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The Boy Scouts of America’s ‘family discussion’ on our membership policy

When the Boy Scouts of America reaffirmed its long-held membership policy last June after months of media coverage and national attention to the issue, some leaders thought that signaled an end to the conversation.

Not so, as you no doubt know. As BSA President Wayne Perry recently said, many unit-level volunteers weren’t aware of the policy before the reaffirmation. “What we discovered as your Key 3 was that it started a very intense conversation,” he said.

In that eight-month conversation, Perry emphasized that he didn’t speak with outside special-interest groups with no affiliation to Scouting. Instead, he said, “I heard only from Scouters, people with different views than my personal views.

“It was hard, because people told me their Scouting commitment, and it touched you, it touched your soul. These are good people. They are people of faith that have a different view than I do.”

That’s why Perry, Chief Scout Executive Wayne Brock, and National Commissioner Tico Perez — the National Key 3 — have launched what they call a “family discussion” that’s set to take place over the next three months.

Who’s invited? The National Key 3, chartered organizations, council and district volunteers and professionals, volunteer committee members, and Scouters and Scouts. National committees are now receiving directions about how to proceed.

The result of this “family discussion” is expected to be a resolution presented in May at the National Annual Meeting (NAM) to the voting members of the national council, a group consisting of volunteers from every local BSA council who have already been named as voting delegates. Much like the Electoral College, the number of delegates is based on a council’s membership; larger councils get more voting delegates.

Nothing has been decided. The resolution, which will be distributed to voting members at least 30 days before NAM, hasn’t been written. That’s what the “family discussion” among volunteers and professionals will help create.

Why now?

This dialogue didn’t come out of the blue. The reaffirmation prompted the National Executive Board to launch discussions about the issue, including a conversation about potentially amending the policy to allow chartered organizations to accept Scouts and Scouters consistent with their organization’s principles or beliefs.

And throughout this dialogue, national commissioner Perez said he’s heard from passionate Scouters on both sides of the issue. Out of that passion, emerged something positive.

“At the end of the day, we’ve learned one thing: We are the Boy Scouts of America. America cares about who we are. America cares what our brand is. America cares about what we do, and that’s the silver lining in all this,” he said. “That’s pretty special —17,000 emails in five days.”

A big tent

Scouting’s a big organization. We’ve got 2.7 million youth and 1 million adult members. You’ll find packs, troops, teams, ships, posts, and crews in all 50 states and even some in Scout units overseas. As is true of our country as a whole, Scouts, Scouters, and Scout parents have diverse beliefs about a number of issues — religion included.

“We’re a big tent,” Perez said. “We accept and welcome all faiths. There are a lot of faiths in this movement.”

And Scouts are taught to respect others, regardless of any perceived difference. That’s why Perez, Perry, and Brock each stressed that they aren’t pushing Scouters to take one side or another. They’re merely presenting the facts and helping to empower stakeholders to make an informed decision and do what’s best for the BSA.

The Key 3 has “one singular purpose in mind: to grow Scouting,” Perez explained. “To take Scouting to as many boys and girls as we can in America. To make certain that we who are America’s last, greatest hope continues to thrive over the next 100 years.”

What now?

When the BSA announced on Feb. 6 that it would begin a three-month review of the membership policy, it also vowed to leave no stone unturned. That means committees will review the concerns of youth, chartered organizations, and parents, in addition to discussing financial, fundraising, and legal concerns.

The goal of the three-month review? According to the BSA, it’s to:

  • Ensure a channel for every voice to have an opportunity to be heard
  • Receive feedback from the field
  • Educate Scouting’s members
  • Define core values
  • Identify members’ concerns

Here’s a timeline of what to expect over the next three months:

  • Planning (Feb. 6-28): The BSA defines desired process and intended outcomes.
  • Listening (March 1-April 5): BSA committees engage key stakeholders for input and the development of assessments.
  • Evaluating (April 5-17): BSA officers review committee reports and prepare a resolution that the National Council voting members will act on at the National Annual Meeting in Grapevine, Texas.
  • Educating (April 18-May 24): The reports and the resolution are shared with the voting members of the national council and the Scouting family.
  • Deciding (May 22-24): The BSA conducts on-site information sessions for voting members at the National Annual Meeting, and a vote takes place.
  • Implementing (May 24 and on): Based on the results of the vote, the BSA will determine and implement the next steps for the organization.

A Scout is Courteous

A difficult decision faces the Boy Scouts of America right now — that much is clear. Our national Key 3 — Perry, Brock, and Perez — said they’ve already spent 100 hours a week talking to others and responding to emails and voicemails. The BSA’s National Council office received an outpouring of feedback on both sides.

What’s more, Scouting’s volunteers and professionals have devoted (and will devote) equally long hours to studying the issue. You have to applaud that. One clear certainty about this issue is that everyone has an opinion on the best course of action, and each opinion has value and should be heard.

So as we proceed, let’s remember that courtesy and respect for those with whom we disagree will help us work together to make One BSA that will last for generations to come. We can disagree on a variety of topics while still working together to change the lives of youth through Scouting.

We’re all here for the boys and girls of this movement, and we owe it to them to cast aside our preconceived notions and come to the table with one ultimate goal — doing what’s best for the youth we serve. The next century of Scouting depends on it.

Online: www.bsamembershipstandards.org

1,587 thoughts on “The Boy Scouts of America’s ‘family discussion’ on our membership policy

  1. Turned in my survey and voted to change the policy. Next week I will attend the community meeting for my district to make my feelings known.. In the meantime, I continue to wear the Inclusive Scouting knot on my uniform. I take great pride that my two sons, one an Eagle and one a Life Scout both have full knowledge of these issues and support changing Scouting’s policies as do their scouting friends I have spoken with. For them its a “no brainer” , and I would have agreed with that assessment two weeks ago. Having witnessed the divergent points of view in this forum, I realize the challenges facing our national leaders are certainly greater than that. Theirs will not be an easy choice. I do hope they will have the wisdom and the courage to make the right choice. I wish you all well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. And thanks for all you do for Scouting.

    Best Regards,

    Rich Wellen

    • Rich
      My Life Scout and my Tenderfoot are fully aware of the debate and also look forward to the ban being lifted.

      Wishing you well also.

    • I had the chance to talk with parents and scouts in our unit and they expressed the hope that scouting becomes inclusive. This is coming from some that belong to churches which would not promote homosexuality. These wonderful people realize that scouting does not belong to one faith and the diversity lends greater strength to the wonderful messages and programs of the scouting movement.

    • Rich; For my son and I, both of us are Eagle Scouts, its a brainer and a prayerful decision. We both choose to support the current policy and stand up for Child Protection all child protection policies in the BSA. Our entire unit support the current policy; their prayerful too… We are a Christian Troop and this is a big issue to all of us. I also hope the decision makers will show the necessary God Given courage and Godly Wisdom to follow the will of the majority of scouting families and choose to keep the current policy to protect children the way it presently is. In today’s culture its certainly not the time to backslide on child protection policies.

        • Survey isn’t one member one vote. Its a survey of some people and doesn’t allow for a simple yes or no vote on the proposed policy change. I imagine the BSA already has their answer and is just playing a PR game to manipulate the true desire of the majority of the true membership. The vote will be in January when charter renewals are updated.

        • Hey Wallace — it is “one registered person, one vote. And as far as asking the specific question, it is asked twice. But you are correct that it is not an up and down vote. Why? because there’s a bit more than “yes” and “no.”

        • In addition our district is encouraging members to participate in an informational forum.

      • I thought the whole point of this was to protect our children from bigotry…and from that perspective I also support protection our children. Is that what you meant too, I wasn’t sure.

      • I’m confused as to what “child protection” you feel is provided by the ban. Protection from pedophiles, like the ones being outted in churches and academic and athletic organizations?

    • we need to stick to our princaples and policy.. america is being destroyed from within by the liberals . what we have done has worked for over 100 years and has been upheald in the courts. diversity only gos so far , when it gos to far you nolonger who you say you are.

  2. I went to my council’s first “Fireside” meeting tonight. There will be five of these in our council over the next few weeks, to give our representatives an understanding of the state of thinking within the council before they attend the May meeting, and to enable our council to send an impact statement to National.

    About 35 people attended. We began with discussions at each table of scenarios like the ones that appear in the Voice of the Scout survey. Only one table was able to reach consensus on the three scenarios; one other table reached “near consensus” on one more; the other tables did not reach consensus on any. I think many people were surprised at the range of opinions within the group.

    Then our Exec gave a presentation about the process, with content very much like Bryan’s blog post above. Our Key Three had just attended an Area workshop last week to work on how to conduct these discussions, and the presentation is, I think, standardized, although it also included local examples and allowed plenty of opportunity for questions and comments.

    Comments were generally direct and forthright, heartfelt and personal, and mostly gentle in tone. We are all in this discussion because we love Boy Scouts, and we want it to be able to fulfill its mission, now and long into the future, of equipping young people to make moral and ethical decisions throughout their lives.

    • I have “Roundtable” this evening and I am interested what is going to be discussed.

      • Karen
        Sounds like your “Fireside” was handled very well. It is nice to hear that folks came together to discuss the future of Boy Scouts.

        • We had district roundtable as well tonight. I’m the roundtable commissioner, so I talked our DE in advance of the meeting to see if our council has anything planned to talk to the membership about it. He said we are in the ‘listening’ phase right now, so they will know how to vote in May. But he isn’t supposed to talk to us about it… They don’t want us to bring it up, I guess. Seems to me, the listening phase would be the time for us to talk about it…

        • Our roundtable this week was focused on diversity, but did not directly address the membership policy. I was not part of the planning group, so I do not know how it relates to the information gathering plan. I am attending a “town hall forum next week to get information about the policy and get information about how to submit written feedback.

  3. So, anything else? Anything left unsaid? Okay, show of hands: How many of you are firmly and sincerely convinced now, after all this discussion, that you WILL leave the Boy Scouts of America if the vote in May doesn’t go your way?

    My hand is not going up. I don’t plan to leave even if Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell is retained. (It will be gone in a few more years anyway.) Although if BSA creates a new, inclusive Scouting program under Learning for Life, I might well go there. (That seems like the only scenario in which an exclusionary policy has any chance of continuing in the traditional programs for any substantial period of time.)

    • My happy butt is staying right where it is, Dan… The BSA may not be “all there”, but I still support the Scouting movement and what it stands for. Until I die — and even afterwards — I will still support Scouting where and when I can; and participate to my personal health, safety and strength lie. The discussion here has been great for the most part, and different than what I experience on Scouts-L or LinkedIn.

    • I have no plans to leave any time soon. I told my COR and Committee that I would continue to serve as SM as long as I’m having fun and until they get tired of me — my son aged out a year and a half ago.

      A homosexual friend of mine (GASP) asked why I wouldn’t leave Scouting to show solidarity, and I explained to him that, as someone who was on the receiving end of bullying as a teen for being a dork, a geek, a neo-maxie zoom dweebie, I won’t tolerate it and will stay in Scouting ESPECIALLY if BSA decides to keep their policy as it is so that I can protect from bullying those young men who might be JUST a little bit different

    • “How many of you are firmly and sincerely convinced now, after all this discussion, that you WILL leave the Boy Scouts of America if the vote in May doesn’t go your way?”

      It depends.

      First of all, to quote Baden-Powell: “Scouting is a movement, not a corporation.” I will stay in Scouting regardless of what decision is made. But will I stay in the BSA?

      If the vote is in favor of the status quo, I would have no reason to leave, or I would have left by now.

      If the vote is in the opposite direction, the one that I do not favor, I wouldn’t do anything right away. I said from the beginning, it’s not about what happens sooner, but what happens later. I’ve determined at what point I would probably walk, and I’m reasonably certain it won’t be the next day. (Mandatory diversity training? Yeah, I could see drawing the line there.)

      I do a lot of work with the Catholic Church at the parish level, and I’ve had sufficient opportunity to discuss these issues with any number of priests. There is conceivably a point where, for any of them as pastors to sponsor a Troop, for an organization that lends approval of certain open behavior, would amount to what is called “cooperation in an objective moral evil.” (No, this is not coming from me.) There is also the matter of how the National Catholic Committee on Scouting recommends. Whatever happens, there are always other options. An association of Catholic guides and scouts based in France, independent of WOSM, has been in existence since 1956, has spread throughout Europe, and is making inroads in Canada, possibly the USA.

      Even then, I would have to think about it. I have so much invested in the BSA. It’s been a big part of my life; nine years as a youth member, and going on nine years as an adult. I’m only now becoming more active than I was a year ago, thanks to a very supportive District Commissioner. I’ve gone to conferences and have listened to pep talks about remaining with the BSA as a matter of loyalty. Well, where I come from, loyalty is a two-way street, and at the end of the day, its between me and my Maker.

      And I’m afraid there is absolutely nothing recorded here that would persuade me otherwise.

    • The “Will you leave?” question may be the single most important factor that many of the voting members are looking at. Not whether homosexuality is morally wrong. Not whether the time for this kind of discrimination is over. But the nuts and bolts question of how much BSA will be hurt with a particular result. That, at least, seemed to be the focus of a survey by our council. Lots of strongly-held views are being expressed; but to what extent will they be translated into action?

      What is really scary is what the large institutional supporters, such as the Catholic Church, will do. Even if the current policy is retained, they may see the writing on the wall and decide that they only way to protect themselves is a fully-private religiously-based organizations. After all, BSA’s corporate existence is statutory. All it would take would be for Congress to pass an amendment to our charter in order to make BSA instantly inclusive. There might well be some noise about doing that if the vote in May does not change the policy.

      • “Even if the current policy is retained, [the Catholic Church] may see the writing on the wall and decide that they only way to protect themselves is a fully-private religiously-based organizations.”

        The teaching of the Church on homosexual behavior is very clear, that while all such individuals are entitled to the same human dignity as us all, the act of sexuality is reserved for a man and a woman in the state of marriage. Such is not possible for two members of the same sex, as a matter of both natural and divine law, and thus She declares such acts to be “an objective moral evil.” (I’m not here to proselytize or start a holy war; I’m just telling you what this means for a Catholic.)

        Based on figures from the 2012 BSA Annual Report, units sponsored by Catholic parishes and other institutions account for 10.2 percent of the total youth membership.

        The Catholic Church, which is to say, the US Catholic Bishops Conference, acting through the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, will not make any decision until after the vote, as to what they will either do or recommend. The Church has supported the BSA almost since the beginning, and hopes to do so after the National Meeting in May.

        The latest official statement from the NCCS was last month. That and future statements can be found here: http://www.nccs-bsa.org/

        • It is good to see the “official” comments by a faith community. It is important because many groups under the umbrella of that community will look to the central leadership for the appropriate action regarding this policy.

          I appreciate the gracious statement and look forward to the NCCS official response to BSA’s decision in May.

    • I expect to stay. I didn’t leave in 2001. What would make me leave is if BSA repealed its nonsectarian position, and I don’t see that ever happening; it would be alien to Baden-Powell’s vision. On the other hand, all three of my children, in opposition to what I want, have decided they will leave BSA. This would certainly take a lot of the joy of Scouting service out of it for me.

        • Mine have both voiced that they would leave if the current policy were changed. Scouting has taught them much, including how to stand for what you believe in, even if others are standing against you. I’m sure you could probably say the same. :)

      • That would be sad, Karen. I hope that your children are able to continue their membership in good conscience.

    • I’ve struggled with this issue for several years now. What to do regarding this policy? If it isn’t changed, I believe I will stay. I do find value in the program. I will, however, continue to advocate for change from within the ranks of the BSA.

    • I have been in prayer about this since the story broke. My CO is a Southern Baptist Church. I am a Southern Baptist. The Church will determine if there is a Troop after the vote and I will also decide if I stay in. Baptist Churches are autonomous inside their denomination. The SBC does not makes rules for Churches, only a Statement of Faith. The Church, however, is in line with our President, Frank Page. The decision for the Church to surrender their Charter will be made after the vote. The Church has provided support for a Troop of Scouts for 48 years. Provided facilities, funding, equipment and good men to be positive role models. I have been in Scouting 16 years in roles at the Pack, Troop and District level. Wood Badge graduate and Troop Guide. I love Scouting but it is in the end only a wonderful character education and outdoor skills program. Allowing avowed homosexual leaders and Scouts in Scouting will not strengthen the Scout Oath and Law in my opinion. It will weaken the moral code and allow the camels nose under the tent for Atheists and worse. A organization has to have high moral standards to build great character in men. A Christian Church must follow its faith, the Holy Bible. We pray for the current policy to stand. That is the only acceptable path for me, my son who is an Eagle Scout and my Church. My parents in the Troop are in 100% agreement. I am definitely a flawed individual and Sinner saved by grace. But, I strive to overcome my flaws and live better each day

  4. Reality Check: Policy is changed and homosexual teenage boys feel free to “come out” within the BSA. Two 17 year old lovers join my troop but don’t share their relationship with me; a leader. The choose to bunk together and on occassion I’m told by other scouts that they’ve witnessed them showing public displays of affection; kissing, hugging, holding hands etc. I talk to the scouts and they deny any involvement with eachother but I’m suspicious since multiple scouts have reported these incidences over time. I decide that these two boys will not be able to bunk together on future outings; my call. Parents are getting reports from their kids of what their witnessing and challenging me as to what I’m going to do about it; more than half the troop are not going to recharter unless I refuse to recharter the homosexual boys. I ask the homosexual boys to leave the troop even though there is no other unit in our town and even though their both close to earning Eagle Rank; my call to save my unit. We get sued because of my insistance on having these boys leave for my suspicions without having actually witnessed the PDA. I’m told by the CO that they want the boys in the troop and their congregation tolerates and is inclusive of homosexual affection as the BSA is also open to homosexuals being open with their homosexuality too. So the scouts are reenlisted and half the troop chooses not to reenlist and their boys do not continue in scouting loosing any chance to be an Eagle unless they join a troop 20 miles away. Now its all become a political and social agenda and this scenario would have never happened under the present policy. What will come if the policy is changed “be prepared”.

    • Reality Check

      Hasn’t happened that way, with such catastrophic results, in most Venture Crews, even co-ed crews.

      I think you underestimate the honor of young men (and women), and the drive to use Scouting for fun and adventure, and not for sexual misadventure; and you underestimate the utility of Youth Protection rules.

      Does your unit have a handbook the boys have put together that includes a section on discipline, when necessary? You may want to look around to see what other units are using, and get one.

      • good comment. Venturing has given us a model of how to approach sexual attraction between youth members and between leaders and youth.

      • Venturing isn’t dealing with boys 10 to 17 years old; have you. I choose not to underestimate boys having been one and having raised one and having worked with them as a scout leader, and coach in various sports for many years. I’ve learned to look ahead and try to expect the unexpected and “be prepared”. The current policy already protects me against this happening and provides clear direction on how I should handle this as a leader. Why break what’s not broken…

        • I don’t know too many 10 – 13 year olds that are open homosexuals let alone in romantic attachments of the heterosexual type.

          Venturing is dealing with boys age 14 – 21 and girls age 14 – 21.

          I don’t underestimate boys either or consider scenarios that are out of proportion to the possible situation. I am raising two boys, have worked in a boys home for state wards, have worked with them as a scout leader, and camp director (not Scout related).

      • Co-ed Venture Crews (I am a CC to one) don’t have a tenting problem because co-ed tenting is prohibited, and we set up our campsites so that the boys’/girls’ tents are separated by adults. We are also prepared for the “purple” scenarios and have guidelines in place to avoid many of these situations. (That’s not saying that it can’t happen ever, but rather that we have structures in place already.) The same cannot be said of Troops. I doubt that it could ever be said, as I believe that this issue is to politically motivated to ever be dealt with in a manner similar to Crews. After all, the PC culture we live in would never accept our discussing homosexual Scouts in their differences from heterosexual ones. (Even now, as I write this statement I am cringing at the thought of the negative comments to it.) I do believe that every youth can benefit from Scouting, but, if this policy is changed, we must be willing to get real about the challenges it will present.

    • In this scenario, you suggest that you open yourself to law suits by not allowing the youth to recharter in your troop. However, the membership policy change does not prohibit you from enforcing the expectation that public displays of affection between youth members are not allowed at scouting events.

      Currently, this is the expectation for crews which are coed. When my sons girlfriend joined crew they had to make a clear commitment to that policy. They agreed that sharing scouting activities together was worth limiting their displays of affection to times outside of scouting events.

      I would suggest that you are within the current youth protection policies to warn the two homosexual scouts of expected behavior at scouting events. If they opt to, continue the behavior and particularly if they maintain their denial, you can invoke you units policy for expelling youth based on behavior.

      • Have you ever been a Scoutmaster or an Assistant Scoutmaster Ann. Why would I want to even go down the road of headaches like this. Do you see the value of the existing policy. The existing policy prevents this from even happening as I can stand on the existing policy and justify to the CO why these two boys were asked to leave the troop. There is a tremendous value in the existing policy. Will every Scoutmaster that is leading a troop that has openly homosexual youth lovers have to also have an attorney on retainer to consult for this and the many other scenarios that will occur. Its a tremendous volunteer service Scoutmasters provide to the BSA now so why would they have any desire to continue if there just going to end up being labeled as anti-homosexual, intolerant, bigots, racist, etc. because they ask openly homosexual boys to continually stop showing PDA and required them to stay in separate tents. Do you think the local, regional, or national homosexual activist groups are going to attack the local unit leaders for doing the right thing in protecting his troop for the majority of the youth? Do you think a scoutmaster is ever going to confront these kinds of similar challenges? There will be scouts and leaders trying to push the limits with unknown boundaries with regard to this issue. If you don’t believe that’s going to happen then look what’s already happening with the policy that’s in place now.
        I’d like to see more scenarios posted. Its all part of being prepared and that’s what good scouts do. The current policy was written with the motto in mind and the policy’s working for its intended purpose very well. Why would the BSA want to fix what’s already the best case scenario to serve both sides of this issue?

        • I am confused as to why you think the existing policy helps you in your scenario.If the two scouts do not admit to behaviors, you have to devise a way to document the behavior. Unfortunately you might be afoul of the Youth Protection policies to do that.

          If the scouts do admit to the behavior, your CO can have a policy that would allow you to exclude the scouts based on sexual orientation. This would not change if the policy was as it is now or under the new policy.

          If the behavior is open so you can document it.The task is not difficult and you avoid any problems of labeling because you are following the youth protection policy. You will have to warn these scouts about the undesirable behavior. However, you’re on solid ground if they repeat the behavior. Does your unit have a procedure for behavioral problems by youth? .We have a procedure, which includes not rechartering youth who, repeatedly, do not follow behavior guidelines.

          Coed crews currently use youth protection guidelines to address open displays of affection. The Crew Advisers are very capable of handling the problems they encounter. I do not think Scoutmasters and Assistant scoutmasters are any less capable.

          I think BSA and local councils and possibly even units are already being attacked for their membership policy. I think the new policy, which would allow the CO to follow their religious convictions, might actually defuse the attacks. Homosexual scouts and leaders would be able to find units that welcome them. I and others who support the right of CO’s to determine the policies around membership in their unit, would likely find ourselves supporting the rights of CO’s that ban gays.

      • I think your comment is amusing in a way Ann. In our Council a woman was dismissed from the Cub Scouts for a similar offense having violated the current membership policy and she cried foul to the media and homosexual activist groups. Suddenly the BSA was the bad one for having a membership policy designed to protect youth from being exposed to homosexual behavior. Then all associated were considered by the media to be hateful, bigots, intolerant of everyone’s wishes for culture change, racists (still not sure how that applies). And you don’t think that’s going to happen again as the homosexual activists continue to push for homosexuals to be free to come out. If sexuality isn’t the issue then I honestly can’t imagine any reason for changing the policy? There is honestly no way to say this isn’t about a political and social agenda by homosexual activists to destroy something that is good because if they can’t have it then nobody’s going to have it. What a selfish attitude and there really is no place for that kind of attitude in the leadership or the ranks of the BSA. I prayerfully hope the membership policy remains unchanged then I know there will always be hope for it to change back when the BSA realizes their mistake and sees that there’s no point in having an organization for boys when boys no longer have a desire to join the BSA. Homosexual activists should support the BSA for the same reasons all Americans should support the BSA; to help build strong men of good moral character.

        • “Homosexual activists should support the BSA for the same reasons all Americans should support the BSA; to help build strong men of good moral character.”

          They do! That is why gay people want to be a part of scouts! Because they find it to be a valuable organization!

          “…as the homosexual activists continue to push for homosexuals to be free to come out. ”

          Asking that homosexuals should be free to come out does not mean that anyone thinks they should be permitted to engage in sexual contact of any kind at scout events. Gay people *should* be free to come out. They should not be engaging in sexual contact at scout events. Straight people should not be engaging in sexual contact at scout events, either! No sex in scouts! Period!

        • Beth, I don’t know why some people have such a hard time understanding this it is the most straight forward argument.

          The BSA is going down the road to destroying itself if it keeps sliding down the slope it is on. Everyday, more and more people become aware of the discrimination that is going on and the good will we have with the country is slipping away.

        • You make my point very well. The current membership policy will constantly put BSA and affiliated organizations into the media spotlight. This is because sexual orientation is legally protected from discrimination in many settings. BSA won a court case which legally allows the current policy, but public opinion is another matter. On the other hand, BSA’s YP policies are not likely to be mocked by people within or outside scouting, The protection of youth in scouting is likely to be championed in the media.

          The specific case you cite is interesting. Did the expulsion of the Mom hold up? What was the basis of the media reports? Did these reports decry the merits of the membership policy or did they argue that BSA did not have the right to make such a policy?

          You state that the membership policy is designed to protect youth from homosexual behavior. However, YP protects youth from all public displays of affection both heterosexual and homosexual. Thus the membership policy is a duplication for that purpose.

        • In our Council a woman was dismissed from the Cub Scouts for a similar offense having violated the current membership policy and she cried foul to the media and homosexual activist groups.

          Wallace, you give no details to verify the story (I would be interested in the actual details), but I’ll wager no one ever complained about being dismissed for being sexually active on a Scout trip.

          My experience is that homosexual parents of Cubs and Scouts wish to do no more than be an active Scouter in support of their son’s unit.

          I might be in error, and I’m sure you’ll offer more information so we can verify if I am, but my experience is that almost anyone dismissed from a volunteer position complains about it. They feel the dismissal was unjust. And they’ll complain to what they hope are higher authorities, unless they are finally convinced their behaviors were unsafe, unfair under Scout rules, or otherwise out of line with Scout Rules.

          Fortunately, on the issue of actual sexual advances or other activity on Scout outings, my experience is limited. I find that doesn’t happen a lot, and when it does, one of the parties complains (usually quickly).

          In those cases, the appeals quickly stop.

          “Violated the membership policy,” you said. The offense was her orientation? That’s all?

          Then I might understand how some might consider that unjust. Her son’s unit? Other than your views against homosexuality, was there any other reason?

          The scare scenarios involving actual sexual activity diminish into infinitesimal insignificance compared to the compared to dismissals for no wrongful behavior, but only orientation instead. Can you understand and empathize with anyone who would complain about being dismissed, when behavior was otherwise exemplary?

        • Ed,
          Your comments are very helpful. I appreciate your distinction between orientation and sexual behavior. I also think you are spot on when you state that most parents either homosexual or heterosexual are just interested in contributing to their child’s scouting experience.

          I would add to your comments that a frequent complaint I hear from struggling units is that they need more parent support to run their program. Maybe we actually need some of those folks that we have banned or at least discouraged from being involved in scouts. I think it is awful for a straight scout to not be able to have their gay parent help hie troop or pack, particularly when leaders are repeatedly asking for help from parents.

        • Just a question. You assume by your statement that the homosexual Dad would pass a criminal background check. What if he was on the second partner after the one that adopted the boy with him? What if a single parent co-habitating with a woman or man in a heterosexual relationship wanted to serve as leader? Would you accept that person? What is a known adulterer asked to serve as leader? I’ve had both of these situations. How would you handle? Known alcoholic. Had that one. How far do you slide down the moral ladder to get help?

        • As a matter of fact, we have had to deal with a heterosexual alcoholic parent. This man did not want to be a scoutmaster or assistant SM; however we did have to address the parameters for his participation in troop activities. Our troop successfully found a way to include this parent on non-overnight activities. We were able to support this divorced family and help a scout participate through the Scouting and Venturing programs. His single parent mom was an awesome asset to out troop.She much appreciated the thoughtful support of scout leaders to define the limits that the alcoholic dad was to follow. Both parents and the scout continued with an appreciation of the troop. The scout became an Eagle Scout.

          I have known of leaders in other units that were co-habitating with the opposite sex. I cannot say what policies these units followed to select these leaders, but I do expect theses leaders to follow BSA YP policies.

        • Our Church is full of repentant Sinners, me being one. Its like folks that only quote the first part of “Jesus and the adulteress.” They always remember the “He who is without sin, cast the first stone” but conveniently forget the rest “Go and sin no more.” As far as we know, there are no co-habitating couples actively in the Church otherwise they would be confronted about it. You can’t continue merrily along in sin and stay in the Church. That would be a uncommonly liberal Church. Is that your Church? One reason there are no openly practicing homosexuals in our Church. Repentant would be welcome, just like any other sin.

    • Wallace, if two 17 year old lovers joined your troop, they wouldn’t have time to make Eagle, so they wouldn’t be able to sue anyone over being denied the rank.

      If the CO of the troop chooses to be inclusive, they own the unit, that is up to them. If other members don’t like that, and choose to leave, that is up to them. If there is no other troop for 20 miles, there is a very simple and reasonable solution. What could easily be done, is if the leader, and several scouts want to leave that troop, is to go to their church and ask them to charter a new unit. It’s very easy to set up a new unit, and no reason to drive 20 miles. You simply establish a new troop that is more in line with what you believe. You discuss it with the new CO in advance, have the policies written, and carry on. Everyone wins.

      • Your dreaming outside of reality Beth. Why should the Scoutmaster sacrifice his unit for two boys who think flaunting their homosexuality is so important. If the scoutmaster dismisses them from the troop and they run off to homosexual activists to cry foul the scoutmaster will be tarred and feathered in the media and help up as the worst society has to offer on the degeneris show. Think it won’t happen; it did.

        • If they’re dismissed from the troop, that is fine. It would be then up to them to locate a troop that would be willing to accept them as members. Hopefully their district and council professionals could help them to locate one. I only mentioned my solution because in your scenario, you said that the CO decided to allow them to stay. That’s up to the CO. You proposed this in your hypothetical. If they can’t refrain from exhibiting openly sexual behavior at scouting events, they should be handled accordingly. I completely agree with that. I would also want to deal with heterosexual youth behaving in that manner in the same way.

        • Dismissed and then they run to the media and homosexual activist groups who will put them on Degeneris’s show and from there they’ll manipulate the story to serve their purpose of trying to mainstream a behavior that most people find revolting and an abomination of God’s design for His Creation.

        • Dismissed and then they run to the media and homosexual activist groups who will put them on Degeneris’s show and from there they’ll manipulate the story to serve their purpose of trying to mainstream a behavior that most people find revolting and an abomination of God’s design for His Creation.

          There may be a lesson here.

          Ellen Degeneris featured a kid denied Eagle. He was a life-long Scout, had done all the work. At the last minute, someone decided he should be denied the rank because he was homosexual. Not promiscuous, not sexually active, but homosexual. Not exhibiting bad behavior. Homosexual.

          I’ve know boys who got their Eagle despite their having fathered children. I’ve known kids who got Eagle despite a conviction for possession or use of controlled substances. Despite a conviction for burglary.

          Can we get a little proportion here?

          Degeneris wasn’t doing anything other than trying to get a good kid a Scout rank he had earned, through living the Scout Oath and Law, and doing all the other work.

          I’ve noted before, we used to just give those kids the Eagle and a good Court of Honor. How do you think came to have 200,000 gay Eagles?

      • Thanks Beth. I was going to make that point too.

        Wallace where is the citation for the story of the two 17 homosexual scouts. I want to read it.

        • Deanna; Is anyone going to make any attempt to imagine these scenarios that are going to eventually happen. My citation; who said I had a citation. This is called preparation and a good Eagle Scout has to use his experience and imagination to prepare for the worst case scenarios. I actually don’t have the stomach for writing on here the true worst case scenarios I can envision happening if the BSA changes their membership policy and allows homosexuals to actively openly flaunt their homosexuality in the BSA. If your a parent I would imagine you wouldn’t have the stomach for those likely scenarios either. The real world is a very dangerous and harsh place and that’s why the BSA has gone to some much trouble to have Child Protection Policies put in place to protect the children and adults they’ve chosen to be responsible for.

        • Wallace,

          This whole “Worst case Scenario ” theme is extremely silly. But with each post you seem to move closer and closer to implying that gay scouts will be evil rapists. My words, not yours, but that is the vibe I am getting. These are just kids that want to be scouts.

          I think you should look at how you are spreading derogatory stereotypes, Not very scout like in my opinion.

        • Steve, You are a manipulator of words and choosing to try to speak for me; your choice but that makes you a liar unless you want to take responsibility for portraying scouts as “evil rapists”; I didn’t say that you did. But that’s not unusual for an activist to try to manipulate someones words to serve their own purpose; maybe you should choose freely to speak for yourself. I’ll continue to stand behind everything I’ve said because I have a tremendous concern for Scouting and for the boys that choose freely to participate in the BSA; they don’t have to be here and it wouldn’t take much to give a few a good reason to leave. Changing the policy might just be enough; might have been for me as a boy if we then would have had open homosexuals in our troop.

          If you don’t like my posts with regard to preparing for the future if the membership policy is changed then perhaps you shouldn’t read them. I think it would be foolish not to consider very likely scenarios leaders and scouts will be faced with if the policy is changed; forward thinking. It’s part of being prepared to meet the challenges changing this policy will eventually cause. Things scouts and leaders will have to consider if sexually active homosexuals are openly active in the BSA at every level. I’d imagine if your not sexually active in a relationship with someone then nobody would ever know your a homosexual and it wouldn’t be an issue under the existing policy or the proposed policy; who would care then unless you chose to make an issue of it. Maybe considering likely scenarios is disturbing to you but now’s the time to consider these very likely scenarios while there is still a chance to keep the current policy in place which provides leaders and scouts the added protection that the proposed policy doesn’t. I wonder why the BSA is even considering stepping backward on youth protection anyway; simply to appease the media and big money donors. Makes absolutely no sense to me. It certainly has absolutely no potential of increasing membership; anyone want to make a bet that membership increase doesn’t happen if the policy change is made? I wonder how much big donor money will be preserved and raised if the policy change is made; anybody monitoring the before and maybe after on that one?

          I’ve been in scouting a long time as a boy and for many years as a leader. Have you ever known a boy that was molested in scouting Steve; I have. It makes no sense to me that the BSA would even consider making the organization more risky for the youth it serves. I would have hoped that the BSA would have chosen to go in the right direction and opened up a discussion on how to better protect youth from molestation or worse. There is room for improvement in the youth protection program.

          “be prepared” Steve…

        • “I wonder why the BSA is even considering stepping backward on youth protection anyway;”

          NOWHERE has BSA said anything about changing YPT, Wallace. Two-deep leadership will STILL be required.

          Are you THAT afraid that someone’s going to try and convert you?

        • You stated that you wonder why BSA is stepping back from youth protection. There is no change in youth protection under discussion as far as I am aware.

        • Wallace, I didn’t quote you there, just telling you how your rude stereotypical comments are sounding. You are painting a whole class of people with a pretty broad brush. Being gay does not make you a pedophile, degenerate, pervert, or predator. If you believe that it does, you have been fed false information.

          BSA should be preparing for likely scenarios, I maintain that those that you have described are not even remotely likely, and you are just spouting hurtful words. I don’t even think you see that your words are hurtful.

          Don’t know how I became an activist, but OK, if you want to call me that because I believe in equal rights I can live with the title. I’m not gay by the way, Eagle, former SM, CM, MC now CC and all that. None of that really matters all opinions are welcome. What is not welcome is hurtful speech, that is my point.

          The BSA is looking at the situation, and I am sure they are considering the possible problems and pitfalls that a big change like this might have.

          So anyway, as mentioned in responses to your attack on me, YP is not decreasing, it remains a very good tool to protect the scouts from predators. Either way things go in May, the safety of the scouts will still be a priority, and to say that they would somehow be in danger because a fellow scout or leader is gay is just false and disrespectful. Would you say that boy scouts now are in more danger because of female leaders? I would not. Would you say that male venture scouts in more danger because there are female venture scouts? I would not. We have rules an policies to keep the kids safe. Discriminating against gays does not increase that safety.

          Have a great evening.

        • Steve, Once again are you speaking for me. Did I ever say you were a homosexual? I said you are a homosexual activist. You can be a homosexual activist and not be a homosexual. You have an agenda don’t you; to change the policy. If you were a true scout you would understand that when you say the oath and make a promise to obey the scout law you agreed to be trustworthy, loyal, reverent, obedient. That means showing those virtues to the BSA too. If someone who is a scout is going against the current membership policy your betraying the BSA organization which and being disobedient, untrustworthy, disloyal and ultimately without reverence to God who doesn’t look favorably on homosexual behavior; do you think being supportive of it is wrongful too? Where’d He ever say that if you believe He’s ok with people who choose freely to defile His creation with wrongful sexual sin. I think He had bigger and better things in mind for the Love given to us through the Holy Spirit we can choose to accept if we choose to be baptized into His Kingdom.

          I’m standing up for the scouts because I believe in them; their our future. Their going to be the innocent victims of the actions of the adults that support changing the current policy and putting them in greater danger of being molested or worse by making the BSA a more attractive organizations to homosexuals who are far more likely to be sexual predators of little boys than heterosexual men. I’ll type on here for a month of Sundays if I think I can save and protect that first boy who will become a victim of a homosexual sexual predator who chooses to attack a scout he’s chosen to attack. What will you say when that first attack happens Steve? Do you think you can ever console or heal that boy and his family; it’ll be too late… Now’s the time to protect him by leaving the policy the same.. Why are homosexual activists so adamant about changing the policy; what’s to gain? Nothing that I know of; anything you know of that I don’t. Equality? What does that mean.. A pretty word at the expense of what; a boy’s best welfare.. This world will never have equality so its best to understand how to handle inequality; His book is all about it.. If you read it you’ll be better prepared. “be prepared”

      • Ever had transients move into your troop Beth. Ever had scouts walk in as Life Scouts and soon earn their Eagle Rank; we have. There will be ultimately no winners if the membership policy is changed; the BSA in time will fail as boys are no longer going to aspire to be in an organization that represents what the homosexual activists want it to become. Not having been a scout or a boy I can’t imagine how you could ever really understand. Just the way it is. I would never pretend to understand a womans true heart for the same reasons.

        • Wallace, Please cite the source of “what the homosexual activists want it to become.”

          Here is what I think they want the BSA to become. Exactly what it is without the discriminatory behavior that treats people as second class citizens. Scouting does so many things right, they are wrong on this one, (and a couple more, but that’s a topic for another time).

        • Wallace wrote in part: “Ever had transients move into your troop Beth. Ever had scouts walk in as Life Scouts and soon earn their Eagle Rank; we have.”

          They are called “transfers”. They came from SOMEONE ELSE’S TROOP and if you’ve accepted them in your Troop, they are now members of YOUR TROOP. This happens all of the time…the policy change, if it occurs, won’t change this a bit. We’ll continue to have Scouts and their families to move or decide that “that Troop looks like it’s got itself together better” or “has a better program” or “goes camping more”, or whatever the criteria is…than the one they belong to now.

          “Not having been a scout or a boy I can’t imagine how you could ever really understand. Just the way it is.”

          I think that she and other women would understand this…Just common Scouter sense.

        • Let me make another prediction for you steve. If the policy is changed then all the worlds homosexual activist groups and the mainstream world media is going to be so ecstatic to proclaim their victory; at the cost of the BSA and their youth members. They’ll tout their victory and add the BSA to their list of organizations they’ve terrorized to go against their will and surrender to their agenda. They’ll use the BSA as a whip to beat other organizations that stand up for their biblical principles and say that the Lutheran’s agree, Presbyterians (USA not American) agree, Episcopaleans, Reformed Jewish Church etc. agree so Catholics, Baptists, and other true Christian groups; you gotta surrender to us too or were going to persecute you in the media and call you hateful, bigots, racists, evil, intolerant devils; wow! the irony with that. Do you really think based on what’s already happened that’s not going to happen. It’s happening now. But those church groups that accept homosexuality in their leadership are dying because its simply wrongful. And now the homosexual activists want the same death for the BSA because they aren’t satisfied to let them flourish if they can’t be part of it. Time will tell the truth; I’m not a fool.. I’ve been around a long time. One thing is for sure that I’ll always be there to stand up for what’s right for the BSA and if the rule is changed it can always be changed back. There will be a day that an older homosexual scout preys on a younger scout and the media will love the controversy and they’ll be saying why did the BSA let this happen; and there may then be a change back in the right direction. Think ahead; “be prepared”. I’m a good Scout; an Eagle Scout….

        • Wallace, please stop characterizing those you disagree with as not “true Christians.” It is fine for you to believe that; but right now, you are wearing a virtual Scout uniform, in describing yourself as a leader and as an Eagle. The BSA is “absolutely nonsectarian” and when you wear that uniform, you represent the BSA. It is inconsistent with BSA principles to label others in this way. The definition of the 12th point in the Boy Scout handbook includes “respects the beliefs of others.” If I say I am a Christian, and I do, and you say I am not a “true Christian,” in this forum (say what you like when you are not wearing the uniform), you are breaking that 12th point.

        • I disagree with you Mike. There is no way a woman would understand what it means to have been a scout and earned their Eagle Rank; no way a woman can understand what it means to be a man. There are significant differences aside from the physical. If you don’t believe or understand that then maybe you need to pay closer attention to reality. I would never say I could ever understand what it means to be a woman or at the upper level of the Girl Scouts.. You don’t command this issue with any more authority than I do. Do you honestly believe that it will be business as usual for the BSA if they choose to walk away from this policy which currently helps to protect the youth in the scouts? If you can’t envision the changes then once again I advise you to look more closely at the reality of what the change is going to do to the BSA. You speak for yourself and I’ll speak for myself. You completely did not address the issue you were even referring to. If she truly understood then I think she would be doing better to “be prepared” for the problems a change in policy will create. It won’t be a matter of if; it’ll be a matter of when and to what to degree to begin with. What will you say when the problems begin to occur; “I told you so”? That won’t be available for you to say; at least not truthfully.

        • Wallace wrote: “I disagree with you Mike.”

          That’s okay, you can disagree with me. I disagree with you.

          “There is no way a woman would understand what it means to have been a scout and earned their Eagle Rank;”

          Trust me, Wallace, a woman can understand what it means to have been a Scout and to earn the highest award in a program. Compared to our 20 thousand or so each year, only 700 or so Girl Scouts earn Gold, the highest award in Girl Scouting. To *me*, there’s no comparison: Gold is a lot tougher to earn than Eagle; and every time I see a former Girl Scout wearing that small Gold Award pin, I have to bow to them in respect…for they have to do four times the amount of work we Boy Scouts do to get that award.

          Yeah. There’s women out there who understands what it means to be a Scout and to earn the highest award in their program. It’s not Eagle — but who needs Eagle when one can earn Gold?

          “no way a woman can understand what it means to be a man. There are significant differences aside from the physical. If you don’t believe or understand that then maybe you need to pay closer attention to reality. I would never say I could ever understand what it means to be a woman or at the upper level of the Girl Scouts..”

          Neither would I, Wallace. But why are you talking this “man-woman smack” anyways? You DO realize that the purpose behind Boy Scouting is NOT to make a boy a man…right? The purpose behind Boy Scouting is to make boys strong citizens of quality personal character.

          “You don’t command this issue with any more authority than I do.”

          Maybe so. But I have a higher regard and respect for women than you do, I feel… just saying.

          “Do you honestly believe that it will be business as usual for the BSA if they choose to walk away from this policy which currently helps to protect the youth in the scouts?”

          Absolutely. The current policy doesn’t “protect the youth”. The current policy “protects the program” from those who want to do harm to it. Well buddy, as I’ve wrote earlier, most of the United States have grown up and matured. It’s time for the BSA to join almost everyone else in this nation and recognize that Gayness is not going to “spell the end of our nation” just like it didn’t spell “the end of our multinational corporations” (they’re still making money…), the “end of our schools” (most of them are still in the education business…), the “end of our military” (we’re still fighting and some are dying in defense of this nation, including those who are Gay or Lesbian…), the “end of our hospitals”, (they’re making good bank also, and the care is well, what you pay for…)…man, I can keep going on and on…

          The point I’m making is that if the BSA moves forward with their proposal, it’s NOT going to be the “end of the BSA”. It’s only going to make the BSA more of what it was designed to be — a program for youth, to develop strong citizens of quality personal character.

          “Straight” and Gay.

          “If you can’t envision the changes then once again I advise you to look more closely at the reality of what the change is going to do to the BSA.”

          Yeah. We’ll have people who are proud to be a part of a program which recognizes that they’re there to help develop youth…not to do harm to any of them.

          We’ll have chartered partners which care more about the people who mentor their youth than just “signing papers” and cutting checks.

          We’ll have local Councils who will work toward developing programs which enhances local unit programming instead of always looking around, seeing if someone is “doing something wrong.”

          We’ll have youth members who will understand that their sexual identity is only a very SMALL part of who they are…they will learn by being around other boys that Scouting is something they needed to develop WHO they are going to be as adults.

          In other words, Wallace: NOTHING CHANGES.

          “If she truly understood then I think she would be doing better to “be prepared” for the problems a change in policy will create.”

          You keep saying that we need to ” “be prepared” for the problems a change will create.” I would much rather she “be prepared for life” as an American, as a resident of Earth…because you realize that somewhere out there, some beings are going to come here and find out just how resourceful we can be.

          Or edible we will become.

          “It won’t be a matter of if; it’ll be a matter of when and to what to degree to begin with. What will you say when the problems begin to occur;”

          What problems?? Dude…remember all of your friends saying the same things when “Don’t Ask- Don’t Tell” was repealed. “Oh my goodness, we’re gonna have to shower with THEM!!” “I’ll have to share a tent with THEM” “We’ll have to put up with their “stuff” now!”

          What REALLY happened? Nothing. Oh there’s a few “Happy Gilmores” like you out there trying to “gin things up”, but there’s a WHOLE LOT MORE of folks like me saying “go back to your basements, dudes…there’s nothing to see here…”

          Wallace, you provide me with hours of reading enjoyment. If you’d put this much effort into making your unit the best it can be, I’m sure that your Council would be extremely proud of you. But seriously man, there’s nothing to fear…except your own personal fears that somehow the BSA isn’t doing the right things… they will. The BSA already has Gay and Lesbian youth and adults. Have been for decades. Hasn’t changed. We’ve got thousands of Black and Latino and American Indian and Asian youth in our programs. Have been for decades. Hasn’t changed. We’ve got thousands of women of all stripes, all races, all creeds, and with all kinds of sexual orientations in our programs. Has been for at least 40 years. Hasn’t changed.

          No matter how it turns out or which “effort” gets approved or not, I’m going to be right here with the BSA. After all, Wallace…the BSA is *us*. You and me. And all of the other volunteers out there and the families of those youth we’re entrusted to.

        • “You DO realize that the purpose behind Boy Scouting is NOT to make a boy a man … right?”

          Based on my reading of old Scout handbooks, including the one I used (and still have), I would have surmised that it was. The increasing role of women in Boy Scouting has obviously tempered that somewhat, for the most part by necessity (and the relative merits of that are another subject for another day, as in, an entirely different blog post), but Scouting as a form of growth to manhood (as is Guiding for womanhood) was a theme throughout B-P’s writings, and permeates most earlier handbooks.

          As to the rest of the response, I haven’t read all of it enough to form an opinion, so I won’t. Just thought I’d throw that out there.

        • You are really too funny Mike. I don’t know any boy that doesn’t want to be a man. I do think you revealed something clearly to me; the perfect place for homosexual boys and men would be the Girl Scouts. I say that in all sincerity. I think you sound like your so fond of them you honestly should join; I think your ideals mesh perfectly with what you’ve described their organization to be. I sincerely believe the BSA is designed with the full intention to help a boy grow to become a good man of good character who is morally straight and who lives the Scout Law of being Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent. I hope you reread your post though and realize why I’m laughing now; it really is too funny. I honestly don’t know a single boy who doesn’t want to be a man and who has absolutely no desire to be a woman when they grow up. You do realize there is a great difference in a man and a woman don’t you? I’m honestly asking you that question; why do I feel like I’m honestly asking you that question? Well; I am.. Its obvious to me that you and all your supporters of this policy change have no real reason for the change other than pushing for a social and political agenda acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle in our culture. Honestly Mike; It’s really never going to happen. Meditate on it and listen to the truth of your heart; It’s never going to happen. The vast vast majority of people are not homosexual and already tolerate homosexuals in the culture; their open behavior in our culture, Never going to happen. You’ve won that much but there’s really the total victory you envision is never going to happen; Its A Biblical Truth; A truth of Human Nature and God’s Nature that can’t be changed. How did we get on the topic of women; the women on this blog claim to understand what it means to be a Boy Scout, to be a Man, to be a boy growing up in our culture with all the challenges and obstacles a boy has to encounter in life on his journey to become a Man; yes I said it.. boys want to become men; its their true hearts desire to become men.. And boys and men are different than girls and women; by His design for His perfect reason. That’s another Biblical Truth of God’s natural world and He commands all of it. I challenge you to go ask the Boy Scouts you know if they have a desire to become good men, with good morals and to grow to become respectable men of good solid character. I’ll bet 100% say yes…
          By the way; I’ll keep my Eagle Rank and so will my son. Girl Scouts should be proud of their achievement too. But Boy Scouts have no desire to earn highest award in the Girl Scouts; believe me on this one, “trust me” as you would say.

        • Mike, thank you again. I have decided that I will no longer engage in conversation with an individual that wishes to denigrate the integrity of good people by suggesting they are neither good Scouts nor Christians. I believe any rational third party reading these conversations will have no difficulty determining who is making sense here and who is fear mongering and flaming.

          There is no reason to believe that the BSA cannot continue to protect the youth within the organization. Gay people that join scouts will do so because they want to be scouts. Gay people that are already in scouts can continue to participate without fear of being kicked out because of who they are. They clearly already joined because they wanted to be scouts. The fact that they are gay has nothing to do with it. There is nothing nefarious going on.

        • When you say people are wrong on that one then your saying God is wrong on it too; He created the Word, some choose freely to be obedient to it and strive to live by its principles for their life. If a homosexual tells me their Christian and they follow biblical principles for their life then were yoked together as brothers; that’s my belief. If a hetero friend of mine chooses to live an abnormal life of having sexual relationships with random women, fornication, sodomy then were not yoked together anymore and I’ll pray for his return home. I’ll choose to keep my distance from him though but I’ll always be there for him as my neighbor; we just won’t have a friendship as brothers. That’s your choice to betray His word just like its the free choice of the homosexual who chooses to become active in a homosexual relationship and behave in a homosexual way; their free choice not His. But you can’t fool Him Steve; He knows all of it. Don’t mistaken my passion for anger. I’m not angry at you or anyone on here. I enjoy the discussion. It’s just kicking the ball around because there aren’t many people on here anyway. I’ve had my say in our troop and in letter form and on my survey. I’ll probably send more letters and they’ll reflect many of the concerns I’ve shown on here. And if the BSA chooses to change their policy to satisfy the homosexual activists then I’ll still be around to fight against it and push for it to change back or watch the BSA self destruct; there will be a day when they’ll choose to change it back or it will all come to an end; just a matter of time. Faith; I have faith in God’s ultimate will. He always has His victory; when’s He ever failed? Patience

        • Then you should respect the Scout Oath Karen and accept the current policy with obedience, loyalty, reverence, and trust. Remember your virtual uniform you wear and the real uniform you might sometimes wear when your reciting the oath and the law; you should be standing up for the BSA as it is rather than trying to change the organization you pledged to be loyal to. I think I’ll choose to defend the BSA policy in the best ways I can; for what I believe to be rightful. I may say wrongful things at times but I am saying it with a true allegiance to the BSA and a true heart that believes strongly in the BSA and everything it stands for. I stand behind everything I’ve said to present though. I truly believe open homosexuality in the BSA will be the kiss of death; my free choice to believe what I’ve come to prayerfully believe. You can try to restrain my right to express my faith freely but I can assure you your wasting your time. You have a free right to not listen. I would never try to impose on your rights. I joined the BSA as a Christian and I’m still a Christian. It defines who I am. I never said I was the best Christian; part of why I am a Christian.. forgiveness..

        • Wallace wrote: “Then you should respect the Scout Oath Karen and accept the current policy with obedience, loyalty, reverence, and trust. I stand behind everything I’ve said to present though. You can try to restrain my right to express my faith freely but I can assure you your wasting your time. You have a free right to not listen. I would never try to impose on your rights. I joined the BSA as a Christian and I’m still a Christian. It defines who I am. I never said I was the best Christian; part of why I am a Christian.. forgiveness..”

          I am not clear from this, Wallace, whether you are insisting on continuing to say that people are not “true Christians,” or asking for forgiveness for doing so. If you are asking for forgiveness, sure. If you want to keep saying people are not “true Christians,” you need to stop that when you are in uniform. Read carefully the declaration of religious principle that you accepted when you became a member. Yes, you became a member as a Christian, and so did I. And both of us must respect each other’s beliefs, the beliefs of the Buddhist down the street, and the religious beliefs of every other Scout. To say, “Well, I don’t have to respect your faith because it is not *true* faith, it’s false faith,” this does not meet the BSA standard. Please stop calling people not “true Christians.” This is not a limit on the exercise of your faith, but a reminder of a commitment you made when you signed the form. That’s all I am asking of you.

        • You cite Obedience as a reason to maintain the policy. However, at each induction ceremony within our troop, we light a candle for obedience and elaborate by telling our scouts that obedience means they should obey rules and work from within to change rules or laws they feel are wrong. This is the situation in this debate. Scouts and scouters are working from within to change a BSA policy they believe is wrong. I would suggest that many, perhaps not all, of these BSA members are following the scout law by being obedient. . Some on this blog have labeled arguments shared in support of the change as promoting a homosexual agenda or destroying BSA. However, following the Scout Law is honoring BSA, not destroying it.

          I think we need to stop debating whether we need this discussion or not. BSA has deemed it important. We need to participate with respect and thoughtfulness for all who wear a real or virtual uniform..

        • Sometimes they move right back out in our society today Mike. Transients move through… I feel badly for the kids who are so unsettled in their lives.. I have a true heart for kids; our nations youth. I feel our culture and society has let them down in so many ways.. The world and our nation is far far different from when I was a boy. Most of the changes have been for the worse in my opinion. My kids don’t live in the same world I grew up in and that makes me sad for them. The BSA has been one constant to some degree my son has enjoyed for 12 years now. He plans to continue as a leader but this policy change might change his mind too.. There is no good reason for this change; there really isn’t unless there is a plan for homosexuals to be openly active in homosexual behavior… That is true…

        • Karen; what do you think a true Christian is? What does it mean to be a Christian? Are you asking me? Are you a Christian? Are you a believer in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and do you accept His blood as the only sacrifice acceptable to lead you to everlasting in God’s Kingdom. That’s all. That’s all it takes but it has to be sincere and He knows the truth of your heart. If you choose to surrender your life to God and accept His Holy Spirit through Baptism then your saved but your on a journey. Homosexual behavior is a sin that God offers forgiveness for. Its all because of His pure love for all of us; even me Karen. But is this what your asking me? Do you understand what a Christian is? There are some people who choose not to be Christians and there are some people who choose to be Christians. Being a Christian and belonging to a church are two different things. You can be a Christian and not be in a Christian Church; a church that has a discipline based on biblical principles. If your church isn’t based on biblical principles then your in a wrongful church; is that what your talking about. I never said members of that church were not Christians. I will say that a church that allows sexually active homosexuals to be their ordained leaders are really off the track and way off base; fornication is a sin too. I will also say that there will never be such a thing as a homosexual marriage because God defines true marriage to be a spiritual covenant between a man, a woman and Him. People can make up all of their own rules they want; if it isn’t from His Word then its just a humanistic lie. If your a Christian your also on a journey to understand His truths; their not hidden well, He wrote what we need to know in His Holy Book. I hope you find your way too..

  5. Pingback: Voice of the Scout membership-policy survey questions give Scouters, parents a chance to be heard « Bryan on Scouting

  6. Reality Check: Policy changed to allow open homosexuality. CO has a homosexual spiritual leader and is in a homosexual relationship with a man who he wants to be the scoutmaster so they can lead the troop together. They convince the committee who they’ve now taken over with the homosexual members of their spiritual group to remove the existing heterosexual male scoutmaster and take over the troop. The troop recharters with 1/3 the members and the other 2/3 quit even though 3 of the scouts were life and had nearly completed their Eagle Rank; their Christian conscious tells them they can’t be part of troop of this nature; their character. There is no other troop in this town if 18,090 people. The commissioner upon appeal from the 2/3 of resigned families asks the homosexual leader to step down so the original leader can be reinstated. homosexual leader refuses because he is homosexual activist and this means more to him than kust being the scout leader. The other 1/3 resign because of the impact loosing 2/3 of the troop has had on the unit. Now nobody in this town has scouting; a new unit forms the next year with the original leader at the Masonic Hall but the three life scouts have since turned 18 and are no longer age eligible to earn their Eagle Rank. Tragedy. “be prepared”

    • Wallace, although I respect your beliefs, your “reality check” fear mongering is just ridiculous. We could make up all sorts of far fetched worst case scenarios, none of that helps this discussion. Please realize that the result could be that the whole troop recharters with several new members because they are now able to be scouts without hiding how god made them. The new scoutmaster is a really great guy.

      Why are you so afraid? It seems irrational to me.

      • How foolish anyone would be to not “be prepared” for scenarios that will in time happen when your talking about 4,000,000 scouts and leaders. “fear mongering” how funny for you to describe the actions of an Eagle Scout and Scout leader with over 20 years membership with the BSA. You can call my actions to prepare the membership with likely scenarios what ever you want but it doesn’t change the truth. Have you ever worked with coed groups on overnighters; what’s going to be the difference except less likelyhood of teenage pregnancy. BSA would be bad scouts not to look at and prepare for the worst case scenarios and prepare accordingly. Thats what the current policy does so beautifully; protects the current membership from ever having to deal with any of this which has nothing to do with the mission of the BSA and the program designed to build men from boys with the committed leadership of good men of good moral character. “fear monger” ha! that’s not what the BSA calls it; “be prepared”. That’s what they taught me.

        • There are gay scouts now

          There are co-ed scouting groups now.

          Being prepared is something we should all do. Wasting energy on problems that are very very improbable is not a good use of my time.

          Perhaps scaremonger would be closer, “one inclined to raise or excite alarms especially needlessly.”

          I hope some day you can overcome your fear of gay people and realize that they are just like you and me except for who they are attracted to.

        • If the BSA did not intend to ‘be prepared’ for any changes in policy, they would have just done it, behind closed doors, and thrown it out, without guidance. Seems to me that right now, they are ‘preparing’ to make their decision by asking for input from the scouting family. If there is a change, I’m sure there will be more to come.

        • I wish there were a hundred thousand homosexual activists on here because it would make this even better; It would be a good chance for you all to hear the truth…

      • Why do you really want the policy to change Steve? Honestly; what’s to benefit. Why am I so afraid? I’m not afraid for me; I’m afraid for the scouts that the change will effect in time. There will unfortunately be a time when the decision to change this policy will be regretted. It seems irrational that you choose not to think of the worst case scenarios; if you did maybe you’d understand better. Why do you think Youth Protection was placed in the BSA to begin with? Because there are many parents who love their sons dearly and their not going to put them in a risky situation. Why does it bother you so much to see the very likely scenarios that will happen somewhere someday if the BSA changes their policy? Maybe its a lack of life experience or maybe you haven’t been a parent of a boy in the BSA or maybe you live in a very safe part of the country where others go out of there way to make your community safe for your children? I don’t know; I won’t speak for you but I’d be foolish to not think about all the problems changing this policy will cause in the BSA and the BSA would be foolish not to be thinking the same way; heck.. they wrote the motto “be prepared”, I just learned the lesson they taught me years and years ago; never forgot though… good motto!

        • What is the benefit?

          Wallace, dear sweet Wallace. It’s almost a case of if you have to ask you won’t understand. I am not gay so I don’t personally know what it feels like to be the victim in this case. Can’t you even imagine what it feels like to be rejected by a group that you love? It is cruel to treat other people as you would like by discriminating against them, making them feel worthless. Do you even understand why the teen suicide rate is high among LGBT kids? Your kind of thinking and behavior is part of it. These kids are perfect just the way they are, If you believe that god made them then this how they are meant to be. When they are told they are evil or abominations or worthless it adds up. Kids kill them selves for crying out loud. What benefit is there you ask? If I can have one gay young man come to a troop meeting and gain some friends, some self worth, and not hang himself from his closet rod, that sounds like good reason to me. I am through with you Wallace, logic has no use on you and I think it’s a waste of my time. I have tried to explain it several times, some men you just can’t reach.

        • Thank you Steve. The high suicide rate amongst LGBT kids is also a reason that I feel this change is so important. The mission of our organization is to serve youth. I don’t feel that it is in our best interest to reject a class of citizens and label them as ‘less than.’ I believe that if we continue on the path we are on, we will become irrelevant in society.

        • Thank you for your continued thoughtful approach to this discussion. I would urge us all to move on to new ground. If we are to be prepared, we need to reflect on practical questions about the landscape under a new membership policy.

          I would encourage a discussion of questions like What is BSA’s current employment policy and how will it be impacted by the change? Are BSA and council employees required to be members of BSA?

        • Thanks, Ann. This conversation has truly become pointless. I think the questions you have raised are good ones, and I’m sure that this organization to which we all belong and dedicate our time, energy, and passion to is fully capable of providing reasonable answers to them. We are all capable of working together and coming up with solutions. They are not hard problems. If we follow the Oath and Law, respect other individuals, act in good faith, we can surely do it. I’ll put out together some thoughts and address some of the things you posed. I’m heading to University of Scouting in the morning, then to a karate tournament. In the meantime, I need to make certain I don’t lose the post I want to respond to. Have a good evening!

        • Ann wrote and asked: “I would encourage a discussion of questions like What is BSA’s current employment policy and how will it be impacted by the change?”

          It won’t. The BSA’s employment policy is the same as used by many other non-profit organizations. http://www.scouting.org/Jobs/QualificationsofEmployment.aspx

          The basic qualifications are:

          ■Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
          ■United States citizenship or declared intention to become a U.S. citizen
          ■Adult—must have attained age 21 unless prohibited by any applicable law
          ■People-oriented, having the ability to work well with adult volunteers, community and business leaders, and representatives of other organizations
          ■Able to work varied hours when necessary to achieve positive objectives
          ■Believe in the BSA and subscribe to its principles and standards
          ■Be approved to receive a professional Scouting commission

          “Are BSA and council employees required to be members of BSA?”
          By default, everyone employed is also registered as a BSA volunteer.

        • There have been individuals dismissed from summer camp employment because of their sexual orientation. Even though the official policy doesn’t state that the BSA declines to employ openly homosexual individuals, they in fact do not hire openly homosexual individuals. The policy may not need to be rewritten to accommodate a potential membership change, however, I would believe that the unwritten policy that is actually in effect would change.

        • From what you say the membership policy change would impact employees.To register as a volunteer, the employee must follow the membership policies. It is sort of a catch 22, but I see this as one more argument to change the policy. We need good professionals. As has been pointed out for leaders, homosexual adults are potential supporters of the BSA program. We definitely need good leaders and staff.

        • Hey Steve; Speaking for me again. I don’t have anything against homosexual children; did I say that. hmmm? lying about what I’ve said again. To serve your own purpose again? Seems your the fear monger as you try to twist truths around to serve your purpose of manipulating a program to serve your homosexual activist agenda. I wonder if the homosexual kids your talking about will feel any more comfortable in the BSA when they choose to come in the BSA, come out at school and elsewhere in our society. Do you think wearing a BSA uniform is going to make them feel any better about their homosexual desires. A homosexual child doesn’t have to develop thinking they have to act on their desire; they don’t have to behave in a homosexual way; do you want the BSA to teach them that? Exactly how is a boy coming out in a scout troop full of his peers and other heterosexual boys going to feel any different than coming out anywhere else? Seems to me you have a calling to minister to that boy and explain to him that being in the BSA isn’t going to change the way you feel about yourself. Seems to me that understanding a Godly love is far greater than any earthly love this boy could ever nurture. It would be of greater value to him at every stage of his life; and that goes for all of us. You don’t nurture a loving relationship with God by living a sinful life; maybe that needs to be the lesson youth need to understand. If their taught to understand what sin is and to understand a Christian Faith and believe in a truth greater than anything on this earth they’ll understand that they have a life far more valuable to God than their personal selfish gratifications. The BSA needs to also draw closer to its Christian roots and not forget like the public schools that you can’t teach morality without teaching religion; without teaching about God. Boys need to be taught how to find their faith in God; need to see the direction to follow; need spiritual leaders. As adults were all responsible to lead them in that direction; their just kids. No; I don’t think homosexual boys who want to come out and show their desire for a homosexual lifestyle should be in the BSA. But is the BSA the only youth organization available to homosexual boys. I honestly do believe Steve you may be missing your calling in forming an organization to minister to the homosexual boys you’ve cited. Maybe you can make a difference in their lives; lead them to understand their true purpose in life; His purpose for their lives. It’s not to live a homosexual lifestyle. The first place I’d turn them is toward God and toward an understanding that His love is far greater than any other love they could ever attain on this earth. Everlasting life with Him is available to all His creation but not without loving Him more than anything on this earth. Good luck with your new ministry. There is a tremendous need for a youth organization to serve the boys and girls struggling with their sexuality; its just not the mission of the BSA to lead them in that struggle. If that’s not their struggle and they choose to not make sexuality a big deal in their lives until their over 18 then they should join the BSA. It’s a great organization for boys who want to learn life skills and grow to become morally straight men of good character. Maybe they should put off sexuality until their over 18 and consenting adults; maybe until they get married as is God’s plan for some; not all.

        • Adios Steve; I wondered if you had it in you to understand the truth.. Maybe in time when you grow in your wisdom; it does take life experience. You won’t change my mind because its rooted in truths and their not changeable; His not mine…

        • Wallace my love, I have not left, I will just not be arguing against your silliness. If you have rational posts that feel I need to comment on, I will do that.

          You assume so much about me, but you really don’t know me. Sort of wish you would not do that but I forgive you.

          I hope the policy is changed, I think it will lead to better days for the BSA, it’s members, and the country as a whole. Beth made an excellent post about the struggles of LGBT teens, it is very informative. It explains just how much these kids are suffering, and if we are able I think we should do our part as Scouts and Scouters to include them in the BSA.

          {HUGS}

          Steve

    • Again, it is up to the chartering organization to approve the members and leaders. If the beliefs and values of the chartering organization are no longer consistent with the beliefs and values of the other members, then they will part ways.

      There is no reason to wait to start a new unit. It does not have to be done at recharter time. It can be done any day of any month of the year. Those boys that were life, on the verge of Eagle can continue along the trail and achieve their goals.

      I find your belief that gays want to take over scouting to drive it into the ground misguided, however. Truly, there are simply just people that happen to be gay that are interested in scouting. There’s nothing sinister involved.

  7. Reality Check: policy change and homosexuals come out and openly join the BSA. CO is Unitarians and supportive of openly sexually active homosexuality for anybody. Heterosexual Scoutmaster finds out he has 2 homosexual couples in his troop. He sees they are both open about PDA and realizes he has to give a talk to the troop about homosexual relations . before the policy change this was never an issue because open homosexual behavior would be the basis for dismissl based on national policy violation. Now there would be a level of tolerance to whatever degree the scoutmaster chooses to accept and he would have no guidance from national who have taken a hands off position to what is their responsility as leadership of the BSA. The leaders will hear “but we were just holding hands” , “it was only one little kiss”, or what about the reports of PDA that are just so far over the top there’s no questio of their inappropriateness. Where’s the hetero leader draw the line and what protects him if he’s conservative and wanta to jear or see none of it but doesnt want the homosexual activist police unfairly labeling him as a bigot, racist, discriminating SOB who isn’t fair because this other troop allows their homosexual boys to kiss, hold hands and bunk together. How will the BSA step up to protect this leader? Based on the BSA’s lack of decisive leadership on their current policy what can the scoutmaster expect from the BSA with regard to support when the time comes to deal with all these issues as a result of changing the policy and allowing open homosexuality into the ranks. “Be Prepared”!!!

    • What leads you to the misguided conclusion that PDA would increase with gay members? Seems prejudicial.

      There is a policy in place for YP, and if you need something more defined, the troop should have its own PDA policy, All must follow this policy. Gay, straight, bisexual, everyone.

      This is a non issue and more fear mongering.

      Again, why are you so afraid?

      Have you had a personal relationship with a gay person? It seems as though you have been misinformed.

      • I guess the fact that homosexuals aren’t allowed to be openly show homosexual behavior now so most probably don’t join the BSA while if the policy is changed homosexual boys and leaders will be drawn to join the BSA since they will feel a level of acceptance for their homosexual behavior. Right now heterosexual men don’t have an attraction to men or boys or I guess they wouldn’t be heterosexual men anymore would they? I think your post is profoundly ridiculous Steve. You call it “fear mongering” that’s fine with me. I’ll wear it like a badge on my chest but in the scouts when I was a second class scout I wore a rank that said “be prepared”. It more accurately defined the purpose of examining scenarios to predict future problems.

        • Scouts are not allowed to show PDA at scouting events, period. As a Boy Scout leader, we might assume that the only risk to our youth ever being exposed to PDA would come from homosexual scouts. Another, and seemingly unrelated, change in the culture of BSA may be as important in this discussion, As training and camping activities for boy scouts and venturers are more and more integrated, boy scouts will find themselves in NYLT and resident camp with boys and girls.

          The most important approach to providing a safe space to members of scouting remains effective and consistent use of YP.

    • Your reality checks don’t seem to have much realism. Honestly, the chartering organization will set policy for membership that is within the bounds of what they deem to be appropriate. If they believe that homosexuality is fine with them, that is up to them. If there are members that aren’t ok with that, they will find a new scouting home. If there are members that aren’t ok with a chartering organization remaining closed to homosexuals, it is they that will find a new scouting home. If there isn’t a troop that meets their needs already in existence, they can establish one, or become lone scouts, if needed, hopefully for a short time.

      As for displays of PDA, holding hands, kissing, and definitely anything beyond that can absolutely be banned at all scouting events. This would apply equally for gay and straight individuals. If the scouts violate the policy, there is procedure for disciplinary action, just as if they violate any other policy. If they continue to violate the policy, that would be grounds for expulsion from the troop, under the guidance of the policies that the CO and the unit have come up with. There are ways to deal with these issues, Wallace. It doesn’t have to be the disaster you envision. There are simple solutions.

      • This is not exactly a reply. I am actually looking at some new ground in the spirit of being prepared. As I give thoughts to being prepared for a change in membership policy, I would like to hear opinions of others about unit resources during a split. I am thinking of the situation where a unit decides to form two units so the believes of all can be respected.

        Over time units acquire a lot of stuff (hopefully they also have some funds). How would people suggest these considerable resources be handled. Should they stay with the original CO and the unit it charters, or should they be divided? Is this a decision for each unit to make?

        • Ann wrote and asked:”Over time units acquire a lot of stuff (hopefully they also have some funds). How would people suggest these considerable resources be handled. Should they stay with the original CO and the unit it charters, or should they be divided? Is this a decision for each unit to make?”

          The materiel (the equipment, the funds — more on that later) belongs to the chartered partner organization. In the event that the unit splits, the chartered partner may authorize a little, some, half, or none of the property go to the “splintered off” folks. This is THEIR CALL to make, no matter who “donated” or “gave” them items to use. It if says “Troop XXX”, it belongs to the *chartered organization behind Troop XXX”.

          As far as money is concerned, it’s always a sticky issue.
          Most units with those “individual Scout accounts” in which the Troop’s treasury is divided into accounts for the Scout to use toward equipment, uniforming, insignia or fees, simply transfers the money to the new Troop. The rule of thumb is that the money IS NOT the parent’s nor the Scout’s; therefore, no “refund” should be allowed to that Scout or family. The money was raised as part of the Troop’s activities — not given by the parent — so that’s why it goes to the new unit.

          Units without such accounts (I don’t like them personally!) and the money remains in the current Troop’s bank. However, I’ve witnessed several units giving a “donation” or “starter monies” to the new unit — again, this is a chartered organization decision, NOT the decision of the Troop’s Committee or the Scoutmaster.

        • Your response follows what I would like to see, but I think it is a specific scenario that needs to be clarified. Thank you for your insights.

        • I think it is hard to generalize, because every unit’s situation will be different. Some have Scout accounts, some don’t. Some have a lot of gear, some don’t. Far more important will be the personal relationships in the unit. It is the people involved who make it easy or hard. Is it being treated like a divorce with bickering over every last spork? Or like family members moving out to set up their own new place, with folks happy to donate items and funds to help them out? Your best bet may be to think about how to get the right people in place (perhaps a committee of three reasonable, congenial people) to make the decisions.

        • I was thinking that it should be a unit/CO decision. The idea for a unit-level committee to plan an approach seems good. It brings the discussion into the open and gives flexibility.

      • Beth’s absolutely correct, Wallace — this is NOT a big deal. Not at all. Beth wrote in part: “As for displays of PDA, holding hands, kissing, and definitely anything beyond that can absolutely be banned at all scouting events.”

        And in every Troop or Team I’ve been associated with, that’s the unit’s policy. I want to kiss my “sweetie”, I do so before we get out of the car or away from the Troop meeting place and the ‘glare’ of people. So it would equally apply to Gay or Lesbian members of the Troop also.

        “If the scouts violate the policy, there is procedure for disciplinary action, just as if they violate any other policy. If they continue to violate the policy, that would be grounds for expulsion from the troop, under the guidance of the policies that the CO and the unit have come up with. There are ways to deal with these issues, Wallace. It doesn’t have to be the disaster you envision. There are simple solutions.”

        As I mentioned, I was an Explorer Post Advisor and several members of my Posts were actively dating each other. They behaved like adults when participating in Exploring activities, although I’m sure that they didn’t go around a corner or behind a building and played kissyface with each other. The rule they set up was that there would be no “visable PDA” which went for the adults of the Posts as well. It was their rule, so they bought into it and enforced it.

        • Mike; You can ban anything you like; it doesn’t stop kids from pushing the envelope to see how far they can push it. I would imagine a homosexual couple who lead a troop are going to be more lenient when it comes to disciplining homosexual scouts from engaging in PDA than a heterosexual male leader would be in another unit. This is reality talking again; anybody ready for the real world. If the homosexual boy scouts then show the same PDA while under the charge of the same heterosexual male leader for whatever reason (scout lifeguard training, merit badge counselor, merit badge college) they might find a demand for a different disciplinary action; the homosexual youth couple will cry foul!. There will therefore inequality; many on here have said that is a terrible terrible thing and we can’t let that happen. Enforcing bans will only be as uniform as the leaders doing the enforcing; that means no uniformity if the policy is changed. The current policy provides the necessary uniform policy so everyone knows the true consequence of showing homosexual PDA and other homosexual behaviors during times when your clocked in during a scouting activity wherever it might be. I really think homosexuals should form their own organization and do their own thing. The differences between heterosexual leaders and scouts in the BSA are extremely significant enough to warrant a completely separate organization that would best serve the needs of those that choose to live an active life as a homosexual. What good reason is there for that not to happen? There really isn’t unless this is really all about using the BSA as a weapon against other organizations that choose freely to not want to have homosexuals in their membership. It’s really ok to not want to have homosexuals in your free private American organization. This is still the USA; Greatest Nation on Earth.. Home of the Brave and Land of the Free; I believe in all of it; its my free choice and I choose all of it.

        • BSA is valuable, but not for its ban on gays. It is valuable for the things youth learn from the program. That is the reason why so many are interested in the program whether they are straight or gay. You have often mentioned the traditions of BSA. Those go beyond the membership policy, so people who hold many different perspectives, want to participate. They want to join scouting, not compete for the same youth population to join another group. BSA might view this in a positive way. BSA is already struggling to grow membership numbers. They do not need competitors offering a duplicate program.

      • Do you think there are ever occasions when leaders of one unit are left in charge of another troops scouts Beth? Is a Scoutmaster supposed to ask every leader of every unit if they are homosexual of they have scouts that are homosexual because they are under strict charge to keep so and so’s child away from leaders or scouts that are homosexual? Scouts are a brotherhood. There is a uniformity that won’t exist if the policy is changed. Now there will be units with openly homosexual leaders and scouts and units that work under the existing policy.. Might be time to embroider special patches designating what type of unit your in so scoutmasters don’t have to always ask and don’t risk betraying parents and CO leaders back home. As a Scout Leader this is only going to contribute to making a big job even bigger. There will be a lot of headaches on the way for all leaders if the change is approved; just take a minute and imagine rather than rushing into a change of this magnitude. It’s foolish to not prepare yourself for the events that will come to pass. These are questions that need answered and they need answered before even considering making a change in the policy. You should be asking them too Beth; its your responsibility too… That’s what being prepared really means; its not just a cute motto… it has real life purpose and meaning…

        • It is important to realize that in most cases scout leaders should know other leaders and units in their immediate area. You would be aware of the unit’s policy on homosexual scouts and leaders.

          In larger settings, like summer camp, you would be unlikely to leave your unit in the charge of a leader you do not know. The exception would be a staff or volunteer charged by the camp with a role such as waterfront staff or staff in another skill area. Regardless, You would not leaves scouts in a situation where adult leadership is not two deep or in proper adult to scout ratio.

          With this discussion looking into the potential scenarios of how the policy change will impact scouting programs, the above comment leads us to the most difficult impact. When councils or large districts organize programs, the challenge will be to continue honoring the polices of individual units. I have several questions.

          1. Does BSA’s employment policy mirror the membership policy? Are gays banned?

          2. I presume council and district volunteers must adhere to the membership policy? How would the policy for BSA be determined? Would BSA become welcoming to gays? Would they have a council by council procedure?

          3. Are paid camp staff required to also be BSA members?

          4. Do any districts or councils have experience for accommodating coed programs? How have they handled sleeping arrangements? Showering? Can these solutions be a guide for using new policies?

          5. Have any groups tried to offer some opportunities, which are still only male scouts? How did these work? Are there lessons to be learned from these experiences?

          Thank you for posting thoughtful responses to these questions. I am looking for solution oriented approaches. I do think we are skilled enough to work out these dilemmas.

    • As I read your “reality checks”, what runs through my mind is the plot to a VERY bad movie:

      “The Gay horde advances, intent on converting everyone in their path, turning every lumberjack into a flaming queen and every mild-mannered homemaker into a raving bull-dyke”

      You know what REALLY turned me around, Wallace? When a little boy joined Cub Scouts and wanted his Mom to be a leader. But, because she’s a LESBIAN — OMG, we CAN’T have that — it might rub off!

      Right now in my troop I have 4-5 positions on the committee, because “Oh, I don’t have the time”. BS!!! I’ll take ANYONE who is willing to serve.

      • “Right now in my troop I have 4-5 positions on the committee, because “Oh, I don’t have the time”. BS!!! I’ll take ANYONE who is willing to serve.”

        absolutely!

        • Your funny ——; the way you believe the government has the power and authority to declare that a Church is acceptable to God; that’s a lie. They have no more authority to create God’s Church than to create a marriage covenant between God, a man, and a woman.

          Just as government has no power or authority to declare that any church is acceptable to any god, so does no single human possess that power.

          Consequently, claiming to pronounce any sect “not a church” is way, way above our paygrades.

        • So, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of Church is obsolete and useless. We should not offer it to children in School, Just let them make up whatever meanings they like for words or whatever definitions they accept or feel are non-threatening to them adults should as well. My opinion is backed up by facts. You can ignore the fact of widely accepted definitions. Most progressive thinkers do in favor of made-up new ones and do not feel it is above their pay-grade. I say widely-accepted because it is in the current issue of Merriam-Webster who spend millions of hours researching any change in the American Lexion. I accepted that we agree to disagree but those who disagree keep dragging it in to new threads. I guess I will to just to keep the other side in the arena. UU members can believe they’re a Church and I can disagree. That’s America. That reference to Baal by a previous poster can be used to call me a worshipper of Baal. I know I’m not and the proposition is silly, but that’s a persons right in America.

        • I accepted that we agree to disagree but those who disagree keep dragging it in to new threads.

          I don’t think “agree to disagree” means what some think it means.

          It doesn’t mean you get to go on pretending no one has faith other than a small band of fundamentalists in Deep Arkansas and the rest of us are subhuman and immoral, and the rest of us have to shut up.

          As for me and my House, we’ll stand with Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Baden-Powell, Dan Beard, James West, Teddy Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, Gerald Ford and Sally Ride. Okay by you?

        • It is very apparent you don’t know “agree to disagree” means.

          Okay, be a jerk about it, that’s fine. Shows your true colors when somebody doesn’t meekly walk away from your argument and accept it. Insult the people from Arkansas. Not from there by the way. Little stereo-typing going on there? I insulted no one, you did. Disagreeing with a premise is not an insult. You just provided the insult by making up positions i never expressed or held them (i.e. subhuman and immoral as it relates to UU. Never said it.)

          I have no idea what your last paragraph means, do you? Don’t like what someone takes an absolute position that Church means Christian, just try to ridicule and belittle. Doesn’t bother me, Get that bile out there so we know where you’re coming from.

        • Okay, be a jerk about it, that’s fine.

          Were I working to be a jerk about it, you’d have known well before now.

          I objected to someone rather jerky comments about Christian beliefs, and about the beliefs of non-Christians. I responded to a post that said, basically, the rest of us can have heterosexual acts to ourselves, we’re in error, about the law, about Scouting, about Christianity, and for some of us, about our churches’ obviously erroneous and immoral belief that we are Christian.

          When we agree to disagree, I won’t call you a jerk when you’re a jerk, and you won’t call me a jerk when I’m a jerk. Especially, we won’t call each other jerks when we’re not.

          Can we find some common ground here? How about murder, is that still wrong? Stealing still wrong?

          Can we get at least to that part where we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers? I know it came well before the 10 commandments, both in the Bible and in Hollywood, but Scouting seemed to unite a lot more people under that umbrella, then.

        • Beth, I know you are trying to help here but if you look at the definitions of the synonyms you say I left out that weaken my argument on Church being almost exclusively Christian by all reasonable observers, you will see that the definition of Kirk is also Church. I saw a Scots First Kirk in Charleston yesterday that changed its name to Church to better reflect the English language for what it was actually.. The definition of Chapel is Christian notwithstanding current US Military de-consecrating Christian Chapels on US bases and installations. Temple refers to the building not the worship that occurs there. When Christ refers to the body of a believer as a Temple it is a repository for the faith and faithful service. I Corinthians 6 19:20. Anyone can call their place of worship a Church but it is clear from all record and common usage that significantly all reasonable people consider a Christian place of worship a Church. Why would anyone else want to call their place of worship a Church? UU’s have Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist members. Why would they want to co-opt Church. Their beliefs are so broad why would they limit their reach?

          But my argument is with Ed. I went back and read that long essay on the Law and the Presidents including Jefferson. I ACTUALLY SAID BSA IS NOT A CHRISTIAN ORGANIZATION. (Shouting because I did not say it was). Go back and read. I said my Church was a CO because BSA’s moral code according to the Oath and Law is compatible with Church teachings. Might be compatible with yours also. That whole essay was totally off point. No one, especially me, is saying that any person cannot their God or deity or principles anyway they want no matter the religion. Just don’t co-opt the word “Church” as your place of worship if you are not Christian, Not going to picket your place of worship or try to stop you. Good essay but totally off point.

          Ed said: “I objected to someone rather jerky comments about Christian beliefs, and about the beliefs of non-Christians. I responded to a post that said, basically, the rest of us can have heterosexual acts to ourselves, we’re in error, about the law, about Scouting, about Christianity, and for some of us, about our churches’ obviously erroneous and immoral belief that we are Christian.”

          Ed said: “The rest of us can have heterosexual acts to ourselves, we’re in error.” I am asking what that means. I don’t know. Please explain.

          Ed, I don’t know what your faith is today. Mine is very simple. I accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and follow John 14:6. That is an exclusive Statement. It is the only way. I don’t know how a Christian could say otherwise. If you ask a Muslim if his faith is the only way, he will tell you the same, so will a Jewish person. There is only one way, one path. I work with other religions in Scouting including Muslims but if I am asked, I will tell them, there is only one way. They have told me the same. We still do Scouting because its not our faith. Its a program.

          Ed said: “Can we find some common ground here? How about murder, is that still wrong? Stealing still wrong?”

          Well Ed, why don’t we start with the Ten Commandments? Whether you are a Christian or not, its a good moral code to live by. How many do you believe? Let start with Number 6. Thou shalt not murder as translated with the correct Jewish translation. I believe that. What do you believe? I would kill to protect my family in grave danger or save my brother or sister if they were in immediate threat of death by physical force by killing? Would that be murder? Maybe we agree on that.

          What about the others. Then, lets go through the Oath and Law but to me the 10 Commandments would supercede the Oath and Law in all cases. You?

          Ed said: “Can we get at least to that part where we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers? I know it came well before the 10 commandments, both in the Bible and in Hollywood, but Scouting seemed to unite a lot more people under that umbrella, then.”

          See, you start off by denying scripture is God’s Word, so we have no basis to begin. I reject your premise. I am my Brother’s Keeper because of God’s word, not in spite of it.

          Just finished a great Historical Hike with Troop. We all worked hard and followed the Scout Oath and Law all weekend. We said grace before every meal with heads bowed and youth leading. We had a Christian Church service Troop led from Ephesians. We are all Christians. We did not discuss sexuality once. We did not worry about who bunked with who except attitude issues. Christianity can co-exist with the current interpretation of the Scout Oath and Law. If we are required to accept people who do not follow a moral code compatible with Christianity (i.e avowed homosexual behavior), We would follow our faith, not one of many programs we utilize to reach out to youth. Not if BSA leaves us.

          .
          .

        • From: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/church
          Definition of CHURCH
          1: a building for public and especially Christian worship
          2: the clergy or officialdom of a religious body
          3 often capitalized : a body or organization of religious believers: as
          a : the whole body of Christians
          b : denomination
          c : congregation
          4: a public divine worship
          5 the clerical profession

          The information with the citation above. is the basis for my disagreement with your arguments that UU’s should not call their places of worship Churches. i do not suggest that your church does not have the right to that label, but i cannot agree that only strictly Christian faiths are allowed to use the name Church.

          I do not plan to continue responding to these diversionary tactics you are using. It moves us away from the central point of the discussion. BSA’s membership policy is the question. The status of UU churches does not bear on the question.

        • No commandment mentions homosexuality specifically. We can agree on that. But, I have posted scripture from other parts of the Bible. SInce you mentioned murder, I thought you wanted to find areas in broader society we can agree upon. Murder has nothing to do with murder either. If that was not the case, I and others have covered what the Bible through divine scripture has to say about the sin of homosexual behavior. No need to repeat it again. Your argument was that soe Christians don’t follow scripture andall of the ones i do follow scripture so we had no common ground to agree scripture should not be followed. The Bile does not say anywhere to accept homosexuality as anything other than sin.

        • SInce you mentioned murder, I thought you wanted to find areas in broader society we can agree upon.

          Yes, I wanted to find common ground, but on much broader areas. I don’t think this is an appropriate forum to engage in a discussion of what Christians believe — that is mostly irrelevant to the issues.

          So we’ve established that we can agree murder and theft are almost-universal taboos.

          But on issues of the Bible, you and I will probably not find much common ground. As I read the scriptures, they condemn much more the sort of crusade against homosexuals in society than they condemn homosexual relationships — I can find no place in scripture where a loving, monogamous relationship between two people of the same gender is condemned, for example.

          So let’s leave that issue alone.

        • Go ahead and vent between now and Sunday. Our Troop is about to head out for the weekend on a hike. So build up those clever remarks between now and then since i won’t be here to respond.

        • Fred, no one suggests ignoring the dictionary definition of church. It has been pointed out by others, which you appear to be ignoring, that you did not include the entire definition for the word church that is listed by Merriam Webster. Additionally, they include synonyms for the word church, kirk, tabernacle, and temple. The word church is used by Christianity, yes, but Christianity by no means has exclusive rights to the word.

        • Ed Darrell wrote–”It doesn’t mean you get to go on pretending no one has faith other than a small band of fundamentalists in Deep Arkansas and the rest of us are subhuman and immoral, and the rest of us have to shut up.”

          Ed, I would like to point out that I AM from Arkansas and am more than a little taken aback. In fact, I found it quite difficult to read anything else you wrote, based on your idea that being a Christian and voicing your beliefs, oh, and being from the NATURAL state, means that I am apparently a back-woods hick! :(

        • Malinda wrote:

          Ed Darrell wrote–”It doesn’t mean you get to go on pretending no one has faith other than a small band of fundamentalists in Deep Arkansas and the rest of us are subhuman and immoral, and the rest of us have to shut up.”

          Ed, I would like to point out that I AM from Arkansas and am more than a little taken aback. In fact, I found it quite difficult to read anything else you wrote, based on your idea that being a Christian and voicing your beliefs, oh, and being from the NATURAL state, means that I am apparently a back-woods hick!

          Please go back and read what I actually wrote. You’re from Arkansas? Did I describe you at all? Or did I describe your neighbors? Or did you see “Arkansas” and assume something completely different. Substitute “Utah,” or “Idaho,” or “Texas,” or “California” for Arkansas, and see if the meaning is any different. It shouldn’t be. So your being from Arkansas is no rebuttal.

          You reacted to what you thought I wrote, and not what I wrote. I regret I was not more clear. Not sure how to make the point that there are a lot of us Christians out here, including a lot whose churches, with roots deep in American history, and deep in Christian history, who find the current BSA policy difficult to explain to our congregations, to our national associations, to our world associations, and to good people who like the idea of Scouting, but not the policies.

          And so I weary of people condemning my faith and me as you misinterpreted my remarks to do to you.

          We need more time on our knees, and less time jerking the knees.

      • You’ll “take anyone who is willing to serve”? Wow Tim… How wrong is that? Check the local whore houses, strip bars, gambling halls, crack houses, street corners, bars, etc. Be sure you get a background check first; we are talking about exposing these people to children… Wonder if the whore house has internet connection so they can do their youth protection training between acts? doesn’t matter where they take the YP training as long as their a warm body and able to be a troop “leader?”

        • “bars, etc.”

          Well, Wallace, considering I made it out of the bars and have remained sober for the past 25 years AND can pass the background check, YES — I will take ANY adult leader who WANTS to help guide Scouts according to the Oath and Law. If they can pass the background check, I’ll accept them. If they can’t, I won’t.

          I’m curious, Wallace, and off topic, but with as many myths as you’re trying to pass off as truth here, do you also perpetuate the myth that liquid alcohol stoves are not allowed?

        • Just remember what I’m sharing Tim… If the policy is changed there will be a day that these truly possible scenarios will echo in your head… You can’t honestly disclaim the possibility of anything of these sorts or worse happening or your just fooling yourself… I’ll be cautious and conservative when it comes to protecting children; its the Scouting Way….
          I challenge you to disclaim the possibility of any of these truths happening… take a reality check and “be prepared”

        • I’ve not read any “truth” in any of your posts, and will not respond to any of your future posts.

  8. David wrote and asked me to “chime in” on a youth protection issue; someone wrote earlier:

    “At his first summer camp last year several boys kept teasing him for not using the urinal. How did they find out he was not using the urinal is a bit suspect but one can assume …”

    And David wrote in part: “I hope Mike Walton is reading this. He would know the process better than I, but notice that with all the alternatives I mention, someone from the professional ranks is apprised. I would never take an action on my own with the slightest possibility of legal implications. They’re very clear about that.”

    I am. My computer gives me problems with reading the blog from time to time…

    The BSA is very clear about dealing with youth protection issues. The bottom line is that when youth protection issues are reported, they should be reported DIRECTLY to the Council’s Scout Executive. Not a District Executive, District Director/Field Director or any other professional. This is to protect the Council as well as to limit the number of people “exposed” to the potential violation.

    You know “District Executive tells his or her boss, who tells his or her boss, who tells the Scout Executive…” that old “telephone game” in which the message gets changed simply by retelling what you think you heard as it went around.

    If this occured at camp, most Council rules say that you should also inform the Camp Director; I would go with with contacting the Scout Executive and ONLY him or her. In this way, the Scout Executive can do a complete investigation and you don’t have two professionals dueling it out doing separate investigations of the same matter.

    Your Council — EVERY local Counci — has an instruction sheet on their website which explains how youth protection reporting is to be done in THEIR COUNCIL. That’s what I would go with. But if you’re out somewhere and you don’t have internet access to read/know what to do, CALL THE SCOUT EXECUTIVE IMMEDIATELY. You can NEVER go wrong with contacting him or her.

    Again, and I’ve got to emphasize this — the COUNCIL SCOUT EXECUTIVE is the senior-most professional in your Council. This is NOT the local guy or gal or even his boss.

    If there’s *any concern* you may have with knowing who this person is and how to contact him or her, please go to YOUR COUNCIL’S website, look up “youth protection” and read/print the information contained on that page.

    • “The bottom line is that when youth protection issues are reported, they should be reported DIRECTLY to the Council’s Scout Executive. Not a District Executive, District Director/Field Director or any other professional. This is …”

      … probably what happens everywhere else. My advice was based on the instructions I have received as part of the National Capital Area Council. My incidents are to be reported to the District Executive, and he takes it from there. Why the District level? It could be local or state laws, the advice of our own legal counsel, or the fact that we are the third-largest Council in the entire BSA, with Districts (including mine) larger than some Councils. I couldn’t be sure, Mike, which is why I pulled you in.

      So, for everybody else, I would defer to Mike, but I do intend to confirm this at the next Commissioners’ meeting (next Wednesday). Then I’ll get back to you, Mike. Probably via e-mail.

      And thanks for stepping in. You’re not right all the time, but you still be Da Man!

      • I just checked our council website and could not find anything about who to call. Based on the history of our DD and how he has handled other things within the district, I would probably go straight to the CE.

        • Tim…if you would be so kind as to send me the name of your Council off-list, I would be happy to point you in the direction of what they say is your youth protection guideline. You can also get this information by taking the youth protection training again (at a point in the training, your Council has inserted a message from your Scout Executive explaining your Council’s *specific* policy.

          I’m not a BSA youth protection expert, but I have attended a lot of youth protection training sessions at the national and local Council level, so I know a bit of what I “speak”. However, as David explained, there *may be* special circumstances in which your Council wants you to contact some other professional than your Council’s Scout Executive. And like I stated, one can NEVER go wrong with contacting the Council Scout Executive directly!!

          (You can find my email address by clicking on my name; but if your computer has been a bit jinky like mine has been today, that may not work either… you can reach me at settummanque@yahoo.com )

  9. Wallace, I have asked you only one thing in this exchange. You have listed a lot of possible questions, but the only thing *I* asked was this: Please stop calling other people not “true Christians.” In your role as a Scouter, you must show respect for the faith of others, even if you disagree with it, and to call it not “true Christian” is not respectful; the reason you must not is contained in the Declaration of Religious Principle and the 12th point of the organization you represent. I am not asking anything else. Is the request clear now?

  10. Reality Check: The BSA changes their policy to force units to choose which membership policy they will follow for their individual units. A CO & Troop choose to stay with the policy of homosexual behavior being unacceptable within their organization and if a member chooses to “come out” or has chosen to live a homosexual lifestyle they will be dismissed for freely choosing to violate that units membership policy / child protection policy. A scout who is a member of the unit chooses to violate that units policy and “come out” and live a homosexual lifestyle; his freedom to choose if his parents permit him to live that lifestyle. That scout is dismissed from the troop for the violation of the units membership policy. The scout then goes to the national media, homosexual activist groups, and homosexual talk show host Degeneris to plead their case for having their rights violated, the unit’s intolerance to homosexual behavior, for being racists (still don’t know how activists come up with that one), for inequality, for being homophobes, for discrimination, and on and on. The CO, Leaders in the CO, Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmasters are all labeled as all of the above and crucified in the media and by homosexual activists relentlessly. The CO, Scout Leaders etc. receive death threats from homosexual activists and their names are smeared in the media for standing behind their free choice to keep in place a membership policy they believe will help to better protect the scouts under their care and provide a morally straight program exemplifying the Godly purpose the BSA was intended to be for boys growing to become good, morally upstanding, men of good character. And all of this happened anyway even though the BSA choose to turn their backs on what the majority of their membership wanted and succumb to homosexual activist pressure and change the policy to be a mixed policy where individual units and CO’s would have the free choice to pick what membership policy they want to operate under. What a mess this day is going to be. I wonder if it will come to a point where units that choose one policy actually “come out” against units that choose the other membership policy. Changing the policy to become a two membership policy system will only cause tremendous division within the BSA (intended plan?) and pit one unit against another. There will eventually be a theoretical civil war within the organization and the organization will collapse. Yes; this could very well happen.. “be prepared”

    • That scout is dismissed from the troop for the violation of the units membership policy.

      With you so far. One idea is that units will get to choose.

      But, let me caution you: Here in Texas, for a Troop to dig around to “smoke out” homosexual Scouts runs afoul of state child abuse laws.

      That’s how it is under the present laws, present BSA policies.

      So, your first part of the premise works only if the Scout makes an announcement.

      More likely, your Scout would never say anything, as now, as it was between 1910 and 1991. Your unit doesn’t have a policy of grilling 11-year-old kids on their sexual orientation, nor does any other unit with brains.

      For the sake of a hypothetical, let’s accept your premise.

      The scout then goes to the national media, homosexual activist groups, and homosexual talk show host Degeneris to plead their case for having their rights violated, the unit’s intolerance to homosexual behavior, for being racists (still don’t know how activists come up with that one), for inequality, for being homophobes, for discrimination, and on and on.

      Why would anyone listen? He could just go down the street to the Methodist, Presbyterian, Disciples of Christ, Episcopalian, or any of a number of other church-sponsored units, and join there. Degeneris doesn’t want to put some nut on TV who can’t figure out that there’s another Scout troop a block away. No newspaper reporter is going to put it in the paper after asking, “Why don’t you join this other troop a block away?” and the Scout doesn’t have a good answer.

      Assuming sexual orientation is the ONLY issue, he’s got no case for media attention, nor for any official action by any other agency.

      The rest of your scenario, where you have a lot of unfair claims made against the troop? At some point one of the committee members asks the DE to step in, and there is a conversation with the dismissed Scout. If there is continued abuse, one of the committee members gets an injunction against the kid and his family, and they sue for slander.

      Problem solved. But it’s a hypothetical problem in the first place.

      I don’t see that problem occurring, ever. Those homosexual parents of Scouts in our units, over the years, have wanted nothing more than their boy have a great Scouting experience. Those homosexual Scouts wanted nothing more than to have a great Scouting experience. They weren’t looking for sex, they weren’t looking to recruit people to their orientation — as one gay Eagle I know put it, it would be contrary to Scout law to wish anyone else the difficulties of being gay.

      If there were another troop down the block that accepted gay Scouts, you might be amazed at how many new Scouts would join such an accepting organization, straight Scouts, with straight parents.

      You’d think that any Scoutmaster, and any church, would be proud to claim Sally Ride as a Venture Scout alumnus, or Van Cliburn. I’ll wager more units would try to recruit them, than would turn them away.

      And so what happens in your hypothetical? The Scout moves to the unit down the street. He get his Eagle. A dozen other parents decide Scouting isn’t a century behind the times, and they let their sons enroll in that unit. Five of the parents become Wood Badge trained leaders, and two found a Venture unit for older Scouts, so they can get more high adventure camping. The Venture unit gets a tradition of Philmont or Boundary Waters every year, and a dozen kids clamor to join.

      One of the parents of one of those Scouts, who thinks it’s a good idea for Scouting to be inclusive, sets up a scholarship fund for Scouts who can’t afford Philmont. Within three years, it’s Philmont AND Boundary Waters every year. Then two treks to Philmont.

      By this time the original Scout has graduated college and is back in town building a new construction company — and founds a new Cub Scout Pack for his son. Now there’s an opportunity for 30 or 40 more Cubs to start the high adventure path of Scouting. The original Scout discovers the town doesn’t support outdoor recreation the way he learned in Scouting, and he successfully runs for City Council. The City sets up a recreation program that supports Scouts in merit badge work in city parks, and they add miles of trails to the parks holdings. More citizens come out, find Scouts hiking for fun, and get involved. The city decides to build a greenbelt around the city, to protect the environment and recreation opportunities. REI puts a big box outdoor gear store in the town, to supply people the stuff they need for outdoor recreation. High tech companies start relocating their HQs to the town, because of all the outdoor recreation opportunities. Their engineers bring their families. Ten new Cub Scout Packs start up, some sponsored by school PTAs, who dropped sponsorships after conflicts with the old, non-inclusive Scout policies. Scouting registration balloons to 40% of eligible boys in the district.

      The original Scout gets elected Mayor. He annually declares “Scoutmaster Appreciation Day” in February, and that town becomes known as “Scout City” for the number of Silver Beavers it produces from the ranks of hundreds of Wood Badge-trained Scout leaders, all of them favoring inclusive units, all of them accustomed to co-ed camping, and none of them worried about gay Scouts.

      “We’ve doubled and tripled the number of Scouts in our District,” the gay kid says in his Report to the District (he’s District Commissioner, in addition to being Mayor of the City); “can you imagine what this city will be like, how much business we will have, how much better the city will be, when we have 75% of eligible boys registered in Scouting, and when 10% of all Scouts earn Eagle?” The city briefly debates building a “Scout House” complex to promote Scouting, but eventually decides there’s no need, since there are already four other “Scout Houses” in the town.

      My scenario is more realistic than yours, I think.

      Eagle Scout Robert Gates supported allowing gays to serve in the military, because he thought it was a net benefit to the defense of our nation.

      Maybe we’d be wise to listen to him. He seems to have known a lot about how to bring people together to do great things.

      • Not hard to imagine your scenario. I believe scouting has that much to offer to our youth and the community. Thanks for an uplifting comment.

      • Don’t think it could happen? Look at Seattle. Look at Silicon Valley. Look at Denver, and Colorado Springs. Look at Portland. Look at Salt Lake City. Look at Madison, Wisconsin. Look at Dallas. Look at Austin. Look at San Francisco.

        The only thing different? Scouting isn’t the core of this development of America, now, because it excludes too many good citizens, and those citizens, and other citizens who wish to be inclusive, don’t go into Scouting for that reason alone.

        I look forward to Scouting being a central part of life in the U.S. again.

      • I’ve been thinking about this for the past few days and have come up with a new “hypothetical”.

        Life Scout Billy: Hi, I’m Billy with Troop XX, and I’m interested in doing a project for you so I can earn my Eagle Scout.
        Representative, Anytown, USA: Troop XX, you said? Isn’t that the troop that doesn’t allow homosexuals?
        Life Scout Billy: Yes, we believe what the bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin.
        Representative, Anytown, USA: Well, I’m sorry, but we don’t support homophobic organizations, so you’ll have to check somewhere else for your project.
        Representative, Parks Dept, Anycounty, USA: Well, I’m sorry, but we don’t support homophobic organizations, so you’ll have to check somewhere else for your project.
        Representative, US Forest Service: Well, I’m sorry, but we don’t support homophobic organizations, so you’ll have to check somewhere else for your project.

        Pretty soon, Life Scout Billy is going to find there are no more organizations that will let him do a project for them based on the beliefs of his troop.

        • Tim:

          Not everybody has drunk the Kool-Aid. Not yet, anyway.

          Not everybody gets their marching orders from the New York Times or kiss the TV every time Madonna holds a press conferences to discuss “tolerance” by making fun of poeple. Some parts of the country are rather provincial in their ways of life, and even where they are not, Billy or Bobby or whoever it is can do a service project for his church. It’s done in my neck of the woods all the time. Besides, if we’re going to keep touting that “local option” I keep hearing so much about, it needs to cut both ways. Otherwise, there’s no “option” after all, don’t you think?

          Or don’t you?

        • Yes, David, I do believe there will be an option. What I foresee is the difficulty those Scouts will face when it comes to fundraising and such for their projects and that was the point of my comment.

        • Tim:

          You can believe whatever you want, but your scenario does not allow for an “option.” I do not support a local option because, there is no such thing. But I do want to thank you for proving it for me.

          Lest I appear ungrateful.

        • Couldn’t the scout do a project with their church or another congregation in their faith?

        • Tim wrote:
          “Life Scout Billy: Hi, I’m Billy with Troop XX, and I’m interested in doing a project for you so I can earn my Eagle Scout.”

          “Representative, Anytown, USA: Troop XX, you said? Isn’t that the troop that doesn’t allow homosexuals?”

          “Life Scout Billy: Yes, we believe what the bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin.”

          “Representative, Anytown, USA: Well, I’m sorry, but we don’t support homophobic organizations, so you’ll have to check somewhere else for your project.”

          At that point, the Life Scout goes to another organization…

          “Representative, Parks Dept, Anycounty, USA: Well, I’m sorry, but we don’t support homophobic organizations, so you’ll have to check somewhere else for your project.”

          “Representative, US Forest Service: Well, I’m sorry, but we don’t support homophobic organizations, so you’ll have to check somewhere else for your project.”

          At which time, the Life Scout Billy will go to his own church or other organization and ask “Well, I went to X group, the parks department and the forest service and they all turned me down because of our Troop’s makeup. Do you have a project which I can give leadership to?”

          The chartered organization will then make a couple of phone calls, maybe a visit or two, and come back to Billy and inform him “Well, we don’t have anything, but we have found two other organizations in town who would welcome your leadership. Here’s the names of the people in charge…we just told him you’re working toward Eagle. You have to do your own “pitch” to them.”

          While the Eagle leadership/service project is led and developed by the Eagle Scout candidate, there’s nothing that says that he cannot have any assistance or get leads from others, to include the chartered partner organization of his unit.

  11. For those supporting the change of the membership policy. Are we going to let two homosexual boys(who may be a couple) sleep in the same tent on a camp out? If so, in Venturing, are we now going to let boys and girls sleep in the same tent?

  12. The questions posed were:
    “1. Does BSA’s employment policy mirror the membership policy? Are gays banned?”

    The same policies which deals with volunteers also apply to professionals and professional-technicians, to include camp staff employees.

    “2. I presume council and district volunteers must adhere to the membership policy? How would the policy for BSA be determined? Would BSA become welcoming to gays? Would they have a council by council procedure?”

    Since the majority of volunteers serving a tthe District or local Council basis come from individual units, there will be a mixture of volunteers at those levels. The policy will be the same, with openly gay volunteers at the District or Council level working with other adults who may be Gay, Lesbian or “straight.”

    “3. Are paid camp staff required to also be BSA members?”

    See the answer for the first question you posed.

    “4. Do any districts or councils have experience for accommodating coed programs? How have they handled sleeping arrangements? Showering? Can these solutions be a guide for using new policies?”

    Both local Councils and their Districts have experiences working with and accommodating coed programs — after all, many of our Packs, Troops, Teams and Crews have female members and leaders. So all of those situations already are addressed and have been worked through with regard to sleeping and showering. No new policies need to be instituted.

    “5. Have any groups tried to offer some opportunities, which are still only male scouts? How did these work? Are there lessons to be learned from these experiences?”

    I don’t know how to answer this question. Are you asking if there have been male-only Scouting units? All of our Scouting units were that way before the 80s and they worked fine. Having females as adult leaders only made them better.

    • Hi Mike. These questions sound like some I may have posed a while back. When I posed them I was thinking about issues to be considered and what we already knew.
      Question 4 was about youth members in traditionally, all male participant programs like scout resident camp or NYLT. If crews are included, we would potentially see female youth at these activities. I don’t know if any councils have experience with such arrangements.
      Question 5 was intended to look at the impact of unit level membership restrictions. I was curious to see how that had impacted their recruiting and community relations.

      I appreciate your useful comments.

      • Question 4 was about youth members in traditionally, all male participant programs like scout resident camp or NYLT. If crews are included, we would potentially see female youth at these activities. I don’t know if any councils have experience with such arrangements.

        NYLT is for Boy Scouts; there are other training opportunities for crews.

        But, I don’t see problems. NYLT in Circle 10 Council — among the most “conservative” in the nation on these issues — is already gender integrated at the leadership level.

        Staff at many resident camps, including Philmont, Northern Tier and other BSA-operated camps, are integrated by gender as well. So are the crews on the trail.

        All of these programs work better for being more inclusive, so far as I can see, having been in them before women were included, and after.

        • The syllabus for NYLT for 2011 and 2012 (and now 2013) is designed for a co-ed crew. Your council might not be doing it that way, but that is the sequence nationally now — Venturers do ILSC – NYLT – NAYLE; Boy Scouts do ILST – NYLT – NAYLE.

      • Hi Ann!!
        Before 1978, the BSA was about 90 percent male. We had no problems with housing, showering or any other concern, locally or nationally. When we added female adults, there was some “ramp up” to build and provide female-only facilities but it served as a dual purpose in most cases to provide public restrooms for female visitors to camp; and for families wanting to use the camp overnight from one point to another and needed a shower.

        As far as to whether or not single-sexed programs had any impact on the financial or program areas, for the most part it did not. Those Councils which had a problem rasing money before women were involved still had a problem raising money after women became involved.

  13. Personally, I think this boils down to the rights of a **PRIVATE** organization to set its OWN policies and STICK to them. It’s the **RIGHT** of THAT organization to stand by them withOUT problems. (And, which has been proven in court.)

    This is the EXACT same right that you and I EACH have to believe what we believe. No one has to agree, but we can be respectful – or should be.

    Along that same line of thought, anyone can start an organization that mimics another but might have different policies. They have that exact same right and privilege. So, have at it! There is NO one saying that it can’t be done. (And, if it would be so great, then it will take off and do very well at a quick pace.) But, the first organization should NOT **HAVE** to change just to be considered “OK” or an “acceptable” organization.

    The issue that I keep seeing over and over are that one side’s beliefs are “wrong” while the other’s is “right.” And, I see it coming from both “sides.” Honestly, it shouldn’t be that at all.

    What’s frustrating is that BSA or others who agree w/ their founding policies are being called “bigots” or “intolerant” just because they believe differently. I’ve known wonderful people who are “straight” and wonderful people who are “gay.” I’ve know horrible people on both “sides.”

    Unfortunately, this has been made an issue by those who want to push an agenda. The liberal media is not going to be very “fair” to BSA or those who agree w/ their founding policies. (I’ve seen this happen w/ other issues that are NOT related to orientation or religion – far too many times!!)

    A lot of people have joined Boy Scouts *because* of its stance. Others don’t join, or have recently left, for that same stance. BOTH are choices those *individuals* have made, and can stand by. Individuals will stay or leave based on their beliefs, either way. Does that mean that those who simply believe BSA should stay the same can’t stand by their stance? Why is standing on that so wrong?

    So, I will repeat. I think this boils down to the rights of a **PRIVATE** organization to set its OWN policies and STICK to them. It’s the **RIGHT** of THAT organization to stand by them withOUT problems.

    They should not have to change just because “everyone else has.” That’s not a good principle to follow, for multiple reasons. ;-)

    • Yes, SCOTUS ruled that the BSA has the right, as a private organization, to set it’s membership criteria. The private organization also has the right to determine that the policy it has is no longer working for the organization, and to amend it. That is what this discussion is about. To see where the membership stands on the issue.

  14. My son has thoroughly enjoyed his time in Scouting and I feel that our entire family has benefited greatly from the Scouting experience. While I see some of the debate as unfounded, I understand the dilemma presented by two homosexual boys bunking together. Beyond that I can see no reason to prevent homosexuals from participating in such a life-enriching program. It seems to me that this issue could be resolved in a mutually-agreeable manner…we are, after all, talking about a group of very resourceful individuals here.

    It is with a sad hear that I say, if old policies are not overturned I will no longer support my son belonging to the Boy Scouts. That is not to say that I will remove him, I simply can not condone him continuing with the organization. As he becomes a young man I must respect his right to decide whether or not he will be involved with a group that takes such a stance.

    If his decision is to stay with Scouts, and if policy does not change, our family has committed to seeking outside opportunities to become active in local equal rights activities/organizations. I sincerely hope that the Boy Scout’s policy changes to reflect the diverse communities in which they operate.

  15. Please do not allow this change to happen under pressure from this minority. They BSA has always had high moral standards don’t stop now. I and my son are ready to leave scouting at the end of May or double our efforts to continue to build the worlds best program for boys. It is up to you to do the right thing. Do not break my sons heart and his lifelong desire to be an Eagle Scout by dismantling the organization that he loves and has dedicated so much time and energy into. Scouting is his life, please don’t take that away from him and so many other boys.

  16. According to this discussion “scouts are taught to respect others”. This is not the hole truth. Scouts are taught principals and character traits of the highest standards. Not to respect others. That is far to open of view. What if others are promoting use of meth, or crack. We do not teach to respect others. We teach high standards. We do not teach to accept lower standards because they have become popular in pop culture. Weather that includes use of drugs or promiscuity. We should not lower our standards because society has lowered its standard. We must stay true to our high ideals and be a leader in how things should be done. Not buckle under to the pressures that are pushing this discussion. Bryan Windell’s article seems to have a definite slant. I hope the key 3 are not so easily swayed.

  17. It is important to check in with both the teaching of your faith on this issue, and how church leaders deal effectively with it in practice – after all, we are talking about men and women. It is my belief that the resolution permitting boys to be able to honestly express a same sex attraction without worry of being “outed” will pass. It is also my belief that BSA should get out of the business of trying to legislate how an adult with same sex attraction will be dealt with, and leave that to individual units (and their chartering organization executive officer, no doubt a pastor or rabbi).
    I don’t think many folks have done the leg work. For instance, for the Roman Catholics, their Scouting organization has just clarified their teaching, at http://nccs-bsa.org/comment/NCCSComment42413.php. In other words, very little has been clarified, other than that the NCCS is governed by the US Catholic Conference of Bishops and will follow Church teaching. While the Catechism and pastoral standards are good things, trying to read them and apply them require effort and guidance. The Jesuits have done some clarifying in a relatively recent article in their national magazine. See: http://americamagazine.org/node/128213#editcomments A response to the bullying and suicides of gay youth (at http://americamagazine.org/node/126768) highlights another useful piece of information, “Always Our Children.” We need to monitor how our discussions sound to the kids who are trying to clarify these issues in their lives: http://americamagazine.org/content/all-things/what-messages-do-we-send
    Finally, we have folks who are equating homosexuality and pedophilia. It would be important to read: http://americamagazine.org/content/all-things/john-jay-report-not-blaming-homosexual-priests Doing this kind of work if you are a member of another faith would be important in forming your conscience. I look forward to our Youth being able to live healthy lives in our Program, without having to hold on to a secret, and to determine a place for our Scouters, too, where a unit sponsor understands the issues involved and can welcome valued volunteer service, without fear of “corrupting” the youth.

  18. I don’t know if gay activists are more active here or not, but I tried to post a very straight forward comment with no inflammatory language that provided research on the issues pertaining to homosexualty and society at large and it was deleted without explanation. If comments which support the current policy are being discriminated against by the community’s moderator, then naturally it will look one sided in the comment section in favor of changing the position.

    • Did you provide links? It may have gone into moderation for links. Send a note to Bryan (the host here), see if he can save it from the moderation queue.

  19. Ok look, if you people are so faith based then you should know that the bible tells us to love EVERYONE in the way that god loves them, which means unconditionally, now this does not mean that we like the things that they do but it means we treat them equally like regular human beings because that’s what they are, the bible also tells us that we should not be judges of others because we are not fit to be in that position, now my personal view on homosexuality is that it is sin:
    “In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.” Romans 1:27
    This verse does not say that we should be mean or think any less of a homosexual, we have to realize that just like them we are sinners and will never be perfect, im not asking you to change your opinions, but i am asking you to treat one another how you would want to be treated, no matter what their sexual preferences are.

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