Voice of the Scout membership-policy survey questions give Scouters, parents a chance to be heard

It’s mid-March. That means Phase 2 of the Boy Scouts of America’s three-month family discussion has shifted into high gear.

The BSA calls this phase “Listening,” and that’s exactly what the organization is doing. Scheduled to last from March 1 to April 5, the phase includes, in addition to a lot of conversations with a lot of people, a 13-question Voice of the Scout survey, recently sent to about 1.1 million registered volunteers and Scout parents.

The questions, which you can read below, were designed to help committees review the beliefs and concerns of two groups of stakeholders critical to this process: Scouters and the parents of registered Scouts.

The BSA is also sending the survey to approximately 325,000 Scouting alumni, former members who aren’t necessarily currently active but have previously joined the National Eagle Scout Association or the Scouting Alumni Association.

Refresh your memory about the remaining phases in a blog post I wrote last month. But, briefly, they include evaluating the results of the surveys and other committee reports, the executive officers preparing a resolution to present to the group of National Council voting members, educating the Scouting family about the findings, holding a vote on the resolution at the National Annual Meeting in May, and taking whatever steps are needed to carry out the decision.

First, though, the survey will collect feedback from our key stakeholders, asking parents and volunteers to carefully consider the current membership policy and potential affects on the program should the BSA change its policy or keep it the same.

If you are a current member and you have not received a survey, you may visit this link to register your member ID number and receive a link for the survey after your information has been verified. Parents of Scouts can also use this link to get a survey. You should use your child’s ID and indicate you are a parent and input your own demographic information.

As is common in any family discussion, the survey touches on some personal issues. But it’s a conversation we must have now to ensure the continued success of our organization for the future.

The leadership of the BSA is firmly committed to making sure every voice gets heard and is dedicated to the integrity of this process. So, if you receive the survey, speak up—for yourself and for the Boy Scouts of America.

View the survey now:

Current Policy

“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.”

1. The current Boy Scouts of America requirements, stated above, prohibit open homosexuals from being Scouts or adult Scout leaders. To what extent do you support or oppose this requirement?

Choices: Strongly support, Somewhat support, Neutral, Somewhat oppose, Strongly oppose

Following are some possible scenarios that could happen if the Boy Scouts keeps or changes its policy. Please tell us the degree to which you believe the actions taken in each scenario are acceptable or unacceptable.

Choices: Totally acceptable, Somewhat acceptable, Neutral, Somewhat unacceptable, Totally unacceptable

2. Tom started in the program as a Tiger Cub, and finished every requirement for the Eagle Scout Award at 16 years of age. At his board of review Tom reveals that he is gay. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for the review board to deny his Eagle Scout award based on that admission?

3. Bob is 15 years old, and the only openly gay Scout in a Boy Scout troop. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for the troop leader to allow Bob to tent with a heterosexual boy on an overnight camping trip?

4. Johnny, a first grade boy, has joined Tiger Cubs with his friends. Johnny’s friends and their parents unanimously nominate Johnny’s mom, who is known by them to be lesbian, to be the den leader. Johnny’s pack is chartered to a church where the doctrine of that faith does not teach that homosexuality is wrong. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for his mother to serve as a den leader for his Cub Scout den?

5. David, a Boy Scout, believes that homosexuality is wrong. His troop is chartered to a church where the doctrine of that faith also teaches that homosexuality is wrong. Steve, an openly gay youth, applies to be a member in the troop and is denied membership. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for this troop to deny Steve membership in their troop?

6. A gay male troop leader, along with another adult leader, is taking a group of boys on a camping trip following the youth protection guidelines of two-deep leadership. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for the gay adult leader to take adolescent boys on an overnight camping trip?

7. A troop is chartered by an organization that does not believe homosexuality is wrong and allows gays to be ministers. The youth minister traditionally serves as the Scoutmaster for the troop. The congregation hires a youth minister who is gay. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for this youth minister to serve as the Scoutmaster?

8. After reading the scenarios in the previous question, please answer one question again. The current Boy Scouts of America requirements prohibit open homosexuals from being Scouts or adult Scout leaders. To what extent do you support or oppose this requirement?

Choices: Strongly support, Somewhat support, Neutral, Somewhat oppose, Strongly oppose

9. Different organizations that charter Boy Scout troops have different positions on the morality of homosexuality. Do you support or oppose allowing charter organizations to follow their own beliefs when selecting Boy Scout members and adult leaders, if that means there will be different standards from one organization to the next.

Choices: Strongly support, Somewhat support, Neutral, Somewhat oppose, Strongly oppose

10. What is your greatest concern if the policy remains in place and openly gay youth and adults are prohibited from joining Scouting?

Open-ended answer

11. What is your greatest concern if the policy is changed to allow charter organizations to make their own decisions to admit openly gay Scouts and leaders?

Open-ended answer

12. Do you believe the current policy prohibiting open homosexuals from being scouts or adult scout leaders is a core value of Scouting found in the Scout Oath and Law?

Yes or No

13. If the Boy Scouts of America makes a decision on this policy that disagrees with your own view, will you continue to participate in the Boy Scouts, or will you leave the organization?

Choices: I believe I can find a way to continue, I do not believe I can find a way to continue, I have not yet made up my mind

710 thoughts on “Voice of the Scout membership-policy survey questions give Scouters, parents a chance to be heard

    • Looks as if the link is working now, although not all people have received it. I strongly support ending the national, one-size-fits-all ban on openly gay or lesbian members and leaders, as it is an infringement on religious liberty and violates Scouting’s commitment to be “absolutely non-sectarian”

      The fact is that more and more religious faiths, including my own, believe as a matter of religious doctrine that homosexuality is NOT a sin but is a God-given trait, and that gays and lesbians are entitled to an equal place at God’s table. I respect the right of other faiths to feel differently, and all we ask is that Scouting respect our rights as well. If our local chartered organization believes that an openly gay or lesbian person has the character to be an Eagle Scout or leader, that should not be disturbed by outsiders based on their own beliefs or prejudices.

      Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

    • Off topic, but I have to ask. You were “Chad,” then one minute later you were “fishgutts.” Yet you look the same. What happened?

  1. I answered this survey several days ago, and I thought it was particularly well-designed for the purpose of assessing how people are likely to change their thinking, or not, through the process of discussion going on right now. I noticed that the structure of the council “Fireside” meetings was similar. Really seems like a good process design.

    • Karen, what was the format of your Council’s “Fireside” meetings? Did your Council give members the opportunity to openly discuss the issue, or did they accept only written comments? How many “Fireside” meetings were there?

      • There was discussion in table group, then a presentation by the Executive, then time for questions and comments. We were given as much time as possible for open discussion. This meeting was for two districts; there will be four more, to cover five other districts.

        • Lucky you. In Michigan, we are expressly told that we will not have an opportunity to talk about the issue. We are given the scouting.org/ContactUs link, a link to request the Voice of Scouting survey (which no one in my family of four has received), and one opportunity to give written feedback at one and only one “educational” meeting four days hence… and if you miss the meeting, you do not get to submit your written feedback to the Council. “Representation” must mean different things to different Councils.

        • I think your Council Scout Exec has missed the cues. This is the “Listening” phase, and BSA National has made very clear that they (including the people who are supposed to vote, who come from your council) are supposed to be listening to many voices from BSA’s present stakeholders. Do you know if your Key Three went to a regional meeting about this?

      • Have you read the survey carefully. It is the worst designed I have ever seen. Each scenario asks – is it acceptable or unacceptable. That coaxes a yes or no answer, and neither is correct. Instead the answers are multiple choice in degree from acceptable to neutral to unacceptable. How can any of those answers clearly define an expectation. The questions beg questions, and the answers beg answers. It is clear as mud.

    • Have you read the survey carefully. It is the worst designed I have ever seen. Each scenario asks – is it acceptable or unacceptable. That coaxes a yes or no answer, and neither is correct. Instead the answers are multiple choice in degree from acceptable to neutral to unacceptable. How can any of those answers clearly define an expectation. The questions beg questions, and the answers beg answers. It is clear as mud.

  2. I found it interesting that I received the survey, but my wife did not. She too is a registered BSA leader. Any thoughts on this scenario Bryan?

  3. My husband and I are registered members, and so are our two sons. BSA has our email address — locally, at the District and Council, and at MyScouting. None of us has received a survey. I requested surveys yesterday by entering our membership IDs and all the other info the form asked for, and we still have not received surveys. I don’t know of anyone local who has received the survey, for that matter.

    On a related note: Our Council did not send out invitations to its so-called “family meeting” on the Membership Standards issue until I called our Council Exec today to inquire what was being done to solicit feedback at the local level. He told me he would look into it, and after an hour or so, the Council sent out emails to invite stakeholders to its meeting, which is being held five days from today. It would appear that they “forgot” to involve registered leaders and parents of Scouts. If I hadn’t called, would they have bothered to tell us about it at all?

    BSA is paying a lot of lip-service to holding a discussion within the membership, but it is doing everything it can to discourage our participation. Last month, our District Roundtable told us in no uncertain terms NOT to contact anyone at District or Council regarding the Membership Standards issue. The only appropriate venue, they said, was to use the scouting.org/ContactUs form. The buzzed-about surveys were not sent out to the entire membership, despite having our email addresses. And now, if you can’t make the Council’s meeting that was just announced, taking place five days from today, there will be no way to express your opinion short of sending it to the black hole it surely goes into when you click scouting.org/ContactUs.

    Too bad “responsible” and “accountable” aren’t points of the Scout Law.

    • Our council has set up an email address specifically for feedback about this issue, to help guide the volunteers who will go to the meeting in May. Those three volunteers are also attending all five firesides.

      • Our Council notified us of our one and only “family meeting” five days before it is to take place. At that meeting, we members are not to talk but to listen while Regional volunteers “educate” us. They will then provide instructions for writing our feedback to submit that night. If you can’t make it to the meeting, tough luck; you don’t get to tell the Council how you feel. Our District Roundtable told us last month not to contact District or Council about it — all correspondence is to go directly to National via scouting.org/ContactUs. It sounds to me like our Council (Michigan Crossroads) is making an effort to limit the amount of feedback it receives.

        • What area are you in? I’m from Michigan as well and have heard nothing. I’m in the Detroit area.

        • Deanna L. Druyor-Wetzel, I’m not surprised you haven’t heard anything. It would seem that Michigan Crossroads Council is not making much effort to get the word out. I live within Great Lakes Field Service Council, which, like all the FSCs in Michigan, is under the umbrella of Michigan Crossroads Council. I learned this morning in a conversation with the GLFSC Commissioner that the administration of this so-called “Listening” phase is entirely in the hands of MCC. I spoke yesterday with Richard Fisher, GLFSC Exec, who hadn’t realized (until I told him) that the membership had not been notified of the meeting Tuesday night. He said he’d look into it, and within an hour or two an email was sent out. You should have received it yesterday (Thursday, 3/14) afternoon. If not, you can go to the MCC website, click on Great Lakes (on the left), click on the news item about the Membership Standards issue halfway down the page, and continue clicking your way through until you find the invitation to the meeting and the required registration. Please pass the word along to all the Scouters and Scout parents that you know. Hope you can make it, and I hope to see you there!

    • ASM Mom,
      Make sure your spam filter for your email is not capturing the email from the BSA. Also note that AOL does block a lot of BSA email, including some of these surveys if you are using AOL.

      • Thanks, Bill, but I do check my spam filter regularly, and I do not use AOL. Our email address was on each of our applications when we joined, and was provided to the BSA in our accounts at MyScouting and to our Council and District. There is no doubt that they have our email address. I again provided them our email address and member IDs online when requesting the surveys. We have not yet received anything.

        • I requested the survey last Saturday and didn’t receive it until yesterday, so it may be that it is just taking a while to get it. My son received his first and then my husband and I (both registered leaders) received ours a couple days later.

        • When I requested our surveys, the pop-up message said it could take up to three days to receive them. It’s been five days now, and we still haven’t received them, although KS got one after a week. I’ll keep checking my inbox.

      • I received an email without having to click on a link, sent to me because I am a member of the Scouting Alumni Association. I’m 32…

        • This might sound like a conspiracy theory but have you considered that those who are responsible for the administrating process of his survey are only sending it those people who they know ill give them the answers that they a looking for.

          It wouldn’t be the first time and won’t be the last time

      • I don’t know what the sequence of the roll out of the survey is, but it is not by age. I received one more than two weeks ago. I am a dist/council volunteer, age 58, Oregon….if that helps anyone discern the way the survey is being sent out…..

  4. I was really disappointed in this survey. Question 2 bothered me for the lack of a complete. Scouts agree to be morally straight, not free of urges and temptation. If a 16 year-old revealed his girlfriend was pregnant at an eagle board, I don’t think he would qualify. As for the boy in the question, I would want to know how he acts before casting judgement.

    Personally, I feel like sexuality doesn’t belong in scouting either way. The girl scouts seem to have this figured out. I don’t believe it is immoral to have desires and urges, but how or if we act upon those desires.

    While we must protect our youth, and I believe homosexual relationship are contrary to God’s will. I do not accept the notion that all homosexuals are pedofiles. Two deep is a great policy that discourages many of the situations that most scouts and scouters wish could have been prevented.

  5. If the Boy Scouts need to have public input to decide what the majority of public opinion is to make their decision, then this is another of many reasons I feel that we need to get out of the Scouts all together. We should never be a part of any organization that would not stand by what is right but would instead solicit public opinion to make a decision. Public opinion is always changing and right now it does not reflect propriety in much of anything. Right and truth are absolute and never change, regardless of public opinion. I take full responsibility for my comments.

    • One factor involved has been the chartering organizations. While some very key chartering orgs do not want to see this policy change, others have been increasingly coming to BSA with the request to change it. This includes churches that want to be able to be more inclusive, in line with the ethical principles taught in those churches. If the policy allows each chartering organization to choose its own leaders, churches that teach that homosexuality is wrong would continue to approve leaders as they always have; churches that do not teach this would be able to choose leaders in the way that their membership supports.

      • Ms. Zeller: The ability for individual CO’s to determine their fate regarding the BSA policy toward homosexuality is a farce. The ACLU and the gay rights agenda will not allow for this. Couple what has already been written in the NY times about this being “only the beginning” and you will understand the lawsuits have already been written. What this policy is. is “separate but equal” which was already ruled unconstitutional in the federal busing cases. The policy change will signal the end of the Boy Scouts of America. Please see what happened in England. From 300,000 to 130,000 in a short time.

    • Ken,
      What right do any of us have to pass judgement on someone else. If you need a reminder of what happens when a phobic society tries to exclude another society that doesn’t fit into the normal mould just look at the riots back in the 60′s and te LA ROTS IN THE 80′s.

    • I’m beginning to feel that the survey, and the “listening process,” are not really aimed at gathering a “vote” on whether the policy should be changed or not. Rather, I think the National Council is using this time to figure out how best to announce and implement the new policy once it is changed. Emotions are high all around. This ongoing conversation will help BSA gauge the eventual reaction, and develop a strategy for dealing with it.

      The policy must change – to deny that is to deny the reality of living in the 21st century. How we choose to receive that change is the real question.

      • I think right now this “listening process” is about two things: (1) getting all the emotions out, getting all the arguments out, to get everyone thinking and mentally prepared for a change, if it comes; and (2) taking the measure of how much damage will result from a decision either way, that is — will people really leave? Or are they just blowing off steam now but will ultimately go along? And I do think there is the possibility of a postponement _if_ there hasn’t been enough time to prepare everyone and there is still a risk of big losses (such as major churches).

      • I’m sad to say that I have also had that thought. While I desperately want to believe that these Scouters are honest and trustworthy, the fact that we are having this discussion at all makes me question their integrity. I never thought the day would come when we would have to even think twice about the character of the BSA leadership.

    • I agree with you, Ken. Additionally, a survey was already taken. Apparently someone didn’t get the results they wanted.

      • Dan, it is all about the money. To executives in BSA make megabucks and they need to keep that money coming in to pay themselves. And yes, to answer your question, I will leave if any changes are made.

        • Rolf, I’m not Ken, but we will leave because BSA will no longer be the organization that we joined. It will have abandoned one of its core values, and it will be treating homosexuality as normal. It will become just another service organization instead of one that builds men of integrity. I hope we don’t have to go. The amount of time we have poured into Scouts is staggering when we look back. It has been a big part of our whole family’s lives for many years. But it would be hypocrital to belong to an organization whose core values do not match ours.

        • I felt very sad reading your message, KS. I would hate to see anyone feel they had to leave Scouting, for any reason. It is a good place to be, and full of opportunity of many sorts for our youth, and for adults’ growth in leadership, too.

          I also felt sad to read your words that seemed to me to say that you believe that those whose religious beliefs differ from yours are without integrity. BSA is “absolutely nonsectarian,” in its own words, and that means the organization includes people of many different religious beliefs, all trying to raise our youth in a way that fulfills BSA’s mission, to equip young people to make ethical and moral decisions throughout their lives by instilling in them the principles the Scout Oath and Law. The fact that our religious beliefs differ does not mean that you or I, or others seeking to fulfill that mission, are Scouting without integrity.

        • KS, help me understand a couple things.
          One of the BSA’s core values is rejecting/ejecting gays?
          How does having gays among us mean that our boys cannot grow up to be men of integrity?

  6. I am a former Life Scout from the Northern New Jersey Counsel, some 45+ years ago. I aged out before I was able to complete my Eagle, so I went into the Explorer program.

    My son now 17, will be 18 in September. His is a different story. He started as a Tiger, then a Cub, then a Boy Scout. The his troop folded, so he joined another. There he found that the adult leaders would not accept the completed merit badge cards that he had completed in the old troop. They had problems accepting the work he did on merit badges in their troop.

    Yet the troop leaders had no hesitation in asking him to teach those same subjects to the younger Scouts.

    He and I have talked about this subject “Gays in Scouting”. His conclusion is that they don’t belong. I tried very hard to not influence his decision. I did point out the various passages in the Bible (Old and New, as well as several translations) that had bearing on this subject. I also showed him where the different denominations stood, and why they took that stand.

    Now he is dropping out of Scouts, after turning in all of the work and hours for his Life Scout rank and about half of his Eagle Rank, and turned that they don’t count. And there is no appeal.

    I have another son at home (actually a grandson) that will join Tigers in September. I hope he has a better time of things.

    • Do go talk to your District Executive, derrick, about possible courses of action. There are policies about merit badges, etc., that should apply, and a wise DE will give good advice to you and your son about where to go and what to do.

      • Unfortunately, I have heard this story (or a variation thereof) a few times in the past year. Our troop welcomed three scouts from another troop that was “allegedly” doing the same questionable practices. Two of the scout’s merit badge cards that were signed off at a Merit Badge Camp were not accepted by their original troop’s leadership. Another scout was stuck at 1st Class for two years because he “didn’t show the proper scout spirit.”

        All three of these scouts, along with the father of two of them that had been an Asst. Scoutmaster for the troop came over to “our” troop. There were allegations of “stealing scouts” levelled at our Scoutmaster which were proved to be totally false. (“Stealing” boy scouts is wrong. Webelos however….. they’re fair game but I digress…) What eventually happened was both good AND bad. The older brother made Eagle one week before turning 18 and is now one of our energetic young leaders. The younger brother just made Star Scout at our last court of honor and the third young man (I can’t in all good conscience call him a “boy” anymore) is a Life Scout and is about halfway to earning the Eagle. He has held various positions of leadership within our troop including Asst. Senior Patrol Leader. Maybe it’s just me but I think he’s displaying “proper scout spirit!”

        So what’s the bad? Their original troop is a troop chartered by an organization that is somewhat insular. The troop pretty much gets all of it’s new scouts from cross-overs from the organization’s pack. In the last three years they have crossed over only three scouts with one of them already having quit. Last year our son crossed-over into scouting from that pack but we let him choose the troop he wanted to go to after looking at a few and he chose to go elsewhere. “Our” troop has grown by 14 scouts in the past two years, a healthy growth rate. The other troop has added one but lost 8 or 9 leaving them with only 6 active scouts and 2 of them Eagle or nearly so and ready to age out. This is a troop that is in BIG trouble and I am the last person to ever want to see them fail! The problem became almost insurmoutable when ALL of the 2nd year Webelos visited our troop meeting and then, as a group, decided to join our troop! We didn’t expect that! This is one of those situations where you’re happy and sick at the same time!

        The thing is, the troop’s leadership was doing something that was unacceptable to the scouts and, rather than quit altogether, they chose to move to a different troop where they are flourishing! Your son need not choose to quit Scouting! Find a troop that is a good fit for HIM. It’s not too late! Don’t let him give up because of the actions of others. Our Eagle changed over at 17½ and he made it!

    • Stay in scouting, get the merit badge issue worked out, and earn the Eagle. Even if your son has to do some work all over again to satisfy the troop. We had boys other troops come into my troop and most of them didn’t show much for earning their merit badges. They were pencil whipped for sure. So I understand the troop leadership’s stance on this. We had one scout earn 10 merit badges in two weeks and the parents were the merit badge councilor! Do you think he earned them?

      • This shouldn’t be a problem, and the kid in question shouldn’t be penalised. We have had sours that have joined us from the UK. If the kid has a badge from the UK, that we have here n Australia the we would give then the Australian one. From one troop to another troop within the BSA is a n brainier

    • Please encourage your son NOT to drop out. He may regret it for the rest of his life. I would also recommend obtaining a copy of the Guide to Advancement – once a merit badge is earned, it cannot be taken away – and if your son has his cards to verify completion, he must be given credit. He does not have to start over.
      Please become educated as to the process so that your son receives the proper guidance and encouragement to complete his advancement requirements.

    • Derrick, the Troop leadership is flagrantly violating of the Guide to Advancement, the BSA bible of all advancement issues. I know, I am on our Council Advancement Committee, and extremely familiar with the code in the GTA. The GTA is available in PDF. Get it. Print it. Take it to your Troop Leadership and demand they follow it or you will take the case to a higher authority, the National Council. Troop and Council laedership cannot make up their own rules.

    • Derrick, that is a real shame about your son. Is there really no appeal to the District or Council level? Have you gotten your Council executives involved? I would expect the Council would be pretty upset about some snafu in paperwork causing a boy to drop out of Scouting.

      How in the world could completed merit badge cards from one Troop not be counted at another Troop? If there’s some question, can’t they at least go back and confirm with the individual merit badge counselors that the work was done?

      As far as the question of whether gays belong in Scouting, I hope that isn’t influencing his decision to drop out. I know of one openly gay parent who, while he’s sad that he can’t volunteer in his son’s pack and feels that the current policy is wrong, wants to encourage his son to stay in Scouting because there are so many other good things about it.

      I hope your grandson has a great experience all around! I have two boys, one a Bear and one a brand new Boy Scout, and it’s been so great seeing them grow through Scouting. The problem we have is that Scouting’s current position does conflict with our church’s principles, which is why my wife and I hope Scouting will allow individual units to chart their own course on the “gay issue.”

  7. WOW.
    I realise that I’m not American, but come on guys, really is your country really that homophobic. Haven’t you ever heard of anti discrimination laws or don’t they exist in the USA. Ok the US Military used to ban gays, or at least employed the “don’t ask don’t tell policy”, but now the US Military has move into the 21st century and allow gays into their ranks.

    True when BP first penned the Boy Scouts, being gay was forbidden, but look into history, bisexuals and gays were common place. This day and age, we should be taking someone for what they can do to enhance our organisation.

    The BSA’s homophobic stance is not contained to the USA. I have been approached not only by parents from my scout troop, but strangers and work colleagues about Australia’s stance on Gays. With those in charge of the BSA making a Federal Case out of this issue you are doing more harm to the Scouting Family than you are to enhance the BSA or scouts.

    For the good of the Scouting movement, put this topic to bed. The sexual orientation of a youth member or leader is of no concern to you or any one else. The only thing that the BSA needs to be concerned with is does the adult member have a criminal record for drugs, child molestation or assault (family, spousal or common), these should be what’s concerns the BSA, parents and the media. These are exclusions from our family

    These are my thoughts, from an Australian Scout Leader, who lives in a country where discrimination is against the law and Scouts Australia allows boy, girls, gays and any one else who wants to join


    • I cannot answer the survey as part of the survey, and I know that this forum isn’t really the place to answer them, however I hope Byron will allow me to have my say on this forum.

      1. Strongly oppose. Look at anti discriminations Lara if applicable.
      2. Totally unacceptable. The merit badges required to reach Eagle Scout reflects the ability of the scout to learn/teach they have nothing to do with the scouts sexuality
      3.Totally Acceptable. In my experience gays don’t push themselves onto you. Why is Bob there is the question to ask. Like many scouts Bob is there because he likes the enjoyment of being outdoors.
      4. Totally Acceptable. The mom is there so the boys an be part of a larger family.
      5. Totally Acceptable. By preventing him from joining they are discriminating against sexuality. They say that homosexuality is Wong according to the bible, but the bible also says that no man shall bring a dog into the house o The Lord, and yet we allow guide dogs into the house of the lord.
      6. Totally Acceptable. Refer back to question 3
      7. Totally Acceptale. How can yo accept the position of one and not he other.
      8. Strongly Oppose. You are being a closed mined organisation, that by the sounds of it would like to bring back slavery, bring back the black and white policies of the early 1900′s
      9. Strongly Oppose. The chartered organisation must accept and abide by the BSA’s policy and rules. If the chartered organisation cannot do this then they cannot be part of the Scouting Family
      10. The USA has had a tubulant past. From the days of the first settlers, through to the black and white policy of the 60′s to discriminating against religion. By banning gays you are sending a message to your future leaders that if someone doesn’t fit into the “normal acceptable profile” then it is ok to treat them as a second rate person. How we treat our youth of today will shape the wolrd of tomorrow.
      11. The chartered organisation does not have the right to change policy. If it is the Policy and Rules of the BSA, Then the chartered organisation must comply otherwise you don’t ave an organisation with common goals and value but a series of individual groups that share the same badges.
      12. No. The original 1908 promise
      “Before he becomes a scout, a boy must take the scout’s oath, thus:
      On my honour I promise that—

      I will do my duty to God and the King.
      I will do my best to help others, whatever it costs me.
      I know the scout law, and will obey it.

      And later the WOSM promise
      On my honour I promise that I will do my best—
      To do my duty to God and the King (or to God and my Country)
      To help other people at all times and
      To obey the Scout Law.”
      Actually shows that there is no reference to preventing gays joing the Scouting movement, therefore I would assume that the BSA is working outside of the WOSM charter of scouting.
      13. II would continue

        • Michael,
          I haven’t left “Morally Straight”. These two words only appear in the BSA promise not any other promise.

          This would indicate how narrow minded and predejudicial the people of the USA are, and that when something doesn’t fit into the square box you want to change or exclude it

        • Morrally Straight is very important tennat in the Scout Oath. If the membership requirments are changed to accomodate the liberal ideology the phrase would have to be altered or removed. No matter how you want to rationalize it, homosexual behavior is not in compliance with Morrally Straight. So fit that larger round peg in your smaller square hole.

        • Michael, you need to read the current edition of the Boy Scout Handbook to see what the phrase “Morally Straight” really means. It has absolutely nothing to do with the modern-day common usage of “gay” versus “straight.” It talks about the importance for us all to live our lives in an open and honest manner…

      • yet, there are girls admitted into the Venturing, Exploring, and Sea Scouting programs. the BSA also allows for Female leaders at all levels in any program. so your argument of “it’s Boy Scouts, not Omni Scouts” is wrong.

        • Actually Justin and Ricard you are both wrong. BSA isn’t omni, as omni means “ALL”. Infact the BSA is UNO organisation. To become an Omni organisation there can be no restrictions on any youth wanting to become a member boy, girl, LGBT, disabled. Only then will the BSA become an Omni organisation and move forward into the 21st century

  8. please do not compare some of our BSA children that can be very young with the young men in the military. My sons are not there in maturity and are still impressionable so there is no comparison .

    • Emily,
      If we as parents adopt a positive attitude towards everyone, then our children (I have two girls 8 and 9), will learn to accept people for who they are. If we teach that saying “NO” is ok, then we make this word a better place. However if we treat someone who is different to us, in color, race, sexuality, abilities/disabilities then are we any different to those who we defend our countries from, whether that be the USA, Australia or England.

      By the way, if a child in a wheel chair, who was blind, who was deaf wanted to in scouts what would you say

      And I wasn’t comparing your sons, they are the innocent ones in this. I am comparing the prejudicial views of parents ( yes you) and the leaders in charge of the BSA. Kids don’t care, they learn what we want to teach them, kids don’t know hate, prejudicial behaviour. Kids want to learn to play to have fun

      Sorry if his offends you, but if it does take a good long look in the mirror

      • I would not want my girls in a tent with a man, nor would I want my boys in a tent with a man who is interested in boys/men. Let’s be overly cautious when it comes to our children. Thank you.

        • Eula
          Considering sexual orientation is a personal and private choice, what right do you have in knowing which way Jo Citizen swings.
          I do agree with you on one thing males and females must never share a tent with each other, whether they are youth members, adult members. Our Groups policy extends the Scouts WA policy by adding married couples cannot share a tent or sleeping quarters whilst on any Scouts WA activity.

          If you are so paranoid about gays, is you had better check out the school where your kids go to. Remember 1 in 10 Americians are gay. Do you know all your friends REALLY ????????

        • I don’t want to know anybody’s sexual orientation. The gay folks want to flaunt their behavior in your face. If that were not true we would not be having this discussion. There is no dought that many gay folks have been a part of the scouting program for the last 103 years. The Scouting program has not suffered any negative impact as a result. The personal life of any member is of no concern of scouting except for illegal conduct.

          The current rule of two deep leadership and the other safe guards concerning youth protection are very adiquate.

        • Michael, when Mom and Dad go up with Johnny Tiger to get his rank award, do you have an inkling of their sexual orientation? So would it be okay if Dad and Dad go up with Johnny Tiger? I understand that you don’t want anyone to flaunt their sexual orientation; but it is not really true that we keep everyone’s sexual orientation out of Scouting now, or else you would never know if your Scoutmaster had a wife or not.

        • Michael,
          We are having this debate on this forum, not because gays want to flaunt it in your face, they no more flaunt it in your face as you flaunt it in their face. This debate is simply because the BSA wants to remain in the 18th Century, with 18th Century ideologies. I have finally been able to watch “Are you tougher than a boy scout”, just in case you weren’t aware, do you know there are blacks in the boy scouts. My god how did that happen, did you also know that there is a policy in place for a disabled or handicapped person to join and participate in the Boy Scouts or are they banned in your troop as well. Michael we live in the 21st century, and correct me if I am wrong here but “Scouts should be helpful; understand their society, heritage, and culture; have respect for the rights of others; and be positive leader-citizens”. Here is something new “Respect for the rights of others”, hmmmmmmm wonder what this means. No where in any Scout material have I found any reference to the fact that gays cant do the same as a non-gay.

          You know when I was a kid (I’m now 47), If some one said You’re gay, having a gay time or this is a gay occasion, it meant you were happy or its a happy time or happy occasion. Now if I say your Gay, its almost an invitation to a punch up

          If we as a planet want to grow into more than the sum of the individual parts to this planet we need to stop compartmentalizing those who are different to us, accept that everyone has something to offer and at the end of the day we all come under one umbrella “HOMOSAPIEN”..So, really, we are all, well, homo.

          So Michael, stick that in your “Peace pipe, and smoke it” assuming you have accepted North American Native Indians into your troop

          PS, If I have offended any North American Native Indians, or African-Americans in this post I do apologise its not meant to offend but is just a reference to past American history

        • You did not read my post very well. Like said gays have been a part of scouting for all of the 103 years the BSA has been in existance. I don’t want to know ANYONE’S SEXUAL ORIENTATION. There is less than morally straight sexual conduct happening happening as I type among the scout membership. ANY sexual acts between two individuals (gay or straight) in a scout venue should be addressed immediately and appropriate steps taken to correct the situaltion. That is as much apart of Youth Protection as anythng else.

          Morally straight applies to all the membership.

        • Eula, if your troop or pack has boys in a tent with any man other than their own dad, then the unit is flagrantly violating youth protection policy, and you need to confront it immediately.

        • Eula, thanks to BSA’s current Youth Protection Policies, your boys will ABSOLUTELY NOT be “in a tent with a man who is interested in boys/men,” or a woman for that matter, regardless of whether that man is openly gay, closeted gay (as BSA currently allows), or a straight man/woman who is a pedophile (like Jerry Sandusky and all those women teachers we keep hearing about). Please google “youth protection” and BSA and learn about BSA’s policies on this. Please also go to myscouting.org and take the Youth Protection classes – they’re open to anyone to take and are really good.

  9. Do you still feel that Women should not vote or own property? How about the civil rights movement? Those were once consider “right and just”. Public opinion must be considered to remain a relevant and vital organization.

  10. The survey bias clearly was in favor of the status quo. Questions were written in such a way as to invite answers in support of continued discrimination by the BSA against LGBT Scouts and volunteers. From this, I suspect the BSA and the conservative Christians who run it will get the result they desire. It was possible to overcome this bias by a careful reading of the questions, but as with all such things, I am sure there were those who plowed through without giving clear consideration to each question and how it was being asked.

    • It is interesting that people who are in favor of keeping the policy have seen the survey as favoring change. I suspect this means that the survey is actually a fair and balanced instrument, since both sides see it as a push in the other direction.

      • Karen, I agree with you. The survey was asking tough questions for both sides. I appreciated the fact that it recognized that the current national, top-down policy is effectively discriminating against religious faiths that do NOT view homosexuality as sinful but instead as a God-given trait.

  11. I just tried to access the site for the survey and could not get on; It said the URL could not find the site. I will try again later.
    I do hope that the vote to change the policy will uphold the policy that has been in place for over a hundred years. We as leaders live the morally straight part of the oath and if the national policy changes how can we say morally straight if the national organization does not back up this part of the oath.

    • Many of us read “morally straight” as “seeking what is right and choosing to do it.” The slang term “straight” for “not gay” is much more recent than the Scout Oath. How do we know what is morally straight? In part by relying on the teaching of our faith communities, and they vary on this issue.

    • George, with all due respect you are misinterpreting the meaning of “morally straight.” It does not have to do with “straight” versus “gay.” Here is an exact quote from the Boy Scout Handbook, 11th edition, of what the term “morally straight” means:

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

      Some who support Scouting ending its current national ban on openly gay or lesbian members or leaders feel that the current “it’s okay if you’re closeted, but if you let it slip into the open that you’re gay you’ll be expelled or denied your Eagle” position conflicts with the encouragement to have “honest and open” relationships with others.

      Some who support Scouting’s ending its current ban feel that they are “respecting and defending the rights of all people,” including the gays and lesbians who are their brothers, sisters, parents, children and friends who are being denied the tremendous benefits of Scouting.

      Some who support Scouting’s ending its current national ban feel that they are “remaining faithful in their religious beliefs” by doing so, because their own religious beliefs are open and affirming to gays and lesbians.

      Some who support Scouting’s ending its current national ban feel that there is nothing inherently “unclean in actions” in being openly gay or lesbian. Sexual orientation is not about any specific sexual act. (And take a look at the Boy Scout Handbook’s definition of “A Scout is Clean” which also is silent regarding sexual orientation.)

      I’m not trying to get you to change your own moral beliefs about homosexuality. I’m just trying to make the point that different people of faith and integrity, and who also love Scouting and want the best for its continued existence and growth, feel differently about the issue.

  12. It is too bad that the BSA is making a survey available only to registered members. While I think it is critical to know how the membership feels, and agree that a survey is a good way to take that pulse, it would also be valuable to know how people outside the BSA feel, perhaps by offering a separate survey. In restricting feedback to members, they are asking only their customers and ignoring their much larger market — including folks who would love to register their sons if it weren’t for this anti-gay policy that violates their sense of fairness, ethics, morality, and faith.

    • ASM mom,
      I agree with you the BSA should open the survey up to the public outside of the BSA. They should at least allow members from other scouting groups to join in. I wonder how the BSA would feel knowing that there s a very high probability tat there will be LGBT scouts attending the World Jamoree

      • I agree, David Richardson, it would be of great value for BSA to listen to the counsel of its peers in the World Organization of the Scout Movement. It is egocentric and arrogant not to consult them. Otherwise, why wear that round purple crest? More lip service to ideals that the BSA does not live up to?

      • this is just one phase of the whole issue. I’m sure that not only registered members are the ones to give their responses. the general public (those who are following the issue) will be able to answer with their opinions at a later time. but really, when it comes down to it, I’m sure they want the opinions of those who have a vested interest in the BSA.

  13. “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.”

    Two questions. First, how is “avowed homosexual” defined? Also, I don’t understand “engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.” What behavior to gay scouts, leaders and volunteers potentially engage in that would be a distraction to the mission of the BSA?

    Since I don’t know, I’ll assume this is about sex. Gay sex would be a distraction to the mission of the BSA. Well guess what: ALL SEX is a distraction to the mission of the BSA.

    The tacit implication in this whole debate is that all gays are sexual predators who would harm our boys. That’s utterly offensive and ignorant. It’s like saying all Irish den leaders are alcoholics who will force Guinness upon the kids.

    Gay people are human beings. If there is a gay man, woman or, most importantly, a boy, who wants the camaraderie, education, adventure and FUN of scouting, it is not our place to deny him.

    • Dave,
      I’m impressed the majority on here are so anti gay. It’s a pity that the policy makers aren’t reading his because I have a question for them that I would love to have answered “While the BSA does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members” how can they, the administration be morally straight when they the administration refuse entry to one group who are open therefore being morally straight, whilst the other who are hang it are not

      • Right. We must define “morally straight.” My dictionary says, “derived from or based on ethical principles or a sense of these” and “concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character.” Is a gay person capable of being concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character? Of course! S/he is no more capable/incapable than a straight person. A person who fails in this regard — gay or straight — should not participate in scouting. That’s the measure. Not sexual orientation.

        Perhaps the BSA’s definition includes, “…and does not have sex with a member of his/her own gender,” because that’s what this is all about. Straight people who are skeeved out by gay sex.

        • Dave, haven’t been able to find any but anti discrimination laws are a state based legislation as opposed the Federal. Over here they come under Commonwealth Law which overrides state law

        • Dave, the definition of “morally straight” in the Boy Scout Handbook says and has nothing to do with straight versus gay. Here is an exact quote of the definition: “To be a person of strong character, your relationships with others should be honest and open. You should respect and defend the rights of all people. Be clean in your speech and actions, and remain faithful in your religious beliefs. The values you practice as a Scout will help you shape a life of virtue and self-reliance.”

        • rolfdenver, Forcing gay members to remain closeted preventing them from being “honest and open.”

          So, is a gay person is able to be a person of strong character, whose relationships with others should be honest and open? Can a gay person respect and defend the rights of all people? Could a gay scout demonstrate clean speech and actions that remain faithful to his religious beliefs? The answer to each of those questions is “yes.”

  14. My council has been more open about discussions and getting volunteer feedback. It was presented by the council exec at a fireside chat last week and then they told us about the council meeting next week when we decide our councils position on the subject.

    Gotta wonder if the councils that are not readily allowing discussion are just trying to push the opinions of the council office, and are afraid their charter organizations and volunteers wouldn’t agree.

  15. Thank you David for your following statement “Kids don’t care, they learn what we want to teach them’. Your statement that I copied states what so many of us keep the the current policy parents believe.
    I realize there are some parents that are puttig forth their personal feelings to dictate this current policy as bigotry. I see them as sincere since they love their children.
    In the cry of equal rights there is a push and desire by the leaders of LGBT to infiltrate all aspects of life so that the younger children will be tought to accept their lifestyle. I have seen countless posts by the gay community that state that this change would only be the beginning. All inclusion or nothing. The very ones that claim they just want BSA to accept the boys are back stabbing BSA by filing petition after petition to withhold donations to BSA. Perhaps they will coerce BSA to allow them in “openly”. I honestly would not want to force my way in to a group , and I do not equate this with a race.
    I also have a smart 8 year old girl . I want her and her brothers to be good upright citizens of the USA . Due to our work field, our children have seen and heard of many tragedies. I wish they did not have to face the news of 1st graders being shot or knowing of 911. They also know to be kind to all whether in a wheelchair or if a child has two dads or a big old Brady bunch like family. The other important aspect of parenting, which might be lacking today, is to teach our young children to obey rules. What a concept ! If you do not meet the requirements for a certain school team or group either work on it , or start your own. Takes a real leader to do that though. Seems easier to start petitions to tear down an iconic group.

    • Many of us who want the change are not members of an LGBT organization. We’re just parents and Scouters who want our children to grow up knowing that LGBT people are no different from straight people. Children who are taught that LGBT people are so vile that they shouldn’t learn, play, and work alongside them are not learning to be kind, loyal, friendly, or reverent. We are not trying to “tear down an iconic group”, but nudge the BSA to live up to its own Law and Oath by getting rid of an offensive, inflammatory, and wrongheaded policy that rejects quality volunteers and ejects boys based on something that has nothing to do with the content of their character. My husband and I and our two sons are straight, and we all feel this way. Stop making this out to be a gay conspiracy. We are the BSA, and we want our BSA to focus on character as the sole criterion for membership, not character plus sexual orientation. Sex and sexual issues should have no place in Scouting.

      • This is the exact reason for the policy to begin with. The BSA does 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 BSA has always had a policy to relegate issues of sexuality to parents and religious leaders. Offering membership to those who are open or public regarding these issues is a distraction from the mission of the BSA and introduces subjects that don’t belong in Scouting.

        • SA/CM
          when you have been charged with a crime you go to court, it is up to the DPP to prove you guilty beyond reasonable doubt. I challenge you “To prove beyond reasonable doubt” the evidence to substantiate the following statements

          1. You stated “Offering membership to those who are open or public regarding these issues is a distraction from the mission of the BSA and introduces subjects that don’t belong in Scouting.”

          2. The statement from the BSA “The BSA does 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.”

          Prove beyond reasonable doubt

        • David Richardson,
          I don’t quite understand the correlation between a criminal offense and membership requirements to a private organization. I understand that the BSA can exclude anyone who they feel presents a distraction from their mission. This could mean someone who is extremely vocal in political topics, someone who models in an inappropriate magazine, or someone who commonly uses profanity. Since sexuality is a subject which the BSA relegates to parents and religious leaders, anyone who is open or public about their sexuality (e.g. defining oneself by one’s sexuality) is thereby bringing their sexuality with them wherever they go-including scouting events. If someone were private about their sexuality, even if they are doing things which go against most religious practices, they wouldn’t be in violation of the BSA’s policy.
          The BSA wouldn’t have the burden to prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt, that is reserved for criminal proceedings. If someone sued them for denial of membership, they would have a much lower burden of proof to prove that the person engages in activities which are a distraction from their mission, and that said activities are in actuality a distraction from that mission.

        • SM/CM
          I raised these two points
          1. You stated “Offering membership to those who are open or public regarding these issues is a distraction from the mission of the BSA and introduces subjects that don’t belong in Scouting.”

          2. The statement from the BSA “The BSA does 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 am asking you to prove beyond reasonable doubt the above statements from the BSA are true, but the question is how are you go no to prove these statements to be true as there is no previous findings where it has been proven that individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to any body or organisation either private o public.

          Good luck mate.

        • I agree with you that discussion of sexuality, just like discussion of religion, doesn’t belong in Scouting. Scouting is very, very careful to be “absolutely nonsectarian” and to leave religion to be taught by the parents and religious leaders.

          But my religious leaders, and the parents in my church including my wife and I, believe that homosexuality is not sinful and is instead a God-given trait, and that gays and lesbians are fully entitled to an equal seat at God’s table without having to compromise or hide who they are. That being said, we would be very upset if anyone – gay, straight, open or closeted – were trying to discuss sexuality or engage in behavior that would be a distraction to Scouting. There’s a difference between being “openly gay” in a respectful, mature manner and, say, acting like you’re a marcher in a Gay Pride Parade. :-)

      • “Sex and sexual issues should have no place in Scouting” that’s what I call hitting the nail on the head!!

        • Yes, I agree. Let’s get rid of the language in the membership standards that makes sexual orientation an issue.

      • please, are u kidding . my bible says being gay is wrong , the scout oath say duty to god , scout law says reverent. u cant mix and match based on what individual people believe or dont believe .no other organization does, do u feel that the bsa is discriminating against girls for not allowing them in cubscouts ? u wanna change that tooo , or maybe we should let each charter org decide that to see how that works out , do u feel that by not allowing adults earn ranks too is discriminating against adults , what about the atheists u wanna let them in too ? the policy is the policy , if u dont meet the criteria , its not discrimination , u simply just dont meet the criteria

        • not all scouts have the same god. not all scouts have the same faith. that’s why there is a nonsectarian policy in place that you must agree to in order to apply. you’re kidding yourself if you think that you can’t “mix and match based on what individual people believe or don’t believe”. why do you think the BSA has so many different faith-based awards? they don’t just focus on the Bible, and the bible doesn’t even come into play in any BSA Handbook.

          those that use the Bible as a crutch in this issue need to stop. if people keep wanting to quote Bible verses, try this one on for size: “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but though shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. ~Leviticus 19:18″. the Golden Rule. “Do unto others as you would have done unto you”.

          that said, are gays and lesbians not our brothers, sisters, or neighbors? are they not people just like you? do they not breathe the same air, or walk the same earth as you do? do they not shop in the same stores, or enjoy the same sort of things as yourself? only thing different with them is the company they keep.

      • Perfectly said, ASM mom. My wife and I are straight, Christian, with two boys currently in Scouting, and feel exactly the same way you do.

        We’re concerned that the current policy violates our family’s religious beliefs, and that as our sons get older they will (1) quit because they’ve heard that Scouting is a discriminatory group and (2) perhaps even worse, ask how in the world we their parents were able to rationalize allowing them to continue in a discriminatory group.

  16. I have a question regarding number 9:
    9. Different organizations that charter Boy Scout troops have different positions on the morality of homosexuality. Do you support or oppose allowing charter organizations to follow their own beliefs when selecting Boy Scout members and adult leaders, if that means there will be different standards from one organization to the next.

    Is this question referring just to homosexuality or is it referring to other aspects as well? If someone feels that the current policy should stand, but also feels that charter organizations should be able to follow their own beliefs when selecting members and leaders. (i.e. A religious charter organization only allowing membership to its units to those who devoutly follow that religion)

    • SM/CM
      The way I interpreted this question when I answered the survey in this forum was just regarding the homosexuality debate that is presently consuming you all.

      However you raise a valid point, it starts with homosexuality, then it spreads.

      I remember reading that until 1939 there were Boy Scouts in Germany, then a leader decided that a name change was appropriate just because he didn’t like something.

      Be careful the BSA might end up going down the same road

    • This is a concern for me as well. If a chartered organization can make it a policy for their units to exclude gays, can it also establish policy to exclude African-Americans? immigrants? Jews? those who disagree with Rush Limbaugh? This is a valid question, given the BSA’s history of turning a blind eye to discrimination in various forms.
      I believe they meant the question to pertain to the question at hand, i.e. gays, but its poor wording leaves its interpretation wide open. I hope they use greater circumspection when they revise policy than they do when they write a survey.

      • There are practical and valid reasons that a charter organization might want to limit its membership. Charter organizations “own” and run the units. Many of them use the BSA program as part of their youth program, which is one of the ways the BSA “sells” Scouting. If every unit were required to accept everyone, it would defeat the purpose of allowing a charter organization to use Scouting for its own youth program.

        A school can use BSA programs for its after school program, though why should it be obligated to take in members from outside the school. Some religious organizations use it as their youth program. To require them to accept members from outside the religion would be a disservice to both the youth and the organization-they would either have to create separate programming with adult supervision for the other boys (which could cause jealousy and resentment), require all of the boys to participate in the religious programming (which the BSA doesn’t allow and neither does our religion), or water down their own programming so that everyone can be included.

        Our units spend a minimum of two hours each day on religious practice during camping trips and generally doesn’t go camping on the Sabbath. We have many dietary restrictions and go camping on weekdays when the boys have off from school. If we were the only unit in the area, a boy who doesn’t practice our religion would be better off as a Lone Scout.

        We aren’t bigoted or discriminatory. We teach the boys to be kind and respectful to all people.

  17. Hopefully in CEO’s are going to push for Scouting to be more inclusive, maybe they will help create a ‘Unit Commissioner Service’ for ‘Young Executives” to be involved in. EVERY UNIT SHOULD HAVE A UNIT COMMISSIONER, TRAINED, AND GOOD TO GO. We need help!

    I am grateful to BSA and my council for providing multiple opportunities and forums for discussion of this issue (including this blog — thanks, Bryan!). My position has evolved over the last couple of weeks as a result of trying to understand what others were saying and why, and trying to translate my own views and feelings into reasonable statements.

    I am still firmly convinced that we need a Scouting program that is open to all regardless of sexual orientation or belief in God. But because of these discussions, I am also convinced that we need a Scouting program in which people of faith can feel comfortable, welcome, and supported in pursuing their duty to God, even when that means that sincere, reasoned, and well-formed belief requires the active avoidance of certain influences and environments. That is the program that the Boy Scouts of America has been providing. If BSA stops providing such a program, our members of faith will find it elsewhere or build it themselves, as they are entitled to do under our distinctly American principles.

    There is no organization that can do a Scouting-type program in the United States better than the BSA. There is no reason that we cannot do it in both Vanilla Bean and Rainbow Sherbet flavors.

    In fact, we already are. In 2012, there were 116,589 youth in 5,285 Explorer posts. The career-oriented Exploring program is under BSA’s subsidiary, the Learning for Life corporation (LFL). In 1998, BSA’s traditional Exploring program was split into Venturing, which remained a traditional program in BSA, and the current LFL Exploring program. And that split was a result of precisely the same issues we are dealing with today. Career-oriented Explorer posts were sponsored by governmental units and other organizations increasingly uncomfortable with BSA’s exclusionary membership standards. And so those posts were moved to LFL and are governed by LFL’s non-discrimination policy: “Color, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic background, disability, economic status or citizenship is not criteria for participation.” Explorer posts work just like traditional BSA units, and are supported by our councils just like traditional BSA units.

    We already have the Venturing/Exploring experience as a prototype. Let’s use the structure and resources we already have to expand our Scouting program to serve not only our current membership, much of which is provided by faith-based organizations, but also the youth we have been missing out on all of these years because we have not been welcome in schools and other governmental and inclusive community organizations. We know what a strong outdoor-based character and leadership program can do. Now is the time for a complete (and fully co-ed) LFL Scouting program that parallels our traditional BSA Scouting programs. Those who seek a forward-looking non-discriminatory Scouting program can find it in BSA’s LFL Scouting; those who seek the comfort of a “traditional” Scouting program can find it in BSA’s current programs with their existing policies.

    All this time, we could have done so much and served so many. America needs us now more than ever. It is not too late for us to come into the 21st century — or to capture it and make it our own.

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