bsa-logo

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. I’m glad the Boy Scouts of America is listening before deciding on changes to its membership policy. It’s great to have a spirited, yet courteous, discussion. Still, at the end of the day, the BSA will act to change its membership policy in such a way that does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation–and religion, for that matter. As a practical matter, Scouting must act to remove the red letter pinned to the movement’s chest if it is ever to grow in members and in resources. Those of us who love Scouting do not want to see it settle for an existence at the margin of American life.

    For the record, I’m an Eagle Scout blessed by having had the privilege of working for Scouting in the professional service and in various volunteer capacities including, currently, Cubmaster.

    • Then it will wither, gogi. Make no mistake. Parents who find the practice of homosexuality at odds with their beliefs WILL remove their Scouts in huge numbers. Merit badge counselors will choose not to renew. Volunteers will no longer have time. It’s not just the boys that BSA will lose — it’s a huge number of parent volunteers. This is a potential death-knell.

      If you read the front page of Royal Rangers, they are coming out strong against the practice of homosexuality. They’ll likely be the beneficiaries of BSA’s decision, in the same way that AHG is siphoning off those families who cannot abide by GSUSA’s policies.

      • Then it will wither, gogi. Make no mistake. Parents who find the practice of homosexuality at odds with their beliefs WILL remove their Scouts in huge numbers. Merit badge counselors will choose not to renew. Volunteers will no longer have time. It’s not just the boys that BSA will lose — it’s a huge number of parent volunteers. This is a potential death-knell.

        There are those who argue that our 67% decline in membership since the 1970s is due to parents who find the practice of discriminating against homosexuality at odds with their beliefs, who then remove their Scouts in huge numbers, and themselves, too. Merit badge counselors chose not to renew. Volunteers somehow found they no longer had time. It’s not just the boys that BSA lost — it’s a huge number of parent volunteers. This was a potential death-knell. Can Scouting ever recover?

        • That’s a big assumption, Ed, if you’re one of those making that argument. There are so many factors at work regarding membership, this whole issue is only a small part of it. There seems to be more things competing for young boys time these days than in the early ’70′s. The activities that Scouting is best known for aren’t as popular with children these days. Kids aren’t watching Gene Autry or John Wayne and dreaming of roughing it on the frontier or military bivouac. Also is the fact most families with two parents also have two parents working. There are a lot more single parent families in America too than in the 1970′s. The logistics of getting boys to Scout meetings and events and all the other competing extra curricular activities out there is just more complicated than it used to be. These are all far greater influences on membership and volunteering than any bias against homosexual activity.

      • So the true spirit of scouting will live even if it’s under a different name.. it isn’t essential that the BSA in name survive as an organization.. If leadership changes the integrity of the organization and members find a better fit that lives with the scout spirit volunteers can easily change.. it’s the American way.. It would be a tremendous shame but it would be wrongful to be in an organization that doesn’t represent who uou are; the truth of your heart.. I won’t join different denominations of the Christian faith for the same reasons..

        • Look at the drop in membership for boy scouts in Canada and Girl Scouts in our own country.

      • Royal Rangers asre not familiar to me. Hence, why should I care about them? I care about the future of BSA. Just because someone else does it, does not justify you doing it. Isn’t that what makes the Scouts stronger – morally straight? Adherance to one’s own principles despite majority’s opinions, being hit and standing up to get yet another blow only to regain the stance – this what makes one a true hero. Lech Valensa is a very good example.

    • Excellent take on the situation. I think there are many that already avoid the BSA because of its discriminatory policies against gays and atheists. Change will come, and the organization will be better in the end.

      • Right on, Brother! I am not renewing my membership/leadership until I see the outcome going in an ANTIDISCRIMINATORY DIRECTION. At the very end, discrimination against one group leads to discrimination of the other. And, while I am not gay, I support them wholeheartedly because I oppose discrimination in ANY form. And discrimination it is! One can not convince me that being gay is worse than being a discitrminator.

        • Andrei, I have rechartered and will work to promote change from within. I also hope to be someone a gay scout can come to for guidance.

        • Andrei: Discrimination? you say that as if it’s a bad word.. you discriminate every day… you discriminate against me and my ideas; it’s called freedom to choose.. In the United States of America our discriminating tastes are protected by the Constitution. Many men and women have been injured, maimed for life or ultimately died for my freedom to choose (discriminate) between good and bad; righteous and evil. If an organization chooses to have a membership policy that best reflects the opinion of the membership it serves then that’s a good discrimination; serves the will of the membership. If you choose to create your own youth organization consisting of homosexual leadership then in the United States of America your free to choose to do that and the parents you ask to send their sons and daughters to be led by your homosexual leaders are free to do just that; I’d never say a word to you although the media would probably have a field day with all of you; especially when something inappropriate happens.. Your so intelligent and have such a strong background in mental health it sounds like you’d be the perfect person to organize and run such an organization.. I’d be curious to see you do it; I’d be curious to see how many children you’d attract into your units. If was such a great idea I wonder why nobody’s ever done it? I hope you have the courage to find out why? Be a pioneer; I encourage you; I just won’t support you.. I already support the BSA..

      • I think the ones that choose to avoid the BSA are practicing their freedom to discriminate and choose to avoid the BSA; their really missing out on something great though… I grew up in the BSA and it was the best experience I think a youth could have.. My son says the same thing of his scouting experience.. Why should it be changed; to take the chance of ruining that experience for all the boys in the future who loose that opportunity to enjoy all the benefits of being in the BSA as I knew it and as my son knew it and as 2,000,000+ other Eagle Scouts knew it along with the millions and millions of more scouts… How’s that fair to take all that away from them to serve a few who choose to openly define themselves by their sexuality? Do you think all youth are going to be accepting and kind to homosexual youths; their kids, if you ever had one or knew one you’d know their pretty free spirits. How’s it fair to place them in such a volatile position? Then when something happens who’s ultimately to blame? I think the leaders are going to avoid this headache by resigning; why take on the extra unnecessary burden.. If you don’t think there’d be trouble then your very short sighted.. Use a little imagination and think of some worst case scenarios.. What kind of scout or scout leader would you be if your didn’t try to be prepared for those situations.. And even prepared your going to end up in some really difficult or at times impossible situations..

  2. The protection of your boys should come first. Put politics aside, please do not lift the ban. I agree with the man who stated to send a survey to all the parents and scouts involved in scouting. MOST do NOT want the ban lifted. Truth.

    • The BSA will be taking the month of March to listen to its members and the parents of the Scouts, and the chartering partners. We will find out what the membership wants. That is the whole purpose of listening.

      There is no proposal in place yet to lift any ban or partially lift any ban.

      This is not a youth protection issue. If it was, the BSA would not be considering any change. If you want to know more about youth protection, take the youth protection training at: http://www.myscouting.org

      • Listening is good but of no real value… It doesn’t mean much in the long run if the will of the majority of the members isn’t reflected clearly in the membership policy… I’ve heard some things on here that are very discouraging and had been unknown to me in the past.. It sounds like there is a lot of money at play here for the paid executives of the BSA.. That sincerely concerns me when it comes to how well those ears will be listening if their ears are distracted by the lure of big money.. Someone on here said they earn $400K each.. That’s a lot of money plinking in the cash register too… Might be hard to listen to the true will of the majority of the members when that kind of static is distracting your attention too.. that’s why the people earning the $400K on the backs of the free volunteers who actually make the program work need to allow the free volunteer members to have a direct vote on this issue; they’ve earned every bit of the right to have a direct say.. Some of the volunteers have invested a little time, some have invested a lot of time and some have invested a life time of free volunteer service to the BSA because of the love of the Spirit behind scouting… I sincerely think we’ve earned the right to vote directly on this issue and it isn’t unreasonable or impossible to have a direct vote on this issue.. If you have a membership card you get one vote; majority rules… There is no better way… whatever the outcome I will live with because I respect Democracy…. Majority Rules…. That’s The American Way…

        • Wallace, it has never been a majority that moved the human kind in a progressve way. I seem to remember you are a Christian, then you should agree with my statement above. otherwise, how else you would explain that Christianity developed from a very small and UNPOPULAR MINORITY?! Since your comments on this page were so strong about Christian values, you should know the history of your religion. No, Wallace, majority rules only in legal and political issues. In ethical desisions majority does not always prevail. And this is what you can not deny.
          The majority that promotes discrimination of any sort ( for yet another example close to your heart, discrimination against the Christians at the very beginning of it) loses big time. Using your own biblical arguments (although I am in no favor of doing so, but to make a greater impression upon conservative Christians) Christ was in a great minority, and yet he won over billions of minds. And not because he promoted war against those who disagreed with him, but because he promoted love to others and died for his beliefs. So, how is it that you – being such a devoted Christ follower seem to lack a very simple truth – Love Thy Neighbor? Why are you so afraid of the people that think different? If they are no harm to you, embrace them and walk together with them, not against them. Amen to you.

        • Wallace, there is so “attention calling” in your messages, so much crying for help that one can’t but wonder – why? May be because deep inside you know that your position is rather weak?
          While I don’t share your values of discrimination, I will state that You do have valid points and admirable position of devotion to your principles.However, you’d have had much more support here if you backed up your principles with logic and a little higher level of thinking.
          For example: When you drone on and on about the Bible and Biblical values you most certainly ask for attention. When you call everyone to vote, you most certainly hope to be heard. Then why, for your own sake, you deny the same rights to others? Why, like any other typical conservative, you make a statement that “LIstening is good but of no real value” and yet hope that someone would listen to you? Sounds like you shot yourself in your own foot once again.
          No, this is not The American Way – to let one group being heard and shut the other down.

        • Andrei: Why do you try to define who I am? Do you think you know who I am simply because of the job you do. Sounds like your just another Christianphobe to me. I don’t hide behind the bible. I don’t even know what that’s supposed to mean. I try to live by biblical principles; that’s actually a good thing Andrei… It sounds like your afraid of a vote, democracy, the American way.. I can understand why.. The scouts are made up of generally like minded people who are attracted to the organization for similar reasons; trying to raise our sons to be good wholesome young men of good character. A vote of the membership would show overwhelming support of the BSA policy; why do you think the BSA is so afraid to allow their membership to vote? They might not get the answer they want.. Do you think parents of boys dream their sons will grow up to become homosexuals; do you honestly? Do you think they want their sons to be in a den, or troop that is led by one or a group of homosexual; some who may be couples within the unit? If my son was a homosexual then I’d honestly love him no less; I know this to be the case for me. But my opinion about how the BSA runs their organization would be no different and I would be understanding and respectful of their decision; free private American organization. I would rather my son not be a homosexual but I know I would love him the same.. You can falsely label me and call me names on here; I really don’t care. I know I’m not as stupid as you need me to be to fall for your foolish talk. Your efforts to discredit me probably only destroyed any credibility you think you have anyway; your so bitter and angry… I understand; your loosing the argument… And everything I’ve said on here is a truth that rings true with many many people; I realize the truth hurts. Sling mud at me all you want, goes right by me.. your slinging mud in the face of God because that’s where the truth comes from anyway.. I’m not ashamed to stand up for His principles.. I’d rather deal with Him for standing with Him than to be in your position and deal with Him opposing His principles.. We’re all free to choose; He loves freedom.. ultimately none of this matters to Him anyway; He’s in control of everything ultimately. Believers understand… Believers aren’t all as stupid as you need them to be…

    • Blessedwith4 – I pitty you, because when your 4 grow up they will not let you hide behind “safety” and “truth”. Safety from who? Who said that homosexuals are dangerous to boys? How much more proof does one need to understand – homosexuality does not equal child abuse in any form. It is pedofiles that you should worry about, Blessed One. Go on line (if you are so scared to talk to homosexuals face to face) and broaden your very simplistic perception: there were multiple studies that porved this point time and again: homosexual orientatyion is about living with the same sex; not molesting young children. I would trust a homosexual leader before I entrust my son to people who are so narrow-minded. Should you be interested in the studies that I mentioned, reply – and I will paste in the longest list of those.
      My knowledge of the gay community comes first-hand: friends, clients (I am a mental health professional who serves ALL clients, regardless of their orientation and valuse).

      • Andrei: seems ironic that you would call anyone narrow minded for envisioning the worst case scenarios with regard to changing the BSA membership policy. You sound like a professional; a mental health professional. The BSA teaches scouts to be prepared. That includes preparing for the worst case scenario. If the membership policy is changed and homosexuals come out within the scouting ranks use your imagination to think of all the scenarios that will happen and what the media’s going to do with all of that new fodder to strangle the BSA with. Seems to me the policy acts as a protection to the BSA with regard to the potential of what will surely be the destruction of the organization as few parents will enroll their children in the BSA when those kinds of stories begin to materialize and the BSA will appear to have been responsible in ways having changed their membership policy to include homosexuals as leaders. The tabloid mainstream media we have in this country now only cares about creating conflict and seeing organizations and peoples lives destroyed; sells I guess? sickening to me. If the BSA doesn’t change their policy then the policy does what the BSA probably intended for it to do in the first place which is to protect them from accusations of not doing their best to do their duty to the boys and leaders they serve. Think you or any of the supporters of changing this policy now will be around to stand behind your push to change this policy when that day comes.. That day will come.. Somewhere there will be an incident at some point in time and it will spell nothing but disaster for the BSA when that day comes. I don’t think I have to spell out the worst case scenarios here.. I think all parents have already imagined them already; why parents are so overprotective these days. When I was a boy this country was much different. And this debate would never be taking place; never did…

  3. Perez said in the above comments: 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.”

    I wonder what all of that really means.. And is it a bit much to assume the BSA is America’s last, greatest hope? Is there a pride in that statement that takes away the fact that God has blessed the BSA with amazing Godly chartering organizations, Godly benefactors, Godly leaders and Godly youth members? I think its important to keep scouting strong and retain everything that’s given scouting its earned place in our culture… Can’t be wreckless though and can’t make radical changes to reach small groups at the expense of jeopardizing the morals and integrity of the BSA with the existing members…

  4. I notice there has been some concern over people not using their real names. My user ID is one that is normally used in WordPress, the account for which is used for registered comments here. I have attempted to correct it for this venue.

    My name is David L Alexander. I am an audiovisual production specialist with an agency of the U S Government in Washington DC. I am a native of Ohio, and a resident of Arlington, Virginia. I have been a member of the Order of the Arrow since 1969, an Eagle Scout since 1971, and have been with the National Capital Area Council since July of 2004, where I currently serve as an Assistant District Commissioner, for which, contrary to popular belief, I “talk with other Scouters about special issues pertaining to their unit.”

    • Thank you David. (But I’ll keep calling you Manwithblackhat – it’s a classy chapeau.) My name is Rolf, I live in the Denver area, Eagle 1975, Brotherhood OA since 1972, Wood Badge 2010, Pack Committee Chair since 2007, also a den leader since 2010 (we’ve had trouble recruiting enough volunteers), one son in Cub Scouts and one in Boy Scouts. My brother’s an Eagle Scout too, and my dad was a Scout. My avatar is of me as a Cub Scout. Outside Scouts I’m a member of the United Church of Christ, am a Sunday School teacher there, am on the rotation for liturgist, and was BSA “God and Me” counselor for my sons and several other kids.

      • My name is Deanna, I live in the Detroit area and have been a Cub Scout Den Leader since 2004, Cubmaster for one year, Committee Member for 3 years, Merit Badge Counselor for 1 year, mom of a Life Scout and Tenderfoot, wife of 21 years, member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America since 1991. I have two degrees one in Psychology and the other in American Sign Language. I own a Specialty Ad business with my husband and sister in law.

        • My name is Beth. I live in NW Ohio, I’m the straight single mother of one boy, a First Class Scout. He earned the Arrow of Light, has been den chief to his cub scout pack, and is now SPL. I have been Tiger leader and Webelos leader. I am pack committee chair, though my son has been out of cubs for a while. I’m also committee member of another pack. I work on district Cub Scout day camp staff. I am a cub scout range officer. I am also committee chair of our troop, have been ASM, and attend summer camp and nearly every other campout we do. I am on staff for my council’s University of Scouting. I am on my district committee, and beginning this month, will serve as the district roundtable commissioner. I am a District Award of Merit recipient. I am Woodbadge trained, currently working my tickets. I am a physician assistant, and also volunteer at a local elementary school tutoring kids that need extra help. I was raised Catholic, and still find comfort in attending Catholic services. My morality dictates that I be kind to other people. I live my life to be a good person and do what I feel is right in all situations. My son and I love scouting, and the friends we have made here. We both want this policy changed. We have friends and family that are gay, and I find it shameful that they are, by matter of policy, excluded from an organization that gets so many other things right.

      • It’s very nice that you and Dave are both Eagle scouts, but isn’t important to this discussion. The opinion of an Eagle scout is no more important than the opinion of a parent who has never been a scout. It doesn’t make you right. If you look at a list of Eagle scouts, you’ll find some very bad people on that list.

        • I was only saying who I was, and implying that I was willing to stand behind what I wrote and not hide behind a pseudonym, at a time in this conversation when that was an issue. Nothing more. Try not to read something into it that is not there.

        • Einhard, none of these folks wished to brag and back up their views by the “stars on their shoulders”. They didn’t claim to be right either. So, feel free to think the way you wish.
          They just wanted to openly introduce themselves. I think you just misunderstood their intent.
          They ARE real Scouts, because they follow their oath – be honest, be brave. And for that folks deserve respect. “Do not turn angry at your opponent, pay him all the credit he deserves, show respect and bow” says ancient wizdom: without respect the battle is just a fight; with respect it becomes Art.”

      • And I am Karen Zeller. I live in rural Oregon. I am married, with three youth still in BSA programs (the oldest less active now). I was Akela to my much younger brother, an Eagle in 1989, and later his guardian. I have been a Cub Scout Cubmaster and/or Den Leader since 1999; an Assistant Scoutmaster or Troop Chaplain since 2003; and a Venturing Advisor since 2008. I am a trainer for my District and I chair my council’s Special Needs Committee. I have been a Wood Badge Scoutmaster. My degrees are in Classics and in Divinity. I teach high school and I am the head of Christian education in my Presbyterian church. The people I know who are advocating for change in BSA are all, as I am, active and long-time volunteers in BSA who love Scouting and what Scouting does for youth and adults.

        • Since everyone is leaving their Scouting Service record to bolster their opinion, I will do the same. I have been in Scouting 16 years and served in a number of positions in Troop and Pack. Served as Council Training Chair, Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner and Troop Guide for Wood Badge as well as Asst. Scoutmaster for Jamboree. I am currently a Scoutmaster. I could not disagree more with the last three comment posted to this thread supporting openly homosexual Scouts and Leaders in Scouting..

          Liberal progressive and God’s Word are not compatible in my opinion because liberal progressive thought moderates God’s word to fit everybody in the barrel that are politically correct deviants but this is a Scouting thread. Leave religion out of it.

          Scouting has never accepted deviant behavior as morally straight. A Scout cannot e Clean if he engages in deviant behavior. Active Homosexual behavior is deviant behavior. It’s unnatural in Nature. Its unclean in practice. Why would we expose young men to potential abuse? Do you really think a least a small percentage of openly homosexual Adults and teens will be come predatory. Can you be that naive? What if a Scout has a crush on another Scout and harasses him on a Campout? How will you handle that? Its not about self-worth of homosexuals, Its about safety of Scouts who don’t make sexuality a defining attribute of their life. It saddens me that such thought even passes through the mind of a Scout Leader. You concern is misplaced. Care for your young men in Scouting terms. Sexuality has no place in Scouting and neither does deviant behavior. Let homosexuals camp on their own terms with their own organization. And yes, my 21 yr old Eagle Scout son and Den mother wife feel the same way I do..

        • “Since everyone is leaving their Scouting Service record to bolster their opinion …”

          No, Fred, not everyone.

          It’s all my fault. I was listed through Disqus as “manwithblackhat.” When it became clear that using my ID was an impediment to good will, I changed my Disqus profile to show my full name. It was then that I chose to describe myself, to prove that mine was not an attempt to hide behind an alias. The person to whom it was directed responded in kind, and it sort of went from there.

          While having some experience with Scouting is going to lend some credence to a person’s statement, as often as not it is the merits of what they have to say. Then again, sometimes there’s a perfectly innocent reason for things.

          This is one of them.

        • Well Mr. Blackhat, I have no issue with aliases. Most people that do fail to make their argument logically. I was trying to get people to stop misdirecting this argument as a religious one.and tackle the core argument head on. We do not need toaccept deviant behavior to grow in Scouting. Let the Progressives have their organization and leave us to our traditional Scouting organization. Why do they feel thay have to tear down tradition to appease a vocal minority.

        • Mr. Cooper, you state to “leave religion out of it,” then go on to talk about morality. Morality is largely derived from religion. Your religion begets your morality. My religion begets my morality. If our religions disagree, then our moralities can certainly disagree as well. Since there is no definitive BSA publication defining exactly what behavior is or is not ‘morally straight,’ we must each rely on our own personal values to guide us here. It is certainly well within your purview to consider homosexuality to be immoral. It is also well within mine to not consider it so.

        • Its not about what you or I believe. Scouting has always treated homosexuality as being incompatible with “morally straight” which was re-affirmed last year by the vast majority of volunteers. Its not about you. its not about me. As leaders we accept what BSA teaches or we leave. Doesn’t affect my religious beliefs. Trouble is, supporters of homosexuality as moral will not accept BSA policy and leave. Why do you stay in an organization that does not support your beliefs? Why not find one that does instead or tearing down a traditional one?

        • It absolutely is about what we believe. You seem to acknowledge this in your claim that the anti-homosexual position was re-affirmed by the ‘vast majority’ of volunteers. I’m not sure when this happened, however. If it was not about what we believe, why would this matter? As stated in Bryan’s original post here, one reason this policy is being re-examined now is because many volunteers were not even aware of the policy until it was announced in the summer of 2012 that the BSA had decided to keep the current policy.

          Why do I stay in the organization? Because I believe in the program. I find this current exclusionary policy to be unjust, however. I believe that the Scout Law directs me to do what I believe is right. A Scout is Obedient. A Scout follows the rules of his family, school, and troop. He obeys the laws of his community and country. IF HE THINKS THESE RULES ARE UNFAIR, HE TRIES TO HAVE THEM CHANGED IN AN ORDERLY MANNER RATHER THAN DISOBEY THEM.

          As for what the BSA teaches about sexuality… they *say* they don’t teach about sexuality at all. I agree with the premise that they should not do so. That is up to individual families and religions to teach.

        • Since you chose to SHOUT, it is NOT about what you and I believe. Don’t play semantics and try to distract from the original argument. Can you honestly say and do you honestly believe that Scouting supported homosexuality in Scouting until last year and volunteers did not know “morally straight” was incompatible with homosexuality? Really?

          As far as changing laws you are correct. But, this is not a law of the land. it is a core belief of a traditional organization that has stood the test of time until progressives began to try to change it. Its not that hard. No need to make sideline arguments.

          A whole bunch of progressives on this blog have been hanging their hat on what BSA said about not “teaching” about homosexuality. You are parsing my words. I clearly meant it was a core belief of Scouting and as a Leader, I support that before my Chartered Organization, leaders and Scouts. I think this policy change, if adopted, would be very destructive. Think of the organization, not forcing your own beliefs on it.

        • I used caps on the portion of the statement that I wished to emphasize. I apologize if you thought I was shouting, that’s not how I intended it.

          So you think the Scout Law’s directive to change rules and laws in an orderly fashion *doesn’t* apply to Scouting itself? I find that odd.

          I absolutely believe that many volunteers in the BSA did not realize that homosexuals were excluded from membership. I did not know when I first joined. The thought had not occurred to me. I don’t see homosexuality and morally straight as antithetical to each other. I know that I’m not alone. I’m not parsing words. We simply disagree on the issue. In a couple of months, we will all see where the BSA as a whole stands.

        • Yes, I do believe that the directive to Scouts refers to the law of the land, otherwise it would have said any organization you would like to change. Peaceful change of law I believe that was entirely its intent.to avoid unnecessary Social unrest.

          You and I are in the process of changing Scouting. Scouting will either stand by traditional values or adopt progressive ones but whatever is decide will not cause Social unrest that leads to anarchy. We are not that important. It will damage Scouting either way. For me, I have always participated in Scouting because it reflected the morals and values i wanted to bring up my son learning and living. He is an Eagle Scout and I am very proud of him. He does not support this proposed policy change either nor his mother. who was his den mother. I don’t know how you could not have known homosexuality is incompatible with “morally straight” but I believe you are truthful about that.

          You are correct. We will see in a couple of months. I recommended Scouting to my Chartered Organization after they left it for years. The Church and I are completely in agreement on the proposed policy. The policy, if adopted, would make Scouting incompatible with a law far greater. God’s law. We would surrender our Charter. Scouting is a program, not a faith.

          Thank you for an interesting conversation.

        • Nor am I playing semantics, by the way. Of course it’s not about what you and I, individually believe. It *is* about what we all believe, however. It *is* about what our chartering organizations believe. We don’t all have to believe the same thing! We are each entitled to our individual beliefs!

  5. “But I do fear a large exodus from Scouting by some fearful or angry people who claim they will take their sons out of Scouting if this change goes through. It seems they can’t even abide the mere POSSIBILITY that some local unit OTHER THAN THEIR OWN might someday allow an openly gay person to be a member or leader. That seems very strange to me – and following that reasoning, why haven’t they already resigned, since most other countries in World Scouting already allow openly gay leaders?”

    Yes, other units may decide to do this, but who makes the decisions concerning staff and leaders at district camporees, council camps, and national entities? Therein lies the problem. Units that do not decide to take that approach would then be faced with the choice to participate and place their Scouts under leadership which they believe does not model their values or to not take part in those activities. Concerning World Scouting, most units do not come into contact with units from other countries. Regardless, I don’t think anyone really wants to hold up Scouting in other countries as the model, since Scouting in most countries is not nearly as strong as it is in the U.S. I spend some time in a Scout shop in Canada every summer, and I visited the national Scout headquarters in the Dominican Republic this past Fall. No one I asked in the DR knew where the office was or even what Scouts were.

    Rolf, while I respect your freedom to believe what you want concerning the Bible’s teaching, labeling your church as “mainstream” is a little misleading when it comes to Christian denominations. Mainline denominations have been declining for years (and numerically speaking in relation to professing Christians, are not mainstream), and in many cases, their theology has departed from what they once held to be true. Your statement, “. . . the more that some on this thread cite the Bible as being against open gays, and the more they claim that their position is based on (their brand of) Christian doctrine, the more it’s clear that their position is based on their own sectarian theology” is really based on nothing other than the fact that your own position is based on your sectarian theology.

    The historical, traditional, and natural reading of passages such as Judges 19 and Romans 1 is that homosexual activity, like all sexual activity outside of marriage, is sin. I have a Masters of Divinity with Languages (over 20 hours of Greek and nearly as many in Hebrew), and with respect to those individuals who believe that the sin of Sodom was one of a lack of hospitality rather than homosexuality, they are doing hermeneutical gymnastics.

    • Scott,
      Read what you have written – could it be that the reason that the BSA is stronger here than the rest of the world is BECAUSE of the values of “morally straight”? Take that away and the BSA becomes just like any other public school program for youth.

      If the BSA changes their policy to allow homosexuals, there is nothing that makes it stand out for instilling the values that previous generations grew up with and are a part of the SCOUT OATH!

      • BSA was much stronger in the U.S. before these policies. There may not be the cause-effect relationship you’re looking for in policies on homosexuals.

      • Stuart,

        That is exactly what I am saying. Scouts Canada experienced a 36% drop in membership within 5 years of making the change. It is now less than 50% what is was in 1998. To be clear, the first paragraph in my posting was a quote from someone else’s post.

    • Scott, as you have stated you are an informed Christian when it comes to the Bible. Then you have to admit that you can use the Bible expecially the Old Testement to argue for some outragous things. I am a Catholic that has 16 yrs of Catholic education. I don’t agree with my Church on everything. As history has taught us, Churchs and all Religious organizations are run by humans, therefore not perfect. Besides trying to live guided by my Catholic faith, I live by two very general common sense philosohies; the golden rule( treat people as you would want to be treated), and live and let live, if it does not cause harm. In every walk of life there are people who are gay, there are gay people in Scouts now. Is it right to have them kicked out if it is discovered? Judge people by their character, nothing else. Isn’t character something we try to instill in our scouts, not hate. BTW I am not gay. Former den leader and father of 3, with one son who is a Boy Scout.

        • Mike, need I repeat myself? A preference for relationships with males does not imply risky sexual behaviors occurring.
          I would argue that:
          a) with the risk being common knowledge now, the vast majority of young men are not engaging in that sort of behavior, and
          b) if there is no sexual activity, there is no violation of “morally straight” or “clean” as applied in this context.

        • “Integersatcopyrightaitch”, some of us may have been born at night, but it was not last night. To say that people, who DEFINE themselves by their High Risk (UNHEALTHY) behavior may not engage that behavior is absurd. With all due respect to your view, these people have a platform that has not changed in 40 years (Read Demand #7)

          http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1007694/posts

    • I am bilingual. I am fluent in two languages. I have a BA degree in my second language and have at times worked as an interpreter. Most often my second language is used primarily on the job communicating with others. It is amazing, with all of my training and practice, how often something was miscommunicated or misunderstood when conversing with an individual with whom my second language was their primary language.

    • Scott – it was someone else who referred to “mainline churches” with “liberal” views as being responsible for this situation. I agree that most churches do not share my church’s view that gays and lesbians are not sinners and deserve a full and equal seat at God’s table. However, my denomination alone has over 1,000 churches who DO feel that way.

      The proposal is not to force other chartered organizations such as more conservative churches to admit openly gay or lesbian leaders. Yet you and others seem to argue that merely allowing my church and faith to have religious liberty somehow infringes on your own.

      Don’t you realize that if this proposal passes, there will be absolutely no change for the great majority of local units? And for other local units there will likely be very few cases where an openly gay person actually becomes a leader or member – but at least they will have the opportunity to do so if their local unit is okay with it, without having to fear that some meddler from outside will expel them.

      • It should also be said that if a boy finds himself in a Troop that does not meet his needs he can move to another Troop that does, without having to hide his true self or be disappointed by being kick out of Scouting.

      • Although your denomination has 1000 churches I have to wonder how many members it had before changing their policies toward homosexual behavior. Our chartering organization changed their policy toward allowing open homosexuals to become ordained minsters and this congregation of Presbyterians has dwindled to a handful of older people who won’t leave their life long home because its all they know; the young families have left and nobody’s joining the church. Their door still counts as a church under the Presbyterian Church. Many Christians who want a church that follows biblical principles are joining churches that don’t accept non-biblical principles as part of their church disciplines such as the Baptists or independent evangelical churches. So the number of doors that your church owns is far different than the number of members it has today vs. the number of members it had 5 years ago. I wonder how many members it will have 5 years from now? I anticipate our chartering church will go bankrupt and close within the next 10 years; we’ll be looking for a new chartering organization if we still have a BSA membership to work with.

  6. Does anyone have any factual information with exactly why the current membership policy was established? What was the motivating force prompting its establishment? Who established the policy and how was the policy developed? Was there a review of draft policies? Were there draft policies and what did they look like; what was the evolution of the present language? was there a particular incident that occurred that prompted the writing of the policy? seems to me that the policy would give the BSA a basis to use to remove leadership that became overly aggressive in trying to become activists trying to manipulate youth to become more accepting of a homosexual agenda? I really have no idea about the origin of the policy; but i can imagine that it can serve a real purpose and should be kept to continue to provide that real purpose.

    • To answer your questions, in order
      no.
      no.
      no.
      no.
      no.
      it was not documented.
      if so, it was not documented.

      The current policy on gays was not publicly published by BSA until the 1990s. It was not really set in stone until 2000, when the court said that BSA could only have a nation-wide ban on gays if it had a nation-wide opinion about gays. BSA relented, and allowed someone’s back-office opinion that gays are immoral to become the BSA national position.

      That is where the current policy came from.

  7. Regardless of your position I think we can all agree that National has done a poor job in communicating. Five Councils in the Western Region all said the same thing when asked about the pending change, “we were blindsided by National. We received no communication from National on the membership issue.” Many on this comment board have defended the Executive Key 3′s and many like myself have demanded answers and/or resignations for failed leadership. We now know that many Scouters have deliberately failed to follow the tenants of the Scout Oath and Law while allowing unworthy Scouts to gain rank advancements and awards. We know that the philosophy of ends justify the means is not only permissible but encouraged. Given all of the dirty laundry that has come to light I believe that the following questions should be answered by the Executive Key 3′s. They should be answered in full detail in the full light of day. Real leadership, meaningful leadership that inspires demands answering the tough questions with full transparency. Our Scouts demand that type of leadership from their leaders and as Scouters we should demand it from ours. Answering tough questions from the security and safety of exclusive events or from the offices of the powerful in Scouting does not count. Scouting teaches us that if you are doing the right thing it is hard, it is challenging, and you do not need a shield. Stand forth and prove the detractors of your leadership (like me) wrong.

    Why will they not release the hard data and the names of donors who no longer donate as a result of this “antiquated” policy? Why have they deliberately withheld the names of the 1400 voting members that will decide this issue? Where are their meeting notes over the last 2 years regarding this “antiquated” policy? Where are the Executive Key 3′s written position statements and their personal beliefs regarding the membership change? Why were BSA Councils mislead or ignored in the formulation of the proposed membership policy change? What are the legal ramifications and what role will National play in defending CO’s from the lawsuits that WILL be filed as a result of the proposed policy change? Will Duty to God be eliminated or changed to accommodate agnostics and atheists? Who will rewrite the Scout Law and Scout Oath to accommodate and clarify morally straight, clean, trustworthy, and obedient?

    • I would assume that the names of the 1400 individuals that will be voting on this issue are being withheld so that they are not unduly attacked, stigmatized or harassed. Could you just imagine the calls or letters that they would receive that would be of a threatening nature. Better that it is anonymous.

      • Good point.
        Then let’s take it further – to protect them from being attacked, why not allow the entire Scouting leadership (and I mean EVERY SINGLE ADULT LEADER IN THE U.S.), members, and parents vote? Why protect them today and make them responsible tomorrow? Once again I state here – current leadership in scouting is extremely poor and is acting cowardly.

        How else would you call people who change their policy back and forth depending not on their core beliefs but on external pressure. When they wrote the discriminatory document didn’t they know that they would have to answer for it? When they wanted to change it, didn’t they forsee criticism and pressure? Now, they backed up to take time… for what? To think again? So, did they give it a good thought from the beginning, when they started this mess? Or was it just another fad, PC, PR, financial move? They put Scouting under such heat… and can’t even have enough honor to take the responsibility for it and step down.

  8. Yes, the line in the policy is discriminatory. However,it is discriminatory against a behaviour, not who the effected people are. What you do on your own time in your own world is not our business. What IS our business is the behaviour you demonstrate in front of the scouts. Everyone discriminates. Is it wrong to do so? If it is, then why are there laws? Laws discriminate on behaviours and actions. Everone on the planet who has car or house keys is discriminating. Discriminating against people who would enter someone else’s car or home for whatever reason. The behaviour the BSA is discriminating against is displaying or discussing sexual preferences to scouts (who are MINORS). Isn’t that what it means to be “open”, telling and displaying your preference to the people around you? Are heterosexuals, bisexuals, and others free to announce their sexual preferences to scouts? In our training, we are told that ANY sexual questions that come from the scouts are to be referred to their parents, healthcare providers, or clergy, NOT to be discussed by scouters. I would have the same issue with ANYONE who was “openly” gay, “openly” heterosexual, “openly” bisexual, or “openly” anything else discussing or announcing their sexual preferences with scouts, and if those rules apply to everyone, there is no discrimination against any person. If you condone these behaviours (again, the TELLING and DISPLAYING to the scouts your preferences, not the preferences themselves), then you usurp the prerogatives of the parents to educate their children as they see fit, not force your own point of view on their children. Sexual politics should NEVER be a part of scouting, and we as scouters should leave those discussions out of the troop meetings and campsites. I am an active scouter, top unit leader, a former scout (11 years worth from cubs to Scouts) and I intentionally leave off my unit affiliations because I in no way speak for them, the chartering organizations, district, or council.

    • Wayne should be applauded for putting his finger on the REAL issue. Announcing a preference for an UNHEALTHY life-Style has no place in the BSA (period).

    • Being openly homosexual means that you don’t hide who you are. It means that simply by the virtue of being married to someone of the same sex rather than the opposite sex, it’s obvious that you are gay. That is not the same thing as coming to scout meetings and talking about sex.

        • I’m confused. Wallace you state “There is no such thing as a true homosexual marriage”. Can you explain how this?

          Just for clarification Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Washington, the District of Columbia and two Native American tribes—have legalized same-sex marriage.

          There are religions (Metropolitan Community Church, the United Church of Christ, the Christian Church , the Episcopal Church of the United States, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Evangelical Lutheran Church In America and the Unitarian Universalists) that do believe that God blesses same sex marriages therefore making their marriages true.

        • If two people are married, and they are gay, then that is a gay marriage. Even if you don’t like it, or your religion doesn’t approve.

        • Actually, same sex marriage is recognized by a growing number of states. It is also recognized by certain Christian denominations. The fact that you don’t like it doesn’t make it not exist.

        • 30 States prohibit Same Sex Marriage in their constitutions. The Defense of Marriage Act, enacted in 1996, prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages and allows each state to refuse recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states.

        • Yes, 30 states currently prohibit gay marriage, but a growing number of states allow it. So. In those states where gay marriage is legal there certainly *is* such a thing as gay marriage. DOMA’s days are numbered. Polls show that the majority of people across the country are in favor of allowing gay marriage. If you don’t believe in gay marriage, then don’t marry a gay person. Otherwise, it really doesn’t affect you.

    • Totally agree with you, Wayne. “Sexual politics should NEVER be part of Scouting, and scouters should leave those discussions out of the troop meetings and campsites.”

      The “openly” ban, as it’s been applied, means that if someone is suspected of being gay and then admits it in response to a question, they’re expelled. This is not a situation of people imposing their beliefs or their values on others – which would be wrong no matter who was doing it.

      I would be the first person to argue for disqualification from leadership of some person who dared to proselytize to my kids about the benefits of their lifestyle, be it gay or “the man is always right” or whatever. Or if they brought up any sexual practices. But if two women or two men are married in a state that allows them to be married, or in a committed relationship, the mere fact that they are in that relationship should not disqualify them from Scouting as long as their local unit’s chartered organization is okay with that. And if a young man happens to be gay but never acts inappropriately or says inappropriate things to other Scouts, then he too should be allowed to be in Scouting – again, as long as his local unit’s chartered organization is okay with that. These people should not be expelled or have their eligibility for Eagle denied based on what some outsiders of different faiths believe.

      • There is no such thing as a true homosexual marriage rolfdenver; that’s misleading and deceiving. A true marriage is a covenant between God, a man, and a woman. Only God can create a marriage; marriage is biblical and anything the other than that is simply a lie. That’s a truth that can’t be changed. If your a homosexual then the vast majority of BSA scouting families don’t want you to be a leader in the organization; that’s simply a fact and that majority should be listened to; its there organization too.

        • Wallace said, “A true marriage is a covenant between God, a man, and a woman.”
          I believe you are quoting from your beliefs. My church believes otherwise as do several others and two native American tribes.

        • I believe that Wallace is referring to a definition of marriage in the Christian sense of the term, that which has been the guide for most of the history of Western civilization up to now. Even so, the reality is that for most civilizations, over the course of several thousand years, the definition of marriage has been that which is between a man and a woman. (Some societies expand that to include multiple wives, but it is doubtful for the majority.) This is due to the relationship between this institution, and the ability to cultivate a family (which by any other means requires artificial means or other outside intervention), and thus continue to preserve a civilization; indeed, the species. It follows thus that civilizations are promoted and preserved so long as this understanding is preserved, and that they do not survive for long when it is not.

          Obviously, a change in that definition, even one upheld by a form of legislation, poses a challenge to that definition, and all else that follows.

        • Not just a Christian view David Alexander; other faiths adhere to the same definition of marriage… Last i heard over 83% of Americans regard themselves to be Christian; sounds like a large majority to me. The United States of America is still regarded to be largely a Christian Nation. Christian principles are woven all throughout our history and our culture today. I don’t think the minority of people should have the power to dictate the culture of the majority. I don’t think the minority will have the power to dictate the culture of the majority.

        • Wallace
          Last I checked the USA doesn’t use one book of faith to create legislation for the country.
          The USA also has the greatest number of independent religions than any other nation in the world. It is inappropriate to have one faith dictate what all of the other faiths should allow. The USA was founded on religious freedom and that means religious freedom for all not just the majority religion.
          Since there is no identified State religion it is therefore unlawful to have a national definition of marriage dictated by the Christian Bible.

        • I see David is still holding the “Fort of Reasoned Debate” against the Talking points of the Secular Humanists and their pro-gay allies.

          I continue to hope, and believe, that the overwhelming Majority of Scouters and the Parents of Scouts will make their voices heard, until the vote, and then we shall see what becomes of the B.S.A.?

        • When this is what I’d call “hiding behind the Bible”. (see your previous very defensive note about me attacking you, “defining you”, etc.). You make very broad definitions of others, yet do not wish to be defined. You want to be heard, but dewny the same right to others. And when you have no answer, you drop the Bible argument – which is the least relevant in any discussion unless it is about the Bible.
          A family union was historically established to protect women from being left w/o means to live after their husbands died or divorced them. Another reason for legalising the union of two adults was to limit sexual encounters of the men. Yet another reason – to make men more responcible for their children. Christianity has little (if anything) to do with the definiton of what family is. Families existed way before Christ was born.
          If two consenting adults want to live together, to take care of eachother, to raise children – they are a family. Wether they are homo or heterosexual is irrelevant. And to limit the union to mere “sex preference” would be absolutely inappropriate: what if a couple can’t have sex, or can’t have children?
          I know a number of gay couples who raise children – very good children, very smart, very well cared for… and the kids are not gay. So, why would you – you personally – define them and their rights to call themselves a FAMILY?
          You became very upset with me earlier…What about you hurting folks’ feelings? Who gave YOU the right to define them?
          You talk about Democracy, freedom of speech, and yet you are not granting others this same rights – to speak up for themselves, to defend their values.
          “Love Thy Neighbor”, Wallace, did not specify which neighbor to love and which to love not. It is so much simpler: love them all.

  9. “So why is it that BSA should adopt the sectarian position of the UCC that people have a moral obligation to accept and even affirm homosexual behaviors and relationships?”

    That is not what is being proposed. The proposal is to allow each CO to decide for themselves if they want to accept and affirm homosexual behaviors, with no obligation imposed on COs that disagree, other than that they abide by the Scout Oath and Law. The same way ordination of women, belief in trinitarianism, acceptance of blacks, drinking coffee, acceptance of divorce, acceptance of premarital sex, abortion, going to church on Sunday, or any number of various moral teachings are already handled by BSA.

    The BSA should remain neutral on all issues that are not clearly defined in the Scout Oath and Law, as outlined in BSA’s Declaration of Religious Principles. That has been BSA’s basis for morality since 1910. Why do we want to carve out an exception to they way BSA teaches morality only for the topic of homosexuality, when COs are allowed to disagree on all other issues of morality that are not delineated in the Scout Oath and Law?

    • Please define “morally straight” and “clean” in a manner that can be applied equally across the board at the Unit, District, Regional, and National level. How exactly will the following be defined: trustworthy, reverent, obedient, and loyal. Just as there is more to “morally straight” than sexual orientation there is more to “clean” than taking a shower and using deodorant. Additionally we know that Scouts and Scouters have advanced and received awards by hiding, lying, obfuscating, and misrepresenting the truth for “the greater good.” We know from this board that questionable behavior has been condoned.

      Example. Eagle Boards require unanimous approval of the 3 to 6 member Board. We ask questions that are tough. We examine a Scouts belief in God. The Scout has to apply the Oath and Law in their entirety to his life. Duty is not a goal it is an obligation. We ask what “morally straight” means. District Advancement Committee’s ARE NOT rubber stamps. These members are diverse and they bring that diversity with them. I ask because when I am sitting on these Boards sometimes all we have to go on is the Oath and Law. Eagle is more than a checklist and a project. Eagle is a belief and a standard of values and conduct. Yes we do say no on occasion, we have to that is part of our duty.

      Example: Troop 1 is a “progressive” community sponsored Unit that allows all participants e.g. gay, straight, atheist, agnostic, male, female, Bi, transgendered. No limits. All are welcome. Pass the background check and you are in. Troop 2 is “traditional” church sponsored Unit that follows an exact interpretation of the current standard. Both are in the same District. Both groups perform and adults from both serve in the District and on Committees. Sounds great doesn’t it? Everyone getting along and working together.

      Jimmy and Johnny both 17 have completed their Eagle Checklist and Leadership Project. Both had great projects. Jimmy is gay and his parents are gay. Jimmy’s references are fine but when Jimmy has his Board of Review he reveals he does not believe in God and he rarely attends church. When asked about morally straight and what it means to him he reveals he has a boyfriend and is committed. Jimmy is denied. Johnny is dedicated to his faith but has had some struggles in school and at home. His references check out. He believes in God and he feels a strong sense of duty. He applies morally straight as he believes it to be. He has a girlfriend and they are committed. Johnny is approved. Jimmy’s parents sue the CO of Troop 2 (the local church), the District (Church members from Troop 2 served on the Eagle Board), and the Council (unclear policy enforcement) they reside in for discrimination because they are gay. They claim they have been treated unfairly. Both Units followed policy. What does National do? Clearly Jimmy has no belief in his “Duty to God” as prescribed by the Scout Oath and his religious reference is suspect (trustworthy) but all anyone talks about is being gay.

      We all know this is a lawsuit that WILL happen only the incredibly naive would say that there is no possibility of it. So again what does national do? What are the guidelines? What is the correct implementation of the Oath and Law? This is what has been dumped on the CO’s and the Districts. This is how the Executive Key 3′s have let ALL of us down on both sides of the issue. We need leadership. We need clear cut, set in stone guidelines and interpretations and we are not getting them.

      • That’s an interesting example, Andrew, but a little unfair and slanted. Let’s modify the hypothetical a little bit:

        Example: Troop 1 is a “progressive” church sponsored Unit that does not discriminate based on sexual orientation, but in all other respects follows an exact interpretation of the current standard.

        Troop 2 is a “traditional” church sponsored Unit that follows an exact interpretation of the current standard. Both are in the same District. Both groups perform and adults from both serve in the District and on Committees. Sounds great doesn’t it? Everyone getting along and working together.

        Jimmy and Johnny both 17 have completed their Eagle Checklist and Leadership Project. Both had great projects.

        Jimmy is gay and his parents are straight (your suggestion that gay kids typically come from gay parents is frankly ludicrous, and definitely not the norm). Jimmy’s references are fine and when Jimmy has his Board of Review he reveals he believes in God and he always attends church, which happens to be “open and affirming” to gays as a matter of its religious doctrine. He has a strong sense of duty to his faith. When asked about morally straight and what it means to him, he responds with a statement that is practically straight out of the current Boy Scout Handbook: that it means, among other things, to lead an open and honest life. He hasn’t made a big deal out of it, out of respect for others’ privacy and in accordance with Youth Protection, but he has mentioned outside Scouting that he is gay and this has become known to the Board. He doesn’t reveal whether he has a boyfriend because frankly, it is nobody’s business and his Board of Review should be ashamed of themselves if they ask such a question. Jimmy is denied.

        Johnny does not in fact attend church very often. His references check out. He too believes in God and he feels a strong sense of duty. He too applies morally straight as he believes it to be. Johnny is approved.

        I suggest to you that that is far closer to the discrimination that has happened today. The situation with Ryan Andresen was absolutely disgraceful and an abomination to anyone who takes Scouting seriously. His Board of Review approved him, he believes in God, and some meddler decided that he couldn’t get his Eagle because he was gay – and then tried to cook up some pretext that he didn’t believe in “duty to God” even though Ryan and his parents all protested that he most certainly did. It was an incredibly ugly situation.

        Ryan and his mom and dad have all been working from within to try to get Scouting to change its ways.

        Now Andrew: take THOSE facts, which mirror what has REALLY been going on, and tell us that that is fair and proper, morally straight, and in keeping with Scouting’s values! I find it incredibly offensive that you automatically assume, based on your example, that if you’re gay – or if your son is gay, or if you have friends or family members who are gay – that you don’t believe in God. My friends, family and I may not believe the same way you do, but rest assured that we believe.

      • Sorry, but there are millions of scouts and their parents that believe that homosexuality is morally and naturally wrong. Changing the policy to please a group of loud activists who are seeking to end the funding for scouting would be a bad idea. No matter what the BSA does, it will NEVER be enough for these groups. What they, and their supporters need to realize is that there are people who will always disagree with them. That doesn’t make them or the BSA they support a hate organization. The outsideers need to leave this conversation.

        • Sorry about the typos, for some reason the Join the conversation box was blocking what I was typing.

        • I bet there were many that thought discriminating against blacks was wrong, but I they have learned. The times are changing, and if the BSA doe not change with it, it will die. Personally, I hope the BSA can change so I can continue to support them. The organization will be stronger once it stops discriminating. Remember the 13th point isn’t “A scout is homophobic”

        • So Steve if I think homosexual behavior is repulsive and it sickens me to see then I’m a homophobe? I guess that’s ok then; I’m a homophobe.. To the core of my being it sickens and repulses me; but that’s a natural response to such an unnatural behavior. And as a parent if a homosexual couple were the scoutmasters of the only troop in our community then my son would have never joined the Boy Scouts because I wouldn’t have wanted him to be in a troop that was being led by homosexuals; am I wrongful for being honest about my natural feelings toward homosexuality? And instead of my son earning his Eagle Rank a couple of months ago he wouldn’t have earned his Eagle Rank and experienced what he described to be the best times of his life; being a Boy Scout. And that would have been right and fair to him that he would have lost his opportunity to experience scouting and earn his Eagle Rank? These are just truths. How many boys are going to robed of the experiences my son had if the BSA changes their policy and homosexuals take over our one local troop? probably all of them because I can see how it wouldn’t be long before our troop would fold; I’m not one mind on this.

        • Wallace, Obviously we have a fundamental disagreement. You think homosexuality and homosexual acts are wrong, immoral, disgusting, whatever. I do not. If a man loves another man or a woman loves another woman, it does other me at all. I know several gay folks, both guys ans girls, and they are upstanding folks, and I would welcome them in our troop as leaders. What they do in the bedroom is not my concern, and is not something that is discussed in scouts anyway.

          Discrimination against gays is the same as discrimination of any other kind. It’s wrong, and scouts are better than that, at least the ones I know. History will prove me right on this, although it may take some time. The BSA has the chance to get on the right side of this one right now.

          The sad thing is that most scouts would not have an issue with this, they are pretty savvy kids. It’s parents that teach them to fear and hate that I have issue with.

        • And as a parent if a homosexual couple were the scoutmasters of the only troop in our community then my son would have never joined the Boy Scouts because I wouldn’t have wanted him to be in a troop that was being led by homosexuals; am I wrongful for being honest about my natural feelings toward homosexuality?

          First, if a couple were Scoutmasters of any troop, that wouldn’t be following the structure and rules as COs agree. There is one Scoutmaster, male or female.

          When you joined, did you ask the Scoutmaster about his sex preferences?

          And, after you did that, how did your background check come back?

          Seriously, I’ve never known anyone to check into the sexual orientation or sex acts of a Scoutmaster when joining. Seems awfully odd to me.

          We looked for an active troop that camped, and an active organization that welcomed parents.

          Sexual orientation played no role whatsoever.

          I can’t imagine why it would.

          And instead of my son earning his Eagle Rank a couple of months ago he wouldn’t have earned his Eagle Rank and experienced what he described to be the best times of his life; being a Boy Scout. And that would have been right and fair to him that he would have lost his opportunity to experience scouting and earn his Eagle Rank? These are just truths. How many boys are going to robed of the experiences my son had if the BSA changes their policy and homosexuals take over our one local troop? probably all of them because I can see how it wouldn’t be long before our troop would fold; I’m not one mind on this.

          I think you sound hung up on sex, and it’s wonderful your son got Scouting in spite of it.

          150 million boys had great experiences in Scouting before there was a ban on homosexual leaders. I doubt that the great experiences of the 50 million since the ban went into effect would have noticed much change had the ban not been there.

          Scouting is about leadership and growing up, about citizenship and good service. Sexual orientation isn’t involved, and shouldn’t be. Your son wasn’t grilled about his romances during his Eagle Board, not to find out his sexual orientation, nor for anything else.

          I’m not sure why you think things would be different, or should be, regardless what happens in May.

        • Steve: were fundamentally different people then but your in the minority. How does being in the minority give you the right to dictate a private organizations policies to the fundamental principles they choose to want in the leadership of their organization. Acceptance of homosexual behavior is accepting that sin as not being a sin; that’s fundamentally wrongful but your free choice. The choices you make for your life are yours to make and yours to one day answer to; that’s called freedom, you have yours, I have mine and God certainly has His above all of ours. I think people who choose to be homosexual should respect the right of the BSA to choose their own membership policy; its none of their business. There are certain fundamental truths which do apply and some people choose to defend those fundamental truths, rights and freedoms; that’s timeless and also part of the American Spirit; mine.

        • Beth: Boys “robbed” of the BSA experience equals the boys who don’t choose to participate in the BSA following the BSA membership policy and the policy of having a belief in God. Should the BSA drop their requirement that a boy believe in God so all boys have the opportunity to join and participate in an organization; just an organization. BSA stands to mean something special to those that choose to join the BSA and follow its guidelines. It stands out amongst other organizations for reasons and part of those reasons are because it stands for something morally straight, honorable, good, righteous, wholesome, Godly. I have to mold my life to the Christian Faith as it’s shown to me in God’s Word. There are temptations to do what I want to do all the time but I choose to want to mold to the Christian Way accepting that when I fail I’ve sinned and choose to want to change myself to meet the Christian Way rather than expecting the Christian Way to change and mold to me. Same for Scouting; youth that choose to mold to the Ways of the BSA will find they belong to something good; it’ll make them feel good about themselves and help them build their character and possibly grow stronger in their convictions to God. Scouting isn’t for every boy and adult leader; some will choose not to participate for different reasons. We’ve had boys choose not to join the BSA because they didn’t like going camping. That’s not all were about but I think every boy in the troop likes to camp. I had two Webeloes who earned their arrow of light and who didn’t cross over into the troop when my son did; they didn’t like to camp. We didn’t change the troop for them; you join something for what it is for that reason, not to join and think your going to make it what you want it to be. How’s it fair to the majority of the boys that join scouting for the various reasons that they like scouting to have it all hijacked and stolen from them because a minority of people want to lead scouting to stand for something the majority those involved in scouting don’t want it to stand for. That’s profoundly wrongful.

  10. In the conventions of formal debate, the onus of proof is not upon the status quo, but upon the challenger. You wouldn’t know that to read most of what’s in this forum. People who favor a change act as though they have nothing to prove. In fact, they’re the ones that do. That denying this does not further an intelligent discussion is evidenced by seeing the same arguments a gazillion times. An editor who interviewed me once said: “Some people have something to say, while others have to say something.”

    I rest my case.

      • The former. So did the editor who interviewed me. So did several Catholic publications for which I’ve written, one distributed all over the English-speaking world. So does the research firm with whom I signed a contract earlier this year.

        • David,
          Now you are just bloviating.

          You said “That denying this does not further an intelligent discussion is evidenced by seeing the same arguments a gazillion times.”

          Yet you have repeated this post several times in regard to “formal debate”.

          Sounds like you need to take your own advice and rest your case.

        • Deanna:

          Sometimes I may repeat something if I’m convinced no one got it the first time. Obviously it has been duly noted.

          You asked me a question. I answered it. Seeing the question as a challenge of sorts, I provided a basis for my answer. Sorry but there isn’t much more to read into it. Now, go pick on somebody else.

  11. Get AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson to resign from the BSA Board, and watch how fast the other pro-gay policy changers run for cover.

    Why would anyone with Scouting’s best interests in mind ask a life-long Scouter to resign? Stephenson is a Silver Buffalo, you know. He might actually know something about what he’s talking about.

    That campaign by a political group, against a board member of BSA, is uncalled for, pure smear politics, and not something I would repeat — out of my striving to stand up for the principles of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.

    We’re brothers (and sisters) first, Scouts all. Now, can we discuss seriously?

    • People are, he should resign. He’s interested in promotion an agenda rather than doing what is best for scouts.

      • He should resign if he is promoting an 180 deg for the Scouting values that have made the BSA for over 100 years.

        If you do not learn from the past, (Canada, Girl Scouts), then you are condemmed to repeat it.—Pass this gay agenda and watch membership plummet.

        • How about: ‘Anyone on the board promoting an agenda contrary to Scouting should resign, including those who oppose allowing homosexual leaders and boys, as part of their own agenda.’

          Fair?

          Mr. Stephenson has a long career promoting Scouting’s values. Why do you think he should resign, say, rather than you? Why should anyone resign over this issue when we’re discussing? If we’re forcing resignations, let’s start with those who have done least for Scouting (which would include, in my book, James Dobson and the AFA — but I’m only going by the record over the past 30 years).

          Let’s get off the political vengeance kick, and get serious about discussing as Scouts, please. No one needs to resign.

          We’re in this for the boys, for their development, for the better future that makes for America. I hope you are, too.

    • If he’s changed his mind about the fundamental principles of scouting and what makes scouting the respected, quality organization that is and has been since its creation then he should choose to step away rather than use his position that he attained during a time of his life when he did support the fundamental principles of scouting. He’s certainly free to change his mind but all the entities that got him to where he is should also have the right to change their minds to address his change of heart and remove him from a position of leadership that installing him in was believed to be consistent with the fundamental principles of scouting. It seems that he’s now choosing to use his position that he attained thorough upholding scouting values to now go against the principles that he stood up for in order to attain his position. If he campaigned for a leadership position touting his current beliefs with regard to allowing homosexuals to participate openly in scouting then I have to believe that he wouldn’t have earned his Silver Buffalo or that he would have attained his high level of leadership in the BSA. Seems he’s serving in his position under false pretenses now; maybe having earned his position in a deceptive way if this was his motive from his beginning in scouting.

      • Please state the fundamental principles of scouting that Randall Stephenson has changed his mind about.

        Randall Stephenson is proposing a rigorous adherence to scouting principles. He is following the moral principles outline in the the Scout Oath & Law, as well as the Declaration of Religious Principles.

        • cwgmpls:

          In the norms of formal debate, the onus of proof is not upon the status quo (that is, the current or existing state of affairs), but upon the challenger. That said, perhaps you should be the one to explain how it is that Mr Stephenson is “following the moral principles outline in the the Scout Oath & Law, as well as the Declaration of Religious Principles.”

          Or, how he is not dangling large amounts of money over the heads of the BSA leadership in return for a policy change, and still be considered a contender for the national presidency. Some would call that dishonorable. Please tell us all how it is not. (At least we won’t have to read the same remarks for the gazillionth time, over and over and over and over …)

        • It is a proven fact that not all religious groups that participate in Scouting agree on the morality of homosexuality.

          Randall Stephenson is proposing that specific moral teachings which vary from one religion to the next be set outside of Scouting, and taught by the family and church, as specified in the Declaration of Religious Principles. “the home and the organization with which the member is connected” shall define a Scouts religious teaching. Such religion-based moral teaching is outside the domain of Scouting.

        • Regarding money… do you think the anti-gay agenda pushed on BSA since the 1980s by the Catholics and Mormons didn’t have any funding threats attached to it? All organizations need money, and their existence is always contingent on the financial support of their supporters.. The Supreme Court has ruled that money is a form of free speech. That is not bribery, it is a cold, hard fact. It is true in America, no matter what your ideology is.

        • What were the “threats” your talking about cwgmpls? What specifically were the threats or are you just throwing around your opinions unsubstantiated? If your asking do I think the “anti-gay agenda” was pushed on the BSA then I’m going to say no but I’d assume if they were asked they said they would stand up for the biblical principles that I know the Catholic Church stands up for; anything wrong with standing up for biblical principles in this “new modern day”? Do you really think the Catholics and the Mormons are “anti-gay” or that they simply follow biblical principles and think homosexual behavior is an abomination against God’s creation? Do you think the Church should follow biblical principles? True Christians aren’t against homosexuals; they don’t deny that homosexual behavior is a sin though if they follow biblical principles for their daily lives. Christians see other things beyond homosexuality as sins too but I don’t think Christians are trying to convince society that stealing, adultery, lying, lusting for another man’s wife, etc. aren’t sins so they can feel more free to live a life inclusive of those behaviors either. Give me a good reason for the BSA to change its membership policy; especially if homosexuals are already involved in the organization like many on this blog seem to saying? Does the policy hurt anyone who only has the intent of enjoying all the benefits scouting has to offer a youth or an adult? And if your sexual preference and behaviors are known then why because supporters of changing the policy on this blog have said that sexuality has no place in the BSA program anyway so regardless of your orientation nobody in the BSA should ever know because a a sincere member focused only on the program how should anyone find out? Or do the homosexual activists truly have a different agenda if they manage to change the BSA membership policy and open the floodgates for their ideology to become a focal point in their political and social agenda toward trying to convince people that their lifestyle is normal and should be acceptable by everyone.

        • “should the Court agree that the Scouts must admit gays, the LDS Church will withdraw from Scouting after participating with the organization for 87 years, according to Salt Lake attorney Von G. Keetch of Kirton &McConkie. Keetch has represented the LDS Church in a variety of legal issues.” — Salt Lake Tribune, April 26, 2000

        • cwgmpls: scouting is about a moral code and morality and can’t be set outside of scouting; its a big big part of scouting. Where do you think that moral code comes from if religion and God aren’t part of that foundation of morality. And there aren’t many people that think homosexual behavior is moral; a very tiny minority. Don’t you think every movie out of Hollywood would contain a homosexual theme if it was such a popular theme? Has there ever been a pole on how many people think homosexual behavior is moral behavior? There is honor in standing by your principles and honor does matter; its not old fashioned and it is timeless; and so is morality…

          We once had a community leader who said we had to divorce ourselves from our morality and vote to allow gambling casinos into our state. I never forgot what that community leader said but that was the last thing that man said to me that I ever listened too; he was no longer a community leader in my eyes. Why would I choose to divorce myself from my morality; sounds like evil’s temptation to me? The more you pray about an issue the less gray it becomes and the more black and white the decision seems to be. Really gotta pray this one out and make a clear decision because its going to impact a lot of people.

  12. There is a good reason the BSA membership policy was put in place to begin with.. I don’t know the specifics of the good reasons but I have to imagine it obviously had to do with dealing with a day such as this and to give the BSA the legal protections necessary to defend itself against some of the problems that will occur from not having a policy that clearly states homosexuals, agnostics, and atheists are not accepted as members in the BSA. I have to imagine its because the nature of open homosexual behavior isn’t welcome by the membership of the BSA when their mission is to aspire boys to understand that the vast majority of our American Culture as a whole doesn’t find homosexual behavior to be morally acceptable. Some people have said homosexuals already participate in the BSA. And I know that’s true first hand as I know one scout who became an Eagle Scout and after becoming an adult chose to reveal that he is a homosexual and has decided to live an open homosexual lifestyle; his choice. But while a scout he understood the membership policy of the BSA and scouting meant more to him than “coming out” and making a statement to everyone connected to his life that he was first a homosexual and that his sexuality defined who he was; it didn’t, the principles of scouting defined who he was because I know he’s a man of good character in many ways but that doesn’t mean that his adult life living openly as a homosexual isn’t sinful if you’ve chosen to become a Christian or to become subject to another religious faith that considers homosexual behavior to be wrongful; his adult choice. My point is that if homosexuals are already participating in the BSA but either don’t feel expressing their sexuality is important in defining who they are in scouting or who feel expressing their sexuality would result in their being removed from membership from the BSA then who does the policy hurt except the homosexuals who want to exhibit their sexuality and strive toward forcing unwilling people to believe that homosexuality is moral and a normal human behavior. The policy is making a statement that the BSA doesn’t feel the BSA’s standard of moral character is consistent with homosexual behavior and a homosexual lifestyle. What good reason is there for the BSA to step away from a policy that I’m going to assume was put in place to protect the BSA legally from problems that will arise from allowing open homosexuality to be expressed throughout the BSA Culture in all the ways imaginable because their control over those that choose to allow their homosexual behavior define who they are will be making every effort to try to make statements to a political and social cause who’s battles have really only just begun; think victory over the BSA is the ultimate victory. Does the BSA want to be included on the side of trying to destroy the moral standards of Godly institutions like the Catholic Church, the Baptist Church, the Methodist Church, and other Godly organizations who are the backbone of the membership of the BSA? Does anyone believe they won’t be used as a weapon against these Godly institutions in a similar way the Presbyterian USA, Lutheran, Episcople, Jewish Reform churches are being used now? It seems to me that forcing the BSA to change their membership policy is more about striving toward winning a culture war than to make the BSA a better organization; if it doesn’t make them better than why change? Its all about trying to win over pinnacles of our culture in order to try to establish some sort of quasi acceptance for a lifestyle and sexual behavior that the vast majority of people in our American Culture still find immoral and sinful. How the BSA deals with all the legal problems in the aftermath of their victory is of little concern to the activist leaders of the homosexual community who are trying to change what they perceive as a barrier to attain their ultimate goal. Will they be there to defend the BSA from all the legal problems that will occur from all the problems an open policy to homosexual behavior and a homosexual lifestyle will create? Meanwhile the policy actually does serve the same purpose today as it served when it was originated which must be to protect the BSA from being destroyed by all the problems that will arise from allowing homosexuals, the homosexual lifestyle, and homosexual behavior to become perceived to be acceptable and normal throughout the scouting culture and to be perceived as morally straight while the vast majority of BSA membership don’t define who they are by their sexual orientation. Imagine all the problems that will occur if the BSA changes their membership policy. When you choose to imagine all the problems that will occur for the BSA and all the member units then you probably begin to imagine why the policy was originated in the first place. I have to believe the BSA was forward thinking to a day such as today and ultimately was practicing what they teach scouts to do in being prepared to meet the legal problems from allowing an open homosexual culture to be expressed freely from within the BSA and from within the BSA culture; all the teachings, activities, ceremonies, ordeals etc. that the BSA holds up as being the true definition of who we are as members of the BSA.

    • The vast majority of American families would not want their sons to be led by a Mormon leader, or a Muslim leader.

      Would you propose that we ban all Mormons and Muslims from BSA?

  13. I’ve done a lot for scouting over the years and scouting’s done a lot for me.. Maybe the BSA decision makers who are writing this membership policy could at least keep the policy the same so I can in good conscience continue to serve the BSA. I’m not interested in battling with openly homosexual membership over this issue during summer camps, camporees, Klondike Derby’s, at meetings and during Court of Honor’s. It’s going to happen and the homosexuals will have won the organization to serve their selfish purposes because I’m not going to fight with them if the BSA doesn’t have my back at this time; the battle for the organization is now. The current membership policy does serve a purpose and part of that purpose is to maintain peace from within the BSA. We may be attacked from outside entities with regard to this issue but the attacks aren’t typically coming at me from within. Change the policy and I’m going to be the bad guy for not embracing homosexual behavior and a homosexual lifestyle as acceptable and morally straight living.. I’m not becoming the bad guy in the eyes of the BSA because I can’t and won’t change my character. Funny that same character served me well in the pursuit of earning my Eagle Rank when I was a boy. If the membership policy was then what the homosexual activists want it to be now I wouldn’t have earned my Eagle Rank because in good conscience I would have quit the BSA long before that.. Why would I have stayed a part of an organization I didn’t believe in?

  14. Regarding money… do you think the anti-gay agenda pushed on BSA since the 1980s by the Catholics and Mormons didn’t have any funding threats attached to it? All organizations need money, and their existence is always contingent on the financial support of their supporters.. The Supreme Court has ruled that money is a form of free speech. That is not bribery, it is a cold, hard fact. It is true in America, no matter what your ideology is.

  15. Pingback: Scouting isn’t for Everybody | JohnScout 2.0

  16. Many of the comments on the current family discussion imply that homosexuality is equivalent to atheism or agnosticism, and that a Christian can not be homosexual. Christian churches are not in unanimous agreement on this issue. What, in my view, is missing from this discussion is the commandment given by Christ: to love God with all our heart, body and soul, and others as we love ourselves. In the sermon on the mount, Christ observes that it is the loving of our “enemies” that sets Christians apart from all others. He reserves judgement to God Himself. He also commands us to go and sin no more. Jesus caused quite a stir in his day because he associated with sinners — tax collectors, harlots, and others. He knew they needed His redemption. He challenged the self righteous to examine themselves, and let him who is without sin to cast the first stone. When none were left, he told the sinner that He would not condemn her. Given this example, who are we to condemn anyone? Jesus had much more specific admonitions for fornicators and adulterers, than He did for homosexuals. Why is homosexuality more objectionable than marital infidelity? At the final judgement, we are alone with our God, unworthy, but with a sinless advocate to plead for our salvation before God. Neither priest, pastor, reader, parent, teacher, cardinal, bishop, dean, pope, prelate, rabbi, mentor, solicitor, ombudsman, Scoutmaster nor lawyer will be of any use or account. But this is my understanding of what it means to be Christian. Others may or may not agree. I believe religious teaching is a matter for the individual, family and religious organization. The role of the Scouts should be to teach respect for that teaching, whether or not it conforms to a particular denominational doctrine.

    Do I think every other Scout or Scouter must agree with me? Absolutely not. My religious views are personal; to be respected in accordance with the 12th point of the Scout Law, whether or not there is agreement with a particular denominational doctrine.

    I believe the current conversation is a mark of maturity. It recognizes that current policy may not adequately reflect the diversity of honestly held religious teachings on the subject of sexuality, all of which command respect according to the 12th point of the Scout law. Scouting’s ideals, as I learned them 60 years ago and have practiced them since, are timeless and make no mention of sexuality. There is disagreement within my own denomination on how sexual transgressions should be addressed. How can the National Council take a position that favors one denominational interpretation over another? How many churches and other organizations have chosen not to adopt Scouting as their youth development program because of the intolerance of the current policy? How many Eagle Scouts have sent their badges back to the organization because of their heartfelt belief that the Scouts do not observe the 12th point of the Scout Law?

    I have earned the Eagle Award, am a Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow, Assistant Scoutmaster, Scoutmaster, volunteer at District and Council levels, and am a member of the James West Fellowship. I have a son who is an Eagle Scout, and a daughter. Both have become respected educational leaders and are active in their chosen churches, where my five grandchildren are receiving their religious training. I am clearly NOT an advocate for a homosexual agenda. However, I believe the current “family discussion” is long overdue.

    • Michael: That’s misleading to a Christian in ways Michael. I think there’s a distinction that needs to be made between a person and the sinful behavior of a person. God hates sin; that’s sinful behavior. He loves His creation. He loves His creation so much that He gave us a gift in His son Jesus who came to deliver us from sin so that one day our spirits could be freed from sin and be worthy to be in the presence of God and to live in His Kingdom. That’s what God wants for all of us. And when Jesus returned to heaven He promised to give all believers in His promise a gift being the Holy Spirit which lives within all believers. Believing is a free choice; wouldn’t be Godly if it didn’t include freedom. But you’ll never find anything in the Bible that says Jesus came to change the laws of the Jewish people; Jesus was a Jew and died a Jew and defeated death and now sits at the right hand of God; pure love.. I can’t imagine… And in the Jewish Laws God clearly said that homosexual behavior is sinful behavior (read the book of Leviticus); immoral behavior. And many other behaviors are immoral and sinful behavior in the eyes of God too.. Sinful behaviors that will stand in the way of an eternal life with God in Heaven. Jesus promised its a beautiful place and He also promised that nobody will get to heaven unless they accept His blood as a sacrifice for their sins and accept His forgiveness and accept Him as the Son of God; The Way. And when someone tries to simply eliminate God’s Word from existence they mislead people to believe that a sin or sins aren’t sins leading the sinner to not find forgiveness for that sin and leading that person away from their opportunity for an eternal life with God in His Kingdom. If your a Christian then you need to find that truth for yourself through reading His only Word to us; The Holy Bible. The reading requires meditation and listening to the Holy Spirit Jesus promised to give you at the moment you were baptized. There’s only one truth. Theirs no law saying you have to believe His Promise and His way to find an eternal life. But if you choose freely to want an eternal life in Heaven and to join God and His Son Jesus in Heaven then there is only one way; If your a Christian this has to be the truth of your heart. You have to find the truth of your heart and the Holy Spirit within will lead any one who desires to accept that promise and anyone who is obedient to His will to live forever with Him in His Kingdom. That’s my free choice. I didn’t write the Book; I’ve been lead to understand it and I accept His Promise freely. And Jesus said that there are serious consequences to people who try to deceive children and people away from understanding His Way. I choose not to be one of the deceivers and try to share the unchanging and timeless truths of God known to us only through His Word; The Holy Bible. I hope you choose that path too.. Freedom’s a choice.

      • Wallace, not all Scouting families identify the Christian Bible as their book of faith. It is inappropriate for the BSA, that does not identify a single faith as the guiding faith of the BSA, to set up policy using the Christian Bible.

        • Deanna, I like the way you think. Some folks think that their particular faith should be what the BSA uses to set policy. That’s not the way it works. Many choose to hide behind religion when trying to justify their bigotry. Probably the same thing happened when blacks, Jews, women, and other minorities were the main focus of discrimination in this country. As we grow, learn, and evolve as a society, we will get past the fear that fuels homophobia. The day will come, but it will take time.

          I don’t doubt the faith of those that believe their particular brand of religion tells them it is OK to discriminate, but since religion is not a part of this decision, their points are moot. If you start your argument with “the Bible says,” then you’ve already lost.

        • Then You’ve lost because you can’t have the perceived quality of the BSA today without being aligned with the Bible. I didn’t invent God; He created me. If you choose to wrongfully describe a Godly man who acknkwledges Godly Biblical Principles as the Way God wants people to live their lives as bigots and descriminating then I’ve been called worse inappropriate words by people who are list to the Truth of His Word; doesn’t bother me because I answer to someone far greater than the angry Christianphobes who hide behind their atheist viewpoints on this blog. If the BSA chooses to turn its back on the committed Christians that make up the backbone and the vast majority of their volunteers they will have made a serious mistake; many Christians who serve in many influential places throughout the BSA will feel justified in seperating themselves from the BSA based upon the same Spirit that led them to become deeply committed to the program to begin with. There won’t be enough Leaders to fill the vacuum of the vacated positions left open from the faithful volunteers who now make up the BSA organization. But then again those leaders won’t be necessary because there won’t be many scouts joining the BSA anyway. BSA can’t turn their baks on the Vast majority of their membership and to not expect to feel the effects of a bad decision. doesn’t take a crystal ball to see where the organization is going to go once they turn their back on the true one whose blessed them most to grow to become the top quality youth organization they are today. I for one will be leaving rather than face all those new headaches brought on by that poor decision.

        • You can’t say that I’ve lost, I said you’ve lost first. :-) This is taking up too much of my time. We disagree, and I guess we’ll see what happens in May.

          Regards.

        • Steve–

          The assertion that this policy has nothing to do with religion does not hold up to scrutiny, as many of the posts on this site make clear.

          The problem for me with the current policy is that its faithful administration requires me to act against what I believe my faith dictates.

        • Beautiful!!! Short and right on!!!
          Since when the Christian Church gained so much power in this country to control membership in any organization that is not affiliated with it??

        • “you can’t have the perceived quality of the BSA today without being aligned with the Bible. ”

          That statement is a violation of BSA’s Declaration of Religious Principles. A Scout’s religious teaching is to come from their family and religious organization. Teaching religion is outside the bounds of BSA.

          I guess the reason that BSA is in the mess it is in, is because so many current members of BSA don’t understand Scouting.

        • Then if the BSA turns its back on the Christians who are the backbone of the BSA and who made the BSA ehat it is today I imagine the Christians will stand up for what they believe and turn there backs on the BSA. The majority does have a say on this issue and will be heard at some point in time. That time may not be until January when rechartering takes place but how straight do you think the BSA is going to stand without a backbone. The tiny minorities won’t be dictating our culture; true hearts won’t allow it to ever happen; it’s a timeless spiritual battle and God will always have the final say; just the messenger; I didn’t write the message. believe the truth or not but it never changes…

      • Wallace–
        We are ALL sinners. According to Jesus, the only unforgivable sin is to know who Jesus is and yet reject Him. Jesus had great difficulty with those who made the law their god, and used it to justify treating others unlovingly.

        But not all who have religious faith are Christian. And Scouting requires that Scouts respect those who have different religious views.

        Some say there is no conflict between the current policy and religious views. The discussions on this board would seem to put the lie to that view.

    • The vast majority of Families don’t want to enroll their children in a den or pack or troop that is being led by a known open homosexual. do you think changing the membership policy is going to change what people want for their children; I don’t? all the smart debate isnt going to change the true heart if a parent and their desire for their children. Homosexuality will never be acceptable behavior to the vast majority of people; believe the fact of the matter or choose not to believe that fact. It’s not just written in God’s Word it’s reflected in the truth of the hearts of the vast majority of the population. So knowing that if I was creating a program for boys similar to the BSA I think I would build a program that most people want and someone of a minority ideology could choose to build their own program any way they choose to build their program.

      • The vast majority of Families don’t want to enroll their children in a den or pack or troop that is being led by a known open homosexual.

        I am unaware of any poll or any other data that shows that. Most Americans are fine with having upstanding people teaching kids regardless of the teachers’ orientation; most Americans who go to church are okay with gay clergy; what makes you think Americans change their minds when it comes to Scout leaders?

        • Remember the extensive two year study by the BSA?

          And I don’t remember an polls for your claims. Just because you say it doesn’t make it so.

        • I am unaware of any poll or any other data that shows that. Most Americans are fine with having upstanding people teaching kids regardless of the teachers’ orientation; most Americans who go to church are okay with gay clergy; what makes you think Americans change their minds when it comes to Scout leaders?

          Remember the extensive two year study by the BSA?

          And I don’t remember an polls for your claims. Just because you say it doesn’t make it so.

          I cited the Pew Center on Religious Belief polling earlier. Count, but I think you’ll find a majority of 23 of the 25 largest Christian sects have no difficulty with homosexuals in daily life, nor in the life of their churches.

          Gallup Poll from last year:

          PRINCETON, NJ — The slight majority of American adults, 54%, consider gay or lesbian relations morally acceptable. Public acceptance of gay/lesbian relations as morally acceptable grew slowly but steadily from 38% in 2002 to 56% in 2011 and is now holding at the majority level.

          You’ll want to read the entire poll: http://www.gallup.com/poll/154634/acceptance-gay-lesbian-relations-new-normal.aspx

          And from December 2012:

          That feeling is ratified in a nationwide USA TODAY poll of all Americans that finds broad acceptance of economic rights for same-sex couples and majority support for gay marriage and adoption. A 51% majority predict that at some point, the country will reach a general agreement on such issues.

          The changes echo times when attitudes toward African Americans and women were in flux, scholars say. With young adults by far the most tolerant of homosexuality — among those 18 to 29 years old, 73% support same-sex marriage — the trend seems more likely to accelerate than reverse.

          More than a third of Americans surveyed say their views have changed significantly over time toward gay marriage, an issue being battled in states across the country and before the Supreme Court. The high court could announce as early as Friday whether it will accept cases challenging California’s Proposition 8 and the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which bars federal programs from recognizing same-sex marriages.

          “They have changed from ‘this is appalling’ to, you know, ‘what is wrong with that idea?’” said Mary Ann Schmertz, 82, a real estate agent in Wilkinsburg, Pa., describing her own views on the issue. In a follow-up interview after she was polled, she noted that her next-door neighbors are a gay couple. “Why should they be discriminated against?” she said. “They’re paying taxes. They’re leading decent lives.”

          See story here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2012/12/05/poll-from-gay-marriage-to-adoption-attitudes-changing-fast/1748873/

        • Most people are not comfortable with homosexuals as their spiritual leaders Ed. That’s why those denominations are disintegrating and their membership are flocking to denominations aligned with biblical principles or evangelical Christian Churches. There are numbers supporting all of that because the truth can’t be hidden. What would ever lead you to believe most families are fine with taking their boys to a scout meeting on any level of the BSA and leaving their child to be lead by a homosexual leader. I’d like to k kw the name of the leader so he or she can be asked to resign for having been wrongful for having signed up in a private organization that chooses freely and legally not to homosexuals be leaders in their organization because they don’t fit the standards of morality the membership choose freely to support in vast majority.

        • Hi Wallace!!

          You wrote in part: “What would ever lead you to believe most families are fine with taking their boys to a scout meeting on any level of the BSA and leaving their child to be lead by a homosexual leader. I’d like to k kw the name of the leader so he or she can be asked to resign for having been wrongful for having signed up in a private organization that chooses freely and legally not to homosexuals be leaders in their organization because they don’t fit the standards of morality the membership choose freely to support in vast majority.”

          And my continued question to you is “how would you know? Do you have some sort of Gaydar equipment which can “distinguish” a Gay or Lesbian person from a “straight person?” Do you have some sort of divine method which allows you to “point them out” for all of us?

          As others have stated here, your complaints are a bit too late, for there are Gay teachers, Sunday School instructors, and public service officers. So what makes you think that somehow the BSA keeps Gay people away from their programs? Especially since, as far as I’m aware, the BSA doesn’t have a policy which keeps Gay people from their programs (only “open Gay or Lesbian men and women are barred from leadership roles”…not *all*, just *open*).

        • Mike, you said it yourself. Only “open” homesexuals are banned. If you feel you cannot live without telling a six year old tiger cub about your sexual preferences, or any other scout for that matter, (they are all minors) then you are not the kind of person I want out in the woods with my children.

        • The only pekple that count in any pole o this issue are the membership of the BSA. the organization belongs to them and its theirs alone. Private and free to do their own will. You will never realize your wildest dreams to become the BSA because the vast majority of people don’t want homosexuals leading their boys. You don’t have to believe that truth but your disbelief doesn’t change that truth. So dream on because ultimately the future of the BSA depends on this decision and the free volunteer membership will have the ultimate vote when it comes time to recharter and depending on the BSA’s decision in May the actual vote i the actual future of the BSA may not be cast until January 2014. That’s the only vote that will matter in the long run anyway and the ultimate pole will have taken place; the truth will be in those rechartering numbers won’t they? God will have His way in all of this; His victory for His organization; He ultimately created it through the hearts of men. It doesn’t have to survive and won’t outside of His will and blessing

        • Mike: because in time the truth is always revealed. When the woman spoke out in Martis Ferry and chose to make a political and social agenda out of her affiliation with the BSA she revealed herself. And i believe if the BSA is going to stand behind their policy they need to remove leaders who reveal themselves. Some parents trust the BSA to protect their child and may regard their membership policy as part of that protective net to provide the type of leadership of their child that the BSA now says it provides; actually does matter to most people. I think its generally obvious who chooses a homksexual lifestyle; they typically don’t choose to remain in the closet in these modern days. And if they’ve chosen to be so concealed then it doesn’t really matter to anyone but themselves and when they stand and recite the Scout Oath they can struggle with the truth of their heart vs. the policies of the BSA.

        • “Mike, you said it yourself. Only “open” homesexuals are banned. If you feel you cannot live without telling a six year old tiger cub about your sexual preferences, or any other scout for that matter, (they are all minors) then you are not the kind of person I want out in the woods with my children.”

          in response to wayne newcomb:

          NO ONE is advocating that anyone should be advertising their sexual orientation to boy scouts, 6 years old or 16 years old. (gay or straight, mind you). The simple fact is, however, that if someone is in a same sex relationship, they are open and out as homosexual. That’s not the same as declaring your sexual preference to minors. Unless you consider that a straight person declares their sexual preference when they get married, and furthermore, consider that to be just as ill advised.0

      • “The vast majority”??? Would you please refer to the poll/s or any other statistical data that was collected on this matter. So far (just reading this page aling with many others) I can’s see “the vast majority”.

        • Then open your eyes and ears and listen to the majority. Change the policy and you’ll certainly see their power in January when rechartering takes place. Who do you think will have the last and final say on this issue? The majority of Christians who make up the nackbone of the BSA. Believe the truth or not but disbelief doesn’t change the truth.

      • Wallace, remember – “never say never”? I’d be very careful about statements like these, as the reality may show otherwise: while the parents of my troop may have their own beliefs, the boys voted 100% for inclusion. Young generation in schools shows more and more tolerance, acceptance, even support for gay youth (and this I know from personal experience of a 20+ years working with youth in public and private schools as a teacher, counselor, mental health professional). Once you and I retire, these will be the people who make the policies. KKK used the Bible too and said “never”. And yet, history proved them wrong. All of those who discriminate and say “history will show” forget one thing: so far history showed that cultures change, values change, moral views change. ZDon’t ever think that conservative views will prevail – they NEVER did in the past, regardless of how long they clinged to people’s minds. SImple example – 20 years ago nobody could even think the Soviet Union may collapse. Today – it is just a sad past., and those hard core believers by the way were the first ones to change their views. Progress is change. Life is change. What does not change – dies. Therefore, you may consider carefully when you bank on future – it does not like rigidity.

  17. Well, there is a simple, non-discriminatory solution to this dilemma that should be advocated by anyone who doesn’t like the change being discussed: Expand the current policy to ban _anyone_ who openly and avowedly practices or advocates any sexual behavior that is not “clean” and “morally straight.” After all, we certainly don’t want any adulterers in leadership positions — including many divorced and remarried individuals [Matthew 19:9], we don’t want sexually active youth, we don’t want monogamous married heterosexuals who enjoy “non-traditional” activities, we don’t want anyone who looks at pornography, and we don’t want anyone who looks at another person lustfully [Matthew 5:28]. We can add a series of questions to the adult and youth application forms to catch these undesirables. This solution would be totally transparent (we’ll keep publicly-available files) and non-discriminatory, since it would not be based on sexual orientation. Even better, we can sell it as a youth protection policy.

    • Dan: Your suggestion is ridiculous because it isn’t what the majority of the membership of the BSA want. Why should a free private organization that functions under the protection of the US Constitution change a moral code they’ve chosen freely to put into a membership policy to reflect a morality they choose freely to follow? Even the US Supreme Court agrees with the BSA that they have the legal and constitutional right to choose to implement a membership policy that reflects their moral code. Why would the membership of a private and free organization operating under their Constitutional Rights ever change their policy to reflect what they freely choose for it not to reflect. But everyone has the free choice to either choose to join the BSA and adhere to their policies or to not join the BSA. Nobody is forcing anyone to choose to join the BSA against their will.

      • Hmmm. So its okay to have adulterers and fornicators and sodomites in BSA, as long as they are heterosexual? Because that is the moral code that a majority of the membership wants? Just checking.

        • How ridiculous. Its not ok that evil people are involved in the BSA. The BSA wants good moral men to be leaders of boys involved in the BSA. Its not complicated. I think most people know the character of man the vast majority of parents and units are looking for to be Leaders. that vast majority simply don’t want homosexuals to be the leaders. There’s nothing wrong about that. Might offend some people and that’s too bad but that’s what the member families want and the BSA is free to do whatever they think is best to make the program be what they want the program to be to fulfill their mission..

        • Inappropriate heterosexual behavior is grounds for revoking a persons membership.

          We’ll see what a majority of voting members want in May.

        • I don’t think BSA’s rationale for the current policy is that “they simply don’t want homosexuals to be the leaders.” Rather, it is based in the Scout Oath and Law. If BSA is to speak with moral authority on this issue, shouldn’t that rationale apply fairly and consistently to all members?

        • Inappropriate heterosexual behavior is grounds for revoking a persons membership. But “homosexuals” is the only category of people who are specifically identified in the policy. Why not specifically identify adulterers, whose immoral sexual behavior can break up families and cause tremendous long-term harm to individuals, particularly children? Why not specifically identify persons who engage in premarital sex, which can lead to unwanted pregnancies, teenage parents, abortions, sexually transmitted diseases, and other harm to families and society? Why not specifically identify other categories of people who engage in sexual behavior that is not “clean” and not “morally straight” — and in many cases is the exact same sexual behavior engaged in by homosexuals? Please tell me that there is a significant rational basis for the current policy; that it is more than that some people “simply don’t want homosexuals to be the leaders.”

        • Dan you certainly don’t put your long list of inappropriate behaviors in the same class as homosexual behavior. Or do you?

        • Because the BSA doesn’t want to do that Dan. That’s our freedom; to choose whatever we want our organization to be, have whatever membership policy we want. Those outside the organization must have control issues and must be direspectful of people’s freedom to do whatever they want to freely do. Some people don’t like being on tje outside when a rule excludes them; get used to it. Build your iwn youth organization and welcome everyone; homosexuals, cross dressers, pedafiles, sodomites, transgenders, drug addicts, control freaks, etc. But you should leave the BSA alone to choose how they want to run their free and private youth organization protected under the US Constitution.. Freedom; gotta protect it and defend it 24/7/365… and every minute of every day… Love It!!!

        • Uh, Wallace, it is the _BSA itself_ that is thinking about whether to change its position now. It is the BSA itself that will decide. This is not like the Dale case where an outside force (the courts) might have imposed a change. The people advocating change on this blog are BSA insiders.

        • I must be doing something right if the anti-change forces think I am opposed to their position, and the pro-change forces think I am opposed to their position.

    • ANd what do you mean by “sexual behavior that is not “clean” and “morally straight”? Please, refer to other sources than the Bible, since not every member in BSA is Christian. Or does your “protection policy” exclude those as well? I am so glad you are not the one who writes the policies. Just look at what you are saying: divirced people and remarried should not be leaders either! You equate all the divorced men ( and women?) to “adulterers”? Every single one??
      And who is the “we” that you are referring to (“we don’t want anyone…”)? Please, speak for yourself only, or refer to a specific number of people who you represent. No matter how large the number will be, it most certainly does not include the entire leadership of the BSA. I was a leader – and I oppose your views with every cell of my body. And a large number of my tropp’s leaders opposes your position very actively. So, to your very simplistic suggestion I would have another one – why doesn’t BSA once and for all make an antidiscriminatory statement that would cover everyone: “we do not discriminate!” PERIOD!!!!

      • Andrei, thank you for your comment. Not every single divorced and remarried person; Jesus made allowances for those who were divorced due to the sexual immorality of their former spouses. As you can see from reading the hundreds of comments on this blog, there are many, many BSA members who _do_ wish to discriminate against gays and lesbians, including many Christians who cite religious and Biblical grounds for doing so. BSA has stated a particular basis for excluding homosexuals: “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.” [From the Dale decision by the United States Supreme Court.] My point is that the reasons given for supporting exclusion of homosexuals have to be applied across the board to _everyone_ if they are going to have any moral authority. If they are not applied across the board, then those “reasons” are merely pretexts for unjust discrimination, and are no better than saying “we just don’t like homosexuals.” If someone can’t support excluding heterosexuals who engage in sexual misbehavior in the same way and to the same extent as exclusion of homosexuals, then they need to do some soul-searching.

        • No Dan, I do not see many BSA members who wish to discriminate on the ground of sexual orientation. To the contrary, I see here and everywhere that the Americans chose to not discriminate on any ground. What I see here is a pointless religious analysis,where even the Christians disagree on the matter. I do not see the Biblical citations proving the discriminatory remarks. What I see is generalized discriminatory statements referring to the Bible, not particular quotations from it. I am Christian too, yet in my church same gender marriage is not only welcomed but officialyy recognized and blessed by the reverend. In my Christian church (Unity Christ Church) muslims sit next to gays, lesbians, Cathpolics, smokers, divorced, unmarried (but living together as a couple), poor and rich, Americans and Russians, Germans and Jews, ….
          Enough of this religious propaganda, Dan.
          Let me ask you straight: if your son was terminally ill and had one day to live, would you bring him to a Dr. who happens to be your last hope, who is the only one having the means to save your dying child, …but who is gay. Would you, Dan, or would you rather walk to your son and tell him “baby, you just have to die because the Dr. is gay”. Please, say one word only – it IS a simple question, Dan. Don’t start another round of empty thoughts.
          When we are cornered – we tend to bypass our values for the sake of our children.
          In my troop 100% of kids responded in support of inclusion of gay members and leaders. Kids, Dan – they don’t (fortunately) think the same way as their conservative parents. So, if this is truly “all about boys” (Wood Badgers know what I mean), why don’t we let them deside who is to be in BSA.
          For my fellow Wood Badgers, remember the game “Win All You Can”. This is the answer. All others will have to grow up to the true meaning of it.
          Once again, discrimination in any form is not the answer, it is a problem.

        • Andrei, I think you are under the impression that I support the current policy and oppose the proposed change. I think the only things I have expressed support for in this discussion are holding heterosexuals to the same standards as homosexuals, consistent and rational policymaking, fairness, justice, and following the Scout Oath and Law. And I think the only things I have opposed in this discussion are BSA’s current policy and the notion that it is okay to exclude homosexuals just because you don’t like them. Just sayin’.

        • I probably misunderstood your position. Will reread. Thanks for the respond – made me think. And I do agree with you – exclusion of one group on a specific premise should be stated broader, including ALL unwanted behavior. So far – it is just homosexual behavior.

      • The sad thing is that BSA itself apparently doesn’t believe what it told the Supreme Court. Take a look at the current policy: “While the BSA does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.” The policy excludes _only_ “open or avowed homosexuals.” Gays and lesbians right now _are_ welcome in the BSA, as long as they are in the closet. There are probably lots of homosexuals in the BSA right now who are members of Boy Scout troops, Venturing crews, and Sea Scout ships, and serving as adult leaders, but keeping their sexual orientation quiet. And that is fully in compliance with BSA’s current policy.

        • Sorry, didn’t quite connect this to my overall point. Not only is BSA _not_ applying its exclusionary “test” (conduct that is not “morally straight,” conduct that should not be promoted as legitimate behavior) to everyone, it isn’t even applying it to all homosexuals. And while the rationale explained to the Supreme Court points to “conduct” as the critical factor, the current policy doesn’t mention conduct at all with regard to homosexuals — just the “open or avowed homosexual” _status_ is all that is required for exclusion. (And please, you can’t “assume” _conduct_ based simply on _status_. You can’t assume, for example, that someone is having sex just because he or she is an open or avowed heterosexual.) So whatever side of the debate you are on, it seems pretty clear that BSA’s existing policy is not reasonably related to the stated reasons for the policy. And whatever side of the debate you are on, that is objectively unjust. If BSA wants to exclude homosexuals, then it has to revise its policy to exclude them based on the justifications it has already set out, and not limited by “open or avowed”; and if it does that, it has to apply that exclusionary policy to _anyone_ whose conduct is not “morally straight” or whose conduct should not be promoted as legitimate behavior. And if BSA is unwilling to do those things, then in justice it has to change its policy to something else that is rational and fair to everyone.

        • Dan: We don’t have to justify exclusion of anyone. The BSA is a private free organization able to include or exclude whoever they want whenever they want. The Supreme Court if the United States of America said BSA you are a free private organization in these United States and men and women have died for your Constitutional right to choose whoever you want to have in your organization so do whatever you want to do because we respect your right to operate any way you choose to operate..

        • We’re not talking about whether we _can_ exclude someone. That is settled. We can. The question being debated now is whether we _should_. My point is that if we think we should, then we should do it according to the standards we ourselves have already set. If you are saying that we can ignore our own standards and exclude someone just because we feel like it, I would say that that is unjust and contrary to the Scout Oath and Scout Law.

        • Let me put it another way: Even if we are authorized by the Constitution to lawfully exclude someone, we still have to justify it to _ourselves_, under our own ideals, principles, and standards. Even if someone violates the Scout Oath and Scout Law, that doesn’t mean that WE can violate the Scout Oath and the Scout Law in the course of kicking them out.

        • Wow. Is there really someone giving a ‘thumbs down’ to following the Scout Oath and Law????!!!!

        • Ah, silly me. I think I figured it out. I think that there are some folks who do NOT agree with the notion that the SAME standards of sexual conduct should be applied to both homosexuals and heterosexuals. That is because, (a) in their view, homosexuals are simply not entitled to the same rights and privileges as others (including application of the Scout Oath and Law, apparently); (b) applying the same standards would indicate that homosexuals are equal to heterosexuals; and (c) if the same standards of _conduct_ were applied, rather than simply looking at someone’s sexual orientation, then it is probable that the conduct of many homosexuals would be found to be worthy and appropriate, and they would be entitled to membership. Sorry for not picking up on that sooner — I can be so dense sometimes.

  18. If the BSA should change their policy, we will not let our 6 year old son get in. We are already looking for other alternatives and fortunately THERE ARE. What I do not understand is that why are the homosexuals wanting to force themselves into the BSA? Why don’t they just create their own group that reflects their own beliefs and they can do whatever they want with it? To force themselves in and demand the group change their policies to accommodate theirs regardless that it is against the organizations’ members core beliefs is to me very disrespectful, intolerant and bullying.

    • Blanca, what will you tell your son when he grows up and asks you “Why are you so intolerant of those who think different than yourself?” What I don’t understand is why you can’t seem to understand that homosexuals (just like everybode else) want to be active in our great organization, uphold its traditions, support it, keep it going, prevent it from becoming conservative and discriminatory. Just like when they want to serve in the military, protecting you and your 6 year-old son, work in schools – teaching kids the same things that his parents learned, etc. Nobody seems to be bothered when homosexual folks put their chests in front of bullets to protect straight citizens, to be their doctors, teachers, lawyers, policemen…. When they serve your needs and you are satisfied, why does it matter if they are gay or not? When they adopt abandoned children, give them love, shelter, education – does their sexual orientation matter? Does it matter to those children? If it helps the kids who are being taken care of, why should you care? Why do you care if your son’s leader is a man who loves another man? When you volunteer your time and energy to serve others, do they ever ask you “and who do you have sex with?” I am sure the answers would be “NO”. Then why should BSA ever pose this question to those who volunteer their service? I am shocked that this policy is even being considered for discussion – the answer is “YES” and there should be no policy at all regarding sexual orientation among members and leaders. If the leader/member upgholds the values of the BSA, then what else is needed?! This is so ridiculous! I think BSA needs to learn from the Girl Scouts who don’t even consider this to be an issue – they accept everyone. No questions asked. BSA’s leadership in this whole ordeal is so poor.

    • One more thought, Blanca – homosexuals are not forcing themselves in BSA. They already were and are. It is BSA leadership that can’t deside what they want – to follow their own law, to lose money, or to follow the religious bullying.
      By the way, why do the homosexuals need to form their own organization, if you’ve already offered a very good alternative – if you don’t like it, leave. Its a free choice. One thing though – the freedom of choice applies to homosexuals as well and is protected by the Constitution, thank God. The fact under discussion here is the Constitutional rights of people.
      Plus, I strongly recommend to reread the “core beliefs” of the BSA that you are referring to: the Scout Law states clearly – respect and help others, understanding others. As for morally straight – why same sex relationship is not against being “morally straight”. It is a relationship, just like heterosexual.
      Good luck to you in your “alternative” membership.

      • “One more thought, Blanca – homosexuals are not forcing themselves in BSA. They already were and are. It is BSA leadership that can’t deside what they want – to follow their own law, to lose money, or to follow the religious bullying.”

        And speaking of bullying, here’s what Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign had to say about that panacea known in polite company as “the local option”:

        “The policy proposed will not result in the full inclusion of gay Scouts or gay Scout leaders across the country. While it is good news that the onerous national ban will come to an end, it’s not acceptable to abdicate nondiscrimination standards to local units. It’s akin to a national restaurant chain saying that it will not discriminate at its corporate headquarters, but allow local restaurants to discriminate at will.

        “Make no mistake, this policy creates a separate but equal system where some troops welcome all members and others still turn gay Scouts away. This problem will only be solved when BSA proactively institutes a national nondiscrimination policy that prohibits anti-gay discrimination so that no young American or family is excluded from the proud tradition of Scouting.”

        http://www.hrc.org/blog/entry/hrc-to-boy-scouts-of-america-adopt-national-non-discrimination-standards-pr

        That’s what we need, more of that tolerance!

        • “Make no mistake, this policy creates a separate but equal system where some troops welcome all members and others still turn gay Scouts away. This problem will only be solved when BSA proactively institutes a national nondiscrimination policy that prohibits anti-gay discrimination so that no young American or family is excluded from the proud tradition of Scouting.”

          This sounds EXACTLY like what we need.

        • Chad Griffin is obviously not a Boy Scout.

          “this policy creates a separate but equal system” sounds like a pretty good description of how the Chartering Organization system is supposed to work.

          After all, I don’t really have any interest in sending my sons to a Jewish troop, or a Mormon troop, or a Catholic troop, even though I know such troops are out there and have been around since the beginning of Scouting.

          I’ll find a troop sponsored by an organization I agree with, and be more than happy there. If we happen to run into so Mormons or Jews or Catholics at summer camp, great! A perfect opportunity to teach the kids what “respects the beliefs of others” means, in real life.

          I don’t have to surround my kids with the ideology of other religions to teach them how to respect others.

          Giving each CO the option to teach specific moral or religious teachings that are outside of the core teachings of Scouting is exactly how BSA is supposed to work. If we let the CO system work the way it was designed, there is plenty of room for gays in Scouts too.

        • OOPS, I think I got a little overzealous with the mouse and didn’t proof read my comment. Color me stupid on this one. Just to be clear, I DO NOT think a separate but equal system is what we need. I WOULD like the BSA to state that discrimination of any kind is intolerable. By that I men race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or lack thereof. NO discrimination.

          Feel free to poke fun at me, I deserve it on that one.

        • Yes, it’s okay to reject a leader who is guilty of axe murders — at least so long as axe murder is a crime.

          Let the background check pick it up.

          But it’s not okay to reject someone for being inhospitable toward gays, I think. While some of us think that immoral, it’s not illegal.

        • Steve:

          The scenario of which you approve would force members of some religious confessions, to sanction a way of life and behavior, which they find to be (in the case of a practicing Roman Catholic, “an objective moral evil”), to compromise that conviction, for the sake of one who holds it in contempt. A sufficient number of such instances would likely force Catholic parishes on a broad scale (by individual diocese, statewide, or even nationally) to end their long association with the BSA, one that predates even the LDS.

          (Catholics represent the third largest religious body that sponsors Scout units, at about 10.3 percent of the total youth membership. The LDS, by the way, sponsors units holding about 16.2 percent of the total youth membership. These figures are based upon the 2012 BSA Annual Report.)

          The most that could be accomplished by those inclined as you are, is to replace one form of coercion, one form of injustice, with another. And if the history of this form of activism is any indication, it would still not be enough.

        • The scenario of which you approve would force members of some religious confessions, to sanction a way of life and behavior, which they find to be (in the case of a practicing Roman Catholic, “an objective moral evil”), to compromise that conviction, for the sake of one who holds it in contempt. A sufficient number of such instances would likely force Catholic parishes on a broad scale (by individual diocese, statewide, or even nationally) to end their long association with the BSA, one that predates even the LDS.

          I think you’ve stretched religious doctrine. No church in the Christian tradition holds to a view that members may associate in public with all manner of sinners.

          One Scout unit’s accepting leaders of any particular orientation does not make you give up any religious principle — at least, none that I know of.

          Is there some non-fraternization commandment that’s been added to the Ten Commandments, or the Great Commandment, or the Great Commission, in the most recent edits?

          Outside of Christian tradition, there are few other groups of any import or who sponsor Scout units that disallow fraternization with people of differing faiths and different faith practices. Off hand, I can think of none.

          Recent developments suggest even the LDS Church may have different views: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865568211/Stay-with-us-new-LDS-website-urges-gay-Mormons.html?pg=all

        • That should have been:

          I think you’ve stretched religious doctrine. No church in the Christian tradition holds to a view that members may NOT associate in public with all manner of sinners.

        • Ed, you wrote:

          “I think you’ve stretched religious doctrine. No church in the Christian tradition holds to a view that members may [not] associate in public with all manner of sinners.”

          You have missed the boat entirely, and I am more than qualified to verify this, if only with respect to Catholicism.

          Those who engage in Catholic parish work in the States, especially when having “substantial contact with minors,” must undergo a background check. This also applies to Scouters of units sponsored by Catholic parishes who are not themselves Catholic. Furthermore, the applicant must demonstrate that they are living what would be considered an exemplary life. We believe that all work with children is “religious education,” as we do not separate our formal external religious practices from our engagement with the world. One who is openly engaged as part of a gay or lesbian couple, for example, would be considered as living a scandalous lifestyle, and would disqualify themselves from doing youth work in a Catholic setting. This would include even being a unit committee member of a Catholic-sponsored Scout troop — again, even if the person is a non-Catholic.

          I am not an expert on the LDS. I am only aware of what their position was in 2000, when an attorney representing them outlined their position in this matter, and how that position has evolved in more recent years. Then again, upon reading the article, there is nothing that suggests an outright change in Mormon teaching regarding homosexual acts.

          As to Catholic teaching and practice, it is clear in differentiating between the inclination itself, and the exercise thereof. The former is not sinful, but the latter is, as sex is considered reserved for a man and woman in the context of marriage.

          I hope that helps to clarify.

        • Michael Birdlebough, you wrote:

          “So, would this include Priests, Bishops, and Cardinals …”

          Yes, it would, Michael.

          To be a Catholic is to believe that they are judged even more harshly by their Maker. “The road to hell is paved with the skulls of priests.” (St John Chrysostom) We are required to go to confession once a year, but we are encouraged to go once a month. The late Pope John Paul II went to confession weekly, and when on a week-long retreat, went nearly every day. “To whomever much is given, of him will much be required.” (Luke 14:28)

        • Much as Jesus held teachers to a higher standard (the reason, by the way, there are none in the military, where trainers and instructors are many).

        • As to Catholic teaching and practice, it is clear in differentiating between the inclination itself, and the exercise thereof. The former is not sinful, but the latter is, as sex is considered reserved for a man and woman in the context of marriage.

          I hope that helps to clarify.

          I think you missed what I was saying.

          Catholic clergy in our town work alongside female ministers from the Methodist churches on interfaith projects. At the National Day of Prayer, Catholics don’t refuse to participate because women clergy, or gay clergy, from other faiths participate.

          What you said earlier was that a Methodist, or Episcopalian, or Disciples of Christ (Reagan’s faith) allowing a leader of a sexual orientation of which you do not approve would violate your faith.

          So I’m curious: What principle of any faith says you can’t affiliate with religious leaders of other Christian sects? I know of no such rule in any Christian sect.

          In short, a gay leader in a unit not sponsored by your church, doesn’t require you to protest, does it? You said you’re Catholic? What’s the rule?

          And how is that rule not violated now, under current rules of BSA, considering the ordination of women in other Christian sects, or laymen performing sacramental rites?

        • Thank you Ed. I attend an ELCA church and our members often work together with a Methodist, Baptist and Catholic church in the area on many interfaith activities. To my knowledge none of the other churches have provided a list of who may or may not attend due to orientation, occupation or gender.

        • Edward:

          I suggest you confine yourself to what I say, as opposed to what you assume I mean.

          “What you said earlier was that a Methodist, or Episcopalian, or Disciples of Christ (Reagan’s faith) allowing a leader of a sexual orientation of which you do not approve would violate your faith.”

          I said no such thing. I was explaining how a Catholic parish would operate under its own auspices (as in, nobody else’s auspices), irrespective of how those of other religious confessions operate. The Catholic Church is not responsible for the position of Methodists, Episcopalians, or Disciples of Christ. As to interfaith gatherings, the fact that they are of differing beliefs would imply that, for a Catholic cleric or laic to participate in their gathering, does not constitute a refutation of their own tenets.

          I suggest you direct any further questions to the National Catholic Committee on Scouting (). They may be better equipped than I to answer any specific questions.

        • Methodists do not ordain sexually active homosexuals to be Methodist Ministers. I’m a member of the Methodist Denomination. My denomination doesn’t define me though; my faith does. If they change their minds and choose to distance their discipline away from God’s Word then I’ll choose a different Christian Church that chooses to at least accept God’s only true Word as the guide I try to follow for my life; I’d be wrongdul not to. It’ll be the same for the BSA. I see it as a Godly organization and have only ever known it through a family of Christian believers. I’d feel betrayed if they change their minda and I’d step away; It won’t define part of who I am any longer. Character does count; just a truth that can’t be changed. won’t let lies define who I am..

        • ” I see it as a Godly organization and have only ever known it through a family of Christian believers. ”

          If you want to hang out with Christian believers, I’d recommend Royal Rangers, Royal Ambassadors, Pathfinders, Cadet Corps, Columbian Squires, or Awana as alternatives to BSA. That is what all of those groups were created for.

          BSA was intended, from its very founding, to provide opportunities for fellowship between youth of all religions, including non-Christians. If you don’t like that, then BSA is the wrong choice for our family.

        • I suggest you direct any further questions to the National Catholic Committee on Scouting (). They may be better equipped than I to answer any specific questions.

          It was your specific statement I referred to, earlier. Excuse me if I misunderstood, but what I thought you wrote was that you would consider it a violation of your belief to have to work alongside someone of a different faith, from a different Scout unit, who you regard as homosexual, and that you consider anyone’s allowing such a person to be a leader as a violation of your faith.

          I’ve worked with the National Catholic Committee on Scouting in the past, always happily. I’m quite sure I represented their views correctly, which is why I wondered what your beef was.

          I’ll just chalk this up to miscommunication. It’s clear I don’t know what you were trying to say, and it’s pretty clear I won’t get clarification. My apologies.

        • cwgmpls: I’m a member of the BSA and have been for many years. I am also a Christian and don’t check my faith in at the door when I go anywhere or do anything; it defines who I am. I share my faith often with people in the BSA but then again our units are overwhelmingly Christian so I am always with like minded people. I guess that shows just how many Christians are attracted and how many Christians participate in the BSA. I wonder what the BSA would be like without Christians and I wonder how many Christians would remain in the BSA if the BSA tried to attack their freedom of Speech and tried to inhibit their freedom to practice whatever faith they choose in the USA.. Do you think the BSA is ever going to try to restrict free speech and freedom of religious affiliation? Wouldn’t that be a 180 degree change of direction for the organization. I don’t see that happening any time soon either; just like I don’t see my viewpoints changing ever with regard to an issue rooted in Biblical Principles. I wonder how many chartering organizations us the Holy Bible as their principle for disciplines within their faith? I’d venture to say the vast majority. And the majority does still carry the day in the end of all this debate. Fun discussing the issue with the very few on this blog but in the end you’ll hear the voice of millions loud and clear when they choose to speak out loudly on this issue with their vote of rechartering in January; Yes or Now? The more that vote on an issue the truer the result; that’s democracy. I hope the BSA allows for democracy on this issue; volunteer members deserve to have their voices really heard. Their is a truth and without a vote of every member who was registered when this new change of reaffirmation was initiated that truth will never be known.

        • Wallace – I agree with you – public opinion as well as a ‘true’ representation of the membership needs to be vocal on this issue.

          To that end, I propose that prior to the National Board vote in May, that we conduct a publicly held debate, televised and/or via Skype that gives the opportunity, in a formalized debate setting, for the lay public to be informed on all sides of the issue.

          While this blog has been an informative, interesting and often frustrating discourse on the topic, it serves a fairly limited audience.

          I am willing to get on a true public stage and debate this issue with anyone who wishes to participate. I’ve seen a number of highly vocal people on both sides of this issue post here in this forum and I’ve seen it suggested that there isn’t actual ‘debate’ experience or capability – at least on one side of the issue. So, I propose that we actually have a true, formal debate to address this issue and put personal and Scouting personas on the line.

          Specifically, I propose the following:

          1.) We have a moderated debate in a public forum facilitated by a neutral and agreed-to third party. That moderator would be responsible for announcing the statement/assertion, managing the clock and announcing the position in the debate based on the agreed-to schedule (e,g. Affirmative statement, Negative statement, rebuttal, etc.)

          2.) The full transcript of the debate is both posted here, as well as contained in an article in Scouting Magazine. The full transcript, in its entirety, is also published via both the Associated Press and United Press International, available to any news media outlet that subscribes to either or both services.

          3.) The assertion is agreed to prior to the debate, and at least two weeks prior to the actual debate so that there is ample time to coordinate schedules and prepare arguments, etc.

          4.) There is a panel of at least two but no more than four people per side in order to manage time effectively.

          5.) The debate does NOT include any current members of either the National Board or the National Council, but is representative of BSA Volunteer Leadership at a Council, District and/or Unit level. (Region and Area are also welcome, but more local participation is preferred.)

          6.) The debate does NOT include anyone who is not currently a registered and active member of Boy Scouts of America. Paperwork would need to be available two weeks prior to the event. While we all believe, as Scouters, in the honor code, such a delicate situation requires this level of scrutiny.

          7.) The debate may include Youth, however, there must be an equal number of Youth represented on both sides.

          8.) A volunteer spokesperson for each side (e.g. Debate Team Captain) will be required in order to coordinate logistics, responses, debate structure decisions, etc. That volunteer spokesperson will be selected by the side and such information will be available one (1) week prior to the actual event.

          That’s my proposal. Who’s in?

        • It sounds like a good way to get all the different ideas out there to a voting block of oeople but I still feel strongly that that voting block needs to consist of all the volunteer members who invest their precious free time into an organization they feel is worthy of receiving those hours of dedicated committed service. I think each has earned the right to vote on this important issue; for some its life and death with regard their future volunteerism with regard to service in the BSA; that’s realism..

        • dducat et al:

          I’d love to see a debate on this topic, live on streaming web. I would only add two things.

          1) That the normal conventions of formal debate be applied and strictly adhered to. (I got a bunch of thumbs-down for proposing one of them a few days ago, which tells me that this is new territory for some of us.)

          2) That the BSA leadership, including the National Key 3 and the Executive Board, be led into a room, tied to their chairs, and be forced to watch the entire thing without any opportunity to ask questions (which leaves the act of merely listening), and that there be a test afterwords.

          3) That the moderator be anybody but Cindy Crowley.

        • david alexander:

          I would agree to those terms in addition to the ones I proposed.

          I’d also request that Jim Lehrer be out of consideration for moderator as well.

        • Let’s add the condition that everyone in the debate must use the word “gender” to refer only to words.
          ;-)

  19. ”Mentally awake”…. is part of the scout oath. No need to change a policy, that protects BSA from morally fast asleep. No one should never jeopardize an Ahkayla.

  20. ”Mentally awake”…. is part of the scout oath. No need to change a policy, that protects BSA from morally fast asleep. No one should ever jeopardize an Ahkayla.

  21. I pray that the BSA stand true to the position they have held over all these years. I am an Eagle Scout and Scout Leader with two young boys in Cub Scouts and it disheartens me that the BSA is considering this change because they are being pressured financially to do so. Please stand strong in this day and age when the masses seem to waver to the whims of their desires. Please be an anchor in this storm.

    • Aaron, being an Eagle you must remember your Oath: “You do your duty to God by … respecting and defending the rights of others to practice their own beliefs”, “to help other people at all times”. What is there not to understand and be “disheartened” about?

  22. As an Eagle Scout and Vigil Honor Member, I must say it’s disheartening to hear scouts and scouters writing such inflammatory and ignorant remarks against people that are different only because of their sexual orientation. Why do people believe that just because a man is gay that he wants to have sex with every man? Or the even more ignorant assumption, molest children? There seems to be a complete lack of understanding that homosexuality isn’t a “lifestyle” or “choice,” but the way they are.

    There are over 1.5 million people and nearly 5,000 Eagle Scouts already committed to changing this stance of bigoted discrimination into an open, welcoming embrace for any and every young man to create friendships and build character.

    Scouting isn’t about Christianity. It’s not about Mormonism or Islam. It’s not required that you even have a faith to call your own. It’s about teaching the values that are important to be a good man or woman (Venture Scouts). Homosexuality has no more relevance to that education that someone’s ethnicity or gender.

    http://www.scoutsforequality.com/

    • Rob, thank you!!! Finally someone stated it before I intended to do the same: why are folks arguing Cristianity/Biblical interpretations/God’s view on homosexuality, if the conversation should focus on the Human Rights of the people?! The desision is so simple that it is not even worth hrs on internet: change the discriminatory policy once and for all into a better yet statement “BSA does not discriminate.” Period.

      • There is such a thing as GOOD discrimination! When a mother tells a child, “I want you to stay away form people who engaging in UNHEALTHY behavior,” THAT is Good Discrimination. The B.S.A. is protecting its members from those who wish have such behavior accepted (that’s all)

        • My children are discriminating. They have the wonderful ability to tell the difference between a good piece of fish and one of less quality. Their ability to discriminate between clothes of good taste and that of poor workmanship is impeccable. Infact their ability to discriminate has even made their father and I angry at times when they felt that the taste of an item was not up to par and they would refuse to eat it. Never have they been allowed to discriminate against a person.

        • How about then -”Do not associate with Blacks/Hispanics/Jews/etc/”? Remember, those were very valid values for the majority of people in some cultures at some point.
          Mirriam Webster’s Dictionary definition: “discrimination is the practice of unfairly treating a person or group of people differently from other people or groups of people”. “Unfairly” is the key word.
          Associating homosexual behavior with “unhealthy” is as an inappropriate argument because the logical conclusion then should be “All heterosexuals are engaged in healthy behavior”. If this was the case, then sexually transmitted deseases would be contained only within the homosexuals. Makes no sense.

    • robmakesmovies: you’d be foolish to believe that there aren’t homosexual men who do want to have sex with every man and possibly molest your children… Why do you think the BSA goes to so much trouble to protect the boys in their care with all the protective policies.. It’s the best they can do to assure parents that their boys, who are very precious to them, are under the best care possible when on overnight or extended campouts; at times many many miles from home. Most parents aren’t wreckless with their children; their very protective and cautious. I’d like to see the list of the names you claim are in your list of Eagles and people? I can throw numbers around wrecklessly too but it doesn’t change the heart of the parent when your trying to convince them to entrust you with the care of their child… You can say a million Eagles and when they see a troop run by a couple of homosexuals or a group of homosexuals their not going to be sending their child to that troop; they’ll go play soccer instead…

      • Once again, Wallace, you are not very well informed about the terminology here that you are using. Your faulty knowledge leads you (and lots of Americans with you) to faulty conclusions. If you are truly supporting scouting, why don’t you follow the Oath, and ask questions, research, be inquisitive and learn.
        Homosexual behavior is based on gender preference. Just like you chose a woman to love, a gay guy choses a guy. Why didn’t you chose a man? Same reasoning for homesexual love.
        Next, do you have any sexual feelings towards every/any little girl that you see around? I tend to think NOT. Why do you assume then that every homosexual is burning with desire when he sees a young boy? This would be as abnormal for him as it is for you in the above example.
        What you are confusing here is homosexual and pedofile and molester: two different things by the way.
        Pedofile is a person who can’t establish a meaningful and sexual relationship with a person of the same age. Notice – nothing about the gender: pedofiles can be attracted to both genders. It is all about age.
        And finally, Molester: a person can have sexual attraction to the opposite gender, can have a functional family/be married and have children, but who commits sexual act with a child (many times – their own children).
        Scientifically proven – homosexuals are not pedofiles, not molesters. They just are not interested in sex with opposite gender. Overwhelming majority of sexual crime against children come not from gay folk, but from “happily married” heterosexual men and pedofiles.
        I assume there will be challenge to this post calling for my list of the scientific data. I am ready. But not sure… Let me know. Thanks.

        • You can play that shell game of labels if you want. If a man has sexual contact with a boy, that is a homosexual act. I don’t care, at that point, who or what he is married to or how many children he has fathered. Male to male sexual activity is by definition homosexual activity. Why do you assume that no homosexual would think of having relations with a minor?

  23. I am a Scoutmaster, an Eagle Scout, and a Vigil Honor member of OA. But I am also a Professor who teaches Critical Thinking at a college in California that enrolls over 20,000 students. The Boy Scouts of America is a private, not a governmental, organization. Thus, the membership can indeed set membership requirements. BSA is the most open, democratic organization to which I belong. But it is private. One example of a strictly exclusive private organization in the USA is country clubs. No matter how rich an individual is, the club’s board may exclude him or her from membership. I thank God BSA has been INCLUSIVE for over a century. But BSA cannot be pushed by the LGBT lobbies or any other group, to do their will. BSA is ours, not any political entity’s.

    • Lawrence, BSA may be private, but it is most certaily not a country club – a very exclusive and discriminatory society, which does not make any pretence about it by the way.
      BSA contradicted its own Oath when announced its discriminatory policy against homosexuals. It contradicted the whole spirit of the organization by declaring that not everyone can join even if the one supports the Scout Law. Well, here are the quotations from the BSA’ materials: “To do my duty to God. You do your duty to God by respecting and defending the rights of others to practice their own beliefs.” What else is there not to understand and argue? But wait, there is more in the oath that was violated by the BSA. “Morally straight. 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”. DEFEND and RESPECT ALL people, Lawrence: including Professors of Critical Thinking.
      Just because BSA is private does not mean it should discriminate. And if it does, it does, it is yours and my responsibility to oppose that. Because, Lawrence, today it discriminates against them, tomorrow against someone else, and after tomorrow it may be you (just like in a very wise poem). And who will stand up for your rights when they are violated?

    • The Boy Scouts of America is a private, not a governmental, organization. Thus, the membership can indeed set membership requirements. BSA is the most open, democratic organization to which I belong. But it is private.

      A private group, but a private group with a special charge delivered by Congressional charter. The charter doesn’t change the fact of BSA being a private organization, but it does confer special immunities to states laws and offer other special privileges that other private groups, like country clubs, simply do not have.

      Other groups that have Congressional charters include the Girl Scouts, the American Red Cross, and the National Ski Patrol.

      In U.S. law, Chapter 36 Section 30902, the purpose of BSA is spelled out:

      The purposes of the corporation are to promote, through organization, and cooperation with other agencies, the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues, using the methods that were in common use by boy scouts on June 15, 1916.

      No other organization in America has that duty given by law. Notice there is no limitation on which populations of boys we are to serve.

      This is an elephant in the legal room. In most litigation, the federal Charter doesn’t come up. If courts start to scrutinize that, some fear changes — which is why the LDS Church has been so careful over the years.

      Notice that the charter doesn’t say anything about religious values, in addition to not granting any right to discriminate.

      BSA is a private organization, but a very special one, with specific, important an special duties given to it by federal charter. It is not like a country club, nor the Lions Club, nor Rotary, nor almost any other group we think of when we think of private organizations.

      It’s a special privilege, and a high standard to live up to.

      • Ed, love your post.
        Thanks to this discussion, I learned a whole lot. No matter what the result will be in May – we all are going through some major transformation here. We may disagree with one another, but the value of this is obvious – we all are here for the good of the Scouting. All – with good hearts. Minds may be misleading, but hearts will come to learn, to embrace, to forgive, and to lead to a much better organization, based on global values, not local interests.

    • “BSA is the most open, democratic organization to which I belong.”

      Perhaps someone can describe the open, democratic process that led to BSA first publicly stating its ban on gays in 1991.

  24. Over the last few months there has been a lot of discussion related to should openly homosexual boys and men be admitted into the scouting program and allowed to attain the rank of Eagle.
    First and foremost,the Boy Scouts of America is a private orginazation with standards. Those standards may neeed to change from time to time, however, not in this case.
    The reason that this standard should not be changed is two-fold. First, we have seen a steady degregation of the American youth. Much of this can be traced back to when youth (both boys and girls) had minimal adult supervision (either by the necessity of both parents having to work) or by divorce. And second by desensitazaiton of extreamist groups (on both sides) saying what we should or should not accept. This confuses our youth. Boy Scouts have and continue to be a pilar of moral strength.

    Now that is not to say anyone should go out and make negative comments toward the gay population. Scouts are respectful.

    Just as Scouts are respectful of anothers choice, others should also respect the choices of the Boy Scouts. Scouting may not be for everyone. And for those who chose to participate they must understand there are standards (very public) and they must abide by those standards. If they are uncertain that they can abide by those standards, maybe another organization may be a better fit.

    This is a difficult topic and one that needs to have an open discussion but also a clear mission and vision.

  25. Let’s not forget what was stated in the 2000 U.S. Supreme Court case, BSA v. Dale. I quote the actual text of the case:

    “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.

    • We all know that is the position that BSA stated in 2000. We also all know that, for many reasons, such a position did not exist in 1910.

      If a BSA position can evolve between 1910 and the 1990s, certainly that position can continue to evolve now.

      It is fully within BSA’s right to, as an organization, develop a position, consistent with its core values, that is different from its 1990 position. Just as its 1990 position was different from its 1910 position.

      Times change. Organizations that survive change, even as their core values remain firm.

      • Evolution? is that good or bad? to a better way or a worse way. the word doesn’t imply good. In this case it would be deterioration and regression to a state of immorality and that’s not a good evolution.. maybe the BSA should aspire toward higher levels of ethical morality rather than wrestle with how to regress to a lower level of morality while believing their going to deceive the membership that this is a righteous move in a righteous direction. I’ve learned to never underestimate other people and assume they already know what you think your going to try to deceive them about because their not as stupid as you need them to be to convince them of something they knkw is wrong; homosexual behavior is wrongful behavior.

        • You tell me. BSA evolved from 1910 to 1990 when it created its first position statement about homosexuality. Was that good or bad?

  26. It has been fascinating to follow this debate and see so much energy pumped into anti-gay arguments versus anti-discrimination arguments — when that is just a sideshow. The _real_ issue here is how the Boy Scouts of America is going to interact with American society going forward.

    That is because we can all see the direction that mainstream society is heading on social issues. Many of us may not like it, but it is pretty clear. And to the extent BSA takes positions on such social issues, we know it is on the wrong side of developing history — even if we believe it is on the right side of the issue.

    So BSA’s challenge is to determine whether it can get back into the American mainstream. To do so, it has to determine whether certain specific positions it has taken — such as the ban on gay membership, and (next up) belief in God — are really ‘core’ matters that cannot be changed without damaging BSA’s core ideals and program. Because if its specific positions on such matters are just interpretations that it can reasonably change its mind about without altering its core ideals, it has a chance to claw its way back to being an American institution for many decades to come. That doesn’t mean it _will_ be successful, just that it would be eliminating some clear obstacles to success. There will still be a lot of work ahead of it.

    On the other hand, if it can’t change those specific positions, BSA will continue to shrink until its constituency is little more than the churches and other institutional sponsors taking similar minority positions. It is a big gamble, because if it changes now it risks losing some major support that it may never be able to replace. But if it doesn’t change now, continuation of its long-term decline is a near-certainty.

    • Dan, you make an excellent argument. This is a much more articulate way of saying what I said yesterday, times are changing, the BSA must change or die.

      Thanks for posting.

      • Steve, thanks, but I wouldn’t read my comments as advocating the change. I’m not sure yet where I would come down on it. I’m just trying to lay out what I see as the real stakes.

        • Dan
          You are reasonable and knowledgeable without being obtuse. I have enjoyed your posts. Thanks for sharing your views.

    • ” The _real_ issue here is how the Boy Scouts of America is going to interact with American society going forward. ”

      I agree. And the way BSA will interact with society going forward, is the same way BSA interacted with society from its founding. By adhering to the Scout Oath and Law in all its programs, and nothing more.

      BSA has absolutely no role to play in social issues of a political nature. Social activism has been outside the role of Scouting from its inception.

      “The Boy Scouts of America shall not, through its governing body or through any of its officers, its chartered Councils, or members, involve the Scouting movement in any question of a political character.” — Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America, Art. IX, cl. 6

      • BSA has absolutely no role to play in social issues of a political nature. Social activism has been outside the role of Scouting from its inception.

        I disagree with that, in principle. BSA’s role prepares citizens of good character to participate in the great discussions of policy that are necessary to the governance of our schools, towns, counties, states and nation, and worldwide organizations. By signing up for Scouting we become social activists for exactly those things the federal charter charges us with:

        . . . to promote, through organization, and cooperation with other agencies, ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues, using the methods that were in common use by boy scouts on June 15, 1916.

        Especially, for when boys are not in uniform, and no longer boys.

        We don’t endorse candidates for office as BSA, for example; but we’d be a lot poorer without candidates for political office like former Scouts and/or Eagle Scouts like John Glenn, John Kennedy, Lamar Alexander, Bill Bradley, Richard Gephardt, Richard Lugar, Gerald Ford, Barack Obama, John Jones, Robert Gates, Alan Simpson, Norman Y. Mineta, Justice Stephen Breyer, and Bill Bradley.

        • BSA may create social activists. But it is against BSA policy to use BSA as a platform for political activism.

          “The Boy Scouts of America shall not, through its governing body or through any of its officers, its chartered Councils, or members, involve the Scouting movement in any question of a political character.” — Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America, Art. IX, cl. 6

    • Dream on Dan. It’s apparent your becomming frustrated as you realize things are never going to go your way. Homosexual behavior goes against the grain of human nature and no matter what you tell someone or how many times you try to tell them its righteous behavior you’ll never change the true heart of a man and a woman; it’s timeless; forever. That’s what biblical truths are all about; timeless. God doesn’t care if the BSA survives all of our silly debates; His will is always going to claim His victory. Think your going to dictate His will similar to the ways your trying to dictate the culture of the BSA. If the BSA changes their policy which now protects the organization from becomming a social and political weapon to be used against Godly people to serve their un-Godly ways then in time the BSA will collapse and go bankrupt and nobody will enjoy its true mission. You listen to me clearly because this is the real truth. I’m the messenger; I didn’t write the message. It’s been reveales and realized time and time again through history and it’ll be realized time and time forevermore. Think you invented homosexual behavior and that your the first activist supporting its encroachment into traditional society; don’t be so proud. God always has His victory; truths in knowing the past…

      • Um, Wallace, maybe you and Andrei should have a chat about whether I’m a gay activist. LOL! Or you could just actually read what I’ve written.

        • Dan, I already responded to that – my mistake. I have no intent to drag that further.
          I actually enjoyed your posts and gave lots of them thumbs up.
          I am sorry if my gay activism overshadowed my more important message: discirmination.
          It is not about gays, my friends. It is about ethics of the dilemma. When an organization has legal rights to protect itself from an unwanted interference – I have no problem with this. But I do have a problem with ignorance, bigotry, intolerance, and lies of any sort.
          I am not trying to label anyone here – this would be too low. I stated many times in my posts – we all are here for the same reasons, with the same good intents, coming from different backgrounds, hoping to contribute to the organization our best. And, since the issue is so controversial and the organization is so dear to all of us – we speak from our hearts: emotionally and at times not very clear. Well, then it is our responsibility to ask clarifying questions and to respond accordingly.

      • And you are upset with my comments to your posts, Wallace?
        You said it – this is democracy, this is an open forum, and yes – everyone has a right to speak. Then stick to your claims: let others speak without your attacks. And for your own God’s sake, don’t turn it into “God’s truth” discussion. It is boring, if nothing else.
        I may disagree with some folks here, but unlike you,I try to reason with them. And I gave them thumbs up for the awesome information provided: facts that contradicted to my own values but made me think nevertheless. Facts/opinions/suggestions that may actually help shaping up my own perception and further involvement in Scouting.

    • Part of the calculation here has to be that BSA’s decline from its height in 1971 (or thereabouts) has been very slow. It has taken 40 years for BSA’s membership to drop to about half of what it was then. If BSA has a “half-life” of 40 years (a scientific term for a totally unscientific guess), then BSA could still have about 1.3 million members in 2050.

      In other words, there may be a lot of members who are willing to trade the possibility of a much smaller BSA for their grandchildren for certainty _now_ that a still-large BSA will continue with its policies intact. There may also be many members who favor changing the policy, but aren’t sure the time is right and are willing to wait a few years until half of the states or more recognize gay marriage, support for the exclusionary policy declines even further, and the already-rapid change in social attitudes on this issue reaches into even conservative churches and organizations. In short, there is a possibility that the voting members will decline to change the policy this year, perhaps with a commitment to re-visit the issue in a couple of years and conduct some sort of “study” in the meantime.

    • Except that the rejection of the proposed change now, after a highly public announcement that it was being reconsidered, and a months-long “conversation,” would bring a flood of public ridicule on BSA, likely the loss of more individual, institutional, and corporate financial supporters, and potentially rejection of BSA by large chartered organizations such as some more liberal churches, who would view BSA’s intolerance as contrary to their understanding of God’s teaching.

      Going totally in the other direction — adopting a non-discrimination policy that applied even to local chartered organizations — would bring a lot of highly public attention to BSA that could be exploited by a good marketing campaign. It would, of course, result in immediately losing the very conservative large institutional supporters such as the Catholic Church, and those losses may simply be too large to easily rebound from.

      The proposed policy change — removing the current national exclusionary policy, thereby leaving membership qualifications to the local chartered organizations, like the “civil unions” notion as a compromise on gay marriage — has risks on both sides for BSA. It will bring lots of positive press for the BSA, But those who oppose this form of discrimination will say it doesn’t go far enough. Those who favor this form of discrimination, even though they can continue to exclude gays and lesbians through their chartered organizations, may leave BSA anyway rather than be guilty by association, or have to encounter homosexual Scouts and leaders in normal Scout settings such as Roundtable and Camporees. Still, it would get the monkey off of National’s back and leave it to the discriminating organizations to deal with their liberal opponents, while potentially keeping those more conservative organizations in the Scouting fold.

      • “Still, it would get the monkey off of National’s back and leave it to the discriminating organizations to deal with their liberal opponents, while potentially keeping those more conservative organizations in the Scouting fold.”

        This assumes a couple of things: first, that anti-discrimination laws in some states would allow certain activists to take local units and/or sponsoring institutions to court, resulting in legal costs that would make defending their convictions impractical; second, that this does not send the wrong message as to how the BSA views the concept of honor.

        Honor.

        Get to know that word. It is the first point of the Scout Law as B-P originally conceived it. It is a word, indeed an idea, that has been conspicuous from this “family conversation” at the offset. While in some localities, units whose leaders and supporters fight for their heart-felt beliefs, the national leaders may “have their back,” or may not. The last time BSA tried to “keep up with the times” was forty years ago. Do I have to remind some of you how that worked out? Times change, but not everything changes with it. Some things are worth keeping, and we have to decide as an organization whether some standard of conduct is a “timeless value” worth defending, or not.

        However we decide, what does it say about honor?

        • A correction: “… that anti-discrimination laws in some states would NOT ENABLE certain activists to take local units and/or sponsoring institutions to court …” Thank you.

        • So right — as I discussed in my original post above, a fundamental aspect of this decision is whether BSA can reconcile changing its mind on this issue with its core ideals. And I think there are a couple of considerations there. First, is this specific policy actually based in and a reflection of BSA’s core ideals? Or does it have some other basis, and the core ideals were pulled in as justification to cover up some less worthy motive? Second, if this specific policy was indeed a true reflection of BSA’s core ideals when it was adopted, can we look into our own hearts and consciences and say — with honor — that our understanding of our core ideals has changed? I agree that this is a fundamental process of soul-searching that each voting member needs to undertake before delving into the the other considerations I have raised.

        • And it may be that deliberate and probing soul-searching reaches the conclusion that the policy cannot be changed because it is a reflection of BSA’s core ideals. Personally, I think the long-term consequence of that is the decline of BSA into obscurity. But that would be okay if it is the result of remaining true to its ideals. For everything there is a time and a season. Heck, before the asteroid, it was good to be a dinosaur.

        • Dan:

          For a number of years, much of the effort by BSA has been to “get the numbers up.” Spend one year as a commissioner and you learn in a hurry, that if it’s a choice between visiting and helping units (the core mission of commissioners), and setting goals for membership and number of units … well, one of those helps the DC get his next bonus (and I say this knowing they aren’t paid very well, unfortunately), while the other might not. Contrary to the belief of some who shall remain nameless, I visit a my units. Not all of the small ones are in a hurry to be “mega-troops.” And not all “mega-troops” are what they’re cracked up to be.

          I do not believe the BSA would be headed for “obscurity,” but I do believe they will have to learn to adjust their expectations. I’d rather see a smaller organization with a kick-ass program, than a larger one that handles certain issues about as well as they’ve handled this one.

          Folks, the BSA has never been at the pinnacle of popular culture, going back to its earliest days. It enjoyed a certain ideal status in the 1950s and early 1960s, but that was an aberration.

          So, a bunch of snooty intellectuals are picking on the Boy Scouts — to which I respond, ‘So what else is new?”

      • But finally — and then I’ll shut up for a while — as I have written elsewhere in this blog: The rationale for this policy, as described to the Supreme Court, may well be a reflection of BSA’s core ideals at the time. However, I believe that how the actual policy was written is inconsistent with that stated rationale, and violates other core ideals, and so is inconsistent with the concept of honor. So I think the policy as written must — as a matter of honor — be changed in order to conform to either the previously stated rationale, or to some other sincere understanding of our core ideals.

  27. Thank you Wallace and others for your well reasoned arguments. Do not give up!

    You can tell by the ratings of the posts that the gay activists are all over this. Even tho they are very very few compared to the rest of us, they are very vocal. Most have probably never even been involved in Scouting, yet here they are! No I did NOT say ALL were not.

    BTW, I am a former Cubmaster and current Scout leader.

    We all need to keep in mind is that the gay/liberal agenda is 180 degree opposed to the conservative principles that Scouting was founded on. They hate conservatives and conservative principles with a passion, anyone that says differently is deluding you. Just look at the signs they use and the things they say in their demonstrations. Should they have their way, then Scouting in USA will be destroyed – without question it is their goal. You just have to look at Canada and see the massive split that happened, with a loss of over 50% of Scouts.

    If every Council or Chartering organization is left open to this, then they will be picked off one by one by lawsuits. We need the national organization to stand at our backs and support the values of scouting, not push their own personal agenda that will undoubtedly end up splitting Scouting. They have admitted they are doing so.

    I really do not care about the gay activists response to this, they will froth and foam I’m sure, and try to make everything relative, and put us down, and “how could you…” But we must continue to stand up for the integrity of Scouting and the safety of our Scouts, because the consequences of this “we’re compassionate, don’t hurt their feelings, include everyone” approach will be ruinous.

    BTW, the 3 left out one step in their plan – CLEAN HOUSE.

    Now, go ahead and rate this down, the more the better – it just proves my point. Thank you!

    • I’ve never carried a picket sign in my life. Look up “Ad hominem”, and then give a rational argument why the largest chartering organizations in the country, who have chartered BSA troops for over 100 years, and that fully welcome gays as members into their organization, should not be allowed to have gays in their BSA troop.

      • “… why the largest chartering organizations in the country, who have chartered BSA troops for over 100 years, and that fully welcome gays as members into their organization …”

        To which “largest chartering organizations in the country” are you referring? (Please mark me down, I’m begging all of you.)

        • The LDS church, the Prebyterian Church USA, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America all welcome openly gay men to be full members in good standing, and all permit openly gay men to hold leadership positions in their church. Those groups have been part of BSA from its earliest days, and rank 1, 5 & 6 among BSA COs in number of units currently chartered.

          It is a violation of BSA’s Declaration of Religious Principles for BSA to impose moral teachings that contradict the teachings of its Chartering Organizations.

    • Thanks Paul. I know I don’t stand alone and even if I felt I did I wouldn’t change my words because they reflect the truth of my heart; my character.. The same character that led me to achieve many things in my life including becomming an Eagle Scout. And I’m proud that my son share the same character and that his character is what drove him to also become an Eagle Scout several months ago. I’m prayerful for the BSA’s decision on this because I appreciate all that the BSA stands for in our culture and our society but if it changes its policy I’m prepared to watch it die because I know the true spirit of scouting is rooted in God’s spirit and He will have a say in creating another organization to serve His divine will; Faith.. The Wallaces don’t give up the ship and in the past I’ve had many ancestors die and sacrifice much for Freedom; it’s in the heart of every Godly man back beyond our ancestor in Scotland named William and beyond to the beginning of mankind.. it’s timeless from that modern day and until the last modern day. God’s Holy Spirit desires Freedom; 2Cor:3:17

  28. You can tell by the ratings of the posts that the gay activists are all over this. Even tho they are very very few compared to the rest of us, they are very vocal. Most have probably never even been involved in Scouting, yet here they are! No I did NOT say ALL were not.

    I can’t tell, and I wonder how you do.

    “Gay activists” may include regular Scouts and Scouters with lifetime experiences, and may not be gay activists at all. In reality, we have a tiny handful of people participating in this discussion, and maybe two or three times that handful following along. I’ve identified no gay activists, nor activists of any side involved.

    I suspect your unwarranted claim is targeted at me, however.

    If so, you err in your characterization. That is the root of my problem with many of these complaints: People often cannot distinguish between gay and straight, between civil rights activist and gay activist, between long-term Scouter and neophyte; we are too often blinded by our own biases to think we are in the majority, when we are not; we often mistake protections of minority rights as expressions of majority will.

    Some of us have been Scouts and Scouters long enough to remember when “concerned Scouters” warned away from joining hands with the Scouts from the other side of town in walking to the courthouse to register to vote. I’ve long worried about these issues today, wondering if we we’re seeing a replay. Which way would you wish to persuade me on that? Is this a replay?

    In the end, I think we should often ask the question Abraham Lincoln struggled with: Not whose side God is on, but whether we are on God’s side. It’s a question that applies to people of all faiths, and people of no faith can answer the intention of the question just as ably, once we discover it’s not a question of what door you pass through on any given sabbath, but instead a question of doing the right thing.

    • Ed, I haven’t “targeted” anyone, and I stand by my claim: the number of gays in scouting is tiny, and yet the gay activists are quite vocal.

      I don’t err at all, and reject your mischaracterizations in their entirety.

      You think others blinded by “biases”, when in fact others hold well reasoned and grounded moral values you just disagree with. I see very clearly: you are trying to equate gay rights with racism and voting rights abuses – that’s the gay agenda, I’m not buying it.

      Lincoln never struggled with whether he was doing the right thing – he knew from an early age that slavery was just plain wrong, and he never wavered. You can’t use him for your argument – and I say quite respectfully: truly you mock him in his grave – as there is no way in hell he would have considered gay practices anything other than sick and perverted, and not worthy of equal protection. You have got to be kidding, what you are trying to do is not “right”.

      We don’t want gay Den leaders, gay Webelos leaders, or gay Scout Masters. We know this is a recipe for disaster – throw the Guide to Safe Scouting out the window. There have been too many molestations already, not one more! NAMBLA is alive and well…. Need I say more? OK I will – almost every molester of a boy is a gay male adult. To ignore that is pure reckless madness or willful blindness, and it put’s our boys at risk. What evidence you’ll say!!! You can find it easily if you choose to look (you won’t). Scouting has suffered enough – we don’t need any more “bent” leaders, there are enough capable leaders!

      Will the proposed rule change help Scouting in any way? Definitely not, unless you really want a huge split in Scouting, and the loss of hundreds of thousands of Scouts – worse than Canada. Count on it.

      No one is preventing you, or anyone else from creating the GSA if they so choose. Go for it! But let’s not pretend that the gay lobby is in any way a friend of Scouting.

      • Well said Paul. Profound truths shared by millions… This blogg is nowhere near proportional to the true ratio of members for keeping the present policy vs. those opposed.. BSA seems reluctant to allow members to have a direct vote on this issue. That attitude concerns me considering such an important issue as this. I don’t want to see a split BSA and an endless battle to forever be in an organization trying to unite itself again because of the timeless divisions this will cause; why? The BSA is United now under the present policy. Some may disagree but chose freely to join through what I’d imagine was a process of weighing the pros against this issue which for most isn’t an issue. BSA’s doing what the BSA does best; lead boys in their development toward becomming morally straight American Citizens of good character.

      • “almost every molester of a boy is a gay male adult” you say, Paul.
        My research of this matter proves the opposite (and I am not a gay activist, just a person who works with diverse group of clients, including gay population). I have not found any data that can draw a distinct connection between molestation incidents and homosexual behavior. To the contrary, the majority of molestations were done by pedifiles and heterosexual males (there is data on that).
        I offered to provide my list (it is VERY extensive, and performed by accredited universities not newspaper polls). You you be interested to do the reading?

      • Ed, I haven’t “targeted” anyone, and I stand by my claim: the number of gays in scouting is tiny, and yet the gay activists are quite vocal.

        I can’t detect any gay activists in this discussion. You claimed to have detected a heavy presence of gay activists.

        As one of the most active posters here, I called your bluff.

        I suspect any activist, on any topic, is vocal, in America. There are no gay activists here in this thread. Your detecting gay activists is your seeing monsters under the bed.

        I don’t err at all, and reject your mischaracterizations in their entirety.

        I think — I’m willing to be corrected — someone tried to smear “gay activists,” whoever they are, as being unfair. As one of the more active participants in this thread, I feel attacked, unjustly, unfairly, and inaccurately. So far as I can tell, there are no gay activists on this thread. I see a lot of Scouting experience, a lot of activists for Scouting. No gay activists.

        Who else were you referring to? Be specific.

        You think others blinded by “biases”, when in fact others hold well reasoned and grounded moral values you just disagree with. I see very clearly: you are trying to equate gay rights with racism and voting rights abuses – that’s the gay agenda, I’m not buying it.

        Human rights are human rights. It is invidious discrimination to deny human rights to any person on any irrational ground, skin color, national origin, religion, other creed, age, handicap, or sexual orientation. You’re right I’m equating gay rights with racial rights and other human rights. That’s the Christian agenda (see Galatians 3:28 for example — 3:26 to 29 for context, or all of chapter 3 for some serious thought).

        Let me state the obvious: Those who have taken issue with allowing homosexuals into leadership positions remind me a lot of those who, until 1967, argued that it was “evil” and “unhealthy” to allow whites and blacks to marry — so unhealthy that 16 states forbade it outright, and it had survived federal court challenges. Anyone familiar with key issues of “gay rights” — property inheritance, right of kin to act as attorney in emergency situations, right to be with a loved one in time of health crisis, child custody, pension rights, right to quiet enjoyment of property, etc. — could not read the decision of the Supreme Court in Loving vs. Virginia and not hear footsteps of rights marches outside the door, on issues of gay rights, today.

        There are good biases and bad biases. I think I have an open mind, though I must admit I’m a little tired of being assaulted here as not knowing the Bible, not being Christian (though I share a denomination with three U.S. presidents), and not knowing Scouting. If you have a case to be made that we should not reopen Scouting to people of high character regardless their sexual orientation, make the case. A good case might be made that bias against homosexuals is a good bias, I imagine. That case will not involve accusations against those of us who do not feel we should be discriminating against homosexuals as a function of our Christian beliefs (including that passage in Galatians and the words of the prophet Ezekiel on the real reasons Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed). That case won’t involve claims against health of any particular sexual orientation, when all orientations (possibly except Lesbian) seem to carry their own special health drawbacks. That case will not claim that Scouting has always had the policy right, when the policies did not exclude homosexuals for more than 80 years including those years when Scouting’s numbers were at their highest.

        Isn’t it about civil rights? Then give me a good reason to keep Van Cliburn out of Scouting. And President James Buchanan. Give a solid reason that we must exclude from our leadership ranks someone like astronaut Dr. Sally Ride, Thornton Wilder, Bayard Rustin, Pete Williams, Jim Kolbe, Alan Turing, Barbara Jordan, Kay Ryan, Bill Tilden, David Ogden Stiers, Maurice Sendak, Gian Carlo Menotti, Greg Louganis, Philip Johnson, Lorenz Hart, Peter Gomes, Aaron Copland, or Anderson Cooper. Because each of these people distinguished himself or herself in ways that would make them exemplars of the Scout Oath and Scout Law, and they are models for how Scouts should be good citizens. You’re asking me to keep them out of Scouting and away from Scouts — I need a good, solid reason, so I don’t violate their rights to live a good life free from ugly prejudice.

        None of these people well represent the cartoonish and, to me, inaccurate portraits of gays portrayed in several posts in this forum. And none of the claims that we should bar these people from Scouting because of their outlandish and immoral behavior, really seems to fit them.

        Lincoln never struggled with whether he was doing the right thing – he knew from an early age that slavery was just plain wrong, and he never wavered.

        I didn’t misquote Lincoln in any way. You paint a shorthand view of Lincoln as an anti-slavery campaigner, but that is contrary to history, and rather irrelevant to this discussion.

        Lincoln also shared a bed with his business partner that caused gossip at the time and puzzles historians still; and, while we’re considering Lincoln, on the basis of his 1846 campaign for Congress we’d have to exclude him as a Scout or Scouter, his having professed no faith in God.

        Lincoln didn’t take the presidency to end slavery, and did not come around to a view that slavery should be ended until at least two years into the war. Yes, he did struggle with the justification for the war, and on whose side God might be, especially when the Union was not running an anti-slavery war (which would be until June 1865 . . .)

        But wholly apart from the actual history, Lincoln’s concern in the statement I offered, that the question is not whether God is on our side, but whether we are on God’s side, is a valid concern even for someone who does not waver on an issue.

        Lincoln thought a lot more, and a lot harder, than you give him credit for. To me, Lincoln is the greatest American theologian, not least because he agonized over what was right, and how we can determine what is right, in changing and vexing times. Life is not black and white on most issues; Lincoln’s genius was in being able to find solid grounds to stand on, in the gray areas.

        You can’t use him for your argument – and I say quite respectfully: truly you mock him in his grave – as there is no way in hell he would have considered gay practices anything other than sick and perverted, and not worthy of equal protection. You have got to be kidding, what you are trying to do is not “right”.

        Do us a favor, and don’t assume no one else has ever studied history. You misread what I said, and yes, I can use Lincoln in my arguments, where his life and writings apply. You have no monopoly on good Americans (in fact, you probably don’t have many of those good Americans you assume you’ve got).

        I didn’t suggest that Lincoln had a view on this controversy; your statement of what his view would be, is contrary to what most serious Lincoln scholars would accept, I think. To get quickly up to speed, you may want to look at Richard Brookhiser’s review of C. A. Tripp’s much-less-than-perfect book on Lincoln’s intimate life. Most historians say we need not make a judgment on the issue; but since you insist on making a judgment, the evidence runs contrary to your view.

        I am not kidding. Plus, I’ve studied the issue, and have a few facts on my side.

        We don’t want gay Den leaders, gay Webelos leaders, or gay Scout Masters. We know this is a recipe for disaster – throw the Guide to Safe Scouting out the window.

        Where have I heard these arguments before? Oh, yeah, there was this: ‘We don’t want male Den leaders, male Webelos leaders, or women Scoutmasters. We know this is a recipe for disaster.’

        What was that — circa 1970? Allowing men to lead Cubs and women to lead Scouts greatly improved Scouting, I think. (Here, at the bottom of this post, is a picture of, among others, my wife and our youngest son at Philmont; Scouting’s been very good to our family, and to me. Scouting is not something I wish to see harmed in any way.)

        Keep the guide to safe Scouting. It’s worked well to protect Scouts from molestings. It wasn’t designed to protect Scouting from homosexual leaders, though, and that’s a different purpose, often a cross purpose to protecting Scouts.

        You confuse a particular sexual orientation with a tendency to molest. Let’s be clear: Most molesters of young boys are outwardly heterosexual. If we’re trying to make Scouting safe, banning homosexuals is not the place to start. (You may want to rewind a bit and see what I’ve written about this earlier in this discussion.)

        Keep the guide to safe Scouting. We want to protect Scouts from molestings. But keep the Scout Law, too — we want Scouts to live those twelve points, including loyal, helpful, courteous, kind, and reverent.

        There have been too many molestations already, not one more!

        Then, again, let me suggest that we focus on preventing molestings, and not on getting rid of great leaders because of a sexual orientation which has nothing to do with molesting, and often indicates a predilection against molesting.

        NAMBLA is alive and well…. Need I say more? OK I will – almost every molester of a boy is a gay male adult. To ignore that is pure reckless madness or willful blindness, and it put’s our boys at risk. What evidence you’ll say!!! You can find it easily if you choose to look (you won’t). Scouting has suffered enough – we don’t need any more “bent” leaders, there are enough capable leaders!

        The Ku Klux Klan is alive and well, too. So is the Aryan Brotherhood. There are lots of organized crime groups still functioning in the U.S.

        NAMBLA is not an association for homosexuals. Just like the Ku Klux Klan is not an association for heterosexuals.

        Fortunately, NAMBLA is shrinking. Unfortunately, a few people still think NAMBLA has influence in policy (they don’t, unless you count the efforts to drop the age of consent in southern states as NAMBLA-helping; the sponsors of those bills share your view of NAMBLA, so go figure). And a few people confuse NAMBLA as a gay supporting organization, which it’s not.

        Again, if the issue is molesting, and preventing inappropriate sexual activity for kids who are too young (both in and out of Scouting), perhaps you would agree to fight that, instead. Take a look at that list of famous gays I offered earlier. It seems to me that Scouting could benefit from an association with someone the caliber of Van Cliburn. He didn’t fit the stereotype you’ve locked in on.

        Do you know any leaders in Scouting who are members of NAMBLA and pushing a NAMBLA agenda in districts, councils and nationally? I don’t. When I first got situated on staff at the Senate Labor Committee, we used to see “representatives” of NAMBLA on occasion, on child welfare issues where they feared research the government sponsored would be contrary to what they wanted. After about a half-decade, they faded away (they weren’t nearly as entertaining as the Soviet “news reporters,” who didn’t fade away; the FBI eventually began to ask us about both groups); rumors I hear is that FBI infiltrators got enough goods on NAMBLA that, with normal aging, the group is dying. Good riddance.

        I know of no NAMBLA effort to get into Scouting; I suspect, and I hope, the background checks keep them away.

        And consequently, in this discussion, NAMBLA is a red herring. Yes, the organization still exists, though it’s dying; no, it doesn’t represent homosexuals; no, allowing homosexual leaders isn’t the same thing as caving to NAMBLA.

        Gay parents I know of are busy making a living, making a home, and raising their kids well. They don’t belong to NAMBLA, and they don’t want their kids to be recruited for such organizations. Gay parents of Scouts I know, share your disgust with NAMBLA. Do you want to fight NAMBLA, or do you want to fight people who fight NAMBLA? Your choice.

        Perhaps fighting NAMBLA and molesting would be more effective if you were to join forces with those parents, yes?

        Will the proposed rule change help Scouting in any way? Definitely not, unless you really want a huge split in Scouting, and the loss of hundreds of thousands of Scouts – worse than Canada. Count on it.

        My understanding is that two things happened in the Netherlands and England after they formally adopted rules allowing gay leaders. First, and most important, molestations dropped. Second, they got an influx of good leaders who had been previously banned. I don’t think there’s been a formal study done, but worldwide, most Scouting organizations that allow gay leaders haven’t had the problems you’ve mentioned here.

        While the population of the United States rose from 200 million in 1970 to just over 300 million today, Scouting has dropped from about 9 million Scouts and Scouters then to about 3 million today. How much of that drop is attributable to a ban on homosexual leaders, do you think?

        More seriously, getting new members seems to involve a different set of problems, mostly unrelated to this issue. Our drop in membership has been more precipitous, since 1970, than Canada’s. Many of us have committed to hang in with Scouting despite policies from the top that we disagree with, and I think that’s helped us out. Here in Circle 10, we had significant growth last year, more than most councils. I don’t think that was the result of policies from national, but is instead a result of focus on membership, new units, and improving facilities especially for camping.

        The number one reason people in the U.S. don’t camp is their fear of inadequate toilet facilities. In the 30 years or so I’ve been involved in outdoor recreation and its promotion, I’ve learned that has a lot more to do with a porcelain toilet than with policies about sexual orientation of campers.

        I’ve had about a half dozen potential Scouts and Leaders refuse to join due to our religious policies in the past decade or so, and they carried probably another three dozen kids along with them to other activities. I’ve had a few more gay parents who didn’t register as leaders while their children joined — and each one of those parents would have been a great leader. Two were Eagle Scouts.

        I think — my humble opinion — a rule change would give us a shot at some good leaders. As to the kids, it’s contrary to Texas law, in my reading, for a COR to ask a Scout about sexual orientation. If a kid has done everything else, I see only negative and hurtful reasons to deny the kid membership, or worse, to deny the kids ranks they’ve earned, due to a sexual orientation I have no business asking about.

        We got a great injection of new leaders when we allowed women in positions of leadership in the 1970s and 1980s. I expect we’ll get another injection if we allow in homosexual leaders who pass the background checks and otherwise follow Scouting’s rules, as all leaders must do.

        A case might be made that we lose Scouts because their parents fear molesting. We need to reinforce our work to make sure every leader is YP trained, appropriately and often, and get the word out that our youth protection program works. A lot of other organizations should adopt our two-deep leader rule, like the public schools and churches, and we could reduce molestings in other organizations, too. That has nothing to do with gay leaders, especially gay leaders YP trained.

        We have had a unit in our town that flatly refuses to allow women on campouts. That unit lost a score of Scouts to our troop, and more to other troops. And, we got at least a score of great leaders, maybe more (sometimes we get both spouses, even in divorce situations). If the rules say that one group may choose not to recruit gays as leaders, other units will reap the rewards.

        But more kids will get to be Scouts, and more leaders will benefit from Scout training.

        No one is preventing you, or anyone else from creating the GSA if they so choose. Go for it! But let’s not pretend that the gay lobby is in any way a friend of Scouting.

        Actually, I think the Anti-Gay Scout movement has done serious damage to Scouting, and I don’t disinvite anyone from Scouting, just for that reason. Their leadership programs are not so strong as Scouting’s, nor are they based on the same tried-and-true methods Baden-Powell pioneered, in delivery to boys. Those other groups, now, don’t teach conservation as Scouting does — there’s no charge from the government for them to do so. That’s a serious problem for me. There are several other science-related issues that competing groups don’t do as well, either — wildlife management, nature, archaeology, physics, astronomy. We live in a world where Scouting was the start of great careers in science for a lot of people, like E. O. Wilson, the world’s greatest ant expert, or like a lot of the astronauts, who got their start on a life of adventure when they put their hand up and took that oath.

        Of course, most of them came up in Scouting when there was no ban on gay leaders, and when atheists were hailed as great Scouts if they followed the oath and law. (One board of review many years ago I heard a brilliant answer to the question, “If a Scout said he didn’t believe in God, what would be his ‘duty to God?’” The Scout said the quick answer was there was no duty to a god who doesn’t exist; but the Scout Oath is more than that; it’s a call to act morally and responsibly with regard to our fellow Scouts and fellow humans, regardless their beliefs. I thought that was a good answer; our Buddhist Scouts have to live that every day.) My experience is that Scouting sets Scouts on a lifetime of adventure, and and sets Scouts down the right path more often than not. Scouting does that for kids who come in with no moral compass, and for kids who come in with a moral compass so fouled it can’t be read. I think we need to promote that feature, and not keep kids who need Scouting, from getting Scouting. In the end, our society needs those kids to have Scouting, more than they need it, and much more than we need to keep them out.

        No one is preventing me from leaving, except me. I am committed to Scouting and its success. My life is much better for my Scouting experience. I’m a better parent, and a better citizen, because of my Scouting. I cannot count the times I’ve been in tough situations and happily discovered I was accompanied by a former Scout, or Eagle and so we could get through the flooded Potomac River on a canoe; or we could administer first aid and keep that kid alive on the Pennsylvania Turnpike at 4:30 in the morning until the ambulances could figure out where we were and drive the 30 miles to get there; or get that guy out of the lane of traffic on I-80 in Salt Lake City so he wouldn’t be hit again by another car skidding in the rain; or keep that family warm in that shelter on the Saranac Lakes during the sudden, very cold rain (I think one or more of them might have died of hypothermia); or delivered our extra water to the Pakistani family a mile down into the Grand Canyon without enough water or good hiking gear, when it hit 103 degrees; or kept working through the night on that pro-bono legal brief that got the injunction against the guy who beat that woman and gave her brain damage, just because it was the right thing to do even if not billable; or used Scouting-gained rock-climbing skills to put the pollution sensors up the cliff in the right places that we could prove air pollution didn’t behave as the textbooks said it should; or notice that kid in trouble, and pull him to the edge of the swimming hole before he realized just how badly in trouble he was; or stopped the arterial bleeding because he knew the pressure points, while I drove the backroads to the Dutchess County Hospital emergency room when that kid nearly took his toe off when the axe-head came loose on the downstroke; or stopped traffic safely while the lone patrolman fixed the broken wheel on that car so the lady could get off the mountain up near Pineview Reservoir.

        Funny. In no crisis I’ve ever been in has anyone said “No gays can give first aid here.” But there have been many times when I would have been happy to have a Scout-trained person handy, green, blue, striped or polka-dotted, or gay, when other people didn’t have a clue what to do and there was so much more than our Scout numbers could do.

        Why would anyone want to limit that beneficial life, to anyone? We all have to live in this country. The more Scouts, the better, regardless their orientation, east, west, north, south, up, down, gay, straight. Someday maybe my life will depend on a good Samaritan on the road; I hope that Samaritan is an Eagle Scout, and I don’t care about his sexual orientation.

        As I mentioned, my pledge is to keep going regardless what the executive board does in a few weeks. I wish you’d make a similar pledge. I hope many others will, too. Scouting’s going to be here. Scouting needs leaders.

        Boys need Scouting. Scouting doesn’t happen without many, well-qualified, well-trained leaders.

        What was your concern, again?

        (This is long, it’s late; I regret the length, and any typos or formatting errors.)

        • Ed – as someone who, often, is considered long-winded, I appreciate not only the content of your post, but the effort you took to compose it. Please note, I don’t believe your post was long-winded and/or difficult to read, I actually think it was exactly what it needed to be.

          Your feedback was passionate, cogent, well-articulated and thorough, and it is my hope that others will see that as a model (regardless of position) and not only for further discussion here, but for future debating (see my comment in another portion of this thread) on this topic.

          Likewise, I agree, in principle with everything you’ve said. Thank you again.

      • Bryan, I’ve got a post with too many links for your filters — and it answers a bunch of questions thrown at me. Please free it from its dungeon, when you can. Thank you.

    • Ed, I just love your posts.
      No, not because of your support for this or that side. But for such polished reasoning and delivery of the thoughts. Thoughts, that made me think and not just scroll down.
      Thank you.

      • Andrei,
        I should have said homosexual/bisexual men (references below):
        * The Archives of Sexual Behavior reports: “One of the most salient findings of this study is that 46 percent of homosexual men and 22 percent of homosexual women reported having been molested by a person of the same gender. This contrasts to only 7 percent of heterosexual men and 1 percent of heterosexual women reporting having been molested by a person of the same gender.”[1]
        * A study of 279 homosexual/bisexual men with AIDS and control patients discussed in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported: “More than half of both case and control patients reported a sexual act with a male by age 16 years, approximately 20 percent by age 10 years.”[2]
        * Noted child sex abuse expert David Finkelhor found that “boys victimized by older men were over four times more likely to be currently engaged in homosexual activity than were non-victims. The finding applied to nearly half the boys who had had such an experience. Further, the adolescents themselves often linked their homosexuality to their sexual victimization experiences.”[3]
        * A study in the International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology found: “In the case of childhood sexual experiences prior to the age of fourteen, 40 percent (of the pedophile sample) reported that they had engaged ‘very often’ in sexual activity with an adult, with 28 percent stating that this type of activity had occurred ‘sometimes’”[4]
        * A National Institute of Justice report states that “the odds that a childhood sexual abuse victim will be arrested as an adult for any sex crime is 4.7 times higher than for people . . . who experienced no victimization as children.”[5]
        * A Child Abuse and Neglect study found that 59 percent of male child sex offenders had been “victim of contact sexual abuse as a child.”[6]
        * The Journal of Child Psychiatry noted that “there is a tendency among boy victims to recapitulate their own victimization, only this time with themselves in the role of perpetrator and someone else the victim.”[7]

        “The circle of abuse is the tragic legacy of the attempts by homosexuals to legitimize having sex with boys. For too many boys it is already too late to protect them from those who took advantage of their need for love and attention. All too many later perpetrate the abuse by themselves engaging in the sexual abuse of boys. Only by exposing the lies, insincere denials, and deceptions–including those wrapped in scholastic garb–of those who prey sexually on children, can we hope to build a wall of protection around the helpless children among us.”

        References:
        1. Marie, E. Tomeo, et al., “Comparative Data of Childhood and Adolescence Molestation in Heterosexual and Homosexual Persons,” Archives of Sexual Behavior 30 (2001): 539.
        2. Harry W. Haverkos, et al., “The Initiation of Male Homosexual Behavior,” The Journal of the American Medical Association 262 (July 28, 1989): 501.
        3. Watkins and Bentovim, p. 316.
        4. Gary A. Sawle, Jon Kear-Colwell, “Adult Attachment Style and Pedophilia: A Developmental Perspective,” International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology 45 (February 2001):6.
        5. Cathy Spatz Widom, “Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse – Later Criminal Consequences,” Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse Series:NIJ Research in Brief, (March 1995): 6.
        6. Elliott, p. 582.
        7. Watkins, p. 319. Watkins mentions several studies confirming that between 19 percent and 61 percent of male sex abusers had previously been sexually abused themselves.

        • Thanks Paul. interesting.. research results that need sto be considered before making such a big decision. part of the “be prepared” mentality of a good scout. scarry stuff though if the scouts choose to surrender to a less safe membership policy; a step in the wrong direction. Only takes one incident for a 100% tragedy rate for that one family effected negatively by allowing homosexuals to become openly and actively involved in scouting.

        • I think you hit it on the head. This is the real reason that Scouting is so important to the homosexual community. First it allows them to establish relations with children. Many venues do that. Next, and better for them, they may find themselves in intimate situations with these young ones and so proliferate themselves.
          The majority of commenters on this blog seem to be in support of homosexuals. I don’t believe that really reflects the membership of the BSA. I, for example, am not a Scout. I’m just a concerned parent of one. Anyone can come on here and say whatever they want. Right now the BSA is in the scope of the gay agenda. So they are here in force and on every other web page intended for Scouts. Once the BSA is conquered, the homosexuals will move on to another organization to bring down to their level.

        • Well written. Thank you. I also noticed that this thread was especially supported by homosexual advocates. It really did surprise me as my council is 80% pro current policy.

          I see absolutely nothing positive by admitting boys who describe themselves as openly homosexual except disaster down the road for the organization and for some sexually-confused boys. It will not stop at allowing juvenile immature boys eho think they are homosexual. There will be intense pressure from lawsuits and advocacy groups to allow homosexual adults. The leadership of BSA has betrayed the very organization they were chosen to lead. They are willing to accept losses of to 600,000 Scouts and 50-70% of chartered organizations to cater to a very snall percentage of sexually-confused youth and immoral adults. Experienced adults and long-term Chartered Organizations have been told to follow the proposed policy or get out. Parents with little experience in Scouting and the most immature youth have been catered to to devise this new Policy. I am sickened by it all and await the vote to make a decision personally and a recommendation to my Chartered organization as to whether to continue Scouting. I do not understand why an organization would cast aside so much to gain so little and nothing positive in my opinion.

    • You’re right on Ed. No activists here. Just dedicated Scouters that want to see the BSA do the right thing.

  29. More pressure on the BSA to lift the ban on homosexuals come from the bands that were/are scheduled to perform at the 2013 Jamboree. Carly Rae Jepsen has cancelled her performance (http://news.msn.com/pop-culture/carly-rae-jepsen-drops-boy-scouts-event-over-gay-rights?ocid=ansnews11) and the band TRAIN will perform only if the BSA “makes the right decision by then” (http://savemesanfrancisco.com/profiles/blogs/a-message-about-the-upcoming-boy-scouts-show)

    This is the TRAIN statement “”Train strongly opposes any kind of policy that questions the equality of any American citizen,” the statement said. “We have always seen the BSA as a great and noble organization. We look forward to participating in the Jamboree this summer, as long as they make the right decision before then.”

    • We do not need these bands if they do not want to perform and neither do the Scouts. Fair is not always right principles should be subject to the whim of an entertainer. Scouts can do better.

  30. I’m totally opposed to changing the policy. The current policy makes excellent sense, and it is misguided–in many directions—to change it. You can’t just vote on moral values and make them, willy nilly, whatever you feel like you want them that day.

    Homosexuality is disordered behavior or addiction, and not an example of a sound practice for humans. It’s not to our good and it shouldn’t be encouraged or promoted as normal. This much we know.

    Science is unclear about causation of this phenomenon. But we DO know that a much larger percentage of homosexuals are pedophiles than heterosexuals are pedophile.

    • Interesting on that current policy stuff – and the whole correlation (or lack thereof) to the willy-nilliness of morality. I think it’s safe to say, with the limited example we have here on the forum that no one, on any side of this issue, thinks it’s anywhere close to ‘willy nilly’ or is otherwise flippant about a policy change.

      Speaking of current policy, you may be interested to read this little publication regarding Youth Protection and Sexual Abuse in Organizations from the CDC:

      http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/PreventingChildSexualAbuse-a.pdf#page=1

      A couple of points to ponder:

      1.) There’s absolutely no mention of nor correlation between gender preference/sexual orientation and sexual abuse anywhere in the document, even though the CDC has been cited time and time again for sources and data that would at least suggest that some mention of it could be made.

      2.) Look who’s featured in the Index as a reviewer/contributor to this document (with no mention or directly stated best practice on Youth Protection and sexual abuse…), right there at the top in the 2nd column?

      • dducat:

        I gather from this that you claim that there is no relationship between same-sex attraction as adults and the sexual abuse of children.

        The US Census reports gays make up 3-4% of the population. The percent of pedophiles in the General population are about 4%, but according to the FBI Crime Statistics, the rate is 35% among gay men.

        What appears below was posted earlier by Paul Wanamaker. I hope he doesn’t mind if I reproduce it here, as some of our participants may have missed this:

        * The Archives of Sexual Behavior reports: “One of the most salient findings of this study is that 46 percent of homosexual men and 22 percent of homosexual women reported having been molested by a person of the same gender. This contrasts to only 7 percent of heterosexual men and 1 percent of heterosexual women reporting having been molested by a person of the same gender.”[1]

        * A study of 279 homosexual/bisexual men with AIDS and control patients discussed in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported: “More than half of both case and control patients reported a sexual act with a male by age 16 years, approximately 20 percent by age 10 years.”[2]

        * Noted child sex abuse expert David Finkelhor found that “boys victimized by older men were over four times more likely to be currently engaged in homosexual activity than were non-victims. The finding applied to nearly half the boys who had had such an experience. Further, the adolescents themselves often linked their homosexuality to their sexual victimization experiences.”[3]

        * A study in the International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology found: “In the case of childhood sexual experiences prior to the age of fourteen, 40 percent (of the pedophile sample) reported that they had engaged ‘very often’ in sexual activity with an adult, with 28 percent stating that this type of activity had occurred ‘sometimes’”[4]

        * A National Institute of Justice report states that “the odds that a childhood sexual abuse victim will be arrested as an adult for any sex crime is 4.7 times higher than for people . . . who experienced no victimization as children.”[5]

        * A Child Abuse and Neglect study found that 59 percent of male child sex offenders had been “victim of contact sexual abuse as a child.”[6]
        * The Journal of Child Psychiatry noted that “there is a tendency among boy victims to recapitulate their own victimization, only this time with themselves in the role of perpetrator and someone else the victim.”[7]

        “The circle of abuse is the tragic legacy of the attempts by homosexuals to legitimize having sex with boys. For too many boys it is already too late to protect them from those who took advantage of their need for love and attention. All too many later perpetrate the abuse by themselves engaging in the sexual abuse of boys. Only by exposing the lies, insincere denials, and deceptions–including those wrapped in scholastic garb–of those who prey sexually on children, can we hope to build a wall of protection around the helpless children among us.”

        References:

        1. Marie, E. Tomeo, et al., “Comparative Data of Childhood and Adolescence Molestation in Heterosexual and Homosexual Persons,” Archives of Sexual Behavior 30 (2001): 539.

        2. Harry W. Haverkos, et al., “The Initiation of Male Homosexual Behavior,” The Journal of the American Medical Association 262 (July 28, 1989): 501.

        3. Watkins and Bentovim, p. 316.

        4. Gary A. Sawle, Jon Kear-Colwell, “Adult Attachment Style and Pedophilia: A Developmental Perspective,” International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology 45 (February 2001):6.

        5. Cathy Spatz Widom, “Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse – Later Criminal Consequences,” Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse Series:NIJ Research in Brief, (March 1995): 6.

        6. Elliott, p. 582.

        7. Watkins, p. 319. Watkins mentions several studies confirming that between 19 percent and 61 percent of male sex abusers had previously been sexually abused themselves.

        • david alexander:

          I said and/or implied a couple of things…

          1.) Reducing the discussion on policy change to ‘willy-nilly’ and/or otherwise assuming it’s an uniformed and/or flippant gesture with no respect for the gravity of the situation is disrespectful to everyone who has participated in the forum, let alone those outside this forum who feel strongly in either position. That ‘flippant’ attitude tends to be leveled at those who want to change the policy, but my intent was to define the whole of the debate as important and worthwhile.

          2.) Specifically, the CDC paper does not mention nor address any relevancy to sexual preference and youth protection from sexual abuse. While that’s my assertion, I believe you would come to the same conclusion as there is absolutely no mention of the words ‘same sex relationships’, ‘same sex activities’, ‘homosexual’ or anything of the sort in the document referenced. If it’s better served for ‘discussion’ as my assertion, then please consider it as such with my source as presented for your review.

          3.) I also asserted that the CDC, as a common cited source for such statistics (although not specifically cited by Wannamaker in your reply nor his reply that you quoted) fails to mention anything regarding homosexual relationships (male or otherwise) and the subsequent abuse of children, which it would and should do if there was, as you suggest, a significant and/or relevant amount of data to that point. As a leading center for health and disease control/prevention in our country, it would stand to reason that such an entity would be explicit in detail regarding patterns of data that would either strongly suggest or ‘prove’ to many that such a correlation was absolute. Simply stated, it isn’t there and doesn’t exist in that publication.

          Likewise, while I agree that there is evidence to indicate a potential correlation between gender preference and child sexual abuse, not only is the data not consistent, the terminology used is often incorrect (e.g. pedophilia vs. child sexual abuse), or at the very least misstated.

          To wit: A study at the University of California (Davis) indicates that there is no clear correlation between gender orientation and child molestation. Furthermore that same study not only reviews and addresses many of the key talking points you presented, but either directly refutes them through data/analysis or refutes them based on other factors (illogical reasoning, assertions w/no appropriate research, vague and/or highly manipulated data sets), etc.

          That paper: http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/facts_molestation.html

          The bilbliography for that paper:
          American Psychiatric Association. (1987). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (3rd ed., Revised). Washington, DC: Author.

          American Psychological Association. (1974). Standards for educational and psychological tests. Washington, DC: Author.

          American Psychological Association. (1975). Minutes of the Council of Representatives. American Psychologist, 30, 633.

          American Psychological Association. (1987). Policy Statements on Lesbian and Gay Issues. Washington, DC: Author.

          Bayer, R. (1987). Homosexuality and American psychiatry: The politics of diagnosis (2nd Ed.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

          Bérubé, A. (1990). Coming out under fire: The history of gay men and women in World War II. New York: Free Press

          Bickley, J., & Beech, A. R. (2001). Classifying child abusers: Its relevance to theory and clinical practice. International Journal Of Offender Therapy And Comparative Criminology, 45, 51-69.

          Bieber, I., Dain, H., Dince, P., Drellich, M., Grand, H., Gundlach, R., Kremer, M., Rifkin, A., Wilbur, C., & Bieber, T. (1962). Homosexuality: A psychoanalytic study of male homosexuals. New York: Basic Books.

          Blanchard, R., Barbaree, H. E., Bogaert, A. F., Dickey, R., Klassen, P., Kuban, M. E., & Zucker, K. J. (2000). Fraternal birth order and sexual orientation in pedophiles. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 29, 463-478.

          Boswell, J. (1980). Christianity, social tolerance and homosexuality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

          Brown, R.D., & Cole, J.K. (1985). Letter to the Editor. Nebraska Medical Journal, 70, 410-414.

          Bryant, A. (1977). The Anita Bryant story: The survival of our nation’s families and the threat of militant homosexuality. Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell.

          Cameron, P. (1985). Homosexual molestation of children/sexual interaction of teacher and pupil. Psychological Reports, 57, 1227-1236.

          Cameron, P. (2005). Child molestations by homosexual foster parents: Illinois, 1997-2002. Psychological Reports, 96, 227-230.

          Cameron, P., Proctor, K., Coburn, W., Forde, N., Larson, H., & Cameron, K. (1986). Child molestation and homosexuality. Psychological Reports, 58, 327-337.

          Chauncey, G., Jr. (1982/1983). From sexual inversion to homosexuality: Medicine and the changing conceptualization of female deviance. Salmagundi, No. 58-59, 114-146.

          Cochran, S. D., & Mays, V. M. (2006). Estimating prevalence of mental and substance-using disorders among lesbians and gay men from existing national health data. In A.M. Omoto & H.S. Kurtzman (Eds.), Sexual orientation and mental health: Examining identity and development in lesbian, gay, and bisexual people (pp. 143-165). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

          Cochran, W.G., Mosteller, F., & Tukey, J.W. (1954). Statistical problems of the Kinsey report. Washington, DC: American Statistical Association.

          Coleman, E. (1982) Changing approaches to the treatment of homosexuality: A review. In W. Paul, J. Weinrich, J. Gonsiorek & M. E. Hotvedt (Eds.), Homosexuality: Social, Psychological, and Biological Issues (pp. 81-88). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

          Davison, G.C. (1991). Constructionism and morality in therapy for homosexuality. In J. Gonsiorek & J. Weinrich (Eds.), Homosexuality: Research implications for public policy (pp. 137-148). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

          D’Emilio, J., & Freedman, E.B. (1988). Intimate matters: A history of sexuality in America. New York: Harper & Row.

          Duberman, M.B., Vicinus, M., & Chauncey, G., Jr. (1989). Hidden from history: Reclaiming the gay and lesbian past. New York: New American Library.

          Elliott, M., Browne, K., & Kilcoyne, J. (1995). Child sexual abuse prevention: What offenders tell us. Child Abuse & Neglect, 19, 579-594.

          Ellis, H. (1901). Studies in the psychology of sex: Volume 2: Sexual inversion. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis.

          Erickson, W.D., Walbek, N.H., & Seely, R.K. (1988). Behavior patterns of child molesters. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 17 (1), 77-86.

          Fay, R.E., Turner, C.F., Klassen, A.D., & Gagnon, J.H. (1989). Prevalence and patterns of same-gender sexual contact among men. Science, 243, 338-348.

          Fenichel, O. (1945). The psychoanalytic theory of neurosis. New York: W.W. Norton.

          Finkelhor, D. (1984). Child sexual abuse: New theory and research. New York: Free Press.

          Finkelhor, D., & Araji, S. (1986). Explanations of pedophilia: A four factor model. The Journal of Sex Research, 22 (2), 145-161.

          Ford, C.S., & Beach, F.A. (1951). Patterns of sexual behavior. New York: Harper & Brothers.

          Freedman, M. (1971). Homosexuality and psychological functioning. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.

          Freud, S. (1905). Three essays on the theory of sexuality. In J. Strachey (Ed. and Trans.), The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud. (Vol. 7, pp. 123-245). London: Hogarth Press. (Original work published 1905)

          Freund, K., Watson, R., & Rienzo, D. (1989). Heterosexuality, homosexuality, and erotic age preference. The Journal of Sex Research, 26 (1), 107-117.

          Gonsiorek, J.C. (1982). Results of psychological testing on homosexual populations. American Behavioral Scientist, 25 (4), 385-396.

          Gonsiorek, J.C. (1991). The empirical basis for the demise of the illness model of homosexuality. In J. Gonsiorek & J. Weinrich (Eds.), Homosexuality: Research implications for public policy (pp. 115-136). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

          Groth, A.N., & Birnbaum, H.J. (1978). Adult sexual orientation and attraction to underage persons. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 7 (3), 175-181.

          Groth, A. N., & Gary, T. S. (1982). Heterosexuality, homosexuality, and pedophilia: Sexual offenses against children and adult sexual orientation. In A.M. Scacco (Ed.), Male rape: A casebook of sexual aggressions (pp. 143-152). New York: AMS Press.

          Groth, A.N., Hobson, W.F., & Gary, T.S. (1982). The child molester: Clinical observations. Journal of Social Work and Human Sexuality, 1 (1/2), 129-144.

          Haldeman, D.C. (1991). Conversion therapy for gay men and lesbians: A scientific examination. In J. Gonsiorek & J. Weinrich (Eds.), Homosexuality: Research implications for public policy (pp. 149-160). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

          Haldeman, D.C. (1994). The practice and ethics of sexual orientation conversion therapy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 62 (2), 221-227.

          Hart, M., Roback, H., Tittler, B., Weitz, L., Walston, B., & McKee, E. (1978). Psychological adjustment of nonpatient homosexuals: Critical review of the research literature. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 39(7), 604-608.

          Hatfield, L. (1989, June 5). Method of polling. San Francisco Examiner, p.A-20.

          Herdt, G.H. (Ed.) (1984). Ritualized homosexuality in Melanesia. Berkeley: University of California Press.

          Hooker, E. (1957). The adjustment of the male overt homosexual. Journal of Projective Techniques, 21, 18-31.

          Jay, K., & Young, A. (1977). The gay report: Lesbians and gay men speak out about sexual experiences and lifestyles. New York: Summit.

          Jenny, C., Roesler, T. A., & Poyer, K. L. (1994). Are children at risk for sexual abuse by homosexuals? Pediatrics, 94(1), 41-44.

          Johnson, R.L., & Shrier, D. (1987). Past sexual victimization by females of male patients in an adolescent medicine clinic population. American Journal of Psychiatry, 144, 650-652.

          Jones, E. (1957). Sigmund Freud: Life and work (Vol. 3). London: Hogarth.

          Katz, J. N. (1976). Gay American history: Lesbians and gay men in the USA. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company.

          Kinsey, A.C., Pomeroy, W.B., & Martin, C.E. (1948). Sexual behavior in the human male. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders.

          Kinsey, A.C., Pomeroy, W.B., Martin, C.E., & Gebhard, P.H. (1953). Sexual behavior in the human female. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders.

          Klassen, A. D., Williams, C. J., & Levitt, E. E. (1989). Sex and morality in the U.S.: An empirical enquiry under the auspices of the Kinsey Institute. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press.

          Knight, R. A. (1989). An assessment of the concurrent validity of a child molester typology. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 4(2), 131-150.

          Krugman, R. D. (1994). Sexual politics and child protection: They don’t mix [Commentary]. Pediatrics, 94, 45-46.

          Lauman, E.O., Gagnon, J.H., Michael, R.T., & Michaels, S. (1994). The social organization of sexuality: Sexual practices in the United States. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

          Lever, J., & Kanouse, D.E. (1996). Sexual orientation and proscribed sexual behaviors. In G. Herek, J. Jobe, & R. Carney (Eds.), Out in force: Sexual orientation and the military (pp. 15-38). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

          Lewes, K. (1988). The psychoanalytic theory of male homosexuality. New York: Simon and Schuster.

          Marshall, W. L., Barbaree, H. E., & Butt, J. (1988). Sexual offenders against male children: Sexual preference. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 26, 383-391.

          Martin, A.D. (1984). The emperor’s new clothes: Modern attempts to change sexual orientation. In T. Stein & E. Hetrick (Eds.), Innovations in psychotherapy with homosexuals (pp. 24-57). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press.

          Mays, V. M., & Cochran, S. D. (2001). Mental health correlates of perceived discrimination among lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults in the United States. American Journal of Public Health, 91(11), 1869-76.

          McConaghy, N. (1998). Paedophilia: A review of the evidence. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 32(2), 252-265.

          Meyer, I. H. (2003). Prejudice, social stress, and mental health in lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations: Conceptual issues and research evidence. Psychological Bulletin, 129, 674-697.

          Newton, D. E. (1978). Homosexual behavior and child molestation: A review of the evidence. Adolescence, 13, 29-43.

          Rado, S. (1940). A critical examination of the concept of bisexuality. Psychosomatic Medicine, 2, 459-467.

          Rado, S. (1949). An adaptational view of sexual behavior. In P.H. Hoch & J. Zubin (Eds.), Psychosexual development in health and disease (pp. 159-189). New York: Grune and Stratton.

          Riess, B.F. (1980). Psychological tests in homosexuality. In J.Marmor (Ed.), Homosexual behavior: A modern reappraisal (pp. 296-311). New York: Basic Books.

          Results of poll. (1989, June 6). San Francisco Examiner, p. A-19.

          Robinson, P. (1976). The modernization of sex. New York: Harper & Row.

          Rogers, S.M., & Turner, C.F. (1991). Male-male sexual contact in the USA: Findings from five sample surveys, 1970-1990. The Journal of Sex Research, 28, 491-519.

          Rosenthal, R. (1966). Experimenter effects in behavioral research. East Norwalk, CT: Appleton-Century-Crofts.

          Sandfort, T. G. M., de Graaf, R., Bijl, R. V., & Schnabel, P. (2001). Same-sex sexual behavior and psychiatric disorders: Findings from the Netherlands mental health survey and incidence study (NEMESIS). Archives of General Psychiatry, 58(1), 85-91.

          Schroeder, M., & Shidlo, A. (2001). Ethical issues in sexual orientation conversion therapies: An empirical study of consumers. Journal of Gay and Lesbian Psychotherapy, 5(3-4), 131-166.

          Shidlo, A., & Schroeder, M. (2002). Changing sexual orientation: A consumers’ report. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 33(3), 249-259.

          Silverstein, C. (1991). Psychological and medical treatments of homosexuality. In J. Gonsiorek & J. Weinrich (Eds.), Homosexuality: Research implications for public policy (pp. 101-114). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

          Silverthorne, Z. A., & Quinsey, V. L. (2000). Sexual partner age preferences of homosexual and heterosexual men and women. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 29, 67-76.

          Socarides, C. (1968). The overt homosexual. New York: Grune and Stratton.

          Terman, L.M. (1948). Kinsey’s “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male”: Some comments and criticisms. Psychological Bulletin, 45, 443-459.

          Villarroel, M. A., Turner, C. F., Eggleston, E., Al-Tayyib, A., Rogers, S. M., Roman, A. M., Cooley, P. C., & Gordek, H. (2006). Same-gender sex in the United States: Impact of T-ACASI on prevalence estimates. Public Opinion Quarterly, 70, 166-196.

          Voeller, B. (1990). Some uses and abuses of the Kinsey scale. In D.P. McWhirter, S.A. Sanders, & J.M. Reinisch (Eds.), Homosexuality/heterosexuality: Concepts of sexual orientation (pp. 32-38). New York: Oxford University Press.

          Wallis, W.A. (1949). Statistics of the Kinsey report. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 44, 463-484.

          Williams, W.L. (1986). The spirit and the flesh: Sexual diversity in American Indian culture. Boston: Beacon.

          ..and that’s just one paper and it’s associated sources that I was able to locate in less than 30 seconds and read in less than ten minutes.

          So…now that there’s a bunch of source material to represent either side of this sub-issue, and that virtually none of us (at least that I’m aware of) are actual researchers and/or contributors to such material directly (and that we’ve used to find ‘sources’ relevant to the discussion) – what now?

          The association of homosexuality and child molestation/abuse is not clear, consistent or well-defined. The current policy advocates use this to mean that the policy should not change and current policy reformers use this to support that the current policy should change (with respect to oft-utilized argument that homosexuality directly leads to more incidents of child sexual abuse).

          This sub-issue will never be resolved without clear and consistent data that is measurable and repeatable (as unfortunate as that proposition actually is…).

          Therefore, I propose that it’s off the table until such data and sources can be verified and be repeated, and that we focus on other aspects of the ‘issue’.

        • David,
          Number 7 of your citations says “7. Watkins, p. 319. Watkins mentions several studies confirming that between 19 percent and 61 percent of male sex abusers had previously been sexually abused themselves.”

          To say that it is “confirmed” when the percentage is so great is a real stretch. A difference of 42 % is not really a confirmation of fact.

Join the conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s