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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. (Sorry if my comments appear twice; I tried to post a comment earlier but it’s not showing up. Here’s a shortened version.)

    As a long-term Scouter (Pack Committee Chair), Eagle Scout, Wood Badge grad, and father of boys currently in Scouting, I strongly endorse the proposal to do away with the current national one-size-fits-all policy banning openly gay leaders or members.

    The current policy violates religious liberty, is contrary to the Scout Oath and Law, if anything endangers our kids, and threatens to increasingly marginalize Scouting in a society that increasingly recognizes that being gay is a trait – not a choice and not a sin.

    Wimachtendienk!

    • The BSA has the Support of the United States Supreme Court on these issues, AND who they may wish to “Associate” with in terms of their Membership (So that argument is Bogus!).

      Heterosexuals that “Advertises” their UNHEALTHY behavior, should be forced out (Period). “Openly Gay” Scouts, and Scouts Leaders who “Announce” their High Risk UNHEALTHY Behavior, by telling anyone “I’m Gay” should also be forced out. What part of UNHEALTHY don’t you understand?

      Check out Page #15 of this 56 page CDC report

      http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/ad/ad362.pdf

      And here is the real CDC killer study…

      http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/surveillance/resources/reports/2002report/

      And the final point drives home WHY Homosexual Behavior, and Scouting don’t fit

      http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1970496/posts

      • As others have pointed out in this blog, the Supreme Court decision was not an endorsement of the BSA policy, but a support of BSA’s right to make such policies. With that in mind, BSA continues to have the right to discuss and if deemed appropriate revise such policies.

    • Thank you for your reasoned and reasonable comments. I hope scouting can find the balance which honors the perspectives of those with differing opinions.

      I support your position, because it allows units, which are the focus of scouting, to act in accordance with their beliefs. Just as the principle of religious liberty does not suggest living without considering religious and moral questions, a BSA policy change would not ask units to ignore sexual orientation. It would instead ask them to consider their position carefully and make it known to persons seeking membership.

  2. Let’s say that the outcome is to change the current membership policy at the national level and leave the decision up to the chartering organizations. Are the local councils and National Office going to stand with the chartering organizations who say they are retaining the current membership policy when they get sued for discrimination? Is the liability policy the chartering organizations currently enjoy going to pay their court costs and any awards? Will a change in the membership policy at the national level lead to a change in the scout oath to drop the words “God” and “morally straight?” Where does it end?

    • John wrote and asked: “Let’s say that the outcome is to change the current membership policy at the national level and leave the decision up to the chartering organizations. Are the local councils and National Office going to stand with the chartering organizations who say they are retaining the current membership policy when they get sued for discrimination?”

      Why would they be sued for discrimination, John? We have had Scouting units which are restricted to those being members of their church only; units with membership restricted to those who live in the city limits of the community; we have had only “male” or “female” only Exploring and later Venturing units; in all of those cases, nobody was sued, the BSA supported the chartered organization in making their restrictions, as long as they were not violating any law.

      The change would not require the BSA to “drop God” nor the phrase “morally straight” from the Oath or Promise… The change of the chartered organizational policy is NOT a change in membership (people are confusing the two…they are separate issues altogther). It is a change in how the chartered organization will handle leadership.

      • I’m just putting the question out there because we have a lot of units that don’t currently restrict membership to members of the chartering organization because they are following the current policy. But, if National does make a change and leaves that decision to the the chartering organization and they choose to retain the current policy, then what?

      • Mike,

        You know better. We have some very good reasons to believe that dropping the national policy will invite litigation and harrassment targeting local Councils and chartering organizations. “Local choice” is simply not a viable option…it is a mirage.

        First, we have the experience of Dale v. BSA in New Jersey, where a homosexual former Scoutmaster sued BSA under New Jersey’s sexual orientation anti-discrimination statute. The NJ courts found in favor of Dale, though BSA successfully appealed and overturned the decision in the US Supreme Court in 2000. Note the Supreme Court’s decision rested on the finding of fact that BSA’s stated policy was that homosexuality was incompatible with the values it sought to inculcate in its members. Withdrawing that policy undermines the First Amendment legal defense of any local Scouting unit that would seek to preserve the current membership policy as a “local choice option.” That’s not just my view–it’s the view of the New York Times, the Baptist Convention, and mutiple public interest legal societies.

        Second, we have the stated declaration of gay activists groups such as the Human Rights Campaign, which has already asserted that “local choice” is not enough–that it will never accept anything less from BSA than a full national policy prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

        Third, even critics within the Scouting family who adopt the view that discrimination against homosexuals is always wrong have admitted that local choice is just a stepping stone to a full national policy prohibiting any “discrimination” against homosexuals. And who could blame them? If they view it as a moral obligation to oppose discrimination against homosexuals, then they must not rest until they achieve a uniform national policy prohibiting such discrimination.

        Adopting a “local choice” policy will NOT end the controversy. It will just embolden gay activists to further press their demands and shift the harrassment, boycotts, and pressure tactics from the resource-rich National Council to the more vulnerable local organizations. Divide and conquer.

        • The current discussions and media attention are certainly controversial. I do not think local choice would either increase or prolong the negative attention to Scouts. It would shift the attention to the positive forward movement by all involved to find a solution which honors Scouting and promotes diversity.

    • John,
      It is important to recognize that chartered organizations would be no more open to law suits than they are currently. As I pointed out earlier, many unit-level policies currently exist which demand non-discrimination.

      The policies of a crew, regarding being coed, are left to units. when BSA made this policy it did not make units at risk for discrimination suits.

      BSA will need to honor its commitment to charter organizations, by carefully wording their policy to reduce any problems for units desiring to maintain current membership policies.

      I believe they are capable of achieving this.

  3. If my 16-year-old daughter said she was going to spend the weekend camping with 18-year-old boys, I would say, “No, you aren’t.” My Boy Scout son won’t be spending the weekend camping with openly homosexual men either. Teens don’t need to be alone in the woods with leaders who are sexually attracted to them.

      • Taking Kenny’s comment and your response one step further, if his daughter were in a co-ed Venturing Crew, would she be tenting and/or showering with a boy member? How does the BSA solve these kinds of arrangements if such a policy change comes about? Put the openly gay scouts together in a tent? Mix gay and straight ones? Everyone in single tents and solo showers (how practical is that in a place like Philmont)?

        • Coed Crews have resoled these issues in many creative ways. I think the other critical point is that currently BSA does not ban being gay. It only bans being openly gay. Scouts are most likely sleeping and showering right now with closeted gay youth.

          Since adults do not shower or sleep with youth the policy revision would not change youth exposure to gay adults.

          Why would youth be in single tents?

          Showers are a place where reasonable privacy is already expected. In most instances that means single showers.

      • Bryan, I have heard of two-deep leadership and I’ve heard of Youth Protection but they will both have to be redefined if the BSA’s policy changes. Pretty sure Baden-Powell, Carter Beard, and the other founders did not have leaders in mind who are sexually attracted to the scouts.

        But I really think this whole debate is pointless because the two sides are coming from two completely different beliefs. If one side could convince the other that homosexuality is a biological trait then of course it is acceptable and should be embraced. Or if the other side had proof that homosexuality is a deviant lifestyle choice then all would agree it’s unacceptable. It’s similar to abortion. If all agreed that life begins at birth then of course the decision only affects the woman’s body. If all agreed that life begins at conception then abortion is obviously wrong.

        Until we can all start at the same premise, all the conversation in the world won’t change people’s minds.

        • Kenny,
          This is an interesting summary of the differing perspectives. I think you point out the key question. Do we feel BSA has room for only one perspective or is it ready to do the hard work of bridging multiple perspectives.

      • Another critical youth protection policy is an absolute ban on youth to adult leader relationships. This is not at all grey, but clear and unambiguous.

    • Exactly Kenny.. These are the profound truths of the matter.. When you cut away all the fancy politically correct words and other diversionary verbage the truths of the matter are all that matter.. If you openly allow homosexuals as leaders and scouts then the stigma of scouting being for homosexuals is going to drive away an unknown number of Boy Scouts who participate at will; especially mid to late teens… they’ll ultimately be the ones finally voting on the issue when it comes time to renew their memberships and without scouts you won’t need Volunteer leaders investing their valuable time freely in a program that has no youth….

      • Wallace,
        In the article launching this blog, a point was made that one push towards opening this discussion was the number of leaders, and others who actually did not know or support the BSA policy. With that in mind, it is now important that BSA understand the costs to the organization of maintaining the policy. This is in addition to the perspective you shared about costs of change.

        • Are you outting a price on morality anne? does money and membership mean more to the NSA than a quality moral program that will fulfill their honorable mission. What gives you tje right to speak for the BSA anyway? I truly question your true motives fir the NSA and see you as simply a homosexual activist trying to accomplish some political and social agenda for homosexuals; then you’ll ne gone to do your thing and the priceless invalkuable free volunteers of the BSA will be left having to try to repair all your damage. That is a true assumption bases on what ‘e seen with regard to your participation in this discussion. Are you even a member? do you even have a son in the program?

  4. Just can’t hide certain truths which aren’t going to be changing.. The Boy Scouts of America stands today for an implied standard of being a top notch quality youth organization with a mission toward helping boys to grow into top notch quality young American Men with a vision of seeing their role as leaders in this nation and the world.. Women shouldn’t be directly involved with working with the boys at the Boy Scout level.. It was never the intent and doesn’t fit the bill for providing male role models for the Boy Scouts… Just a truth… Why would atheists and agnostics want to join a Godly organization where we acknowledge Godly principles as the truth of our hearts, freely pray to God and accept His Supreme Power over His own creation… If you change your mind, and your free to choose to do that, we have a place for you in our organization but if you choose not to then you would be uncomfortable in the BSA because it is a Godly Organization… Homosexuals don’t belong in the BSA.. I’ve been in the BSA for many many years as a scout eventually earning my Eagle Rank and as a leader in the Cub Scouts and now the Boy Scouts.. As a scout I would never have joined knowing the scoutmaster or any of the leaders were homosexuals; kids just speak the truth of things… isn’t it hard enough to retain scouts over 15 with regard to stigmas and other activities in their lives? I was a scout because I loved the outdoors and I loved the friendships I’ve made in the scouts… My world revolved around scouting as an orphan since the age of 7.. That would have all been stolen away from me because I can tell you that if a homosexual man or a homosexual couple had been the leaders of my troop I would have quit and either joined another troop or just quit the BSA all together.. truths; don’t speak them for me, don’t define who I am because I’m telling you my truths.. So is that OK that a small number of people have the right to take away an organization that meant so much to a fatherless boy who found wholesome male role models in the BSA; seemed like a good place to find them because that’s what they said at the time they were all about.. Women shouldn’t be camping with the boys.. It just isn’t right.. The boys feel like their mother or somebody’s mother is camping there with them and they want to be free to just be boys doing what boys do when hanging out together.. We’ve had women go camping and they haven’t been able to not be motherly toward the boys.. sometimes the scout just don’t make up their bunks; they have mom there most of the year to yell at them for that and they don’t want a mom there for those precious few days a year when they can just be good ole red blooded American Boys… Homosexual boys shouldn’t be encouraged to join the BSA.. The scouts will know who they are and you can’t take the boy out of the scout.. Their going to be who they are and a homosexual boy whose chosen to “come out” is only going to find himself ridiculed at times; going to happen.. Then there will be anger, then there will be angry parents, law suits, angry scouts and eventually units will fall apart into disrepair.. It’s going to happen.. just the humanism of it all.. take away all the politically correct words and all the equality, civil rights, homosexual rights, discrimination branding, racist talk? (why’s that part of it I have no idea but I’ve heard it) and think ahead toward what the realities are going to be.. It doesn’t take a crystal ball; really doesn’t.. If the vote doesn’t go the way the true majority of the membership want it to go for their organization then the scouts will vote when it comes time to recharter and hopefully will stand up for their principles at that time.. All the homosexuals, atheists, and agnostics will be able to join and the scouts will have a significant net loss… How’s that worth it…. Do you really not think that’s what’s going to happen??? You would have to honestly be very naive and short sighted to not know that that’s exactly what’s going to happen… and the decision makers can sit back and be proud of the minority of people they chose to represent while turning their backs on and robbing present and future scouts of an organization that is already known to stand for a set standard of morally straight principles which have attracted the type of boys challenged to strive toward becoming Eagle Scouts… The rank badge doesn’t make a boy of good character anymore than the paper diploma made the scarecrow smart; it only encouraged him to become what he already was…

  5. These are the same things people were saying when during the Civil Rights movement about including African Americans in organizations and activities….So far I don’t see widespread chaos or destruction. Including people that are not causing harm will never be wrong.

    • Another arbitrary comparison. Even Alveda King, the niece of Dr Martin Luther King Jr, has said as much with respect to “gay rights.” That was an instance of race, this is an instance of behavior.

    • Here we go again, trying to compare an Immutable condition with an Unhealthy Lifestyle choice. There is NO gay gene, and there are thousands of X-Gays, who no longer engage in this UNHEALTHY behavior. HIV was a GAY disease before it was brought to America by a homosexual flight steward (fact). This is a HEALTH issue, and we don’t need people “Advertising” their UNHEALTHY behavioral choices (period)

      • Mike C You need to read these

        http://www.avert.org/origin-aids-hiv.htm

        http://www.originofaids.com/

        Not a “fact” btw that HIV was brought to America in the manner that you stated. Here is a “fact”:
        Earliest Evidence of HIV Infection in the United States

        Although AIDS was not recognized as a new clinical syndrome until 1981, researchers examining the earlier medical literature identified cases appearing to fit the AIDS surveillance definition as early as the 1950s and 1960s.(12) Frozen tissue and serum samples were available for one of these possible early AIDS cases, a 15-year-old black male from St. Louis who was hospitalized in 1968 and died of an aggressive, disseminated KS.(13) His tissue and serum specimens were HIV-antibody positive on Western blot and antigen-positive on ELISA. This appears to be the first confirmed case of HIV infection in the United States. The patient had no history of travel out of the country, so it is likely that some other persons in the United States were infected with HIV as long ago as the 1960s, if not earlier.

        From this site: http://hivinsite.ucsf.edu/InSite?page=kb-01-03#S1X

        • What you have written here does not establish how AIDS/HIV is spread, only how and where it originated. It looks interesting, though, and I shall review it later. Thank you.

        • I was responding directly to Mike C saying “HIV was a GAY disease before it was brought to America by a homosexual flight steward (fact).” The information that I provided, through the links, was to show that HIV was not a GAY disease before it was in the USA. Mike C did not provide a “fact”.

    • Your implying that there will never be harm caused by homosexuals, atheists, and agnostics… that’s a wrongful implication and based on a dream that is simply not based on reality… If you haven’t been a scout Kate you won’t understand.. There are many things about women and girls I’d never say I understand except that women and girls are very different from men and boys… its by design; His design….

  6. Pedophilia and homosexulality are different issues. Pedophilia is sexual attraction to prepubescent children. By and large, this is not the issue that has confronted scouting units (and the Catholic Church for that matter). Rather, the adult-youth abuse cases in the BSA typically involve an adult male manipulating, grooming and abusing adolescent and teenage boys. The media lump all this under “pedophilia,” which is not very useful in that it inhibits honest conversation about policies most likely to protect youth in scouting. Which, I think we can all agree, is the object we all share.

  7. Yesterday I was among several hundred people being trained as facilitators to help local councils engage their shareholders in dialogue about Membership Standards between March 1 and April 5. This will include Chartered Organizations, volunteers, parents, and alumni; youth members above a certain age will be asked their opinions through Voice of the Scout. The intent is to gather input from across the spectrum of opinions. Your Scout Executive will be trained in this process on March 1.

    Please go back and read Bryan’s reminder about all of us conducting ourselves according to the Oath and Law during this process; a Scout is courteous.

    • I agree that the discussion must be held in a courteous and civil manner. However, what concerns me is that the reminders about following the Oath and Law are simply a cover for censoring those who disagree with the proposed changes. I believe it is possible to “speak the truth in love”, to quote the Bible. The radical gay movement for years has labeled anyone who disagrees with them as “homophobic”, and their words as “hate speech”. I’m not afraid of homosexuals (phobic), neither do I hate them. In fact, the most hateful thing is to endorse their harmful behavior as “normal” and something to be “celebrated”. So please, don’t censor those who disagree under the cover of enforcing the Oath and Law.

        • Yes, remember, only politically correct beliefs are considered courteous.

          1. Don’t assume your beliefs are politically correct (this goes back to Lincoln’s observation, that the important question is not “whose side is God on?” but instead, “am I on God’s side?”).

          2. Just because someone thinks they are politically correct doesn’t absolve them from the Scout’s duty to be courteous.

          So, could we get a stop on you guys calling me “immoral” because I support my church’s policy, and claiming I’m trying to kill Scouting because I’d like more boys and parents to be able to participate?

  8. As a straight man who was a scout as a teen and a ASM, I can tell you I’m stunned by the amount of bigotry and homophobia here. The current policy as well as the multitude of comments here defending it just confirms my decision to leave the BSA behind.

  9. Mike Walton wrote: “And you feel, David, that the BSA’s local option policy will allow this? I don’t think of anyone who would allow this to occur now, seeing how many units have grown men and adolescent boys right now.”

    I believe that a “local option” policy would leave individual units and/or sponsors more vulnerable to outside pressure. I would appear to be in distinguished company, as a religious freedom attorney named Kelly Shackelford submitted the following to the BSA:

    “Making the proposed policy change would have profound implications regarding religious liberty and First Amendment rights. Your organization won at the Supreme Court regarding your current policy by a single vote. But the Supreme Court’s majority opinion rested in part on the premise that BSA, as an organization, has a right to define its own mission and its views regarding morality and the values BSA seeks to instill in boys and young men. Delegating that decision to local subsidiaries necessarily means that BSA no longer has a national, organization-wide position on the morality of homosexuality. As such, those local affiliates would be beyond the limits of the Supreme Court’s holding in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, and each would be subject to new lawsuits under anti-discrimination laws and policies in whatever city and state each troop and pack is situated in.

    “While it is possible many of those local units would prevail in their lawsuits, many others might not, and the costs of litigation in either event would be nothing short of crippling for BSA. The legal safe harbor you currently enjoy could only be restored by a second victory at the Supreme Court, if this matter reaches the justices a second time and if the Court again sides with you, during which process you will again incur very significant legal costs.”

    It’s like a divorce, Mike; the only ones who win are the lawyers.

  10. There were 2 Voice of Scouting Surveys taken last year. Only a small percentage of stake holders responded to the surveys. Make sure you participate this year. There is currently a National effort to get all scouts, leaders, parents, volunteers, COR’s, etc to have a valid email address on file. The new survey in April will be sent out to all email addresses on file.The findings for the surveys can be found here: http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/Awards/JourneyToExcellence/vos_findings.aspx

    97% of Boy Scouts and parents that returned the survey stated that the ban negatively affected their view of scouting
    95% of volunteers that returned the survey stated that the ban negatively affected their view of scouting

    • “Conservative estimates assign a 15:1 ratio of negative to positive comments about the existing membership standards policy.”

      Something is clearly fishy about this and does not make me trust the national leadership one bit.

    • The Voice of the Scout survey in March will have questions pertaining to the membership policy in it. It will go to Parents of Scouts, Direct Contact Leaders, Chartering Organizations and District and Council volunteers. To receive it make sure your council has a valid email address for you.

      Members can update their email address by:
      1) Log onto http://myscouting.org
      2) Click on Update my Profile in the upper left and make sure your current membership ID is in your profile. Your membership ID is on your membership card or can be obtained from your committee chairman. The membership ID tells the system that you are registered and what position you are registered in. Save and exit your profile.
      3) Go to MyScouting Tools by clicking on the link on the MyScouting home page, or by going to: http://my.scouting.org
      4) Log into MyScouting Tools with the same login and password you used to log into myscouting
      5) Click on your unit (or district if a district volunteer)
      6) Click on My Dashboard and update your contact information in the profile there

      NOTE: If your Internet Service Provider blocks the BSA email you will not receive the survey. Currently the survey cannot be sent to AOL users because of a restriction on the AOL network.

    • JC – I initially read the 97 and 95% figures the same way you characterize them, but the graphic on the highlights document is misleading and you have to pay attention to the wording and refer back to the respective total sample sizes.

      In the Fall 2012 survey (since the policy re-affirmation was announced after the Spring survey, I only point to the fall figure), there were 68,441 respondents to the survey. The summary doesn’t break it down by youth, parents, volunteers, and COs (it does report the response rate for each).

      The 97 and 95% figures about who stated the ban negatively affected their view of scouting, since it was not an actual survey question, was not a percentage of the survey RESPONDENTS, but rather the percentage of the 1,325 and 3,444 COMMENTS provided by Boy Scouts & Parents and Volunteers respectively. That doesn’t mean to say that everyone else who didn’t comment agreed with the policy status quo, but it absolutely doesn’t mean that the high percentage applies to all who completed the survey.

    • Unfrotunately, those statistics have been taken WAY out of context! Reading the updated version of that article showed that of the respondents, 91% had no problem with the current policy. Of the 9% who did have a problem, the statistics you cited above were given (in those proportions) as to why. I understand that you more than likely read the original, unedited version, but I wanted to make sure that this was not merely left in its untruthful state (fault of the article, not yours!). :)

  11. Mike Walton (and regrettably I am not able to reply underneath his comment, so it is here) wrote: “It is so funny that many of the people opposed to change have no clue as to how the BSA was founded or developed.”

    To an extent, with the support in its early years of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), back when it operated with more religious emphasis (which is to say, mainstream Protestant) than today. Since then, the BSA has, of course, expanded its membership to those of non-Christian religions, to reflect the change in aspirants to “duty to God” within the population. I have copies of the 50th, 75th, and 100th anniversary books on the history of the BSA. I have read them all, cover to cover, the first one when I was ten. It stands to reason, then, that at least one of us who is opposed to the change has a “clue as to how the BSA was founded or developed.”

  12. Pingback: To Sacrifice our Principles for Popularity | JohnScout 2.0

  13. There was a comment in the chain above that concerned the principles upon which Scouting was founded upon. The following QUOTE is from p. 25 of the Fifth Edition of the Handbook for Boys. (I’m quoting from my father’s copy). Concerning Morally Straight it reads, “George Washington said that moratlity cannot be lasting without religion. A morally straight Scout knows how to love and serve God in the way He wants him to. We are created by God and we owe certain duties to this Heavenly Father of all of us. You learn to perform these spiritual duties in your home and in your church or synagogue. Some Scouts learn these most important duties in the schools they attend. On Mt. Sinai God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. He laid down certain definite Laws for all. Not to steal, not lie, not to abuse your body are some of these Laws. Keeping these Commandments is an important step toward being morally straight. A loving Scout son always asks his Heavenly Father’s pardon before he goes to bed at night for any offense he may have committed in thought, word or deed during the day. This is a Scout’s way of saying: ‘I am sorry, dear God, and with your help I will not offend you again.’ Your own spiritual leader, minister, priest or rabbi will teach you how to know God better.” Baden-Powell himself, once said, “There is no religious side to the movement; the whole of it is based on religion, that is on the realization and service of God.”

    Yes, there are differences of opinion on whether homosexuality is a sin or not. Some will state that it is a condition which some are born with. However, I can also point to former homosexuals that show the condition can be changed. I would also point out that many of us believe that all of us are born in sin, but that doesn’t excuse any of our immoral acts. For those of us who believe the Bible’s teaching is clear on the matter, the proposed policy change poses a significant problem.

    While a chartering organization may choose to prohibit homosexuals from membership and leadership, under the proposed change, they will have no say concerning the staffing of district, council, or national events and camps. That puts those organizations in an awkward situation having to choose between not participating or placing their Scouts under the leadership and guidance of someone who they know does not uphold the values they believe are a part of the fabric of Scouting. It will put units at variance with each other and other levels of administration. I know of several chartering organizations that have stated if the policy is changed, they will cease sponsoring units. In one case, the CO sponsors a pack, troop, and crew which have a total active membership of over 100 Scouts.

    Additionally, for organizations that cannot afford the potential legal challenges to their decision, some inevitably will decide to stop sponsoring their units.

    As evidence of the likelihood of competing organizations springing up in response to a change, we only have to look at the presence of American Heritage Girls as a recent alternative to Girls Scouts, due in part, to similar decisions by GS USA.

    Respectfully submitted by an ASM and father of active Eagle and Life Scouts.

    • Scott, you wrote: “While a chartering organization may choose to prohibit homosexuals from membership and leadership, under the proposed change, they will have no say concerning the staffing of district, council, or national events and camps. That puts those organizations in an awkward situation having to choose between not participating or placing their Scouts under the leadership and guidance of someone who they know does not uphold the values they believe are a part of the fabric of Scouting.”

      I’m curious, though, how Scouting handles situations currently when, say, a unit is LDS (Mormon) or is affiliated with a church of one denomination, and camp/event staff are, say, Muslim or Hindu or Unitarian? Doesn’t the same issue arise?

      I’m not belittling your question. I’m just asking how Scouting currently handles the issue of sectarian differences. Perhaps that will provide the basis for how to handle this issue as well.

    • Scott Petterson… I have that copy of the BSA manual along with many other artifacts of scouting.. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand what book the BSA is based upon; its the Holy Bible…. and the BSA should continue to mold its principles to that book and accept the blessings that will continue to come from striving to follow God’s Word.. He will ultimately bless or choose not to bless the BSA… Being disobedient to His Word will lead to His desire to woo the BSA back to being in line with His Will for the BSA… Its not hard to understand the fundamental principles that the BSA was founded upon…. just a little research and reading…. Truths never change….

    • “morality cannot be lasting without religion. A morally straight Scout knows how to love and serve God in the way He wants him to.”

      Well said. So what about a Scout who is a member of a church that teaches that gays are not immoral, and that gays are fully welcome as children of god, to be a full member of the church, just as they are? How does that Scout fulfill his Duty to God, and his duty to follow the teachings of his church, when BSA openly rejects the teachings of his church?

      BSA’s current anti-gay policy is a clear violation of BSA’s stated policy of being non-sectarian and completely neutral on matters of religion. BSA must not define what constitutes belief in God or the practice of religion. BSA’s current policy interferes with a Scouts duty to God.

      • It is funny to hear these appeals to nonsectarianism when in fact the idea of a religious duty to affirm or accept homosexuality is itself an extremely narrow and recent sectarian position.

        So why should BSA adopt the sectarian view of the relatively small group of revisionist denominations who consider “discrimination” against homosexuals to be morally wrong, rather than the much more widely held nonsectarian view that holds a religious duty to affirm conjugal marriage as the only morally acceptable form of sexual expression and to discourage homosexuality as a form of sexual sin?

        Note that traditional marriage is supported by the vast majority of Protestant, Catholic, and Evangelical churches, the LDS church, Islam, much of Judaism, and many Eastern religions. It is hardly a sectarian view.

        Although they are advanced with good intentions, these appeals to non-sectarianism would not result in a nonsectarian position at all–instead it would result in imposing on the entire BSA organization the utterly sectarian view of revisionist denominations that homosexuality is morally neutral and that discouragement of homosexual conduct is unjust.

        • “So why should BSA adopt the sectarian view of the relatively small group of revisionist denominations who consider “discrimination” against homosexuals to be morally wrong”

          That is not what is being proposed. The proposal is to move all sectarian bias about homosexuality, for and against, outside of Scouting. That is where sectarian views belong, outside of Scouts. That is what non-sectarian means.

          Under the new proposal, any Scout unit would continue to have the right to discriminate against homosexuals if they want to. The only difference is, the choice will now be made by each unit and chartering organization, rather than by BSA national.

          For all of the history of BSA, sectarian issues have resided at the CO level. That is where homosexuality belongs as well.

      • cwgmpls: It sounds like that’s a church struggling with aligning its discipline with the principles of the God’s one and only true word to all of us contained in the Holy Bible. I think the bigger question is what about a church that chooses to change its discipline to reflect a deliberate disobedience to a fundamental Godly principle? Just because human leaders of a church choose to defy God and lead a flock of people in their defiant leadership doesn’t mean everyone has to follow. In fact they aren’t and I know many people of the Presbyterian, Episcopalean, and Lutheran churches who have decided to leave those churches and join the Methodist Church, Catholic Church, Baptist Church or other Evangelical Churches whose memberships are growing. Defiance to God’s Word is not fulfilling your Duty to God it is disobedience and people who choose to mislead children away from Godly Principles are directly addressed in the Bible; its not a good position to take for that persons future..

      • cwgmpls: Thanks for proving a point I made earlier in one of the other places in this discussion. If the BSA changes it’s policy they will be used as a war club by homosexual activists to try to beat their agenda into others who choose to stand by Biblical Principles. What organizations will be the next targets of their agenda or who are currently targets of their attacks? The BSA will be lumped in with the Episcopals, Presbyterian USA, Lutherans, Jewish Reform Church and other religious organizations in their campaign to try to convince these organizations that their mission is righteous. It won’t matter what the BSA says about not using them in this way, if they change their membership policy it will happen. What a sad day that’s going to be when the BSA becomes aligned with the gay activist agenda and becomes another weapon to be used against those who choose freely to reject their claim that their behavior is normal, moral and righteous behavior in the eyes of God. You’d be foolish not to recognize that truth coming to pass.

  14. I am not going to tell you all of my Scouting awards, honors, and recognitions I have, the years I have been in Scouting, who I know and or don’t know, my religious beliefs, what I have or don’t have in my library, political, business, or any other connections I might have, or what I had for breakfast, What I am going to tell you are FACTS:
    1) There ARE homosexuals in the Boy Scouts of America!!!
    2) There ARE homosexuals in your world!!!
    3) I have worked with homosexuals, Some I knew about and some I didn’t. Interestingly enough, I consider all of the friends, respect them for what they have done for Scouts and Scouters alike, and appreciate what they have done for me personally!!!
    4) I do NOT want to know what you do in your bedroom and I am NOT going to tell you what I do in mine.
    5) We are here to make the lives of our youth better and prepare them for the future.
    I can’t pick out which lives I want to help prepare for tomorrow.
    Finally, a personal thought. I stayed in Scouting to give back just a little of what I have received. Scouting changes lives!!! Can we pick and choose who we might be able to change?

    • ” What I am going to tell you are FACTS …”

      … which people who beg to disagree already know. Comments like this that focus on what would obviously be common knowledge insult people’s intelligence. And no one’s telling anyone what to do or not do anywhere. This issue concerns whether or not people who openly espouse a particular behavior, one with moral and medical implications that have been elaborated upon at considerable length, can be a suitable volunteer (and by virtue of that, at some point, a role model) in an organization dedicated to (among other things) the formation of character of youth.

      To wit, the onus is not on those who are content with the current policy, but on those who would challenge it. Those who are familiar with the standard conventions of formal debate would know this. From what I have observed, practically no one who would challenge the current policy is even remotely aware of this.

    • Bob…. the homosexuals that are in the BSA now are in violation of the membership policy… They should resign… As adults living with homosexuals in our world is far different than a youth organization promoting a program that is led with moral role models that will help to lead their children toward becoming the kind of man they might be hopeful their son will become… I can see the distinction…. If your going to have a scout troop led by a homosexual or a homosexual couple then that should be stated when a parent approaches to sign their son up for scouts; as a parent I would have picked a different troop for my son to join or we would have just sidestepped Scouting to be part of his journey….

  15. I really don’t know why in the first place the national council kept this under the radar from the national membership, and when they found out that many didn’t agree with them they would play the game of “wait and see until May.” Who are they fooling here, BSA is a private organization whose membership regulation was decided by the S/C to be legal back in 2000, and just because Randall of AT&T is expected to run this organization sometime in the future and whose political agenda is totally the opposite of scouting values, the red herring is pretty obvious.

    • Like slavery, women lacking the right to vote, segregation, and forced relocation of Native Americans, right? That “worked” for over 100 years too.

      • As has been stated repeatedly, the current discussion is not about race or gender, but about behavior, ergo the distinction of “avowed” homosexuals, those who declare an intention to promote or live whatever it is they … um, avow.

        Further, you have suggested that people who want to maintain the current policy are “homophobic.” A “phobia” is an irrational fear of something. To disagree with, or disapprove of, a particular behavior or philosophy, is neither to be afraid of, nor to hate, the person or persons espousing it. Rest assured that there is little or no basis for such an accusation.

        • Whatever you have to tell yourself. Bigotry is not simply limited to race or gender. Maybe some of that bravery from the BS Law would be in order here.

        • Calling anyone in this forum a bigot, implicitly if not explicitly, is neither in keeping with the spirit or letter of the Scout Oath and Law, nor does it further the conversation, thus your remark disqualifies itself by your own insistence.

        • Name calling is not a basis for civil and rational discussion. “Homophobia” is a construct designed to stifle debate. Even the Associated Press – no bastion of anti-gay views – in its latest stylebook advises journalists to avoid its use outside of direct quotations.

        • There is more to the definition of Homophobic: : irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals (according to Merriam Webster – http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/homophobia)

          The last section about discrimination seems to be accurate in this discussion.

          “Society’s rethinking of sexual orientation was crystallized in the term homophobia, which heterosexual psychologist George Weinberg coined in the late 1960s. Weinberg used homophobia to label heterosexuals’ dread of being in close quarters with homosexuals as well as homosexuals’ self loathing. The word first appeared in print in 1969 and was subsequently discussed at length in Weinberg’s 1972 book, Society and the Healthy Homosexual. ” http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/prej_defn.html

          The original meaning also appears to be accurate in this discussion (Weinberg used homophobia to label heterosexuals’ dread of being in close quarters with homosexuals).

          This may be the more appropriate word: Heterosexism
          ” Around the same time, heterosexism began to be used as a term analogous to sexism and racism, describing an ideological system that denies, denigrates, and stigmatizes any nonheterosexual form of behavior, identity, relationship, or community (Herek, 1990). Using the term heterosexism highlights the parallels between antigay sentiment and other forms of prejudice, such as racism, antisemitism, and sexism.

          Like institutional racism and sexism, heterosexism pervades societal customs and institutions. It operates through a dual process of invisibility and attack.”(from the same site above)

          That last part really applies to the discussion.

        • The Associated Press has removed the word “homophobia” from it latest Stylebook because it recognizes the term is an ideologically slanted smear word that unfairly stereotypes people who oppose homosexuality on moral, religious, social, or health grounds. It is a term used to intimidate and silence those who object to the agenda of homosexual activists, and to demonize them without considering their arguments.

          Using such tactics here is not respectful of the views of fellow Scouters, and disregards the many admonitions for Scouters to be courteous in discussing this sensitive issue.

          See http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2012/11/ap-nixes-homophobia-ethnic-cleansing-150315.html

      • I know for a fact that there are heterosexuals who engage in UNHEALTHY and disgusting (to me, though not them) sexual behaviors (even some explicitly forbidden in the Bible). What shall Scouting do about them? Perhaps there should be a sexual behavior survey of all the Scouters to rout them? Maybe put checkboxes on the adult app? Or would that be silly because sexuality isn’t part of the Scouting program?

        • I would not be a promoter of a sexual behavior survey. However, if a scout leader admitted such behavior I’d push for his exclusion from a leadership position.

        • cwgmpls:

          Suspicion is not proof, and in those cases where it has been enough to provoke a “witch hunt,” it is less of a case where the current policy is wrong, than of it having been managed badly. That said, there is no reason to believe that a revised policy will be managed any more effectively, inasmuch as the same people will be handling it as before.

        • The policy was created under the guidance of different people. Also the proposed changes are very different than current policy.

        • “If they claim to be the parent of the Cub, is that enough suspicion that I should inquire further into their actual sexual conduct?”

          It says nothing about their *sexual* conduct, although that appears likely. It may only be an indication of both of them having legal guardianship. I really don’t know. The more I think about it, the less inclined I am to comment on a particular situation if I’m not there.

          I can tell you this, and speaking as one that does not favor an “all-inclusive” policy as called for by some, that my first priority would be for the sensibilities of the child, who has no concept of his situation being anything but typical. How I respond after that would depend on a lot of things, and even then (I’m speaking from my role as an ADC here), only after taking it up with my District Key 3.

        • I think that’s a very reasonable response, David. The best interests of the kids is certainly priority #1.

        • I would not be a promoter of a sexual behavior survey. However, if a scout leader admitted such behavior I’d push for his exclusion from a leadership position.

          What counts for “admitting such behavior?” Most of our leaders are parents. Should I disqualify all of them?

        • Heterosexuals that “Advertise” their UNHEALTHY behavior, should be forced out (Period). “Openly Gay” Scouts, and Scouts Leaders who “Announce” their High Risk UNHEALTHY Behavior, by telling anyone “I’m Gay” should also be forced out. What part of UNHEALTHY don’t you understand?

          Check out Page #15 of this 56 page CDC report

          http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/ad/ad362.pdf

          And here is the real CDC killer study…

          http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/surveillance/resources/reports/2002report/

          And the final point drives home WHY Homosexual Behavior, and Scouting don’t fit

          http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1970496/posts

        • What constitutes UNHEALTHY heterosexual practices. Who will define these? Would BSA have to define the limits.

      • Mike C: I assume you’re a Scouter, and as a fellow Scouter I ask that you please remember Bryan’s starting point in his article: “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.”

        Your most recent posts that people who disagree with you are not “normal,” and questioning whether “something is wrong” with BSA national board members (and by implication, with Gov. Mitt Romney and anyone else who disagrees with BSA’s current policy), is not courteous and respectful.

        You have made very, very (very!) clear your belief that homosexuality (at least among males) is “UNHEALTHY.” Now, how about we focus on the specific issue under debate: whether to keep the current national BSA, one-size-fits-all ban on open (but not closeted) gays and lesbians, or whether to grant individual chartered organizations the right to set their own policies in this regard. Thank you.

        • 80 years ago a man came to power in Germany, and did away with the Boy Scouts by creating the “Hitler Youth.” His movement began in a Gay Bar (Read the Pink Swastika ) http://www.thepinkswastika.com/

          Bryan and the moderators can keep me from telling the truth about the “Homosexual Agenda” any time they wish. But no one can argue with the facts regarding the UNHEALTHY nature of Homosexual behavior. That’s why you constantly avoid the real question:

          HOW can a Boyscout be “Morally Straight” if he engages in one of the MOST UNHEALTHY sexual activities know to man? (according to the Center for Disease Control)

          America needs to take A historical Tour of the U.S. Capitol

          AND the BSA Board needs to reject accepting (or respecting) UNHEALTHY behavior (of ANY kind)
          I would think this falls within the “Discussion”, or is the above information about WHY the board should reject your proposal too much for you?

        • Mike C – I have politely asked you to provide the link to the CDC study you keep mentioning. So has Manwithblackhat (actually, he placed the burden on me to try to find the link; I did find one, but Manwithblackhat has said I can’t prove that’s the one to which you were referring). Can you provide us with the link to the actual study so that we can all see whether it says what you claim?

          As for your new claim that gays were responsible for Nazism, that has been thoroughly discredited and is of course an unhelpful, unkind and unfriendly slur on gays and lesbians in the U.S. today, both those inside and outside Scouting already.
          Source: http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2005/spring/holy-war/making-myths

          In fact, in 1942 “the death penalty was instituted for homosexuality [in Nazi Germany]. Offenders in the German military were routinely shot. “That wasn’t a punishment,” [Nazi SS leader Heinrich] Himmler explained, “but simply the extinguishing of abnormal life. It had to be got rid of, just as we pull out weeds, throw them on a heap, and burn them.””

          The author of the “Pink Swastika” hoax is also a supporter of the “Kill the Gays” law in Uganda, and has also claimed that President Obama is secretly gay, and that the Biblical Flood was caused by gay weddings, among other outrageous claims. Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/22/scott-lively-obama-gay_n_2742242.html

          Mike C, it’s obvious you feel passionately about this subject but your statements are all deeply disturbing and shouldn’t really be part of the simple discussion here – whether BSA’s current “don’t ask don’t tell” national policy should be revised to allow individual units to allow openly gay or lesbian leaders and members should they wish to do so. But my grandfather was a prisoner in Nazi Germany, and I have close friends and fellow churchgoers who are gay. If your statements aren’t going to be independently moderated I just can’t allow them to go unchallenged. Please honor the Scout Oath and Scout Law, as we all should in making posts on this thread.

          Now can we please get back to the matter at hand and continue the civil if spirited discussion?

        • I don’t know the moderator, and I am new to this blog. But if I WAS the moderator, I would immediately boot you for comparing the rational adult conversation we’re trying to have about the BSA in 2013 with the formation of the Hitler Youth in 1930s.

          Your comments throughout on this topic have repeatedly cited “unhealthy” sexual behavior that (in your mind) is clearly not “morally straight”. You’re a one-trick pony that doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

          Since we’re supposed to be adults here, let’s start with the obvious: there are plenty of things that straight men & women do sexually–in the privacy of their own homes & lives–that you will never know anything about. Some of them MAY even engage in (gasp) anal sex. Guess what? That has NOTHING to do with whether or not they’re good parents, whether or not they volunteer for Scout fundraisers and functions, or whether or not they’re raising a child with good morals. If you want to start limiting Scouting based on the level of kink that may–or may not–exist in any given adult relationship, I suspect you’re going to exclude a big chunk of the populace right out the gate… and I can’t WAIT to see how you measure/enforce that.

          Having said that, let me reiterate what I said in my own post: THERE IS NO SEXUAL COMPONENT TO THE SCOUTING PROGRAM! Heterosexual boys and parents don’t need to justify or qualify what goes on in their households and private lives in order to participate in Scouting, so homosexual boys and parents shouldn’t have to, either.

          There is no more “danger” from a gay adult volunteer leader than there is from a straight adult volunteer leader. To suggest otherwise is effectively the same as saying our current training, policies and standards (Youth Protection, 2-Deep Leadership, etc) are inadequate and pointless.

          As for the straight boys being in tents, showers, cabins, lakes, woods at the same time as homosexual boys- what do you think is going to happen? If there WAS going to be some kind of sexual impropriety, wouldn’t there have to be TWO boys involved? Again- do you think the Youth Protection that we already require our boys to take suddenly doesn’t apply? Do you think the homosexual boys can just force themselves on the straight ones? Do you think the straight boys will just let the homosexual ones have their way with them because they feel sorry for them? Or maybe it’s more plausible that if some boy DID try to do something inappropriate, the other boy would tell a Leader and the leader would contact the parents?

          To assume someone is immoral or agnostic just because of their sexual orientation is ignorant, bigoted & prejudiced- pure & simple.

        • Sexual orientation is a choice. They are choosing to behave in an immoral manner. Why can’t I believe this without being called a bigot and prejudiced? Because you believe I must conform to YOUR beliefs. My beliefs don’t matter. That’s where the Hitler reference is true. We are only allowed to belief what is politically correct.

        • Einhard
          Your church says it is immoral, my church does not. I did not ask you to convert to my church or abide by their tenets. On the other hand I am not going to convert to your faith. The issue is allowing one book of faith to set policy for the other faiths that are concurrent members in an organization.

        • You are demanding that my subvert my beliefs to yours in the scouts.

          No, asking that you not demand our Christian denominations subvert our beliefs to yours, in order that we might continue fellowship in Scouting.

          Sometimes I think you’re working hard not to understand some of these issues.

        • Mr. Einhard, can you tell us how you chose to be hetero? What did you consider, when did you make the choice, and did you experiment with any other orientations before you settled on your choice?

          And then, before you answer, would you do me a cultural favor? Check out this little ditty from the great sociologists Rodgers and Hammerstein: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJhRYYjHThI

          Were they talking to you, or to me, do you think?

        • One doesn’t choose to be straight. It is natural. Homosexuality isn’t. I would outline the argument for this, but I’m sure I would be called homophobic and a bigot and then someone would quote some psychobabble to support an unnatural lifestyle.

        • Einhard, I fail to understand how you can call sexual orientation a choice, when it applies to others, but natural when it applies to you.

          What kind of mutant are you? (No, that’s not even a rhetorical question — don’t answer.)

          If it’s a choice for homosexuals to choose to be persecuted and shunned, and make that choice even in places where the death penalty applies, then they are the models of the Tenth Point of the Scout Law, and we should have them in our ranks for that reason alone.

          Or, more likely, sexual orientation is not a choice, and you just realized that.

        • Being homosexual is a choice. You can deny it, but it doesn’t make it false because you choose not to believe.

        • Yes children need to be taught from an early age. The problem is that those that are teaching the children tend to already be set with their prejudices.

        • I don’t know the moderator, and I am new to this blog. But if I WAS the moderator, I would immediately boot you for comparing the rational adult conversation we’re trying to have about the BSA in 2013 with the formation of the Hitler Youth in 1930s.

          Your comments throughout on this topic have repeatedly cited “unhealthy” sexual behavior that (in your mind) is clearly not “morally straight”. You’re a one-trick pony that doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

          Since we’re supposed to be adults here, let’s start with the obvious: there are plenty of things that straight men & women do sexually–in the privacy of their own homes & lives–that you will never know anything about. Some of them MAY even engage in (gasp) anal sex. Guess what? That has NOTHING to do with whether or not they’re good parents, whether or not they volunteer for Scout fundraisers and functions, or whether or not they’re raising a child with good morals. If you want to start limiting Scouting based on the level of kink that may–or may not–exist in any given adult relationship, I suspect you’re going to exclude a big chunk of the populace right out the gate… and I can’t WAIT to see how you measure/enforce that.

          Having said that, let me reiterate what I said in my own post: THERE IS NO SEXUAL COMPONENT TO THE SCOUTING PROGRAM! Heterosexual boys and parents don’t need to justify or qualify what goes on in their households and private lives in order to participate in Scouting, so homosexual boys and parents shouldn’t have to, either.

          There is no more “danger” from a gay adult volunteer leader than there is from a straight adult volunteer leader. To suggest otherwise is effectively the same as saying our current training, policies and standards (Youth Protection, 2-Deep Leadership, etc) are inadequate and pointless.

          As for the straight boys being in tents, showers, cabins, lakes, woods at the same time as homosexual boys- what do you think is going to happen? If there WAS going to be some kind of sexual impropriety, wouldn’t there have to be TWO boys involved? Again- do you think the Youth Protection that we already require our boys to take suddenly doesn’t apply? Do you think the homosexual boys can just force themselves on the straight ones? Do you think the straight boys will just let the homosexual ones have their way with them because they feel sorry for them? Or maybe it’s more plausible that if some boy DID try to do something inappropriate, the other boy would tell a Leader and the leader would contact the parents?

          To assume someone is immoral or agnostic just because of their sexual orientation is ignorant, bigoted & prejudiced- pure & simple.

        • “To assume someone is immoral or agnostic just because of their sexual orientation is ignorant, bigoted & prejudiced- pure & simple.”

          .. in your opinion. Others, in good faith, sincerity and conviction, come to a different conclusion. I’m not sure your characterizations of them are going to be very persuasive.

        • Well, you cannot assume they are agnostic. It’s a simple fact that numerous Christian sects, as well as many other faiths, are open and affirming to gays and lesbians.

          As for morality, I think Mike’s and Bob’s points are that it’s wrong to assume that because someone is openly gay, they are any less (or more) moral than someone who is closeted gay. Astronaut Sally Ride was semi-closeted gay: she had a female partner but kept her life private. If she’d been a Scout leader, though, she would have been subject to expulsion if someone had seen her and her partner somewhere and claimed she was “open” about her sexual orientation. Houston, Texas Mayor Annise Parker is openly gay, but she is extremely popular and seen as a great role model in her city.

          Was Sally Ride more or less moral than Ted Haggard? Is Annise Parker more or less moral than Larry Craig? Which would be more suitable as a Scout leader? Reasonable people can differ on those questions, and being a leader is always a privilege, not a right – but does it make any sense to have a national, one-size-fits-all policy that absolutely, flatly forbids Sally Rides or Annise Parkers from being uniformed volunteers even if their local units are comfortable with them in that capacity, but that allows Ted Haggards and Larry Craigs to do so?

          The statement has been made that we’re all talking about leaders, not kids. Fair point: we should be focusing 100% on what’s best for our kids. But those people who are currently being denied leadership roles usually have kids themselves – kids who love and look up to them, and who are hurt and confused to hear that someone in the national leadership has decided that their father or mother isn’t fit to be a leader. And this issue also affects older boys who are realizing that they may be gay. As long as they abide by Youth Protection, the Scout Oath and the Scout Law and respect others, they should not be expelled or have their Eagle Medal denied simply because they have told someone else that they think they’re gay. At a bare minimum, the decision by their local unit to award them the rank should not be overturned by some outsider based on a national policy.

        • Mike C wrote in part: “HOW can a Boyscout be “Morally Straight” if he engages in one of the MOST UNHEALTHY sexual activities know to man? (according to the Center for Disease Control”

          For that matter, how can a female Scouter be “morally straight” if she engages in this same “unhealthy sexcual activity”? How would we know in EITHER CASE? Do we have people go around and investigate what people do sexually? Is that a new role for our Commissioners?

          No. First off, you are the latest of people who are confusing the Scout Oath or Promise line of “morally straight” with sexual preference. The two are NOT the same, and the BSA NEVER tried to connect the two (yeah, it was brought up in court cases; but clearly if you go back and read exactly what the BSA’s manuals stated explaining “morally straight”, as early as 1912 there is NO EXPLAINATION or “information” about sexually orientation. So unless you’ve got proof — which I’m sure you won’t find because I and many others haven’t found it — knock it off…

          Second, you fail to understand that everything in Scouting is centered at the local unit level. There’s enough parents and concerned people who will remove inappropriate people from their unit. If you are acting inappropriately with another adult or with a youth, you will be removed. And the BSA will back them. This hasn’t changed…and it doesn’t matter if the two people are “straight” or “gay” — there is a policy, a successful policy, and one which works regardless of who the chartered partner organization is.

        • Mike,

          It is funny that you keep trying to expain away the BSA’s long-held policy by ignoring or minimizing BSA’s extensive arguments in BSA v. Dale. You keep trying to argue the bizarre bit of mental gymnastics that “morally straight” prohibits every form of immorality EXCEPT for sexual immorality, with no basis for why sexual immorailty should be singled out for exclusion. You keep trying to pretend that BSA did not submit decades of policy statements to the Court, and the the Court’s acceptance of “morally straight” and “a Scout is clean” as the basis for BSA’s position of moral disapproval of homosexuality is meaningless. You read BSA policy statements on this subject like W.C. Fields read the Bible–looking for loopholes.

          Well, BSA v. Dale is law of the land. BSA provided proof enough to meet the Supreme Court’s standard and proof enough to overturn the NJ circuit court decision. Baffling to me that it is not proof enough for you.

        • In its BSA v. Dale testimony, in 2000, BSA stated that BSA “teaches that homosexual conduct is not morally straight”.

          In its 2012 press release, BSA stated that “Scouting believes same-sex attraction should be introduced and discussed outside of its program… The vast majority of parents do not sign their children up for Scouting for it to introduce or discuss, in any way, these topics.”

          Which one is correct? Does BSA teach about homosexuality, or should homosexuality only be discussed outside of BSA?

        • “parents do not want Scouting to introduce or discuss this.”

          But BSA told the Supreme Court that they *do* discuss this. They told the Supreme Court that Scouting teaches about homosexuality.

          Is BSA violating the will of its parents?

        • Yes. BSA told the Supreme Court in 2000 that BSA teaches that homosexuality is not morally straight.

          Then in 2012 they released a policy that states BSA does not introduce the subject of homosexuality or discuss it in any way.

          Which one is correct? Was BSA lying in 2000, or in 2012? Or did they just change their mind?

        • Good point. Looking at the fine print, I think we have to acknowledge that last July the BSA did something they told us they did not do. They changed the policy.

          Looking at the stated policy, they retreated in part from the previously long-held policy that homosexuality is inconsistent with the Scout Oath and Law and that teaching the traditional sexual ethic is no longer part of the program.

          This is a crucial point to understand for both supporters and critics of the current membership policy, because it means that even the 2012 policy statement has undermined the BSA v. Dale legal basis under which the Supreme Court shielded BSA from state and local laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

          While many have argued that the “local choice” proposal would jeopardize the BSA v. Dale protections, including the New York Times, the National Baptist Convention, and the Alliance Defending Freedom, I’ve never seen a recognition that the 2012 policy already put BSA in legal jeopardy.

          Unfortunately, it looks like it has.

          There can be no real middle ground on this issue. BSA will have to choose. And if the right of some chartering organizations and local units to refect homosexuality as immoral is to be preserved, BSA must not only reject “local choice,” but it must reaffirm the pre-2012 policy statement as well.

        • Thanks for pointing this out, Dennis. I see it that way too. If the 2012 statement is correct, it undermines the legal basis of BSA’s exclusion of gays, as stated in the 2000 Supreme Court decision.

          But reverting to the pre-2012 position is only one solution.

          Another solution is to take the precedent set by BSA’s 2000 court case, and apply it to each Chartering Organization. Simply put, the 2000 decision guarantees any Chartering Organization the right to legally exclude gays if by simply making the statement “Our organization teaches that Homosexuality is immoral”. They just have to publish that once, and they are covered. Even if not everyone in the organization agrees. Even if the organization never talks about gays again. They just have to stake a claim, and they are legally covered.

          The 2000 precedent makes it very easy for any CO to legally exclude gays who want to. Because of it, there is really no reason for a blanket, national policy on gays.

        • If a scout were to ask me about the subject I would tell them the same thing; homosexual behavior is immoral.. I’d also tell them that it doesn’t mean the homosexual isn’t loved equally by God and that should feel any differently toward tjem than God does, just means they have that burden to contend with in their lives; we all have our crosses to bare if we’re Christians.. Christianity isn’t a denomination, it’s a faith.. it’s based on Biblical Principles.. I do my best to teach and live by Biblical Principles.. I don’t think a homosexual man is a good moral role model for a boy who is most likely heterosexual.. that’s my opinion and its based on a Scout Oath that says a Scout is morally straight while the Bible says homosexuality is immoral.. I don’t think a convicted drug dealer, pedophile, car thief, alcholic, etc. are good fits for scouting leadership either.. the BSA has moral standards and their not as gray as some people want them to be.. its ok to have standards of quality.. its legal to do so..

        • “If a scout were to ask me about the subject I would tell them the same thing;”

          So you agree that BSA teaches that homosexual conduct is immoral?

          How do you square that with BSA’s statement that BSA does not discuss homosexuality “in any way”?

        • The way BSA teaches is through its policies. For most scouts, the real teaching comes at unit level where the actions of caring leaders demonstrate to scouts that people make the difference in our world.

        • “The way BSA teaches is through its policies. For most scouts, the real teaching comes at unit level where the actions of caring leaders demonstrate to scouts that people make the difference in our world.” – Ann Mellon

          Wow, you actually said how homosexual supporters subvert the Boy Scout Program. You take the material and add what you need to teach the homosexual lifestyle as part of the program when it clearly is not.

          So, because I leave sexuality out of the program, I am an ‘Un-caring” teacher because i would never discuss sexuality in the program as part of teaching the Scout program. Where do you get the permission to do that?

          Yes, here is one of the major differences in pro-homosexual Scouter and those who feel sexuality has no place in the program. As a Scout leader, I would never teach a Scout he could “make a difference in the world” by embracing homosexuality as a supported belief. How arrogant of you! But, most homosexual activists are arrogant. You need to move to girl Scouts where they believe just like you.

          You’re probably a good person but do you subvert your job in the same way?

        • You’re reading too much in to that comment. All Ms. Mellon said is that the real teaching takes place between the youth and the people that have direct content with them. I doubt very much that anyone in scouting actually teaches anything about sexuality. If they do, that would be grounds for removing that individual from scouting, be they gay or straight. Sex education belongs at home, not in boy scouts.

        • You do realize that your talking aboit what most likely will be two homosexual boyfriends who meet for scouting events and love on eachother sometimes in spite of what leaders say they shouldn’t do. ever meet a defiant teenager; like most of tjem at times. So the younger heterosexual boys are foing to see this behavior and these confrontations and think “what am I even doing in the BSA or this troop; This is like so not for me”. And they’ll be gone; and that’s ok because he just isn’t tolerant of homosexual love even when the truth of his heart makes him want to throw up with discust. And what about homosexual lovers on staff at summer camp. Won’t those letters home to mom and dad be revealing about what’s going on at summer camp. Family night will have to change its name and be called rescue and evacuation night. Wonder if BSA will gurantee refunds. Might sound bizarre but the truth is usually far crazier than fiction. If you’ve lived life for a while like I have you know from experience that theae aren’t the things that might happen; there the things that will happen in time. Then what BSA? Try to stuff the genie back into the bottle. Like we’ve seen on this blog; the homosexual genies won’t go back into the bottle without a fight. Why is the BSA struggling with trying to snatch defeat from the jaws if victory. You have control over all of it now and when you change the policy you loose control. Think volunteer scoutmasters want this headache too?? They’ll quit and good ones are hard to find; not a dime a dozen that’s for sure.. better listen to them if your planning on passing the buck to them and cher your responsibility to help them out on this issue tjat has nothing to do with scouting but will become there greatest headache.

        • Your suggestions here are preposterous. Allowing homosexuals into BSA isn’t going to turn scout meetings or summer camp into an orgy. You’re espousing fear-mongering. As it stands, now, there are co-ed venturing crews, as well as co-ed summer camp staffs. If there is any type of sexual misconduct, I’m sure it is handled appropriately, as it would be in the future if it occurred between members of the same sex. For that matter, there are certainly gay members now. Gay summer camp staff members. So far, I’m not aware of any national epidemic of sex at boy scout summer camp, gay or straight.

        • I’ve been a leader in a co-ed organization too and believe me this has the potential to be a problem when boys and girls are together in a similar setting; why wouldn’t it naturally happen in scouting too if the policy is changed? It will and the BSA needs to prepare for some unbelievable media exploits of these stories when they begin to take place and make their way to the main stream media’s desks. Their going to have a field day with these stories as they continue on their agenda to help destroy the BSA and everything it means to this nation. The BSA means more than you think to many but without it the Spirit of Scouting will still live within the hearts of the boys who have the character to become Eagle Scouts; its not a badge that makes the Eagle Scout, it really is the God given Character…

        • I don’t believe that current coed crews or future coed groups would find gays any extra push toward sexual actions inappropriate to scouting. I have confidence in scouts and their leaders.

        • “The way BSA teaches is through its policies. For most scouts, the real teaching comes at unit level where the actions of caring leaders demonstrate to scouts that people make the difference in our world.” Ann Mellon

          It seems very clear to me that Ms. Mellon is not following any Scouting training that I have been involved in as a student or Trainer and I have been through many official BSA Trainings. How do you “demonstrate to Scouts that people make a difference in the world?” except by injecting your personal beliefs upon them as to what that person may “think;” makes a difference in the world. Where is Scouting literature does it say “demonstrate to Scouts that people make a difference in the world?” It doesn’t. The Boy Scouting Program through the Oath and Law teaches character education and Outdoot skills. That is our job. Scouts is not Social Program or Peace Corps. Girl Scouts does the “Save the .World from racism” touchy-feely program. That’s why my wife and daughter left Girls Scouts. As traditional Girl Scouts, they were no longer welcome.

          I’ll say it clearly again; The Official Boy Scouting Program through the Oath and Law teaches character education and Outdoot skills. Sexuality has no palce in that plan. Exposing children to open homosexual behavior has no place in that plan.

          Bryan, what are you talking about. Matbe you need to sit this on out since you think another person does not have permission to post their opinion. Where is yours by the way, Opinion I mean. Do you have one? Try offering it in opposition. Verbal barbs aren’t meaingful conversation.

        • Mr Cooper, you stated: “How do you “demonstrate to Scouts that people make a difference in the world?” ”

          I would say that you demonstrate to scouts that people make a difference by making a difference. Just by being there, taking an interest in them, teaching them things. This shows, through your own actions, that people make a difference! Don’t read so much in to such a simple statement!

        • Wow Fred. SMH I agree with Bryan, you need to take a time out. Several of your posts are bullying in nature. Bullying is not tolerated in Scouting.

        • I’ve seen very little said and done by Fred that hasn’t been said or done by any of his opponents. If there’s one thing I know, it’s “bullying,” and there’s plenty to go around on both sides.

        • Thank you manwithblackhat. Bullies always act offended when opposiing opinions are in front of them. Homosexual advocates have been attacking traditional Scouters all over this blog. But, to them, its not attacking, It’s trying to reason with a person who does not understand. I have seen very few open-minded homosexual advocates on this blog. One last night. We can agree to disagree,

        • David,
          Fred is harassing a fellow scouter by saying her church is not a church. That the BSA should continue their bullying of said church by not recognizing their religious knot program because said church spoke out against the BSA ban on homosexuals.

          He has said that, albeit veiled, that women should know their place in an organization for males.

          I call that being a bully.

        • “I call that being a bully.”

          So do I, if that’s what he said. But I’ve read worse in these pages, which by now have become so distasteful I have given it less attention, saving most of mine (most, mind you) for things that are directed to me.

          At this point, Scouts-L is more civil. Never thought I’d see the day …

        • The progressive voices on this list never cease to amaze me. Church has always meant Christian. Merriam Webster which is used by hundreds of millions of people defines Church as Christian. I post the definition and disagree with a Scouter who happens to be female. Its like facts don’t matter for you people. How can you ever have a serious discussion if one side will not even accept facts? Just because she says it is a Church doesn’t make it so. And now you call using facts in an argument harassment? How ridiculous can you get? I do not accept you premise that I have harassed anyone.

        • Church has always meant Christian. Merriam Webster which is used by hundreds of millions of people defines Church as Christian. I post the definition and disagree with a Scouter who happens to be female. Its like facts don’t matter for you people. How can you ever have a serious discussion if one side will not even accept facts?

          Actually, “church” predates Christianity:

          church (n.) Look up church at Dictionary.com
          Old English cirice, circe “church, public place of worship; Christians collectively,” from West Germanic *kirika (cf. Old Saxon kirika, Old Norse kirkja, Old Frisian zerke, Middle Dutch kerke, Dutch kerk, Old High German kirihha, German Kirche), probably [see note in OED] from Greek kyriake (oikia), kyriakon doma “Lord’s (house),” from kyrios “ruler, lord,” from PIE root *keue- “to swell” (“swollen,” hence “strong, powerful”); see cumulus. Phonetic spelling from c.1200, established by 16c. For vowel evolution, see bury. As an adjective from 1570s.

          Greek kyriakon (adj.) “of the Lord” was used of houses of Christian worship since c.300, especially in the East, though it was less common in this sense than ekklesia or basilike. An example of the direct Greek-to-Germanic progress of many Christian words, via the Goths; it probably was used by West Germanic people in their pre-Christian period.

          Also picked up by Slavic, probably via Germanic (e.g. Old Church Slavonic criky, Russian cerkov). Finnish kirkko, Estonian kirrik are from Scandinavian. Romance and Celtic languages use variants of Latin ecclesia (e.g. French église, 11c.).

          Also, see longer explanation here:

          The point here is that the phrase kuriakê oikia, “lord’s house”, which “has been in consistent use since the 300s”, actually refers to the house of the lord Mithras – Sol Mithras Deus Invictus. In other words: Mithras the sun-god was the lord (kurios, whence the phrase kuriakê oikia) whom emperor Constantine and his religious organisation caused people to serve, under the pretence that it all was “Christianity”. And then, Mithras is just another name for the “sun-god” who was also known as Baal. (A note: The word baal meant “lord”.)

          Those who know a bit more about the true meaning of certain religious symbols, would find and recognise many Mithras-related symbols in an average “house of the lord” that has been built during the past few centuries.

          First you steal the work from the Mithras-worshipping guys, then you start claiming t was only yours all along . . . ;-)

        • Complete and total BS Ed. Sorry.

          The Greek word for church, Ekklesia, literally means “called out or summoned, assembled with a purpose.” New testament written in Greek. Common usage becomes Church in English. Your semantic backflips and non-relevant former usage does not change the fact that the meaning of Church today and in the past is Christian.

        • Complete and total BS Ed. Sorry.

          Is there no fact of history you will not attempt to deny? Baal came after Christianity? Seriously? Come on.

          ekklesia predates Christianity, too.

          New testament was written in Greek, as you know, from Greek words that already existed.

          “Church” in common parlance has meant a house of worship, regardless the sect, regardless the god, almost since its inception. In English common law, and American common law, it refers to any religious building, especially one where a congregation gathers to worship, and to the congregants as a body, as well — if we say “church,” we do not exclude synagogues, mosques, Houses of Mithra, temples, tabernacles, Kingdom Halls, pagodas, or any other place of worship to any other god, assemblage of gods, or whatever the particular sect worships.

          I was working to suggest a lighter tone, so we can get away from the claims that BSA is exclusively Christian based, and perhaps, get away from the claims that Christianity claims homosexuality is sinful, and that’s the end of the argument. A lighter tone appears not to work here, yet.

          So I’ll be frank:

          Many Christian churches, using the same scripture you point to, do not find that the scriptures condemn homosexuality per se, but instead condemn it as one of several actions that would not create more warriors for Israel, to aid in the taking and protecting of lands Moses brought them to. Other actions condemned in nearly equal terms were challenging a father’s status (but not a mother’s), refusing to impregnate the widow of a dead brother, and various other acts that would avoid procreation. The intention was to swell the population, in other words.

          For various reasons, most Christians believe, and support their beliefs from scripture, that those edicts no longer apply, not least because Israel’s establishing of a new nation is not longer a goal.

          Scholars point out that the action described in Genesis which is most often pointed to in order to condemn homosexuality was not homosexual relations between consenting adults at all, but instead was a requested act to humiliate guests of a resident of Sodom.

          In other words, good Christians of many sects, backed by solid scriptural scholarship, backed by Christian tradition, disavow your reading of scriptures. Specifically, they point to the prophet Ezekiel and worry that present inhospitality towards homosexuals might not be exactly the abominations that got Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed.

          You may be right, of course. You have a right, in this country, to disagree on issues of faith and religion. So do others. Your beliefs do not restrict the beliefs of anyone else, nor do they mean that the leaders of those faiths are immoral or working to bring down Scouting or the nation.

          These are issues that we may disagree upon, but which we should disagree with comity and a good faith understanding that we don’t disagree because either side intends to do evil; we disagree on interpretations of ancient scriptures written in languages few of us know fluently, passed down in oral tradition and badly-written, fragmentary documents through a few thousands of years.

          Much of our advancement as a nation, and as a leader in modern civilization, depends on our accepting that such differences can exist, and we can find ways to work together despite those differences. Our national tradition is to put those differences aside, and work together, because the religious division is destructive to our society and our economy — and such matters are between each person and their God, and not issues for public policy.

          Thomas Jefferson wrote exactly that, in the preamble to the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom:

          Whereas, Almighty God hath created the mind free;

          That all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitations tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and therefore are a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, who being Lord, both of body and mind yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do;

          That the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavouring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world and through all time; . . .

          That our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions any more than our opinions in physics or geometry . . .

          And in the text of the law itself:

          Be it enacted by General Assembly that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of Religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities. And though we well know that this Assembly elected by the people for the ordinary purposes of Legislation only, have no power to restrain the acts of succeeding Assemblies constituted with powers equal to our own, and that therefore to declare this act irrevocable would be of no effect in law; yet we are free to declare, and do declare that the rights hereby asserted, are of the natural rights of mankind, and that if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present or to narrow its operation, such act will be an infringement of natural right.

          [Yes, that's the entire text of the law.]

          Madison agreed, in the Memorial and Remonstrance (which got Jefferson’s law passed):

          Because we hold it for a fundamental and undeniable truth, “that Religion or the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence.” [Virginia Declaration of Rights, art. 16] The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate. This right is in its nature an unalienable right. It is unalienable, because the opinions of men, depending only on the evidence contemplated by their own minds cannot follow the dictates of other men: It is unalienable also, because what is here a right towards men, is a duty towards the Creator. It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage and such only as he believes to be acceptable to him.

          And finally, Jefferson explained that this freedom was intended to apply to all faiths, and people with no faith, especially in the legislature’s rejection of the specific naming of Jesus:

          The bill for establishing religious freedom, the principles of which had, to a certain degree, been enacted before, I had drawn in all the latitude of reason and right. It still met with opposition; but, with some mutilations in the preamble, it was finally passed; and a singular proposition proved that its protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word “Jesus Christ,” so that it should read, “a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;” the insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and the Mahometan, the Hindoo, and the Infidel of every denomination.

          “Church” is an old word. In modern America it may mean lots of things, including the buildings where Jefferson’s “Mahometans,” “Hindoos,” or even “Infidels of every denomination” hold services, or give services to the community. In our national law, it means a place or a group with a set of beliefs.

          In Scouting, it means all those of all faiths who gather under the umbrella of the World Scouting Movement to train youth with adventure and fun in the ways of good citizenship, using the methods of Baden-Powell.

          The word does not mean I have a monopoly on interpreting faiths for other people. Nor do you. I’ve learned we may get closer to solutions on some issues if I understand that your beliefs differ from mine, and perhaps from my entire sect — your views may differ from your sect, too — you have that right.

          The Twelfth Point of the BSA Scout Law suggests I give you wide leeway in your religious beliefs. And, we hope you’ll do the same for others.

          (Frank, but not necessarily brief. Citations will get this post tossed into moderation and make more work for our host; I’ll be pleased to provide citations to anyone who asks; or you may want to start here: http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2008/07/31/encore-post-jefferson-on-religious-freedom/ )

        • Fred
          There were more entries under that definition that you did not include but Karen did. Some of the other entries would define the UUC as a church.

          “Just because she says it is a Church doesn’t make it so.”

          The US Gov recognizes the UUC as a church. “She” (Karen) is not the only one saying that the UUC is a church and since the US Gov recognizes the UUC as a church and the subsequent definitions define it as a church then one can assume that it is a church. It may not fit your definition but it is inappropriate to continue to harass someone about their religion.

          Facts do matter but only focusing on the ones that make your arguement isn’t exactly “accepting” the facts.

          Thanks Ed for the additional information. You are by far a more eloquent writer and your knowledge is awe inspiring. History is fascinating.

        • Your funny Deanna; 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. Its foolosh to fool yourself on Godly things. Don’t ask Fred or me but do tell after you read the Nible which is God’s only true word to mankind. I recommend being prayerful and meditating on His Word if your seeking to truly understand His Word. If your a believer then listen to the Holy Spirit He’s placed in your heart; If your not then I hope one day you freely choose to become a believer.. That’s a bigger issue than any of this; its eternal.

        • Wallace
          It is offending to me to have you degrade other religions by saying the Christian bible is the only true word of God. Jews, Muslims, Buddhist, Hindus, and Zoroastrians do not identify with that belief. I am a Christian and I believe that it is not my purpose to disinfranchise followers of other faiths by holding my faith as loftier than theirs.

          Scoff at me as you like but aggrandizing the Christian faith as your sect dictates makes me nauseous. I fully understand why folks turn away from religion when confronted with such bloated opinions of my faith is the only true faith. Which ever way someone finds peace and guidance, that is the faith for them.

          I never said, that the government could or does ordain a church. I said that the government recognizes the UUC as a church for definition sake. God is there if the members of the church want him there.

        • “God is there if the members of the church want him there.” This single line clearly demonstrates the difference between Christians and most everybody else. You cannot be a Christian and believe this line. God is everywhere and we have no control over where he resides. You can certainly deny Christ but he is still everywhere. I support your right to believe what you want and you should support my right to disagree with it and be prepared to defend your position and accept that I may never agree and that’s fine too.

        • Fred: If I call a duck anything else other than a duck its still a duck and the ones trying to change the name are wrongful. I guess people that dont understand the Church Jesus created to be His body on earth won’t choose to understand that either because it doesnt serve their self serving purpose either. Bigger deal is that His Church is being hijacked by lots of self serving people and homosexual activists are part of the effort to try to change those truths too. Just keep the faith that His truths never change and its in every believer whose accepted His Spirit to live within them. Thats inclusive of homosexuals who choose to believe their desires are sinful too; He loves us all Equally. I read all your posts and appreciate the messages you share.

        • I am sorry to say that your reply is offensive.I expect more from scouters. You have jumped off the deep end in assuming you understand my post. It is clear to me that you are using my post as a twisted way to restate your own opinion. I am not offended that we disagree on the membership policy, but I am very disappointed that you fail to see that my post is not part of a conspiracy to harm scouting or promote homosexuality..

          The post you quoted reflects my opinion/observation that policies of BSA are the main way they teach. However, for scouts the most important influence is the way their scout leader demonstrates that people, including scouts, make a difference in the world.

          I am totally mystified as to how this is subverting the scout program. Citizenship is a core principle of scouting. Duty to God and country and helping others is in the scout oath. The scout law calls for kindness, helpfulness, cheerfulness, friendliness, obedience, and courteousness.

          Secondly, I do not think you have understood the distinction I meant by contrasting BSA policy as their way of teaching with real teaching at the unit-level. Except when a BSA policy is hotly debated, the policies are not the primary way scouts learn. The real teaching comes from leaders who in a caring way help scouts realize the importance of their place in the world. The way I characterized that teaching is by demonstrating that people can change the world. I did not mention nor intend that to mean a pro-homosexual agenda. I do believe scouts can change the world. (Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts). Truthfully the biggest impact is in how they live the scout law in their daily lives. You and I can argue on the difference in how we interpret the scout oath and law, but believe me I was not suggesting that leaders who disagree with my opinion are uncaring.

          I am deeply concerned that we as leaders get beyond the name-calling to find the core principles where we can agree and find ways to address the places where we disagree. A sincere effort to reach that point is what will help us be more caring as leaders.

          I wish you the best and hope we can discuss this further.

        • I appreciate your willingness to resolve issues and while i can think of many places we can find common ground I do not see how we can resolve the “homosexuality in Scouting” issue or our difference in how Scouts should be taught the Boy Scout Program. Willing to listen but we are diametrically opposed on these two issues. My core beliefs reject homosexuality in scouting in any form. My firm belief is that Leader teach the program not their personal beliefs or vision for Scouting. I would think you feel the same about your core beliefs. we can agree to disagree and that is fine with me.

        • I think we have fewer differences than you suggest. I believe you have a right to create an atmosphere that supports the religious beliefs your church prescribes. I do not think I must subscribe to those same beliefs to be part of scouting.

        • So the 2012 statement is correct, because it is the most recent?

          If this is true, hasn’t BSA just removed the legal foundation for its ban of gays? The Supreme Court ruled that BSA can legally exclude gays as long as BSA has a message regarding homosexuality.

          If the 2012 statement is correct, and BSA has no message regarding homosexuality, then BSA no longer has a legal basis on which to ban gays from membership.

        • So the 2012 statement is correct, because it is the most recent?

          If this is true, hasn’t BSA just removed the legal foundation for its ban of gays? The Supreme Court ruled that BSA can legally exclude gays as long as BSA has a message regarding homosexuality.

          If the 2012 statement is correct, and BSA has no message regarding homosexuality, then BSA no longer has a legal basis on which to ban gays from membership.

        • Good point. Looking at the fine print, I think we have to acknowledge that last July the BSA did something they told us they did not do. They changed the policy.

          Looking at the stated policy, they retreated in part from the previously long-held policy that homosexuality is inconsistent with the Scout Oath and Law and that teaching the traditional sexual ethic is no longer part of the program.

          This is a crucial point to understand for both supporters and critics of the current membership policy, because it means that even the 2012 policy statement has undermined the BSA v. Dale legal basis under which the Supreme Court shielded BSA from state and local laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

          While many have argued that the “local choice” proposal would jeopardize the BSA v. Dale protections, including the New York Times, the National Baptist Convention, and the Alliance Defending Freedom, I’ve never seen a recognition that the 2012 policy already put BSA in legal jeopardy.

          Unfortunately, it looks like it has.

          There can be no real middle ground on this issue. BSA will have to choose. And if the right of some chartering organizations and local units to refect homosexuality as immoral is to be preserved, BSA must not only reject “local choice,” but it must reaffirm the pre-2012 policy statement as well.

        • “You keep trying to pretend that BSA did not submit decades of policy statements to the Court”

          The earliest BSA policy statement that links “morally straight” with homosexuality is from 1991. BSA’s policy regarding gays is not a “long-held policy”. It is not more than 22 years old.

        • Before that they never needed to have a policy protecting the BSA from organized minority groups that the BSA at the time felt were not in line with the true mission of the BSA. There seemed to be an unwritten knowing that their leadership wasn’t welcome by the scouts or the parents who would share in the scouting program with their children. Unbelievable this discussion is even taking place to me. Unbelievable this decision even has to be made.

        • “Unbelievable this discussion is even taking place to me.”

          What is unbelievable is your claim that an organization would not bother to write down its true mission until after the organization has been around for 80 years.

          Much more believable is the fact that “morally straight” was not intended to be a fixed, unchanging list of behaviors. When “morally straight” was first stated by BSA, many people believed it was immoral for women to vote. Would anyone try to claim that teaching that women should not vote is a core mission of BSA, because that is what “morally straight” meant when BSA wrote the Scout Oath? Of course not.

          Homosexuality has nothing to do with BSA’s core mission. It was never mentioned in BSA policy until 1991. The claim that BSA teaching that homosexuality is immoral is a long-held policy is unbelievable, and is not supported by any facts.

        • women were given the right to vote by an amendment to the US Constitution; a big democratic process of change.. Biblical people, leaders of the BSA then, throughout and now know homosexual behavior is immoral. there is no constitutional ammendment saying otherwise. its homosexual behavior that is sunful to God.. God loves the homosexual but He’s never changed His mind on the behavior being sinful.. the BSA never needed to define God’s Word.. Godly people already know it.. and they knew it then too.

        • God’s Word has nothing to do with BSA. Many Scouts in good standing do not believe in the Bible. Believing the Bible is not a requirement to join BSA.

          If it is a legal issue, would BSA be open to allowing gays to join in states that legally recognize gay marriage?

        • From BSA v. Dale:

          //begin excerpt//

          “A 1978 position statement to the Boy Scouts’ Executive Committee, signed by Downing B. Jenks, the President of the Boy Scouts, and Harvey L. Price, the Chief Scout Executive, expresses the Boy Scouts’ “official position” with regard to “homosexuality and Scouting”:

          “Q. May an individual who openly declares himself to be a homosexual be a volunteer Scout leader?

          “A. No. The Boy Scouts of America is a private, membership organization and leadership therein is a privilege and not a right. We do not believe that homosexuality and leadership in Scouting are appropriate. We will continue to select only those who in our judgment meet our standards and qualifications for leadership.” App. 453-454.

          “Thus, at least as of 1978–the year James Dale entered Scouting–the official position of the Boy Scouts was that avowed homosexuals were not to be Scout leaders.”

          //end excerpt//

          The fact that SCOTUS did not cite any policy statements prior to the one that was in effect when James Dale entered Scouting does not mean that there were none.

          In fact, it is useful to remember the historical context. Until the 1970′s homosexuality was almost universally considered by Americans to be morally unacceptable. At that time, most US states still had anti-sodomy laws in effect. Until 1973, homosexuality was considered by the APA to be a personality disorder. And at that time, the revisionist theologians who argued homosexuality was not sin were still relegated to the fringes of Biblical scholarship.

          It is simply absurd to peddle the revisionist argument that the BSA’s position of moral opposition to homosexuality is a recent one.

        • When challenged BSA put a policy in place. Now they are reviewing that policy. If you accept the justification for the original policy, you are giving BSA the right to establish membership policies. That is what this discussion is about.

          The mission of BSA is not a static set of words. It demands that youth actively put the Scout oath and law into daily practice I do not believe that discrimination towards gays is either the true mission of BSA or consistent with that mission.

        • Yes and no… While there was no written policy before 1991, there was also no real need to have a written policy before that time. In fact, until the early 90′s, homosexuality was considered to be a sexually deviant behavior in the same manner as beastiality, poligamy, adultery, etc., and was labeled as such in the DSM (psychiatrists’ diagnostic manual). It has only been within the last 20-25 years that this has changed in our culture and is no longer considered by the main stream to be something to be kept hidden and discussed in hushed tones.

        • Dennis – it appears that you haven’t actually read BSA vs. Dale from a case perspective.

          The decision had nothing to do with the Court’s acceptance of BSA’s policies on “morally straight” or “a Scout is clean”. The decision was specific to whether BSA could assert these things under the First Amendment and could express them due, in part, to an overarching ‘policy’ that had been established regarding homosexuality. Note, at the time of Dale vs. BSA – that ‘policy’ was an internal memo published in 1978 to the Executive Committee, but nonetheless, the Court found it sufficient to deem it a ‘policy’, even if it was never actually presented outside of the organization’s governing body.

          Again, the actual court finding did not rule on the semantics and/or meaning of the terms, but the right for the BSA to take such a stance. I’m not sure what mental gymnastics are required to understand that, but I would suggest an actual read of the court decision. Specifically in the majority opinion – the Court had no bearing or right to rule on the nature of the ‘expression’ or the meaning of the terms ‘morally straight’ or ‘clean’ and did not do so – what they did, however, is protect the rights of BSA to express such terms in the way that BSA sees fit – regardless of whether there’s ambiguity or discrepancy or if there’s dissent among the ranks. Also, the Court found that the BSA doesn’t have to organize for the sole purpose of disseminating this message to enjoy the protections of the First Amendment and as such, by default, enjoys the right to discriminate as a matter of ‘free speech’ provided there’s a ‘National Policy’ to expressively associate.

          Moreover, if you consider that the majority was 5-4 in favor of BSA, it was by no means overwhelming. The dissenting opinions clearly showcase inconsistencies in BSA policy, as well as conflicting views when utilizing both the Scout Oath and Scout Law as ‘policies’ due to their nature as a National standard and such application to the position on homosexuality.

          While it may be easy and/or convenient to trumpet BSA v. Dale as the be-all/end-all position for keeping the policy on homosexuality intact, inspecting the actual court case (and, incidentally, the book that it spawned relating to modern jurisprudence) and providing the actual information vs. blanket assertion may be a better basis for discussion.

        • There was no way the Supreme Court was ever going to strip the BSA of its right to run their Free and Privately owned organization. Their rights are rooted in its Constitutional right to freely own & operate their organization. Discrimination isn’t illegal; another protected freedom. I’ve been turned down by employers for jobs I’d of loved to have had; discrimination? their choice; their freedom..

        • Wallace – I’m not suggesting, or did I suggest that the Court was going to take away BSA’s rights to run a “Free and Privately-owned organization.” I was, however, suggesting that the previous poster was using the Court’s decision to support his point that wasn’t correct.

          Likewise and with all due respect, there are several things about your comment that are not entirely accurate including, but not limited to the notion that BSA is a ‘free and privately owned’ organization – it is neither. Likewise, the rights to ‘freely own & operate their organization’ is also not necessarily Constitutional. Aspects (like free speech and the associative expression thereof, right to assembly, etc.) are contained within the Constitution, but the actual ‘laws’ associated were actually enacted well after the Constitution was framed and ratified and such laws govern the conduct of an organization such as BSA (e.g. 501(c)(3) – Not-for-profit Organization).

          In addition, there are many forms of discrimination that are, in fact, illegal. You may be familiar with, for example, a number of these laws regarding discrimination:

          -Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin;
          -the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA), which protects men and women who perform substantially equal work in the same establishment from sex-based wage discrimination;
          -the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), which protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older;
          -Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended (ADA), which prohibit employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the private sector, and in state and local governments;
          Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibit discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities who work in the federal government;
          -Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), which prohibits employment discrimination based on genetic information about an applicant, employee, or former employee; and
          -the Civil Rights Act of 1991, which, among other things, provides monetary damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination.

          While not necessarily applicable directly to Scouting and/or the issue at-hand, these do apply specifically to your reply.

          Likewise, I appreciate your perspective on getting turned down for jobs, especially in this job-challenged economy, but if you did get turned down for any or all of the reasons identified above, then while you may not feel it would matter, your country and others in your same situation would – hence the enactment of such laws. In the end, you may not feel it’s valuable or worthwhile to you, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t to someone else or, frankly, anyone else and/or shouldn’t be viewed that way. Your sense of personal pride, nobility, humility, etc. is noteworthy and commendable, but doesn’t negate the impact and/or ‘rightness’ of being turned down for such a job if you were turned down using unfair and/or unacceptable criteria.

          As someone who has hire/fire responsibility and who needs qualified and talented people to run a business, I have great experience with this situation. I can’t hire everyone (nor do I want to), but if I don’t have these principles in mind (i.e. anti-discriminatory laws and guidelines), then I risk falling into patterns that I might not even be aware of, and risk not only damaging my and/or my company’s reputation but also impairing my ability to be successful, because I couldn’t look beyond my personal experience and it’s associated lens.

          It’s my hope that we all do that for Scouting and for the long term vision of the program – look beyond our personal experiences, and their associated lenses.

        • If sexual orientation was the only potentially immorality your argument would be one about differing beliefs, but you have overlooked the problem that there are many sexual practices which are not universally accepted as moral. Same sew relationships are just the tip of the iceberg. Other practices might be a problem if they were part of scouting. Because BSA has chosen to distance itself from making sexual orientation or other sex education part of its policies. It now must consider its membership policy.

          The proof comes from the courage BSA leaders have shown in opening this discussion. It is proof that this is the time to consider how best to guide scouting forward. Thank you for your comments.

        • Mike W: Do you really think that the founders of the BSA ever envisioned a day when the United States of America would ever come to a day when anyone in their right mind would regard homosexual behavior as moral and righteous behavior. You say “knock it off”. Are you kidding me? Are you therefore saying that no other opinion but yours is welcome on this blog? This is all about right and wrong. I’m not going to allow anyone to create any kind of normalcy for homosexual behavior. It is a wrongful behavior in many many cultures and in many many religions. I would imagine if your a homosexual you would be inclined to want to think that your behavior is normal. If you read the early scout manuals, reflect upon our culture during the early 20th century, reflect upon the basis for all the writings of the early BSA manuals it isn’t unclear to see why it was never a question then and is still not a question now that homosexual behavior is wrongful, and sinful behavior. You want to eliminate the relationship of homosexualities wrongful, sinful, stigma in our own culture just like the media wants to try to dictate many aspects of our culture. But that’s not ever going to happen because certain things are simply written on the hearts of men and women from their creation and the creator isn’t going to change His mind anymore than He’s going to change His one and only Word given to all of us to live a life that will lead to Him for those that choose to be obedient to His will for their lives.

        • Oh Wallace,
          What has changed since the USA was founded. Lots! No more slaves, women can own property, women can vote, minorities can vote, cars, electricity, running water, toilets, radio, television, the list is long. Constantly claiming that the founders could not have envisioned gay rights is just being blind to all the other things that were unknown during a particular period of our history.
          Love one another.

        • As mentioned before, this is an issue of behavior, not personhood. There is no comparison. It is the conduct of some individuals, not their sexual proclivities in and of themselves, which restricts their participation as adult members of Scouting. This comparison has been made any number of times. Repeating it will not make it any more a relevant comparison.

          There are also many in Scouting who remember the last time the BSA underwent a major endeavor to “keep up with the times.” It was introduced about forty years ago, and was called “the improved Scouting program.” It was an abysmal failure, and to this day, there are a few years worth of Eagle Scouts who never had to spend a night under the stars to earn their award. And now we are being called upon to “keep up with the times” once again.

          And Deanna, sodomy was known to the Founding Fathers. It was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans. It is not a new discovery, and so is not the reason they could not have “envisioned” it. What they did “envision,” as did most civilized people of the day, was that it was an abomination, and an act against nature. This may or may not be someone’s opinion today, but it was the general understanding of the civilized world for many centuries, for reasons that had more to do with what was known of it, than what was not known of it.

          And finally, to disagree with someone, or to disapprove of something they do, is not equivalent to hating them.

        • It was an abysmal failure, and to this day, there are a few years worth of Eagle Scouts who never had to spend a night under the stars to earn their award.

          I think that’s Scoutcamp Legend. Can we stick to real stuff, please?

        • Ed:

          Some “real stuff,” comin’ right up!

          I passed my Eagle Board of Review in December of 1971. When I “aged out” in December of 1972, I was a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster. My registration as a youth member ran out at the end of February 1973. I did not renew, but I was in Scouting long enough to see the “improvements” being made. I have spoken to any number of former Scouts and present Scouters who were in the program during that time. After several years of “improvements,” they brought back William “Green Bar Bill” Harcourt and asked him (I think it was more like “begged him”) to restore the BSA handbook to its previous emphasis on the outdoors and conventional Scoutcraft.

          I did not imagine anything then, and I do not now.

        • Mr. Alexander, there was a lot of concern about urban kids who didn’t get the chance to get outdoors as Dan Beard had, who were missing out on the other benefits of Scouting. That concern is continued even today with the de-emphasis on conservation and nature merit badges on the Eagle path, a de-emphasis which carries as much political baggage as anything else in Scouting, since so many scientists and politicians and environmental activists got their start in Scouting, and it’s politically correct in conservative circles to be opposed to conservation these days.

          But to get to Eagle without camping? Seriously?

          That could be a comedy routine. It could be hyperbole in a screed opposed to that urban-friendly Scouting drive. I was active as a Scouter in that time, and for Scouts outside of cities, camping didn’t decline much, if at all. Demands on Philmont and other national camping places grew tremendously. Camping, nationally, by all people, exploded — witness the growth of camping supply companies. In the marketplace, outdoor activities grew.

          I was not active as a Scouter much in 1975 and 1976. But when I got back in, in 1977, Scouter training had been toughened and there was a new emphasis on Wood Badge. My outdoor leadership course did not pause because of the 6 inches of unexpected snow, but charged on — “Scouting is outing,” the course directors trumpeted. Those Eagles I knew who got their badges in that period tended to be great outdoors enthusiasts.

          Our sons worked with Scoutmasters and Assistant Scoutmasters who got their Eagles in that period when it is alleged camping wasn’t emphasized or required. They don’t remember it that way. That was when they got their camping viruses — and still have ‘em.

          So, where could I find these wussy Eagle requirements you say existed? On my shelf of handbooks, I see that Morse code and semaphore are gone; I see the ban on liquid-fueled and gas-fueled stoves is gone, and there is not so much about how to select wood from the forest to build 8 different kinds of campfires. I have to dig to find any reference to a cat-hole latrine. That reflects changes in the number of people camping and the impact of camping on the out of doors, and not a de-emphasis on camping to get to Eagle.

          Getting some kids out of the city is still a bit of a problem, but when I was Cubmaster in Washington, D.C., in 1981-1983, almost all of our activities were outdoors (we found plenty of poison ivy).

          So, I look at my experience, and I don’t see any period when camping was not required in some form or another; I look at Eagles I know from when I was not an active Scouter, I see Eagles who got their camping experience in Scouting. I check the library, and I don’t see any profound de-emphasis in camping requirements (Morse code and semaphore are fun camping tools, but not required, especially these days).

          Turns out that any problems attributed to camping requirements were misattributed. And I think reports that any Eagles got through without camping are exaggerated greatly, with the possible exception of a few special needs Scouts.

          Got a handbook that shows me wrong? Which one? I’ll be happy to check it and admit my error.

        • Ed:

          “So, where could I find these wussy Eagle requirements you say existed?”

          For what it’s worth, as a commissioner, I worked with units in urban areas, in one case a troop composed largely of young men mostly from single-parent homes. For one of the boys, his weekend camping trips was his best assurance of a decent meal. The troop folded when its Scoutmaster left. When one of the assistants was willing to take over, the parents of three of the boys crossed the main drag (something they said would never happen) to put their boys in another unit. This was the most active any of these parents were in Scouting; they were afraid of losing their babysitter. Most Scouters reading this know the scenario all too well.

          The good news is, two of those boys eventually made Eagle. But I digress …

          I was not in Scouting during much of the “Improved” era. As I indicated, I “aged out” when I turned 18 at the end of 1972, by which time I was an Eagle Scout, Arrowman, and a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster. (I had to get a job, I had to think about college, and my troop was going down the toilet while the troop committee stood back and watched. What was I gonna do?) I know that it only lasted about five or six years, and that “Green Bar Bill” was called in to re-write the Handbook to return Scouting to its traditional methods. And I know that by the time you were a Cubmaster in the early 80s, that period was already ancient history.

          I wish I could answer your question from my own experience. I wish I could meet a few of these “wussies” myself. I can only admit to what I was told by numerous Scouters I met in person, or whose accounts I read at Scouts-L. Maybe some boys were allowed to slide in spite of what the handbook said, out of local zeal in some councils. (You may remember some of them padded the membership roles to meet certain goals, and there was a big scandal over that. You won’t find that in any handbook either.) But even without that particular aberration, it remains that “keeping up with the times” is not always a good idea. And as I have mentioned elsewhere in this forum — like so many things, more than once — the Boy Scouts of America has been considered “irrelevant” by certain parties throughout its 103-year history.

        • Ed, for a SHORT period of time, the BSA did make it so a Scout did not have to EARN A MERIT BADGE in Camping or Swimming to earn Eagle. If you get a copy of the 1972 Scout Handbook, you will see the following: (page 90/91):

          “To be an Eagle Scout you must
          1. Be active in your troop and patrol for at least six months as a Life Scout.
          2. Show Scout spirit.
          3. Earn a total of 24 merit badges, including the following: First Aid, Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, Communications, Safety, Emergency Preparedness or Lifesaving, Environmental Science, Personal Management, And Personal Fitness or Swimming or Sports ”

          (note that Camping, Cooking nor Pioneering were required merit badges during this time; and that the two aquatics merit badges (swimming and lifesaving) were options. This meant for a LOT of Scouters, that a Scout did not have to do ANYTHING other than Enviornmental Science in the outdoors to become Eagle.)

          What David and others have LEFT OUT, however, is that in order to become a FIRST CLASS SCOUT, one must earn eight of the twelve Skill Awards. While Swimming was an optional one, there was a First Class Swimming requirement; and Camping, Cooking and Hiking were REQUIRED Skill Awards — which meant that every Scout must have camped out at least two weekends in order to meet the requirements for Camping and Cooking; and must have completed a five mile hike for Hiking (although it could be done in town…)

          One earns First Class before Eagle, so his assertion that one could earn Eagle without spending a day camping is, well, wrong.

          The BSA fixed this in 1975 with the revisions which brought Camping and Cooking back as required merit badges.

        • Thanks, Mike — that’s the history I recall, too. Camping was not emphasized, but it wasn’t eliminated, either.

          At many points in history, what we ignore, officially, becomes important because people are interested in it. So it was that, when we got the churches out of government and government out of churches, America became a much more religious place than Europe, as de Tocqueville noted; and so it was that, when the camping merit badge wasn’t required for Eagle, America instead got real interested in camping.

          Lots of conundrums like that in reality.

        • Actually, Mike, I was hoping you’d step in. At least I got part of it right. I left before the skill awards were being passed out. I never got that whole business anyway. I know the mentality behind it, but it always seemed to me like a bunch of trinkets.

        • I’m going to have to think back to my scouting days because this was my era of being a scout and i remember that when i joined this change had just happened because my first scout manual was the one your talking about. I earned my Eagle rank in March 1976. I remeber skill awards being a big deal and I remember the new program was designed so disabled scouts had the chance to earn the Eagle Rank. I was blessed with not being disabled and remember taking all the waterfront merit badges offered at our summer camp. I was in the troop until late 1977 or early 1978. We didn’t have any disables kids in our troop amd I didn’t know of any at the time but I thought I rembered the “New” scout program was designed to accomodate handicapped scouts who were physically not capable of earning certain requires merit badges that had physical requirements that would have been impossible for them to earn? I know one thing for sure. If we would of had one or two known homosexual men as our leaders we would have all quit.. Your not going to bamboozle a kid to believing following a homosexual leader was the “cool” thing to do. We’d of been all over that one and have chosen to easily walk away at that point. It was cool enough to be a scout then but to be a scout in a troop led by a man in the community known to be a homosexual; very un cool and leaving before earning the Eagle Rank would have been the only option. Truth if the profound truth of a kid.. Glad that didn’t happen and I loved my scoutmaster like a dad; being an orphan it meant a lot to me.. I owe scouting much…

        • Wallace, I am so glad you got so much out of scouting, I did too. Too bad there are young men that miss that opportunity because of the way they were born, unless they can live with hiding their identity. Statistically speaking, there probably some gay scouts that you met along the way, just saying.

          The times are a changing, and I think you’ll find once we see a policy change, that the youth of the BSA will not exit in droves. The ones that leave are not very good scouts if they can not accept others that are not like themselves. I feel sorry for those that have been led to believe that someone sexual orientation is cause for discriminate. Unless instructed otherwise, Children don’t grow up with a natural fear or hatred toward anyone.

        • Steve:

          There is every reason to believe that a noticeable number of Scouts (I’m not going to say a deluge) will either leave Scouting on their own, or will be pulled out by their parents, no matter which way the decision goes. I’m getting this in correspondence with Scout leaders around the country, and I’m getting it either way, pro or con. I know of Catholic pastors who are working to introduce an alternative rooted in the tradition of Baden-Powell, and with associations in nearly two dozen countries. (FWIW, units sponsored by Catholic institutions account for 10.2 percent of the total youth membership.) I also know of a more “inclusive” alternative already being established, and rooted in the same tradition.

          According to the US Census Bureau, homosexuals (and the classification is no more explicit than that, unfortunately) account for 3 to 4 percent of the US population. This does not include those who would sympathize with them. But I wonder if there is any statistically verifiable information, as to which decision will cost the BSA more.

          If popular opinion were what mattered, I know which one would have more appeal. But I ask some experienced Scouters out there, since when has it been so damned popular to join the Boy Scouts? Are those Discovery and National Geographic specials really that effective? (BTW, I really enjoyed that first one on NG.)

          One more thing, Steve (and for the millionth time), to disagree with or disapprove of someone’s opinions and/or actions is not the same thing as hating them. Words are there for their objective and specific meaning, not as a stick with which to bludgeon people to make your point. There is no evidence that “hate” has anything to do with anything here.

        • You can not deny that some people are hateful of homosexuals. I am not accusing anyone here of that, but it happens. Gays have been beaten because of their orientation. That can’t be justified in any way, and if that is not hateful what is it?

          Remember the black man who was dragged behind the pickup truck?? No hate their either I guess.

        • Steve, you wrote:

          “You can not deny that some people are hateful of homosexuals. I am not accusing anyone here of that, but it happens. Gays have been beaten because of their orientation. That can’t be justified in any way, and if that is not hateful what is it?

          “Remember the black man who was dragged behind the pickup truck?? No hate their either I guess.”

          No, Steve, I don’t deny it, nor did I imply that I ever have.

          I fail to see why this is directed at me, since I made no mention of any need to beat up someone because they were different from anybody else. Nor is disagreeing with or disapproving of anyone the same thing as hating them. Hatred has nothing to do with anything I have ever said in this forum. Hell, I got beat up all the time as a kid. Bullies don’t always need a reason to beat up anyone, really. Being gay has long been a convenient excuse, but if they didn’t have that or any other difference, they would find something else. They always do.

          Steve, I suggest that when you engage me in the future, you challenge what I say, not what you assume that I either mean, or with whatever ideas I associate, unless they pertain directly to the subject. Otherwise, I might have to assume that you are falsely accusing me, and that would compel me to be far less reasonable than I already am.

          And also, no worse than you.

        • David, you said, “One more thing, Steve (and for the millionth time), to disagree with or disapprove of someone’s opinions and/or actions is not the same thing as hating them. Words are there for their objective and specific meaning, not as a stick with which to bludgeon people to make your point. There is no evidence that “hate” has anything to do with anything here.”

          You were calling me out, I was just explaining what I meant when I used the word “hate.” Nothing is directed at you. I will refrain from commenting on your posts, I would hate, oops, dislike being on the receiving end of your unreasonable wrath:-)

          You seem to be taking some of the comments her a little too personally. I have not accused you of anything. I am speaking more to the pervasive attitudes that exist in this country. I do not think you are a hater. I don’t think disagree or disapprove are strong enough words to describe some of the opinions I have read here. NOT pointing at you.

          Final simple words from a simple man, BSA, stop excluding on the basis of sexual orientation.

          Please accept my apology, for I am not a polished wordsmith such as yourself.

          Have a great night.:-)

        • Steve, you wrote:

          “You seem to be taking some of the comments here a little too personally.”

          Are you kidding me? I get more thumbs down than up. I wear them like a badge of honor.

          You didn’t accuse me, so much as you associated me with behavior that was not even an issue here. I have very little patience with those who bludgeon others in a conversation with side issues that do not speak directly to the matter at hand, and yes, I’ll call you out on it. You’re the one who brought up the issue of “hate,” which has nothing to do with anything your detractors have said.

          You don’t have to be a “polished wordsmith,” Steve. Just be a polished reader. You might learn that this has less to do with sexual orientation, than it does sexual behavior, and dangerous and unnatural at that.

          That would be an improvement in this conversation right there.

        • You can not deny that some homosexuals are hateful of heterosexual members of the BSA and for their standing up for what they choose freely to stand up for. BSA members have been harassed, lied about and misrepresented in the media and therefore to our society because of homosexual activists trying to impose a political and social agenda that the majority of our culture opposes. That can’t be justified in any way, and if that is not hateful what is?
          And why you mentioned the black man who was dragged behind a pickup truck with regard to any of this I have no idea unless your trying to equate the BSA policy with the same hateful spirit that would have committed murder; are you that desperate Steve? Wow! And you belong in the BSA why?

        • Wallace,

          Hateful or hurtful actions, thoughts, or words are wrong no matter who is doing it. That is obvious.

          “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” ~ Master Yoda. :-)

          Basic facts are that there are people that do physical, mental, and emotional harm to others. In this discussion, I am talking about people that wish to do harm to homosexuals. I don’t think anyone in the BSA wants to beat up a gay scout or a leader. Telling a gay scout that he is less of a scout, or less of a person, and unfit to be a member of our organization just because he likes boys is still wrong. Replace the word Gay with Black, Hispanic, female, Jewish, Christian, Mormon, Muslim, physically handicapped, mentally challenged, and maybe you will understand. Then again, Since your bible doesn’t tell you to discriminate against those other groups, maybe you won’t.

          I am a scout because I believe in Scouting and what it has done for me and what it can do for the youth of our country. I guess I am the odd ball in that I think ALL should be welcome.

          It is time for the BSA do do the right thing,

        • Yes, some homosexuals are hateful toward people who direct hatred and discrimination toward them. They don’t dislike the BSA for being good. They dislike the individuals that discriminate against them. I honestly can’t say that I blame someone for disliking people that aim to discriminate against them.

        • Please post the US Census Bureau link where you are getting these percents.

        • A homosexual boy doesn’t have to join the BSA; tell you the truth he wouldn’t have been welcome in our troop.. Boys are boys and I can honestly tell you tjat if there was a homosexual boy in our troop they would have left due to the harrassment we would have given him. Right or wring that would have simply been the honest truth of it all; I k.ow how we were and I k ow how many boys are today. But that doesnt mean you cant form another type of homosexual boy youth group lead by homosexual men or women or transgender or bisexual men or women or any other group you would freely choose as leaders in your homosexual boys youtg group. I think if your sincere in your ideas you would honestly pursue doing just that. And I can assure you that I’ll make no effort to try to join your group because as a heterosexual man not struggling with the burden of being a homosexual I wouldn’t be interested in being in your free private organization. And if you organization chooses freely to make a policy that excluded heterosexual males from leadership or membership I’ll honor your policy because I’ll assume you have your reasons about how you want to run your free private youth organization in the manner you choose to fulfill the mission you’ve set out ti fulfill for the homosexual members you’ve chosen to design your programs for. And I can assure you I won’t force you to jave to get a US Supreme Court decision to protect your rights to organize and have your free private homosexual boys youth group because I’ll respect you free right to choose freely to spend your valuable precious free time to fulfill you mission in life to serve the orphaned homosexual boys with the kind of homosexual adult role models you feel would best lead these boys to become solid American Citizens with the morals you feel would best serve them for their life’s Journey. Good Luck.. I hope it serves you all as well as the BSA has served me.

        • Wallace, The gay scouts of America? OK, which half of all the BSA properties do I get to take with me? I like our summer camp, so I call dibs. Just kidding of course, that is a silly idea. scouting has so much to offer, we all know that. It is just a shame that we can not include everyone. There is no reason we can not. Just those that think, incorrectly in my opinion, that there is something wrong with being gay. It’s as simple as that.

          I will add that my concern is not just for current and potential gay scouts, it is for the BSA. I would hate to see it spiral into a fringe group that becomes irrelevant. The stigma is already starting, lets turn the ship around so we can all be proud of the BSA. I know I am proud of my troop and its members. Proud of national, not so much.

        • Sorry Steve. You’ll have to start your GSA from scratch. Why would the BSA need to provide you any facility since your not going to have any membership to administer your program to. When you do start the GSA though I guess it will reveal the truth of how parents would feel about enrolling their boys into an organization that has an agenda toward promoting the homosexual lifestyle for boys and girls. Good luck with your idea; I’m so not worried.

        • “Boys are boys and I can honestly tell you tjat if there was a homosexual boy in our troop they would have left due to the harrassment we would have given him.”

          So, Wallace, what I get from reading your post is that it’s okay for Scouts to bully homosexuals.

        • That does appear to be what he is saying. I thought a Scout was, among other things, friendly. courteous, kind. cheerful.

        • That was conveniently misunderstood Tim. Did I say that or are you speaking for me? Let me make it clear to you that I did not say that and you are trying to define who I am and you are choosing to speak for me. Your freedom but its wrongful to speak for me. Speak for yourself and I’ll speak for myself.

        • How was your statement misunderstood? You said any homosexual scouts would have left the troop due to harassment from the other scouts. That’s kind of the textbook definition of bullying. So yes, you said it.

        • Let me see if I can help Wallace avoid some body blows from Beth here. She’s hammering that nail down into the wood. Don’t you love metaphors? The truth is that heterosexual boys in these United States will pick on a gay Scout. Not exactly a startling revelation. Maybe not Urban politically correct budding young metrosexuals but country boys and traditional males will. Homosexuality is just not natural behavior. Sorry, I am sure some heads exploded when I said that. Do Scout leaders condone it or allow it? No, but any Scoutmaster who says he knows what his boys do all the time is fooling himself. My son wrote a satirical story on this subject for his college paper. He is the editor. He was attacked for it. Nobody read satire into it. red meat for the activists. Beth, its not natural behavior to be homosexual. Accept that heterosexual males who like girls will tease a boy who acts like he likes boys.

        • Ya’ll are hilarious. Body blows. That’s rich.

          Anyway. Just so we’re clear… you both think it’s acceptable for Boy Scouts (who are friendly, kind, and courteous) to bully homosexual boys? Ok. I think we’re done here.

        • All I said and I think Wallace and Mike said was that it is natural behavior and teasing is not necessarily bullying. Life is tough and it begins when you are born. speaking only for myself, I do not condone bullying or even hurtful teasing of other boys in my presence. i do not allow a scout to belittle another. But, Scouts get after each other about all sorts of things all the time. I removed my previous Scoutmaster for bullying Scouts. I know bullying and teasing is not bullying until it becomes relentless and hurtful. I am sure you never hurt anyone’s feelings in your life. We have all been on both sides of hurt, whether intentional or not. Kids have to live the same.

        • Teasing is bullying! Check your YP again. Roundtable break out sessions have been covering this for months.

          Fred Cooper said “teasing is not bullying until it becomes relentless and hurtful”

          So you admit that teasing can be bullying. It is amazing the amount of backpedalling that occurs in your posts.

          Kids do not have to live the same.

        • Just to clarify. i do not believe teasing is bullying. There, I said it. I don’t think YP says basic teasing is bullying either. Happy?

          Backpedaling? Point it out and I will straighten it out.

        • Fred
          You have stated that teasing is bulling. Fifth sentence explains how you feel.

          Fred Cooper
          March 12, 2013 @ 10:55 pm

          All I said and I think Wallace and Mike said was that it is natural behavior and teasing is not necessarily bullying. Life is tough and it begins when you are born. speaking only for myself, I do not condone bullying or even hurtful teasing of other boys in my presence. i do not allow a scout to belittle another. But, Scouts get after each other about all sorts of things all the time. I removed my previous Scoutmaster for bullying Scouts. I know bullying and teasing is not bullying until it becomes relentless and hurtful. I am sure you never hurt anyone’s feelings in your life. We have all been on both sides of hurt, whether intentional or not. Kids have to live the same.

        • “I know bullying and teasing is not bullying until it becomes relentless and hurtful.”

          This is what I said and it is obviously not saying teasing IS bullying. Do not parse my words please. Relentless and hurtful are the key words. That is not all teasing or practically all teasing. It’s very hard not to understand this sentence did not say what you meant and I do not believe harmless teasing is bullying. There are degrees of all behavior. Teasing, harassment and bullying are all aggressive behavior. Everybody must walk on eggshells around you.

        • My 11 yo Tenderfoot is the victim of frequent teasing and bullying in his Troop and at school. He is very short and after a 6 month wait he will be seeing the endocrinologist next week. At just over 4ft and at 65 lbs he is nearly 4 years behind in growth compared to other children in his age group.
          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 since it was an outhouse they could see his feet under the partial door. For days they teased him for sitting on the toilet and he never spoke about it to anyone until he lost his composure walking back to camp. A camp staffer found him crying along the side of the road. The Staffer asked what the issue was and he explained what had been going on and why he was not using the urinal, he was too short. The urinal was set so high on the wall he could not use it, so he decided to use the toilet by sitting on it. Why was he sitting on the toilet instead of standing in front of the toilet? Because it was also too high for him.
          Did the boys that were teasing him think they were bullying him? Probably not, because so many people feel that you need to lay hands or feet on someone for it to be bullying. These boys were constant with their teasing over the course of several days and my son did not know to whom to turn to in order to have the boys stop.
          This was just one of the many things his fellow Scouts (rank) did to him while at camp. I’m sure to them it was all in good fun. Just simple teasing and that he just needed to “toughen up”. The fact that they should have been kind and courteous to boy using the bathroom is secondary to the fact that “boys will be boys”.
          The teasing was so constant that they would tease him while they were “buddy” walking to merit badge classes, while they were in the classes, and “buddy” walking back from classes. That is how he was found crying along the side of the road. He just stopped walking and the other boys left him there. How does that behavior fit into the Scout Oath and Law or the buddy system?
          This was not just one boy but several and my son was not their only victim (yes victim). The other boy that was subjected to this teasing (due to his weight) has refused to attend any overnight with the main tormentor. I’m sure that it was all in great fun and the tormentors had many a laugh at the expense of my son and the other boy. The tormentors actually laid hands on the heavy boy touching his chest and quoting a rhyme. Sadly, that boy did not tell anyone until a month after summer camp.

          When you are the tormented it does not matter what the tormentor feels is just simple teasing. It is bullying and it is not the Scout way.

        • Thank you for sharing a very difficult story. I agree that does not sound like scouting as some would like it portrayed. The story points out the importance of doing the hard work of leaders in dealing with YP issues. Being willing to help youth in these situations is one of the most important ways our leaders make scouting a valued program.

        • We should bear in mind that exactly *when* teasing crosses the line and becomes bullying is best defined by the victim. It is the victim’s perception. If it causes him turmoil or pain or fear, then it is bullying. Sorry for your son’s experiences, Deanna. My son is the opposite end of the spectrum. He’s 6′ 210# solid as can be at age 14. People ask him if he’s still in high school. He needed an endocrinologist as well… and he’s been teased as well due to his stature. Thankfully, he’s not had any issues in Scouts. Best of luck to you with your endocrinology visit.

        • One thing I have found very curious on this forum is that there seems to be a fear of gay boys taking advantage of straight boys. In reality, gay kids are much more likely than straight kids to be victims in any scenario involving bullying. This is one reason why the “It gets better project” has been started. Gay kids are killing themselves over this. They are frequently targeted by bullies because they are different. It’s a small percentage of kids that bully, but they have a big impact. I think it would be a very good outcome if Boy Scouts becomes a safe place for someone to belong when they are in the process of coming of age.

          http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.nyaamerica.org/2010/11/07/gay-bullyin/

          LGBT Bullying Statistics:
          9 out of 10 LGBT students have experienced harassment at school.
          LGBT teens are bullied 2 to 3 times as much as straight teens.
          More than 1/3 of LGBT kids have attempted suicide.
          LGBT kids are 4 times as likely to attempt suicide then our straight peers.
          LGBT youth with “highly rejecting” families are 8 times more likely to attempt suicide than those whose families accept them.

          Attitudes of Students and Teachers:
          A majority of the students in the Harris Interactive survey admitted knowing gay, lesbian, or bisexual students, and slightly more than one-third of the teachers acknowledged knowing a student with same-sex orientation.
          Most teachers expressed a strong commitment to These and other materials are available online at: http://www.stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov safeguard LGBT students and work to create school climates that are safe and supportive learning environments.
          When teens in the NMHA survey were asked how they felt about the teasing or bullying of LGBT students, 78 percent disapproved and only 3 percent said this behavior was funny.

          The Effects of Anti-LGBT Bullying and Harassment:
          Surveys of teens indicate that anti-LGBT bullying affects greater numbers of straight students than sexual minority youth. For every lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth who is bullied, four straight students who are perceived to be gay or lesbian are bullied.
          The stigma and hostilities youth experience from anti-LGBT bullying makes them prone to health risk behaviors, such as skipping school, smoking, alcohol and drug use, and sexual risk. These same risks exist for heterosexual youth perceived to be lesbian or gay, as for non-heterosexual youth who keep their sexual orientation hidden.
          Lesbian and gay youth who openly admit to their same-sex orientations are at a higher risk of bias-related violence, including physical assaults. The hostilities they regularly confront often lead to dangerous behaviors and injurious outcomes, such as dropping out of school, abusing alcohol and illicit drugs, engaging in criminal activity, and running away from home.
          Adolescents who are lesbian, gay, or bisexual are more than twice as likely as their heterosexual peers to be depressed and think about or attempt suicide.

        • Thank you Beth for an excellent post. The BSA should be a safe place, and a safe place for all, not just those that fit a certain mold.

        • “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 …”

          … that what you describe is completely out of line, as any form of hazing or intimidation among youth members is a gross violation of BSA policy regarding youth behavior at any BSA facility or any BSA sanctioned activity. (Mind you, this is given the policy as it *currently* stands.)

          As the Commissioner for the unit in question, I can tell you that any Scoutmaster who condoned or ignored this kind of behavior would be the subject of a scathing unit report, and the District Commissioner and District Executive would be notified immediately. If the camp were in another Council, the Executive Staff would be notified. If it were being dealt with on-site, I would notify the Camp Director or Ranger. Depending on the severity of the actions, the DE of the unit in question could take the matter under advisement. Those responsible (and again, this depends on the severity of the incident) could be removed from the program.

          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.

        • David, breaking my own rule and commenting on your post.:-)

          Can you please clarify what behavior , specifically, would lead you to think that this warranted a call to the Council Exec? I would think if is teasing, even bullying, that would be a scoutmaster issue. Or are you saying if it is not handled by the scoutmaster then someone else should go to the CE?. I just want to make sure I understand what we’re talking about.

          Kids, even Scouts, can be cruel, that is for sure, and i think that is one of the jobs as an adult leader is to stop that behavior and help the victim to get through it and the aggressor to learn the proper behavior.

          Thanks.

        • Steve:

          My response referred to “any Scoutmaster who condoned or ignored this kind of behavior,” and also included a unit report of his handling of the incident (or lack of it). Sadly, and in my experience, many unit leaders do not take the role of a Commissioner very seriously. I’m not a very nice guy when that happens. One such instance was a Cubmaster I took aside and corrected about telling his cubs an ethnic joke. (Some Chinese thing, I don’t even remember it.) I reported it, but have no idea what happened, because my assignments changed shortly thereafter.

          Yes, boys can be cruel, and adults can be clueless. I know both from experience. My son was of small stature, but I knew he would grow up with a smart mouth (hey, I’m convinced it’s hereditary; you should meet his mother), so he was a black belt by the time he was eleven. A few of his bigger classmates did try to mess with him. It usually only happened once.

          This is Scouting, not subsidized street gangs. Not to mention the very litigious age in which we live. Kids are less sensitized to the consequences of violence than previous generations. Would that we could all settle these things “the old fashioned way.” Alas, we cannot.

        • OK, thanks for the clarification, David.

          Wouldn’t it also be acceptable for the troop committee or CO to take action on this as far a removing the scoutmaster? I guess I always thought a call to the CE was in the case of suspected or known abuse. Is bullying included in that? Perhaps I’ll review the YPT video again. Getting way off topic anyway.

        • I never mentioned anything about teasing or bullying. I don’t tease or bully people but I will defend my beliefs and will defend myself against people who try to define wrongfully who I am and I do stand up for what I know to be right; its called Character and the BSA helped build it into me.

        • Fred and all…I was just reposting what Wallace stated. As someone who was bullied when he was young (in and out of Scouting; I was a short, bald black kid back then), I don’t condone it or agree that it’s something that “kids do”. It’s something that “bullies do”.

          Wallace, I would not want to be a part of your Troop’s operation. I can say with confidence that any kid who joined a unit I serve as a mentor of, he or she would not be bullied — teased perhaps, because *that* is a part of the “group dynamics process” (you know, forming – storming – norming – performing) but NOT bullied. As a strong Christian man, I can tell you that while I’m not happy with the sin, I am always happy to be able to share my life’s walk with anyone because I’m a sinner also. And Scouting is one of those places whereby I can demonstrate my faith without preaching it.

        • Mike, what are you talking about? Specifically where did I ever say it was ok to bully a boy? How did I get included in this comment? From all my comments I can assure you that I would hope you wouldn’t assume you have much of an idea of my character anymore than I would assume I know your character from what you’ve shared. I really don’t know you from a hill of beans but your free to unjustly judge me.

        • The point is your label doesn’t match the perception of others. Harassment that would force a scout to leave a troop is beyond good-hearted teasing. It crosses the line into bullying. To restate my point in a different way, no one is debating whether kids tease each other, but the scenario you are depicting goes beyond into what several people classify as bullying. .

        • Hi Wallace!!

          What I am talking about is what YOU stated here; these are YOUR WORDS:

          “A homosexual boy doesn’t have to join the BSA; tell you the truth he wouldn’t have been welcome in our troop.. Boys are boys and I can honestly tell you tjat if there was a homosexual boy in our troop they would have left due to the harrassment we would have given him.”

          Reads like bullying *to me*. I’m not judging you…you’ve already given us how you feel about the issue. I don’t need to judge you.

          I did state a fact: I would not want to be associated with your Troop after reading your comments.

        • Wallace

          This is your complete post including your name, the date and time it was posted. Pay special attention to the second sentence. You included your self with the word “we”. One must ask does “we” mean Scouts and Leaders?

          Wallace
          March 8, 2013 @ 1:33 pm

          A homosexual boy doesn’t have to join the BSA; tell you the truth he wouldn’t have been welcome in our troop.. Boys are boys and I can honestly tell you tjat if there was a homosexual boy in our troop they would have left due to the harrassment we would have given him. Right or wring that would have simply been the honest truth of it all; I k.ow how we were and I k ow how many boys are today. But that doesnt mean you cant form another type of homosexual boy youth group lead by homosexual men or women or transgender or bisexual men or women or any other group you would freely choose as leaders in your homosexual boys youtg group. I think if your sincere in your ideas you would honestly pursue doing just that. And I can assure you that I’ll make no effort to try to join your group because as a heterosexual man not struggling with the burden of being a homosexual I wouldn’t be interested in being in your free private organization. And if you organization chooses freely to make a policy that excluded heterosexual males from leadership or membership I’ll honor your policy because I’ll assume you have your reasons about how you want to run your free private youth organization in the manner you choose to fulfill the mission you’ve set out ti fulfill for the homosexual members you’ve chosen to design your programs for. And I can assure you I won’t force you to jave to get a US Supreme Court decision to protect your rights to organize and have your free private homosexual boys youth group because I’ll respect you free right to choose freely to spend your valuable precious free time to fulfill you mission in life to serve the orphaned homosexual boys with the kind of homosexual adult role models you feel would best lead these boys to become solid American Citizens with the morals you feel would best serve them for their life’s Journey. Good Luck.. I hope it serves you all as well as the BSA has served me

        • This is what you stated, Wallace: “A homosexual boy doesn’t have to join the BSA; tell you the truth he wouldn’t have been welcome in our troop.. Boys are boys and I can honestly tell you tjat if there was a homosexual boy in our troop they would have left due to the harrassment we would have given him. Right or wring that would have simply been the honest truth of it all; I know how we were and I know how many boys are today.”

        • No, Wallace, I did not “conveniently” misunderstand you.

          I read what you wrote. My take-away from your statement was that it’s okay for Scouts to bully homosexuals.

          From reading your posts, Wallace, I can infer that you consider yourself a christian man. In the church I was raised in, I was taught that God doesn’t make mistakes. Since we are all God’s creations, then ALL of us, including homosexuals are EXACTLY THE WAY WE’RE SUPPOSED TO BE.

        • Lifestyle choice Tim. Homosexuality is a lifestyle choice. No convincing evidence otherwise. Believe me, if it was out there, Progressive minds would have found it. Accept that as hard as you want to believe it, there is no scientifically proven evidence to support your position. Why does it bother you that it is a lifestyle choice?

        • In the town where I did most of my youth Scouting, we had nearly 100% registration of eligible boys, including homosexual kids we now call gay.

          Yes, there was bullying on the issue of sexual orientation. Almost humorously, most of that bullying was misdirected at Scouts who were heterosexual, but younger, or smaller, or spectacularly talented in one or more of the arts. In other words, the bullying was successful at embarrassing Scouting, but unsuccessful in pushing gays out the door.

          Of the gays I now know about who were Scouts then, most of them became Eagles, and are outstanding citizens you’d be proud to have leading your unit, if you were looking at the Scout Oath and Law, and leadership abilities, and ignoring sexual orientation.

          Scouting’s Youth Protection program introduced new and effective tools to use against bullying of all kinds. We should work hard to make it successful. The boys who most needed the Scouting program’s anti-bullying program were not homosexuals, but those who bullied good hetero kids out of the program, for all the wrong reasons. They needed better ways to deal with other people.

          Good citizenship does not depend on sexual orientation — nor does bad citizenship.

          We should strive for good citizenship, always.

        • According to Wallace it is also ok for Christians to bully all other faiths. Also the majority can bully the minority. Shocking I know.

        • David
          I don’t read anything in the Constitution that mentions sodomy, for or against. So just like your arguement in another post I guess that the Founding Fathers would have been against it (Jesus said a lot of things that are not in books right?)

          No mention. None. If there is nothing mentioned then I guess they had no issue. See if they wanted to make a point of it then there would have been a mention of it.

          Who defines “civilized people”? Certainly the Native Americans would not identify Christians as civilized. Nor would have the Hawai’ians. Let alone the Africans. Civilizations in the South Pacific weren’t too keen on Christian missionaries.

          Contrary to your belief (but it was the general understanding of the civilized world for many centuries) homosexuality has been perceived as normal on every continent (sans Antartica).

          It is imparitive that the conversation not focus on the views of Christianity. The Christian Bible is not the guiding book of faith for the BSA, to focus on the Christian Bible (and the interpretation of said book by some denominations) is problematic when setting policy. There are many other religions that have holy books or texts and having policy set on those would be problematic as well.

        • “I don’t read anything in the Constitution that mentions sodomy, for or against. So just like your arguement in another post I guess that the Founding Fathers would have been against it …”

          The Constitution is not the only indicator of public or institutional opinion of the times. Much of what was there was with an understanding of, among other things, English common law, which the Founders would have felt no need to explain. (I could go into some length, but only if one contacts me via email.) Even John Adams himself said thus: “Our constitution is only fit for a moral and religious people. It is wholly unsuited to the governance of any other kind.”

          You will find this to be consistent with what other Framers have written or stated, whatever their formal religious affiliations or personal beliefs. They did not include that in the Constitution. They never imagined they would have to.

          (Many of the Founders were registered Anglicans or Congregationalists, to name two confessions. Some, like Jefferson, were essentially “deists.” This did not make them anything other than “religious.”)

        • Many things have changed since BSA was founded. This is one more change. Many churches did not welcome gay members in 1910, but now they do. BSA can recognize the change and they are bravely venturing into this discussion.

          I am proud that they have brought the debate into open forums and are carefully spending time in an organized manner. They are using representative democracy to honor the opinions of the membership. Bravo.

        • 1. Homosexuals were part of the Holocaust. Historical error to attribute the cause of the Holocaust to one of the groups most victimized by it.

          2. I’d love to give David Barton a tour of the Capitol sometime. His disdain for the American founders as portrayed in the art of the Capitol, and his overlooking most of the art there, and misinterpretations of the art he cherry picks, does a grave disservice to the Capitol, to the architects of the Capitol and others who have overseen its creation, and it does grave disservice to U.S. history, and therefore, to me, to the flag and nation as well.

          Here’s a source of information on what’s really in the Capitol, from a more scholarly and much less biased source: http://www.aoc.gov/capitol-hill/art

          Here in Texas, even our State Board of Education eventually rejected Barton’s odd views of history — it wasn’t helping kids on the tests.

    • What worked in scouting is creating a program that values youth and gives them skills to be leaders. BSA’s policy does not do that.

      • The present policy protects boys from being in a situation of being led by homosexuals against their will. Think a kid doesn’t know when another scout or leader is a homosexual. then when theirs a conflict and a scout calla an adult or another scout a homo or most likely far worse he will be the one disciplined especially if the leadership is also homosexual. Wow! what a tragedy that’s going to be when that scenario unfolds; it’s not a matter of if; its a matter of when. and the straight scout’s going to quit and miss out in his opportunity of possibly becomming an Eagle Scout and that’s right; why’s that right. He stands up for what His Christian faith has taught him is wrongful behavior and then he will feel compelled to leave scouting because he will feel unacceptable in the culture of that unit and wrongful for not sympathysizing with the homosexual agenda of trying to normalize abnormal behavior. what an amazing news story that’s going to make one day if the policy is changed.

        • However, it also excludes caring support gay leaders from being part of scouting. Sometimes this is also against the will of scouts and adults alike. The changes under discussion would bring the policy out of the closet, so Scouts could select the unit fitting their needs.

        • Ann: That is a likely scenario in the spectrum of scenarios. Sometimes the worst case scenario does happen and that’s why scouts are taught to “be prepared”. If the BSA doesn’t consider all the worst case scenarios then they’ve been negligent in their decision making process with regard to making any change in a policy that now serves to protect the BSA from having situations like this happen. I think the men who created this policy were forward thinking and acted with the true scouting spirit of “be prepared” in trying to protect the BSA and its volunteer members from being placed in situations like this and unfortunately far worse. You can think the best of every situation or you can prepare for reality. I think your a good scout when you prepare for all the different circumstances that could happen because if history teaches anything it teaches that most likely those worst case scenarios will happen; especially when your talking about an organization as large as the BSA with its nearly 4 million members…

  16. “Two influential members of the BSA’s national board-James Turley, the CEO of Ernst and Young, and Randall L. Stephenson, the CEO of Dallas-based AT&T-stated that the policy should be overturned.(TM,pp30)”
    “Perhaps change is coming. Randall Stephenson is in line to become president of the national board in 2014. He doesn’t see inclusion and acceptance as a threat to scouting’s principles but as an affirmation of them…scouting can continue to teach timeless lessons (notice not values) while turning its back on prejudice.” (TM,pp.32)
    These quotes taken from Texas Monthly, December 2012 by Brian D. Sweany
    Its all about the money. And all this rhetoric on allowing membership to vote or have their comments heard is just that, I’m pretty sure its already been decided. School districts employ this same tactic when they are about ready to implement a controversial policy, etc…They pretend to want to have input and people affected to voice their opinion but in the end it is already done.
    What I want to know is how are these National Board members selected? It must be the amount of money they give, the more money you donate the more power to change the organization.

  17. I’ve been a UC or ADC for three years in NFC and I was never informed of this forum,I just received this from a friend(the DC).This late awareness says a lot about this BSA scource.It has an odor to it.I have three units,I’ve spoken to two sponsor heads and one representative.I’ll loose three units,that’s all there are in our small town,of course it’s only about One hundred Cubs and Scouts.No big deal to National that has a membership of 2.7 million youth.It’s abig deal in my small town.Don St.Clair

  18. It seems odd that a Homosexual would want to lead and guide our under aged boys in the first place.

    Wouldn’t it seem odd if the CEO of Foster Farms Chicken demanded the right to lead and guide the members of PETA.

    Wouldn’t it seem odd if a kkk member demanded the right to lead and guide members of the NAACP.

    Wouldn’t it seem odd if a athiest demanded the right to lead and guide the Catholic church.

    These are a PRIVATE groups who should be able to keep the FREEDOM to run themselves as they see fit.

    Mrs. John E Masters

    • Finally, someone has put their finger on the real problem (Homosexual Activist Infiltrators)!
      I realize others have made this same point, but Mrs. Masters has used the KISS principle to drive home her point (Bravo)

      • Keep it Simple and Stupid. :-) (sorry – couldn’t resist). But seriously: Mike C, are you suggesting that former Mormon bishop Mitt Romney – who favors ending the current policy – is a “Homosexual Activist Infiltrator”?

        • You are so nice, way to uphold scouting’s values. Anything goes as long as your view is enforced.

    • “These are a PRIVATE groups who should be able to keep the FREEDOM to run themselves as they see fit. ”

      Unless they accept homosexuals in their Chartering Organization, right?

    • Does it seem odd that a homosexual father would want to help with his son’s scout troop? It doesn’t to me. It also doesn’t seem odd that a young 20 something gay Eagle Scout would want to work at summer camp and give back to a program that he got so much out of as a youth (the same as many young 20 something straight scouts do).

      Yes, the BSA is a private organization, and their freedom of association has been affirmed by the Supreme Court of the United States of America. They also have a right to see that their membership is changing, and that they wish to change their membership requirements, as it benefits the organization.

  19. These disgruntled groups forget that the Constitution protects the Boy Scouts right to associate with who they please! For bad or good this same right allows the disgruntled folks to associate with who they please. So imposing their “belief” that – alternate behavior such as homosexuality in scouting has no business being an issue, well who says? Sometimes these “warts” of liberty pop up and must be examined.
    Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter to Archibald Stuart, 1791. ME 8:276 – “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.”
    An example might be a Nazi standing on the street corner spewing his verbal hate and idiocy. Clearly a wart on the Freedom of Speech, but their right must be vigilantly protected to insure this right is sustained. Freedom also allows people to associate freely, to become smokers, or swingers, or gay, or bigots, or republicans, or democrats, or boy scouts. It allows for exclusive clubs like the “Congressional Black Caucus” or “National Organization of Women” or “Right to Life” or the “Tea Party” or the “Boy Scouts of America”.
    This progressive, collectivist group asks for tolerance for their views, but act as if their views are “correct” when contrary views are present. If these folks don’t like how the views of BSA differ from theirs, they need to associate with another group. Instead, this group wants to use force or political pressure to minimize BSA members’ liberties, while attempting to “engineer” a social organization that they say is more acceptable.
    Many of us understand that the only acceptable society is a free one, and that allows for groups, beliefs, and behavior that some may find questionable but others find perfectly appropriate.

    The statement above could be used by either group in this controversy, yet only one group practices “Live and let live”.

    • The scout law states Obedience and then describes that as scouts respecting laws and working from within to make changes if the scout disagrees. Perhaps that is really what is happening here. To suggest that those with differing opinions should leave BSA doesn’t seem consistent.

      I suggest the discussion is the point. The decision of BSA will need to reflect what is learned from this discussion. Any “engineering” will be the changes required to best reflect the discussion and BSA’s decision.

  20. I have been involved in Scouting for many years, my memories of Scouting with my only child are precious as he was killed 12 years ago. I love Scouting and my son was an Eagle Scout, I have been involved in leadership positions in both Cub and Boy Scouts. I am Boy Scout Woodbadge trained and am an OWL. I have always been proud to be a leader and always felt a sense of pride when I put that uniform on as I also taught my son to be. I am praying that the ones who will make this decision continue to uphold the policies that have always been in force and continue to see where they benefit by doing so. I just recently resigned with a Troop after being out for a few years and just am hoping that I as many others will not be disappointed.

    • A BSA that cannot fend off the false promises of moral relativism in affirming marriage and rejecting homosexuality has little to offer our society in ending the epidemic of fatherlessness and male irresponsibility.

      There are two irreconcilably conflicting moral views at the root of this debate. On one hand is the moral view that homosexual conduct is incompatible with “morally straight” and “a Scout is clean.” On the other is the view that “tolerance” must trump all other moral values and that any “discrimination” against homosexuals–even if it is based on conduct–is inherently unjust. A values-based organization cannot survive two wings who each believe the other is immoral. A house divided against itself cannot stand.

      BSA cannot split the baby or “triangulate” its way out of this crisis of conscience. It will have to choose. I hope we choose wisely.

      • To be willing to tolerate beliefs you do not share is the most difficult part of the puzzle. The entrenched opposition you describe is not healthy for our youth. Both “sides” need to get beyond this approach.

    • The gay lobby likes to cry homophobia and intolerance but they are the most intolerant outfit there is. They wanna impose their aberration on our society and define deviancy down. In the animal kingdom there are gay critters and nature makes sure to limit their numbers by not allowing them to procreate. I’m not advocating a Darwinian jungle for humans, but let’s not have an artificial “majority” created and empowered by a well organized, well funded, loud as hell minority. There are gay bars, parades,
      cruises and Disney days. Why don’t gays have gay scouts? Maybe because there’d be no one to blaze a trail or start a fire?

  21. Regardless- Advocates for equality in Scouting are not outsiders- they are people like me, a straight Assistant Scoutmaster, merit badge teaching dad that realizes that Jesus would be ashamed to hear people use his name to turn away someone from their table. Advocates for equality love scouting, and think everyone should have the opportunity to participate. Jesus welcomed all to his table, and Scouts should do the same.

    • I respect your opinion on the “standards issue.” I disagree with your use of Jesus as a tool to promote your position. Your assumption that Jesus would be “ashamed” is unfounded. As Jesus welcomed everyone to His table, to those that disagreed with Him and were not following His “standards” He said, go and sin no more. This is not a statement that homosexuality is a sin but rather a statement on how Jesus led those with different opinions/actions.

        • If your a Christian then you understand that Jesus does sit at the right hand of God and one day He will judge the living and the dead. There is a promise of judgement for all of us and if your a believer then you understand God does have the ultimate final say on who will find an eternal life with Him. Goes way beyond all of this or anything else that anyone could ever choose to want to discuss. Leading sinners away from their salvation would be a tremendous mistake and leading homosexuals away from understanding that if they engage in homosexual behavior its sinful behavior would be misleading them away from having a closer relationship with God and possibly leading them away from their salvation.

        • Explain to me where I judged anyone Beth? Maybe I did you the biggest favor of your life by showing you the way…

    • Jesus condemned homosexuality as an abomination against His creation. I’d be careful to not mis-quote Jesus with regard to homosexuals and homosexual behavior. He said that he didn’t come to change the Jewish law but to fulfill the scripture. He loved the homosexual but he hated their sinful behavior and offered them forgiveness and an opportunity for salvation if they chose to accept Him as their savior and the only way to an everlasting life in heaven with Him. He offered the same salvation to the adulterous woman who nearly suffered a stoning that would have ended her life. Though she too sinned against the Jewish law He forgave her and told her to sin no more. Didn’t say if she did or not; guess she had free choice too. It is possible to love people and still hate sin… everyone’s freedom to choose to follow His way or not to follow His way.. We all sin but I’m not trying to rewrite the bible to remove sin from my life; I accept responsibility for my sins an focus on changing my life to mold myself to biblical principles and to try to become more like Jesus, “to do my best to do my duty, to God and my Country, to obey the scout law, to keep myself physically fit, mentally awake, and morally straight” hmmm.. lot of similarities in those teachings; wonder if the BSA founders knew His truth too…. Yes they certainly did!

      • Jesus condemned homosexuality as an abomination against His creation.

        That sounds like a stretch to me. Got a citation?

        I’d be careful to not mis-quote Jesus with regard to homosexuals and homosexual behavior.

        Great advice.

        • Not a stretch; just the truth.. best if you read it yourself; keep it all in context… citation; The Holy Bible… Author: GOD

        • Beth, In Leviticus God layed it out pretty black and white with regard to how He felt about His creation having homosexual relationships with same sex partners and with other animals; you can read that book first if you choose. It makes sense if you have chosen to be a Christian and read it with a heart open to listening to the Holy Spirit help you understand it. Why would God want His creation to defile itself with wrongful and immoral behavior; The temple He places His Holy Spirit into for those who accept His Holy Spirit to Live within them; free choice though. God’s all about our freedom to choose; makes all of it more beautiful to Him. If you read the Gospels Jesus clearly explains to the Jews that He didn’t come to change the laws but to fulfill the scriptures. That fulfillment was to suffer, die, and to conquer death to be a blood offering for forgiveness from God for all our earthly sins; homosexual behavior is sinful behavior. Without our acceptance of His forgiveness then our impure and sinful spirits can’t stand before pure love, Himself; God’s Choice. Jesus wasn’t here on earth to judge at that time but to offer hope to sinners to receive forgiveness through Him and to accept His promise, an everlasting life beyond this earthly life with Him in Heaven; free choice Beth, yours and mine. I could choose to give you citations but if you aren’t a Christian at this time in your life then you first have a choice to make for your life. That choice would be to seek to accept His promise and follow His way and receive His promise of an everlasting life or not; its a big choice if you hope for an eternal life with Him. If you’ve chosen to be a Christian then you’ve chosen to accept His Holy Spirit into your heart; if you haven’t chosen to be a Christian then you haven’t chosen to accept His Holy Spirit within you. If you have chosen to accept His Holy Spirit then your on a Christian journey like so many other Christians, including myself. A big part of that journey is understanding God’s only Word to us written down in the Holy Bible. I hope you’ve chosen to be a Christian and to accept His Spirit into your heart; a choice you’ve made for your life. If it is then when your reading His Word the Holy Spirit will help you understand as you prayerfully meditate on His Word and listen to His Spirit guide you in your understanding. It really only makes sense that God wouldn’t want His creation to engage in a sinful life; sinfulness separates us from God and He wants us to be with Him in His Kingdom; that’s Lovely. Why would God want a man to be with a man or a woman to be with a woman in a homosexual relationship; an intimate loving relationship? He wants us to Love Him more than anything else on earth or heaven so why would He want that for anyone’s life, why would He want anything in someones life that would lessen their love for Him? He created a man and a woman in His way to become one in a covenant of marriage for His purpose of having children and raising those children to also be full of His Spirit; His will, fornication is sinful behavior too. Why would he want a man to love a man in the same way or a woman to love a woman in the same way that He intended a man to love a woman and a woman to love a man in a covenant of marriage; to serve what purpose; physical pleasure? But He commands each of us to love Him more than anything else in our lives and when you choose to have a heart to truly do that you have a desire to follow His Word leading you to have and live a life with His love rather than a false wrongful love because all true love is His alone. And if you haven’t chosen to be a Christian then none of this matters to you at this time in your life; understandable. But the backbone of the BSA is Godly people and the BSA is full of Christians that can’t separate their nature of their true love from themselves because its the same love that leads them to choose to want to help the BSA fulfill their mission of helping boys to grow to become Godly men with good moral values who Love God, their Country and their families and to have a desire to love their neighbors. If you really want the scriptures cited let me know? If you are a Christian I’d rather you choose freely to prayerfully find the truth for yourself; I think it would lead you to a better understanding as the Holy Spirit will reveal it all to you in a way that you would best understand it. I think its that important for your life and the few citations I could offer would be taken out of context. You really need to read all of the Gospels to truly understand the true nature of His true love and its clear sexual love doesn’t play a big part in any of it. And what if a person with homosexual desires chooses to not engage in a homosexual relationship but chooses to love God with an even greater Love than a man or a woman who are involved in a marriage covenant might due to all the distractions involved with the love they’d be sharing together. The Apostle Paul talked about this. I have to wonder if their calling might be to love and serve Him in a greater way. It could be Beth but each person has to choose to come to Him and find His will for their lives through prayer, mediation and understanding of His
          Word and acceptance and listening to the Holy Spirit within them. Choosing to accept that Spirit and choosing to be baptized with His Holy Spirit is a free choice, each of us has free choice; and were all responsible for the choices we make. You asked the questions; its fundamental to this debate whether anyone wants to accept that or not; its the fundamental basis of morality.

        • The question should not be defined by Christian beliefs. Boy Scouts of America is not a Christian organization. My Church and I are affiliated with BSA because it is a worthwhile youth program compatible with Christian beliefs. This is a moral issue and satisfying “morally straight” and “clean” in the Scout Law. A Scout can be neither by being openly homosexual and engaging in medically risky homosexual behavior.

          This sums up pretty well what Jesus said and what he believed based on his direct statements.

          Did Jesus Ever Condemn Homosexuality?
          By Mike Benson

          Question: “Is there any place in the New Testament where Jesus actually condemned homosexuality? If so, I have not been able to find it. …It seems to me that if the Savior didn’t say it was wrong, then neither should we.”

          Answer: While it is true that there is no NT record of where Jesus explicitly stated that homosexuality is wrong, He did in fact condemn the behavior. A careful study of the Bible will bear this out. Please read the following Bible passages and then consider the questions which follow:

          1. And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ “and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?’” (Matt. 19:4.)

          Questions: What did Jesus say about God’s creative work? Did He make Adam and Joseph? Did He create male and male, or did He create male and female? According to this passage, what has been God’s plan for sexual union [one flesh] since the beginning of time? Was His plan for a male partner to be joined to another male partner, or was it for a husband to be united to his wife? According to this passage, is a man to cleave to his male partner, or to his spouse?

          Consider: Since Jesus approved of His Father’s plan [i.e., one man, one woman, one flesh,] could we correctly say that Jesus condemned homosexuality?

          2. “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (John 5:46-47.)

          Questions: What law was Jesus born under? What law did He live under? Answer: The Law of Moses (cf. Gal. 4:4.) Did Jesus endorse and follow the Law of Moses? What did the Law of Moses say about homosexuality? (Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Deut. 23:17.)

          Consider: Since Jesus was born and lived under the Law of Moses, and since He endorsed the Law of Moses, and since the Law of Moses explicitly condemned homosexuality, then could we correctly say that Jesus also condemned it?

          3. “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for he will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you” (John 16:12-15.)

          Questions: What did Jesus say the Holy Spirit would do for the apostles? Answer: Guide them into all truth (v. 13.) When/as the Holy Spirit guided the apostles into all truth; would He speak on His own authority? Answer: No, He would speak on the authority of Christ (v. 14.) What did Jesus say the Holy Spirit would do in verse 14? Answer: “He (i.e., the Holy Spirit) will take of what is Mine (i.e., Christ’s) and declare it to you” (i.e., the apostles.)

          Consider: Since 1) the apostles would be guided into all truth by the Holy Spirit, and since 2) the Holy Spirit would not speak on His own authority but instead would speak on the authority of Christ, and since 3) the Holy Spirit would take of what was Christ’s and declare it to the apostles, then by WHOSE AUTHORITY would the apostle’s speak/write/teach when the Holy Spirit guided them into all truth? Answer: Christ’s.

          Question: What did the apostle Paul [by Christ’s authority] say about the practice of homosexuality? (Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-10.)

          Yes, Jesus did condemn homosexuality in His Word. The good news is, “there is hope for the homosexual; he has reason to believe there is hope for a brighter future. Paul states that some at Corinth had engaged in homosexual acts, but they had been washed, sanctified and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 6:9-11.) The same can happen today. As anyone who repents of a sin, the homosexual can be forgiven. He can experience the same freedom and joy that any other sinner knows when he becomes a Christian. The Bible condemns homosexual sex but clearly states that non-practicing homosexuals can be saved” [Doug Sensing, “Christian Response To Homosexuality,” Gospel Advocate, April '93, Vol. CXXXV, No. 4, 12.]

          This item originally appeared in http://www.oakhillcoc.org

        • Scott, you completely and totally missed my point. I am a Christian and my Troop is sponsored by a Baptist Church. Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior and His law is higher than any earthly law. I am also a Deacon. Please don’t preach to me.

          My point simply put is that this is a BSA issue. BSA at present is compatible with Church teaching and maintains a moral code that is exemplary. But BSA is not a Church and does not accept Jesus Christ as the highest power in heaven and on Earth. That is all I was saying. Christians won’t decide this issue. BSA volunteers of all faiths and some secular people who join for their children. That is all I said. I am a sinner saved by Grace. You don’t have to preach to me.

        • someone named Scott did and I thought I just hit reply. Sorry if it linked to the wrong person.

        • Fred C. Thank you for illustrating the willingness to allow BSA freedom to separate its membership policies from the religious principles of any single religion. This is the essential definition of a non-sectarian organization.

        • Anne: I know the homosexual activist agenda needs the separation of a human with God in order to attempt to push their agenda into the hearts of people. That day will never come because you can’t separate God from His creation; HE won’t let you or anyone else ever have a victory over what He alone controls.

  22. So Mrs Masters- shouldn’t a church that doesn’t have a problem with homosexuality be allowed to welcome them? Why should a chartering church that WANT’S to welcome gay Scouts, or feels a MORAL Obligation to welcome gay scouts, be forced to reject them? This policy change would simply allow groups that WANT to welcome gay Scouts do exactly that. It would also allow those that want to exclude them do so. So what’s the problem?

    • The problem would not be at the individual unit level, but occur when the different units interact with each other at District, Council, or National events. How to handle Restrooms, Showers, sleeping arrangements? All of this will have to be addressed. It will make for a very confusing time for our young impressionable minds.

        • There seem to be a lot of people making comments who aren’t in the program, are not up on BSA youth protection policies and are worried about things that won’t happen.

      • Robert,
        No one forces a Scout to shower in a group shower or tent with someone they don’t want to now. It is against Youth Protection policies to do so. Also most BSA camps have or are installing private showers. Rest room facilities are private now. It has been a very long time since the BSA taught Scouts to make latrine lines. These are all really non-issues at the unit level in this day and age.

        • You are right. I concede to this fact. As long as Youth Protection policies are followed. However, many of my parents do not believe that will be enough. Ours is a VERY conservative community and I worry our units will die out if the membership policy changes.

        • Robert,
          Fear can be a great motivator but often does not motivate us to do the right things. I think once people realize that the local option doesn’t really change one thing about how their troop or pack operates, the fear will fade. There are really more important things we should be putting our energies to.

    • If your involved in a “church” that accepts homosexual behavior as righteous behavior in the eyes of God then you should change your mind about the church you choose to belong to and choose to participate in Godly worship with. A church that doesn’t follow God’s Word as the basis for their discipline is actually a cult and wrongful. Just because a group of people gather together to make a wrongful decision of behave wrongfully it doesn’t make the decision or behavior righteous to God. The BSA requires members to be Godly; the Scout Oath does count; for now and for the sake of this discussion since they haven’t come out and said their an agnostic organization at this time. See how the homosexual activist agenda is working to progressively eat at the moral institutions of our Nation. First you take over the Presbyterian USA (not American), Lutherans, part of the Episcopaleans and attempt to create some quasi righteousness by deceiving them away from their Godly disciplines and then use them to beat other Godly institutions over the head with since they chose to follow our wrongful ways you should too. hmmm? There seems to be a pattern emerging here and people are seeing the wrongfulness in all of it. That’s why the non-denominational Evangelical Christian Churches are growing in membership; their independent of outside national social and political pressure and free to follow His Word which tells how He wants His Church to be organized and run.

      • Wallace, let me make sure I got this right. If your faith does not agree with my faith I should reconsider what faith I belong to because it’s obviously wrong?

        WOW.

        Religious freedom much?

      • Declaration of Religious Principle:
        The Boy Scouts of America, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. Its policy is that the home and the organization with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life.

        ACTIVITIES. The activities of the members of the Boy Scouts of America shall be carried on under conditions which show respect to the convictions of others in matters of custom and religion, as required by the twelfth point of the Scout Law, reading, “Reverent. A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.”

        FREEDOM. In no case where a unit is connected with a church or other distinctively religious organization shall members of other denomination or faith be required, because of their membership in the unit, to take part in or observe a religious ceremony distinctly unique to that organization or church.

        LEADERS. Only persons willing to subscribe to these declarations of principles shall be entitle to certificates of leadership in carrying out the Scouting program.

        • I’ve been told on this blog homosexuals actively participate in scouting in violation to the membership policy. Got some news for you too; Christians actively participate in Sxouting too and we don’t hang our faith on the coat rack when we go to the meetings. In fact we profess our faith in God and we speak an oath that says we will do our duty to God and our Country that we live passionately. we promise to obey the scout law which says we’ll be trustworthy to our faith and reverent in our faith meaning our Christian faith. We even promise to be morally straight which means we won’t be deviant in our behavior and immoral in not only our actions but our thoughts and when we fail we accept our failures, take responsibility for our failures and ask God for forgiveness for our failires in the name of Keaua Christ because I’m an American and Free to practice my Faith and I can assure you I have the Right to practice my religion freely protected by the US Constitution and nobody is going to harass me, threaten me, or terrorize me from living my faith, certainly not u. I hope you will learn to be tolerant of Christians and respect our religious choice.

        • Wallace, I have seen *no one* on this blog even remotely suggest that you not be permitted to practice your religion. The objection is that you seek to prevent others from fully practicing their own faith and even seek to marginalize any faith that is accepting of homosexual individuals.

        • “I hope you will learn to be tolerant of Christians and respect our religious choice.”

          By the way, I’ve read a post of Ms. Zeller’s where she in fact identifies herself as a Christian. I would say most people here do, as well (just based on statistics).

        • Wallace, did you just take the quotation from the BSA’s Declaration of Religious Principle as a threat to the practice of Christian faith? That declaration is not mine; every word of it is the BSA’s.

  23. This whole article struck me as window dressing and a prelude to allowing homosexuals in Scouting. I don’t want or need your praise for being open to others who disagree. I am open to disagreement on a whole lot of things, but NOT THIS ISSUE! I think the underlying problem was finally stated by Mr. Perry. He believes the most important thing is to “grow Scouting”. I do not think that is the most important matter. It is far more important that we hold fast to our core values — those which have distinguished Scouting for over 100 years. Being Morally Straight is not up for a vote. Make no mistakes, Mr. Perry: If you choose to allow openly homosexual members, untold thousands of us will vote with our feet. Plans are already underway to establish alternatives to the BSA, which saddens me, but I can understand why. I will abandon the BSA ship if this membership decision is made, and most likely, our charter organization will close our troop.

    • The fact that this debate was such a surprise to national leaders shows that the membership policy is not the clear reason for the success of scouting. Many people recognize that the core values of scouting are built on character, fitness, leadership, and citizenship. The membership policy was opened because BSA needed to hear what its members think about a policy, that many were unaware existed.

    • You may be right, Phil. Perhaps Scouting cannot live up to the honor traditions of other groups we think of as patriotic, honorable, and tough, like the Marines, the Air Force, the Army, Navy and Coast Guard.

      But maybe we should try.

      • The branches of the military are Government Agencies who were forced to accept homosexuals into their membership; doesn’t make it the will of the people or the members of our armed services in majority; just makes it politically correct and a few politicians walked away with a few extra votes. But the BSA is a private organization Free to operate in whatever way they choose to best serve their mission to serve Boys who have also freely choosen to want to be in the BSA to participate in everything they’ve been told it is with regard to an honorable Godly organization with a desire to help them become good morally straight men prepared to take on many of the challenges adult life will bring them as they enter into higher education and/or vocations of their choice. There is a big big difference.

  24. Do what you will, but let me assure you of this: if you allow openly gay leaders within this organization, my son will not ever participate again.

    How you can rationalize something like this is beyond me. Homosexuality is a perversion. It is against the Bible and against Christianity. You can pretend that it is not if you like or you can reject the Bible or Christianity, but in reality, there is no doubt about this. If you do not think so, you need to ask yourself a question: why did Christ die on the cross? He died for our SINS! I for one am glad that he did, because there is no way that I can be holy enough on my own to stand in the presence of the Lord.

    If you accept that Christ died for your sins – and I know that by now I have already lost many of you, then you have to recognize the existence of those sins. Of the many, homosexuality – though the actual word “homosexual” is not used – is specifically listed, in both the New and the Old Testaments. Romans 1:22-32 alone is enough to demonstrate this as homosexuality is enumerated along with just about every evil thing imaginable.

    No. For openly homosexual leaders to establish themselves within BSA is a mockery. It is nothing more than another way for perverts to attempt to legitimize what they already know to be wrong in order to feel better about themselves – just as are the nonsense of open homosexuals in the military and this preposterous notion of “marriage equality.”

    To reiterate, my son will not participate if you change this policy. It is impossible for me to raise him with Christian values and participate simultaneously in an organization with a contrary position designed purposefully to impart values.

    Finally, stop dealing in euphemisms. Call a spade a spade. This is not a “family discussion.” This is about moral relativism and protecting children from perversion. Show some fortitude and stand up for traditional values. If you do not, then BSA will become just another organization that is caricature of what it once was and, frankly, it will not deserve to exist.

      • Our sons will see plenty of diversity or many kinds. However, that does not require Scouts or Scouters to accept or affirm sexual immorality as consistent with sexually responsible manhood, equivalent to marriage. Imagine if this line of thinking were applied to other moral vices, like smoking, drug abuse (now legal in some states), pornography, dishonesty, poor eating habits, or environmental irresponsibility. Do we need our boys to be exposed to role models who commit these vices in order to expose them to diversity? Of course not.

      • Anyone’s son can “see diversity” at a National or World Jamboree, as they have throughout Scouting’s history, even before other national associations became what some would deem “inclusive.” They can see it closer to home among Scouts of different races and social and economic classes. BSA has had a big challenge reaching out to African-American, and especially Hispanic youth (and whose mothers would give anything to offer their sons an alternative to gangs). There are indications that neither would be encouraged by some people’s idea of “diversity” as encouraged here.

        • A Scout is Helpful: A Scout cares about other people.
          A Scout is Friendly: He is a brother to other Scouts. He offers his friendship to people of all races and nations, and respects them even if their beliefs and customs are different from his own.
          A Scout is Courteous: A Scout is polite to everyone regardless of age or position. He knows that using good manners makes it easier for people to get along.
          A Scout is Kind: He treats others as he wants to be treated.
          A Scout is Cheerful: He tries to make others happy.
          A Scout is Reverent. He respects the beliefs of others.

          A scout cares for other people. Even those different from him. Diversity is a Scout value.

        • cwgmpls,

          Are you asserting that people who believe homosexual relationships and behaviors do not “care about other people”? This is patently unfair and does not respect the views of your fellow Scouters who disagree with you.

          None of the Scouting virtues you have listed imposes on a Scout a duty to affirm a friend in pursuing destructive and immoral life choices like alcohol or drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, cheating in school, or shoplifting. Likewise, they do not require us to affirm a boy’s choice to engage in homosexual relationships. In fact, this is hardly helpful. Friendliness does not require us to affirm immoral conduct, and neither does courtesy. Offering friendship to others does not require extending membership to those who reject the values of Scouting. It is not kind to encourage someone toward activity we know to be harmful to themselves and others. Cheerfulness does not require that we affirm others in self-destructive behaviors that gratify their immediate desires but won’t lead to long-term happiness.

          I wonder why you omitted the following:

          Clean – A Scout keeps his body and mind fit and clean. He goes around with those who believe in living by these same ideals. He helps keep his home and community clean.

        • I’d also add that it is ironic and somewhat amusing to see people who insist that the Scout Oath and Law are silent on sexual morality just because the word “homosexuality” isn’t explicitly specified can now read into it the politically loaded term “diversity” (and all its accompanying p.c. baggage).

        • There is a huge push for diversity in scouting right now. It’s very prevalent in leader training, particularly Woodbadge training.

        • Manwithblackhat, we obviously disagree strongly on this issue but I really appreciate how you’ve been living the Scout Law and Oath in your comments. I hope that the conversations “above our pay grades” on this difficult issue in May will take the same approach; I expect they will. Yours in Scouting!

    • The same section of the bible that lists homosexuality as a sin also lists wearing two types of fibers as a sin. The same volume also advocates slavery, and forbids the eating of pork. It’s curious what you choose as still relevant, and what you decide no longer applies.

      Your stance that homosexuals are perverts and are only using this to get closer to kids or to promote their own agenda is sad. You are a sad, sad man, and I am sorry that your son has you as a role model.

      • Christianity, inasmuch as it purports to be a fulfillment of Judaism (to which any practicing Jew, one must concede, would not be expected to agree) does not rely completely on the prescriptions of Mosaic law as explained in Leviticus. This was established early in the history of Christianity, when a question arose as to whether non-Jews who converted should be circumcised. That said, the early Church also addressed issues of sexual immorality, including sodomy, which was widely practiced throughout the Greco-Roman world, thus it would have been a familiar (and invariably dealt with) topic.

        • Badhatharry-you are referring to the old testament, which many people commonly, but inaccurately believe is the only place this is referenced (and if indeed it was-would somewhat, give your point some credence). But actually it is spoken of very strongly in the new testament also (see Romans 1) & other places.
          I realize our society in general believes more in tolerance than the right to continue to uphold personal biblical values these days & am not surprised to see this discussion-as there is great pressure to do so. Our troop is on the verge of losing our Intel support (hours their employees give in volunteer time) because of this pressure-which is our main financial support. Personally I still don’t believe in caving to such pressure.
          I did think the opening letter was well stated and applaud that-as I know, even within our troop there is division on this issue. Also I applaud those-on both sides who are expressing their opinions with civility:-) Not all seem able to do that (on both sides).
          It will be difficult and my prayers will be with this process.

      • The bible does not state homesexuality as the same as these other things you listed. It states it is an Abomination. (Mark 7:19). God gave the apostle Peter a vision in which He declared that formerly unclean animals could be eaten: “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean”. Is there anywhere in the bible that God declares homosexuality is ok?

        • The New Testament only reinforces God’s declaration that Homosexuality is an abomination against His creation. Jesus came to offer people who engage in homosexual behavior forgiveness and the opportunity of an everlasting life with Him; a far bigger deal in the scheme of things. Why would God want his creation to behave in a homosexual fashion when His greatest commandment was to love Him above anything else? He created a woman for a purpose for man and that purpose was to be his companion. He created marriage between a man and a woman to only exist in a covenant with Him; exclusive covenant with no exceptions. Let me know when the BSA stops walking like a Godly organization because then I’ll know when it’s time for them to take the sign down that says “To God and my Country” and erase His name from every written article in the organization. You can’t say your something but not walk the walk… You either say it and live it or if you stop living it then quit saying it. At least be hones about who you are.

    • Don: You haven’t lost me.. I understand perfectly.. I agree with you completely. Profound Truths spoken in a profound and clear way. Thanks for your commitment to our great organization. I pray everything works out for the best and the scouts don’t change the membership policy and continues on with fulfilling their higher mission; far greater than acceptance of homosexuality as Godly behavior because that day will never come; He ultimately controls that discussion and there’s only one word with regard to it and He’s already given it to all of us whether you believe it or not; The Holy Bible…

  25. Were not all the lawsuits and settlements about gay leaders taking advantage of the youth? What would stop his from happening again? More paperwork? There is to much now. I have read many of the comments and most seem to abject on reason of faith or health, wish make good points. I feel that admitting gays is like opening Pandora’s box. Leaving the BSA wide open for more costly trouble. Wish it can ill afford.

        • Bullying it an issue under youth protection and groups of varying-aged youth are common places for bullying.

        • Exactly Dennis. When I was a boy in the scouts I knew of a boy that was 15 preying upon and molesting a boy who was 11. This was in the mid 70′s and before youth protection plans I’d imagine as I don’t remember anything like that then. So were going to put a sign on the door of the BSA that now says homosexual youth are welcome in the organization. Do you think a parent of a 10, 11, or 12 year old should be worried about a 15, 16, or 17 year old homosexual boy preying on their child; Yes, absolutely, I would be because I know what happened then. Right, wrong, this time or that time people and kids haven’t changed or evolved since then or since thousands of years ago. Parents will be scared to death of their child being in a troop that has an open door to homosexual leaders and boys. Molestation might be against the policy but when it happens one time to your son you can throw all the policies and rules out the window because your child has been molested 100% of the time and its a tragedy he’ll have to live with the rest of his life. Wow; wait till the media starts to get a hold of those stories when they happen and you’d be very ill prepared if you didn’t expect it.

  26. One of our Troop Committee members made a Comment when we were discussing gays , that we need to consider. ” when we recite the Oath , we say ” On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God & Country , To help OTHER People at All Times , etc” Do we mean :except those who are Black, Homeless, on welfare, Gay, & etc. . This comment reminded me of the Greatest Commandment ,” Love your neighbor as yourself’ etc . It is hard sometimes to live up to our Principles!!

    • It is hard. And we have an obligation to respect the dignity of others who have different moral views or who choose different lifestyles. But the decision to live a homosexual lifestyle and to engage in homosexual behaviors is a moral choice, like the decision to act on any other form of temptation. If homosexuality is incompatible with “morally straight,” and “a Scout is clean,” then those who choose such a lifestyle have chosen to wander off the Scouting trail. We should always respect their right to do so as free moral agents and as human beings worthy of dignity and respect, but recognize at the same time that they have chosen moral values that conflict with Scouting’s vision for responsible manhood.

    • We don’t admit girls to scouting (as scouts), nor do we admit people under the age of 6 or over the age or 18 (well, except for Venturing), yet we manage to help those OTHER people, too – Helping others does not require that we admit those others to our ranks as Scouts.

    • Excellent Homosexual Talking Points, but the primary question remains: HOW can a Boyscout be “Morally Straight” if he engages in one of the MOST UNHEALTHY sexual activities know to man? (according to the Center for Disease Control)
      “Love the sinner, BUT NOT the UNHEALTHY behavior:”

    • God said Love your neighbor as you love yourself and you shouldn’t take it out of context Horace because He also said that when your neighbor is a homosexual you should love him but when your neighbor behaves by having homosexual relations his behavior is an abomination to God and His purpose for His creation. It is possible to love the sinner and hate the sin. It is possible to not allow your son to join a troop that has a openly homosexual leader or leaders and that has openly homosexual teenagers who actually might even be lovers and in a homosexual relationship together. Wonder how the BSA’s going to address scouts who openly share a homosexual relationship together; that should be entertaining. How will the BSA control or stop those openly homosexual displays of affection. Schools have been pretty successful about that; not. Does anyone else see at least some of the scenarios that are going to occur if this policy is changed and the BSA no longer has the power to reject that behavior from taking place during scout functions. Do you think a homosexual leader is going to have a problem with two scouts making out behind the Nature Lodge during summer camp. I hate to even say these things as they are repulsive to me but this is where the rubber hits the road on this discussion. You either accept all of it if you change the policy or you continue to have at least some power to prevent these things from happening. boys will be boys and homosexual boys will be homosexual boys. Some boys like the BSA because there are no girls involved and it takes away the pressures from girls being around and distracting them from just doing boy things together. Does anyone else see the real life incidents of immoral behavior that will actually happen if this policy is changed and the BSA openly allows homosexuals to be leaders and members? Just leave the BSA alone and let it be what its always been. Isn’t that even an option; should be the only option.

  27. “Gay” is not a political stance. It is not a lifestyle. It is not a religious belief. It is not a choice. It is not something you can catch like a cold, and it’s not something that needs to be “cured”. It is the way some of us have been created. It is no different than being born of any particular ethnicity, or being born with a disability, or being born a genius, or being born left-handed, or being born with different colored eyes.

    I’m appalled at some of the comments I’ve heard & read- especially from those who espouse the values that Scouting is supposed to represent. Yes, it IS a private organization- which means it should be able to set certain terms and conditions for membership in order to fulfill Scouting’s tenets. And if you do not believe in those tenets, and don’t agree with the requirements, then Scouting may not be for your son. For example, I didn’t understand it when someone filed suit to force the Scouts to accept their son when their family didn’t believe in God in some way, shape or form. After all, “a Scout is Reverent”.

    That said, we are not talking about a belief. We are talking about a biological reality. There have been “gay” people for as long as there have been people. References to homosexuality can be found in most records of human history. As advanced as our modern society has become, I think it’s time to just get over it.

    As a Christian, I’m tired of people using the Bible and God to justify bigotry and persecution. The Bible is a series of parables and letters that the original human Christians used to preserve and spread the message of a fledgeling religious movement 2000 years ago, all written well after Christ died; and who knows how many times it’s been re-written and revised since. It is NOT the literal word of God, and it is NOT a Christian “rulebook” to be interpreted literally. There is plenty of stuff in the Bible that no reasonable person in this modern age would EVER agree with now. But the Jesus Christ I was raised to believe in excluded NO ONE. His was a message of love, acceptance and hope- period.

    As an Eagle Scout, I’m embarrassed that the BSA continues a policy of discrimination and exclusion. If Scouting is supposed to be preparing our young men to become the leaders of our future, what lesson are they learning if we tell them their friends can’t be part of our organization because they or their parents are different because of who they are? How is that training our young men to respect others?

    The Boy Scout Law says “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.” Where does it say that a Scout can only like girls, or that Scout leaders can only like the opposite sex? Where does it say a Scout’s parents must be one man & one woman?

    The Boy Scout Oath says “On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God & my country, to obey the Scout Law (above), to help other people at all times, and to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.” In what way is it moral to persecute a young man because he feels different, acts different, or his family is different? If we’re unwilling to question something that may, in fact, be wrong–even if that’s just the way it’s been for years–how are we mentally awake?

    The CUB Scout Oath says “I promise to do my best, to do my duty to God & my country, to help other people, and to obey the law of the Pack. How are we helping ANYone by showing our youngest men that it’s ok to discriminate? Why should they get a stronger message about “bullying” from school than they do from Scouts?

    There is nothing about sexual orientation that precludes gay boys or parents from participating in the program. If a boy is able to live up to the Scout promise, motto, oath & law, and his parents are responsible, respectful, supportive and willing to be involved, then there is NOTHING regarding the boy’s–or his parents’– sexual orientation that conflicts with the BSA stated mission: “to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.”

    Heterosexual boys and parents don’t need to justify or qualify what goes on in their households and private lives in order to participate in Scouting, so homosexual boys and parents shouldn’t have to, either. There is NO sexual component to the Scouting program. There is no more “danger” from a gay adult volunteer leader than there is from a straight adult volunteer leader.

    In fact, I would argue that if you’re worried about your boys with certain adult leaders, then a gay mother would make the “safest” leader you could have. I would also argue that, if you’re going to be paranoid, an openly gay male leader is certainly easier to “keep an eye on” than a male leader married with kids who happens to be a pedophile.

    And if I read one more post citing “morally straight” as justification for prejudice…

    The extended definition of that point of the Oath is “To be a person of strong character, your relationships with others should be honest and open. You should respect and defend the rights of all people. Be clean in your speech and actions, and remain faithful in your religious beliefs. The values you practice as a Scout will help you shape a life of virtue and self-reliance.”

    Relationships should be honest and open.
    (Perhaps we shouldn’t be forcing others to feel “closeted”?)

    Defend the rights of all people.
    (ALL people)

    Be clean in your speech and actions.
    (Sounds like you shouldn’t openly judge or malign people you don’t even know.)

    Remain faithful in your religious beliefs.
    (Note that it does NOT say your beliefs should be considered better than anyone else’s, or that you are entitled to impose your personal beliefs on anyone else.)

    So PLEASE stop with the self-righteous attitudes. What makes you, your beliefs, or your sexual orientation more “moral” than someone else’s by default? Boy Scouts is NOT a Christian organization. It does NOT use the Bible as its sole source of divine inspiration or guidance. Our credo is simply “A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.”

    From the National Office in 1991: “Scouting does not seek to impose its beliefs upon others who do not share them. Virtually every religion is represented in Scouting and the BSA does not define or interpret God. That is the role of the Scout’s family and religious advisors.”

    It’s people who irrationally fear that homosexual = pedophile who are still willing to sacrifice the liberty of others for their own false peace of mind. The BSA could be the ethical & moral leaders here, and say enough is enough.

    Our young people aren’t growing up with the same preconceived notions that were inherent in previous generations. They’re much more exposed to our planet as a global society than we ever were; and in many ways, they’re “blind” or indifferent to some of the prejudices that previous generations haven’t been able to let go of. If BSA doesn’t turn a discerning eye inward, and ask themselves what’s TRULY important as their core beliefs, I fear that our youth–who will eventually be parents themselves–will start to turn away.

    I still believe in Scouting; and I have long felt that this is the 1 issue about which the BSA has been wrong. It’s time to pull our heads out of the sand and do the HONORABLE thing. We tell our boys that they should be prepared to tackle the harder trail… and we–as parents & leaders–should be willing to take that to heart ourselves. Right isn’t always easy. But if we really want to teach our young men the lessons they’ll need to be our future leaders, I think tolerance, acceptance & respect would help form a much stronger, enduring foundation than exclusion and prejudice.

    I was a Cub. I was a Scout. I am an Eagle. I am a Cubmaster. It’s time.

    • Thank you, Mr. Petraitis. I too am an Eagle Scout. I’m a Wood Badge Graduate and until a few years ago, I believed Scouting was doing the right thing. I no longer believe the exclusion policy we’ve followed is right. My own council (Northern Star) hasn’t followed the National policy on this and it’s made ZERO difference in our units. But because of biology, on a national level, we’re excluding members and potential leaders.

      Jesus gave us two commandments. Essentially, we are to love your God with your whole heart and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself.

      We’re supposed to be leaders – that means doing right things. We need to let the parents instill the beliefs they choose in their children – our job isn’t to teach the kids WHAT to believe – our job is to give them the confidence to figure out what it is THEY believe and then model that for others. The sooner we figure that out, the better off we’ll all be.

    • All of what you have said is your opinion and not fact. Just as it is my opinion that being gay is not a “biological reality” or that the Bible IS the literal word of God.

      I too was a Cub, was a Scout, am an Eagle, am a Cubmaster, and I believe it is not time.

      • Mr. Wiseman- I appreciate our similar Scouting history. But you miss the point. Everything I cited about Scouting’s precepts IS a fact. I quoted everything directly from the BSA.

        You can choose to believe homosexuality has nothing to do with biology, regardless of scientific and historical evidence to the contrary; but believing the Bible is the literal word of God is just that- YOUR belief. Scouting’s “Reverent” is not based on ANY specific interpretation of ANY religious text by ANY particular religion. That, too, is a fact.

        Boys believing in the Great Spirit, Jehovah, Mohammed, Shiva, Buddha, Wicca, the Eighth Dynamic or the Flying Spaghetti Monster would ALL fulfill the requirement that a Scout be Reverent… and their sexual orientation doesn’t have a thing to do with it.

      • What does being an Eagle scout have to do with it? Just like when gays wanting to adopt children, allowing gays into scouting is intended to be a tool to convince people that this immoral behavior is morally correct. Basically, it’s about recruitment to be gay or to support homosexuality.

    • You said:
      “The Bible is a series of parables and letters that the original human Christians used to preserve and spread the message of a fledgeling religious movement 2000 years ago, all written well after Christ died;”

      Sorry, but only the New Testament was written after Christ died. The Old Testament was written well before he was born. (and is a historical fact – ever hear of the Dead Sea Scrolls?) You show your ignorance of bible history by such a statement.

      • Of course I was referring to the New Testament, because that is what Christians typically identify with as Christ’s teachings.

        I would point out that more of the Jewish faith (I believe the “Old Testament” is THEIR Talmud?) accept homosexuality than Christians.

    • We are all born as sinners.. AS murders as rapeist as drug addicts but how you CHOOSE to live is up to you. No where have I seen anyone say they did not love anyone for what or how they live, just that they do not love what they CHOOSE to do. I can love a murder that does not mean I love the act of murder. And because I disagree on murdering does not mean I hate a murder.

    • Bob,

      I appreciate your passion toward unjust discrimination and bullying. I don’t think any responsible Scouter would argue that those kinds of acts are permissible under any interpretation of the Scout Oath and Law.

      However, it seems to me that you are disregarding the sincerely-held beliefs of many of your fellow Scouters and Scouting families when you say that ANY discrimination against homosexuals is INHERENTLY unjust. While you may hold a different view, many other members of the Scouting family consider homosexual relationships and homosexual behaviors to be forms of sexual immorality. Some hold that view on secular moral grounds. Some hold that view on religious grounds. They have very good arguments to support their positions, which you seem to be unaware of. Instead, you seem to attribute all opposition to homosexuality as either motivated by ignorance or motivated by malice, which is uncharitable. The view that all moral opposition to homosexuality is itself immoral is in fact a position of intolerance of the views of others. It puts you in the position of outlawing the moral views of many (perhaps even most) of your fellow Scouters.

      At the same time, dismissing the religious views of those who DO believe that the Bible is the literal Word of God is also unfair to many of your fellow Scouters and to Chartering Organizations who hold to a different view. Dismissing the Bible as a basis for moral reasoning is equally a trespass against “a Scout is reverent.”

      I’ve seen a lot of self-righteousness on BOTH sides of this debate. (I’m sure I’ve committed my own share of sins in this area–this issue has lots of thorny minefields, and we’re all only human.) Respect and courtesy work both ways.

      YIS,

      DE

      • DE, while I appreciate your respectfully worded responses to posts here, I cannot say the same for your arguments.

        The “morally straight” argument against homosexuals has been tried before. But the term “straight” at the time of Baden-Powell had nothing to do with sexuality; and to claim moral superiority over others who are different than you in some way smacks of blatant prejudices that have inevitably been rebuked over & over throughout history..

        The “clean” argument you make is no more substantive–or less demeaning & offensive to homosexuals–than the suggestion that they’re inherently incapable of being reverent. It also utterly fails to address the very simple fact that many heterosexual men & women engage in sexual practices in the privacy of their own lives & homes which others might find shocking, deviant or “unclean”. So unless somebody is going to start checking into the sexual practices of every set of Scouting parents, I’d steer clear of this one.

        As for your assertion that one of BSA’s arguments is that homosexuals are not suitable role models for Scouts How about Tchaikovsky… Oscar Wilde… Tennessee Williams… Billie Jean King… Merv Griffin… Sally Ride… Greg Louganis… Neil Patrick Harris… Anderson Cooper… Barney Frank… Major Mike Almy… Colonel Victor Fehrenbach… I could go on.

        Lastly, I never dismissed the religious views of others. I simply stated that those who claim “conscientious religious obligation” as their justification for this ban fail to recognize that they are, in effect, imposing their beliefs on others. The BSA is NOT an organization based on 6000 years of Judeo-Christian theology. Period. So yes- SOME “married, churchgoing Americans” may have their own beliefs and issues at odds here… but they are NOT entitled to impose those beliefs and issues on others who don’t share them, OR on an organization which simply does not fall under their faith’s control.

        I, too, would hope that we can teach our sons critical thinking and mutual respect. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here.

        • Bob,

          You don’t have to take my word regarding the BSA’s official position. You can look at the Supreme Court decision in the case of BSA v. Dale (2000):

          //begin excerpt//

          “The values the Boy Scouts seeks to instill are “based on” those listed in the Scout Oath and Law. App. 184. The Boy Scouts explains that the Scout Oath and Law provide “a positive moral code for living; they are a list of `do’s’ rather than `don’ts.’ ” Brief for Petitioners 3. The Boy Scouts asserts that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the values embodied in the Scout Oath and Law, particularly with the values represented by the terms “morally straight” and “clean.”

          “Obviously, the Scout Oath and Law do not expressly mention sexuality or sexual orientation. See supra, at 6-7. And the terms “morally straight” and “clean” are by no means self-defining. Different people would attribute to those terms very different meanings. For example, some people may believe that engaging in homosexual conduct is not at odds with being “morally straight” and “clean.” And others may believe that engaging in homosexual conduct is contrary to being “morally straight” and “clean.” The Boy Scouts says it falls within the latter category.”

          //end excerpt//

          and

          //begin excerpt//

          “The Boy Scouts asserts that it “teach[es] that homosexual conduct is not morally straight,” Brief for Petitioners 39, and that it does “not want to promote homosexual conduct as a legitimate form of behavior,” Reply Brief for Petitioners 5. We accept the Boy Scouts’ assertion. We need not inquire further to determine the nature of the Boy Scouts’ expression with respect to homosexuality. But because the record before us contains written evidence of the Boy Scouts’ viewpoint, we look
          to it as instructive, if only on the question of the sincerity of the professed beliefs.

          “A 1978 position statement to the Boy Scouts’ Executive Committee, signed by Downing B. Jenks, the President of the Boy Scouts, and Harvey L. Price, the Chief Scout Executive, expresses the Boy Scouts’ “official position” with regard to “homosexuality and Scouting”:

          “Q. May an individual who openly declares himself to be a homosexual be a volunteer Scout leader?

          “A. No. The Boy Scouts of America is a private, membership organization and leadership therein is a privilege and not a right. We do not believe that homosexuality and leadership in Scouting are appropriate. We will continue to select only those who in our judgment meet our standards and qualifications for leadership.” App. 453-454.

          “Thus, at least as of 1978–the year James Dale entered Scouting–the official position of the Boy Scouts was that avowed homosexuals were not to be Scout leaders.

          “A position statement promulgated by the Boy Scouts in 1991 (after Dale’s membership was revoked but before this litigation was filed) also supports its current view:

          “We believe that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the requirement in the Scout Oath that a Scout be morally straight and in the Scout Law that a Scout be clean in word and deed, and that homosexuals do not provide a desirable role model for Scouts.” Id., at 457.

          “This position statement was redrafted numerous times but its core message remained consistent. For example, a 1993 position statement, the most recent in the record, reads, in part:

          “The Boy Scouts of America has always reflected the expectations that Scouting families have had for the organization. We do not believe that homosexuals provide a role model consistent with these expectations. Accordingly, we do not allow for the registration of avowed homosexuals as members or as leaders of the BSA.” Id., at 461.

          “The Boy Scouts publicly expressed its views with respect to homosexual conduct by its assertions in prior litigation. For example, throughout a California case with similar facts filed in the early 1980′s, the Boy Scouts consistently asserted the same position with respect to homosexuality that it asserts today. See Curran v. Mount Diablo Council of Boy Scouts of America, No. C-365529 (Cal. Super. Ct., July 25, 1991); 48 Cal. App. 4th 670, 29 Cal. Rptr. 2d 580 (1994); 17 Cal. 4th 670, 952 P. 2d 218 (1998). We cannot doubt that the Boy Scouts sincerely holds this view.”

          //end excerpt//

        • DE- just because there was a court case and transcript doesn’t make it right. There’s plenty of case law we can cite about negros being less human than whites, or about women being less capable/entitled than men. History has proven those who advocated such positions were wrong… and those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

        • Bob,

          Scouting has always been a values-based organization. BSA has a moral code, and its stated mission is to instill the values of the Scout Oath and Law into young people to prepare them for a life of civic responsibility.

          This presupposes elevating certain moral principles and making moral distinctions. It is funny that you oppose on one hand efforts by opponents of homosexuality to “claim moral superiority,” while simultaneously making your own claims to moral superiority based on “anti-discrimination” as the overriding moral imperative. In the end, you can’t really mean you oppose making moral judgments–you just value different moral obligations.

          And when you dismiss the moral and religious views of other Scouters as “people using the Bible and God to justify bigotry and persecution” you demonstrate an astonishing disregard and lack of understanding of the views held by your fellow Scouters.

          When you make dismissive comments like the following, you really are trying to marginalize and minimize ther views of Bible-believing Christians:

          “The Bible is a series of parables and letters that the original human Christians used to preserve and spread the message of a fledgeling religious movement 2000 years ago, all written well after Christ died; and who knows how many times it’s been re-written and revised since. It is NOT the literal word of God, and it is NOT a Christian “rulebook” to be interpreted literally. There is plenty of stuff in the Bible that no reasonable person in this modern age would EVER agree with now. But the Jesus Christ I was raised to believe in excluded NO ONE. His was a message of love, acceptance and hope- period.”

          I hope you’ll reconsider this approach, which is not respectful of the religious beliefs of others, and instead of mocking others’ religious views seek first to understand their positions.

          As to the value of famous homosexuals as role models, well, like any fallible, imperfect human beings, they all have some excellent qualities to be emulated and various shortcomings not to be emulated. But you cannot hold any of them up as an example of marital fidelity or sexual responsibility. The one thing they all have in common is their commitment to a lifestyle of sexual immorailty. Oscar Wilde…seriously?

          Finally, I don’t seek to impose my moral views on anyone. BSA held this moral position when I joined as a Cub Scout at age 7. It held this moral position when I signed my boys up starting in 2010. Similarly, BSA held this moral position when you joined Scouting, and you still chose to join. It is a voluntary association of free people who join together because they share similar values and want to instill those values in their sons. I’m just doing Scouting, minding my own business. It seems that it is others who wish to impose their moral views on me.

          YIS,

          DE

        • Bob,

          Note you had to change my words to make the point you wanted to make, rather than addressing any point I actually made. I never said the BSA was an organization based on 6000 years of Judeo-Christian theology.

          In fact, my reference to 6,000 years of Judeo-Christian history had nothing to do with the BSA. Instead it was to provide context for a point about the imposition of sectarian views by the handful of revisionist denominations which have in the last decade or so invented religious obligations never before recognized in the history of OT or NT scholarship.

          You should be more careful with other people’s words.

      • Thoughtful debate is the key to this question. You point out another key, respect for differing opinions. I may not agree with your view, but I appreciate your response.

    • Bob Petraitis said “That said, we are not talking about a belief. We are talking about a biological reality. There have been “gay” people for as long as there have been people. References to homosexuality can be found in most records of human history. As advanced as our modern society has become, I think it’s time to just get over it.”

      Your statement is a complete and total falsehood. There is no undeniable evidence that homosexuality is anything other than the lifestyle choice of members of self-indulgent human societies. You are the one who should get over it. You do not represent BSA values and your strident statement of that fact is little more than posturing of a progressive mind. I don’t need 1,000 words to say you are wrong. You’re not a Christian. I do not know what you are but denying the bible is the inspired word of God invalidates your claim of salvation. I can only say what your are not based on your published statements. “Christian” is not a lifestyle choice. homosexuality is so you have your priorities reversed.

      • “You do not represent BSA values … ”

        You mean the values embodied in the Oath and Law? The values of treating others as we’d be treated?

        “You’re not a Christian.”

        You know, I was raised to believe that there is only ONE being qualified to judge us — and I don’t see “God” in your name anywhere, Fred. Who are YOU to say that Bob or anyone of these posters who disagree with you is not a Christian?

        “Christian” is not a lifestyle choice. homosexuality is so you have your priorities reversed.”

        Oh, and YES, “Christian” IS a lifestyle choice. One that I no longer choose to live BECAUSE of people just like YOU, Fred. I instead choose to live by the Golden Rule — and that’s the only rule I need.

        • Tim H said: “You mean the values embodied in the Oath and Law? The values of treating others as we’d be treated?”

          You do not follow BSA values. The Oath and law are a set of values to live. Its not based on how other treat you. That’s the difference. In spite of how others treat you, live the Oath and Law.

          Tim H. said: “You know, I was raised to believe that there is only ONE being qualified to judge us — and I don’t see “God” in your name anywhere, Fred. Who are YOU to say that Bob or anyone of these posters who disagree with you is not a Christian?”

          There certain tenets of being a Christian that maybe you are unaware of in your walk of life. Scripture being the breathed word of God is one. That’s a fact. No need to play to the crowd. Your beliefs define you as a Christian or not. I don’t judge or determine that for anyone. God spoke it.

          Tim H said: “Oh, and YES, “Christian” IS a lifestyle choice. One that I no longer choose to live BECAUSE of people just like YOU, Fred. I instead choose to live by the Golden Rule — and that’s the only rule I need”

          See now you’ve offended me. I’m hurt. You’re a Progressive Tim. As you say, you have no authority to define me at all. I quoted God’s word and the Scout Oath and law. You offer only personal opinion. Somewhat selfish don’t you think. As hard as folks try, Jesus established the Golden rule as a tenet for folks to live by. Even though you are not a Christian, you still hang onto some of Christs’ teaching. How interesting. I do not judge you nor do I say who will although you were quick to judge me. My words to Bob are based on beliefs he says he has but he does no live by them. That not judgement. That’s an accurate observation. .

        • Me: “The values of treating others as we’d be treated?”

          You: “You do not follow BSA values. The Oath and law are a set of values to live. Its not based on how other treat you. That’s the difference. In spite of how others treat you, live the Oath and Law.”

          I never said it was based on how others treat me. I said I live my life by treating others as I would be treated — which means, I live the Oath and Law in my life and HOPE that I will be treated the same way.

  28. Pingback: Boy Scouts of America Review Announced - Scoutmastercg.com

  29. Pushing this contentious debate to the unit level will destroy units from within, and destroy scouting from within. If Scouting changes its policy there will be no scouting within a decade. It would be a tremendous loss to our nation, to our youth, and to our heritage. Scouting will not last if it makes this change.

    • Exactly, Marshall. Having been VICTORIOUS in the Supreme Court’s ruling, and having recently completed a two-year long study that concluded those practicing homosexuality should not be included, why is this discussion again being held? Because a Scout Executive who has no direct contact has avowed his homosexuality — the organization withstands the attacks from without, only to be undone from within.

        • By “no direct contact” he means no direct contact with boys in BSA. The two BSA executives who have been most outspoken in favor of including gays in BSA are Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T, and James Turley, CEO of Ernst & Young. Both of them have been married for over 20 years, so I don’t know where “avowed his homosexuality” is coming from.

      • This actually is a followup to cwgmpls’s comment, which was: “By “no direct contact” he means no direct contact with boys in BSA. The two BSA executives who have been most outspoken in favor of including gays in BSA are Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T, and James Turley, CEO of Ernst & Young.”

        BOTH of these men are NOT BSA professionals. They are VOLUNTEERS, and members of the BSA’s National Executive Board. They, along with 26 other volunteers, give direction and guidance to the Chief Scout Executive and the rest of the BSA….

        “Both of them have been married for over 20 years, so I don’t know where “avowed his homosexuality” is coming from.”

        Don’t know either.

        • First a disclaimer: I am an alumnus of Ernst & Young, on the management consulting side. I did not know Mr. Turley in any professional capacity.

          Here is a quick Scout biography of James Turley; volunteer for Scouting:

          Jim Turley understands that the Scouting program can flourish only when built on a solid financial and organizational foundation. And so he has devoted more than two decades working behind the scenes to strengthen both local councils and the National Council. His work is informed by his occupation—he is chairman and CEO of Ernst & Young—and inspired by his heritage—both his father and grandfather were active in the Greater St. Louis Area Council and received the Silver Beaver Award.

          At the local level, Mr. Turley served on the executive board of the Viking Council from 1994 to 1998, and he continues to actively promote his company’s support of Scouting in New York City. For his service, the Greater New York Councils honored him with the Good Scout Award in 1999.

          At the national level, Mr. Turley has served on the Audit, Budget, Properties, Boy Scout, National Finance Support, and Chief Scout Executive Selection committees. A member of the National Executive Board since 2002, he chairs the Human Resources Group Committee. Mr. Turley has just been installed as the BSA’s international commissioner.

          As chairman and CEO of Ernst & Young, Mr. Turley has focused on the values of quality, integrity, and professionalism—values he brings to his service for Scouting.

          Among his many other civic affiliations, Mr. Turley serves on the boards of Catalyst and the National Corporate Theatre Fund. He is a member of the Business Roundtable and Transatlantic Business Dialogue.

          Mr. Turley holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from Rice University, where he currently serves on the board of trustees.

          Mr. Turley and his wife, Lynne, have one son.

          Few of us in this thread can claim such long and deep dedication to Scouting’s success, I wager.

    • At the unit level the debate has the logical chance to find a group of individuals who opt to associate with a unit that holds a similar belief to their own. Does that mean that no youth will switch units? Definitely not! However, that is not a crisis. The declines in membership and financial support from individuals who are recognizing the discriminatory nature of BSA’s policy can be much more harmful.

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