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. Considering the lack of transparency up to now (unless this two-year report is available to all of us and I just didn’t get that memo), three months isn’t long enough. We need at least a year; again, under the circumstances as I have described.

      • So likely we should exclude kids who are overweight since that is the biggest issue facing our children these days. Your argument would mean they are not morally straight. Most homosexuals I know don’t have a platform, just as most heterosexuals don’t have a platform.

        • A kid who is overweight and we all recognize he has a problem (including the kid) is different than a kid that is struggling with same-sex attraction and a good portion of the people want to affirm the disorder and not recognize or acknowledge that he has a problem. I get it that many here don’t believe it is a problem, but many others do believe it, in good faith and sincerity. At this point I fear a split is inevitable, regardless of the decision.

      • Mike, I respectfully disagree with your comments.

        1. Please read the Boy Scout Handbook’s definition of “morally straight.” It has absolutely nothing to do with “straight” versus “gay.”
        2. A person can be gay, or straight, without engaging in any particular physical activity. (And what about the lesbian Cub Scout leader who was recently expelled, to her son’s shame and confusion?)
        3. You realize that Scouting currently allows gays as long as they are not “open” (i.e., closeted)? Yet aren’t they engaging in the same activities, according to your analysis?
        4. The “Homosexual Platform” you’re referring to was a resolution passed by some extinct group FORTY YEARS AGO (1972) in Chicago. You might as well judge all us heterosexuals by Jerry Lee Lewis’s marrying a minor. C’mon, let’s get serious.

        “The Question Remains”: How can Scouting continue to profess to be “absolutely nonsectarian” when its current position violates the rights of numerous religious groups – including the United Church of Christ, some Episcopalians, and others – who believe as a matter of religious principle that gays and lesbians are equal before God and that homosexuality is not a sin? I realize your own faith must have a different opinion; that is why the proposal to leave this matter to individual chartered organizations is a reasonable solution.

        Just so you don’t think I’m some outside agitator or member of the “homosexual lobby”: I am a committed, long-term Scouter, straight parent of current Scouts, Eagle Scout, Wood Badge, Sunday School teacher, and BSA God and Me Counselor. I look at this through the prism of three rules that a wise district commissioner told me about:

        Rule #1: What’s best for the boys?
        Rule #2: What’s best for the boys?
        Rule #3: Refer back to Rule #s 1 and 2.

        I love Scouting and feel that this current nationwide, one-size-fits-all ban is extremely harmful to our great organization – and most of all to our boys.) Thanks for the opportunity to comment!

        • What is “BEST for the boys” (IMO) is to have Scout Leaders and other Scouts who do NOT engage in UNHEALTHY behavior. I realize that you have no response to this point, because to do so would require that you take issue with the Center for Disease Control.

          So here is another question: How can the BSA protect it’s code, it’s oath, or it’s support for “Traditional Family Values,” if it accepts people who “Openly” engage in UNHEALTHY behavior? If someone tells you they are GAY, they are telling you that they want you to respect their choice to engage in behavior that is UNHEALTHY.

          Here is another health related question: Would you knowingly accept a blood transfusion from a person who engaged in homosexual behavior? Would you want someone telling your children that it’s OK to be Gay, when we know that it’s UNHEALTHY?

          Your Homosexual Talking Points are NOT in the best interests of the BSA (IMO) BTW….Most parents and “Scouters” who sees the “New Joy of Gay Sex (in their local Library) would become “Disgust-a-phobic.” I sincerely hope that the BSA continues with the policies that have served them well for the last hundred years.

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

        • You’re a quick study! That’s great….
          In 2016, we will finally be rid of Obama, and hopefully, Scouting will be safe from those who engage in UNHEALTHY behavior (of ANY kind).

      • Does that mean we should start excluding heterosexual adult leaders who engage in anal sex? Are we really going to return to the days of the Sodomy laws? I took Wood Badge for the 21st century, not the 12th century.

        • Mike C, in the spirit of the Scout Law I ask that you please refrain from calling a Scoutmaster and Wood Badge graduate who happens to disagree with you a “Homosexual Infiltrator.”

          I’m curious: what’s your affiliation with Scouting? Are you a current Scouter, and if so in what capacity? What’s your background in Scouting, and why do you feel so strongly about this issue? Of course you don’t have to tell us anything if you don’t want to.

        • Mike C…there is no behavior more unhealthy than discrimination and bigotry. Lets not teach it to our sons.

        • Rich Wellen:

          Please stop referring to people as “bigots” simply because they are on the other side of an issue. This is not about race or sex or creed, but about behavior, whether its conduct or the espousal thereof. To disagree with or disapprove of someone’s conduct is not the same as hating them.

          I for one am not a bigot for what I believe, and I will assure the moderator of this forum that such name-calling is counter-productive, and reflects poorly on this venue.

          Enough already!!!

        • Manwithblackhat, in fairness I think Rich was referring to the statement by Mike C – later removed – that Scoutmaster Jason was a “homosexual infiltrator.” I trust you would agree that that is a bigoted statement.

          I absolutely respect where you’re coming from, although I disagree with you, and although I don’t know him I believe from the tenor of his comments that Rich would feel the same way. Agree 100% that accusations of bigotry simply because someone supports the current policy are wrong.

        • If it was open and avowed, absolutely. An adult’s sexual exploits should not be known by the children he is mentoring.

        • Thanks for confirming that the CDC link I posted was indeed the correct one – Manwithblackhat, please take note. Now we can all go and look at that link and see what it actually says. The other link you posted from the “freepublic” website is not a CDC study and does not contain a link to a CDC study.

        • Rolf:

          Indeed, I did take note of the report. I also read it. Among the 10 categories listed are “sexual behaviors.” In more detail, they describe, among other things, “sexual behaviors that contribute to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV infection …” I don’t think they meant that “unintended pregnancy” was unhealthy in and of itself, but that it is a side effect of taking risks.

          There is obviously more to this, but there is just enough to lend at least some credence to Mike C. A more conclusive account would be preferable, which means I’ve got articles from two medical journals dating to the early 90s to look for.

          Let’s hope they’re on the internet. Wish me luck.

        • Mike C: when you say, “To answer your question: I’m a former Scout. My current roll [sic] in scouting is to protect the code, the oath, and the laws from Homosexual “Infiltrators.”

          … are you currently a registered Scouter?

        • “… are you currently a registered Scouter?”

          I’m struggling to understand how that question is relevant to the topic.

      • I don’t understand where you think there is a platform involved. The health issue, okay I see that. HOWEVER, this is not going on in front any youth. Therefore, it should not be a concern. I have went through the scouting program. I made it all the way to Eagle. I have inspired the scouts in my troop. I was the First Assistant Scoutmaster. The youth did not know, nor did they need to. However, the parents DID know. They were not concerned in the slightest bit. They were never uncomfortable about me being around the scouts. The only reason I use the past tense is because I have since graduated college, and become a commissioned United States Naval Officer. Besides, how are you going to teach the youth about being “friendly, courteous, and kind”? As “Scoutmaster Jason” said “..21st century, not the 12th century”. I hate to break it to you, but times are changing. It’s no longer taboo to be homosexual. Before you know it marriage will be strengthened in all states by same sex couples being able to express their love to each other the same way a heterosexual couple can. These will become the next families to have their children going through BSA and GSA.

        • Homosexual behavior should be a “Taboo” because it is UNHEALTHY. The other 97% of the population needs to better understand your Agenda, so they can protect children (in or out of Scouting).
          THIS discussion is (or ought to be) about WHY people, who engage in UNHEALTHY behavior (in or out of Scouting) should not be roll models for our youth. If anyone questions why we should reject the homosexual agenda, let them look to Massachusetts. If anyone wonders where such a change will lead, Again…let them look to Massachusetts. See…

    • Does anyone know where we can get a copy? What concerns me is that it was decided, matter closed, but “hey, we didn’t get to hear from every corner” so opened up. Will it be “opened up” again and again until the desired result is obtained?

  2. right sure no outside group have any influence. Not the who threatened to withdraw their donations unless BSA allows openly gay leaders, That had absolutely nothing to do with this SURE SURE !! And if anyone believe that there is a Bridge in Brooklyn for sale.

  3. Glad to see that the reports will be publicly available this time.

    The post included the following statement: “Based on the results of the vote, the BSA will determine and implement the next steps for the organization.”

    That wording seems deliberately vague. Will the BSA consider itself bound by a majority or plurality vote, or will they simply use that result as input when they “determine and implement the next steps?” And, in this context, does “BSA” mean the Executive Board, or the National Council?

    I’m deliberately not stating my personal position on the issue. I’m just seeking to understand the process, and to help set expectations for the coming months.

  4. Thank you for the opportunity to weigh in on this important family discussion. I will forward this information to our Scoutmaster also. You’ll receive my opinion, respectfully written, in the next week.

  5. A Scout is Kind. There is nothing kind in a policy that bars a whole group of kids from scouting and tells them they are not good enough, because of factors that are beyond beyond their control. A Scout is Brave. Sometimes bravery means standing up and doing what is right despite the strong arming of religious institutions and potential loss of revenues.

        • That is true Rich and what about two-deep leadership that keeps all predators away from all scouts? Why is two-deep leadership not enough to protect any scout in all activities and all situations if that is what the fear is? I am a female ASM and why am I not considered a threat when I am the opposite sex of all boy scouts? When were women leaders allowed in scouting? Certainly that was not on the books from the beginning either.

        • I am a Scoutmaster and have been a lifelong Scouter. First and foremost, I am a father and grandfather to Scouters and Scouts, Secondly, I am a Christian, as many in Scouting are. I don’t have it here directly in front of me, but in Ephesians, the Lord states that these acts are an abomination in the eyes of God. That is enough for me, whether it’s homosexual or pedophilia. I put them in the same vein when pertaining to Scouts. This is especially true when involving young Scouts. We are not the Baby Setters of America, even though many parents use us in this manner and do not involve themselves with their Scouts journey through Scouting in the same way they do not explain the “birds and bees” with their young boys. Instead they choose to either turn their head and look the other way and let the advancing liberal minded and agnosticeducators and school administrators teach their idealogies on to our children. Look at the news and see how many schools are giving out birth control condoms and what not to middle schoolers. What ever happened to abstaining from sexual activities. Ouur troop makes every attempt to concentrate on the outdoor scouting experience and excerises. As volunteer adults we already have enough on our plates trying to teach the boys the Scout Law in their Scouting activities, I don’t think we should be further burdened with these social issues. Parents have to take responcibility for their children. Thanks for giving me the soapbox for a few minutes, now I will step down. Oh, one more thing,my grandson that I am raising will be a lone Scout and I will resign as a Scoutmaster before I will subject him to this national political travesty. I am qualified and can insure that he gets as much out of Scouting as I have without having to have him confused by un-nature acts like this.

        • Pedophilia ends where puberty begins. Boy Scouts 12+ and all Venturers are not of interest to pedophiles, they are of interest to homosexuals.

      • We have checks and balances to protect our youth from predators in the Scout organization. This is not the problem and this whole thing has been distorted by implying that Homosexuals are automatically pedophiles and therefore not welcome solely on that basis. The Boys Scouts were founded on biblical principles and is still today a private religious organization. Homosexual and Athiest role models just don’t fit in, Period!

        • The US Census reports that gays make up 3 to 4 percent of the population. The percent of pedophiles in the general population is about 4 percent, but according to the FBI Crime Statistics, the rate is 35 percent among gay men. Obviously not all gay men are pedophiles, but the above would suggest that the likelihood among them is greater than with the general population.

        • Actually, not all pedophiles are homosexuals. Pedophiles are people that use sex to control others; they are not being sexually gratified by the characteristics of the person they are molesting/raping/dominating, but by the feeling they get from that ability to dominate. Pedophiles have been known to have wives and girlfriends while still raping little boys and girls- but in all situations they are the sexual agressor and like to make their partner (consenting or not consenting) feel small, dominated, and subordinate

        • Baden Powell gave me that impression by some of his writings;

          “Scouting is nothing less than applied Christianity.”

          “Christ gave his life to show us that example, namely, to “Be Prepared” – no matter what it costs to ourselves – to do the right thing for others.”

          “The scout, in his promise, undertakes to do his duty to his king and his country only in the second place; his first duty is to God. It is with this idea before us and reckoning that God is the one Father of us all, that we scouts count ourselves as a brotherhood despite the differences among us of country, creed, or class. We realize that in addition to the interest of our particular country, there is a higher mission before us – namely, the promotion of the kingdom of God; that is, the rule of peace and goodwill on earth. In the Scouts, each form of religion is respected and its active practice encouraged, and through the spread of brotherhood in all countries, we have the opportunity of developing the spirit of mutual goodwill and understanding.”

          “Therefore, we put into his activities the practice of Good Turns in his daily life as a foundation of future goodwill and helpfulness to others. The religious basis underlying this is common to all denominations, and we, therefore, interfere with the form of none.”

          “There is no religious side to the movement. The whole of it is based on religion that is, on the realization and service to God.”

          “No man is much good unless he believes in God and obeys His laws. So every Scout should have a religion….Religion seems a very simple thing: First: Love and Serve God. Second: Love and Serve your Neighbor.

          “Let us, therefore, in training our Scouts, keep the higher aims in the forefront, not let themselves get too absorbed in the steps. Don’t let the technical outweigh the moral, field efficiency, backwoodsmanship, camping, hiking, good turns, jamboree, and comradeship are, by all means not the end. The end is character with a purpose.”

          “And that purpose, that the next generation may be sane in an insane world, and develop the higher realization of service, active sense of love, and duty to God and neighbor.”

          “Our objective in the scout movement is to give such help as we can in bringing about God’s kingdom on earth by inoculating among the youth the spirit and the daily practice in their lives of selfish goodwill and cooperation.”

          “…We aim for the practice of Christianity in their everyday life and dealings, and not merely the profession of theology on Sundays… The cooperation of tiny sea insects has brought about the formation of coral Islands. No enterprise is too big where there is good will and co-operation carrying it out. Every day we are turning away boys anxious to join the Movement, because we have no men or women to take them in hand. There is a vast reserve of loyal patriotism and Christian spirit lying dormant in our nation today, mainly because it sees no direct opportunity for expressing itself. Here in this joyous brotherhood there is a vast opportunity open to all in a happy work that shows the results under your hands and a work that is worth while because it gives every man his chance of service for his fellow-men and for God.”

          “It is curious to me that men who profess to be good Christians often forget, in a difficulty, to ask themselves the simple question: “What would Christ have done under the circumstances?” and be guided accordingly. Try it the next time you are in any difficulty or doubt as to how to proceed.”

          –Compiled from Robert Baden-Powell writings including but not limited to “Scouting and Christianity”, 1917, “Scouting for Boys”, 1908 and “Adventuring to Manhood”, 1936.

        • So Mike Walton….I have no clue?

          I think Baden Powell was onto something, something great. It is those who have no clue that are so quick to destroy one of the last clean and wholesome youth organizations. An organization that is safe for our youth and with role models to guide them and help bring them up as upstanding citizens.

        • Scouting has rarely enforced any one particular interpretation of scripture. Many Christians interpret the Gospel to be inclusive of homosexuals – notably Mark 7:15 and Matthew 19:12. To debate which interpretation of those (and other) verses is correct isn’t the function of the BSA. Tolerance for Chartering Organizations’ particular religious views, however, is very much in keeping with the Scout Law.

        • Manwithablackhat (thanks for the source) and thanks to John E. Masters for making the ultimate point. “Homosexual and Athiest role models just don’t fit in, Period!” (IMO) the reason people who engage in homosexual behavior do not fit, is because that behavior is UNHEALTHY! (period)!

    • A Scout keeps himself morally straight. To many, homosexual behavior and morally straight cannot co-exist. Aside from that this is a PRIVATE issue. An issue between Scouts, Volunteers and people involved in Scouting. The public should worry about their own house not ours.

      • This is a HEALTH issue, and not just a MORAL issue.

        WASHINGTON, February 14, 2008 ( – In a public statement last Friday, Matt Foreman, outgoing Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, rattled the homosexual activist community by joining the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pro-family organizations and a growing number of homosexual activists willing to admit that homosexual behavior is both extremely high-risk and primarily responsible for the spread of HIV/AIDS in the U.S.

        Addressing the topic of AIDS, Foreman drastically deviated from the “gay” lobby’s party line by admitting, “Internally, when these numbers come out, the ‘established’ gay community seems to have a collective shrug as if this isn’t our problem. Folks, with 70 percent of the people in this country living with HIV being gay or bi, we cannot deny that HIV is a gay disease. We have to own that and face up to that.”

        How will admitting people, who enguage in UNHEALTHY behavior, help recruitment and/or retention?

        • Reading down this comment thread, I keep seeing your name pop up, and each time you equate the concept of being gay with the act of gay sex – i’m sorry, “homosexual behavior”.
          Homosexual behavior, such as that which spreads disease, has no place in the Boy Scouts of America – for the same reason that heterosexual behavior of similar nature has no place either (such as in co-ed Venture crews). The Scout Handbook already encourages abstinence and moral responsibility.
          For the author of that article about the boy in the troop who was inappropriately touching other boys: that’s not something that would be accepted under any membership policy. Banning gay boys and leaders from Boy Scout troops because they might be attracted to other scouts is no different than banning straight boys from Venture crews and straight leaders from Cub Scouting because they might be attracted to the other members of the group?
          Sexual harassment in ANY FORM is unacceptable and SHOULD be punished. Sexual attraction is a completely different subject.
          Also, most pedophiles are not gay. Do your homework, ignorant commenters.
          And somebody tell me why lesbian den mothers are a threat to Cub Scouts, because I just can’t understand that one.

        • Well “Integersatcopyrightaitch” that’s because if we leave this thread to the “GAP” (Gay Activist Patrol), the TRUTH about your Agenda will remain unclear. We want to Protect the BSA for people who “Openly” profess to be homosexuals (therefore admitting to engaging in UNHEALTHY behavior)

        • As a heterosexual Eagle Scout and Vigil Honor member, my agenda is merely to allow every boy the opportunity to enjoy a Scouting experience similar to the one I’ve had. Is that such a terrible TRUTH, Mike C?
          Your logic is flawed. If I declare that I am heterosexual, does that mean I must be engaging in sexual relations with a member(s) of the opposite sex? Of course not. It just means that were I to, that is who it would be with.
          Saying that males who openly profess to be homosexuals must be having sexual relations with other males is like asserting that people who profess to be Muslims want to blow up Americans or that people who profess to be of Mexican descent are in the United States illegally.
          Also, still not sure how any of your arguments justify the removal of a lesbian den mother (who, according to Mike C, is having regular sexual relations with other women) when the CDC (admittedly a bit outdated now) would say that female-female relations are much less risky/unhealthy

        • Integersatcopyrightaitch:

          “Also, still not sure how any of your arguments justify the removal of a lesbian den mother …”

          Perhaps I can help.

          You are correct in one respect. For obvious reasons, same-sex activity poses much less health risks for women than it does for men. Personally, I didn’t need the CDC’s word on that one. However, were the BSA to retain its current policy, and bar openly gay men, but not openly gay women, from positions in Scouting, that would be discrimination based solely on gender (that is, male vs female, or vice versa). The High Court ruling on this issue some years ago was in favor of women, but could just as easily apply to men. So the current policy still confines itself to behavior, but without regard to whether women or men are concerned.

        • I am correct in only “one respect”, black hat? Please do go on to refute the points I am “incorrect” on.

        • Integersatcopyrightaitch:

          I already have. You need to actually read it. Slowly. (Now, if you’ll excuse me, there are recharters to be completed at the eleventh hour. TTFN!)

        • Integers,

          Seems like you misunderstand the basis for the BSA policy. The basis is not a concern for violation of some rules of conduct during some Scout activity. The issue is that BSA considers homosexuality to be inconsistent with the values of the Scout Oath and Law, specifically, “morally straight” and “a Scout is clean.” That as a result, BSA considers homosexuals to be unsuitable as role models for young men and women.

          This exclusion is not based on instances of any specific acts. It is based on the moral view that homosexuality as a lifestyle is not consistent with a vision of sexually responsible manhood that affirms the ideal of marital fidelity as the complementary union of one man and one woman for life.

          You might consider this an outdated or quaint moral view, and that is your prerogative.

          But in our current epidemic of fatherlessness and male irresponsibility, many believe that affirming and strengthening marriage is what is best for society and for children. Sending boys into the hook-up culture of college and young adulthood without a model of sexual responsibility does no favors for them or for society. Those who devalue marriage by dismissing it is “just a peice of paper” or defining it to be any kind of relationship people want it to be does not help us raise a generation of men who will commit to one woman for life and shoulder the burden of responsibility for his children.

    • Please show me an example where a youth was denied membership in the Boy Scouts due to sexual orientation. I only know of Leaders that have been denied membership due to the fact that they are not the Role Model that this private, religious organization (aka Boy Scouts) is looking for.

        • Ryan was not denied membership. He was denied Eagle Rank since he did not meet the minimum standards of Eagle. It was unfortunate the way he was treated and bullied. That was not very Scout like.

      • John, please Google “Ryan Andresen.” Or “Zach Wahls.” Just for starters. There have been boys on the cusp of earning their Eagle Scout rank – having completed their service projects, getting the approval of their local Court of Honor, and having the support of their local Troop – who have then been unceremoniously dumped from Scouting by some bureaucrat from afar because some meddler reported that at some time they’d “openly” stated they were gay. It’s shameful and wrong.

        • I have. Again they were not denied membership as youth, only Eagle rank. It looks like Zach earned his Eagle, but once you turn 18 BSA can deny your membership as a Leader if you are a proclaimed homosexual activist.

          This is about our leadership, not our youth.

        • I chose to leave Scouting as 16-year-old Life Scout, ASPL, and OA member with 23 merit badges and a completed Eagle service project because I was struggling with my religious faith and could no longer in good faith profess a “duty to God.” It is sad when a boy steps off the Scouting trail as a result of his own moral choices, but not the end of the world. It was in part Scouting’s firm position on “reverance” and the influence of my peers who stayed with the program that I got back on the right track later in life.

          What serves a boy better: maintaining a strong moral compass even when a boy goes off course or dropping our moral compass to spare his feelings while he wanders in a moral wilderness?

        • Zach Walls has disqualified himself from any Scouting honor through his own scorched-earth campaign against his former fellow Scouts. He routinely shows disdain for the views of other Scouters whom he disagrees with. In his website and Facebook pages, he reacts with glee to every misfortune he inflicts upon BSA, every sponsor who withdraws support, every negative news story. He has launched a boycott campaign to de-fund the BSA, damaging the program for the boys it currently serves. He has selfishly pursued his personal political agenda at the expense of others. I am sure he endured many unkindnesses as a result of his personal and family circumstances. Nonetheless, his actions cannot be reconciled with “a Scout is…Loyal, Helpful, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, or Reverent.” I am not sorry that he was expelled from BSA.

          I do not say this merely on the basis of his own homosexuality or his position regarding this issue. There are many Scouters and Scouts who oppose the current policy honestly and are working in good faith within the BSA organization and their Chartering Organizations for a change based on their own moral convictions. But Zach Walls has taken a very low road in pursuing his White Whale.

      • The most recent example is that of Ryan Anderson in California, who was denied his Eagle by his unit. In attempting to fulfil the Oath & Law, he was honest with himself and his unit, and was told that he was violating the Oath & Law.

      • Deanna,

        Your cousin was denied membership as a leader, not a youth Scout.

        The program is open to all youth. We should be allowed to hand select the leadership that meet the minimum standards.

        • EXACTLY, Eric! “We should be allowed to hand select the leadership.” And the “we” is the local chartered organization and the local pack or troop committees, who are in the best position to determine a potential leader’s overall character – without artificial interference from national BSA based on an unclear standard that none of us Scouters who actually approve leaders is even trained on! Leadership is a privilege and not a right, and the selection should be based on the best interests of the boys as determined by the local committee and the unit’s chartered organization.

        • No Eric, he was denied membership when he was 16 and a Life Scout. His leadership denied him his membership. The link was not a story about my cousin as I clearly noted below the link.

  6. Please Boy Scouts. The discussions are done. Do not be pressured or bullied to be something you are not. Do not let the people with no traditions or understanding of true Scouting, change the organization for any reason. Forget about the three months. Stick with your original vote to stay with Honor. You are a private organization and have every right to be what you want to be and what you have been. Do not be fooled by the pressure, threats and comments of those who have never experienced Scouting. You will continue to get the support you need if you stick to your principles. The people yelling the loudest will not be supporting you when this is done no matter what the outcome. So stay with your beliefs. They have served you all these years.

    • No understanding of the tradition or true Scouting? Really? I fully understand the traditions and have decades of experience. I have read Sir Barden-Powell’s words just this past month during Scout Sunday. He had a much broader vision for Scouting that what many proclaim today. We need to reclaim that vision of a peace Scout that he saw 100 years ago.

      • Interesting. Here were some words Baden-Powell wrote 102 years ago:

        A SCOUT IS CLEAN IN THOUGHT, WORD AND DEED. Decent Scouts look down upon silly youths who talk dirt, and they do not let themselves give way to temptation, either to talk it or to do anything dirty. A Scout is pure, and clean-minded, and manly.

    • I am pressuring the Boy Scouts, I am not threatening. I have experienced scouting. In fact I’m an Eagle Scout, and I’m bisexual. I support the Boy Scouts for what it should be, not for its hypocritical positions.

    • How is this issue any different then when the organization allowed women to move beyond the “den mother” role and integrate into the troop and OA process? Traditions are respected but must adjust with the evolution of the organization. The policy is allowing the owners of the unit, the Chartered Organizations, to make the determination of membership criteria. Members and potential members can select a unit that meets their needs and expectations. It respects traditions and values of all involved.

      • What about at national or large Council events. I do not want to expose my Scouts to men holding hands or female and female or male and male snuggling around the campfire

        • You might be onto something. Since they can’t reproduce they recruit. If they didn’t recruit then we wouldn’t be having this discussion would we.

        • I wish that I hadn’t clicked on your link. It’s a lot worse than I thought. I have sheltered my boys in a private Christian school, thank God.

        • Deanna: It is not uncommon for someone to repeat themselves if they are convinced that the other party or parties are not listening. Once again, I must insist that these personal insults come to an end. The other person’s “issues” are neither within your power, nor are they your concern. In addition, they are irrelevant. The most you accomplish is that you have no case, and must resort to ridicule.

        • Yes Wetzel, I have a “serious issue.” It’s all about educating an unknowing public about the homosexual Agenda, AND protecting the BSA from that Agenda. My links are meant to wake America up to the Deficit of Decency.
          and promote the code, the oath, and the laws of the BSA. Sorry you have a problem with that…

      • I am an Eagle Scout (1979). My concern with placing membership decisions on the chartered organizations, is that many organizations may not want the responsibility and liability of that decision.

        I think that many want to feel supported by a strong national policy.

        On a personal level, I am torn. I have nothing against homosexuals. At the same time, I support the rights of ANY private organization to restrict its membership.

        Whatever is decided, I hope that the BSA will affirm ONE national policy. Placing the decision on the chartered organization is foisting the BSA’s responsibility on others. I believe that it’s cowardly.

    • ” Do not let the people with no traditions or understanding of true Scouting, change the organization for any reason….Do not be fooled by the pressure, threats and comments of those who have never experienced Scouting….The people yelling the loudest will not be supporting you when this is done no matter what the outcome.”

      As an Eagle Scout (1987, Troop 616, Irvine, CA), I have experienced Scouting and have been screaming for National to change the membership policy for many years. How can someone claim the mantle of being “morally straight” and discriminate against people who are not like them? Perhaps you didn’t read the letter to the BSA that the president of the United Church of Christ sent to National. If National repeals the current membership policy and leave the decision to the charter organizations like they did before 1978, the UCC has pledged to be a supportive partner. Right now, there are a number of UCC congregations that sponsor Scout troops and open their church membership to anyone regardless of race, color, sexual orientation and gender identity. Why shouldn’t the Scout troop they sponsor reflect the values of their current chartered organization?

      Also, those of you who are freaking out about gay scouts doing unsavory things in the showers or inside a tent at a Scout camp obviously have never been to a Scout camp and are basing your assumptions out of fear and ignorance. First of all, I would be more annoyed with an incessant talker or snorer than a LGBT scout who went right to sleep at “lights out” and did not make a sound. Second, any leader or former Scout knows that it almost takes an act of God to get a Scout to take a shower while at camp. I know. I’ve been there and pretty much used every excuse to get out of showering while at camp. There was a reason why I chose to go to free swim at the camp pool.

      • “Also, those of you who are freaking out about gay scouts doing unsavory things in the showers or inside a tent at a Scout camp obviously have never been to a Scout camp …”

        There are people on both sides of this issue who have been to Scout camps, including this Eagle Scout, Arrowman, and Scout Commissioner. Some have indeed seen “unsavory behavior” in such venues, and at least one link in this comments section is such an account. As long as we’re using anecdotal evidence …

        If we are to keep this discussion within the bounds of the Scout Oath and Law, then be so kind as to put away the Saul Alinsky playbook (which is to say, that which uses ridicule as means of pressing for social and political change) and deal with the issue itself. Thank you.

  7. Interesting. Bryan, thank you for sharing the timeline and the breakdown. I think many people will appreciate it and now have a chance to better understand the process.

  8. This is the telling statement: “The Key 3 has “one singular purpose in mind: to grow Scouting,”

    Quantity over quality. If all that matters is numbers, then I know which way the vote will go.

    • I agree! The Key 3 may want want to sit down and reconsider their singular purpose of “We’ll do anything to grow Scouting”.

      Maybe they should take a poll on how many Scouts and Scouters they will lose if this thing goes through. Talk about numbers…

      Who cares if we lose our big sponsors and offend people with our core values. We stand for something greater than numbers.

      • Yes, or they could talk about growth, both in terms of growing the Scouting movement in conjunction with the ideals of character and citizenship that aligns with the National compass and consciousness of the people we serve, as well as the numbers of ‘growth’ once we stop the intolerance, deal with those that feel that Scouting can’t improve upon its current policies and then see membership increase because more people have access to the great program that Scouting actually is.

        Growth doesn’t have to be about ‘numbers’, but actually modernizing the thinking of the program will certainly be a catalyst which, in turn, will benefit the movement.

    • This has been a problem for quite some time. I stand with quality over quantity. Our district would have struggling units close and start new units than feed the establihed units. I don’t inderstand their thinking. We, as volunteers have to dedicate many hours to build a good troop and the paid professionals keep coming up with harder and harder criteria to accomplish that. Even the merit badges are not taught at the level they were years ago.

    • I suspect we could grow Scouting a lot more and a lot faster by focusing on reaching families who already share the values of Scouting. There are a lot of large and growing churches out there that are not currently chartering organizations with large untapped youth populations. Mine is one of them. Instead, BSA is catering to a set of rapidly declining revisionist denominations and hostile special interest groups that it can never satisfy.

      • Or we could focus on Churches that have dropped their charter because the BSA membership policy does not reflect their ideals.

        • Deanna,

          That would be a terrible strategic decision just from the perspective of numbers. Traditionalist denominations are growing, while the disenchanted flee revisionist denominations in droves. Why should BSA chase the chartering orgzanizations that are fracturing and shrinking and alienate the ones that are growing?

  9. It’s sort of silly to ask people to cast aside their preconceived notions, as the entire controversy is based on preconceived notions, sometimes referred to as principles. An activist on one side is unlikely to bend from their position unless they never intended to stand for their stated principle to begin with. Respect and courtesy is not born from abandoning a principle, though it does bring one side a feeling of joy and the other a feeling of shallowness.

    • I think what they’re asking is that we each actually make an effort to listen to the people on the opposite side from our own position. Perhaps what we can learn is that everyone involved in scouting loves scouting, and wants to do what is best. We just possibly have different ideas about what it actually is that’s best. It doesn’t make any of us bad people.

  10. For 100 plus years we have stayed true to our beliefs now is not the time to change course and allow people that fall outside of those beliefs to change us because they are different. No said we had to treat people who dont beleive as we do differently but we should always reserve the right to stand up for what is right and true. This countries youth need us to stay ture to those beliefs even more now then ever. We owe it to the future Scouts and Scouters to uphold our belief of morally straight. Just because more people voted to just stop caring wheather or not same sex marriage is legal or not doesnt mean that we should head down the same path of destruction that those have chosen to. Remember it is Adam and EVE not ADAM and STEVE.

    • The Catholic Church holds divorce and adultery to be moral sins, but I’ve never heard of anyone thrown out of scouting for either.

      • If it were known that our leaders were committing adultery, I would definately move to have those leaders removed. It’s a matter of setting a good example for the scouts.

      • Maybe this is why practicing catholicism is diminishing here and throughout the world. They don’t condone murder, yet continually vote for politicians that do not reverse Roe v Wade and the murder of literally millions on babies.

      • The Catholic Church has it’s own set of problems, as a result of permitting homosexuals to become Priests. I REPEAT: How will admitting people, who enguage in UNHEALTHY behavior, help recruitment and/or retention?

        • Erin,

          And so BSA should cave in to the intolerance of someone who does not share its values? It’s a values-based organization. Not sure it hurts a boy to learn that reasonable people disagree over moral issues. But it is not reasonable to label others as bigots just becuase they hold a different moral view. I’d consider it a teachable moment.

        • Erin, perhaps he could look into Spiral Scouts in his area. Or Big Brothers. Both of those organizations actively promote tolerance of homosexuality. Your son would probably have a great time going with his friend to meetings instead of having his parent(s) keep him out of scouting. Does he not know of these alternatives?

      • I’m aware of Scouters who were removed from leadership over adultery. Also for alcohol abuse.

        And divorce is never a good experience for anyone, but it more often reflects a couple who struggles and fails to make a marriage work despite their best intentions, rather than an outright rejection of marriage as an institution and a positive moral good. I think a person who has been divorced who is of otherwise good character should have no problem committing to the Scout Oath and Law. I’m not aware of any activist groups that celebrates adultery or divorce, or that seek BSA to adopt a position of moral neutrality toward marital infidelity. Are you?

    • Over the years I have come across scouts and even Eagles that have come out of the “closet” about the sexual orientation. That didn’t stop them from being/able to be a good scout. My problem is that if it was something they were born with, they would not have “hid” it from their peeers, family. I respected their achievement, but have always fallen back on my religious convictions and teachings. If they want to do Scouting they should start their own gay, bi, trans, lesbian, organization and right their own creed and laws to fit their beliefs. I don’t care what people do in their private life, I just don’t want it shoved in my face, we get enough of that with the liberal media and government.

      • Think about what you are saying. A boy starts scouting when he is 6 or 7 years old and hopefully stays with it til he is 18. They know so little about themselves at 6 or 7. Almost certainly not their sexual orientation.These are kids who started off in scouts exactly as you did and over time discover that there is a part of them that people like you find intolerable. It may happen when they are 12, it may happen when they are 16. So are you saying at that point we should cull them from the herd and destroy their self esteem so that you can feel more comfortable?

        • You presume that sexual orientation is something that is immutable and hard-wired to be discovered. Many scientists and mental health professionals disagree, including Dr. Francis Collins, the former head of the Human Genome Project. Most scientists now agree that homosexuality emerges as a result of a combination of hereditary and environmental factors, including childhood sexual abuse and absent or dysfunctional father relationships. Many who struggle with unwanted same-sex attraction seek the assistance of mental health professionals and religious counselors to leave the homosexual lifestyle and successfully lead heterosexual lives in good marriages.

          If homosexual behaviors are habits that are learned in response to gender identity conflicts rather than “an orientation” that is “hard wired” at birth, your entire argument falls.

          So you’re saying we should affirm boys who flirt with a destructive lifestyle just to make them feel better while they struggle through their adolescent sexual identity crisis? Which is worse?

          I think you’re having a hard time understanding that your moral view is not the only one.

        • Not true, Deanna. I faithfully represented Dr. Collins’ position and accurately cited his direct quotation. I did not cite any of the “misquotes” identified in your link. I relied on the verbatim passages from his book. Collins agrees the current evidence points to a combination of hereditary and environmental factors.

        • “I exist” is starting a PFLAG camping club.

          “Shoving it in my face” is launching a corporate boycott campaign to defund or hijack a 103-year old private values-based organization whose own right to exist was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2000.

      • Gay people are who they are. Why would they choose to live a lifestyle that opens them up to discrimination? They can’t control who they are attracted to. It just kind of happens. Can you tell us when you chose to be straight?

        The reason that gay people have to ‘come out’ and often hide their orientation from friends and family is because society tells them that who they are is wrong. Who wouldn’t try and hide that? Of course, there are those that embrace their realization of who they are immediately and don’t try to hide it, but that’s far from typical.

        I absolutely agree with Mr. Wellen’s comments here as well. I don’t think it’s best for the youth of our program to start kicking kids out if they wake up one day and realize they like boys instead of girls.

  11. Bryan:

    As a Scoutmaster for many years, the father of an Eagle Scout and a Vigil member of the OA, I have yet to understand “WHO” is speaking for all of “US”. No sign of any collection of our Points of view, our concerns, our suggestions, our recommendations. To be terribly honest, This is not perceived by just about anyone I know in Scouting as a matter that National has allowed any of us to express our “votes” on. Nor have we been heard by our Council. Nor do we have any idea what voting rights our Council may have on the matter. Governance of this like too many things seems to be secretive. Lots of words, but little clarity. NET: We don’t believe that we are being given a vote.
    The lack of transparency and outright secrecy of the preceding activities is not up to par with the traditions or value set of Scouting. I fully agree that we should be cognizant of the views of outsiders as we live in a society from which we expect to derive status, support and esteem for our Scouts. However, we should as Scouters have a voice and a vote on this matter and on all matters of great import fro Scouting. As it is, we simply do not. Scouting is about the boys. We are not as an organization setting out a good example of participatory democracy for them.
    Secrecy and exclusivity is not the nature of the Citizenship ideals we seek to teach the scouts about.

    Just M.H.O.



    • Louis… National hasn’t asked for input in the past, but that’s what this article is all about. They ARE asking for our input NOW.

    • Hi Lou!!

      I’m not Bryan but I can respond to several of your questions about “who” represents “us” out here in the field.

      Let’s start locally, because as I frequently am reminded, “all Scouting is local”. Your unit is chartered by an organization – business, church, school, civic — which has a “chartered organizational representative.” They are voting members of your local Council. They vote on volunteers to represent your Council — your Council President, Council Commissioner and a number of individuals to represent your Council at the National level as voting National Council Representatives.

      At your Council level, as I mentioned, every Council has two “automatic votes” to vote in the national slate of officers each spring. Depending on the size of your Council, your Council has one, two or three — larger Councils by youth size have additional representatives — whose sole purpose is to vote as part of the National Council. They don’t have other responsibilities. Some are volunteers on the national level, most are not. These individuals are your direct connection between the National Council and your local Council.

      How do you find out who these people are? They should be listed with the rest of your Council’s officers within your website. Or get a copy of the annual report of your Council — they are listed right there with other officers of your Council.

  12. I think Christian should join the radical left groups and demand a place in their organizations..then go to the media when they are turned away!

      • Funny, I don’t think he sounds illogical, irrelevant, or ignorant at all. I think he has a legitimate point. Would it be respectful or tolerant of the views of others for conservative Christians to join PFLAG to hijack it and turn it into an ex-gay ministry? Of course not. Yet that’s not too different from what some of BSA’s critics seek to do to us.

        On the other hand, I’m wondering, Eric, if you’re aware of how intolerant, closed-minded, and rude you sound when you insult another Scouter on this forum as you have J in CO.

  13. Lou et al. Parents of scouts and direct contact members will be surveyed via voice of the scout in early March. Make sure your council has your current email address.

    • Will the raw data from voice of scouting be available to all involved in scouting? No, they will put word out from on high in whatever they want to let out. Transparency is nothing but a word when it comes to BSA National. All this push in scouting on technology is nothing but a way to get information entered by volunteers. You can go on all you want, but until they make the “RAW” date from VOS available to all registered members then it is nothing but window dressing that claims to give all a voice.

  14. As a longtime Scouter, 59 years, a Christian, an Eagle Scout, Vigil, Silver Beaver, father of an Eagle Scout, it is my personal feeling that it is time for change, I have watched too many young scout age kids all but destroyed because of their sexual identity. And a gay person, man or woman, usually is not a pedafile. As a Commissioner, I have lost units in the last year, because of our current stand. Whatever the outcome, it won’t be easy. People on both sides of the issue are very passionate about their beliefs. But I believe that change must come from within, so I have stayed active, and will work for it.

    • Agreed, and I have similar credentials (Actually the same). What we teach in Scouting is worthy to be taught to all. To limit it like we do, I think, is contrary to our core values.

      What is wrong with a gay kid learning Character, Citizenship, and Fitness?

      For those that chose their sexual orientation, the proposed policy allows you to continue to exclude others that chose differently than you. For those of us that were born with our sexual orientation, be it straight or gay, the proposed policy allows us to include others that didn’t have a choice.

      Seems fair, honorable, and very consistent with Scouting.

      • It’s a matter of teaching Morman, Catholic, et al Boys that homosexuality is normal. That’s what the activists want and those who are opposed believe is wrong.

        • Who are you to say that homosexuality isn’t normal? There have been animals found in the wilderness to be naturally bisexual or homosexual, and they do not have the same reasoning to choose as humans. God created everything on this Earth, and made it the way it is. Why would he make people homosexuals/give them the choice to be homosexuals if he didn’t want the rest of his children to love and accept them they way they are?

        • I am replying to Kate’s statement, “God created everything on this Earth, and made it the way it is.” In reply I would like everyone to read in their Bible, Romans 1:18-32. These are not my words but are from the book of God.

        • Kate,

          By your logic we could also say that God created alcoholics, pyromaniacs, and serial killers, too. Should we accept or celebrate their behavior, too?

          Of course not. There are many behaviors that occur in nature that are anti-social, unhealthy, or uncivilized. Animals that eat their young. People who practice poor hygeine, get sick, and die. Sexual infidelity is natural, but anti-social.

          And the theological argument that God created all creatures, warts and all, and that those warts are therefore good and should be celebrated ignores the doctrine of sin and the Fall. All of God’s creatures have been corrupted by sin. What God calls on men and women to do is to resist the temptation to commit sinful acts.

        • Kate, in spite of what you seem to believe, I am allowed my opinion. If I am to tolerate your opinions, why is it so hard for you and your ilk to tolerate mine?

      • I have never met an X-African American, or an X-Latino, but I know several people who have STOPPED engaging in Unhealthy Homosexual behavior. UNHEALTHY Lifestyles must Never be accepted by the BSA, or Society at large, unless we wish to go the way of the Greeks and Romans.
        Homosexual Activist want to “Repeal of all laws governing the age of sexual consent.” [legalize pedophilia] Read it for yourself…

        • I know a lot of folks that have stopped engaging in unhealthy lifestyles that are hetrosexual. It’s important to distinquish behavior from being.

    • Sandy,

      Thanks for your years of service to Scouting.

      But if you’re pained by the units you’ve lost in the past year, be prepared to be even more pained by the units BSA would lose by abandoning its principled moral stand against homosexuality.

      You should also be considering the potential chartering organization that are now standing on the sidelines becuase of concerns that BSA may reverse its position.

      This works both ways, and there is no reason to take for granted that the losses of traditionalists would not overshadow the losses of dissenters many times over.

  15. Not using your real name hear is not brave or helpful. Having youth or leaders of “OTS” orientation may make an organization more vigilant but that is not a bad thing. In my fifty years of Scouting I’m sure that I have been in units with OTS scouts and scouters. I was not aware of them any more than they were aware that I had flat feet. Like them that is how I was born. I was still able to earn the hiking merit badge and a 50 miler award (afoot).

  16. Those who oppose inclusion of homosexual members because their church doctrine opposes homosexuality need to realize that the BSA is made up of members from many faiths. Just because your particular church believes one way should not dictate the policies of every BSA Troop. Lutherans, do you want Catholics to determine your morality? Presbyterians, do you want Mormons to determine yours? What about the 30% of Troops that are chartered by non faith-based organizations? Do they get a say in this conversation? I should hope so.

    • You make a really good point about the non-faith-based organizations. Because of its national policy, Scouting has lost its foothold in thousands of public schools that have anti-discrimination policies. A whole generation of potential Scouts is being lost due to this national one-size-fits-all policy.

      Folks, our kids are often schooled by teachers who are openly gay or lesbian. They don’t parade that around our kids – but they also aren’t fired by their schools should they happen to mention their sexual orientation someplace. At least let individual chartered organizations have their say on this, rather than impose a national policy from above and afar.

      • I must “Respectfully” disagree. The “Radically Wrong” control our public schools, most of the Teachers Unions, and too many other of our (public and Private) institutions. Homosexuals Activist are permitted into the class room, in some states, without parental permission, to tell our children that “It;s OK to be Gay” (when the CDC says it’s UNHEALTHY). And if you think that’s bad, just look at what is going on in Massachusetts now.

        NOW you want one of the LAST private institutions that support “Traditional Family Values” to accept people who engage in UNHEALTHY lifestyles to be Roll Models?

        • Public schools cannot violate the first amendment rights of its own students by discriminating on the basis of religion. As long as the BSA has any sort of religious requirements for membership, public schools will never be chartering organizations again.

        • Deanna,

          I think “a Scout is Courteous” requires us to stop labeling groups as “hate groups” just because we disagree with them. Increasingly people are recognizing this as an intimidation and bullying tactic to silence certain perspectives and keep their viewpoints out of open debate.

          For this reason, the Associated Press now rejects the use of the term “homophobe” in the latest version of its Stylebook. AP concluded that “homophobe” is a term used to unfairly stereotype all opposition to homosexual behaviors as motivated by irrational fear and hate.

          You should be aware of the consequences of this reflexive labeling of groups such as MassResistance and the Family Research Council–groups which include among their leadership and staff multiple Eagle Scouts. Recently homosexual activist Floyd Corkins pled guilty to three felonies, including domestic terrorism, for his politically motivated shooting spree last year at the Familiy Research Council ‘s office. He targeted the FRC (and other organizations as well) because they were labeled on the Southern Poverty Law Center website as “hate groups.”

          See See also and

          This is a tired bullying tactic, and people are starting to recognize it for what it is. It has no place in Scouting. I hope you and others will abandon and reject it.

        • Mike, what the CDC study that you are (sort of) referencing is that homosexual individuals tend to engage in unhealthy behaviors such as smoking and drinking alcohol. Straight people do these things in pretty big numbers, as well. I find it curious that you never actually link to the CDC, but to a separate third party with their own spin on the research. The CDC study isn’t saying exactly what you seem to think it’s saying.

        • Homosexuals Activist are permitted into the class room, in some states, without parental permission, to tell our children that “It;s OK to be Gay”

          Not accurate.

        • Dennis
          I didn’t label MassResistance, the Southern Poverty Law Center did. Your issue is with them.

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

          Like institutional racism and sexism, heterosexism pervades societal customs and institutions. It operates through a dual process of invisibility and attack.”(

    • The BSA is in itself a faith-based organization that stands alone separate from the chartering organization.. One of the requirements of a Scout in the BSA is that you choose to accept God as your creator and the creator of the universe and all that’s within it… What a shame your pitting Catholics against Lutherans and Presbyterians.. This was part of the ultimate agenda of the militant homosexuals when they took over those Christian denominations… Our local Presbyterian Church and chartering organization is dying as a result of the Presbyterian Church’s decision to ordain homosexual ministers… It’s a tragedy… But our troop will find a new chartering organization if that should happen because it’s not essential that this organization charter our Pack and Troop for them to exist; they don’t own us… We’re owned by the BSA and we follow their policies… Most of the kids and leaders don’t even belong to the congregation that charters our units…

      • “But our troop will find a new chartering organization if that should happen because it’s not essential that this organization charter our Pack and Troop for them to exist; they don’t own us… We’re owned by the BSA and we follow their policies… Most of the kids and leaders don’t even belong to the congregation that charters our units…”

        Actually, I do not believe what you write is correct. Our council has been very clear to all our units that the chartering organization owns the unit. All equipment, funds, the pack charter itself belong to the chartering organization. If you get the chartering organization’s permission to take the charter, equipment, and funds elsewhere, then you might be able to do that. Otherwise I think you would need to get another organization to charter a new troop and pack and you will need to start over on equipment and funds. I think this is true even if you take the steps to organize/incorporate your unit as a non-profit organization under your state or federal law.

        • So were in agreement Stephen.. we don’t need this chartering organization to exist.. they don’t dictate policy to us and we can choose freely to leave anytime we choose.. I’ve already been approached by several organizations that if the chartering organization threatens to drop their charter that they will be happy to pick it up… We’re free volunteers and do have power to choose.. I guess when you work for the BSA for free you have some power…

        • “they [the chartering organization] don’t dictate policy to us ”

          I’m confident that is not true. Remember that as a registered adult volunteer for a unit you serve at the pleasure of the executive officer of the chartering organization. One unit for which I serve as a registered adult volunteer requires that all leaders take additional youth protection training, we have to read and sign a code of conduct and they do their own separate background check. They absolutely can dictate policy to their unit and to its leaders and scouts. For example they could dictate how funds will be handled. The chartering organization can put limitations or constraints on activities in which the unit participates.

          The annual charter that the executive officer and BSA representative signs says these things:

          “The BSA local council provides the support service necessary to help the chartered organization succeed in their use of the program.”

          “The chartered organization agrees to … Conduct the Scouting program according to its own policies and guidelines as well as those of the Boy Scouts of America.”

          “The council agrees to … Respect the aims and objectives of the organization
          and offer the resources of Scouting to help in meeting those objectives.”

          I do not know what would happen if a chartering organization’s policy was in conflict with BSA’s policy.

          Of course volunteers are free not to join a unit and are free to vote with their feet and leave a unit.

  17. A scout is Reverent. What religion condones homosexuality as a norm, based on Holy teachings? And how do we send our scouts camping? Sharing a tent with someone of a different “persuasion”? I have the bad feeling that the decision will be based on money, and nothing more.

      • As syndicated columnist Patrick Buchanan once said, Jesus Christ had nothing to say about insider trading either. Probably because “there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” (John 21:25) Saint Paul, on the other hand, had something to say about it, as it was a common practice in the Greco-Roman world, especially liaisons between grown men and adolescent boys.

        • Excellent Point… I wish we could get Michael Walton to understand what openly admitting people, who enguage in UNHEALTHY behavior, would do to recruitment and/or retention? This is just another example of a nation in “Moral Decline”… A Deficit of Decency!

        • Mike C:

          He may be, uh, confused on this particular issue (and I’m doing my best here, okay?), but in his defense, I have found Mike Walton to be an invaluable resource on the inner workings of the BSA organization, often shedding light where there is great need thereof. He’s one of the smartest guys at Scouts-L.

          And now, let the games continue …

        • And that, David, has me concerned. I do know that Mike often has the ear of some higher up. Frankly, his posts here are far different than what I would have expected given some of his other writings (about the tradition, morality, and strength of Scouting). Mike W, are you speaking for yourself only, or do you know something we don’t?

          As far as the local option goes, BSA’s summer camps are having a difficult time remaining viable. How much more so when those local units that recognize homosexuality as an aberration refuse to co-mingle with those that don’t? Or will there be “pro-tolerance” weeks, and “we don’t believe homosexuality is normal” weeks? I predict summer camp after summer camp failing to fill should this go through.

      • Well, he actually had a lot to say about sexual immorality and a lot to say about marriage, husbands, wives, and parents. Surprisingly not a single word in OT or NT affirming same-sex marriage or civil unions. Wonder why?

      • Deanna: Jesus said a lot about homosexual sin and conquered death so homosexual sinners could find an eternal life through a faith in Him. Jesus gave and continues to give forgiveness to homosexual sinners who freely choose to engaged in a lifestyle and behavior of homosexual sin; it’s the same opportunity of forgiveness and salvation He offers all of us. That forgiveness offers eternal life in Heaven with Him when we choose to accept His forgiveness; that’s the greatest gift Jesus could offer to a homosexual sinner who freely chooses to engage in homosexual sin… Jesus was a Jew who was born without sin and lived a perfect life free of sin. The Jewish book of Leviticus clearly states that homosexual behavior is an abomination against God’s creation and that men shouldn’t love men and women shouldn’t love women and neither should love animals in the same way He designed a man to love a woman and a woman to love a man for procreation in a covenant of marriage with Him; you should probably read Leviticus and the Gospels again Deanna. When Jesus came to live amongst the Jews He clearly said that He didn’t come to change the scriptures but to fulfill the scriptures which meant that He didn’t come to say homosexual behavior wasn’t an abomination against God’s creation and sinful but that He came to lead the homosexual sinner to find forgiveness for their sin and to be free of their sin leading to their salvation and an everlasting life in Heaven with Him and His Father. It’s a tremendous passionate gift so precious to Him that He fulfilled the Word of God by following His Will leading Him to His crucifixion and ultimate triumph over death that provided salvation for all of us who choose to faithfully surrender to His will for our own struggles with sin and desire for an everlasting life with Him.. He also clearly told all of us as sinners how to treat and behave toward other sinners in the way He addressed the Jews who were preparing to stone the adulterous woman to death for living her sinful life.. As the Jews prepared to stone her Jesus stepped in and asked that anyone who had never sinned should be the first to cast a stone against this woman; He was the only one worthy to stone her to death and he didn’t.. They all dropped their stones and walked away thinking of how in their own lives they had sinned; the adulterous woman’s life was spared and she thanked Jesus.. Jesus told the woman that He forgave her for her sins of adultery, she was freed of her burden, and He then told her to go and sin no more. That’s His message to all of us. He had the right and power to stone her to death but He had mercy on her and was gracious toward her allowing her the opportunity to choose to accept His forgiveness and be free of her sin; not that he would have stoned her if she refused. And when someone; even a Lutheran, Presbyterian USA, or Episcopalean Pastor, attempts to tell a homosexual that their homosexual behavior isn’t sinful against God’s will their actually leading that homosexual sinner away from their opportunity to find salvation and an eternal life with God in His Kingdom; so wrongful to mislead God’s children; us… That’s clearly explained to all of us who choose to accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and His Holy Spirit into our hearts which will lead anyone who chooses to follow Him toward an understanding of His Way to find an eternal life in Heaven with God.. That’s the message of Christianity.. It’s the Old and New Testament combined to form the only Word God has given us with regard to who He is… When someone accepts His Holy Spirit upon being born again during baptism that Holy Spirit will lead them toward an understanding of His Way… But were all free to choose…

    • I don’t know the exact number, but was told that when the Canadian Scouts opened up their youth and adult membership to openly gay and lesbian, their membership dropped almost 40 percent. That’s a very large money drop from a national standpoint.

        • Scouts canada did a lot more than just announce that they would not discriminate because of sexual orientation, we all need to take that under consideration when trying to make comparisons with Scouts Canada. A lot of things are different in Canada than in the US as well. Comparisons with other countries is iffy at best, for example the Scout Association in the UK have increased in membership since they announced they do not discriminate because of sexual orientation.

  18. I thought the decision to keep the membership policy the same was already based upon a consensus from discussions with BSA membership? Wasn’t that good enough? Is the new plan to keep finding new ways to answer the questions until the “right” answer is finally discovered? In this computer age it seems every member wit an I.D.# can be given the oportunity to cast an equal vote for equal representation. Electoral College? why? popular vote of all adult members isn’t unreasonable

    • Walla, as for the WHY, it’s because on of the head persons (who has no direct contact with Scouts) has affirmed that he practices homosexual behavior. That’s what this is really about.

  19. What is a shareholder? As an Eagle Scout, den leader, and a father to two boys that are in the BSA, I think the Key 3 are only seeing green and think that the dollars will not flow if the wrong dission is made. In 2000, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the BSA could admitt leaders and members how they see fit. For the past 103 years, homosexual men and boys have not been allowed. I think for the next 100 years, it will survive if homosexual men and boys are not allowed. Would you allow your 14 year ild daughter to sleep in a tent with a 16 year old boy? If not, then would you let you 14 year old boy sleep in a tent with a 16 year old homosexual? I know I would not for both. I hope everyone lets the National Office hear your concerns. Keep the Boy Scouts of America the same, with the same vaulues that have turned many boys into great men.

    • I am a female Venturer in a Crew of mainly boys. While we do not tent together I have seen international Scout groups where they do. Speaking from the perspective of someone who frequently camps with people of the gender she is attracted to, I don’t jump every single one just because they are of that gender. Gays and straights have standards, and can control their sex drives. They aren’t going to go after every boy around them. And there are such things as one man tents

        • And what makes you think you have a right to judge them, or say you understand them and their lifestyle, just because you have one link you’ve been posting on almost every comment on this page? Anyone that has unprotected sex is being unhealthy, its not limited to homosexuals. Any high school English course will tell you that one source doesn’t make an argument. And homosexuals aren’t any more interested in having sex with children then you are, they like the same gender not little children.

        • “And what makes you think you have a right to judge them, or say you understand them and their lifestyle …”

          The problem with accusing someone of being judgmental, is that by that very act, one is being judgmental oneself. Further, if a link to a particular article is presented more than once, it is more likely than not for the purposes of driving home a point that is heretofore ignored. That it is done repeatedly is not the point, but the merits of that which is being presented through that link, which you (and others) continue to ignore. At the very least, you have failed to answer his question. It would be difficult, then, for a conversation to go much farther, instead devolving into people talking past one another, instead of TO one another.

          And the BSA National Council thinks they can get everybody to rise above that in the next three months.

          I with them luck. They will need it.

        • My experience on the criminal side is that most molestations are by people otherwise known to be hetero; my experience in the criminal system with Scout leaders accused of molestation is that 100% of them were hetero. I don’t practice criminal law as a rule, and I’m sure my experience is a bit atypical, but not so atypical as that claim of 30% of assaults on kids by gays. We don’t see that in the U.S.; with two-deep leadership, we hope to see no assaults on kids in Scouting.

          The article from the British paper, the Daily Mail, doesn’t support the statistic. Here’s a site which offers a wealth of evidence-based information on preventing child abuse of all types:

      • Kate,

        This is not about heterosexual or homosexual self-control during Scouting events. This is about the mission of scouting to instill in youth the values of the Scout Oath and Law to prepare them for a lifetime of responsible citizenship. The BSA position has been for 103 years that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with “morally straight” and “a Scout is clean.” This is ultimately about affirming the traditional ethic of sexual responsibility in marriage.

  20. Well, I guess once you guys make the decision I KNOW you’re going to make, my son and I will call it quits.

    Enjoy your new troops.

  21. I appreciate the communications on process. The proposed survey only covers a small subset of scout parents – about 20% in our council. In addition, if you want to grow scouting, best practice for any on-profit or company is to get input not just from current customers (i.e. those who have opted to join scouting) but from non-customers (those who are eligible,or not eligible, but have not joined Scouting). I don’t understand how their voices will be heard.

    • I guess their voices will be heard next year when this is brought up again and then the year after and the year after and so on and so on because the BSA leadership isn’t showing the kind of commitment to the fundamental principles of scouting that send a strong signal that the policy isn’t changing and we are the Boy Scouts of America and this is who we are and you can choose to join or not because the organization isn’t wishy washy on their principles and we stand for what we stand for because the principles are based on Biblical Truths which won’t be changing anytime soon either…

      • Wallace (aka Walla e), I wish you would provide your full name so that it can be determined whether you are even a Scouter in the first place. You have posted literally hundreds of comments on this and other Scouting Magazine threads. In many of these you continue to state that Scouting is based on “Biblical Truths” or is Christian when in fact Scouting takes pains to state that it is “absolutely nonsectarian”:

        “The Boy Scouts of America, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but it is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. Its policy is that the home and the organization or group with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life.”

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


        I am Christian too, but my denomination differs from yours in how it regards gays and lesbians. Respect of beliefs is a two-way street.

        • I am a scouter… What would make you believe I’m not… I have been in scouts since I was 8 years old… I considered making scouting my profession when I graduated from college… But I question many of the people participating on these blogs and their true intent with regard to whether their trying to make scouting a better organization for boys or if their just trying to hijack and use scouting to execute their own agenda… My name isn’t important; my ideas are… I’ve had aggressive militant homosexuals threaten my family and myself in the past; that’s their choice and defending my family and myself will be my choice… Do you think someone who wasn’t a true scouter would be so passionate in his defense of scouting and what scouting has meant to me and to my son…. I am an Eagle Scout and my son recently became an Eagle Scout… I am also a leader in the Boy Scouts of America… and I am also a proud member of the BSA… It sickens me to see aggressive militant homosexuals trying to use the BSA to serve their selfish social and political agendas… I’ll defend the BSA until they no longer reflect my personal beliefs and then I’ll choose freely to simply let it all go… And that’s fair to me isn’t it? that militant homosexuals should be able to steal away an organization that has meant so much to me and my family??? Where is the fairness in that…. there isn’t any…. If your truly a Christian then you understand exactly what my beliefs are because my beliefs mirror what the Word of God says with regard to Homosexuals and the sin of Homosexual behavior… God loves the homosexual men and women but he hates the sin of homosexual behavior.. did your Christian Church change the bible to serve their worldly purpose.. Think God’s interested in changing His word to serve mans worldly purpose??? Read your Bible rolfdenver and then tell me what you’ve been led to understand to be the truth… don’t just read the parts you want to read but read all of it and then tell me how you interpret His Only Word…. And what’s your true intent for the Boy Scouts of America rolfdenver?? why don’t you reveal your true intent for your will for the BSA??? mine is focused on keeping a good organization for the vast majority of the boys it currently serves.. It’s just not going to be for everyone and that’s why there are other organizations to join if the BSA isn’t for you…

  22. Changing “standards” based on political correctness, or to be in the good graces of a few large donors corrupts the program. Should the policy on homosexual behavior change, membership will more than likely dive like it did in Canada where youth membership fell from over 350,000 to just over 100,000 when Canada Scouting changed it standards and accepted homosexual scouts and leaders.

    While Scouting does not preach any particular religion, there is supposed to be a recognition of a God. The God I worship still considers homosexual behavior a sin and a perversion of his creation and thus not “morally straight.”

    • Jeff- many other religions do not see homosexuality to be a sin, and many religions are included in the boy scouts. The bible can also be interpreted many ways. I am an Episcopalian and I go to church every Sunday, and I was taught that homosexuality is not a sin. Raping young children or perversions such as those are sins, but they are not done solely by homosexuals

      • Kate, Do the Episcopalians follow the Holy Bible, God’s one and only true Word, as the principle for their church? I know the Lutherans & Presbyterian USA do and they’ve chosen to be disobedient to what God teaches all of us who follow His one and only True Word with regard to homosexuality. He considers homosexuality sinful behavior and an abomonation to His creation where His Holy Spirit lives to those that choose to accept His Spirit through Baptism into becoming a new creation… I wonder who taught you that homosexuality isn’t a sin? Why wouldn’t it be sinful in the eyes of God.. A true Godly Love isn’t centered around human sexuality and God blessed men and women with sexuality to serve His Will.. A Godly Love doesn’t depend on human sexuality… The Presbyterian USA Church and Lutherans and Episcopalians have perverted this part of His Word to serve their human desires for homosexual pleasure.. their free choice.. It is sinful in the eyes of God and the BSA is a Godly organization.. It’s wrong to try to pervert the BSA with the same thinking that the Lutheran, Episcopalian, and Presbyterian USA Churches have chosen to do… With respect to you, and as a messenger with regard to His Word, I suggest you seek to understand the truth of what God really says about homosexuals and homosexuality… It’s wrongful to try to mislead Godly people to believe wrongful Biblical understandings and teachings… God’s black and white on this issue; no wiggle room with regard to the sin of homosexual behavior.. He’s very descriptive and detailed in both the Old and New Testament.

      • I doubt it.
        Being straight doesn’t automatically mean you want to have a dozen children, and being gay doesn’t automatically mean you don’t. I know a married lesbian couple that has a beautiful naturally-born daughter via a sperm bank (and guys will continue to produce sperm aplenty, gay or straight).

    • I’ with you Jeff,
      Homosexual Activists, who have infiltrated the BSA, make the claim that homosexuality must be confused with pedophilia. It’s bogus! To REPEAT: “If 3% of the people (Homosexuals) are doing 30% of the Crime (Sexual Assaults against children), why would Scouters want to Accept UNHEALTHY Lifestyles in the BSA? Let’s remember demand #7 in their Platform….
      ” Repeal of all laws governing the age of sexual consent.” [legalize pedophilia]

    • Jeff, are you sure that the decline in Scouting in Canada was due to Scouting in Canada accepting gay scouts and leaders? Do you have a source for that?

      This Canadian article acknowledges the steep drop in Scouting but places the blame on challenges similar to those here in the U.S., where there’s also been a steep decline in recent years despite a gay ban remaining in effect: the drop in volunteerism, video games, etc. etc.

    • jeff, many other people worship a God that does not consider homosexual behavior to be a sin and perversion. They do not see it as contradictory to “morally straight.” Why should your beliefs supersede theirs? Shouldn’t those religions that differ from yours have the right to sponsor a scout unit that is in line with what they believe? You would still have the right to your beliefs. You would still be able to belong to a unit and attend a church that is in line with your beliefs. Why the double standard?

  23. The subject of sexuality heterosexual or homosexual period has no business in scouting. Their is nothing saying I have to instruct the scouts on sex that I’ve found so far. That is something their parent/guardian/clergy can discuss with them. If a troop is led right those scouts are busy learning leadership and life skills when they are together.

    • You can look no further than to find not only a worldwide list of Scouting organizations that accept females, but also the organization in the Founder’s own country that accepts girls (and homosexuals, incidentally) in a spirit of inclusiveness and fostering ‘peace’ to their country’s youth as a reflection of character, citizenship and fitness.

      • Not what the BSA’s about… Somebody has to be the leader and somebody has to be the follower… The BSA can choose to be the leader by keeping the organization strong in its intended purpose and continuing to make it stronger.. I think you should go to the worldwide list of scouting organizations and find the group that works best for you dducat.. it’s apparent the BSA isn’t the best fit for your philosophical views… its ok to not be in the BSA… It’s ok for you to disagree with the philosophy of our organization but its wrongful of you to attack an American Free Private Organization and try to hijack it to serve your selfish interests.. Do you believe the BSA doesn’t foster ‘peace’, good character, citizenship, and fitness? Do you think its righteous for you and other groups to wrongfully attack the BSA and the quality VOLUNTEERS that serve its mission by trying to define the organization and its members with undeserved catch words to spin an evil twist in an attempt to mislead the public to believe the scouts are wrongful in how they run THEIR organization? You sincerely don’t understand the BSA…. shameful for you to cast stones at us…..

      • Join the Girls Brownies, Girls Scouts, Blue Birds, Campfire Girls… my sister loved the Campfire Girls and I loved the Boy Scouts.. I didn’t want to be a Campfire Girl and she didn’t want to be a Boy Scout… We understood and appreciated the differences and respected the boundaries and the right of each PRIVATE organization to run their organization in the way they felt was best to serve their intended missions…. Be respectful; respect others RIGHTS to have and run their organizations in their own way… I do.. do your own thing but leave the BSA alone…

  24. I do not think any of us can trust the Executive Key 3 or the incoming head of the BSA. This letter and the resulting “family chat” is nothing more than a smokescreen to provide cover. I do not believe you can negotiate in good faith with those willing to sacrifice the entire Scout Oath and Scout Law for the sake of money or for popular opinion. There are some principles that cannot be compromised or negotiated away. No ones civil rights are being violated under current policy. There is no inherent right to join or be a member of the BSA. The SCOTUS ruling is all the shield that is needed. Members unwilling or unable to meet current membership requirements are free to leave. The BSA is not for everyone nor should it be. I would reject ANY Eagle Candidate unwilling to follow the ENTIRE Scout Oath and Scout Law I do not care how many merit badges or how awesome their project was. Similarly I would reject ANY leader that fails in his duty under the Oath and Law. We should be elevating the members not devaluing the program.

    To the Executive Key 3 I say resign. I do not trust you. Granted I do not have all the information you do but your lack of transparent communication has been appalling. You have been duplicitous and deceptive in your motives and actions. You failed to treat membership with the respect they deserve. You have violated the entire fabric of the Oath and Law. Walk away before you really destroy over 100 years of excellence. Let others willing to make difficult decisions grounded in traditional Boy Scout morals, ethics, and values lead. Look at the language those pushing for change are using against OUR program e.g. good first step, more is needed, does not go far enough, we can do better, we must send a message, etc. No matter what you give to these individuals you lose. Any leader who makes a change under the threat of or through intellectual and progressive terrorism is no leader. Good people of faith and conviction are begging for true leadership. Anyone who encourages a Scout or Scouter to lie, cheat, obfuscate, hide, mislead, deny, or take any rank or position in the BSA that was not earned or taken within the full faith and credit of the current membership policy has violated the Oath and Law. You allowed it and you encouraged it. Please leave and take these folks with you. Help them build their own organization. Lead them better than you have led us.

    • Andrew:

      I have a lot of personal confidence in our national Key Three. I know two of the three (the Chief Scout Executive and I have passed several points in our earlier lives; and I have met the National Commissioner before and after he became our chief Commissioner at several National OA events). I consider them and our current and incoming National President forthright in what they see as a possible direction for the BSA.

      I am sorry you don’t feel so, but you’re entitled to your own thoughts about this issue, and so am I.

      The bottom line is that NOTHING will change if the proposal is approved. We will still have the same Scout Oath or Promise, the same Laws. We will still enforce the youth protection policy which we currently have. Uniforms won’t have splashes of pink or lavender (although Scouts and Scouters probably will have freer opportunities to support local HIV/AIDS awareness events without being “tagged” as “supporters of the gay agenda” or “traitors to the “principles of the Scouting programs” “, wearing perhaps rainbow shoulder loops during such activities…who knows…)

      Here’s the bottom line, Andrew (and some of you others…). We have had Gay, Lesbian and bisexual Scouters in our units for quite some time now. We didn’t know who they were, nor we cared what sexual preference they were, because they, like all of us “straight people”, kept our sexual lives to ourselves. Yeah yeah, when my former wife met me at the Troop meeting place you may have an IDEA that I was married…but you know what they say about assumptions, right? *grinning*. As long as Scouters — and Scouts for that matter — work within the BSA’s established youth protection and leadership policies, we won’t have any more problems after the resolution is passed as it would beforehand.

      Giving EACH chartered organization the opportunity to say “nah, we don’t want to do this” or “sure, if you’re here for SCOUTING, come over and join us!” is the best way to handle this. No forced “you’ve gotta do this” from the Council or national for that matter. And if families don’t like the adult leadership, they can do what families have been doing for decades — start their OWN Packs and Troops.

      I’ll tell you one thing — our youth don’t care. They have had Gay, Lesbian and bisexual teachers, church leaders, and parents of their friends — around them for quite some time. They don’t care unless the person is activily coming up on them…and by that time, enough parents and others are aware of them and the problem’s recified. But they already have been around Gay and Lesbian kids — gone to parties with them, did day trips and in some cases overnight trips — with only the normal “kid problems”.

      When women were allowed to be adult leaders, many Scouters howled and explained that “the women will ruin the male-dominated Boy Scouting program…the program is called BOY Scouting,” they yelled. Nowadays, not even an eyebrow is lifted when a female Scoutmaster or Commissioner comes into a room.

      Let the BSA’s national leadership determine our direction…and if you don’t like what they have decided, well you know where the door is…don’t let it hit you as you exit is. We’ll miss you. But there’s a lot more here at stake then your personal misguided feelings. We have a Scouting program to manage and operate, and the last time I understood the requirements, the BSA welcomes anyone who wants to enjoy a good Scouting experience. And until our applications start placing a line saying “tell us your sexual orientation”, the BSA doesn’t care as long as you keep whatever you are to yourself and doesn’t use our programs as your personal “stage” or “dating location.”

      • “When women were allowed to be adult leaders, many Scouters howled and explained that ‘the women will ruin the male-dominated Boy Scouting program…'”

        … which is an arbitrary comparison. That had to do with gender, while this has to do with behavior. Being an “avowed homosexual,” the operative word being “avowed,” is essentially a commitment to such behavior (which I am prepared to describe upon request, so that you know why the Center for Disease Control reached the politically incorrect conclusion that it did, and why two prestigious medical journals did the same over twenty years ago. Just not here).

        • Being committed to doing it with someone of the same gender doesn’t mean being committed to rape/molestation. Just like girls homosexuals have the potential to flirt or ask out boys (and may want to do more), but they aren’t going to force someone into it.

        • It has EVERYTHING to do with behavior, not just gender, Man. There are women whose behavior would not be welcomed by the BSA just like there are Gay, Lesbian and bisexuals whose personal behavior would not be welcomed either.

          One thing you got right: it IS BEHAVIOR…whether that person is “straight”, “gay” or somewhere in between — that’s the true detail to all of this!

        • “It has EVERYTHING to do with behavior, not just gender …”

          I’m afraid I couldn’t even follow most of your comment, Mike. “There are women whose behavior would not be welcomed by the BSA …” which would have nothing to do with the fact that they were women. Again, this particular issue has to do with behavior. Just the behavior itself, and those who would openly espouse it.

        • Let me see if I can clarify my earlier statement, Man. I am coming off the tail end of the flu….

          What I understand you stated that this — a comparison between women and “openly gay” or lesbian folk — is not the same because on one hand, we’re talking gender and the other we’re talking sexual orientation. I disagree, because on both standpoints, we are talking about behaviors, not just the fact that on one hand we’re talking about women as a gender and the other sexual orientation.

          When the BSA opened our programs to females as volunteers at all levels, the implication from many volunteers and chartered partners was that “the women would molest our boys while out in the woods, and we would have open orgies going on….” and “our program will never be the same again because of all of those female thoughts about camping and being in the outdoors…” Those same people also stated that “we would have change our programs to keep boys from showering outdoors, from allowing boys to be boys….”

          (Sounds familiar doesn’t it? What did someone say here “By allowing gays to be a part of the Scouting program will open us up to situations between grown men and adolescent boys”)

          NONE of that happened. There were no open or otherwise orgies going on at our camps. None of our boys as far as I’m aware of were molested by women (although the BSA did report that several boys were molested by men back during that same period that women came into the BSA…it was before we had the youth protection program we have now…) We didn’t change our programs (we did add however locking latrines and closed in showers for men and women, a nice thing to have…), nor did we have to “give into” “female wills.”

          I’ve been trying to make this point here before in different discussions. Perhaps I need to do so again once again. The BSA has had Gay, Lesbian and bisexual volunteers and professionals at least since the early 30s. The only difference is that now, they will be able to do be open about their orientation just like school teachers, church school leaders, governmental leaders, police and fire protection officers, and most recently, military personnel. They will be greeted with a big yawn followed by the same precautions we would give ANY volunteer — “this is SCOUTING, not your personal playground or pickup point. We really don’t care what you do away from Scouting — but here, your behavior will be observed by other adults AND more importantly the youth of this unit. It’s BEHAVIOR, not who or what “slant” you are, which works here. Okay? Then sign here and here…”

          If the BSA doesn’t allow for what people are calling the “local chartered partner option”, then nothing will change and we’ll be saying the SAME words to anyone who serves as a volunteer. Only thing is, we’d never know who some of those folks REALLY are…until it’s too late; and the fact that they were STRAIGHT instead of being gay, will really hurt.

          Personally, as the chartered organizational representative, I would rather know from the start as much as I can about the volunteers my chartered organization “hires” to work with youth as part of our Scouting unit. It would allow me to directly approach them and offer not only guidance, but also support when and if they need it.

        • Mike: Sorry to hear you’re under the weather.

          I was still in Scouting when the issue of women as leaders arose. You have used quotations about fears of worst-case scenarios without attribution, which leads me to wonder where you got them, especially since I remember the conversation much differently. The issue was specifically whether women could be suitable in the *lead* position in a unit, be it Cubmaster of a Pack, Scoutmaster of a Troop, and so on. The statement I distinctly remember from a BSA spokesman was along the lines of this key position being of special pertinence as that to which the boy might one day aspire, which is to be an adult male.

          Of course, the BSA lost that case, and it adapted because it had to. But in this case, the particular behavior was not an issue, merely the issue of women as a role model for maleness. How did we get around that? We didn’t. We learned to live with, among other things, the fact that so many boys are without fathers, and single mothers are often left to raise them. In one urban unit for which I was a Commissioner, the Scout Troop was the only place to find a male role model. That doesn’t exclude the role of women so much as it INcludes the role of men.

          So, I don’t know how to address scenarios and quotations that are not attributed, except to say that I do not remember the instance that way. (We had a conversation like this years ago, remember? I’ll have to tell you about it if we ever meet at a campfire, or a national jamboree.) And both of us have been in or around Scouting a long time. But the above is simply not a comparison to what we face here; again, for the reasons I stated.

          I’ll bring this to a close by stating here what I have also said elsewhere in this comments section. In the conventions of formal debate, the onus of proof is not on the status quo (those who favor the current long-standing policy), but on the challenger (those who would change it). In most venues with which I am familiar, you would never know that.

          And speaking of limitations, mine is that it’s getting late on the East Coast, and I suspect the commenters on the West Coast are just getting warmed up. This is what happens when you have a day job.

          I’m going to miss some of the fun.

        • Michael Walton says “We really don’t care what you do away from Scouting” Then why have the Oath, if you don’t care?… What does “Morally Straight” mean to you?…. 9 to 5 behavior, or 24/7 behavior? The outstanding question remains: HOW can a Boyscout be “Morally Straight” if he engages in one of the MOST UNHEALTHY sexual activities know to man? (according to the Center for Disease Control)

        • Kate… Some Boys will be forceful.. Some homosexual older boys will be persuasive and forceful toward sexual advancements toward younger boys.. I KNOW!!!! It will happen and you’d be irresponsible to not understand that fact… and then that unit will be done because the BSA would have indirectly permitted the situation to come about and the media will persecute the BSA in a way as to make them almost to be the sexual abuser.. think not.. Look what the media’s doing to the Catholic Church.. look what the media does to legal responsible gun owners??? The mainstream media would love to have another reason to attack the BSA and seems to enjoy their power to destroy the good things in this country?? I actually credit them at times with being anti-American…

      • Thank you so much for your positive attitude and thoughtful comments on this controversial issue. And most of all for your laser focus on what is good for the kids – both our current kids in Scouting and the generations to come.

      • Thank you for your passion. I am waiting for my CO’s decision and if they walk I will walk. The door does not even enter the picture. As for misguided come and spend a day in my world. One faith charters 90% of the Units in my area and within a 5 state radius. If those misguided Units leave I am faced with a huge problem because those Units staff the committees in my District. If they refuse to participate over moral and religious reasons Scouting essentially no longer exists. The Executive Key 3’s do not care. They only want money.

        I spoke with a very frightened Camp Director just last week. May will determine if he has enough individuals to even open camp. Leaders are very hesitant to subject their boys to “progressive” Units filled with gay leaders and gay boys. If the Executive Key 3’s cared then why will they not release hard data and the names of donors who no longer donate? Why have they deliberately with held the names of the 1400 voting members that will decide this issue? Where are the meeting notes? Where are the position statements on their personal beliefs regarding the membership change?

        One mother said a gay scout and a straight scout in the same shower at Camp is no different than having a girl in the shower with boys. That may not be enlightened enough for you but that is my reality and I can assure you it is a reality for tens of thousands of Units and hundreds of Districts across this country. If the Executive Key 3’s really cared there would be total transparency. Five Councils in my geographic region all said the same thing, we were blindsided by National. We received no communication from National on the membership issue. Misguided? I think not. Ticked off and abandoned is more like it. Tell me what happens if the LDS Church, Catholic Church, and the Southern Evangelicals all pull out? As I understand it the worst case scenario is 50% of youth enrollment and 30% of adult volunteers. How much is that worth to the Executive Key 3’s that are worried about the big picture? What program will be around to manage in my geographic region?

        You have asked me to trust those who have proven by deliberate secrecy and inaction to be untrustworthy. You have asked me to place my support behind those who have sat in silence, sneaking around and ambushing the folks I serve with. That is not leadership that inspires support. That is not leadership that changes the world.

      • Hey Mike,
        The True Bottom Line is Mike that EVERYTHING’s Going to CHANGE!!! if the BSA allows Homosexuals, atheists, and agnostics to take over the BSA; you’d have to be truly blind not to understand that TRUTH!! Your speaking from your experiences and I’ll speak from mine… Women don’t belong in the Boy Scouts; cub scouts are fine with the little ones but boys 10 – 18 NO.. It’s just a simple fact of the matter whether you want to accept it or not; think you know the truth of the majority of boys hearts? We had a woman Boy Scout leader who was coming to the campouts and the boys weren’t happy about it.. She was mothering to them and that’s just what they wanted to not have on campouts…Do you really think if you tell the older Boy Scouts its ok that your scoutmaster is a homosexual man they’ll really believe that?? NO! And when the kids at school are slamming them for being in the “homoscouts” do you really think their going to stay in scouting.. NO!!! When I was 15 I know I would have left scouting and that’s when I needed it most in my life… I might sound crude in all of this but the truth of it is that this is going to happen whether you want to believe it or not; I do.. Homosexuals have no place in Boy Scouting especially on campouts… its DANGEROUS to the boys and DANGEROUS to the BSA.. TRUTHs.. Scouts are Going To Quit and leaders too… The BSA Decision Makers will be stealing our organization out from underneath our feet without our having a DIRECT VOTE and that’s wrongful; it’s going to cause a lot of anger and rightfully so… I’ve invested many years of my life freely to the BSA as a scout and as an adult leader… these truths might hurt some peoples feelings but it doesn’t change them.. There WILL be militant homosexuals trying to take over troops and some will be trying to force their homosexual agenda’s upon adult leaders and on the scouts… when that happens those members will most likely leave.. some people actually find homosexuality repulsive believe it or not; me for one…. There will be adult homosexual men showing public displays of affection during scout functions; you know you can’t honestly guarantee that’s not going to happen.. and will that be right, morally right, Biblically right??? NO!! BSA Scoutmasters have a tremendous responsibility to the scouts and their parents who trust them with their children… There are times when the scouts are under the leadership of other leaders whether youth or adults and I believe the Scoutmaster has an obligation to know if that leader is a homosexual or not.. How’s he to know.. You say it happens so commonly and openly now.. not in our Council.. When it happened here the female leader was asked to leave.. People that join knowing their violating the membership policy in place now are wrongful; why would they? You say it happens then do you support wrongful behavior and dishonesty? Pretty politically correct words are not going to change certain truths of what’s really going to happen if the BSA makes the mistake of changing the membership policies in place now… Christians are going to leave scouting and scouting will loose a level of integrity they maintain now within communities… you can deny everything I’ve said, your freedom, and I can and probably will say much more on this subject which hits so close to my home, but if you don’t look practically at what’s really going to happen and what very likely could happen if the scouts “come out” and openly accept homosexual, atheists, and agnostics into the organization then your really not serving the BSA well in leading the BSA in fulfilling its true mission; think? I don’t….

  25. I am concerned about the lack of balance in the process. Councils where membership is extremely high will have more ‘votes’ vs. councils where membership is less. Not surprisingly, Councils where membership is either less or on the decline are in urban areas where Scouting is not only desperately needed, but also aligned with a more inclusive stance on the ‘gay’ issue.

    Therefore, it’s no secret that the ruling majority will, no doubt, keep the stance the same, and Scouting will continue to decline in urban areas because support for the program will be driven away as the program continues to distance itself from real people, real citizens and real youth who need it. Those of you who think you have the answer and who cling to traditions like a life-jacket clearly don’t have a real appreciation for what it’s like to drive Scouting in a true urban community – where diversity of culture and diversity of perspective clash dramatically with ‘core values’.

    Character, is not just about clinging to traditions for the sake of traditions, but looking objectively at them and, by introspection, creating new ones if necessary. Citizenship, is not just speaking or acting in benefit to a small group of citizens, but our citzenry at-large. Character and Citizenship are two of the ideals we teach our youth, and those two ideals are in desperate need in our cities and urban communities, where life is exceedingly different and for many reasons well beyond the scope of this note.

    There needs to be a combination of the current method of collecting views and opinions (e.g. the National Board) with a group that’s made up of equal representation of Council volunteers – where councils get an equal vote and can serve as an advisory board to both the National Board as well as BSA as a whole. Changes in policy would require a majority of both groups before being enacted – and would require partnership and non-partisan activities to ensure that such a body wouldn’t overarchingly prohibit ‘growth’ and/or ‘innovation.’

    What could we use as a model for this approach? We have to look not farther than the organization that chartered BSA in the first place – the US Congress.

    The views of the minority MUST be heard, and in this case, unless there’s equal representation across the board, that simply won’t happen.

    • dducat wrote in part: “There needs to be a combination of the current method of collecting views and opinions (e.g. the National Board) with a group that’s made up of equal representation of Council volunteers – where councils get an equal vote and can serve as an advisory board to both the National Board as well as BSA as a whole. Changes in policy would require a majority of both groups before being enacted – and would require partnership and non-partisan activities to ensure that such a body wouldn’t overarchingly prohibit ‘growth’ and/or ‘innovation.’ ”

      Well, that’s exactly how the BSA works. The National Executive Board makes decisions which affect the entire organization; while the National Council ratifies and clarifies their decisions. Keep in mind that local Councils can choose NOT to followe the National decisions…each Council operation can choose or not to go along with the decisions.

      • Mike – thank you for your response, but we both know that’s not exactly what I’m talking about.

        Moreover, my point is that the National Executive Board needs to be revised to provide a ‘balanced’ perspective vs. what is, essentially, a forced majority where opposing viewpoints don’t really have a chance to stand on their own.

        Yes, I understand that voices may be ‘heard’ and while that’s beneficial to a point, the simple math doesn’t allow for any opinion other than the majority’s to be voted on into policy. The National Council can do all it wants to ‘clarify’ policy, but it’s pretty rote at that point, since the majority has spoken and the Council, to its charter, promotes said policy.

        Of course, the argument then is that the ‘majority’ speaks for movement and therefore, my point is moot. Unfortunately, as evidenced not only by the comments on this board, but also throughout many other sites that sponsor Scouting discussion, the ‘majority’ on this issue is very hard to determine. Moreover, because of the nature of this issue as well as the potential to impact branding, revenues, membership and the like, more voices, not less, need to be heard, and there needs to be a way to get to a ‘balanced’ scorecard with real indicators and real metrics vs. fear, speculation, worry, doubt, etc. From my viewpoint, there is nothing remotely close to a consensus on this issue from the lay public, and that there needs to be more representation of ALL viewpoints, period.

        Likewise, while it’s ‘possible’ for a Council operation to choose to dismiss National Policy, I’m not aware of this actually truly ever happening in practice, primarily due to the backlash from National over such a situation. So, while technically it’s ‘possible’ – programatically and practically, it’s not. feasible. As paid professionals are responsible for enforcing National policies and guidelines (in concert with volunteers) at the Council and District levels, there is an non-level playing field when it comes to matters that concern ‘policymaking’ and as such, there is a direct conflict of interest in trying to take a stance that is objectionable to National policy and therefore, no deviation is realistically possible, even if the Council staff doesn’t actually support the policy. In specific discussions with several of my Council and District professionals, they have consistently told me that their hands are tied and that there is little to nothing that they can do even though the directly object to the current policy regarding homosexuals in the BSA.

        So, my point is – if their hands are tied, and our hands (as lay people) are tied, then who’s hands are actually making policy and enforcing it? Those in the majority view who then have a rubber stamp from a National Council perspective.

        That’s not change, and that’s not growth. Regardless of whether the ‘gay’ issue gets changed or not, the practice and methodology of defining policy actually needs to change, and be transparent to the greater Scouting community at-large. Perhaps then and with the appropriate use of technology, we’ll then see some ‘change’.

    • They didn’t say they were going to approve or disapprove the homosexual, atheist, agnostic open membership policy based on the vote, they said they’re going to make whatever decision their going to make regardless of what the vote might be… I don’t think you have a thing to worry about.. seems the writing is on the wall to me… but in the long run it really won’t matter much because the organization is going to go bankrupt when all the units opposing the “open” enrollment policy don’t renew their charters… then the tiny minority of people the BSA will have catered to will have won nothing in the long run and many many many more people will have lost something that was very precious and dear to their hearts…. but that’s ok??? NOT REALLY…..

    • That won’t work for a lot of reasons. And then when the “gays” have three times more national support than the BSA, the BSA would be forced to merge with them. No thanks, I love the BSA and everything about our programs and don’t want it diluted just because people are scared of openly knowing that their fellow Scouters and friends are

      • If one is a Scouter of some experience, he would know this, so this is for the benefit of others, that the practice of multiple scouting associations, usually along ethnic or sectarian lines (or even the choice of being co-ed or not), is a common practice in Europe, as well as the Americas, save the United States. Even the World Organization of the Scout Movement concedes to this practice (although I am told it is not exactly encouraged).

        • That’s interesting, Manwithblackhat. Whatever happens in May, do you think the national Boy Scouts of America would allow “multiple scouting associations” in the United States – with permission to use the word “Scouts” in their title? Could there be “Mormon Scouts” and “United Church of Christ Scouts,” just as an example? I was under the impression that BSA has instead claimed exclusive rights to the Scout movement within the U.S., and has either sued or threatened litigation against any other organization within the U.S. trying to start up using “Scouts” in its name or applying the general principles of Scouting.

          I’m not advocating such a solution at all, by the way: I think it would be extremely harmful to BSA and our youth. I just think that national BSA should get out of the sexual orientation policing business and leave these matters to local units. (And as for professional Scouters and camp employees, they could also obtain sponsorship from a local unit.) But you brought up the subject so am just curious about your thoughts. Regardless of what happens in May, there may be families that feel morally compelled to leave BSA.

        • Rolf:

          I honestly don’t know what they would do (and this is one area where Mr Walton may have more information than I). I know that the BSA fought this trend in the first decade of their existence and prevailed, and this is backed by a Congressional Charter. I do not believe they would pursue or enable such a move on their own, as they are heavily investing in maintaining a “monopoly” over Scouting in the US. Would it harm the organization and the boys who participate? I don’t know, but it hasn’t anywhere else to my knowledge. Israel, to use one example, has separate associations for Druze, Jews, Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and two for Arabs.

          More on this phenomenon can be found here:

          I am aware of non-WOSM scout associations making inroads in the US and Canada, but they comply with the copyright issues by using different terminology (as in not calling themselves “scouts”), and this does not appear to be an appropriate venue for listing them.

          Unfortunately, this has not been handled as well as it might have been (which is what can happen when it’s your first time), and the “rogue scouting” phenomenon (to coin a phrase) will probably experience steady growth in the US whichever way the BSA decision leads.

          What will I do if the policy changes? Initially, probably nothing. Later on, I really don’t know. As I said back when this conversation started, it’s not so much what happens now that concerns me, as it is what happens later.

        • Congress authorized a charter for the Boy Scouts of America. I don’t remember all the details, but I’ll bet Wikipedia does. I can say that there were one or two other Boy Scout associations in the United States between 1910 and 1920, one of them backed by the publisher William Randolph Hearst. It was far too military in its emphasis. Eventually B-P himself voiced his approval of the BSA’s approach, and that, as they say, was the ball game. (Again, check Wikipedia, or ask Mike Walton. He’d know.)

          And to the other person, I can tell you for an absolute fact that the BSA has sole rights to use the terms “Scout” and “Scouting” in the USA in the context of a youth organization. Just try starting such an organization on your own and you’ll get a letter from a law firm in New Jersey that represents them in the “intellectual property” area. I had a ringside seat to such an incident several years ago.

    • Actually, there are several alternatives to BSA. Spiral Scouts is growing, and they actively recruit families with same-gender parents. Big Brothers, Boys & Girls Club, Earth Scouts, and more all promote “inclusivity” and “tolerance”. Parents who disagree with BSA’s stance should check them out.

      But, of course, we know that finding a group for their sons is not really what it’s about for most of them.

  26. I’m a Pack Committee Chair, Eagle Scout, Wood Badge grad, longtime Scouting volunteer and father of Scouts – so please don’t try to ignore my views as being an “outsider” or not concerned with Scouting if you happen to disagree with me.

    I strongly support Scouting ending its national, one-size-fits-all ban on openly gay leaders and members because the ban violates religious liberty, contradicts the Scout Oath and Law, actually endangers our kids’ safety, and is threatening to marginalize Scouting as a national movement.

    1. The ban violates religious liberty. My Christian church happens to believe, as a matter of religious principle, that gays are fully entitled to God’s love and an equal seat at God’s table, and that being gay is a trait and not a sin or choice. Your church may strongly disagree with mine, and that’s fine – Scouting is supposed to be “absolutely nonsectarian” – but you are not allowed to say that my church is less entitled to respect and equal treatment than yours. More and more mainstream churches and other faiths are now granting gays equal and full rights, and Scouting’s current national ban ignores this fact, making it impossible for churches like mine to be chartered organizations, and making it very difficult for parents in my denomination to consider letting their kids be Scouts.

    2. The current ban contradicts the Scout Oath and Law. Please, if you have not done so already, stop parroting the ignorant assumption that “morally straight” means “straight” as opposed to “gay.” Instead read how that term is defined in the Scout Handbook, and how it has always been defined: as living your life in an OPEN AND HONEST manner. Right now Scouting claims that it doesn’t discriminate against gays: they are welcome, but only as long as they’re CLOSED AND DISHONEST about who they are. This is absolutely hypocritical and in direct contradiction with the Scout Oath. And by denying faiths like mine the ability to participate fully in Scouting, BSA is preventing us from doing our Duty to God and to be Reverent to our God as we understand Him to be. Your church, and your chartered organization if it is a church, is entitled to its beliefs: but do not violate mine and my kids’ in the process.

    3. The current ban actually endangers our kids by ignorantly confusing homosexuality with pedophilia. Don’t you understand that the people most endangering our kids are the men (and some women) who are by all accounts outwardly – and inwardly! – heterosexual but who have dark, secret urges against defenseless kids? Not only is the claim that openly gay leaders will try to attack our boys deeply offensive to anyone who has a gay family member or friend, but it is also almost willfully ignorant and wrong as a matter of science. And it allows the secret pedophiles like the Sanduskys in our world to slip under the radar while focusing on people who are open and honest about who they are, but who – in full compliance with Youth Protection – do not impose their views on others. If any leader, gay or straight, acts inappropriately around our kids or fails to respect religious or political differences among us, they are not fit to be leaders. But do not presume ahead of time that just because someone happens to be living openly as a gay man or lesbian woman, they are therefore unfit to be a leader for that reason alone. It is offensive, wrong, and immoral.

    4. The current ban threatens to marginalize Scouting in America. Most of the U.S. has come to terms with the fact that there is a percentage of people among us who are gay – who are BORN THAT WAY. It is not a choice, and they should not be discriminated against for who they love. Political leaders as diverse as Mitt Romney – a Mormon bishop, God bless him! – and Barack Obama are united in believing that BSA needs to do away with this ban. I deeply respect the fact that Gov. Romney, given his religious background, understands that his private religious beliefs should not prevent others from being Scouts. He is a brave and honest man who represents the best in Scouting’s respect towards diversity. I only hope that BSA’s leadership, when it comes together in May, will look on his example and do the right thing.

    Because otherwise, Scouting will be consigned to an ever smaller, dwindling membership: Removed from our public schools, because they cannot allow discrimination. Reviled as backward and intolerant by an ever-larger national majority that supports equality for gays. The current ban is deeply harmful to the Scouting we love.

    A wise Eagle Scout, who happens to be gay, recently said: “Scouting is right about a thousand things. It is wrong about this one thing.” But it is a very important thing: it is discrimination and religious intolerance. My wife and I pray that BSA will do the right thing and join the worldwide brotherhood of Scouting in doing away with this wrongheaded and destructive policy. Thank you for the opportunity to comment. (Wimachtendienk, by the way!)

    • Excellent Homosexual “Talking Points.” Has your church found the “Gay Gene,” and how do they explain X-Gays (People who no longer engage in this UNHEALTHY behavior)? I guess your church takes issue with the Center for Disease Control over the UNHEALTHY nature of the Behavior? In any event, I would love to see how God deals with this behavior on Judgement day!

      • Mike C, I appreciate your acknowledging the strength of the arguments for allowing individual units to set their own policies – but please refrain from personal attacks on others and their religious beliefs. That has no business in this forum – or in Scouting.

        • rolfdenver:

          You may have a point about disparagement of religious beliefs. However, neither you, nor anyone else, has addressed the point that he has brought up repeatedly, one that is not addressed by lofty platitudes about acceptance of this or that and so on, about “the unhealthy nature of the behavior.” If this were treated as a genuine two-way conversation, you might begin by asking him about the CDC findings. Where are they? Are they on a website? If I had not learned of the findings in two prestigious journals of medicine over twenty years ago, I would be asking the same. If that information is there, and if he has presented them, can you honestly say you have answered his challenge by ignoring it? You may derive some personal satisfaction, as will others predisposed to agreement with you. But can you honestly say you have made your case to those “on the fence”? I think not.

          Alas, good sir, this is the internet, and among those who will read comments in this venue, will be the national leadership of the BSA. (How do I know this? It’s what I would do if I were them, and if I were smart.) In whose comments are they more likely to find substance; yours, or his?

          We need to keep in mind that this is not only about winning a combox battle, but changing hearts and minds. making one’s case in the public square. To do that requires more than emotional appeals and the usual clichés (and there are a lot of those of late in discussions like this). It requires substance, it requires good arguments.

        • Manwithblackhat, Mike C – whose keyboard keeps sticking on “all caps” whenever he types the word “unhealthy” 🙂 – didn’t provide a link to his CDC study, but it appears to be this one:

          The study did find a link between being gay and such “unhealthy” practices as … TOBACCO USE and ALCOHOLISM.

          The press release also included this statement: “This report should be a wake-up call for families, schools and communities that we need to do a much better job of supporting these young people. Any effort to promote adolescent health and safety must take into account the additional stressors these youth experience because of their sexual orientation, such as stigma, discrimination, and victimization.”

          In the spirit of Scouts being helpful, friendly, courteous and kind: is there anything Scouting – and those commenting on this thread – could do to reduce these kids’ feelings of stigma, discrimination, and victimization?

        • “Manwithblackhat, Mike C – whose keyboard keeps sticking on ‘all caps’ whenever he types the word ‘unhealthy’ 🙂 – didn’t provide a link to his CDC study, but it appears to be this one:

          “The study did find a link between being gay and such ‘unhealthy’ practices as … TOBACCO USE and ALCOHOLISM.”

          Getting stuck on all caps may be a virus. It’s spreading.

          Rolf, you probably think you’ve proven that Mike C has misidentified the subject of a CDC report. Inasmuch as the CDC is known to produce many reports, the most you have proven is that the CDC has produced a report on tobacco use and alcoholism among gays. For all we know, there may be a report to which Mike C refers (and he would do himself well to find it), which would be no surprise, as it would not be the first.

          And since one theoretically cannot prove a negative, you have proven nothing.

        • Manwithblackhat, he has now acknowledged that that is the CDC report to which he was referring, so I guess that takes care of that. OK, good sir, on to the next subject! 🙂

        • What’s next? Some people way above our pay grade – mine, anyway – vote on this in May. And we all, regardless of what we think they should do, pray that they end up doing the right thing for Scouting and our boys! 🙂

    • I wonder what Bible your church uses rolfdenver? God’s Word disagrees with your “Christian” Church…. Does anyone follow Biblical Truth’s anymore??? Homosexual behavior is a sinful behavior; an abomination to God’s creation…. but a person doesn’t have to act on their homosexual desires and can choose not to be sinful by actively engaging in homosexual behavior… Most Christian Churches do follow Biblical Principles and Christians Should strive toward molding their lives to live a biblical life; or are you really a Christian???… Think the scouts are going to survive without me “most Christian Churches”?? Just because your denomination chooses to not recognize God’s Word with regard to homosexuality doesn’t mean that’s right; means your church is wrongful with regard to His Word on homosexual behavior… And if you believe God rules over his creation and your church doesn’t dictate or rule over God then I think I’d be concerned with the decisions the leadership of your church are making.. But God will woo your church back to following His Word; in His way, In His time.. He has His ways… just the messenger here; you can choose to read the same Message; It’s all in the only True Word Of God.. the Holy Bible…

    • Rolfdenver—-
      You have concisely articulated several reasons why ending this ban will create a giant schism within the BSA:
      1.) The ban does not violate religious liberty. The SCOTUS has already ruled on that one. It’s a private organization, and people have no right to join it. Now, on to the sin issue. I don’t know what “church” you belong to, but I wonder what basis it uses for deciding what is right or wrong? The historic Christian faith uses the Bible, and one must twist it beyond recognition to get it to teach anything other than that homosexual practice is a sin. Now, if your “church” has thrown the Bible out the window (as most mainline and liberal denominations have), then what you’re left with is that truth is determined by whatever feels good, seems right, is popular, etc.
      2.) The current ban UPHOLDS the Scout Oath and Law. Allowing members to join who are not “Morally Straight” or “Reverent”, and then affirming their perversion by advancing them through the ranks, would fly in the face of the Oath and Law. Therefore, people with opinions like yours must reinterpret the Oath and Law to mean something other than what they have meant for the last 113 years.
      3.) The current ban does not confuse homosexuality with pedophilia. That is a commonly used straw man tactic. Some homosexuals prefer adolescent boys, which by definition means they are not “pedophiles”. However, they are men who are sexually attracted to boys. That IS a danger!
      4.) Scouting is already marginalized, if you haven’t noticed. Discarding our deeply held, core values will not serve to make us more popular. Just look at the mainline and liberal churches that have chosen to endorse homosexuality. Virtually all of them are in decline.

      Personally, I do not care if Scouting membership drops to 5 boys in the U.S., if it happens because we have chosen to do what is right in the eyes of God. What is wrong is trying to conform to the bad things in the culture around us, and changing our core values to match up with declining American values. The BSA ought to be a force for good, rather than just another weight that drags society further down into decline, like so many failed nations before us. Have you ever bothered to study what happens to nations throughout history when they embrace homosexuality as “normal”? They have ALL failed. God forbid that the BSA would chose to jump on that bandwagon!

      • The Catholic Church has suffered the greatest decline in membership and most would say that the Catholic Church is not liberal.

      • Phil, you don’t have to get personal by putting the word “church” in quotes when describing my family’s deeply held religious faith. We happen to belong to the United Church of Christ, and our church is one of about 1,000 UCC churches across the nation that are “open and affirming” to gays and lesbians as a matter of religious principle.

        But at least you’ve put my family and church in good company, since you also insult other “mainline and liberal denominations” which you happen to believe have “thrown the Bible out the window.”

        Phil, in conducting this debate you are not respecting the beliefs of others. You need to review the Boy Scouts of America’s charter, at
        which begins with these eloquent words:

        “Section 1. Declaration of Religious Principle, clause 1. The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God. In the first part of the Scout Oath or Promise the member declares, “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law.” The recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe and the grateful acknowledgment of His favors and blessings are necessary to the best type of citizenship and are wholesome precepts in the education of the growing members. No matter what the religious faith of the members may be, this fundamental need of good citizenship should be kept before them. The Boy Scouts of America, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but it is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. Its policy is that the home and the organization or group with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life.

        “Section 1. Activities, clause 2. The activities of the members of the Boy Scouts of America shall be carried on under conditions which show respect to the convictions of others in matters of custom and religion, as required by the twelfth point of the Scout Law, reading, “Reverent. A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.”

        • Rolfdenver–

          You confuse the idea of respecting the beliefs of others with the idea that one must also agree with the beliefs of others, or at least accept that their beliefs are correct. I certainly respect your right to believe as you choose, and in fact, I would be willing to defend that right with my own life. However, that does not mean I must agree with your beliefs.

          If you have several religions with contradictory beliefs, how can they all be true? This defies logic. Nonetheless, it does not mean that one cannot respect the right of others to believe as they choose. Personally, I would say that I believe that on the whole, the UCC has denied the historic Christian faith in numerous ways, and therefore it is not truly a Christian church. If I had a neighbor or co-worker who was a UCC member, I would treat them with respect, but I could not agree with their beliefs. Certainly you would not deny me the right to believe as I choose, would you—unless perhaps my beliefs differed from yours?

          The left tends to want to shut down all debate with those who disagree with them. They do this by citing such fabrications as “hate speech”, or the need for “civility in discourse”. Of course we should be civil, but this doesn’t mean we cannot have spirited disagreements.

          I did happen to check the statistics on the precipitous membership decline in the UCC, according to Wikipedia: “At the time of its formation, the UCC had over 2 million members in nearly 7,000 churches.[51] The denomination has suffered a 44 percent loss in membership since the mid-1960s.” I hope the BSA does not suffer more losses in the future by openly affirming a perverse lifestyle, and redefining it as “Morally Straight”.

        • All Protestant churches in the U.S. suffer membership losses. Even Baptists:

          LDS Churches are not losing members, nationwide. If any other sect increases, it’s generally through immigration.

          It’s probably not fair nor accurate to point to membership losses as an indication that a faith isn’t suitable for Scouting in any case.

          The Stone-Campbell Movement sects greatest membership losses in the past century have come from splits in the sects. At least three groups, UCC, Churches of Christ, and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), came out of what was one large sect in the first two decades of the 20th century. Their membership drop is moderated if we add the three together.

          Scouting’s membership was greater, as was the membership of many of these churches, when they didn’t preach against homosexuality so much. Finding the “right” religion for Scouting to follow has never been a path to increasing membership; selling the virtues of Scouting seemed to work really well for decades. Maybe a return to finding common ground, instead of finding means of exclusion, could work again.

          Let’s hope the board looks for ways to increase the appeal of Scouting.

          And let’s keep an open mind; it may well be that the decline from 1970s level membership has absolutely nothing at all to do with how well Scouting works, or membership policies at all.

          I can think of no one I’ve ever met who was not helped someway by Scouting. It seems to me that our nation has benefited greatly, too. In many ways, Scouting fulfilled that appeal made by President Kennedy at his inauguration: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country.” That seemed a high ideal, but really the sort of stuff Scouting in the U.S. did regularly from the time of its incorporation, through World War I, the 1920s, the Great Depression, World War II, the Korean War and through the booming ’50s. Let’s hope Kennedy’s speech in 1961 was not the high water mark for such beliefs.

          Since American Scouting’s high membership years in the 1970s, our nation has grown by about 100 million people. I doubt that the “correct” religious belief had much to do with that growth, but religious freedom had a greater role.

        • I disagree with you with regard to protestant churches losing membership Ed.. I agree with most everything else you’ve said on this Blog but I will disagree with you on this one.. I saw a survey in the paper a few months back that said the same thing about Protestant churches loosing membership; at least until I read more closely. When I read the article more closely it said that evangelical churches were not included as protestant churches and they were therefore not included in the survey. I think the survey was to show that less than half of the American population was protestant or some such thing; certainly intended to minimize the power of Christians today. Evangelical Christian Churches are Protestant and the survey taker was wrongfully eliminating their membership from the survey to serve their selfish purpose of trying to minimize the power of Christians in America and especially the power of Protestant Christians in America. Look where the losses of the membership from the Presby USA, Lutherans, Episcopaleans are going? Do you think those stronger Christians willing to leave their denomination are going nowhere; traveling lost into the wilderness. Some have come to my church which is Methodist but many many are joining the evangelical Christian churches; the non-denominational churches who are free to set their own discipline and not be subject to a national denominations influence. It was wrong to eliminate their impact on that survey and it’s wrong to underestimate their potential. Their is a high majority of Christians in the United States. I think the last number I saw about a month ago on a survey was that 83 % of our population identify themselves as Christian. The majority will have an influence on this decision; maybe not in the short run but certainly in the long run. It’s just God’s way.. His timing is different than ours.. His will always wins…

        • The high membership of the 70’s is not necessarily something of which to
          be proud. Remember Boy Power 76.

          Recent declines can in part be attributed to to a decrease in funding and a resulting decrease in council supported membership.

          Once accounting for traditional membership settles in true growth will happen.

          I am confident that truly active participating membership is growing today.

  27. Many religious denominations have already split over the issue if homosexuality.

    BSA is heavily sponsored by religious organizations. So we may expect a similar split as has happened in the churches.

    If BSA national is examinig changing policy despite a supporting US Supreme Court ruling, do you think the local chartering organizations opposed to homosexuality are going to see BSA as a risk they are going to assume further liability to support? I’ve seen nothing from the BSA to the chartering organizations on this topic. Is there a plan to include these critical members of the family in the discussion!

  28. I’m kind of new to scouting, although I would’ve done anything to join when I was a young man. But it was not meant to be. So now I have to try to view scouting through my son’s eyes as a first year Cub Scout.

    I think the policy as it stands is perfectly acceptable. The BSA does not allow avowed or openly gay scouts or scoutmasters – but they don’t ask a person’s orientation on the membership application. I know. I checked. Basically, it’s don’t ask – don’t tell.

    So what is the issue? If your sexuality is none of my business, then why do you feel it necessary to advertise it.

    My personal policy is based on what a former employer once told us concerning sexually inappropriate talk at work: I don’t care what happened, with whom, how many times, etc., etc. It has no place here.

    I don’t care if you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, queer, a swinger, adulterer, or just some jock who can’t help but to engage in locker room talk at inappropriate times. It’s none of my business what you do, and it’s not your business to make i so.

    You don’t have to go back in the closet, but keep it in the bedroom where it belongs.

    • Byron, why would you assume that a gay scout or scouter would “advertise” he/she is gay. It is a shame when a boy that has been involved in scouting for years is told that his application is being denied because someone thinks he/she is gay. It is also a shame when a Scouter’s application is denied because someone finds out he/she is gay. There doesn’t have to be proof just someone deciding that they have an idea about someone and they should no longer be a scout.

      • I think you’re making my point for me. It should not be a topic of discussion at all – gay, straight, whatever. It’s none of my business – or anyone elses.

        As for “advertising”, there are plenty of people, regardless of sexual identity, that wear their sexuality on their sleeve for all to see. Such a lack of discretion has no place in scouting, or any other organization responsible for the health and welfare of our youth.

      • You would have to be truly blind to not think there will be militant homosexual male couples who will try to take over scout troops and indoctrinate the scouts to believe that homosexuality is acceptable in the eyes of God… It will happen and when it does there will be anger and possibly violence over that kind of behavior… and when that anger and violence escolates to be news worthy the media is going to have a field day with all of it… it will just be another step closer to the destruction of the BSA… The kids will be the ultimate voters with their desire to become and stay members or not… And do you honestly think the kids are going to want to be part of that kind of a BSA???? Do you really… We can bat this ball around all over the field but when it comes down to it the kids will ultimately have the long term and deciding vote and I will predict that the vast majority will vote not to be in a troop that is being led by homosexual leaders… And then are we as the “adults” making these decisions now going to blame them for not being willing to go against the truth of their hearts and want to participate in scouting with homosexual scouts and homosexual leaders… When I was a kid in scouting I can guarantee you that my friends and I would have quit… seems to be a bottom line to me… no youth members then no need for scouting is there….???

    • I agree 100% with you Byron – regardless of whether you’re gay, straight, whatever, any sexual behavior or talk around our kids must not be tolerated. The same goes for prosyletizing, or talking politics. Nope: not appropriate in Scouting!

      The problem with the current policy, though, is that if someone is “known” to anyone else as gay or lesbian – if they do something as innocent as “two mommies” standing proudly behind their Cub Scout at a pack meeting, no hanky panky going on at all, just standing there like any proud parents with their even prouder son – well, that could be grounds for some “Gladys Kravitz” deciding that, hey, they’re “openly” gay and therefore can’t volunteer. Or even worse, if one or both of them has already been volunteering, they’re expelled – to their and their son’s shame and bewilderment.

      It’s even worse when a boy has progressed through most of Scouting and then realizes that he is gay. The stories about fine, upstanding young men completing all their Eagle Scout requirements, being approved by their local Court of Honor and endorsed by their own Troop, and then being denied their medal by some bureaucrat from afar because the boy has happened to mention his sexual orientation somewhere – are downright sickening.

      You’re also absolutely right, the current leader applications do not have ANY questions asking whether someone is gay or not. BSA also doesn’t provide ANY training to its local leaders on how in the world we’re supposed to figure out if someone is or isn’t “openly” gay. Youth Protection training is also silent on the subject – as well it should be, since BSA does not share the views of some on these boards that there’s a link between sexual orientation and pedophilia.

      I have to tell you, as a Pack Committee Chair it’s hard enough for me to find volunteers as it is, and without any encouragement or support our middle-of-the-road, suburban, conservative-locale pack has at least two sets of same-sex guardians or parents taking their kids to Scout meetings. Are they “openly” gay? How the heck do I know? NOBODY in our pack cares! NOBODY! But my fear is that someone more discerning (read: paranoid, or meddling) than our pack committee or our local parents will swoop in from outside and decide that they are “openly” gay, and that they must therefore be drummed out of Scouting.

      It’s wrong, just plain wrong. And if some chartered organizations and local units insist on continuing with that policy, so be it – but at least allow other units, parents and leaders the right and responsibility to make their own decisions. Thank you, and sorry for being so long-winded. Yours in Scouting!

      • I suppose I should define how I myself define “avowed” or “open”. I view it as a person who is so wrapped up in their own lifestyle, whatever it may be, that they can’t seem to exercise discretion when the topic is not appropriate for discussion. This may nt be the official definition. But it’s mine

        As a manager at my former place of employment, I worked with a few gay men. Most were appropriate. One, and only one, I would have never have guessed. But one was known to call the office during the day, and while on the phone would stop in mid-sentence and say things like “oh…wow!” and I knew he must’ve been checking out a male he found attractive. Totally inappropriate. Ladies, if I had done that with you on the other end of the line I would’ve been canned – and rightly so.

        You’re allowed to live your life how you see fit. You are not allowed to force me to give you my seal of approval. It’s not mine to give in the first place.

        • I agree with you 100% that that kind of behavior would be totally inappropriate in a Scouting setting. And it can be dealt with effectively under existing Youth Protection policies, even if Scouting allows chartered organizations to decide on an individual basis whether they want to allow openly gay leaders and members. Being a leader is a privilege – not a right.

        • Byron, I agree with you… inappropriate behavior in scouting is what we need to avoid. I appreciate your definition of open and avowed, however, that is not how it is being interpreted currently within the organization, and why it must be changed.

      • How many times has the homosexual boy who chose to “come out” before earning his Eagle Rank and lost his membership happened? of the 2,000,000 + Eagle Scouts how many have shared in the experience you describe and seem to be trying to make into a big deal.. If you choose to not follow the rules then there are consequences in life; not just within the BSA… Follow the rules and choose to achieve your goals or don’t follow the rules and don’t expect the rules to be bent for just you… where’s that leave the integrity of the rank if the rules are bent and broken for some.. Part of the Eagle Rank Achievement is that it says something about the Character of that Scout and that young man… It says something morally good about that young man… That standard needs to remain in place…

      • Here’s the answer to the problem with the Eagle Scout who is suddenly outed as “gay”. Whenever he decided he was going to give himself over to homosexual acts, at that point he also decided not to be “Morally Straight”, “Reverent”, “Trustworthy”, or to do his “Duty to God”. He should have had the moral decency to resign from scouting when he chose to practice deviant sexual behavior, rather than lying all the way through the advancement process, and then finally telling the truth. That kind of person should not be an Eagle Scout.

        You see, some folks believe you can divorce your private life from your public life. That just isn’t true. What you do in private or when no one else is around is often the best barometer of what kind of person you really are.

      • So now your saying that if I say the name Jesus to a scout then the BSA should discipline me? Are you seriously recommending the BSA write policies to address Christians sharing their faith in a Godly Organization.. I wonder if the Muslim faith based troops would agree to never mention their prophit Mohamed? I think you should bounce the idea off their leadership.. Christians will go second after we see your success with the Muslim leaders.

        • I’m not saying that at all, Walla e. In fact, BSA already has policies in place concerning this! For example:

          “To help ensure that nothing in an interfaith service would offend any participant, invite representatives of all faith groups with members present to participate in developing the service. Care must be used so that one person’s religious traditions are not imposed to offend another person. For example, one should not direct all attendees to remove their hats before prayer, as those of Jewish and Muslim faiths pray with heads covered. A more acceptable call to prayer would be: “Let us each prepare to pray according to his or her tradition.” Similarly, stating, “This we ask in Jesus’ name,” while making the prayer personal to the person leading it, could be troubling to people of other religions.”


          As a matter of fact, though, I’ve been at numerous interfaith services or sayings of grace before meals where, if the speaker is Christian, he happens to say “in Jesus’ name.” It’s never been an issue, because people realize that they are all invited to pray “in the manner to which you are accustomed.” It’s especially not an issue when you’re talking about adult leader training rather than a kids’ event. In our Wood Badge training, when a Mormon said grace, he or she would invoke Jesus. When a Jew did so, he would refer to the Lord but (obviously) not Jesus.

          Such statements are obviously not the same thing as intentional proselytizing to another parent’s kids.

    • The problem, Byron, is that there is more to it than just not having a check box on the application for sexual orientation. Does your pack have family functions? You, your wife (if you’re married) your cub scout, any other kids, show up to attend a holiday party, or a Blue and Gold banquet, or the pinewood derby. That defines your sexuality for you. No, it isn’t about sex, it’s about who you are. Lets say another leader is gay. He and his partner show up at the pinewood derby with their son. Maybe most people don’t have a problem with it. Maybe one person freaks out and complains to council. That leader would be forced out under the current policy.

      Let us not forget the case of Ryan Andreson, He started in scouts as a Tiger, and was recently denied the rank of Eagle because he is gay. When he joined scouts at age 6 or 7, he likely had no idea what it meant to be gay, let alone that he would someday realize that he is gay.

      These are reasons why the policy is untenable as it currently stands. I don’t care what you or anyone does behind closed doors, either. I also realize that gay people don’t want to come to scouts to talk about sex. They just want to be allowed to come to scouts without denying an aspect of their being.

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

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

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


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

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

      Check out Page #15 of this 56 page CDC report

      And here is the real CDC killer study…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Mike,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      I believe they are capable of achieving this.

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

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

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

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

          Why would youth be in single tents?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Mike C You need to read these

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

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

        From this site:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        • There is more to the definition of Homophobic: : irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals (according to Merriam Webster –

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

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

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

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

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

          That last part really applies to the discussion.

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

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


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

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

        • cwgmpls:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          Check out Page #15 of this 56 page CDC report

          And here is the real CDC killer study…

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

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

      • Mike C: I assume you’re a Scouter, and as a fellow Scouter I ask that you please remember Bryan’s starting point in his article: “So as we proceed, let’s remember that courtesy and respect for those with whom we disagree will help us work together to make One BSA that will last for generations to come.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          As for your new claim that gays were responsible for Nazism, that has been thoroughly discredited and is of course an unhelpful, unkind and unfriendly slur on gays and lesbians in the U.S. today, both those inside and outside Scouting already.

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

          The author of the “Pink Swastika” hoax is also a supporter of the “Kill the Gays” law in Uganda, and has also claimed that President Obama is secretly gay, and that the Biblical Flood was caused by gay weddings, among other outrageous claims. Source:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          And then, before you answer, would you do me a cultural favor? Check out this little ditty from the great sociologists Rodgers and Hammerstein:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        • Mike,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          Is BSA violating the will of its parents?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          Unfortunately, it looks like it has.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          I call that being a bully.

        • “I call that being a bully.”

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

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

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

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

          Actually, “church” predates Christianity:

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

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

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

          Also, see longer explanation here:

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

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

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

        • Complete and total BS Ed. Sorry.

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

        • Complete and total BS Ed. Sorry.

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

          ekklesia predates Christianity, too.

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

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

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

          So I’ll be frank:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          Whereas, Almighty God hath created the mind free;

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

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

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

          And in the text of the law itself:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          (Frank, but not necessarily brief. Citations will get this post tossed into moderation and make more work for our host; I’ll be pleased to provide citations to anyone who asks; or you may want to start here: )

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

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

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

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

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

        • Your funny Deanna; the way you believe the government has the power and authority to declare that a Church is acceptable to God; that’s a lie. They have no more authority to create God’s Church than to create a marriage covenant between God, a man, and a woman. Its foolosh to fool yourself on Godly things. Don’t ask Fred or me but do tell after you read the Nible which is God’s only true word to mankind. I recommend being prayerful and meditating on His Word if your seeking to truly understand His Word. If your a believer then listen to the Holy Spirit He’s placed in your heart; If your not then I hope one day you freely choose to become a believer.. That’s a bigger issue than any of this; its eternal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          Unfortunately, it looks like it has.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        • From BSA v. Dale:

          //begin excerpt//

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

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

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

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

          //end excerpt//

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        • Ed:

          Some “real stuff,” comin’ right up!

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

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

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

          But to get to Eagle without camping? Seriously?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        • Ed:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          Lots of conundrums like that in reality.

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

        • I’m going to have to think back to my scouting days because this was my era of being a scout and i remember that when i joined this change had just happened because my first scout manual was the one your talking about. I earned my Eagle rank in March 1976. I remeber skill awards being a big deal and I remember the new program was designed so disabled scouts had the chance to earn the Eagle Rank. I was blessed with not being disabled and remember taking all the