our own opinion on the group takes practice. Especially if that style of discussion is part of our character.

This forum will be a perfect place for you to practice listening without leveraging your opinion of how the discussion should be moderated because you are about to become a leader in the troop program.

As you know, we are not supposed to shape the youth into the scouts we think they should be, we mentor them so they willingly shape themselves into young adults of character and integrity. We do that by giving them respecting them as equal adults and giving them opportunities and space to think about how their decisions affect those around them. We want them to reflect on their actions of ethics and morality through the common filter of the Oath and Law. 

Youth learn 90% of their behavior by watching others who influence them. Actions, not words. They basically shut out long judging lectures and diatribes. Youth of the troop age are doubly hard because they resent being talked down to when they are told THEY are supposed to learn from their actions. They open up to more curious non-judgemental single-sentence questions from trusted mentors. Even more powerful is showing trust by walking away after presenting the question to allow time and space for reflecting on the question. Our human pride often puts up an instant defense mode because wrong actions hurt. Walking away saves them from putting up shields and instead lets them ponder on the questions. 

We can't change a young adult to be a better ethical and moral decision-maker, they have to decide that on their own. A good day is when the scout comes back for further discussion on the question. 

Future discussions in the forum are going to be tough because the progressive culture is pushing harder to neutralize judgment of moral decisions. I once heard a gay activist explain they are pushing god out of the culture so homosexuality can be considered normal. In other words, taking god out of the discussion takes the guilt out of the behavior.

You have already commented on allowing atheists in the program. That is next. BUT, KNOW THIS, when the atheists move in, god in the Law and oath will be pushed out. God and immoral guilt don't mix. God is the focal point of morality and ethics. A scout leader never has to take responsibility for defining morality because that burden is on god. Once god is gone, moral and ethical behavior will depend on the unit's leadership, not the scout's personal moral guidance, which is usually their parents. 

So, these discussions will get more complex and two-sided. This is going to be good practice to add a personal opinion without trying to force the direction of the discussion. This is also a good place to practice those one-sentence questions and step back to allow responses. I think you will be amazed at how intellectual the discussions can go when posts take on an educational tone instead of accusatory or judgmental.

Barry

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For me, the Atheist issue is mute.  I say that because the definition of Atheist is a denial of God, and thus, a denial of "something", which negates their concept at the beginning.  That is just me, and some can say I am nuts.  Still, we always get to similar questions that at some point will necessitate accepting something we cannot see or explain.  For many of us that is God, in some form or sense.  Eighty years of life has strengthened this for me.  Others must live with their own beliefs or lack thereof.  

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1 hour ago, skeptic said:

For me, the Atheist issue is mute.  I say that because the definition of Atheist is a denial of God, and thus, a denial of "something", which negates their concept at the beginning.  That is just me, and some can say I am nuts.  Still, we always get to similar questions that at some point will necessitate accepting something we cannot see or explain.  For many of us that is God, in some form or sense.  Eighty years of life has strengthened this for me.  Others must live with their own beliefs or lack thereof.  

I should add that Scouting and the hundreds of outdoor experiences with them, especially my bed beneath the stars so many time, solidified a lot, though for some reason I again find myself searching.  Possibly the hint of a trail nearing its apex could have something to do with that?

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4 hours ago, Eagledad said:

I like what you're saying, but your posts don't reflect more than two sides.

Interesting. Honest question: what would clearly demonstrate to you that I do not see myself as participating in the culture wars?

 

4 hours ago, Eagledad said:

But, how can you encourage a less pick a side discussion if you intimidate the discussion to go one sided? Is it so hard to not die on the hill of your opinion? 

That is why I keep bringing up using the Scout law for Civil discussions. The Scout Law is common to all of us, so we don't have to lecture or dictate our own set of rules on the group.

Right! Exactly. We share a values foundation. That IS the hill to die on in scouting, don't you think? That we should base all our activities on the Scout Law and Oath? Or do you feel otherwise?

If I am right and we do agree that all of our activities in scouting should be grounded in the Scout Oath and Law, then would you also agree that violations of the Scout Law and Oath should not not be tolerated in scouting contexts, or do you think that giving room to discuss any and all subjects and perspectives regardless of whether they are or are not consistent with the Scout Law and Oath is more important?

For example, if a scouter says that Jews shouldn't be allowed to join BSA in a national training Zoom, is calling out saying that as against scouting values taking a "my way or the highway" attitude that intimidates the discussion to go one-sided? What if that is their honest opinion? Should nobody say anything because we don't want to impose our personal values on others? 

If Christian scouts tell Jewish scouts that their presence in their shared troop isn't a good idea and leaders tell the Christian scouts to stop saying that and point out how that's against the Scout Law, are the leaders out of line because they're imposing their own personal values on the Christian scouts? I mean, what if they honestly hold that opinion? Should nobody say anything because we don't want to impose our personal values on others?

If scouters post online to say that they think that the presence of black scouts in the BSA inhibit the full moral development of white scouts, is asking them to stop saying that a "my way or the highway" attitude that intimidates the discussion to go one-sided? What if that is their honest opinion? Should nobody say anything because we don't want to impose our personal values on others?

Is scouts and scouting-related places like this forum the place to discuss truly anything and everything under the sun without any guidance or limits on what gets said?

I do not think so. I'm not so sure you do, either. Do you really?

In the main YPT video, an expert says (after talking about the victim's relatively small ability to change the situation) "Then there's the person causing the harm. They have a lot of ability to make different choices where they aren't causing harm. What can we do to build up empathy? What can we do to get rid of contempt? Might be one of the harder groups to change around the behavior, but we have to acknowledge that part of prevention is actually reaching out to the person who is causing harm and say 'Don't harm.' And then the third group are the people who are just watching it play out, the bystanders, and they actually have a huge amount of power as they work to stand up for the person who is being targeted by offering support."

Another expert says, "There is some research that says the best way to rein in bullying, the best way to rein in dangerous behavior, is not to focus just on each of us and teaching ourselves personal safety, but teaching everybody to look out for one another. I have a job to look out for you; you have a job to look out for me. In creating an environment where we see something inappropriate, such as bullying, we all speak up, we all stand up against the bully."

So my perception of the situation is that everyone who says in earshot (IRL or digital) of scouts that LGBTQIA+ and girls shouldn't be in the BSA is causing harm, and that by asking them (including but not limited to you) to stop harming I am doing my part as a loyal scouter to look out for my scouts and prevent bullying. This is my understanding of the situation. I'm not sure what "side" you think that's on, but that's how I see what's happening.

What I haven't heard from you is an explanation of how FireStone and I are wrong about saying that girls and LGBTQIA+ folks shouldn't be in the BSA is against the Scout Law and/or a YPT violation. I mean, maybe I'm missing something here. How is that consistent with the Scout Law and Oath in your view? Could you please explain? Is your personal intent actually to be kind, friendly, and welcoming to girls and LGBTQIA scouts by saying they shouldn't be in the BSA?

 

5 hours ago, Eagledad said:

This forum will be a perfect place for you to practice listening without leveraging your opinion of how the discussion should be moderated because you are about to become a leader in the troop program.

Just to be clear - you're saying that I shouldn't object to anything at all that I hear here from other scouters (adults) because I am Cubmaster now and have been asked to consider a Scoutmaster role when my scout crosses over? Why is that, how does that work? Are you saying that no opinions of mine are worth hearing right now? If so, when is my opinion worth hearing? Or am I a moderator here and in charge of shutting down conversations I don't like? Honestly asking. I'm not sure that I follow the logic here.

From what follows, it seems like you think that I talk to my scouts like I talk here. I do not. You are a grown man - it would be insulting to address you like an elementary-school child, don't you think? I would personally find that very disrespectful if someone did that to me, so I'm not going to do that to you unless you specifically ask me to. Scouts may be reading this, but they're also not required to keep reading if I'm boring the way they do have to stay if I'm boring during a meeting.

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Change takes time. If you want people to embrace it, they need to feel like they have some control over their change. In the long run, it's better to earn respect than have it legislated.

As a teenager, I thought homosexuality was a morally grey area - then I actually met a few gay people and realized "oh, if so and so is gay, it can't be that bad." A few years ago, I hired someone who happened to be gay. They turned out to be the best direct report I've ever had. My opinion of them is sky high. Today, I would wear a rainbow t-shirt and march in a parade with them if they asked.

Had I seen more PowerPoints and pamphlets in my youth, I doubt I would have arrived at this level of acceptance / advocacy any faster. 🙂

 

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