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.


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

  1. I ran into an Eagle Scout today. He is in his sixties and walked away from Scouting after the death of his wife, and the many changes in scouting which had driven his son to abandon scouting. This man had the usual red vest covered in Merit Badges. That is what lead to our conversation on THIS subject, and many others regarding the many changes that have helped to reduce scouting since the 1950′s and 60′s.

    Chief among his complaints was the “Attitude” of Scouting Leaders, and Parents “Commitments” to Scouting. The fact that too many leaders could not help Scouts with more than 5 merit badges, and how many scouts were not required to learn, at the same level, as those who came before them. He took issue with Parents who did not want their sons to learn “Simple” First Aid, but rather become Mini-Paramedics! He told me about all the Scout Camps that were closed down because the local B.S.A. Council wanted to sell the land to developers. I did not have the heart to bring up the NEW Merit Badge for “Game Design.”

    While this may be an isolated incident, it speaks to the greater problem of “Situational Ethics” in our society (in general). Lower standards, reduce commitment, and becoming “Politically Correct.” The idea that those who came before our children were dumb-ed down (by a public school system who spends more and demands less) somehow have nothing of value to offer?

    (I.M.O.) If the policy changes of the homosexual agenda go into place, whatever is left of Scouting will die. I pray that God will not permit this to happen, and that the B.S.A. will continue to Reject people who engage in “Situational Ethics”, and/or UNHEALTHY High Risk Behavior.

    • In your description I did not hear mention of the gentleman’s view on gay scouts and leaders. Did that get expressed?

      • . . . usual red vest covered with merit badges . . .

        What? Call the Uniform Police! Merit badges belong on a merit badge sash, and not on a red vest! /sarcasmoff

        (A gentle reminder that we shouldn’t get hung up on rules, but should strive to do the right thing, sometimes despite the rules.)

  2. This is a very small group of passionate people in this “family discussion” either on one side of the issue or on the other side of the issue with regard to the BSA changing their membership policy. Considering there are nearly 4 million people involved in scouting directly as members and who knows how many involved in scouting as non members this discussion has only included a tiny number of either registered members or non-registered members. When it comes down to the nitty gritty on this issue; where the rubber hits the road; the bottom line on this issue I believe the vast majority of parents, volunteers and scouters already know their answer and have an opinion with regard to this issue. Most won’t be swayed in their opinion with regard to how they feel with regard to this debate or any other discussion of this issue; they have their instincts and that’s what will drive their actions. And it doesn’t matter what the whole society or culture says with regard to the BSA Policy about the issue of whether homosexuals should be allowed membership in the BSA; this is a very finite issue that will be proven in time, these decisions are a “gamble” with regard to the BSA’s survival at whatever level of membership or its ultimate destruction. I think you can throw out all the fancy legalese and scientific studies on homosexuality, pedophilia and other stats because when it comes down to it with regard to scouting none of the strategic legalese language or human sexuality studies are going to matter; we aren’t talking about the entire society as a whole, we’re talking about a very small group of people in our country. Were talking about the current people involved in scouting as well as the people who hope to have involvement in scouting in the future as their children grow older or as they form their families etc. I believe there are a couple of things that can be assumed and the least isn’t that these parents love their sons dearly and want the best for them as they consider either continued membership or beginning membership in the BSA. So when it comes down to it, the bottom line, its going to be that moment of decision making for either continued membership or initiating membership in the BSA that’s going to matter most. Most parents and scouts won’t listen to any of the fancy legalese or read or listen to most of the scientific studies on homosexuality, pedophilia, etc.; they’ll listen to their hearts and trust their instincts to continue to try to do the very best they can do for their sons in guiding them to become the best men they can become because ultimately they love their sons enough to even give scouting a consideration to begin with. And that consideration is going to consist of looking at what scouting has done in the past to help build the kind of character they hope their sons will have when they eventually grow up to become adults. So any effort at conducting surveys, conducting scientific studies or marketing research etc. should be focused on the people who are involved in scouting now and who may be involved in scouting in the future. Part of that time of study should include how these parents truly feel about the issue of actually having homosexuals as leaders in the BSA and making an effort to let these parents clearly understand what potential scenarios can occur if the membership policy is changed to allow homosexuals to be members and leaders of the BSA Units their considering letting their sons join. It would be foolish to make changes until there is a real understanding of how the parents of scouts today and in the future will actually feel about enrolling their sons in the organization as it is now or as it may become in the future. Ultimately if there are no scouts desiring to become members of the BSA then there’s no BSA and no point in even discussing any of our “opinions” one way or the other. That is a finite and quantifiable number; not impossible to attain with our current level of electronic communication etc. And the poling and studies don’t have to be based on small samplings and interpretations of poling results; (these stats become biased and manipulated) with today’s level of electronic communication I think everyone involved or who may be involved can be questioned and quantified for “inclusion” in giving their opinion with regard to whether homosexuals should be allowed to become members and leaders in the Boy Scouts of America and if as parents they will permit their sons to become part of the BSA if the membership policy is changed. And that decision needs to be made into the uniform national policy of the BSA membership because it would be unfair to leaders and members to not keep a uniform standard of membership policy across the board within every council and unit across the country. One fact that does exist is that the current membership of the BSA consists of people who have made the decision to join the BSA based on the current membership policy. Changing that policy is a significant change and it will have an impact on what the current membership chooses to do when it comes time to once again renew for the upcoming year of scouting. If it was my company and I cared about serving my current customers, membership, I’d be very cautious about making any changes that would provide a dis-service to those customers, members, who have already made the decision to enroll their sons in the BSA for all the reasons they’ve chosen to join; ultimately you can be sure that decision was based on the fact that they love their sons dearly.

  3. “cast aside our preconceived notion and come to the table with one ultimate goal”. Is casting aside our preconcevied notion about scouting necessary to participate in this discussion. I am wrongful for embracing scouting for the traditional values it has embraced in the past and now appears to be casting away? What’s the BSA changing into and will the majority of the membership actually have a say if they choose to want to not cast off the preconceived notions and traditional values that has made the BSA what it is today? Is the option to leave the membership policy unchanged truly even on the table anymore? The closing of this news release leads me to believe it isn’t as it seems to be incinuating that i need to divorce myself from my morality and follow a leadership somewhere they’ve already taken the BSA but are trying to make the membership believe they had a direct hand in approving their preconceived decision to this process of changing our membership policy. I choose freely not to cast off my values and morality and stand with the present policy that’s made the BSA what ot is today; all present members chose to join with the present policy in place for their reasons. This whole process just seems wrongful and manipulative toward serving the preconceived policy change that was explained; no change doesn’t even receive equal consideration..

    • The legitimacy of BSA’s policies stem from the extent to which they are derived from either the traditions of the organization or reflect the changed perspectives of members. BSA has wisely listened and realized that traditions are an important part of their policies, but they have put on the table listening to the opinions of the current scouting family. In the end this will make the policy a legitimate reflection of BSA.

      That is why this is a critical time to respect differing perspectives. While I do not share your beliefs, I do believe you have the right to associate with organizations that uphold your beliefs. I would ask the same courtesy from you.

      The preconceived notion I interpret from the article is that BSA is looking to find room for both of us. I think that honors scouting, because it demands that we are kind, loyal, courteous, brave, and reverent. It demands that we do our best to serve God and country and keep ourselves mentally awake and morally straight. We are considering doing this even among those with different perspectives. That is far more difficult than standing straight among a uniform group of believers.

      I do believe we have more to gain from standing together than from allowing BSA to recede into irrelevance due to its discriminatory policies. We often proudly point to the national leaders who have been scouts. I sincerely hope that future leaders will continue to list scouting proudly, not as a group they oppose, but as one which stepped up to become a light for the future.

      • If you think the BSA is receding into irrelevence, wait till the policy changes. It did wonders for the scouts in Canada.

    • Wallace, did you get the survey yet? Only one (of four) of us received it. I’m wondering if it is going out to all Scouts and Scouters or only some that meet a particular criteria. Does anyone know for certain? And, can someone who has received it please type out what it says? (I’m curious about the phrasing.)

        • Do you think the decision has been made and this is just window dressing? I didn’t get a survey.

        • Didn’t get a survey?

          1. Check your spam filters. It would probably come from an address you don’t usually correspond with, and consequently, it may get caught by your anti-spam bots.

          2. Two people I spoke with today just got them today. One hasn’t been active for three years. One got a survey different from the one I got.

          3. Check the BSA site. There may be another way to get to it.

        • Got mine on Friday but didn’t know until this morning because I didn’t check my email. Just finished answering all the questions.

      • I received a version of it that was specific to district & council volunteers. I expect a version targeted to unit level volunteers will come in another wave.

      • One interesting characteristic of the poll was that it asked several questions first about role in district/council and about the volunteer’s belief about the policy change. Then it presented several scenarios that people consider problematic (including the question of whether a gay boy might be permitted to share a tent with a straight one), asking the degree to which the volunteer considered each a problem. Finally, it asked for one’s position on the policy change again — so measuring whether thinking about those particular scenarios has an impact on beliefs about the policy. I did not consider the scenarios to be a push in one direction or the other. The tent one above obviously is a little more of a push toward keeping the policy; the next one was about a gay mom Tiger Cub leader, so a little more of a push in the other direction. But I really think the scenarios were about measuring change from the first statement of opinion to the second.

      • I did receive the survey but haven’t chosen to complete it yet. I wonder why every member of the BSA who has paid their dues doesn’t get to vote directly on this very important issue. For some it will dictate whether they recharter in January or not. hmmm? I guess that will actually be the direct vote by the members. Not exactly the American Way if you ask me. Does anyone believe in the power of Democracy anymore. I’ll probably fill out the survey but I have until early April to do so.

        • Representative democracy = American way.
          Direct democracy = ancient Athenian way, not American way.
          True since 1789, and arguably before that.

        • I’m talking true Democracy. Is there a fear of true Democracy here and the results it will reveal. This is a free and private organization not subject to any rules other than the rules of legitimate law which the Supreme Court already agreed that the BSA membership policies are completely in line with American law. We have direct elections and votes o issues all the time; pure and righteous Democracy. This is one issue where the volunteer paid members who carry the brunt of the BSA on their backs freely serving with their dedication and commitment go God and Country and Duty an organization they wholeheartedly believe in. Without the volunteerism in scouting there is no scouting. We’ve earned the moral right to jave a direct vote on this issue. Mayne the BSA should give us that much respect.

        • I wonder why every member of the BSA who has paid their dues doesn’t get to vote directly on this very important issue.

          Because that’s not how Scouting is set up, in our charter and in our by-laws. We follow the rules.

        • I thought this was all about bending and breaking the rules Ed? Oh! It’s ok when your the one bending and breaking the rules. Show me in the Charter where we have to do anything? We can freely do whatever we choose to do. Supreme Court said they trust us with our Constitutional Freedom. I vote for a direct vote if all paid members. keeps activists who dont really care about scouting out of out of our business where they belong.

  4. This thread has been very enlightening. I believe the discussion is valuable. We need to take the time to understand the facts and perspectives of the diverse group that constitutes the “Scouting Family”. I particularly appreciate the reviews of the court decisions about the BSA policy.

    BSA may remain as it has, but it will lose much by deciding that a discussion and review of the policy is not needed. One post commented that BSA didn’t need a policy in its early years because homosexuality was almost universally accepted as inappropriate. Just as BSA felt the need to make their policy public in 1991, this topic is being revisited in 2012 and 2013. The need in 1991 arose from the recognition that potential members where experiencing a different cultural norm. The society that both honors and criticizes BSA is the society demanding the current discussion. This is right because it is also the society nurturing the youth and leaders who are BSA.

    BSA is to be applauded for honoring its duty to God and country by opening a thoughtful discussion. I thank all those who are making that possible through the forums and sharing thoughtful comments.

        • accidentally hit send.. ha! heck no, not the end.. this is too much fun.. too important to get thoughts together on this issue.. why would the BSA even consider throwing victory back to become defeated is amazing to me?? You go to the trouble to get a Supreme Court ruling then you entertain the idea of letting its value go? Oh well; never needed it to begin with because if the courts were just then the New Jersey Court should have never stepped on the BSA’s constitutional rights to operate freely anyway; Supreme Court only corrected the gross injustice of the Judiciary anyway; our US Judicial system eventually worked.. Now the BSA is once again in control of their own destiny and are entertaining the idea of throwing away the value of a decision they should have never needed to pursue; amazing to me…

  5. Interesting, Wallace. I thought the only policy being considered for reversal is the policy disallowing homosexual members of the BSA. I didn’t realize it concerned atheists and agnostics. Oh. Wait. You want to talk about atheists and agnostics, so it’s ok. If someone else wants to discuss something that is not exactly on point with what you’re discussing, you decide they shouldn’t discuss it?

    • Talk about whatever you want beth; not my blog.. i don’t even understand what your talking about?? this is a family discussion on this issue not any kind of congressional hearing. discuss whatever you want; maybe some of it will matter to someone but were probably all just kicking the ball around to ammuse eachother; seems like a very small segment of people interested in this issue.. I think its entertaining and interesting in its way.. ultimately probably of little value although we’d all like to think not.

  6. In this blog and other places, I have heard comments from members of organizations which support the current BSA policy. I would add a comment that there are many current and potential chartered organizations which do not support BSA’s policy.

    Currently, such organizations are forced to either accept and ignore their principles or have a unit-level policy of non-discrimination. This is an important point because there are current units that have opted for a unit policy of non-discrimination, because it is the belief of their chartering organization. This means we are already acting as discussed in the 2012-potential policy change. While this is a concern for scouts and leaders when they are involved with council and national level activities, at the most important and basic level units are finding a way to be consistent with the beliefs of their chartering organizations.

    I would also comment that BSA has lost chartered organizations due to its policies. It has also lost access to potential members and leaders because some organizations cannot or will not allow groups with policies like that of BSA to be part of their programs.

    BSA has an important tradition to contribute to our society. It is that which is embodied in the Scout Oath and Law. This discussion is critical because it may determine what BSA represents to our nation. I hope we chose to represent a thoughtful and welcoming group which searches for the worth and dignity in all people. It seems to be time to move away from creating divisions based on excluding people with differing beliefs. It seems like we are more often finding that thoughtful considerate youth and adults come from many religious and philosophical perspectives.I would encourage BSA to identify the approach that honors the entire scouting family, by calling on all of us to be courteous, kind, loyal, brave, clean, and reverent.

    I believe this demands that we be welcoming to all, even those with beliefs that discount the worth of people based on their sexual orientation. I congratulate BSA on the courage to launch this discussion.

    • I wonder where those chartering organizations that support allowing homosexuals into the BSA as leaders and members will be when the criminal cases and civil cases start being prosecuted i. tje courts and more importantly in the court of oublic opinion where the media acta as the prosecutor, defendant, jury and finally the judge.. I wonder how many casea of child molestation and rape it’ll take before the BSA is bankrupt because they can’t afford the liability insurance for defending or prosecuting these cases any longer. One thing I’d be willing to bet on is that if the policy is changed and homosexuals take over some troops, the first incident the media will be there exploiting every penny’s worth of controversy out of it to improve their ratings and pick up advertising bucks.. pitiful to think of nit looking at how they’ve exploited past tragedys this will become the talk of the town.. Where will the CO be in that equation; I’m sure trying to distance themselves as far away fro the tragic incident as possible; think their going to have the BSA’s back when it comes to defending their efforts to force units to change this policy to reflect their organizations policy. I doubt it. Their leadership will probably be the first to say, “see, I told you that was going to happen”.

      • Quite independently of the current membership policy discussion, BSA has found its reputation under criticism by media for the actions of adults not impacted excluded by the membership policies of BSA.

        Youth protection will be an ongoing need regardless of the policy on gay membership.

      • I wonder where those chartering organizations that support allowing homosexuals into the BSA as leaders and members will be when the criminal cases and civil cases start being prosecuted.

        Our Youth Protection Training, guidelines, and entire program, are designed to prevent criminal and civil cases.

        Those chartering organizations that favor a change in policy will stand with BSA for a more open policy in court, I predict. It is organizations that do not want change who have set up competing groups, already, and abandoned BSA.

        If Youth Protection works as well as we hope, litigation on such issues will continue to decline.

  7. Current Policy Does Not Exclude Homosexuals
    BSA Encourages Dishonesty
    BSA Hypocritical In Using First Amendment

    Interesting that the current policy only excludes homosexuals who are “open or avowed.” Homosexuals who are _not_ “open or avowed” _can_ be BSA members. Interesting that BSA is, with this policy, encouraging gays and lesbians to be personally dishonest about their sexual orientation, with the result that BSA gets the benefits of their participation and money. Interesting too that, having used the First Amendment as a shield to protect our policy of excluding homosexuals, we’re using _their_ exercise of the First Amendment (becoming “open or avowed” through speech) as the basis for excluding them.

  8. BSA “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” Policy Lacks Moral Basis

    BSA’s policy of excluding only those homosexuals who are “open or avowed” allows gays and lesbians to fully participate in Scouting, including holding important positions such as Den Leader and Scoutmaster — as long as they don’t talk about their sexual orientation. Although BSA claims that it excludes gays and lesbians because homosexual conduct is not “morally straight” and is not “legitimate behavior,” BSA does not really exclude homosexuals at all — unless their sexual orientation becomes publicly known. So it turns out that BSA is not concerned about “morally straight” conduct and “legitimate behavior” at all.

  9. BSA Only Concerned About ‘Distraction’

    BSA’s policy that supposedly excludes gays and lesbians from membership is really only about avoiding controversy. The policy states: “[W]e 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 key words are “open or avowed” and “distraction.” It is okay to be a homosexual in the BSA — as long as no one finds out. Because if it became known that there is a gay or lesbian member in their midst, then members would complain to the Council and there would be upheaval in the unit and people would leave Scouting over it. It would be a “distraction.” And as it says right there in the policy, BSA doesn’t like distractions. They like quiet gays and lesbians just fine. They just don’t like distractions.

  10. Supporters Of Current Policy Actually Support Gay Membership In BSA

    The Scouting Magazine blog has been overflowing with hundreds of comments vehemently opposing any change in BSA’s current exclusionary policy and vehemently opposing the admission of gays and lesbians into the BSA. There’s only one problem. It appears that very few of the anti-gay commenters have actually read the current policy. The current policy allows any homosexual to become a member of the BSA, with just one exception — someone who is “open” or “avowed” about his or her sexual orientation. That is, as long as they don’t advertise their sexual orientation, the current policy welcomes gays and lesbians into the BSA family as members and leaders.

  11. Policy Change Would Not Change Much

    The controversy over BSA’s highly public announcement that it was considering changing its policy on gay membership, and the months-long BSA “family discussion” preceding the vote in May, turns out to be a tempest in a teapot. As it happens, the current policy already welcomes gays and lesbians into the Boy Scouts of America, as long as they are quiet about it. Much like the military’s former “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” policy, “the BSA does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members,” and excludes only “open or avowed” homosexuals. If the policy is changed to eliminate the national pseudo-ban on homosexual membership, the only change would be that gay and lesbian members could open up about their sexual orientation in those units that choose not to discriminate. If the current policy remains in place, things will continue as they are, with gays and lesbians serving as active members and leaders, working right next to the unknowing members who oppose allowing homosexuals into BSA.

    • That philosophy worked really well in Martins Ferry Ohio. I do agree with one thing you said; don’t xhange the existing policy on membership. It does serve to protect the BSA from lawsuits with regard to conflicts from having the homosexuals which you’ve admitted here would choose to come out and make social and political viewpoints known with regard to their sexjality and there’s really not a place for that kind of behavior in a boys organization. you revealed a lot here and I think it mostly supports the need the BSA has to continue to make every effort to protect the boys its responsible for in any reasonable way possible.

      • I did not say or mean to imply that the existing policy should remain as is. I have no idea what you are trying to say in the rest of the paragraph. But that’s okay. The gist of my comment is that gays and lesbians are welcome in BSA now and will continue to be welcome in BSA if the current policy is retained or if it is dropped.

        • I’m an active member if the BSA and I can assure you that your wrongful in believing homosexual leaders are welcome in the BSA. I think its funny that you choose to believe such a lie. I wonder if its true to your heart or just a silly attempt to try to antagonize people on this blog. I’m glad you believe that though and your satisfied with the current membership policy and that its working so well for you. I look forward to your continued support of this policy; it is the right policy.

        • Just read the policy. As I’ve been trying to explain for the last few days, supporters of the right to exclude homosexuals from BSA should be upset at how the current policy is written, because it just doesn’t do what they seem to think it does. But they’ve been so blinded by their anti-gay jihad that they can’t see that the horse is already out of the barn. Read the policy.

        • The same is true for the anti-discrimination crowd. They should be upset that the current policy already allows gays and lesbians to be full-fledged members of BSA, but BSA still hangs on to this little sliver of discrimination for those gays and lesbians who talk about it.

  12. Anyone have a copy of the BSA Charter? Does the charter include various operating procedures etc. of the BSA? Does it include an organizational chart and procedures to be followed in selecting leaders? I have absolutely no idea..

  13. What is the relevance of a sexual orientation prohibition?
    Is the restriction religious? If so, has faith supporting such a restriction changed? If faith has not changed, then why would the organization change?
    If the restriction is not religious, then why let the restriction continue? For that matter, why have any religious connection. Why for that matter be an organization based on gender? Does BSA not descriminate based on such currently? Is that descrimination based on faith or religion? If not, why continue such? Why not combine BSA and GSA? What logical reason would there be to not let my 5 yr old daughter join Cub Scouts so that she could get a Pinewood Derby trophy too?
    BSA needs to decide what type of organization it will be. If it is one based on the teachings of a particular faith, then it seems clear that the BSA would not condone activities it believes are against God and not in the best interest of Boy Scouts. If faith changes, then so should BSA based on that principle.
    If BSA is not an organization governed by faith, then not only should restrictions based on sexual orientation be removed, so should restrictions on faith (or lack of such) as well as gender.
    I don’t envy their decision but it is clear to me that based on their decision, the BSA is about to be changed in a dramatic way.

    • Responding to your question, “If the restriction is religious, has faith supporting such a restriction changed?” In fact, many faiths *have* changed their beliefs about homosexuality over the last 40 years. BSA is an organization that recognizes the value of each member practicing his or her faith, but it is not, to use your term, “based on the teachings of a particular faith.” It is not, for example, a Christian organization. As such, it should not be in the business of determining that one Scout’s faith is better, truer, more worthy of support than another’s.

      • If it is not based on faith, then teachings on such and restrictions based on “sinful” sexual orientation should be tossed out. While we are at it, we should question gender-based discrimination.
        We might want to remove the special recognition we give for religious badges while we are at it.

        • “The Religious Emblems programs are administered by various religious institutions and recognized, but not sponsored, by the BSA.”

          Personally I have no issue with the boys or adults earning the religious knot. I do have a problem with the Pack or Troop having a ceremony to recognize those that earn it.

          Locally we have a church that invites the Scouts that have earned their religious emblem during the year for a special non denominational service. I have no issue with that either.

        • I disagree with getting rid of religious emblems. Those are actually awarded by the religious institution, not the BSA. They are recognized by the BSA, though, and can be worn on the uniform. We just don’t exclude any religions from participating. There is no officially sanctioned BSA religion.

        • When you submitted your membership form, you signed your agreement to BSA’s position that it is an absolutely nonsectarian organization. BSA supports you practicing your faith, and my children practicing theirs — and not yours. Religious emblems recognize that a youth is practicing his or her religion, whatever that religion is. BSA is not based on your faith, and you agreed to that when you applied for membership.

        • As others have mentioned, religious badges are administered by the religious organization. However, right now BSA does select the religious organizations it will recognize. There are churches which have not been allowed to administer their religious badges.

          BSA has a very inconsistent approach to which religious organizations are recognized. Right now The Unitarian Universalist Church is not able to administer a religious badge. For a brief period it was permitted, but that was changed.

          BSA would have a difficult time determining the religious basis for justifying a policy on sexual orientation, either avowed or not.

        • What is religious about the Unitarian Universalist Church other than the name? They should drop the name Church. BSA is right.

        • What is religious about the Unitarian Universalist Church other than the name? They should drop the name Church. BSA is right.

          This is where I think those who want to make Scouting an exclusive religious club should think a bit about what that would mean.

          Do you really intend to say that John Adams, the second President of the United States, the author of the Massachusetts Bill of Rights, is not the sort of guy we want in Scouting? Do you really mean to exclude John Quincy Adams, the man who stood against slavery in the Amistad incident, and the sixth President of the U.S.?

          Do you really in tend to exclude Abraham Lincoln? Millard Fillmore? William Taft?

          Excluding people because of their faith is, to me, contrary to the 12th point of the Scout Law, and perhaps also the 2nd, 3rd and 9th. Excluding people who believe as our greatest presidents believed doesn’t strengthen Scouting, but instead separates us from that strong strain of American idealism that says a person’s faith is an issue between that person and God, and no one else.

          What’s religious about the Unitarians? Faith that good is a moral force in the universe that we need to culture, a moral code that parallels the Scout Oath and Law. What more should we ask? Should we ask at all?

        • You obviously didn’t read the quote before like most people that have an agenda and don’t read the proper posts before spouting their agenda. I did not exclude anyone. I agreed that Universal Unitarian should not be in the religious awards program because they are not a religion, they are an association and not a Church. “Church” is universally accepted to mean Christian and they do not beleve in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of the World.

        • You obviously didn’t read the quote before like most people that have an agenda and don’t read the proper posts before spouting their agenda. I did not exclude anyone.

          You specifically excluded our second President, and people who share his religious and spiritual beliefs. Unitarians may have been the largest non-Catholic fellowship in America for a good chunk of time between 1870 and 1940, the formative years of Boy Scouting. Let’s not ignore history. History holds important lessons, if we are open to learn them.

          I did read your post. I gather you did not read mine.

          I agreed that Universal Unitarian should not be in the religious awards program because they are not a religion, they are an association and not a Church.

          Slippery slope at best. I live in an area where 80% of the people believe the LDS Church is not a church at all (let alone Christian), and whose members should be excluded from religious fraternal and civic groups for that reason.

          Did you know, by the way, that the LDS are the largest single sponsoring group of Boy Scouts in the U.S.?

          What is a “religion” in your book? Can you offer a definition which excludes Unitarians, and does not also exclude Buddhists, Zoroastrians, and perhaps many others?

          “Church” is universally accepted to mean Christian and they do not beleve in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of the World.

          The Boy Scouts of America taught me that “church” means faith or religion, and includes synagogues, mosques, temples, Kingdom Halls, Houses of Worship, Ward Houses, Stake Houses, sweat lodges, pagodas, or any other structure or place that anyone of spiritual belief or ethical system consecrates, celebrates, or otherwise holds in high regard. One of my Philmont instructors suggested that before we start condemning other faiths, we remember that Jesus was not Christian and never attended a church, and that Islam follows the God of Abraham, as Jesus did.

          As Jesus said, many are those who call His name, but don’t follow His teachings. Let’s work to stay out of that category.

          How much do you know abut Lord Baden-Powell’s faith? About his sexual orientation? How about George Washington’s? Abraham Lincoln’s? Shakespeare might have warned, what a tangled web we exude, when first we practice to exclude.

        • This is a reply to Fred Cooper’s comment, “What is religious about Unitarian Universalist Church.?” While it seems inappropriate to question a church duly recognized both by long standing tradition and law, this is an opportunity to point out that the faiths among scouts are many and varied.

          This religion is founded on 7 principles which honor the worth and dignity of people and their beliefs. One of the key principles respects the higher power which unites all living things. The Unitarian beliefs are also supportive of individuals seeking to understand the beliefs that guide others and themselves. Some discount the church because it has a less prescriptive dogma than many other faiths. In fact it promotes that individuals dedicate significant reflection and discussion to understanding what the 7 guiding principles mean in our world.

          I hope this gives you something to consider in replies to other religious opinions in this blog.

          You say you think BSA is right. Actually the problem is when they become sectarian they open themselves to criticism for discrimination. I hope you can understand how BSA has come forward in the process of opening this discussion. Lets try to help them continue to make progress.

        • All I said was it should not be called a Church (Christian) or religion (Belief in a deity). No criticism other than that. Its obviously an Association. Has nothing to do with BSA Homosexuality issue.

        • Religion is a commitment to a set of religious principles. Religious principles relate to faith in an ultimate reality or deity. Unitarian Universalists hold deeply to a set of religious principles which define ultimate reality for the faithful members of this church.

          Churches are not synonymous with Christian. Every organized religion is an association. Part of the practice of a religion involves associating with others sharing similar religious principles.

          Many Unitarian Universalists subscribe to most of the tenets of traditional Christianity. One distinction is that the religious principles of Unitarian Universalists encourage exploring the faiths of many religions and learning from these religions. Some suggest that this lack of prescriptive dogma about the nature and labels required for a deity, make Unitarians not a religion. Importantly, UU’s are committed to study and exploring their faith and principles. I would argue that this is the ultimate definition of a religion.

        • Just because you believe it doesn’t make it the truth. Merriam Webster says:

          church /CHərCH/ (Noun)

          A building used for public Christian worship.
          A particular Christian organization, typically one with its own clergy, buildings, and distinctive doctrines: “the Church of England”.

          Don’t see where UU’s fit into that definition so please don’t use Church. You could call watching paint dry a religion but BSA Religious Awards is about belief in a higher power according to the Scout Oath and Law. Why do you want to force UU on Religious Awards?

        • Truth of it all Fred. Jesus Christ “invented ” the Church to serve God through us. Anything used as a principle other than the Holy Bible is wrongful and a perversion of His truth. Jesus, Church, One Body all mean the same; Godly.

        • On the website ( a website maintained by the Dept of Health and Human Services), bullying is defined as ” unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.” The kind of teasing you describe fits the definition of bullying. The power imbalance is in the number of boys doing the teasing, particularly if directed at one scout. The potential for repetition is made worse by leaders accepting the behavior as normal.

        • Ann, I do not accept teasing as bullying. Sorry. It is neither relentless nor repeated enough to be bullying. There have always been feminine acting boys who are not homosexual. They are not frail creatures to be sheltered. Give them a chance to be men. They are not bullied. hard for you to believe i know but we have never lost a Scout because of it and we have gained self-confident young men

        • It is important to recognize the concepts of perceived threat and potential for repetition. You state it is not bullying because it is not relentless nor repeated enough to go beyond teasing. However, you have also stated that this just the way boys are. I believe that clearly implies a potential for repetition. The definition also requires either recognized or perceived power imbalance. The test is not if you perceive the imbalance, but does the victim perceive imbalance. A single scout teased by a group of other scouts would logically perceive an imbalance of power.

          You suggest that this is not a problem for scouts who are not homosexual, but are just more feminine than their companions. I know this is hard to believe, but it is likely that some of the feminine scouts you describe are unsure of their sexual orientation. They may actually be gay. However, the bullying, or as you prefer to call it teasing, might just be the hurtful piece that does serious damage to their self confidence. I wonder how long you have been in scouts. You say you have never lost a scout around this “teasing”. I hope you never do, but the loss may be much greater than you recognize.

          For the health of scouts in your charge, I would encourage you to take a strong and unambiguous stand against teasing around sexual orientation.

        • Your response was exactly what I expected. You tried to parse my words into insinuating teasing was always bullying. It is not.

          Feminine acting boys are probably rarely homosexual but I guess your would point them towards a lifetime sexual orientation that letting them work it out on their own.

          I do see progressive women as a negative role model here. You easily accept that homosexuality is a moral lifestyle choice and jump immediately to it if a Scout is feminine acting. You just did.

          The Scouts under my charge are taught as Scout literature directs. An openly homosexual person is not qualified to be a Scout or Scout leader. As so many progressives have said on here about my beliefs , my son were certainly not be a member in any of your Units where homosexuality is condoned and possibly even encouraged. I could not accept that for my child. These are children.

        • Church is often the designation adopted by Christian denominations, but the same dictionary you quoted offers this as one definition of a church ” A building for public worship, particularly Christian” or ” a body or organization of religious believers”. ( The definitions noted above definitely include Unitarian Universalists. As I said before, churches are not synonymous with Christian religions.

          UU scouts should have the privilege of earning a religious emblem in their own church. Many UU scouts have graciously been allowed to earn a religious emblem in Baha’i Churches, but it is not quite the sane.

        • Ann, I really don’t know why this is important to you. Church as a name was created by Christ for His Believers. You are not one. You are obviously an intelligent woman. Just leave the term to those it was intended. it is Christs name for His people. That is all I am saying . Why would you not want to be an Association/

        • church
          [church] Show IPA

          1. a building for public Christian worship.

          2. public worship of God or a religious service in such a building: to attend church regularly.

          3. ( sometimes initial capital letter ) the whole body of Christian believers; Christendom.

          4. ( sometimes initial capital letter ) any division of this body professing the same creed and acknowledging the same ecclesiastical authority; a Christian denomination: the Methodist Church.

          5. that part of the whole Christian body, or of a particular denomination, belonging to the same city, country, nation, etc.

          From this site

          #4 applies also #5

          church[ church ]NOUN
          church·es plural

          1. religious building: a building for public worship, especially in the Christian religion
          2. religion’s followers as group: all the followers of a religion, especially the Christian religion, considered collectively
          3. religious service: a religious service that takes place in a church
          “go to church”
          4. clergy: the clergy as distinct from lay people
          5. religious authority: religious authority as opposed to the authority of the state
          6. branch of Christian religion: a denomination or branch of the Christian religion

          From this site

          #1, #2, #3, #4, #5 apply

          The US government identifies the UU as a church.

          Often congregations get confused about their tax status under IRS rules. Every Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) congregation is a “church” under U.S. tax law, therefore tax exempt, charitable, and exempt from tax filing. There is no “blanket exemption” from the UUA, but the UUA will provide a letter saying a congregation is in good standing. This addresses most tax exemption issues. However, it still may be in the interest of a congregation to get its own classification letter from the IRS.

          IRS Pub. 1828: Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations (PDF, 32 pages)

    • Whether it “sounds familiar” or not is irrelevant. We are not discussing persons in and of themselves, but behavior. Someone with same-sex attraction who lives a chaste life would not be affected in any way by the present BSA policy. They are not behaving in a manner that is inconsistent with that policy. Under those circumstances, their sexual proclivities are nobody’s business, and they are not denying who or what they are in the course of applying discretion to their lives.

      Even black civil rights leaders to this day are not united in comparing the issue of “gay rights” with their own struggle. When the NAACP came out in favor of “gay marriage,” a number of black pastors and heads of state NAACP chapters took great exception to the decision. Even the niece of Dr Martin Luther King Jr, Alveda King, is on the record denying the parallel between the two. (I provided attribution the last time I mentioned Alveda King.)

      • David,
        I was talking about the behavior of the individuals that have made comments on this blog.

        Also I would hope that the sexual proclivities of any leader would be “nobody’s business”, but you are wrong that a homosexual leader who is chaste would not run afoul of the BSA policy. The policy is in regard to what someone is (a homosexual) not what they do (a sexual act with another same sex individual). A homosexual virgin is still a homosexual.

        Again as for Ms. King, she was 4 when the movement started and not even of voting age in 1968. Her opinions are just as valid as anyone’s but you’ve mentioned her several times like she is the end all and be all when it comes to how civil rights leaders feel about equating rights of African-Americans to rights of homosexuals.

        Since you acknowledge that civil rights leaders are not united on this issue, then maybe you should also highlight John Lewis’ views as well. He walked beside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, was one of the Big Six civil rights leaders and equates the civil rights movements of both African-Americans and homosexuals. I know his last name isn’t King but then again he hasn’t had three abortions or been divorced three times like Ms. King (per her account) either. I’m not judging her but Ithought you might be interested.

        • You are assuming that homosexuality is not a choice. There are many who disagree, along with many organizations and churches who teach that. Those who want to change the policy are trying to force their views on the organization. If the shoe was on the other foot, gays and their supporters would be raising quite a stink.

        • I merely note that BSA’s position in the Supreme Court was that homosexual _conduct_ was the problem: “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.” However, the current policy as written relates to “sexual orientation,” not to conduct: “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.”

          I think that the policy is a highly flawed execution of the rationale expressed to the Supreme Court, and because of this inconsistent approach, am forced to agree that someone who is open about his or her same-sex attraction, but lives a chaste life, would still be ensnared by the policy.

        • Deanna:

          Ah, where to begin ….

          1) In order to know to whom you were referring other than the issue in question, I would have to go all over this page. Try it yourself and see how “easy” it is. I assume that this discussion is about a particular issue, and concerning a particular audience. It is not up to me to second-guess what you mean or don’t mean. Say what you mean, and mean what you say, and say it then and there, not six or seven responses ago.

          2) No, a person who is not “avowed” could not and would not “run afoul of the BSA policy.” That policy is specific, and was qualified as it was for a reason. That it may not be worded as well as it might be does not change that.

          3) No, Alveda King is not the “be all and end all” of any just cause. No one is. That is why I have consistently mentioned other examples to demonstrate that there is no clear consensus among black leaders as to whether “gay rights” is a civil rights cause. I don’t have to mention all of them.

          4) Finally, just for a reminder, here is the membership policy as it is currently disseminated, sent to me last night by the website of my local council: “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. Scouting believes same-sex attraction should be introduced and discussed outside of its program with parents, caregivers, or spiritual advisers, at the appropriate time and in the right setting. The vast majority of parents we serve value this right and do not sign their children up for Scouting for it to introduce or discuss, in any way, these topics. The BSA is a voluntary, private organization that sets policies that are best for the organization. The BSA welcomes all who share its beliefs but does not criticize or condemn those who wish to follow a different path.”

          If someone is “open or avowed” about anything, that is to say, making it public, they are by virtue of that decision making possible the scrutiny and opinion of others. Our choices have consequences. We learn that in Scouting. That so many in Scouting do not consider this a necessary lesson, is an even bigger indictment of the entire program than anything discussed here.

        • This comment is posted here because I was not able to put it under David A.’s comment below. I think it is important to understand the practical implications of the line of thought which suggests that gays who are quiet about their sexual orientation are able to be part of BSA.

          The concept of being quiet about sexual orientation really does not mean just within scouting. Some of the recent situations arose when gay scouts and scouters were identified in non-scout settings and labeled as gay. Granted this is not a fool-proof approach to assigning labels, but it happens regularly.

          My concern is not just with the accuracy of this approach, but with the implication that BSA policies have the right to dictate the expression of free speech by its leaders outside of scouting. I do not believe BSA is justified in punishing me for supporting gay-rights. However, I could be labeled as gay if I associate openly with a gay cause. I would be subject to punishment in the form of removal from my roles in scouting. I value these and would be very unhappy to be forced to abandon my jobs.

          Just as our military found Don’t ask, Don’t tell to be unworkable. BSA needs to examine its current unworkable policy. If it opts to maintain its current policy, the ongoing arguments will be magnified by a policy which it cannot enforce fairly.

        • “A homosexual virgin is still a homosexual”. Bravo! This is the best way to describe the homosexual orientation to the people who can’t go beyond the “sexual positions” topic and reduce homosexuals to some “sex-driven maniacs”, with risky behaviors who are ALL pedophiles/child molesters, and have no normal human feelings and attachments towards others.
          Wonder, what the anty-gay community will say on this one…

        • “Wonder, what the anty-gay community will say on this one…”

          I don’t know what they’ll say, Andrei, but I already answered Deanna’s question. You could address how I answered it, or you could see the reference to “Saul Alinsky” elsewhere.

          (And it’s spelled “anti-gay,” not “anty-gay.”)

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

    • If your book of faith says homosexual behavior is not sinful I’d be curious to know what book of faith your church follows. The vast majority of BSA members follow the Holy Bible in their faiths; God’s one and only true written word to mankind. The BSA is a Godly organization; Faith based and biblicaly based in its inception; truth. Deviating from that fundamental principle is begnning to cause a lot of problems with how outside people are viewing the BSA. If the message isn’t strong that the BSA is a Godly organization with roots bases in Judeo-Christian beliefs then the BSA leadership has failed in my opinion and now there’s division where there wasn’t division when they were truly united umder one tent. The majority are still Christian and at the end of the day I doubt the majority are going to allow the tiny imposing minority groups to dictate the BSA culture to them. BSA’s creating a lot of unnecessary conflict and if the leadership just stood strong in favor if the majority those that want the BSA experience will join and those that don’t would go somewhere else; called Freedom. You don’t hear a majority of BSA members saying change the membershio policy; that’s cause a majority of the membership don’t want the policy changes. The organization doesn’t belong to the key3 or 1,400 voting delegates to decide on this important issue of spiritual moral values; it belongs to every volunteer member of the BSA who invest their valuable time into an organization they have grown to love for what it is today.. Change the policy and what’s the BSA going to look like in 5 or 10 years? In some ways I believe I can imagine.. Anyone care to imagine what some of the news headlines will look like? What’s the general public perception of the BSA going to be? Think parents are really going to bring their sons into an organization that will grow into having a reputation of leading boys into becomming immoral depending on the unit leaders their exposes to? Is it right to steal that opportunity of scouting away from the majority of boys to satisfy a tiny tiny minority of people who most likely aren’t going to join anyway because they will always be part of an immoral minority in the viewpoint of the Judeo-Christians who still make up a large majority of the BSA and a large majority of the Godly people i the United States of America; pretend these truths aren’t real and your only fooling yourself. The majority will have their day; as time passes they will have the ultimate vote and the final say on this issue.. Then how’s the BSA going to address and repair that damage; change the policy back? too litttle to late?? time will tell it all.

      • If your book of faith says homosexual behavior is not sinful I’d be curious to know what book of faith your church follows.

        I’m a member of the Disciples of Christ, the faith of our only preacher president, James Garfield, and of Lyndon Johnson (who built a chapel on his ranch to make it easier to get to services), and the faith into which Ronald Reagan was baptized, and which educated him.

        Who else would you like to kick out of Scouting?

        If we start excluding everyone condemned as non-Christian enough so far in this thread, there won’t be enough left in BSA to continue. Mind if we take the Congressional charter with us? Someone needs to put it to good use, and think of the kids, especially the kids of everyone excluded.

        Perhaps we can tone down the discussion, and again see if we can find common ground.

        • I wonder if Nancy knew Ronald was a homosexual; is that what your saying? If that’s not what your saying then I have absolutely no idea what your talking about? Was Garfield a homosexual too? Wow.. this sounds like creative history rewriting to me. Disciples of Christ were founded by Alexander Campbell weren’t they. He actually happened to be a friend of my great….. great Uncle John.. and my Uncle Frank was a member of his first church in Bethany, Virginia (West Virginia). Was Alexander Campbell a homosexual too; wow, didn’t say that on the tour of his home… How did the American Pioneers ever procreate with so many homosexuals in our history? I honestly have no idea what your saying and you obviously have no idea of what I said either. You do realize that were talking about homosexuals in scouting and a membership policy that currently restricts someone from joining scouting and openly exhibiting homosexual behavior don’t you Ed?

        • Wallace, your comments are becoming more and more bizarre. It is clear that Ed in no way insinuated that Ronald Reagan, Lyndon Johnson, or James Garfield were homosexuals. He states that they belonged to the same religion that he himself belongs to.

        • You can be a Christian and not even belong to a church Ed. But Christianity does have certain truthful principles you have to follow to be a
          Christian. But many of us are sinners and isn’t that what Christianity is all about. But I don’t think I’ll belong to a “church” that tries to rewrite the Bible to eliminate my sins. I think I’ll accept responsibility for my sins as I know them from understanding the principles of Christianity shown to me by God in His Word to all of us. And when I reflect on my behavior and sins are revealed to me through understanding and meditating on His word I’ll ask Him for forgiveness in the name of His son who was the blood offering for my salvation. I won’t lessen the value of His sacrifice and I don’t think God is going to be bamboozled by my shenanagans and trickery if I should choose to try to trick Him. He knows my heart even before my true heart’s been revealed to me through my pride. Some “churches” have a tremendous amount of arrogance and pride. He will woo them back in His way, in His Time, for His will and purpose.. Our Chartering Organization is dying due to their decision to ordain homosexual minsters and ignore His written word of what’s sinful and what’s not. He always has His victory and we will always have our freedom; His choice…

        • Coming from you Beth I hold being described as bizarre as a complement; means I must be saying something right.

        • My reply is actually to Wallace – Reifan was baptised in that church, pal. Really, pay attention. Just because one supports gays does not mean he/she is a homosexual. (Including myself and many people who have perspective broader than yours).
          Oops, I guess you will become defensive again and shred me to pieces for name calling. No names, just a fact.
          Perceptions are based on experience, education, and personal beliefs. While you stated your personal/religious beliefs multiple times, you clearly have very narrow perception (and it is not to offend you, believe me) of the sexual orientation issue. And I can understand that (and not blame) : your personal encounters with the gay community seem to be very few (if any), hence – how would you know?
          Second point of your perceptional limits – education: one must go beyond religion and media to do research in the topic before making conclusions. Educate yourself by reading REAL scientific articles written by non-biased scholars, not second-hand reviews done by FRC (and similar to them). Good luck – as there is plenty to read. My recommendation would be to start with the two most prominent – American Psychiatric Association and American Psychological Association.

      • Wallace, the importance of the discussion about religions in this blog is to clarify that people of strong religious conviction are not all following the definition of a “Godly Organization” you have suggested as that followed by BSA. Many religions have found a more tolerant path which is consistent with their principles.

        I would suggest that the golden rule is a call for tolerance. Does your church follow that principle?

        • I’m a Christian Anne. I follow the principles God gave us in His Holy Word. I belong to the church, one body, of Jesus Christ. It doesn’t matter the denomination or congregation. My church is all believers who choose to make the Holy Bible, God’s one and only word to mankind, their principle for life. All Christians are yoked to the same Holy Bible whether they want to be truthful about it or not. When you accept the Holy Spirit into your heart upon baptism you become a Christian. The traditions of the BSA are rooted in Christian principles whether you choose to accept that truth or not. I’ll stand up for my faith. I try to mold my life to Biblical Principles, imperfectly, but then that’s what Christianity is all about; bringing the imperfect into reconciliation with God to one day have eternal life with Him. There is only one way, I didn’t invent it, I choose freely to follow it and its a path open to anyone who chooses to follow it. Christianity is the major faith in the United States. Last stat I heard was that more than 83% of Americans identify define themselves as Christian. That make them a majority. If I was running the BSA I’d listen to the majority of my membership; only makes good sense. If you don’t believe Christians are the majority and backbone of the BSA then study the issue a little more closely. You seem to be an intelligent woman. If you ran a business would you go against the will of a majority of your customers to satisfy a few uncommitted potential customers at the risk of loosing the majority of your business? That would be a foolish decision. You might try to deceive the majority but its foolish too to underestimate the intelligence of people. They might not say anything for whatever reason but never think they don’t have an opinion or aren’t without their reasons for being a customer of yours. When you change the reason for their being your customer then they’ll ultimately vote to be your customer in the future when it comes time to renew their membership or make another order or contract with your company in the future. I’ve found scouting families to be very concerned with regard to the sons they’ve placed in scouting. They may say one thing to you so as not to “offend” you but their action will speak their true heart. When it comes to their precious sons you can be sure the majority are not going to enroll their child in a unit that is lead by open homosexuals. In fact if they aren’t sure of the leadership you can be sure their child will instead be joining their church youth group, soccer team, baseball team, etc. rather than joining the BSA. This is not the time for the BSA to give parents one more reason not to enroll their son in the BSA. Believe truths or not. You have your opinions and I can assure you they will never be mine.

  15. dducat, you wrote:

    “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 …”

    I don’t think I’ve done that. I think I’ve taken this discussion seriously enough, and have avoided “reducing” this discussion to anything. As to your citations, most of them do not appear to be statistical studies, but recollections in particular cultures or historical settings which may or may not be reduced to anecdotal evidence, which is generally not as reliable as “the math,” as it were. I therefore stand behind the evidence that Mr Wanamaker has presented, and which I reproduced. It is germaine to this topic, therefore is relevant, and as long as I am a participant here, it remains very much on the table. To wit …


    Watkins refers to not one, but several studies. A casual glance would suggest that a “difference of 42%” might conceivably be expected. Each study would have to be examined on its own merits. But, take heart, it does not invalidate all the other studies that were referred to in that entry. And there were quite a few of them.

    • David
      One thing I learned in Statistics class is “You can make statistics say what ever you want them to say.”

      • Well, I never studied Statistics, and I already knew that. You know, “lies, damned lies, and statistics”? (Who said that anyway?)

        But I also know that it’s a big improvement over references in this forum such as “studies have shown that yada yada yada …” and being no more specific than that. On the other hand providing numerous studies by name and by source, fully footnoted, courtesy of Mr Wanamaker, were met with indifference. How can you have a discussion under those circumstances? Beats the hell outa me.

        For my own part, I’ve spent the last month researching this issue, even having an assistant helping me with it almost full time. Somewhere in all that is the Census information that I discovered back when I started. It’s buried somewhere. but I’ll find it. Meanwhile, I also came across this:

        “The percentage of adults in the United States who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) ranges from 1.7% in North Dakota to 5.1% in Hawaii and 10% in the District of Columbia, according to findings from a new study …”

        “A special Gallup report finds that 3.4% of U.S. adults identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), with the highest incidence among those who are non-white, younger, and less educated …”

        I know it’s not what you asked for, but it might prove useful in this discussion.
        In the meantime, it seems to me that statistics are all we have to do whatever it is that statistics do. Unless you can think of something else.

    • Yes there were 7. Two of which failed to mentioned a publication. One was just two last names and a page number. Not exactly appropriate citation form.

      • Actually I need to correct my statement above. There were three references out of the 7 that were just a last name and a page number. I had said 1.

  16. The Daughters of the American Revolution had a very strong brand that was damaged by their slow deviation from the racially discriminatory traditions. They were too slow to move with the societal changes which accepted that we are all equal regardless of our race. Regrettably, the stigma which they developed by their holding on to these traditions still clings to them even though they are a very respectable organization.

    Boy Scouts of America is following this same path. Our society is arriving at the point where sexual orientation is no longer considered an appropriate reason to treat another person as unequal. Across our nation we are coming to this conclusion at a different rates, just as the realization that race is also not a reason to discriminate came to us as a nation regionally.

    I was born and raised in a small town and my life as a youth was defined in large part by scouting. It is unlikely that the pack and troop where I was raised would be very excited about the prospect of this policy change because the parents and leaders may not see the same negative impact we see in the pack where I am now a leader and where my son is a member.

    The block I live on now feels similar to my son as the one I grew up on. It is full of children to play with and lots of fun and engaging people to get to know. Backyards open to all, swings hang from trees and there are ‘secret’ tracks from yard to yard to run along. It is probably similar your neighborhood too. The key difference with regard to scouting is that none of his friends on our block may join scouts because of what is considered its discriminatory policy here. We do not let him sell door-to-door because we do not want to offend the same sex couple across the street who are wonderful people and deserve to feel welcome, nor do we want him to be put in the position where he has to defend BSA’s policy on membership. He has very good friends at school he would love to have in his den, but I had to explain to him that their same sex parents would not feel welcome. His school even has a policy of no scout uniforms at school because not every child is welcome.

    My son has read about the civil rights era, but it always felt like distant history, just like the revolutionary war or Bible stories. Oddly, his child level stories never used the word ‘discrimination’. We did not realize he did not know the word until he joined cub scouts. Sadly, he learned its definition with BSA being the subject. It is a hard topic to explain to a 6, 7 and now 8 year old. He sees the injustice of it, but he loves scouts. I am obviously responsible for putting him in this situation, but I love scouting and got so much from it, that I thought I could navigate this one issue. My family feels we were forced to compromise our values, as does every other family in our pack I have spoken to about this, just to participate in the organization we want so much to have our sons be a part of. It is a smaller pack because of it, with a disproportionately large group of dads with Eagles. Those who know scouts is better than this one policy.

    Please change this policy, or at least let us change it locally.

    • “Boy Scouts of America is following this same path.”

      No, they are not. One issue has to do with personhood, the other with behavior. They cannot be compared, and this has been emphasized several times in this venue, without being countered.

      You don’t win an argument (for want of a better term) by simply repeating the same bad arguments. You win by saying (yes, even repeating) good arguments. Arguments refuted without an effective counter-challenge are not good arguments. At least not good enough.

      But just in case, I’m going to a commissioners’ conference tomorrow. I will be sure to take this up with my unashamedly-African-American District Commissioner, and ask him how he could be in favor of changing the policy without seeing this comparison that keeps being brought up.

      (At this point, a “thumbs down” is practically a badge of honor. Bring it on, people.)

      • My intention in posting was to describe the situation of many scouters and parents in my pack and plead our case, not to enter into a debate. Values are not debatable. We clearly have different values, but you are responsible for yours just as I am responsible for mine. I have no intent, or interest, in changing yours.

        • Jeff:

          I understand completely. We’re both pretty well dug in. What remains then, is how it plays out in the public square, as manifest in this venue. We cannot change each others minds, but we’re not the only ones here.

          (And let’s keep it up with those thumbs down, everybody. Show the world your tolerance.)

        • And the BSA has their set of values, standards and morals. Why are so many trying to corrupt those values, standards and morals to serve their selfish needs. If the BSA isn’t a good fit for you then you sincerely should liik elsewhere for a program for you and your children to wholeheartedly participate in where you won’t encounter people with a different set of values, standards, and morals. Why would you want to go where you won’t be within a group if like minded people? All goes back to build a program that would best serve your mission. If the BSA changes their policy allowing homosexuals to be involved in the program its going to cause all kinds of problems. Can anyone imagine even some of these problems?

        • Dave, thank you for understanding. I suspect we would agree on many points outside of this one. In my opinion, an individual adult’s values ought to change at a glacial pace when they do and not prone to be altered by debate. I feel that is what differentiates them from mere opinions. Though I do think values change, particularly on a societal level.

          I am neither a sociologist nor a theologian, so I confess that I have not thought in length about the derivation and evolution of one’s values, or more particularly, those of a group. I know mine come from my faith and were inevitably influenced by life experience and by those whom I respect. But I also sense that there is a gradual generational shift in values. Just as we can expect that many of the ancestors of caucasian Americans (my own included) held more racially divisive opinions than ours, it is safe to extrapolate that the generations to follow us will hold fewer than ours. It is that sense of generational shift in values, as well as regional differences in this shift, that lead me to consider the analogy between racial discrimination and discrimination based on sexual orientation. It seems that we as a nation are on a similar trajectory with regard to the discrimination based on sexual orientation including that this shift differs by region.

          I did not however mean to imply that there would be a strong correlation between one’s race and their level of acceptance that homosexuals deserve equal treatment. Nor do I mean to pass judgement on this type of generational shift in values in general. There are some which I see as lamentable. I am however eager to see a future with less discrimination between individuals regardless of race and sexual orientation.

          If this generational change in values with regard to acceptance of others’ sexual orientation is indeed occurring just as racial equality is also becoming more and more accepted, the questions that the authorities of BSA have are: Will they change with this generation or with a later one? If they wait for a consensus, how much less relevant will the organization become? How much will this history tarnish the organisation as discriminatory? This is why the DAR presents itself as an exemplary example while keeping with the racial discrimination analogy. The DAR were slow to shed their racially discriminatory policies, while BSA was quick. It seems now BSA is following the DAR path and I hope they take this opportunity to change course.

        • Changing opinion is not the point, but recognizing that we can find ways to support each other even when our opinions differ is the objective. Otherwise we doom scouting to being an organization with diminishing relevance to our society.

          The primary goals of scouting are actually increasingly important. Who would want their son to not grow in leadership skills, physical fitness, character, and citizenship? If we cannot find a solution to this membership debate we are facing a split within the organization that will effectively damage the brand beyond all the good scouting has to offer.

      • If your argument rests on a debate as to whether sexual orientation is a chosen behavior or a trait largely biologically determined, then let scouting have a policy about behavior, but remove the membership policy which labels the person. If that were done, scouts and leaders would be banned from overtly sexual behaviors in scouting, but their behaviors outside of scouting would be respected as private matters.

        Your opinion about the origins of sexual orientation are not shared by all. However, we might agree that scouting is not the place for sex education of any type.

        I also think there could be agreement that predatory sexual conduct by leaders toward youth would be grounds for excluding leaders. This also is not connected to the membership policy, but is an important part of our youth protection.

        • Ann:

          There are two distinctions (and I do not always speak for others who may otherwise agree with me on this issue in generally) that I personally make in discussing this issue. One is implicit, the other explicit.

          To the first, I have made no statement that says one way or the other, whether same-sex attraction (with or without acting upon it), is hereditary, or the result of a conscious choice. My reading indicates that studies on this are inconclusive. My convictions in this matter do not depend on any such conclusion.

          To the second, my belief is consistent with Catholic teaching, which makes a distinction between the inclination itself, and the acting out thereupon. The former, while “objectively disordered,” does not bar an individual from participation in the life of the Church, including reception of Communion and so forth, so long as the person is dedicated to a chaste life, with the reservation of sexual relations to marriage between a man and a woman. The latter, on the other hand, would be considered “an objective moral evil.” That is a different matter entirely.

          The above is understood by me, in anything and everything that I write on this subject. I have never used the words “homosexuality is a sin” in any sentence. What does the word “homosexuality” mean? Is it the proclivity itself, which is disordered but not sinful, or the full living of the “gay lifestyle,” which is another matter? I find such references to fail to make the necessary distinctions.

          And I reproduced the BSA membership policy here in the last 24 hours for a number of reasons, in part because it does attempt to draw those distinctions. I hope this has been helpful to you.

        • This is in response to your reply David A., (Sorry I can’t get it placed under your reply.) You say that the BSA policy makes the distinction between actions and personal inclination or proclivity. The problem that you neglect to recognize is that the prescription of chastity is not required by all the diverse religious groups that are represented by current BSA members.

          The Catholic religious tradition is one tradition practiced by scout leaders. However, BSA as a nonsectarian organization does not subscribe to just one tradition. Given that fact and the first point that sexual orientation is viewed differently among organizations within BSA., we can begin with an understanding that BSA members do not currently have a Universal acceptance or rejection of homosexuality. They also do not have a universal view that the only option for those who are attracted to those of their same sex is chastity.

          What is the impact on our current membership policy? BSA has asked to hear from the scouting family about what they think is the best course of action. I think this is the opportunity for us to search deeply for a way to bridge the differences among us. I sincerely hope that we can get beyond being dug-in on this subject.

          The first step is to be open about our thoughts and values. If we stop there; however, we are doomed to lose much of the progress represented by this discussion.

          We need to discover how we can become united in our scouting ideals. Scouting has worked hard to make a safe place for youth. I think that is a principle we can support. All leaders need to be dedicated to achieving that goal.

          Among groups who feel that homosexuality poses a threat to youth safety, it seems reasonable to permit them to maintain that standard. However, to expect that all units would need that same restriction to provide a safe space for youth, would seem to go against the BSA policy of being non-sectarian.

          The proposals under discussion are not meant to ask people in scouting to give up their beliefs. They do ask us to be supportive those with beliefs and values that differ from our own.

          In summary, I think BSA has a choice of being a sectarian organization or to remain a nationally recognized organization for encouraging youth to become the best they can be. What they cannot expect is that nothing will change.

        • Ann Mellen said:

          The proposals under discussion are not meant to ask people in scouting to give up their beliefs. They do ask us to be supportive those with beliefs and values that differ from our own.

          In summary, I think BSA has a choice of being a sectarian organization or to remain a nationally recognized organization for encouraging youth to become the best they can be. What they cannot expect is that nothing will change.


          Several organizations have stuck with Scouting though the current policies tend to ask us to go against the beliefs of our faith, especially on inclusiveness, including Jewish and Christian congregations.

          We would like to be able to say without reservation that our activities encourage youth to be the best they can be.

      • David,
        Civil rights covers “personhood” and “behavior”. My son is due his civil rights regardless of his behavior. My niece is due her civil rights regardless of her behavior. My cousin is due her civil rights regardless of her behavior. You see we have several members of my family that have Tourette’s Syndrome. An odd neurological condition that causes them to have some serious behaviors that they can not control.

        It is wonderful that my son’s Troop has accepted him as they have but he is constantly walking on egg shells that he may disrupt that relationship. Some of his behaviors can be see as very disruptive, anti-social and self-harming. Some could even say “UNHEALTHY”.

        He is cognitively intact and highly intelligent. His understanding of his condition is ever present on his mind and occasionally may cause his symptoms to be excessive. He is entitled to his civil rights. His civil rights are all based on his behavior. There are people that feel that he should not get married, have children, have a job, have insurance, etc. Even worse there are some that feel he should not go to a restaurant, or a movie, or be in an inclusive classroom. He is due his civil rights regardless of his behavior.

        It is inappropriate to divide civil rights into classes of “personhood” (code for race) and “behavior” (code for behavior I don’t approve of). Many folks would not approve of my son’s behavior (I will not get into his particular symptomology) and it is none of their business. He is entitled to his civil rights regardless of his behavior.

        • Deanna:

          We have laws against certain behaviors. We do not have laws against personhood. Otherwise any behavior would be subject to civil rights protection. The conditions you mention specifically are involuntary. Even same-sex attraction may be involuntary. Acting upon such attraction, no matter how compelling or challenging, involves a conscious choice at some point.

          And if you have to ask how sodomy is unhealthy, I can’t explain it to you.

        • Tourette’s is considered an “orphan disease,” because there are too few sufferers to make it profitable for a drug company to work on drugs to control or cure it, and too few sufferers generally to do something like get a national charity to conduct telethons to raise money to fight it.

          When I staffed the Senate Labor Committee there were hearings on orphan diseases and a bill was proposed, and passed, to provide tax breaks and other incentives to pharmaceutical companies to develop, test and market treatments for diseases. It was a guy who suffered from Tourette’s who briefed staff before the hearing, and who left us with an historic account of how Tourette’s sufferers used to be tortured to make them stop being “evil” — sometimes to death.

          The Orphan Drug Act passed in 1983, the same year that AIDS was named as a disease. It was five more years before the Reagan administration took the shackles off of Surgeon General C. Everett Koop to pass out valid information on AIDS.

          The history of civilization is very much a history of humans overcoming biases previously thought sacred, but later exposed to be not much more than religious bigotry.

          Thanks for your story, Deanna. Good luck, to you and your son.

        • “Behavior,” in the context of my original position, had to do with that which is freely chosen, even given the result of involuntary proclivity, and the benefit of the doubt with same-sex attraction. Those afflicted with Tourette’s syndrome, to use your example, cannot be held responsible for their behavior, as it is involuntary, as opposed to being merely an inclination. Therefore it cannot be put in the same category as those who act by choice upon same-sex attraction.

          My distinction thus remains a valid one, and I stand by it.

        • In 1983, we still had people in America who argued Tourette’s was freely chosen.

          If there were significant evidence that homosexuality is a free choice, I’d not be harping on this. But there simply is not good evidence to that point.

          Neither you nor anyone else can tell me how they “chose” to be heterosexual. It didn’t happen. Neither does anyone choose to be homosexual. Homosexuality must be natural, since it’s found in more than 450 species of animal, and often contributes much to the survival of the species, most often contributes to survival.

          Just as most people now recognize skin color is not a choice, that Tourette’s is not a choice, that gender is not a good reason to discriminate in most things in life (and not a choice), I’m hopeful we’ll look back on this time and know that BSA made the right choice.

          I wonder sometimes about bigotry. Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote that bigotry must be taught — what do you think?

        • “I wonder sometimes about bigotry. Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote that bigotry must be taught — what do you think?”

          I was going to refrain, but since you’ve asked …

          That you use other people’s illnesses to manipulate a conversation and insult people who disagree with you, thus betraying you as dishonorable a human being as ever was born of a woman. Such dishonor is common in these discussions of late, even as they are cloaked in a disingenuous plea for “tolerance,” and which, for most of Scouting’s history, would have been met with universal contempt, and calls for the likes of you to hand over your Scout badge.

          And that … is what I think.

        • That you use other people’s illnesses to manipulate a conversation and insult people who disagree with you, thus betraying you as dishonorable a human being as ever was born of a woman.

          I’ve been called a gay rights activist, a Bible ignoramus, someone unfamiliar with Scouting and tradition, ignorant of history, someone trying to force my views down the throats of good Christians, and not Christian.

          But let me simply relate a bit of history and I become “as dishonorable a human being as ever was born of woman.”

          I’ve been called worse. I’ve been called worse for defending Scouting, in uniform.

          Did I err in the history I recited? No.

          If I erred, it was in thinking some would be open to serious discussion of a tough issue. My error.

        • “If I erred, it was in thinking some would be open to serious discussion of a tough issue. My error.”

          No, sir. I just told you your error. Most of you in favor of the change have been getting a lot of mileage out of your Saul Alinsky playbooks, dishing out what you can’t take. Don’t lecture me on how to have “a serious discussion of a tough issue” when you and your ilk spend most of the time insulting others.

          Welcome to my end of the conversation, Ed.

        • I just watched Girl scouting being recognized for its positive values on national TV (NBC Today Show). I recall mainly negative discussions related to Boy Scouting in similar programs. I think we need to consider seriously the way Boy Scouting is branding itself.

        • Your funny Ann. Do you think the Boy Scouts of America is actually branding themselves in these negative ways for standing up for what they believe is rightful in protecting our children from sexual predators and homosexual activists with a hidden agenda of trying to pervert our society to believe their homosexual lifestyle is normal Christian Godly behavior? I think it’s people like you and other homosexual activists in unison with the mass major media who are trying to brand Godliness and Wholesome Normal Family Values as some sort of evil; good luck with that. I’ve learned the truth always reveals itself in the end and in time God always will have His victory. Who controls all things anyway; the BSA, you, other homosexual activists, me, all the good volunteers of the BSA? In time He always reveals who’s ultimately in control of everything in the universe and that includes the little things like the membership policy of the BSA.

        • Most of you in favor of the change have been getting a lot of mileage out of your Saul Alinsky playbooks, dishing out what you can’t take.

          That’s what bothers me — so much assumed that is absolutely contrary to facts, so much labeling without checking to see whether the labeling is factual, much assumed about politics that simply does not apply.

          Unfairness in small things is ominous.

        • Ed:

          Saul Alinsky was a community organizer and political activist in Chicago during the 1950s and 1960s. In his book, “Rules for Radicals,” he listed ridicule as a way to intimidate an opponent. “RULE 5: ‘Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.’ There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.”

          I made no assumptions. I observed a behavior, and underscored its inspiration. When people stop calling others bigots because of their religious or moral beliefs, I will reconsider. And even then, it is only as a measured response, and delivered in kind.

        • The problem with your comment is that it underscored only one side of the name-calling. In fact you have again justified your name calling by citing disapproval of the same behavior in others. It is both illogical and damaging to your argument and progress in this discussion. Are you trying to make your point through intimidation?

        • “Are you trying to make your point through intimidation?”

          No, Ann, I’m showing you what intimidation looks like at the other end of a conversation. Some of you have continued bending the rules to your advantage without apology or accountability, and I’m getting sick and tired of it.

          Earlier in this conversation, I mentioned the formal conventions of debate (the onus of proof and all that). I didn’t make those up; someone else did. But oh no, we couldn’t have that, could we? We get to make up our own rules to suit us. We can tell people that they need to leave a conversation if they aren’t getting in line with the brave new world.

          Well, you’re being called out on it. If the point is made, I’ll stop. Yeah, right now. I can do that. Let’s see what everyone else does.

        • Please remember civility is the first requirement for thoughtful discussion. I hope we are not chosing to abandon a discussion for an illogical shouting match.

        • Ann, I’m not impressed.

          In the past week, proponents of the membership policy change have resorted to insults, have defended their insults, and have had the unmitigated gall to dictate the direction of the subject matter away from the topic at the top of the page, and have suggested that those who defend the policy leave. You and your ilk are in a very poor position to call for civility.

          You have been shown how it looks from the other end. Make a note of it, and quit bellyaching because you got caught.

        • My concern cuts equally both ways. I direct it toward your comment which seems to justify such language solely based on your perception that those differing in their view have not had enough verbal abuse. I am arguing that such abuse serves no one in this discussion. I hope you might return to a civil tone in your responses rather than invoking the tone of a shouting match.

        • Regarding the point you mention about suggesting individuals leave Boy Scouting, an examination of the postings documents that such a sentiment is primarily originating with individuals who have indicated that they support BSA’s policy. Most supporters of the change in policy have stated that they feel BSA can make room for differing opinions. Their discussion about leaving BSA usually refers to their own actions. They have suggested that the current BSA policy makes them consider and/or actually leave Boy Scouting.

          This is in contrast with numerous supporters of the current policy which have clearly stated that supporters of changes should form their own organization, which uses a membership criteria consistent with their beliefs.

          I personally have tried to maintain civility throughout this discussion. I personally wish for the discussion to avoid forcing anyone out of BSA. I personally accept the differences in religious belief which are part of a non-sectarian organization. I regret the cruel comments on both sides. I believe such language does not serve to move the discussion to a meaningful solution.

        • Ann: The current policy is written perfectly and very clearly intentionally says exactly what it was intended to say. If you want to be in the BSA and enjoy everything that it stands for the way it is today then join and share in the experience. If you want to change the policy because you want to make it into an openly homosexual youth organization to fulfill your own homosexual activist agenda against other organizations your trying to attack then your not welcome in the BSA because that’s absolutely so not what scouting is about. The current policy serves to protect the BSA from being used in your intended long term way.

        • If you want to be in the BSA and enjoy everything that it stands for the way it is today then join and share in the experience. If you want to change the policy because you want to make it into an openly homosexual youth organization to fulfill your own homosexual activist agenda against other organizations your trying to attack then your not welcome in the BSA because that’s absolutely so not what scouting is about.

          There are other possibilities, too.

          If you want to be in BSA because you want to carry out the federal charter, and you want to train up our boys in self-management, outdoor skills, and leadership, so that they’ll be great citizens, and you want to be certain that kids of all sexual orientations have that opportunity, you’ll run into some opposition from within Scouting. But that IS what Scouting is about, carrying out the purposes of the Charter:

          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.

          You’re right, it talks about making boys independent, self-reliant, trained in scoutcraft and patriotism, courageous and virtuous. It says nothing about gender or sexual orientation, and it doesn’t say anything about excluding any boy.

          High standards sometimes require a stretch, to live up to them.

        • Ed, this is a great quote, “High standards sometimes require a stretch, to live up to them.”

          I have really enjoyed the conversation, and I think you have made some really great arguments. Keep up the good work. You, Ann, Beth, Deanna, and others are really doing a good job of explaining how being inclusive is the right policy. Much better than I could do, and I am learning much from your posts.

          I am hopeful for a change this May, and I think if there is no change the backlash will be severe. The BSA has bought itself some time by announcing that they are studying the issue. The decline in financial support and membership will continue if things don’t change soon.

        • I’m hopeful any decline in financial support can be reversed, and I am hopeful of building membership considerably higher than it is now.

          The nation needs Scouting, that’s for sure.

        • Steve says “I am hopeful for a change this May, and I think if there is no change the backlash will be severe. The BSA has bought itself some time by announcing that they are studying the issue. The decline in financial support and membership will continue if things don’t change soon.”

          I think a backlash is inevitable regardless of whether a change is made or not. If no change is made, many who want the change will leave. If a change is made, many who don’t want the change will leave.

          What will happen then? Perhaps some councils will merge because there might not be enough units or scouts to make some councils viable? Some camps might get shut down owing to less money available to maintain them and capital projects are delayed or cancelled? Scout shops close?

        • Just like a woman; trying to control the situation and control all those around her. Just like a woman trying to control the uncontrollable man.

        • “just like a woman”

          Wallace, are you trying to be funny? In my opinion, you need to take a step back and look at how you are coming across. Don’t be insulting please.

        • Change is one thing most people are certain will happen. While we can sometimes joke that little else is certain, the joke is funny because change can feel so uncertain, but it does seem to be consistent and persistent.

        • We have had laws against personhood.

          Yes we have laws against some behaviors but I know of none against the behavior of one being devout.

          I only mentioned one condition. Point of fact: Someone with Tourette’s can control their movements/sounds for periods of time. Does that meet your definition of making a conscious choice to resume their movements/sounds. At some point he makes a “conscious choice” to not hold back any longer. It is both “compelling and challenging” to him to refrain from making movements/sounds.

          I asked no question regarding sodomy, therefore I do not need anything explained. I do reiterate the position that many folks making posts here seem to be a bit over focused on “sex”. Perhaps staying focused on the discussion would be appropriate instead of taking off topic diversions.

        • “I do reiterate the position that many folks making posts here seem to be a bit over focused on ‘sex.’ Perhaps staying focused on the discussion would be appropriate instead of taking off topic diversions.”

          Deanna, when you were in junior high, you may have had the opportunity to hang with the cool kids and dictate terms to the rest of the student body. But we’re all grownups now, and the rules have changed. The title of this discussion is “The Boy Scouts of America’s ‘family discussion’ on our membership policy.” It is on a blog entitled “Bryan On Scouting.” The author of this blog, Bryan Wendell, has determined this to be the topic of conversation. That includes all things germaine to it. He and he alone is in a position to dictate otherwise. At this writing, he has determined not to.

          Inasmuch as we are discussing the question of eligibility of adult volunteers in Scouting, with or without regard to their avowed sexual preference, it is inevitable that, at some point, the conversation will revolve around matters of human sexuality. It is more likely to revolve around human sexuality that it is, for example, Tourette’s syndrome, however important and vital that other topic may be. Such is the nature of this discussion, and the parameters thereupon. You and those who hold a view similar to your own, no matter your numbers, do not have a choice as to it being any other way.

          Welcome to the level playing field. Batter up!

        • Thank you Ed. He has supportive family and a strong faith that lifts him up. I have done a considerable amount of research on orphan diseases when I was getting my degree, it is both sad and frustrating that so many people believe he can control his movements/sounds or that he exaggerates them, even exploits the condition.

          David, going back to your point about civil rights pertaining to personhood and not behavior, I would like to know which camp an individual’s religion falls into. Since one chooses their faith and whether to actively practice that faith, it sounds more like behavior than personhood. That said, do you think that an individual’s civil liberties deserve protection as a civil right regardless of their faith?

          Lastly, FWIW, I was never part of the “cool” club. Just saying..

        • Just another truth Steve. Not trying to be funny. Most women try to be controlling and if you read what Anne writes you can see how she tries to be controlling of what others say that contradict her comments. That’s her freedom to try to be controlling, its a womans nature, but it’s my freedom to recognize it and bring it to light. Don’t you believe a woman has a different nature than a man; there is no true equality. We’ve been created to be different for different reasons; His reasons. Some of those differences are regarded as good by some and some are regarded as bad by some. I’ll choose to be careful of those that try to control me and pay very close attention to what they say so as not to let them control wrongfully what I know to be the truth. Wisdom

        • The misogyny you display in this post causes me to question whether your dislike of homosexuals has anything to do with the bible at all. Perhaps you just use the bible to justify it. I cannot even begin to tell you how offensive your words are.

        • Just another truth Steve. Not trying to be funny. Most women try to be controlling and if you read what Anne writes you can see how she tries to be controlling of what others say that contradict her comments.

          Take a break, Wallace.

          That comment is out of line.

        • Wallace: “Just like a woman; trying to control the situation and control all those around her. Just like a woman trying to control the uncontrollable man.”

          True, we don’t know who you are or much about you, but this comment and the comment you made about how any gays would have been harassed out of your Troop certainly give us insights into how you think. They also give insight as to why you chose not to post under your real name.

        • How wrongfull you are to lie about what I’ve said. First I don’t refer to homosexuals as gays. Second ahow me anywhere that I ever said I would have any involvement with harrassing anyone out if my troop. I guess its convenient for you to try to assassinate my character and demonize someone with an opposing idea. Your freedom I guess. But you are a liar. why dont you prove what your saying. But I guess when your loosing the debate you’ll resort to anything. Doesn’t bother me though because I know the truth of my heart amd I can assure you that you don’t.

        • “How wrongfull you are to lie about what I’ve said. First I don’t refer to homosexuals as gays. Second ahow me anywhere that I ever said I would have any involvement with harrassing anyone out if my troop. I guess its convenient for you to try to assassinate my character and demonize someone with an opposing idea. Your freedom I guess. But you are a liar. why dont you prove what your saying. But I guess when your loosing the debate you’ll resort to anything. Doesn’t bother me though because I know the truth of my heart amd I can assure you that you don’t.”

          You don’t call homosexuals gays? Fine, I’ll concede that point. But I’ll show you what you said about you having involvement in ‘harassing someone out of a troop.’
          Wallace, allow me to refresh your memory:

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

          These were your words. You said he would have left due to the harassment “we” would have given him. When you use the word “we,” you are including oneself. You are doing a fine job of assassinating your own character, Wallace. You don’t need any help.

        • Beth, Beth, Beth.. context.. This was when I was a boy scout in 1975. I’m not a boy anymore. Your so funny grasping for straws. I’m a scout leader now; an adult man. I challenge you once again to show me where I ever said I would ever harrass a boy out of our troop. as a boy I acted like a boy. Honestly; when I was a boy we would have harrassed a homosexual boy out of our troop because boys are boys and guess what; they still are. Do you see the conflict your going to introduce into scouting when you “permit” leaders and youth to “come out” into the scouting culture. boys are not girls.

        • Wallace, I was sure that’s what you meant. I would now agree with you, in that now as an adult man, you would welcome homosexual boy in to your troop and treat him as you would any other scout.

          I salute you!

        • and that boy might already be there Steve and since he abides by the membership policy it is absolutely not an issue. If the boy makes an issue of it, flaunts it, and gets in the other scouts face about it then I wouldn’t hesitate to tell him that he would be expelled from the troop. If it was a leader I would say the same thing because there is no place in scouting for homosexual behavior; do you think there is?

        • Wallace: “If it was a leader I would say the same thing because there is no place in scouting for homosexual behavior; do you think there is?”

          Hmm, what homosexual behavior would you think you’d see at a meeting? If it is sexual behavior, of course that is inappropriate, but it is inappropriate from those that are born hetero as well.

          Just existing and admitting you are gay should not be a justification for disqualification. He / she could even have a boyfriend /girlfriend like any other person and that would be OK.

        • It is telling, and shameful, that the common courtesy of saying ‘thanks’ would receive a thumbs down on a forum for scouts, their parents and scouters. Please recall our Scout Law and stay courteous and kind. Thanks

      • Jeff and Steve: I think the two of you should get together and start the kind of youth program the two if you are dreaming together of starting. You sound happy with eachothers mindsets with regard to the fundamenat moral foundation and building blocks for your organization. There’s room in this country for more than one organization and I sincerely believe the two of you would have the best insight with regard to how to best serve the youth some parents might choose to permit you two to be the moral and ethical leader of. Let me be the first to wish you both good luck on journey exploring if your youth group is the kind of youth group the parents will choose to leave their sons ages 6 to 18 with..

    • When I discover the DAR I was proud of my family’s role in the American Revolution. I found many people who did not honor the DAR because of its policies.

      I would echo your comments that BSA has much to lose by not learning from these situations.

      Those who would argue the origins of sexual orientation overlook the possibility that the legacy of scouting is in danger from being labeled as discriminating, a danger to youth, not a good leader training program, and out-of-touch with the current realities.

      I would love to see scouting able to welcome wonderful people with many diverse perspectives.

      • DAR & SAR didn’t change their membership policies. What would be the point in being a son or daughter of an American Revolutionary War Veteran if you weren’t a son or daughter of an American Revolutionary War Veteran? Would really steal something away from the true rightful members of their free and private American organization now wouldn’t it?

        • DAR & SAR didn’t change their membership policies.

          Sometimes it helps to know history.

          Despite the fact that the first person to die for American independence was a black man, Crispus Attucks, the Daughters of the American Revolution did not allow African Americans as performers nor as part of an audience at the DAR Constitution Hall, about a block from the White House.

          Someone at the DAR was asleep at the switch, or just unfamiliar with opera, and they booked Marian Anderson to sing there in 1939. When the office realized she was black, they cancelled the concert. The President’s wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, stepped in and changed the venue to the steps of the new Lincoln Memorial. DAR Constitution Hall was dark, but the Lincoln Memorial was a hot ticket when Marian Anderson sang “God Bless America” with Abraham Lincoln’s statute looking on. 75,000 people showed up (Constitution Hall probably seats about 3,000).

          After that, DAR did indeed change their policies and procedures. Today they proudly note the history of their association with Marian Anderson and the times she performed there. DAR is quite happy they changed their policies, and happy to tell anyone why it was a good idea to do so. See here:

          The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution deeply regrets that Marian Anderson was not given the opportunity to perform her 1939 Easter concert in Constitution Hall, but today we join all Americans in grateful recognition that her historic performance on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial was a pivotal point in the struggle for racial equality.

          Ms. Anderson’s legendary concert will always be remembered as a milestone in the Civil Rights movement. The beauty of her voice, amplified by her courage and grace, brought attention to the eloquence of the many voices urging our nation to overcome prejudice and intolerance. It sparked change not just in the DAR but in all of America.

          Our organization truly wishes that history could be re-written, but knowing that it cannot, we are proud to note that DAR has learned from the past.

          DAR welcomed Marian Anderson to Constitution Hall on a number of occasions soon after 1939, including a benefit concert for war relief in 1943. It is also meaningful to us that this notable American chose Constitution Hall as the place where she would launch her farewell American tour in 1964.

          In 2005, we were honored to host at our national headquarters the dedication ceremony of the Marian Anderson commemorative stamp at the invitation of the United States Postal Service and Ms. Anderson’s family. In 2009, on the 70th anniversary of Ms. Anderson’s Lincoln Memorial concert, DAR joined with the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission in hosting a special reception at our headquarters following a Marian Anderson tribute concert and naturalization ceremony.

          My first time in the hall I caught Bobby “Blue” Bland and B. B. King in concert, one of perhaps three dozen non-African Americans in the audience. Everyone there was quite well aware of the history.

          Yes, DAR did change their policies, not in time for the 1939 Easter concert, but in time to be on the right side of history for World War II and the more active parts of the Civil Rights movement.

          Tony Campolo has a great sermon you may want to hear sometime: “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming.” It may apply well to invidious discrimination against homosexuals.

    • You might want to believe that homosexuality will be universally accepted one day Jeff but it goes against the core of the human spirit and will always be wrongful to the vast majority of people. It is truly a timeless emotion that will never change. Racism is dying as it was not truthful but homosexuality will always be unacceptable to the vast vast majority of heterosexual people. You may find tolerance to some degree with some people but the truth of the heart of heterosexual human beings will always and forever be that it is a repulsive behavior. Its a truth of the matter whether you choose to accept it or not. Based on that truth you can choose to think any way you freely choose to think but thinking in an untruthful way will never change the truth. I didn’t write the book, but I’ve read it and it contains all the truths of mankind. Some of those truths I don’t like either but I respect their existence and know in my heart I’m not going to be changing His truths.

  17. I received a survey from BSA National yesterday, asking various questions about the membership policy and asking for my reaction to various scenarios, such as whether a gay Scout should be allowed to tent with a heterosexual Scouts and whether a chartered organization that disapproved of homosexuality should be allowed to deny membership to a gay Scout. In all cases I responded with unequivocal support of the policy change to “local option,” and saw no issues with gay or lesbian leaders or Scouts in units that allowed homosexual members, and saw no issues with denying membership in units whose chartered organizations do not approve of homosexuality. There were also questions seeking comments, and I explained in detail (as I have here) why the current policy is fatally flawed _even for folks who wish to deny membership to homosexuals_.

    I think Justice Stevens got it right in his dissenting opinion in the Dale case (, scroll toward the end) in that BSA’s arguments about its position on homosexuality were not supported by BSA’s own documents and activities. That is particularly true now that BSA’s current policy deviates so far from BSA’s arguments to the Supreme Court. BSA surrendered any moral high ground it had gained when it offered membership to homosexuals under a “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” policy. It is now time for that charade to end in BSA, as it has in the military.

    But regardless of the ins and outs of the legal issues and arguments about what the specific words say or don’t say, there are still many, including my church, that believe there is a dimension of immorality at issue here that is not subject to man’s law or to ever-changing social standards. Homosexuals, they believe with sincerity, are afflicted with today’s equivalent of leprosy, and are not to be let loose where they could infect our children. I and many others know through our own personal experiences that they are not “lepers.” But our experiences are irrelevant in the face of belief. I pray that, if BSA drops its national exclusionary policy, these folks can accept the local option. If they cannot, I hope that they can find or create a suitable Scouting-inspired program, and that BSA will be generous in helping such a program get off the ground.

    Personally, I’m hopeful that within ten years we will be attending our gay friends’ weddings at the Summit.

      • This was an online Voice of the Scout survey with multiple screens/pages and individual authentication keys for responders. Unfortunately, I did not copy the questions, and once submitted, you can’t go back to it.

      • The survey is being rolled out in waves, as understand it. Mine came after your post, Julie, in a mailing to listed charter organization representatives.

    • The BSA never said homosexuals are lepers; u did. I got a survey too and completely contradicted yours. I wonder if either will be read by anyone who actually has the power to decide this issue? Yours should have been a ballot and so should have mine. This issue should be decided by the members who’ve made the BSA what it is today; the ones that have gifted many countless hours into thinking about and providing for a good program for the boys it serves for the mission it serves. Its a volunteer organization in essence and without the volunteers there is no BSA. Were responsible enough to run the organization I think we should be given the respect and privilege to directly vote on this issue. Maybe the BSA should actually reflect on its traditional historical roots and to choose a membership policy that even more so reflects the true intent of this program? I wonder how the actual founders of the BSA would write a membership policy that would truly reflect their intent for the BSA?

      • This is the most transparent BSA has ever been in the 20+ I have been a member. Usually you only hear about proposals to change things only after the change is finally approved. Voting can take many forms. In BSA, voting with your wallet and with your feet seem to be the most effective. I’d suggest that if you want to get your views across, tell your District Executive what you will do if the policy changes in a way you don’t like. But make sure you really mean it — spouting angry nonsense with no resolve behind it will not have any effect. As DE jobs depend on membership and money, and that all flows upward through the council heirarchy, promises to leave or to withhold money will be heard. Each council will be sending voting representatives to the annual meeting.

  18. Somebody wrote:

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

    It also does not make clear to what you are referring. Are you referring to the inclination, or the acting out thereof? There is a big, BIG difference.

    The origin of a person’s inclination to same-sex attraction has been a matter of some conjecture, as to whether is is the result of heredity, or environmental conditioning (as in, the old “nature vs nurture” argument). That a person acts upon these inclinations, yes, that is a choice, however compelling it may be, or difficult to avoid. It has been an ongoing deficiency in this entire conversation, that this distinction is not implicitly clear, never mind explicitly so. Even the present BSA membership policy as currently written makes some attempt to distinguish as such (while changing the location of the text in one place or another on their website, as if to coincide with the webmaster changing his underwear):

    “The applicant must possess the moral, educational, and emotional qualities that the Boy Scouts of America deems necessary to afford positive leadership to youth. The applicant must also be the correct age, subscribe to the precepts of the Declaration of Religious Principle, and abide by the Scout Oath or Promise, and the Scout Law.

    “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.”

    And so it goes.

    • Your comments suggest that your feeling is that the distinction of inclination and acting on the inclination allows BSA to admit gays who do not make known their sexual orientation.

      I would say that this creates other problems. Is this a trustworthy position? How does this help a scout be mentally awake, or morally straight? Is it resisting temptation to not act on inclinations or is it being untruthful to allow persons with an inclination to participate as long as they do not act or tell about their feelings? Many persons have been deeply hurt by such secrets. These are not the kind of secrets which stay hidden forever. I have known marriages that have fallen apart once the partner with same sex attractions reveals their inclination.

      BSA has opened this discussion and they indicate that the final decision will impact their membership policy. National leaders have acknowledged that they have heard from many scouters who disagree with their perspective.

      I applaud you for being willing to speak kindly in this blog.

      I wanted to understand why you feel BSA must have a universal policy of excluding gays who are not closeted. Would you feel it possible to allow unit-level decisions on this question? Would you prefer that BSA exclude gays period? I don’t agree with that approach. but I do feel there is more integrity in being honest about the real preference. BSA is also hearing that members do not all share the same preference on this question.

      • “Your comments suggest that your feeling is that the distinction of inclination and acting on the inclination allows BSA to admit gays who do not make known their sexual orientation.

        “I would say that this creates other problems. Is this a trustworthy position?”

        Actually, this is a person who does not think that every intimate detail of his private life is everybody else’s business. You don’t have to be gay for discretion to be the better part of valor, and the membership policy is worded in such a way as to respect that.

        • i wholeheartedly agree that privacy is to be respected. I would argue that any person having to defend or explain their sexual orientation disrespects privacy. Unfortunately BSA’s policy would force me or any leader to reveal my sexual orientation, if I was confronted by BSA leaders. That is what invoking a criteria does to those suspected of not following the criteria. The BSA policy does not protect privacy it is written in such a way that privacy is not possible.

        • Ann:

          Here (again) is the way it is written:

          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.

          “Scouting believes same-sex attraction should be introduced and discussed outside of its program with parents, caregivers, or spiritual advisers, at the appropriate time and in the right setting. The vast majority of parents we serve value this right and do not sign their children up for Scouting for it to introduce or discuss, in any way, these topics.

          “The BSA is a voluntary, private organization that sets policies that are best for the organization. The BSA welcomes all who share its beliefs but does not criticize or condemn those who wish to follow a different path.”

          The opening clause of the statement says that they do not “actively inquire,” which means they don’t go out of their way to make it their business. Unfortunately, a number of units and local councils have distorted some aspects of this policy, resulting in a few “witch hunts” in some places. Even were we to retain the current policy, I believe it will be necessary to clarify and enforce certain aspects of it. This will mean … more training!!!

        • Your comment is confusing. Do you mean to suggest that BSA has a policy which it does not enforce and you are suggesting that local councils and units be trained to not enforce the policy. This makes me question the policy simply on the grounds that a policy, which cannot be enforced, is not in the best interest of any organization.

        • The policy is “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell.” David is saying that in some places, someone has been asking, or as someone in this discussion so cleverly put it, they’ve put “outing” in Scouting. Generally the policy is being enforced — most of the time, BSA is not asking; but with any policy you will have folks who do not carry it out as intended.

          I think that one issue, evident in these discussions, is that many people think the policy is that no homosexuals can be members of the BSA. But that is not the policy. The policy is that homosexuals can be members of the BSA as long as they do not break the contract of silence about their homosexuality.

        • “I think that one issue, evident in these discussions, is that many people think the policy is that no homosexuals can be members of the BSA. But that is not the policy. The policy is that homosexuals can be members of the BSA as long as they do not break the contract of silence about their homosexuality.”

          (Contract of silence? Is that one more form we have to sign? Geez!)

          At this point, I could insert the text of the policy for the fourth time, but it keeps getting thumbs down. Why, I don’t know (and don’t care). Maybe people think I made it up all by myself. (Oh yeah, that’s me; Mr BSA Big Shot. Where’s my Silver Beaver already?)

          Anyway, Dan, I have to confess something to you. I’ve done a lot of things in my life of which I am not very proud; things from childhood, things in college, episodes in my marriage which probably accelerated its inevitable breakdown, the way I handled money in the years after my divorce, the difficulty raising a son from a “broken home” — I could go on, but you (hopefully) get the point. There are a lot of things one can say about oneself that are really best kept to oneself. Discretion really is “the better part of valor.” If a person is silent about their sexual proclivities, some might believe that they’re living in some sort of denial. It could also mean that they see no point in broadcasting it to the world, either because their value system compels them not to act upon those inclinations, or because they have the unmitigated gall to believe that there is more to them than that.

          Or even that (drumroll!) it’s none of your d*** business, thank you very much.

          Some have complained that this discussion has turned into being all about sex. I’ve got news for them; this subject started out being about sex, and continues to be over how much we should know about someone else’s attitude towards sex. Under the current membership policy, the latter is not up to us, but that person. That any individual wishes to live a “gay lifestyle” is their own choice, as is the decision to make that choice public, and by extension, everybody’s business.

          And if saying that gives me a dozen “thumbs downs” within the hour, can you possibly imagine how little sleep I’ll lose over it?

        • How is living a “gay lifestyle” different from living a “straight lifestyle?” I’ll say it again… if a man is married to a woman, it is obvious that he is straight. If he is married to a man, it is obvious that he is gay. It’s not a matter of broadcasting your ‘lifestyle.’ Any bystander can take a look at the composition of your family and see what your sexual orientation is. Asking gay people to continue to live in a closet is asking for a double standard. Unreasonably so.

        • “How is living a ‘gay lifestyle’ different from living a ‘straight lifestyle?’”

          I was hoping your mother would have had that “little talk” with you by now. Sorry, I just can’t go there. Not here. Email me privately if you must.

          “Broadcast,” “advertise,” whatever you want to call it, irrespective of the right or wrong of it, there is a decision to make an aspect of one’s private life a matter of public knowledge. And whether you care to acknowledge it or not, there are people with homosexual tendencies who do not act upon them, and who do lead virtuous lives. A distinction has been made with the current policy, between those who are “avowed” and those who are not. I’m not asking anyone to make a decision one way or the other.

        • The key problem with the logic you suggest that is we conduct scouting in communities where a leader who is gay will most likely become known to others in scouting. This does not have anything to do with whether they are open about their sexual orientation with anyone among their scout group or not. Broadcasting sexual orientation is not really the question.
          Absolutely abstaining from acting on sexual orientation is probably the only option for a gay leader that wishes to remain part of scouting.
          If a leader is suspected of being gay, but does not openly state that as a fact, what would you expect or suggest that unit and council leaders do? Is it to be ignored? Or is the leader to be questioned?

        • Ann wrote and asked in part: “If a leader is suspected of being gay, but does not openly state that as a fact, what would you expect or suggest that unit and council leaders do? Is it to be ignored? Or is the leader to be questioned?”

          Nobody should be asking volunteers “are you Gay?” just like they should not be asking “Are you married?” It’s none of their business. There’s nothing on the volunteer application which even *asks* for things like marital status, sexual orientation, or even race. To the BSA those elements are nobody’s business except the individual and perhaps the chartered organization, who may have a set of guidelines over who will serve as volunteers in their units (for instance, as stated earlier, LDS units are mentored by all males; they made that decision for their units, and the BSA’s fine with that).

          (Oh, just because someone’s married doesn’t make them “straight”. They could be bisexual or a “down low Gay man or Lesbian woman.” Same for the “Gay” question…the person COULD BE bisexual.)

        • “The key problem with the logic you suggest …”

          … is that it is addressed to an audience that relies mostly on emotion in its stead. How would someone who is “known to the community to be gay” become known to begin with? Do people label every man who attends the opera or otherwise appears effeminate? I’ve been told that some people suspect *I’m* gay. The same has even happened to my son. Why? Because at 27, he’s a very tasteful dresser and knows how to cook a gourmet meal.

          “Absolutely abstaining from acting on sexual orientation is probably the only option for a gay leader that wishes to remain part of scouting.”

          … which I kinda alluded to already.

          “If a leader is suspected of being gay, but does not openly state that as a fact, what would you expect or suggest that unit and council leaders do?”

          I can tell you what this Assistant District Commissioner would do; follow the currently stated BSA policy and do absolutely nothing, and admonish unit leaders upon asking to do the same.

          Or do I have to post it a fourth time?

        • What about a Tiger Cub who shows up with Dad? Does Dad need to make sure that Tiger never mentions Other Dad?

        • ” I would do nothing.”
          I appreciate your respect for the privacy of a suspected gay leader. However, BSA policy is not very clear on this question. If you carefully read the policy, as you have posted it, the phrase is “proactively inquire”. This could easily be interpreted as BSA does not prohibit you or others from actively inquiring about sexual orientation in the situation where a scout leader is suspected of being gay. It does prohibit any screening questions during an application process.

          How does someone become known to the community?
          Just as you have noted, many less than reliable traits are used by some to label people. Unfortunately, the labels could be enough to prompt an inquiry into the orientation of a leader or scout. If a non-practicing gay person is asked if he is gay and he (or she) says yes, does that constitute being an avowed homosexual? Would they be subject to expulsion from BSA?

          I hope you can see how this posting and others from me are trying to move into specific logical discussions of practical implications and avoid a solely emotion-based approach. I wholeheartedly agree with your disdain for basing an important discussion on such an unproductive and disrespectful exchange.

        • The tenor of the conversation has certainly devolved. Thank you for bringing it back around to a bit more substance.

    • An important small detail in the current BSA policy is the distinction between proactively and actively inquiring about sexual orientation. Proactively refers to advance actions intended to prevent future problems. Actively has a very different meaning. In your post you suggest that BSA does not actively inquire about sexual orientation. I would suggest the policy does not active inquires such as those that seek to determine if a current leader suspected of being gay is indeed gay. The policy does indicate that BSA does not screen their applicants based on sexual orientation.

  19. There are many thoughtful responses here on the homosexuality in Scouts issue. I would just like to summarize the main points that I feel are logical and defensible, not “feel-good” emotional rhetoric about hurting someones feelings or discriminating against another. Every person has to discriminate to get through the day. To make the right choice or the wrong choice in your own eyes. No one is perfect or even attempts to be perfect. As a Scout Leader, I am responsible for the Scouts in my charge and instilling the Scout Oath and Law and teaching a love of the Outdoors and Outdoor skills. The important points are these:

    1. Homosexuality is incompatible with being morally straight has been accepted for as long as Scouts has been in the United States. That is BSA’s opinion. It is one belief that makes it a worthwhile organization in my eyes. As a leader, I teach BSA Policy. Any leader on this list should do the same until it changes. Any homosexual boy or adult that joins is lying to himself and BSA by joining, not the other way around.

    2. Homosexual behavior is medically unhealthy and non-existent in Nature except overindulgent human societies. Please don’t lie about the penguins again. No pro-creation possible. Why would we encourage young men to be unhealthy. “Clean”: in the Scout law is violated. Stay away from unclean girls but not boys? STD’s, etc. AIDS for sure.

    3. Who really believes that we would not have at least a small percentage of predatory homosexual adults and teens in Scouting? Why introduce a whole new class of sexual offender to your young men. Sexuality is obviously a very important part of a homosexual’s life or we wouldn’t know and they would not force it on us. Scouting is not about sexuality and you violate the Scout Oath and Law by being homosexual. Why join except to force you lifestyle on others? Why lie to yourself and BSA.

    My son is an Eagle Scout. I have been a leader in many areas of Scouting for 16 years because of what it is today and that speaks to the majority that have posted to this list. It is not a Christian organization but compatible with Christian beliefs. 70% of Scouting Units are faith-based. They are being forced to choose to sacrifice their beliefs to stay in, not the small percentage of loud secular progressive voices. Why? Scouting has never been for everyone. Only for those who follow its principles and beliefs.not the other way around. Not hard for me. God’s law is paramount. I have had the conversation with my Church Sponsor. Policy adopted, Church surrenders Charter after 46 years of Service, I resign and I expect all my leaders along with me. What is left in Scouting if there is no integrity for core beliefs which do not change over time with a promiscuous society. We will find another way to teach young men integrity, character and outdoor skills.


    • Bring part of a faith-based unit doe not mean your group would not welcome gay members. I belong to a unit which was required by our charter organization to not discriminate against people based on sexual orientation.

      Predatory actions are specifically outlined in our youth protection policies. Membership policies which prohibit sex offenders as leaders are the way we should address the concern about gay or straight individuals who would harm our scouts.

      Morally straight and clean as justifications for banning gay leaders has been the focus of this discussion. It is not a given that all of BSA agrees. The strength of the complaints/concerns was mentioned in the article opening this blog. The complaints about the current policy were surprising to BSA and they bravely opted to ask for more comments.

      My unit would be sad to see your group leave scouting, but we respect your right to make that choice. It would be a choice. I could not support a policy from BSA which would say you could not set membership expectations that do not welcome gay scouts. I would also ask your group to support my unit and its charter organization to act consistently with their religious beliefs,by having a policy that welcomes gay scouts.

    • Fred, a few brief comments.

      You said:

      1. Homosexuality is incompatible with being morally straight has been accepted for as long as Scouts has been in the United States. That is BSA’s opinion. It is one belief that makes it a worthwhile organization in my eyes. As a leader, I teach BSA Policy. Any leader on this list should do the same until it changes. Any homosexual boy or adult that joins is lying to himself and BSA by joining, not the other way around.

      Until very recently — and I’m being hopeful when I don’t say “still” — in much of the U.S. this would be accurate, and wrong, and should make us wonder about current policies:

      Skin color [pick a variety] is incompatible with being morally straight has been accepted for as long as Scouts has been in the United States. That is BSA’s opinion as demonstrated in the availability of Scouting and separation of units. It is one belief that makes it a worthwhile organization in my eyes. As a leader, I teach BSA Policy. Any leader on this list should do the same until it changes. Any boy or adult [of the color designated above] that joins is lying to himself and BSA by joining, not the other way around.

      Some of us get deja vu feelings whenever we hear that. I posted a link to the Supreme Court’s decision in Loving vs. Virginia above. When he was born, our current Honorary President of BSA would have been an illegal child in no fewer than 16 states, eligible to be removed from his parents’ custody because of their violating the laws against miscegination.

      Getting rid of the false myths that create the conditions for invidious discrimination is difficult for all of us. We are humans, however, which means we can learn. Gender and sexual orientation is one of those places where the longer we live, the more we learn our old biases were biases, not based on real differences — and consequently, our past discrimination was not justice, but pure bias. I’m willing to be wrong on the side of loving humans in this case. I don’t think even the God of the Old Testament ever complained about someone being too loving.

      Fred said:

      2. Homosexual behavior is medically unhealthy and non-existent in Nature except overindulgent human societies.

      Heterosexual activity is medically unhealthy, and in nature many organisms have ways around coitus to avoid much of those harms — corals, salmon and most other fish, wind pollinating plants, etc. Pregnancy in humans is particularly harmful — about half of all human pregnancies end in miscarriage because of something going wrong; even successful pregnancies create massive health problems for women, some conditions which can prove fatal.

      We’re stuck with sex, as a species.

      On the other hand, for humans, sex can be enjoyable and fun. We’re also stuck with that.

      For women, at least, homosexuality is much less dangerous than heterosexuality, from a communicable disease perspective. “Medically unhealthy” isn’t a good criterion to argue against sexual behavior, or orientation.

      Homosexuality is rather common in mammals, in nature — it’s been identified in more than 450 different species, penguins included. Homosexuality offers significant benefits to some species in having non-breeding family members or “friends” around to help raise healthy young, and thereby continue the species.

      Celibacy, too, can carry its own set of health problems, including early onset prostate cancer in men.

      Despite our various theologies, humans are not perfectly designed for anything, including life, and long life. If we’re lucky and smart, we learn to compensate.

      AIDS? Humans got AIDS from butchering “bush meat,” from eating other apes, as best we can tell. HIV viruses were then spread by heterosexual activity and heterosexual promiscuity for a decade (or maybe five decades or more). Today, in the U.S. and much of the world, HIV is spread chiefly by heterosexual activity.

      We might learn from the HIV/AIDS story. We learn that problems of eating, in a developing world, can accidentally introduce nasty diseases to humans. We learn that denying a disease exists doesn’t make it go away (I spent most of the Reagan administration working health policy and other policy in Washington, with a front row seat). We learn that not all viruses can be conquered with a simple vaccine. We learn that diseases can hammer economic development and wipe out good family life for billions of people (as if we had to learn that all over — some lessons don’t stick, I suppose). We learn that sexual promiscuity is a more serious problem coupled with a tough-to-control disease that can be spread by unprotected sexual activity.

      Applying the Scout Oath and Law to the issue, I find it difficult to get out of that story a lesson that homosexuals don’t need Scouting, and that society wouldn’t benefit greatly by opening Scouting to more boys.

      Having spent many years in health policy, I find it difficult to accept an argument that any sexual orientation is “wrong” because it is “unhealthy.” Most of the time I find those arguments rooted in bias, and not in health care (or any other fact).

      3. Who really believes that we would not have at least a small percentage of predatory homosexual adults and teens in Scouting? Why introduce a whole new class of sexual offender to your young men. Sexuality is obviously a very important part of a homosexual’s life or we wouldn’t know and they would not force it on us. Scouting is not about sexuality and you violate the Scout Oath and Law by being homosexual. Why join except to force you lifestyle on others? Why lie to yourself and BSA.

      Does anyone believe that homosexuals are more prone to molest than heterosexuals? My criminal law experience is not vast, but in a dozen or so cases of child sexual molestation I’ve been involved in directly, all of them were committed by men (and one woman) who were heterosexuals — all of the Boy Scout leader cases involved heterosexuals.

      Child molesting as a pathology seems to be separate from sexual orientation, but if we look at statistics from the criminal courts it seems to affect heterosexuals more than homosexuals, and heterosexual men more than women.

      Guarding against molestings is not made easier by banning homosexuals from leadership positions, I don’t think. That is why our Youth Protection program is so important, especially in training and background checks, and especially in two-deep leadership rules. We don’t have to go into detail about sex to train our youth what is acceptable activity in Scouting, but we do need to train our youth regardless the orientation of their leaders, regardless the orientation of the boys.

      That’s my experience as a Scouter, a teacher, and a lawyer. A change in rules as discussed doesn’t “introduce a whole new class of sexual offender” to Scouting.

      Sexuality is a very important part of the life of most heterosexuals, especially parents of Cub Scout aged boys, generally. Allowing those parents into Scout leadership positions is not “forcing it on us,” is it?

      What makes you think homosexual parents are different from most other parents in that regard?

      ‘Scouting is not about sexuality and you violate the Scout Oath and Law by being sexually active with Scouts in the Scouting program.’ That is equally accurate for all sexual orientations, isn’t it?

      You asked, “Why join except to force your lifestyle on others?”

      I joined Scouting for fun, and to learn how to do fun, adventurous stuff. I joined Scout leadership as part of my commitment to better education and better leadership development among youth. I stayed in Scout leadership with our two boys because I think citizens have a duty to contribute where they can. I stay in Scouting as a leader because there is no great wave of younger leaders pushing me out — I find many opportunities to lend a hand.

      Which part of that lifestyle do you disagree with? What part of that has anything at all to do with sexual orientation?

      Did you join Scouting to force your sexual orientation on anyone? What makes us think any volunteer would be different?

      My son is an Eagle Scout. I have been a leader in many areas of Scouting for 16 years because of what it is today and that speaks to the majority that have posted to this list. It is not a Christian organization but compatible with Christian beliefs.

      One our sons is an Eagle, the other got close, and lives Scouting in most of his daily activities. I was happy my wife got involved — all four of the Bears in her den spent years in Scouting, and at least three of the four made Eagle. I have been a leader in Scouting for most of the past 48 years because of what it is today, and what it means to America. I’ve seen a lot of kids come through; none I know of in my charge was ever convicted of a felony, which would be victory enough; some went on to elected office, many into military service, most to great parenting jobs, many to leadership positions in their churches, some to clergy, some to law, some to medicine. I don’t have exact statistics, but probably about 10% of the Scouts I’ve had the pleasure to lead in one form or another were gay.

      In many years when I had great doubts about Christianity, especially when many Christians opposed racial integration, opposed science education, opposed good literature, favored costly wars, and opposed soil and water conservation and fighting pollution, Scouting provided me with a moral foundation I could rely on. I probably took more refuge in teaching conservation when I should have been religiously active.

      I learned to reconcile conflicts between faith and Scouting, and have found a church home for most of the past 30 years.

      For the past 22 years I’ve been troubled by Scoutings insistence that my Christian sect is wrong in being inclusive.

      In every case, homosexuals who were parents of Cubs or Scouts in our units would have been outstanding leaders — in a few cases, were outstanding leaders (whose orientation I did not know and didn’t turn up on background checks).

      Scouting loses out when we exclude those people.

      Here in Texas, it could be considered child abuse for a Charter Organization to query Scouts about their orientation. Scouting policies put us in the impossible position of allowing gay Scouts who don’t opt out on their own, or violating child abuse laws.

      Can we end that? That’s not good for Scouting, I think. (No, I don’t think Texas’s laws are too restrictive on smoking out gay kids.)

      70% of Scouting Units are faith-based. They are being forced to choose to sacrifice their beliefs to stay in, not the small percentage of loud secular progressive voices.

      Most Christian sects in the U.S. are inclusive. Why should most Christians in the U.S. be forced to sacrifice their beliefs, in deference to the tiny percentage of loud regressive voices?

      We might look at LDS Scouting for instructive models. LDS Scouting was the largest single segment of Scouting before we had a policy against homosexual leaders, and it has continued to be.

      Why should we expect that to change?

      (I’m well aware of the irony that many Christians who agree with the LDS Church on sexual orientation issues, do not consider LDS to be Christian at all. Perhaps there is a lesson in inclusiveness in that set of facts.)

      Why? Scouting has never been for everyone. Only for those who follow its principles and beliefs.not the other way around. Not hard for me. God’s law is paramount. I have had the conversation with my Church Sponsor. Policy adopted, Church surrenders Charter after 46 years of Service, I resign and I expect all my leaders along with me.

      Our sect supports Scouting regardless. You force us to exclude some of our clergy from leadership positions.

      And now you threaten that you cannot be bothered to tolerate us?

      You may be right. Scouting may not be for everyone.

      But I think it should be.

      What is left in Scouting if there is no integrity for core beliefs which do not change over time with a promiscuous society. We will find another way to teach young men integrity, character and outdoor skills.

      What’s left if we have homosexual leaders? Baden-Powell’s leadership. Outdoor activities (“Scouting is outing” refers to camping, not exposing homosexual activity). Merit badges. Flag ceremonies. Growing up. Patrol methods. Camaraderie and fellowship. Aspiring to high ideals. Achievement. Citizenship. Good parenting. Great childhood. Dutch oven cooking good enough to make you want to be away from kitchens and running water, and bathrooms, and newspapers and television and the internet.

      How does any of that challenge any core belief of Scouting? What good is any “core belief” that doesn’t support the rest of it?

      I think we have different views on what the core values of Scouting are. I’ve never thought sex to be one of the chief activities, or beliefs, or values, of Scouting. In my humble opinion, we lost a bit when we first passed a rule against homosexuals as leaders; it would be a win for all of us to get that back, and focus on the core values of Scouting, and not side political issues.

      Our differing views do not differ enough, however, that one of us must leave Scouting. Do you agree?

      • Thank you for your well reasoned response. I agree with very little of it but will respond more fully after work when I am home to reposnd fairly to your commentary. I think the substitution of words argument is invalid i.e. homosexual vs. skin color because it tallot misdirecte the argument to the unrelated issue of civil rights. Nobody but homosexuals really put forth that arugumant seriouslyUS. Govt would have been all over tythat argument

      • Hi Ed. I very much appreciate your thoughtful posts. I’ve learned a bit from reading them over the past couple of weeks. Visited your blog today, as well. :-)

      • No, I don’t agree, Ed. If you are in Scouting, you have already agreed to its tenets, as have I. Should National sell out their core values for cash (which is what I firmly believe they are doing, regardless of how they couch it or deny it), the organization changes so that, yes, many of us must leave. I’m not so much afraid of predatory behavior (mine are not young) so much as I am their putting forth that the practice of homosexuality is a normal one, to be looked upon no differently than heterosexuality.

        Organizations that codify aberrent behavior as normal are not ones to which we will belong.

        • No, I don’t agree, Ed. If you are in Scouting, you have already agreed to its tenets, as have I.

          Scouting changed its tenets since I joined. BSA is open to correcting error, I think, and membership is not a lifetime contract that cannot be renegotiated.

          And, just as so many of us have stuck with Scouting through thick and thin, through policies we find contrary to our faiths, especially if a new policy does not require anyone to go contrary to their faith, I hope others will find a way to support Scouting and not take their marbles and go to a different game.

  20. In church this morning, I asked for prayer for the BSA as we listen to one another and approach this important decision. This is a small church in a small, rural Oregon town.

    After church, the following people came and found me:
    * A 70-year-old Eagle Scout who said that he and his 3 Eagle Scout brothers want to write to national and to council to support the change — could I give him addresses?
    * Three former den leaders who left BSA over this issue (left with their four boys over the last ten years). All are married and heterosexual, two mothers and a father.
    * A 75-year-old former troop committee chair and father of Eagle Scout, expressing hope.
    * A woman who took the old Wood Badge course in the 1990s and also expressed hope.
    * The parent of three boys who dropped out of their Boy Scout troop in 2001 after the court case.

    The losses BSA fears we will experience after May are large. We don’t realize how large our losses have already been.

    We don’t need to change the minds of anyone who believes homosexuality is wrong. It’s okay for you to believe what you believe, and to live by that in your church, family, and troop. Our national organization needs to change to live by its nonsectarian commitment.

  21. Several people that are against making any changes to the BSA policy keep mentioning the acts that a homosexual might be involved in. A few observations:

    1 There are some heterosexual people that like to do those things also. What do we do about those people? Wait, how would we know?

    2 You don’t know what people do in the bedroom, never good to assume.

    3 There are no sex police inquiring with leaders or scouts what they are doing in the bedroom.

    4 No scout leader I know would dare discuss such topics in any scouting situation. Heck, I don’t know anyone that would even discuss their personal sex life with me, and I’m glad about that.

    I think you guys are hung up on sex a bit too much. Give it a rest please.

    Where youth are involved, are you assuming that all scouts are running around having sex, or would it just be the gay scouts? Do gay scouts have to join in pairs to do this, or are they trying to recruit new gay scouts by having gay sexy time at camp with helpless hetero boys? How do they turn them gay? How long does that take? I know I am being silly here, but seriously, what is everyone afraid of?

    Lets leave sex out of it and keep the issue simple, by excluding gays, we are discriminating unjustly.

    • “I think you guys are hung up on sex a bit too much. Give it a rest please.”

      Inasmuch as this entire issue is around that of fully disclosed sexual preference in relation to participating in Scouting (which sure wasn’t my idea), we are *all* “hung up on sex too much.” I’ll “give it a rest” when those who beg to disagree with me do the same.

      • I agree that this question is framed around sexuality. The problem is we are not being truthful about the specifics of what we mean. Can you honestly say you would rather BSA just exclude gays entirely? Would you agree that sexual orientation needs to be a part of any leader (and Youth?) application?

        Do we ask anyone to fully disclose their sexual preferences? I think not. There are probably heterosexual sexual preferences which many might not find desirable; however, that is not being discussed. BSA does have a policy under debate which makes a distinction between homosexual and heterosexual preferences.

        Would we expect a heterosexual leader to be closeted about their preference.? One example is holding hands in the mall. Ok for heterosexual leaders, but not for gay leaders.

        Holding hands and kissing at a scouting event might be deemed inappropriate regardless of who constitutes the couple. If we want to talk seriously about sexual behavior lets make the real issues the focus. We are uncomfortable with sex in scouting. I would suggest that we are uncomfortable with all forms of sex, so perhaps we need to have a policy about what kind of sexual behavior is allowed in scouting.

        There are many times when adult male scout leaders have spoken in ways that would offend most women. Perhaps we also need to examine what constitutes appropriate speech in scouting.

        • You make the strangest arguments. I seems you are hung up on sexuality. In answer to your thoughts.

          Sexuality is not part of Scouting. No honest leader want to know or express sexuality in Scouting. Never come up in conversations with men I have associated with the past 16 years.

          I would expect a heterosexual leader to keep their sexual orientation to themselves.

          I and everybody I know in scouting are not uncomfortable with sex in Scouting because we do not expect any because sexuality has no place in scouting.

          If women have been offended by men in Scouting why do women continue to try to run a men’s program. Insulting women is completely wrong but it is a Men’s and young men’s organization. Some offenses I am sure were just guys talking and not about sexuality and with no intent to offend.

        • Your point about sex not being part of scouting is the critical point. If that were true, sexual orientation would not be a criteria for leadership. This is not BSA’s policy. BSA declares homosexual orientation as unacceptable in its leaders. By making that statement, BSA has brought sexuality into scouting.

          You suggest I have made strange arguments and these indicate that I am hung up on sexuality. Being hung up on sexuality is definitely a strange argument except that this discussion is about sexual orientation, which is a fundamental part of sexuality.

          Disrespectful comments from men does occur even among scouters, but to suggest the solution is to have the women leave is certainly not in the spirit of scouting. I am curious about why you suggest that scouting is a man’s organization. BSA has adopted coed policies for adult leadership and youth membership in crews. Do you disagree with that policy?

        • I don’t think I said women should leave. I know many many good women in Scouting. what I meant is that if they join a male oriented organization to benefit males, hence BOY Scouts of America, then they should not shrink from male discussions that are not hurtful to women. Men should be free to discuss whatever they want around men as long as they do not denigrate women. What’s the problem? Have you as a heterosexual female and I am assuming you are since you are a Scout leader and posting on this blog, ever been insulted by a male Scout Leader?

          An adult male who likes males in a sexual manner is the dis-qualification as leader. BSA thinks it important to point that out as a dis-qualifier and I agree. I believe homosexuality is am immoral lifestyle and medically risky for men to engage in behavior that makes them openly gay. Immorality is the dis-qualifier and you know that. Your moral compass may swing a little wider than mine to bring more folks engaging in questionable behavior into your tent. Would a co-habitating heterosexual male or female qualify as a leader? How about a known adulterer or adulteress? Neither are role models I would accept and I don’t think BSA will either. What about you and your CO? Where do you draw the line? Homosexual couples as leaders okay? How about NAMBLA members? Okay with you? Certainly acceptable under your proposed policy as long as boy says he’s age of consent, right? The older adults clears his background. Never been caught.

          We have no common ground since you have a much lower morality threshold. That is your right, I just don’t want BSA to go where you are morally. Your standards for morality are much lower than mine. Most folks think a little “shaving around the edges” is fine as long as nobody gets hurt. I am not saying Your moral threshold is better or worse, just much different and I do not want to go there.

        • Do you consider discussions of female anatomy appropriate for male scouters? That is one specific example I was referencing. I would certainly not accept a similar discussion among female scouters. “Men discussing whatever they want as long as it doesn’t hurt women” is pretty broad, so I give the above example to clarify. I am not talking about whether scouters should discuss knitting or fishing. I am talking about hurtful, disrespectful language.

          I have been hurt by male leaders who perceive that my views are not consistent with theirs. Once they realized I have different views, They opted to hurl hurtful labels at me on topics totally unrelated to our disagreement. Some of these were not spoken to my face, but were shared among others. One leader felt they needed to warn me that these people were trying to paint a false picture of my views and my beliefs. This person (a male) was shocked by the behavior of these leaders and discussions were held with the persons misrepresenting me.

          Along these same lines, are you a scouter? If so, you are another scouter being hurtful to a female. Your label of my moral threshold as much lower is hurtful. I would suggest you have little basis for judging my moral standards. I recognize you and I disagree on the morality of sexual orientation, but morality includes much more than a single issue.

          You raise a good point that several sexual behaviors which do not represent the role models desired in scouting are not addressed by the BSA policy on gay leaders. Then you question if I would welcome adulterers. Is that because I would accept gay leaders? Neither I nor my CO accept adultery as a moral practice. I do understand the difference.

          Lastly, you contend that your comments did not mean women should leave scouting. However, you suggested that they should stop trying to run a male oriented program. Are you suggesting that the BSA policy allowing female leaders is not appropriate? What would you consider an appropriate role for women in scouting? If you be specific it would help clarify your intent.

        • Ann, you asked if I was a Scouter. Everyone posting on this list should be a Scouter, I am a 16 year Scouter some of the beliefs you post make me wonder since no one I know is Scouting act or talks like the progressive beliefs touted on this list.

          I can’t say I’ve never complimented a female scouter on her appearance. I probably have. I’ve not spoken of a part of her anatomy. That would be denigrating and I have said before that I would not do that.

          If a woman was present and her views were significantly different than the group of men I am with I would engage in conversation and we would disagree openly. That is normal behavior. If you believe in something, be ready to defend it.

          I stand by my remark but it is just my opinion. I do believe you’re a good person but your moral threshhold allows behavior I feel is immoral and the examples are examples that I expect you would allow if you allow open homosexuality on display. You have admitted sexual display is okay and appropriate for adult leaders and Scouts or do you mean only if they are gay? Two openly heterosexual teen Venturers could then not hug and kiss on the cheek because that is perfectly normal heterosexual behavior. How will you know they are openly gay if they do not exhibit openly gay behavior?

          I have no issue with women as long as they do not try to femanize the program. Scouts should be an emotional program where no feelings rae ver hurt. The World is tough and a Scout has to ultimately find his place in it. he has to push and be pushed to excel and do his best physically and mentally. Sometimes lack of effort will be criticized. I have seen women try to stop adult leaders from any crticism of Scout. Please don’t say “So you would bully, berate, etc. a Scout” You just read exactly what I said. Nothing hurtful.

    • You’d be foolish not to assume the worst case scenarios. I’m not going to be that foolish since I’ve been around scouting and other youth organizations all my life. Yes; if the policy is changed there will be a day when some homosexuals wear this change like a badge of victory and choose to join the BSA flaunting their victory to be a homosexual Boy Scout who can now freely talk about their homosexual lifestyle around the campfire; what do you think teenage boys talk about around the campfire sometimes; think it includes girls, sex, sexuality etc.? Throw the homosexual sex into all of it and there will be problems; fights, arguments, kids shunning others, and yes some kids are going to quit and leave scouting. If you don’t believe this is going to be a topic of discussion in a troop with both openly homosexual boys and leaders and heterosexual boys and leaders then your fooling yourself. There is a dream world where all of this will work out if you just change the policy and allow homosexuals to freely and openly discuss their lifestyles around the campfire and throughout other scouting activities at times and there’s the reality of what’s going to actually happen when those real conversations start coming up and taking place. I really don’t think many people are thinking through with regard to what changing this policy is actually going to do with regard to scouting. Changing the policy will tear apart the organization and what was once uniform in some ways will become very splintered in many ways as human sexuality does strike a core value in most human beings.

      • The boys should not be dicussing sex around the campfire at a Scout event. They should not be discussing sexuality around the fire either. It is not appropriate for such discussions to happen at a scout event of any type.

      • You’d be foolish not to assume the worst case scenarios.

        My observation is that Youth Protection works well; it’s not perfect, but it’s much better than any other youth protection program. It prevents worst case scenarios almost every time.

        I trust YPT. I support it, and I think other groups should adopt key features, including church youth ministries, PTA, and school systems.

        We’d be foolish not to work to prevent worst case scenarios, and I think we’d be unwise to assume YP will fail frequently or badly, especially if we work to make it effective.

  22. Hmmm. You know, maybe it is time for BSA to get on BOTH sides of this issue. Leave the current policy as it is. Just expand Explorers (under BSA’s non-discriminatory Learning for Life banner) into the younger age groups, creating a completely parallel program with almost exactly the same structure, program, and requirements — just unburdened by the homosexual policy and the Declaration of Religious Principles. As Exploring is now, it can be supported by the same Council structure and staff. Just tweak the publications, adopt better uniforms, and heck, make it co-ed top to bottom. Chartered Organizations could choose on a unit-by-unit basis whether to switch over. It would be like the 1998 Venturing split in reverse. BSA can proudly announce that it will keep its traditional programs as they are, but offer the expanded Explorer Scout program as a progressive, forward-looking twin that nonetheless shares fully in Scouting’s history and legacy (including Eagle Scout).

    • Interesting idea. How could we keep some of the positive awareness accorded to scouting in the Explorers program?

      • Extensive use of the words “Scout” and “Scouting,” use of the fleur de lis, outdoor adventure, and other traditional indicia of Scouting — but with a modern twist — and a marketing emphasis that clearly connects it to Scouting of the past but emphasizes that this is _today’s_ Scouting.

        • But it also has to neutralize the negative awareness in segments of the public created by the current controversy. Scouting for “modern families.” Diversity. Ads with Nancy Pelosi. Images of an Explorer Cub Scout at the Pinewood Derby with his two dads. Ads with Barack Obama. A female Hispanic Scoutmaster backpacking with her co-ed, diverse troop.

    • This is from the Learning for Life and Exploring “Position Statement,” linked from the “About Us” tab on the corporate home page, :

      “Learning for Life programs are designed for all age groups from pre-kindergarten through age 20. Youth participation is open to any youth in the prescribed age group for that particular program.

      “Color, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic background, disability, economic status or citizenship is not criteria for participation.”

      Maybe the solution is already right in front of us. Just sayin’.

  23. Tonight Our Troop leadership informed the Scouts of current BSA policy on openly homosexual Adults and leaders. We spoke only of the policy that openly homosexual leaders cannot serve and openly homosexual boys cannot join. No questions or further discussion except to say BSA National forced this issue on the Scouts and we wanted to be sure they knew the policy since its all over the news and how to answer it honestly. We deferred all questions to Parents. My SPL is a fine young man of great character and accepts homosexuals in school and society but understands completely why it is incompatible with Scouting. I told him I have no idea why National leadership would force homosexuality on young men. You progressive homosexual advocate Scouters will answer for this one day to a higher power. You may not believe it and you may condemn me to the same fate for not buying your agenda but seeing that young man wonder why sexuality would dominate a discussion on the Scout Oath and Law escapes his understanding. I really believe homosexual activists have hijacked this discussion for their own self-serving purposes. Either they have homosexual kids or family or are homosexual themselves and want acceptance from people who do not allow sexuality to dominate their persona.

    • “You progressive homosexual advocate Scouters will answer for this one day to a higher power.”

      You think those that advocate for equality are going to hell? My SPL is also a fine young man of great character and accepts homosexuals in school and society, and in Scouting. He feels it is time for this policy to be reversed.

      “I told him I have no idea why National leadership would force homosexuality on young men.”

      No one is forcing homosexuality on anyone. Units that wish to remain closed to homosexuals will remain so. Those of us who wish to be inclusive will be permitted to be so openly.

      • sounds like your SPL is one confused young man.

        Yes, you are trying to force homosexual beliefs on youth in Scouting. Just admit it. Relentless droning of the homosexual agenda will continue until all Units are assimilated or left BSA.

        Going to Hell? Not my call. My faith says yes. Yours may say well done, good and faithful servant. Your work is complete.

        • You know what, good people can disagree on a subject. I don’t believe they have to be disagreeable to do so.

          You don’t know my SPL. He’s not confused at all. He believes in equality. Because someone disagrees with you, they must be confused on this issue? I think not.

          I don’t want to force homosexual beliefs on scouting. I want the BSA to remove sexuality as an issue. Period. No one wants to come to scouts for the purpose of discussing sex. Not even gay people. They want to come to scouts to be scouts. It is the current policy which makes an issue of it. If a faith based chartering organization wishes to remain closed to homosexual individuals because of their belief that the practice is immoral, I may disagree with them, but I don’t think I have the right to tell them they aren’t free to practice their beliefs. I only want that no one tells me that I am not equally free to practice MY beliefs.

          “Going to Hell? Not my call. My faith says yes. Yours may say well done, good and faithful servant. Your work is complete.”

          Then please, tell me what you meant by ‘answering for this to a higher power?’

        • I believe you will answer to a higher power and that would mean you would be judged by God the Creator for “suffering children to not come to Christ.” It would be better that a millstone be hung around your neck and you be cast into the sea. My Christian belief. I am entitled to it. You are entitled to yours as well. Jesus was pretty clear about those who misled children. My personal interpretation of my faith.

          I have said this is a BSA issue natonally. Personally, it is a Christian issue.

        • a homosexual agenda? It might just be an agenda that fosters equality as promoted in law governing many other organizations.

        • many many many.. your so funny Anne to think you have this overwhelming majority behind you on this or any other homosexual agenda item. equality? good luck with a timeless endeavor; forecer elusive. The bible teaches instead how to behave in reality which is inequality. There are biblical principles that give guidance on how to behave in different circumstances when your in different positions of inequality. Private Free American Organizations have no obligation to equality in allowing certain members membership or not. if we choose tomorrow to allow no women into the Boy Scouts agai. then there is no law in the land that’s going to supercede the BSA’s Freedom to set their policies to serve their membership in the way they feel is necessary to fulfill their mission. I really think if you want equality you shoud start your own organization and bexome the supreme ruller of equality. Invest your precious free time to serve your membership and respect and be tolerant of the BSA’s right to do the same. Good luck!

        • Private Free American Organizations have no obligation to equality in allowing certain members membership or not.

          Organizations that are charged by U.S. law with carrying out vital functions generally are considered to have an obligation to treat people equally as federal law requires — the Red Cross, the National Ski Patrol, the National Academy of Sciences, Disabled American Veterans, or the U.S. Olympic Committee.

          That’s a good crowd to hang with.

          BSA is the only organization that discriminates against homosexuals in that list, and perhaps among the 100 or so other organizations with federal charters.

          Saying that Scouting doesn’t need to follow that lead is a tenuous position — the courts have not directly ruled on that. But worse, to say Scouting cannot function when the Red Cross, Olympics and Disabled American Veterans can function well, rather suggests were not as good, not as forward thinking, and not as welcoming as those organizations. It seems to me that if the Red Cross and Disabled Vets can do it and make it work, so can we.

          I know — Disabled Vets have the advantage of having had to fight in foxholes with gays, so they know that when the chips are down, they can count on a homosexual to do the patriotic thing, to do the right thing. Perhaps we can learn from their example.

        • Your troop has a SPL? the mere mention of SPL dictates inequality. Its how you handle circumstances of inequality that matters. The Bible is full of wisdom for people involved in inequal relationships. Its unvaluable wisdim rooted in truths; God’s. There will always be inequality so the BSA teaches respect.

        • Ed, The BSA is very forward thinking. That’s why they enacted a membership policy that was perfectly written to prevent them from having to waste time dealing with being part of a homosexual agenda to normalize homosexual behavior and focus on their true mission of helping boys to grow morally straight and of good character.

        • Ed, The BSA is very forward thinking. That’s why they enacted a membership policy that was perfectly written to prevent them from having to waste time dealing with being part of a homosexual agenda to normalize homosexual behavior and focus on their true mission of helping boys to grow morally straight and of good character

          So, you’re cool with any changes?

  24. I expect that in the next couple of weeks, many of us will be attending “Firesides” or similar events in our districts and councils, to discuss exactly these questions, to help our representatives vote on our behalf. Ours locally is tomorrow night.

    As we go, I think we can take with us a couple of lessons from this conversation. One is that, as we should all be aware by now, there is a clash of religious values, not of religious vs. nonreligious values.

    A second lesson is the awareness of how difficult it is for both sides to listen to each other. Those who wish to keep the membership policy as it is feel this at a deep, deep level, and so the proposals to change it may be experienced as an attack on their right to practice their faith, an attack on their rights as Americans and their Christian beliefs. As an example, yesterday I saw a simple quotation of the Declaration of Religious Principle interpreted as such a fundamental attack on someone’s faith. I have seen people in the conversation describe others as dishonorable (a very potent term in an organization in which we take an oath on our honor), and worse. It is very difficult to listen to each other, and it will not necessarily be easier face to face in Firesides. One can hope that knowing each other personally in our local meetings will mitigate some of that.

    It seems to me that prayer is in order — prayer for wisdom and guidance in these Fireside conversations, prayer for gentleness with one another, prayer that we may be able to find a path that allows all of us to continue to promise on our honor to do our best to do our duty to God and our country.

  25. I’ve been reading all these comments with considerable interest. Of specific note, I saw several comments about “UNHEALTHY” behaviors, which got me to thinking about the recent OA event I attended.

    At 6’5″ and 220, I’m aware that my BMI is 26.1 — meaning that I’m overweight. This is something that I struggle with, but by CHOICE, I eat ice cream. I know it’s UNHEALTHY, but I really enjoy my bowl of ice cream on a regular basis.

    Now, as I walked around camp this past weekend, I could not help but notice the overwhelming number of OBESE adults.

    Are these individuals somehow BETTER examples, BETTER role models for our Scouts than someone who is homosexual?

    For those of you who have quoted Leviticus in your arguments, I’m pretty certain that every one of you is due to be stoned for wearing more than one type of fiber, for having your hair cut, or for eating shellfish…

    If BSA does not survive, it will not be from without — it will be torn apart from within, as I see happening right now.

    • You’re equating being overweight with medically risky male homosexual behavior? Really? Insulting your brothers in OA to do it?

      • You didn’t answer my question, Fred. Is an OBESE straight male, out of shape, living an UNHEALTHY lifestyle, somehow a better role model?

      • Being overweight is a medically risky male behavior regardless of orientation. It is medically risky female behavior too (regardless of orientation).

        • Being overweight or being OBESE. In our sedentary society, it is very hard to not be overweight, an arbitrary number based on govt, employees. Obese, I agree but you’re grasping at straws to condemn overweight people.

        • “I agree but you’re grasping at straws to condemn overweight people.”

          Aren’t you forgetting something, Fred — the sins of Gluttony and Sloth. Or do they not apply?

        • So now if you are an overweight, Scouter you are a glutton and sloth as well as a medically risky individual. Wow,..

        • “So now if you are an overweight, Scouter you are a glutton and sloth as well as a medically risky individual.”

          I’m just pointing out what I see as hypocrisy.

        • You’re not pointing out anything. You’re trying to misidirect the ridicule the posters who clearly recognize that engaging in homosexual is medically risky by making a lame analogy.
          You also try to trivialize the argument that homosexual Scouts will engage in homosexual behavior which is immoral and unclean.

        • Fred,
          Ed (I believe it was Ed) already covered all the “medically risky behaviors” that heterosexuals engage in. I don’t think that some persons should be condemned for engaging in a behavior that a 1/3 of heterosexuals engage in.

          Keep in mind that the facts below do not break down those affected by homosexual and heterosexual.
          1.2 million people are living with HIV in the United States of America, with a fifth unaware of their status. Since the epidemic began, an estimated 1,129,127 people in the USA have been diagnosed with AIDS.1

          During 2010:
          - 47,129 people were diagnosed with HIV infection in the 46 states which report diagnoses.2
          - 33,015 people throughout the USA were diagnosed with AIDS.3

          I do not think that it is a “lame analogy”. The Scouts are more likely to see the medically risky behavior of gluttony (obesity) then they will see a private act.

          Two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese. (Over 200,000,000 people nationwide)

          Scouts will even see the medically risky behavior of smoking at Scout camp. I have been to several camps and the “designated” smoking area is right next to the pavillion.

          Approximately 373,489 Americans are living with lung cancer. During 2012, an estimated 226,160 new cases of lung cancer were expected to be diagnosed, representing almost 14 percent of all cancer diagnoses.

          Just pure numbers on “medically risky behaviors” means that more heterosexuals are at risk than homosexuals. Scouts will see more heterosexuals engage in “medically risky behaviors”. It can be argued that being obese or being a smoker does not fit with the Scout Oath of being physically strong or morally straight. Nor do either fit the Scout Law of A Scout is clean.

        • “You’re not pointing out anything. You’re trying to misidirect the ridicule the posters who clearly recognize that engaging in homosexual is medically risky by making a lame analogy.”

          No, Fred, I’m pointing out the hypocrisy of those who use the bible to condemn homosexual behavior and conveniently ignore gluttony and sloth. I’m pointing out the hypocrisy of those adult leaders who are setting a poor example for Scouts by being overweight or obese.

          I’m pointing out the hypocrisy of those who specifically quote Leviticus. If they are quoting Leviticus, then they most likely are in line to be stoned for the wearing of two different fibers. If they are quoting Leviticus, then they are most likely in line to be stoned for having their hair cut. And, if they are quoting Leviticus, then they are most likely in line to be stoned for eating shellfish.

          I’m pointing out the hypocrisy of those who pick and choose which parts of the bible they will follow.

  26. Many Jews and Christians (both Catholic and Protestant) have a somewhat relaxed view on homosexuality. But to say God has nothing to say on the subject is only self-deception. The Bible (God’s Word) teaches otherwise. If you have one handy, look up this partial list:

    Leviticus 18:22-30 (thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind; it is an abomination)
    Leviticus 20:13 (the old testament punishment for homosexual acts)
    Genesis 19: 1-13 (The destruction of Sodom)
    Deuteronomy 22:5, 23:17-18
    1 Kings 14:24, 15:12, 22:43-46
    Isaiah 3:9-11
    1 Timothy 1:10
    Romans 1: 24-28
    2 Peter 2: 6-10
    Jude 1:7
    1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (counts homosexuality among other acknowledged sins)

    The God of the old and new testaments is not tolerant of sin (any sin). But the good news is that He is loving and forgiving for those who seek after and submit to Him and strive to live according to His rules.

    • That is one religious text. There are several others that members of the BSA accept as their one true word. The Christian bible does not set policy for the BSA.

  27. Beth: I challenge you to show me anywhere on this blog that I ever expressed a dislike for homosexuals. I find homosexual behavior repulsive and disgusting but I ne er said I had a dislike of homosexuals. Like Rich I giess you’ll resort to attacking my chara ter personally since you realize your arguements for changing the policy are without merit. I understand your frustration.

    • You have expressed your dislike for gay people all over these pages. I’m confident in my position, however. Not at all frustrated.

  28. Wallace wrote in part: “Ed… Something must have happened or why would the BSA adopt the policy…”

    Yeah. The United States had a “growth spurt” and with it some additional maturity.

    A scant 15 years ago, we were laughing at NBC’s “Will and Grace” and built the program to one of its highest rated shows. If you don’t recall, Will and Grace was about two gay men (Will and Jack) along with their straight friends Grace and (I forgot the other woman). It treated Gayness at a time that we Americans were still going through the HIV/AIDS period with honesty, truth, and a lot of laughter at the expense of many of us “straight people”. It is still being shown in reruns on over the air and cable TV to this day. That was the start of America’s maturity with regard to Gayness.

    Since that time, a generation of children have grown up around Gay and Lesbian people — for the good, not the bad. We have Gay police and fire personnel, 911 operators, teachers, church leaders, ministers, checkout workers at stores and businesses big and small around our nation. When we further found out that we won’t “catch cooties” standing around them, eating at places where they are eating, enjoying a beer at the bar while watching Monday Night Football, and walking in the park; and when we also stopped averting our eyes whenever two males or two females would walk hand-in-hand or even kiss (in broad daylight, not hidden behind a bush somewhere…), the nation grew up even more.

    And then the acceptance, after a lot of pull and tugs, that we have Gay people in our armed services and that except for people who cannot grow up (the “Happy Gilmores” of our society), they performed just as well — some better! — than many of our lazy “straight people who can’t get a clue”. There was a policy — “Don’t ask, Don’t tell…” and it was being adheared to; but why? Did it really make any difference when bullets are flying and peoples lives are on the line whether you liked Eve or Steve? The policy was taken down. Oh my gosh…did the Gays take over the military?
    Are they wearing pink and purple everywhere?? Is there a new march with “sway” in their steps?

    No. But that’s what many said would happen, just like people said that our children would all “turn Gay” from the teachers, and “start eating Gay foods”. If anything, we “lardbutts” would probably LEARN a thing or two from our Gay and Lesbian friends, who as a population (at least from what I’ve read) are *healthier* overall than the “straight population.” They have to be — for many are denied health care.

    So with corporations no longer “barring” or “restricting” Gay and Lesbians from employment, supervision or leadership. With school systems acknowledging that the sexual orientation of a teacher, adminstrator, even a school bus driver has no bearing on their performance. With community organizations saying “look, we have to serve everyone”. There’s a need for America’s premiere youth serving program to “get with the program.”

    The compromise is very simple, which is why I love it. Just like with everything else the BSA has historically done, the proposal will leave it to the chartered organization — the organization which “owns the charter” for a Cub Scout Pack, Boy Scout Troop, Varsity Scout Team, Venturing Crew or Sea Scout Ship — to decide and approve the BEST PEOPLE THEY FEEL WILL WORK WITH THEIR YOUTH. That person may be Gay. Or Straight. Or a Baptist, Latter-Day-Saint, or even have NO religious slant at all. The CHARTERED PARTNER ORGANIZATION, not the “national BSA”, nor the local Council, makes that call.

    Don’t like the leadership in the unit — fine. Go down the street, find a chartered partner who “speaks your language”, has “your thought patterns”, and organize a Scouting unit to MEET YOUR NEEDS and those likeminded as you are. Simple as that!

    As far as youth in Scouting — look. Our kids have grown up with other kids — Gay, straight, gluten intolerant, bulimic, from the stricted of homes and the most open of homes — and while we can pull up stories of the exceptions, most of our kids have no damage, no issues, no problems being around any of those kids. To THEM, they are friends. They are workmates at school or church or both. They live in the same communities, drink the same water and shop at the same grocery stores and eat the same foods.

    Well, maybe not. Note what I said about the gluten-intolerant. Some have peanut allergies. Some can’t smell watermelon without throwing up all over the creation.

    But we have grown up and matured a bit as a nation. We in the BSA need to act like it.

    • Thank you for so eloquently stating the obvious, Mike — well, to some of us it’s obvious.

      For 26 years I wore a different uniform. During the first 11 years, if you were found out to be a “gasp” homosexual, you were drummed out. I remember a few of the NIS (now NCIS) witch hunts. During the last 15 years I served under the DADT policy.

      As a Chief during my last eight years of service I had quite a few Sailors working for me — some of whom I suspected of being gay, but I DIDN’T CARE. The only thing that mattered about them was that they showed up to work, on time, in the proper uniform, properly groomed, and gave me a full days work. Didn’t matter to me if they were black, white, green, yellow, or pink with purple polka dots. Didn’t matter to me if they were male or female, straight or gay. Their work ethic mattered to me. None of them hit on me, and I didn’t catch anything from being near them.

    • Very nice post Mike, I appreciate the time it took to type that out. Thanks for your well reasoned opinions.

      • Never watched Will and Grace. No interest as seeing homosexual behavior is repulsive to me as it is to most people. Its not a big seller in the commercial or movie markets either as you seldom see hide nor tail of the issue there either. That’s for good reason too; the market is too small and I’m sure its a big turn off to major sponsors. Wanna know the truth about how people feel about it then follow the money; its not well received and not worth risking an investment that’s got little to return. Scouts will find rhe same results if they choose to embrace a homosexual culture into the ranks. Best to leave the policy alone and leave tje scouts aline to do what think is best for fulfillment of their mission. Helping homosexual activists to achieve a level of normalcy for their abnormal behavior isn’t part of the BSA agenda and not part of an agenda I want to be affiliated with.

        • Wallace, I’m not sure where you get your information. A quick Google search of Will & Grace provided the following:

          Will & Grace was nominated for 83 Primetime Emmy Awards, winning 16 of them.

          With three each, both Hayes and Mullally held the record of winning the most Screen Actors Guild Awards for the categories Best Performance by an Actor in a Comedy Series and Best Performance by an Actress in a Comedy Series, respectively, for their roles in Will & Grace.


          The show debuted on Mondays beginning on September 21, 1998 and steadily gained in popularity, culminating when it moved to Thursday night as part of NBC’s Must See TV line-up. The show ultimately became a highly rated television show in the United States, earning a top-twenty rating during four of its eight seasons, including one season at # 9. From 2001–2005, Will & Grace was the highest-rated sitcom among adults 18–49.

          The above information tells me that the show was not “repulsive” to “most” people — only “some” people.

        • hmmmm? what program was ever successful in actually portraying the homosexual lifestyle?? They’ve all failed for one obvious reason; the vast majority of people like me are repulsed by homosexual behavior. When was the last time you saw a love seen in a movie between two homosexual men? Please tell me how popular that movie, commercial, or TV program was. They tried a couple this year that failed miserably. Perhaps you should invest your own money in those projects if you feel so strongly in favor if their widespread popularity in the American market place. good luck..

        • Glee is an American musical comedy-drama television series that has aired on Fox since May 19, 2009. It has been nominated for a variety of different awards including thirty-two Emmy Awards (six wins), eleven Satellite Awards (five wins), nine Golden Globe Awards (four wins), twenty-five Teen Choice Awards (six wins), three Writers Guild of America Awards, and three Directors Guild of America Awards. Amongst the wins for the series are a Satellite Award for “Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy”, a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series”, and a People’s Choice Award for “Favorite New TV Comedy”.

          Brokeback Mountain

          Brokeback Mountain cost about US$14 million to produce, excluding its reported advertising budget of $5 million. Brokeback Mountain’s theatrical run lasted for 133 days and grossed $83,043,761 in North America and $95,000,000 abroad, adding up to a worldwide gross of more than $178 million. It is the top-grossing release of Focus Features, ranks fifth among the highest-grossing westerns (since 1979) and eighth among the highest-grossing romantic dramas (1980 – present).

          Brokeback Mountain won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and was honored with Best Picture and Best Director accolades from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Golden Globe Awards, Producers Guild of America, Critics Choice Awards, and Independent Spirit Awards among many other organizations and festivals.

          Brokeback Mountain was nominated for eight Academy Awards, the most nominations at the 78th Academy Awards, where it won three: Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score. The film was widely considered to be a front runner for the Academy Award for Best Picture, but lost to Crash.[2][3][4][5] Brokeback Mountain ranks 11th among the highest-grossing romance films of all time.


          The film had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival in 1987, where Ivory was awarded a Silver Lion as Best Director, sharing the prize with Ermanno Olmi.[10] James Wilby and Hugh Grant were jointly awarded Best Actor


          Milk received eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, winning two for Best Actor in a Leading Role for Penn and Best Original Screenplay for Black.

          Angels in America

          Golden Globe Awards Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture made for Television
          Best Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture made for Television – Al Pacino
          Best Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture made for Television – Meryl Streep
          Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture made for Television – Jeffrey Wright
          Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture made for Television – Mary-Louise Parker
          Emmy Awards
          In 2004, Angels in America broke the record previously held by Roots for the most Emmys awarded to a program in a single year by winning 11 awards from 21 nominations. The record was broken four years later by John Adams.

          Outstanding Miniseries
          Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special (Mike Nichols)
          Outstanding Lead Actor – Miniseries or a Movie (Al Pacino)
          Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie (Meryl Streep)
          Outstanding Supporting Actor – Miniseries or a Movie (Jeffrey Wright)
          Outstanding Supporting Actress – Miniseries or a Movie (Mary-Louise Parker)
          Outstanding Casting for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special
          Outstanding Art Direction for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special (Part I & II)
          Outstanding Makeup for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special (Non-Prosthetic)
          Outstanding Single-Camera Sound Mixing for a Miniseries or a Movie (Part II)
          Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special (Tony Kushner) [9]

          Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie – Emma Thompson
          Outstanding Supporting Actor – Miniseries or a Movie Patrick Wilson
          Ben Shenkman
          Justin Kirk

          Outstanding Main Title Design
          Outstanding Special Visual Effects – Miniseries or a Movie
          Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special (Part I)
          Outstanding Cinematography for a Miniseries or Movie (Part II)
          Outstanding Costumes for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special (Part II)
          Outstanding Hairstyling for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special (Part I & II)
          Other Broadcast Film Critics – Best Picture Made for Television
          Directors Guild of America (DGA) – Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television (Mike Nichols)
          GLAAD Media Awards – Best Miniseries or Film Made for TV
          Grammy Awards – Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media (Thomas Newman)
          National Board of Review – Best Film Made for Cable TV
          Producers Guild of America (PGA) – Producer of the Year Award in Longform (Mike Nichols, Cary Brokaw, Celia D. Costas and Michael Haley)
          Satellite Awards: Best Actress — Miniseries or Film Made for TV (Meryl Streep)
          Best Miniseries
          Best Supporting Actor – (Mini)Series or Film Made for TV (Justin Kirk)
          Best Actor — Miniseries or TV Film (Al Pacino)
          Best Supporting Actor – (Mini)Series or Film Made for TV(Patrick Wilson)
          Best Supporting Actor – (Mini)Series or Film Made for TV (Jeffrey Wright)
          Best Supporting Actress – (Mini)Series or Film Made for TV (Mary-Louise Parker)
          Best Supporting Actress – (Mini)Series or Film Made for TV (Emma Thompson)

          Screen Actors Guild (SAG): Best Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie: Al Pacino (won)
          Best Actress in a Miniseries or Television Movie : Meryl Streep (won)
          Best Actor — Miniseries or Film Made for TV (Justin Kirk)
          Best Actor — Miniseries or Film Made for TV (Jeffrey Wright)
          Best Actress — Miniseries or Film Made for TV (Mary-Louise Parker)
          Best Actress — Miniseries or Film Made for TV (Emma Thompson)

          Including a Tony Award and a Pulitzer Prize

          This is a short list.

        • Well, of course they didn’t show sex on prime time network television. A whole lot of people watched and enjoyed that show, however.

        • I never watched it either. I wasn’t interested in acting as though something was perfectly natural that … well, wasn’t. But it certainly didn’t make me want to go out looking for gay men to beat up or anything, so I guess that sort of makes me tolerant, or at least resigned.

        • Thanks for that list, Deanna. You could add to this, main characters on several popular network TV shows in the past few years,
          Brothers and Sisters, Modern Family and Grey’s Anatomy on ABC. Sex and the City on HBO, still very popular on cable reruns. There is even a gay character on Downton Abbey. These shows all seem to be doing quite well.

        • Beth
          I missed the movies Philadelphia, Rent, TransAmerica, In and Out, Birdcage, and Longtime Companion. Of course there are more.

          Also the plays Rent, La Cage aux Folles, M. Butterfly, Torch Song Trilogy, Children’s Hour, Angels in America, The Band Plays, and Jeffrey.

          I have seen almost all of these, with my favorite being Torch Song Trilogy. Or maybe Rent. Maurice was great. Difficult to call.

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