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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

View the survey now:

Current Policy

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

“While the BSA does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Open-ended answer

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

Open-ended answer

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

Yes or No

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

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


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

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

      Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          Morally straight applies to all the membership.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  13. “While the BSA does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          2. The statement from the BSA “The BSA does not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.”

          Prove beyond reasonable doubt

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

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

          2. The statement from the BSA “The BSA does not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.”

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

          Good luck mate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  19. The survey had great questions. Scout leaders would have to treat openly gay boys as girls. You can’t tent hetro boys and gay boys together.
    For the person who says you can’t teach homosexuality, you are an idiot. Human beings can pick up any learned trait. In sight, in mind. We are intelligent but very impressionable. You put homosexuals in front of kids, the kids will pick up their mannerisms and behaviors. That is why the BSA has been right to exclude at least gay adults as leaders – from the conservative gay to drag queen. Father and mother based families have been attacked long enough that our society should not settle to say that is no longer a normal household environment. Thank God the BSA helps to maintain that. I believe anyone under the age of 18 should be allowed in the BSA and let this wholesome program do what it was designed to do – teaching character, citizenship, & physical and moral health. However, the BSA needs to have the right leaders to offer those teachings to kids.
    Just because it is 2013, doesn’t mean we as a society can become completely reckless. Look where the USA is today – bad economy-huge deficit, loose lifestyles everywhere, profanity/nudity/sexual themes more prevalent on daytime tv. Yeah we are enjoying freedom but at what costs. Kids and just the general public are just being subjected to things that were heavy taboo just 10 years ago. The moral bleeding needs to stop and God bless the BSA and its sponsors for upholding positive values. Let all kids enjoy the program and make these issues about the kids and not about radical adults.

    • Joe,
      Your opening argument, “Scout Leaders would have to treat openly gay boys as girls. You cant tent hetro boys and gay boys together” is ludicrous. Gays are no more interested in seducing another male (hetro or not) as you would be in seducing a female that is walking down the street (assuming you are not gay).

      Secondly this is what I said in a previous post “If we as parents adopt a positive attitude towards everyone, then our children (I have two girls 8 and 9), will learn to accept people for who they are. If we teach that saying “NO” is ok, then we make this wolrd a better place. However if we treat someone who is different to us, in color, race, sexuality, abilities/disabilities then are we any different to those who we defend our countries from, whether that be the USA, Australia or England.” It has been proven that children upto about the age of nine, do not have any prejudices apart from those that have been taught to them. And in those early years who teaches them to our children, US the parents of those children.

      The USA deficit has nothing to do with allowing gays into the BSA. Your deficit is due to poor choice that your governments make at a local, state and federal level.

      My wife and I have a very open relationship with our two girls, and they know that if they see or hear something that they don’t understand then they can come and talk to us about it. They know it doesn’t matter where it comes from media, internet, school other kids, our girls can talk to us about anything, and we will sit them down and discuss all points so that they get a complete picture not just a one sided view. This we believe has helped shape our daughters to be better than their peers, for they have learnt to treat everyone with the same respect as they show their parents. But at the same time both our daughters know that I will be first inline to be judge/jury and executioner ( Exodus 21:24. ) if any one lays a hand on them in a way that they aren’t comfortable with.

        • Joe, calling someone an “idiot” and then citing a verse from one faith’s scripture is hardly in the spirit of Scouting. Scouting is “absolutely non-sectarian” (I am quoting from BSA’s Charter), and there are Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Bahai, and many other faiths in Scouting besides those that honor Leviticus as a book of the Bible. Not to mention the many Christian churches that don’t interpret Leviticus 18:22 the same way you do. That doesn’t mean you’re wrong, but they should have an equal right to follow their own faith traditions.

          As a heterosexual, Christian, married male with two sons in Scouting, I’ve thought long and hard about the “tenting with a gay boy” argument, but it doesn’t gain any traction for numerous reasons that have already been well discussed.

          Joe, I hope you know that Scouting already allows gays in: it doesn’t ask about it. If you think that there are no gay, or not-yet-acknowledged, gay boys in Scouting, you are dreaming. If you think there are no gay boys in your son’s school or on his sports teams, including when they travel to tournaments or sports events and share rooms, you are also dreaming.

      • Regarding “…our children will learn to accept people for who they are”, surely you do not believe that we should teach our children to accept any sinner for who they are; rather, we should teach them to live strong, virtuous lives, loving sinners but hating the sin. The Christian values on which the Boy Scouts were formed (although open to other believers in a Higher Power) are clear about the sin of homosexuality (and bestiality, incest, and polygamy): Romans 1:27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:9-10, among other citations, all make clear that homosexuality is a grave sin. Many citations teach us that we are our brother’s keeper, and therefore must judge & rebuke them for their own good (John 7:24 – “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge just judgment.” Matthew 18:15-17 – “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault…”. James 5:20 – “He must know that he who causeth a sinner to be converted from the error of his way, shall save his soul from death…”. 2 Timothy 4:2 – “Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine.”)

      • My wife and I have a very open relationship with our two girls, and they know that if they see or hear something that they don’t understand then they can come and talk to us about it.


        That is great for you and your family. Unfortunately, not every family has an intact stable family such as yours. But what about those that don’t have that luxury because we have made it so easy to tear families apart.? It is the vulnerable kids that predators target.

    • Correction:

      You could not tent a self proclaimed gay scout with any other male scout. If you tent two gay scouts together you are creating and environment for them to engage in sexual activity the same way if you tented a straight boy scout and girl together. This is a pandoras box fraught with all sorts of legal liability that has not been clearly thought through. It certainly exposes the scoutmasters and charter organization for personal legal exposure which would include further discrimination lawsuits for not letting gay scouts with other boys.

      • I don’t believe anyone is proposing tenting gay Scouts together. We have rules about tenting males and females together, as you correctly point out, so I see nothing wrong with establishing a rule that prohibits openly gay boys from tenting together. Gays make up only something like 3% of the population, anyway, so in a troop of 50 or fewer, chances are there won’t be any more than one gay boy. It’s likely not to be an issue.

        • Since we note that different genders can’t tent together and of course have separate showers (which I agree with), what about shower facilities once/if openly gay members are allowed to join the ranks?

          Before I took over as SM or even joined the Troop, our boys were chastised for wanting to wear their swimsuits while they were showering by a SM from another Troop. A lot of boys aren’t comfortable showering in an “open” shower, and the past few years the camps we went to had private shower stalls. Not all camps can afford that kind of investment though, but it’s just something else that needs to be considered.

        • “…our boys were chastised for wanting to wear their swimsuits while they were showering by a SM from another Troop.”

          I hope someone had a conversation with that SM. That is completely unacceptable.

          FYI: Gay Scouts are tenting together in places like Canada and the UK. That’s where this goes after the ethical and moral objections to the behavior are removed.

        • So when you tent that gay scout by himself you now open you, your CO for a new type of discrimination lawsuit for ostracizing the boy and not including him like the others. Likewise when you tent the gay scout with the others and he decides to educate his tent mate how he likes it you now open yourself and CO up to sexual harassment law suits. Admitting the gays scouts will NOT end the litigation. It is the goal to destroy the BSA organization.

          This is very much like the gay marriage issue. As you stated the LGBT comprises less than 3% of the population. Where gay marriage or civil unions are legal less than 3% of the LGBT population enters into marriage or a union. This holds true worldwide. So gay marriage is clearly not about gay marriage it is about the destruction of the traditional family unit and driving God out of our society.

        • Oh, come on now! Because a boy is gay he’s going to educate his straight tentmate “how he likes it”? What a creative and disturbing imagination you have! When you were a teen, how often did you engage girls who weren’t interested in you in conversations about your sexual desires? How often did you make the moves on a girl who wasn’t remotely interested in you?
          Not that it has anything to do with the topic at hand, but since you brought this up: I am 100% in favor of marriage equality, and I am in a traditional one-man-one-woman marriage of 17-1/2 years, and I have a faith, and I support religious liberty. So, really, my goal is actually to destroy my own marriage and drive God out of society? I did not know that. Fascinating that you know me better than I know me.
          Don’t bother answering these rhetorical questions. Your statements have become so ridiculous and inflammatory that you no longer have any credibility with me, and I am no longer interested in what you have to say.

        • ASM Mom said: “When you were a teen, how often did you engage girls who weren’t interested in you in conversations about your sexual desires? How often did you make the moves on a girl who wasn’t remotely interested in you?”

          At 14 I was chasing skirts. I tried whether they were interested or not. Sexuality defines a homosexual persom’s persona. It took finding the right woman at 20 for me to learn the importance of monogamy and sacred marriage between one man and one woman. 32 years of marriage hasn’t changed a thing. God has the right plan..

        • All due respect ASM the homosexual has the same hormones burning as the heterosexual. They are just pointed in a different direction. So there is a real possibility the subject may come up while tenting at a campout or during summer camp. If the membership policy is changed it will force the discussion of sex in the context of scouting. I agree sex should not be a part of scouting but this potential change will force the issue.

          As for what the rest of the world’s position is on the subject is not relevant. We are BS of America and we should maintain the current policy.


        • The end of you response
          “As for what the rest of the world’s position is on the subject is not relevant. We are BS of America and we should maintain the current policy.”

          Does the BSA wear the WOSM badge, because if it does that means you are part of the greater world organisation of scouting and as such you can have either a positive or negative influence on scouting. If you want to have a superior than tho attitude to the rest of the world maybe the BSA shouldn’t be wearing the WOSM badge.
          And isn’t it strange that the WOSM badge is of a reef knot on a purple background. Isn’t purple the color of the sexually frustrated

  20. What is moral? Who decides which criteria should be used? Isn’t that really the bare essence of the argument? I’m not gay and I practice a religion that teaches that homosexuality is amoral. My church welcomes all people because all are sinners but they make the distinction that practicing homosexals are engauging in sin without any repentance, and as such, may not join as members of the church, a subtle but significant distinction.

    It has been stated that other churches and organizations have different standards of morality. Since there are multiple standards, the question becomes,”What standard do we accept as the definition of morality? Isn’t that the real question? If I were a member of an ultra-conservative Jewish sect, wouldn’t eating bacon at a scout campout be seen as “engaging in unclean practices?” What about if I were Catholic and got a divorce (not recognized by the Church) and then remarried? Is what I did amoral? How about being Mormon and drinking caffeinated drinks (i.e. coffee on a cold morning)? What if I had a girlfriend that went with me on a trip to Las Vegas? In some social communities that would get me in BIG trouble!

    The point I’m trying to make is that there is no concensus on what is amoral! Obviously, our society has defined some things that everyone can agree is amoral such as murder, sexual assault, theft, etc… but where do we draw the line between acceptable and unacceptable? If the only thing barring a boy from being a scout is his sexual orientation, then I would argue that it is a moot point as NO sexual activity is permitted by BSA rules! We already have policy in place to handle heterosexual issues in our Venturing program. Why not adapt those rules for scouting?

    Barring someone from membership becasue of who they are attracted to seems to me to be based upon “our” peception of morality. I’m going to ask a tough question,”Who is to say that what we believe is the standard that we should impose on the rest of Scouting?”

    The BSA leadership is proposing that individual organizations should be free to make up their own minds as to what their “morality standards” should be. Rather than being hypocritical, I find this to be about as fair as humanly possible. My concern is for the continuation of the Scouting program. We have impemented stringent Youth Protection programs in response to errors made in the past. I believe that what we have in place is sufficient to alleviate any situational concerns PROVIDED THEY ARE PROPERLY FOLLOWED! The Venturing Leadership Fast Start on-line training has some specific areas regarding young adults and what may have to be dealt with. I see no reason why, with modification, these areas of concern could not be adapted to Scout training.

    In either case, I would NEVER leave the Scouting program in protest over this issue!! Scouting is the best thing that happened to me over my formative years and it is sorely needed now more than ever! I believe in it and will continue to do my best to help Scouting teach those timeless values… including the one about being morally straight! I owe it to my son who is a 1st Class and I owe it to every boy that has looked at me as an adult leader as well as role model.

    • Since the BSA has at its core Christen values. Those values set the Morally Straight standard. If there are no moral standards then anything goes and then why have Youth Protection rules. No rules and no moral standard translate to chaos.

      • The BSA may have some roots in Christianity, but do we not allow Jewish or Muslim members? The BSA does not discriminate against religion. But the current policy DOES discriminate against openly gay people. Discrimination in this day and age is just wrong.

        As was previously stated, who is to determine what is “Morally Straight”? Based on individual religions, one person’s behavior is “morally straight” while the next person’s behavior is completely different, yet still “morally straight”.

        • Could the Ten Commandments be a good way measure ones ability to be Morally Straight? Of course those ten rules are too constraining for the liberal ideology. To a liberal the adultery thing probably too confining. There are maybe two or three other commandments like the stealing and the coveting things the liberals would not have accepted on the mount had they been given the choice.

          Liberal hate rules of conduct. The rules of conduct put too much pressure them to make a correct choice. No rules require no choice and anything goes. Again no rules result in total chaos.

          The BSA has the total right and authority to set the rules of conduct and the Morally Straght standard. The folks that do not agree should find another organization that will meet their expectations.

        • Pets to Go, I agree with you. The Ten Commandments are a good – if not the only – yardstick for morality. (I say “if not the only” because there are many other faiths that do not reference the Ten Commandments.)

          The Ten Commandments don’t mention homosexuality at all.

        • We have Hindu Scouts and they don’t follow the ten commandments. Our moral yardstick as Scouts is the Scout Law. Beyond that, refer the Scout to their parents or religious leader.

      • BSA’s Declaration of Religious Principle, which you agreed to when you signed your membership application, says that the BSA is absolutely nonsectarian. It does not say “nondenominational” or “ecumenical,” terms for interChristian groups; it says “nonsectarian,” not affiliated with any one religion. The Declaration is very clear that the BSA supports each member receiving religious education from family and faith community, and following the guidance of family and faith community in carrying out Duty to God. It is *not* based on Christianity.

  21. But isn’t that the point of contention? “The BSA has the total right and authority to set…the Morally Straight standard.” I would agree with that statement. The BSA is a private entity and I will admit to more than a bit of “contrariness” just because a bunch of people that feel they know better are trying to force our hand! Of course, taken on an individual basis, hearing the various stories and imagining people I know and care for substituted into those situations, it’s not not nearly so easy to dismiss!

    We each have moral standards that we live up to (or at least try to) so we each have opinions about what is acceptable. There is a good argument for the “slippery slope” for if we allow for gay or lesbian scout leaders and say that we can’t judge the morality of their lifestyle, what about transvestites? What about alternative lifestyle practitioners (I’m being very PC here! Think “taboo”) What is to keep them from being included in this relative morality issue?

    The key point may be in the term “community standards of decency” which is a legaleze term. Perhaps there is no “one size fits all” approach. We can hold to our current position which will not solve the problem in the long run as a growing number of scouters are beginning to question the wisdom of this policy to the point that it is now seriously affecting the BSA’s future. We can openly embrace new liberal concepts and alienate the more conservative traditionalists who have threatened to leave the organization. We can attempt to find middle ground (ah yes, that beautiful state of concensus where nobody is completely satisfied and where one can say, “It’s a bad solution….except that it’s the fairest and least damaging solution we could come up with.” Can we work with that?

    • There is no middle ground here. Either homosexuality is treated as normal or it isn’t. In BSA’s Supreme Court argument, it was *specifically stated* that homosexuality is INCOMPATIBLE with Boy Scouts.

      • Homosexuals can start their own Gay Scouts and that would be the end of all theses issues. Every religion forbids homosexuality.

        • It is not true that every religion forbids homosexuality, Kelly. In fact, that is one of the reasons that this has come up for BSA; there are chartering organizations, including churches and other religious groups, that do not forbid homosexuality and that, in fact, expect their youth to welcome all as part of their duty to God.

        • Every religion does not discriminate against the LGBT community. And to say that is just plain ignorant. Based on a comment like that, I’m sure there are some who would want to make their own scouts.

        • Homosexuals can start their own Gay Scouts and that would be the end of all theses issues. Every religion forbids homosexuality.


          This is a very good point. Why doesn’t the gay community or atheist community start their own scouting organizations that conform to their beliefs? Why do they feel compelled to shove their morals down the throat of BSA or any other organization. this is just further proof that is is not about destroying the organization and not about their kids.

          Case in point is the Girl Scouts. The Girl Scouts changed their standards. As a result they have taken an ultra feminist position, have also changed their position to be pro Abortion. I have heard of a number of their units that also heavily promote the lesbian life style. That is their right to do. It is their organization. Well these new positions didn’t set well with quite a number of people. So did they fight Girl Scouts to change their policy to conform to their beliefs? NO! They started their own organization that espouses their beliefs using a similar construct as Girl Scouts. It is called American Heritage Girls http://www.ahgonline.org/

          So the question still remains, Why do the gay not start their own organization that espouses their ideals and leave BSA alone?

      • KS, there are two things there. First, homosexuality should be treated as normal because it is normal, scientifically speaking. Treating it otherwise is harmful. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/sexual-orientation.aspx
        Second, perhaps the BSA argued that homosexuality was incompatible with Boy Scouts before the Supreme Court back in 2000, but there’s a quote by Maya Angelou that applies here: when you know better, you do better. For example, many Christians used to believe that brown skin was the curse of Ham, that slavery was acceptable, and that women should not speak in the church; most reject those teachings now. True, there are still many Christians who choose to elevate certain seemingly anti-homosexual verses in the Bible to the same level as the three biggest tenets of that religion (Christ’s saving grace, love for God, love for others), but the rest of us either don’t consider it a sin, or consider the idea that other sins, like divorce, remarriage, and adultery are on a par with it. (Notice that no one is clamoring to re-write the standards to exclude those people.) The BSA may have strayed from its nonsectarian roots and allowed itself to become unduly influenced by conservative fundamentalist Christian groups in the past few decades, but now that it is considering the error of its ways, it has a big opportunity to do the right thing. When you know better, you do better.

        • First, homosexuality should be treated as normal because it is normal, scientifically speaking. Treating it otherwise is harmful. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/sexual-orientation.aspx


          Well let’s address this issue.

          Up until 1972 Homosexuality was classified by both the American Psychological Association and American Psychiatric Association as a mental disorder and it was outlawed in all 50 states. In 1970 If you said that one day homosexuality would be legal and gay marriage also every one would have said that you are crazy.

          The gay coalitions lobbied these organization heavily to get homosexuality removed from the list of mental disorders. They were successful in 1972. They claimed that they were born that way and that was nothing that anyone could do about it (that is yet to be proven and gays have no desire for a cure either). But I digress. They gay community then lobbied states to drop the legal prohibition on sodomy. that ended in a landmark Supreme court decision on Texas’ ban on sodomy and that made homosexuality legal in all 50 states.

          Then homosexuals got sexual orientation to be a protected class of citizens.

          There is now a new group that is heavily lobbying the American Psychological and Psychiatric Associations for the past 5 years to have their mental illness take off the list. That would be the pedophiles. They almost achieved their goal last August at the annual conferences. They have used the same argument that that the Homosexuals have used, they are born that way. Who would choose to be a pedophile? BTW pedophilia is the sexual attraction towards a prepubescent child. Heterosexual and Homosexual child molesters molest children of the same gender that are peripubescent or post pubescent. So once pedophilia is no longer classified as a mental disorder then they will be afforded all of the legal privileges of their sexual orientation. Does being a pedophile mean that they molest children. No it doesn’t. And you local school will have to hire them and protect them from lawsuits.

          So how does this relate? I recognize that not all gays are child molesters but ever child male molester of a scout age boy is a homosexual. And once the pedophiles get their legal status BSA will have to allow them too because of the precedent that has been set.

          Do not take this to mean that gays categorically are bad people because they are not. Likewise not all gays choose to live a homosexual lifestyle and they are ridiculed and scorned by the gay community for doing so.

          IMO in the long run, BSA changing the policy will have far more negative consequences than good. It may remove the social stigmatism that you perceive but it will decimate the organization from within. BSA will not increase in membership. There will be no more moral compass. It will NOT result in an increase in revenue. BSA will no longer be an organization of any real value since they can change their moral compass on a whim of the CO.

        • Steve

          Where are your citations? Do you have documentation that all of the sexual abuse against Boy Scouts has been committed by a homosexual?

    • Steve, I really appreciated your points. It’s obvious that your church or moral yardstick is different than mine, in that your church does view homosexuality as sinful. My church differs on that. It’s not some “fad” but a core part of my church’s religious view. Reasonable minds can differ on that.

      Scouting in virtually all other western countries has done away with a flat national ban on homosexuality, and instead leaves it to local units to decide who’s suitable to be a leader. That’s the way it should be in the U.S. as well. What chaps my hide is when a local unit made up of caring, committed parents and volunteers decides that a boy has earned the Eagle, or a man or woman who happens to be gay or lesbian is suitable to be a leader for their sons, and then some outsider says oh no, they have to be expelled based on some national, one-size-fits-all rule.

      • Rolfdenver
        I can tell you and any one else who cares to listen, that here in Australia it is a Commonwealth offence to discriminate and that Scouts Australia donot discriminate. This has had no adverse effect on us, maybe the BSA should start looking at what is happening in other countries. And another thing that makes Scouts Australia the best, we are completely co-ed

        • here in Australia

          David, I wonder what your stake in this conversation is?

          You are in Australia and trying to influence BSA

        • Steve, maybe he used to live in the US, and was invited to take part in the survey. did you stop to think about that for a moment?

        • Justin, there are a few people posting in this forum who, rather than have a civilized discussion with the common goal of finding a workable solution, take an adversarial position against those who disagree with them. Questioning a person’s stake in the discussion is an attempt to invalidate his opinion or stifle his contribution. They like to ascribe ulterior motives to those whom they don’t understand (libs out to destroy the Boy Scouts and remove God from society, by golly!) rather than give thoughtful consideration to other viewpoints. The rest of us operate under the assumption that if you are here and engaging in the conversation, Scouting must be dear to you, and we are trying to understand as well as to be understood.

      • Steve,
        I wonder if in your narrow perfect little world you release that the BSA is part of the WOSM. In western developed countries with the exception of the USA gays are treated with the same respect as every other member of their respective countries.

        I don’t think you realise, how powerful the BSA is. This issue is in the media over here, and it is now at the point where we have parents and officials asking us what our policy is

        So you need to think of the bigger picture and consider not so much what damage this is doing to the BSA, but what damage is being caused to the WOSM. The sooner the BSA puts this to rest either for or against the better it will be for the WOSM

        Remember, it doesn’t matter what national flag you are under, we are at the end of the day all Brothers

        • It always concerns me that some one would spend so much time and energy that really does not concern them. What BSA decides really will have zero influence on Scouting in Australia. Scouting in Australia already conforms to his belief system. So, why does he spend so much time here trying to influence opinion in the USA?

          It just makes me wonder.

        • I have been wondering why he needs to get in the middle of this discussion since he has said he has two girls. I have not responded to his post since his rant on the Muslim women commets.


        • Why is Mr. Richardson involved? He clearly stated that what we do in the BSA has an effect on the WOSM. In his view, the negative publicity has had a damaging effect on the WOSM. Folks in the rest of the world tend to view themselves as citizens of the world, unlike most Americans, who tend to think the universe revolves around the USA. He is urging us over here to take a broader view and not get too caught up in gazing at our own navels, because what we do has consequences that reach as far as the Australian Scouts.
          For that matter, any human who cares about how our youth are being raised has a stake in this issue. How I raise my kids affects yours, and vice versa, and how all kids are raised affects society as a whole. Don’t be too quick to dismiss the voices of outsiders. We’re all in this together, whether we’re members of the BSA or not.
          Lastly, why, if Mr. Richardson has daughters, is he concerned about BOY Scouts? Again, think WOSM: Scouts are Scouts, not Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. It’s coed.
          Hope that clears things up and gets us back on topic.

  22. So, I didn’t get my survey, even after visiting the link — neither did my other half.

    What’s really concerning, however, is a conversation I had with a friend who is a DE in another state. His comment was that this was only ONE of the things being “strongly considered” and that we should hold on to our hats because we’re in for a lot more “discussions” about various issues. He would not elaborate, saying that he had to adhere to timing. Some of you are well-connected. Would you please elaborate? Is this just the first of Scouting’s values to be up for sale?

    • If the Gay issue is allowed, the God issue will be attacked next for sure. The atheists were shut down many years ago but the recent Gay issue has resparked their interest. If God is removed from the BSA, the program is finished. There won’t be anything to stop that momentum if Gay adults are allowed to join. If the BSA made the consession to not be strict on membership rules for youth under 18 and even looked at going co-ed on all levels, I don’t believe there would be these headaches. Keep good moral leaders and he program will flourish.

      • I agree with the God issue. The liberals will not stop until the destruction of the scouting program is complete. The gays will not stop with membership. Once membership is allowed they will go for dramatic program changes. BSA will be required to come up with a gay merit badges such “Alternative Family Living” and other gay related life styles.

        Liberals are like a child asking a parent for a toy. The parent does not grant the wish and the child keeps asking and wears the parent down until the parent finally gives in so the child will stop pestering the parent. .

        BSA must hold true to the values that have guided this organization for 103 years. BSS should not waver and give the liberal their toy.

        • Pets to Go
          Send your kids to me, in a week they will only ask once. Mine have learnt that when I say “No” it means No! not whine and ask and ak again and again. The Liberals won’t go for God, because if that was the case they would have to have all your money reprinted and minted. Does the phrase “In God we trust” ring any bells for you.
          I don’t believe in “God”, I do elieve in a higher being, does this mean that I couldn’t join the BSA. I don’t force my beliefs on any one, I respect others choice for their religious believes, and I don’t disrupt prayers, scouts own etc, and I will partake in each event as I need to. Does this make me any less a suitable leader for scouts

        • Your blinded by your own narrow mind. I’m a liberal Catholic Scout leader and I have plenty of conservative Scouting friends that are against the gay ban in Scouting. No one is asking to take God out of Scouting, we see it as a fairness issue. It’s people like you who try to scare people to think otherwise. It was not long ago that Scouting in the South had Segregated Scout camps. “By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.”
          ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

        • Thank you for your comments. I will stay on the side of your conservative Scouting friends. As a liberal Catholic you would be more comfortable in the Anglican church where the gays find positions as Bishop and they follow a pro choice ideoloy.


      • There is no “god issue” in Scouting. The BSA is non-sectarian. You agreed to it when you joined. You don’t hear Muslims pushing for more Allah in scouts, do you? Is “In God We Trust” printed in any BSA literature? Just because we allow openly gay people to join does not mean further concessions to them or any other group agenda.

        So long as an openly gay leader joins or unit, what should it matter? Unless they are forcing themselves on you, or your kid (or anyone else/other kids), there should be no problem. That’s why we all adhere to the Youth Protection Training, and have 2-Deep Leadership. So long as they’re not flaunting the fact, I say why discriminate? If a person is a good leader, why deny them the right to lead?

        • There are leberal organizations that will accept leadership no matter what ther moal stance is. Boys and Girls clubs, YMCA just to name two. If does not help look up the word venue.

        • There is no “god issue” in Scouting. The BSA is non-sectarian.

          There is too a God Issue.

          To be a Boy Scout one must profess a belief in God.

        • Steve
          Buddhist do not believe in God. Buddha did not teach about a creator and Buddhists are welcome in the BSA. Buddhists have a religious emblem as well.

          Nonsectarian is the BSA way.

      • Joe, are you saying that anyone who supports BSA’s doing away with the national ban on openly gay or lesbian members or leaders, and instead leaving it to individual units’ chartered organizations to decide, (1) isn’t moral and (2) isn’t religious?

      • If the Gay issue is allowed, the God issue will be attacked next for sure.


        I agree and I believe that is the real and ultimate goal — the removal of God not just from BSA but from our society.

        Then no one has to have their conscience bothered when they do something wrong.

        • Steve,
          As you are aware this is the opening lines from the scout promise
          On my honor, I will do my best
          To do my duty to God

          Nowhere in these lines does it say to which god. Every body has a different belief in their god and a different god for thier belief. At the end of the day the word god, is a generic word to reference a high being.

          It doesn’t matter if you are a member of the BSA, Scouts Canada/Australia/UK, or what ever country you are in. If you are a member of a scouting movement, you are a member of the WOSM, and as such you are a member of a non denominational religious movement. The god you worship, pray to or believe in is the one your family believes in. There is room in scouting for every one, and that was and is I believe what BP tried to do when he created Scouting.

          I am not trying to cast aspersions here, but there are a lot of writings about that question the morality of our funding father. I know you can’t believe everything you read or see on the Internet, but these allegations have been around for a lot longer than the Internet. So if there is any truth to them, why would BP exclude gays.

          For far too long, “straights” have labelled gays as the molester, child abuser or a sexual pervert. Bigotry, whether race, religion, sex or sexuality has no place in today’s society. We need a society of tolerance, Understanding and caring, strangely these are the things that scouting has been about for the past 100 years. I wonder if BP was ahead of his time, a visionary of what was to come.

          It doesn’t matter what country we come from, what customs we follow, personal beliefs, we all can learn something from one and another. And until that time comes we have a planet that has separate land masses, not a planet that is a world

        • the ONLY way you can definitively say that is the “real and ultimate goal” of anything is if you’re “on the inside” and trying to destroy it.

        • Justin
          Can you xplain yourself please. I’m not on the inside and I’m not trying to destroy anything

  23. By the very nature of your comments on this issue you are forcing your beliefs on the BSA to change the membership policy. So don’t try to take the high ground. Liberals can’t stand the conservative position on any issue. The left can’t stand another individual with a different set of values than their own. In most instances the liberals have no values.

    • These are rather broad generalizations about the people who are asking for a change. Much of the request for change has come from religious groups, churches that charter units, that hold a different view of homosexuality from yours. They are asking because of their values, not because the members of these churches have “no values.” BSA says that it is absolutely nonsectarian; I don’t believe BSA should be the decider of which religions are correct and which are not.

      • Those religious organizations have a choice. If they are not in agreement with the current BSA membership policy they can choose to not charter a boy scout unit. I don’t see a movement to make a religious congregation that fosters an acceptance of homosexuals to change their policy to exculde homosexuals.

        The charitable thing to do would be accept the BSA for who and what they stand for and move on down the road. It’s called tolerance and respect for another person or organizations values.

        • I don’t see the connection between “charitable” and BSA becoming the decider for America of which religions are right and which are wrong. The order is God – country – Scouting. It is wrong to require Scouts to sacrifice their religious values (including Scouts from religious groups that welcome homosexuals) in order to be a part of Scouting. A change that allowed church chartering orgs to choose their leaders according to the religious values they teach would keep that God – country – Scouting order right.

      • The Boy Scouts were founded on Christian values. Christianity is clear on the grave sin of homosexuality (and bestiality, incest, polygamy, pedophilia/pederasty, etc.): Romans 1:27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:9-10. Following in that tradition, we should love the sinner (offer a zero-tolerance environment for wrong behavior but allow participation without their forcing unwanted knowledge upon us and our boys) but hate the sin (stand firm with our principles).

        • Boy Scouts was not found on Christian values, it was founded on values common to all people of integrity, Christian and otherwise. The BSA is now and always has been nonsectarian. As a nonsectarian entity, the BSA does not subscribe to (or ask its members to subscribe to) any particular holy book. Although you might not like leaving the Bible out of the discussion, I’m sure you do appreciate that we’re also leaving out the Qu’ran, the Kitab I Aqdas, the Vedas, the Book of Mormon, the Talmud, and so on. [The Bible verses don’t help this conversation along anyway, as folks from other Christian sects (like the UCC or the ELCA, for example) interpret them far differently from the way your church does.]
          Many of us in the BSA don’t believe that homosexuality is a sin, and that it is in fact sinful for us to exclude gays on the basis of their sexual orientation. That is the crux of the problem, isn’t it? We’re all people of faith, and our faiths are dictating opposite things. Fortunately, we all share a belief in the Vision and Mission Statements of the BSA (and by extension, the Scout Law and Oath).

        • Others have already responded, Eric, but since you were addressing me — no, “Christianity” is not clear on this issue. I totally understand that people affiliate with one branch of Christianity because they believe that branch is *right*. As such, we can believe that other branches of Christianity are wrong; the church I grew up in would have described many other churches as “not real Christians” or as “nominal Christians.” The fact one believes that another branch of Christianity is wrong, however, does not make it not a branch of Christianity. To say so in this context is to ask BSA to be the arbiter of true religion — to ask BSA to decide that your church is THE church, and mine is not Christian. I don’t think any of us want BSA to be the decision maker on whether our churches have correct doctrine.

    • Pets to Go, I think you may be misunderstanding the proposed policy change. The proposal is to allow individual chartered organizations to set their own policy on homosexuality. That means that if your son’s troop or den is chartered by a “conservative” organization like yours, it will likely remain the same as it is now: no openly gay or lesbian members or leaders need apply. But other organizations with a different set of values than yours will then be allowed to chart their own course.

      That’s actually a pretty conservative position, by the way: religious liberty.

      • Rolfdenver
        If I understand you, your saying that the BSA is going to allow CO’s to either allow or ban gays. Here is the problem with that. The BSA currently says “no open gays allowed” basically enforcing the “don’t tell, don’t know policy”. So now the BSA wants to give the power to the CO’s effectively creating and establishing two BSA’s. Ons will become know as the GBSA and the other BSA. So lets assume that this is what happens, so we are now 12 months into the future:

        Can the “GBSA” & the “BSA” attend a combined function eg Jamboree, or will there have to be two separate but same jamborees. Will non gay members of the GBSA be allowed to attend BSA functions. Will those who have an open mind and treat everyone as an equal from the BSA be allowed to attend a GBSA function.

        Why not take this whole issue a step further. Lets give CO’s the power to pick and choose on color, religion, height, eye color, hair color, disabilities, political charter.

        If the BSA wants to get rid of bigotry and discrimative rules and laws, then it is upto the CO’s to comply with them. If a CO cannot abide by the BSA, then the usefulness of the CO should be questioned.

        What was acceptable 10, 20 ……. 100 years ago is now no longer acceptable. The world is changing so are our believes.

        Remember at the end of the day we are all homosapiens…. Oops this is awkward, homo, just some practise it more than others

  24. Ethics And Morals And Guardrails

    What are ethical and moral choices? What are ethics and morals? We, the people of this country, are growing increasingly removed from being able to make sound moral decisions. We are moving away from even knowing what ethics and morals are.

    Simply put, morals are what is. Morality is a description of what we accept as a people. Ethics are not what is, but rather what should be or what ought to be. Ethics are how we should behave as measured against a higher standard of right and wrong.

    What is the higher standard? Scouting has held from its very beginning that there is a higher power and a higher standard. We cannot simply “make up” our morals or attempt to match our morals to a mere consensus. Our morals must be constrained by ethics.

    When we reject the higher standard we confuse morals with ethics. Ethics then disappear as a higher standard and become mere statistic. This kind of “ethic” says that what becomes “normal” is right and therefore behavior is judged against popular opinion and not a higher standard. That is a recipe for moral disaster.

    That there must be a higher power has been a critical and core belief in Scouting since its beginning. The Scouts have held that both the youth and the adult members must believe in a “higher power.” This is why atheists in particular and sometimes agnostics have been excluded from Scouting. Scouting is very diverse in this regard, giving a lot of room for different belief systems, but still requiring a belief in “god.”

    The very fact that we have a disagreement over the current sexual orientation policy is proof positive that it is indeed a moral issue. We must turn to the higher standard of what “should be” or what “ought to be.” If we do not, we will answer the question by what the majority is willing to allow or which gears squeak the most. Even if that turns out the way I would prefer, that is not the way to address the real ethical issues.

    We all agree that there is an ethical “line” regarding sexual behaviors, but we do not agree where that line should be. It is an important distinction to understand that we are not arguing the existence of the line, but rather where to put it. (There are a few people in our society that would say there are no lines regarding sexual behaviors and anything and everything that a person consents to is okay. Such folk should stay as far away from Scouting as possible.) We are not going to unanimously agree on where the line should be, but we know we should have one and we know we should keep our youth and our organization a safe distance away from the line. We need a guardrail.

    We must put a “guardrail” at a safe distance from where the line “ought to be” and not merely where we are willing to allow it. In this space I am not going to get into all the reasons, the negative associations, and the potential damages that will be caused by putting the guardrail too far out. (I have another essay for that.) Instead, I am going to trust that adults know that there are dangers, particularly to our youth, who at Scout age should not be engaging in any sexual behaviors. And we adults should not be adding sexual confusions to the mix.

    We do all kinds of damage to our lives when we cross ethical and moral lines. This is probably no truer in any other area of human life than regarding sex. One can recover from many other damages in life, but sexual damages last for a lifetime and are seldom fully repaired. This must not be ignored. Love, tolerance, and inclusion do not solve this.

    The further you get over a moral line the more damage done, all the way to death. Sexual immorality being so damaging is more like a cliff than a line on flat ground. That’s why we need to not only have a line, but have a guardrail that keeps our youth not just off the line, but at a safe distance from it.

    Think of it like driving, where do we put guardrails on a curvy mountain road with steep slopes and cliffs? Do we put the guardrail over the cliff? No. Do we put it close to the drop off? No. We put the guardrail a safe distance from the danger on solid ground. Could you drive between the guardrail and the danger? Yes. Would that be wise? No, it would not. Like it or hate it, the current policy is a guardrail on safe ground. People get hurt when they run into the guardrail, but they don’t get hurt as seriously as when they go off the cliff.

    This will be a struggle that will not end here regardless of what direction the policies may go. Even if we change what we accept, the underlying ethical issue will not go away. This is not about feelings or desires, nor is about condemning or mistreating people. It is about what behaviors are ethical, safe and wise to be on display in front of and among our youth. And please realize that when you move the guardrail you will NOT stop people from getting hurt. People will start running into the guardrail in the new location.

    The Boy Scouts is one of the last few places our youth can go for true adventure and character building experiences. We let them build fires, survive in hot and cold, work with knives and tools, get cut and scraped and bruised and occasionally worse. At it’s best it is a great experience for our youth. The adults provide the guardrails to keep the youth from going over the cliffs; literally, figuratively and morally.

    Where is the guardrail on sexual behavior? As a parent responsible for my child and as an adult Scouter responsible for other people’s children, I can have only one answer. Leave the sexual guardrail on solid, safe ground and far away from the cliffs. BSA, please do not change our policy.

    • You are 100% correct. I wish I could have said it as well. I hope and pray the BSA keeps the current policy in place.

      Thank you for taking the time to present such a well thought out position.

    • Jweaksnc, I totally agree with you that the “sexual guardrail” should be on solid, safe ground and far away from the cliffs. That is why I’m so proud and impressed of BSA’s stringent Youth Protection guidelines.

      Keep in mind that the only proposal being considered is to allow INDIVIDUAL CHARTERED ORGANIZATIONS to set their own rules on whether someone who is gay or lesbian is, for that reason alone, automatically disqualified from being a leader.

      There are many, many openly gay or lesbian people who would be outstanding role models for our boys – and who would never dream of trying to behave inappropriately around our boys. Your proposed “guardrail” takes up just about the whole road!

      My church has its own youth protection rules for all adults who work around kids. It also believes, as a matter of religious principle, that homosexuality is not sinful and that gays and lesbians have a fully equal place at God’s table. If this proposal passes, no one will force your own chartered organization to admit gays and lesbians as leaders. No one will force mine to either – but it will be nice to know we will have the religious liberty to be able to do so if we think someone would be able to serve as a distinguished leader or would be a fine Eagle Scout – even though they happen to be openly gay or lesbian.

  25. As a scout leader, all I can say is it is a very sad day when openly gay men are going to be allowed to lead impressionable young boys.

  26. Please Google Robert Baden-Powell, and the letter he wrote prior to his death, to address the BSA leaders concerning the future of the BSA. It clearly addresses these concerns. Stick to the basics both morals and ethics foundation upon which this organization was founded. If it does not fit you you and your desires please find a organization that does.

    • I think this letter from our founder BP sums it all up

      To MY BROTHER SCOUTERS AND GUIDES: Cecil Rhodes said at the end of his life (and I, in my turn do feel the truth of it), ‘So much to do and so little time to do it.’
      No one can hope to see the consummation, as well as the start, of a big venture within the short span of one life-time.
      I have had an extraordinary experience in seeing the development of Scouting from its beginning up to its present stage.
      But there is a vast job before it. The Movement is only now getting into its stride. (When I speak of Scouting I include in it Guiding also.)
      The one part which I can claim as mine towards promoting the movement is that I have been lucky enough to find you men and women to form a group of the right stamp who can be relied upon to carry it on to its goal.
      You will do well to keep you eyes open, in your turn, for worthy successors to who you can, with confidence, hand the torch. Don’t let it become a salaried organization: keep it a voluntary movement of patriotic service.
      The Movement has already, in the comparatively short period of its existence, established itself onto a wide and so strong a footing as to show most encouraging promise of what may be possible to it in the coming years.
      Its aim is to produce health, happy, helpful citizens, of both sexes, to eradicate the prevailing narrow self-interest, personal, political, sectarian and national, and to substitute for it a broader spirit of self sacrifice and service in the cause of humanity; and thus to develop mutual goodwill and co-operation not only within our own country but abroad, between all countries.
      Experience show that this consummation is no idle or fantastic dream, but is a practicable possibility if we work for it; and it means, when attained, peace, prosperity and happiness for all.
      The “encouraging promise” lies in the fact that the hundreds of thousands of boys and girls who are learning our ideals today will be fathers and mothers of millions in the near future, in whom they will in turn inculcate the same ideals — provided that these are really and unmistakably impressed upon them by their fathers and mothers of today.
      Therefore you, who are Scouters and Guiders, are not only doing a great work for your neighbor’s children but also helping in practical fashion to bring to pass God’s Kingdom of peace and goodwill upon earth. So, from my heart, I wish you God’s Speed in you effort.

      • This part of the letter really says it all.
        “Its aim is to produce health, happy, helpful citizens, of both sexes, to eradicate the prevailing narrow self-interest, personal, political, sectarian and national, ”

        Words to think about.

  27. Scouts Canada lost half their membership after they changed their policies. Scouts Canada now serves less than 75 thousand youth (75,000). The BSA serves over 2.5 MILLION youth (2,500,000). As a percentage of the respective countries’ populations, the BSA serves between three and three and a half times as many youth than does Scouts Canada (+300% more). Scouts Canada is not so inclusive after all and they show no signs of recovery. Canada’s numbers are a crying shame, literally. When a core ethical principle drops people walk. Every evidence points to this potential change being a “poison pill” that will destroy BSA. It will continue in some smaller, less influential shape and serve far fewer youth.

    • You stay that Scouts Canada lost members after they changed policies. I have a couple of questions regadng that.
      1. What policies did they change
      2. What empirical evidence is there that actually shows that the losses were due o he policies that were changed
      3. Is it possible that the changes were coincidental in timing to the policy changes, and the lossy weren’t due to other factors

        • Pets to Go,
          Unfortunately, I work in facts. I won’t be governed by assumptions, I don’t believe in playing what ifs, there are only two colors Black and white and no shades of grey. I call a spade a spade and a shovel an instrument for digging a hole with. I never believe anything anyone tells me until I see I for myself, and I believe strongly that rules are made for the guidance of wise me and the Obedience of fools.

        • You are promoting the graying of the membership line. It is not fun dealing with a self righteous individual.

          1st I’m not promoting the graying of the membership line. What I am trying to promote is an anti bigotry policy where every one can be treated as a equal for god did say that all men are created equal, and yet these days we treat women as equals, doesn’t that go against what god said, but he never said all men are created equal except for blacks, gays and the disabled.

          2. I’m not self righteous, far from it

        • I think I have found a new horse for you to beat. Why don’t question the Muslims for the way they treat women. This is a more serious issue than the one you are pounding on here.

        • Thank you for the document Karen. It should be noted that the doc is 12+ years old and does not deal with the historic 50% loss that occurred in the 99-03 range.

        • Right, jweaks. As I noted in my comment, it documents the changes in membership *prior* to the change in policy. It seems to have been created as a response to a precipitous drop in membership between 1996 and 1999, following a less steep but still significant drop in the prior decade. The relevance to the topic is to set the drop in membership in Scouts Canada since 1999 in the context of its membership changes in the decade prior.

      • 1. What policies did they change?

        Beginning in 1998 they went full co-ed, dropped their “god” requirement to allow atheists and agnostics and opened their doors for homosexuals, bisexuals and transsexuals.

        2. What empirical evidence is there that actually shows that the losses were due to the policies that were changed?

        The loss of membership numbers IS empirical evidence. Scouting everywhere was and is under a slight decline as cultures move away from Scouting’s values, but a five year loss of 50% was previously unheard of.

        3. Is it possible that the changes were coincidental in timing to the policy changes, and the losses weren’t due to other factors?

        It was clearly not due to the soft declines that had been seen before this period. The loss was dramatic and fast and coincided with the policy changes. Could there have been some other factor? Possible? Yes. Likely? No, not bloody likely at all.

        By the way, the UK made changes earlier than Canada. They didn’t make all the changes all at once, but Scouts UK lost +20% to +30% depending on what date point you start calculating. They remain +30% down and also show no signs of recovering.

        A Scout is honest: let me add that even though this may hurt my case, we should always do the right thing, the wise thing, even if that means losing membership. I would argue however that the people didn’t leave in mass in these examples because the right thing was done. They left because the wrong thing was done.

    • Jweaksnc,
      I emailed Scouts Canada regarding their drop in membership and this is the reply that I received

      Alex Killby (The Scouts Canada Help Centre)
      18 Mar 03:32 pm (EDT)

      Hello Richard,

      Thanks for getting in touch. Regarding the position of Scouts Canada, let me start by pointing out that our membership policy is founded on our principled belief in human rights with respect and dignity for all.

      Regarding your first question, we are aware of claims by some media outlets in the United States of America that attributes our decline in membership to our inclusivity policy. These claims are simply not true. We’re a hundred and five year old organization. We peaked in membership in the mid-sixties and went through a long period of steady decline. Over the past five years, we’ve invested a tremendous effort in strengthening and modernizing our organization. We’re actually very proud of the fact that since 2009 we’ve experienced four straight years of growth – it’s the first time that’s happened since the mid-seventies.

      In 2009, we adopted the Action Plan for Canadian Scouting, our roadmap to transform our organization and enhance our visibility as a relevant, dynamic youth organization of the 21st century – and we’re pleased with the results. Scouts Canada is making itself known as the premiere youth-serving organization in Canada and has grown in size each year since adopting the Action Plan in 2009.

      So back to your original question, there is no truth in the claim that our tradition of inclusiveness and diversity is behind a decrease in membership. We are strong, and we are growing.

      Our decline since the 1970’s can be attributed to multiple factors: The increased number of leisure and athletic options for youth and their parents. The growth of the internet, computer games and social media. Perhaps one of the greatest influences is the decline in the Canadian birth rate. If you plot the decline of Canada’s birth rate over the past 30 years to the decline in Scouts Canada membership, you find that the two mirror each other. Additionally, we have a good percentage of Groups that are sponsored by churches, and as you probably know, many religious organizations have also seen a drop in their membership.

      Regarding the views of Baden-Powell, we do not believe that our position on diversity is at all contrary to the principles of our movement. In fact, the fourth point of the original Scout Law(original Scout law)[http://scout.org/en/about_scouting/promise_and_law/the_scout_law] demands that a Scout be “a friend to all, and a brother (or sister) to every other Scout”. We very much subscribe to this part of the Law, especially recognizing that Scouts are part of a diverse and conflicting world. By establishing good character in our young citizen Scouts, we hope to celebrate and learn about all of our differences, and recognize the unique and valuable contribution that each of us can and do make to society. As such, we do not feel that it is socially responsible to hold and exclusive membership policy which discriminates on the basis of arbitrary characteristics such as sexual orientation, race, religion/belief, gender, etc.

      I hope that answers your question, I remain available if you wish to ask further questions or to better understand the position of Scouts Canada.

      Alex Killby – Scouts Canada Help Centre

      • That’s as nice a bit of spin as they could possible put on it. I studied their data directly from their site. On the one hand they say the decline was absolutely not because of the policies, but then the reasons they do give don’t match the reality of the numbers. And they have to say that it’s “perhaps” the decline in the birthrate, because the others reasons don’t match up with the huge losses. The increases he is referring to are small and due to a new program, which by their own numbers is already smaller than when they started it.

        I wish it wasn’t so, but the number of youth they serve is shame.

        The bottom line is Scouts Canada took a huge hit that is not explained away by those reasons and if you compare “apples to apples” as a percentage of the youth population in the US versus Canada, the BSA serves a much higher percentage of youth.

        “Perhaps” they are correct, but I doubt it.

        • James,
          I guess we could go on speculating until the cows come home, and since neither of us are involved in Scouts Canada, we can only take what they answer in response to our questions. I know here in Australia we have taken a huge hit in numbers but this is due to high cost of scouting when compared to other organisations. Unlike other organisations we are heavily reliant on self generated funds. Our insurance costs keep rising, and these day parents over here have to make cut backs and unfortunately it’s at the cost of their kids. Unlike the BSA we don’t have CO’s and we don’t have the same support from outside industry which is a pity.

          I sincerely hope that what ever the BSA decide to do, that at the end of the day it will be he youth who gain from the experience of scouts, whether they are in for a year or achieve Eagle Scout, for that is who scouting is all about.
          NO YOUTH = NO SCOUT

        • “I sincerely hope that what ever the BSA decide to do, that at the end of the day it will be he youth who gain from the experience of scouts, whether they are in for a year or achieve Eagle Scout, for that is who scouting is all about. NO YOUTH = NO SCOUT”


          Absolutely, on that we are in complete agreement!

          I was intrigued by the ScoutsCan claim about the birthrate and I would rather know the truth than believe a lie so I looked at the data which is readily available online. It pains me to say it, but I have no idea how they can make this claim: “If you plot the decline of Canada’s birth rate over the past 30 years to the decline in Scouts Canada membership, you find that the two mirror each other.”

          The data simply does not back that statement up. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I think perhaps that is a misstatement and they really meant to tie in a different data set.

          I too hope and pray for the future of our youth and our organization.


    • That I think is the real goal of the gay community. they could not destroy BSA through the legal system. It is now their goal to destroy it from within.

      As you have pointed out BSA will see a mass exodus of scouts and volunteers thus eviscerating the organization that held ideals contrary to their life style. You will not see a mass expansion of membership nor will you see a great increase in financial backing.

      The goal from the get go was to destroy any entity that opposes homosexuality.

      • Steve, the BSA does not hold ideals contrary to the “gay lifestyle” (whatever that is — the gays I know have the same lifestyle I do). The ideals of the BSA are embodied in its mission, Law, and Oath. Gay people are just as capable and willing as straight people to deliver on those ideals.

        Please keep in mind that the push for change is not coming from the gay community. It is coming from within, from faith communities and straight families like mine for whom the anti-gay membership standards are a violation of our morals, faith, ethics, and sense of fairness. We love Scouting and don’t wish to destroy it; quite on the contrary, we wish to see the BSA improve itself by living up to its own ideals, and it cannot live up to its ideals unless it ends this policy.

        A mass exodus would indeed be a shame, but if we all avoid throwing a tantrum over the issue, we might be able to see that in the scheme of things, not a lot will change in our units. If 3% of the population is gay and your troop is of average size (I don’t recall the number our District Director gave recently, but it is less than 30 Scouts), chances are you only have one gay Scout in your troop. And chances are that that Scout will have been in the troop for five to eight years before accepting and openly admitting his homosexuality, if he ever does, so it is likely that you will have known that kid pretty well by the time he goes public about his sexuality. Think about your troop as you know it right now: which one of those boys is so vile, so offensive, so unScoutlike that he should be kicked to the curb? If your answer is “none”, your answer shouldn’t change after you learn definitively whether a young man wants to marry a woman or a man when he grows up.

        • The change is that BSA promotes homosexuality as normal. It does a 180 from its legal brief stating that homosexuality and Scouts are incompatible.

          I’m not a lawyer, but it would seem that to now say they ARE compatible would open themselves up to a lawsuit by the previous complaintants.

        • I agree, the BSA is on solid ground to maintain the current membership policy. The bottom line is getting in the way of logic and common sense.

  28. Karen Zellar
    Thanks for the link to Scouts Canada had a read thu that report nothing about the loss of membership by allowing gays into Scouts Canada. Fees and financial commitments seemed to be an under lying factor, which is what we are seeing in some Australian Scout Groups. But then we don’t have CO’s we have one governing body SCOUTS AUSTRALIA that every state answers to. Each State can have additional rules that are applicable to that state for safety and to comply with state legislation, but at the end of the day SCOUTS AUSTRALIA has the over riding say

  29. The fact that we’re all so worked up over who someone has sex with in the privacy and intimacy of their own home is so sad. Because that’s what this is about — straight people freaked out by gay sex. So terrified, in fact, that they’re certain gays *must* be child molesters. That’s ignorant, offensive and 100% ridiculous.

    It’s quite possible that there’s a person out there who would be the greatest Scout leader who ever lived, or a young man who’s performance and dedication as a Scout would win him national attention. But he’s attracted to boys, not girls, so he never gets a chance. Great.

    • With all due respect, it seems that the question isn’t necessarily about the morality of homosexuality. It’s about protecting the kids.

      I don’t believe it should be allowable for the kids to be alone with someone who could potentially find them sexually attractive. I don’t think that females should be allowed to take a troop camping for this same reason. Likewise, if I had a daughter in Girl Scouts, I would not be comfortable if two males took her troop camping. I also wouldn’t be comfortable with my son tenting with a homosexual scout. Likewise, I wouldn’t want my daughter tenting with a lesbian.

      It’s not really about whether I oppose homosexuality as immoral or not (even though I do, and it is my right to believe as my personal morals allow). It’s about protecting the kids.

      • Well said. Homosexuality remains for most Americans an undesireable lifestyle. No matter how much it gets pushed down peoples’ throat. It has been a great day as races and genders are more equally accepted in this day and age of humanity. But what is homosexuality- it is neither a race or a gender. It is a lifestyle that you can float in and out of and be influenced to try. Don’t force this lifestyle on the BSA. If the gays are given even an inch, they will take an outspoken mile. The BSA will loose so many partner organizations if this change comes and there will not be much left. I pray the BSA will make the right choice and so glad they got out this survey to its stakeholders.

        • The BSA is losing partner organizations and sponsers now due to the current policy.

          No one is “forcing” this lifestyle on the BSA. It is doubtful that the policy change will dictate that members will have to engage in a same sex relationship or acts.

          I have been a Scouter for 9 years, I am a mother of two Scouts and I have been married to a wonderful man for 21 years. We have raised our sons to believe that everyone is welcome to God’s table and our faith tells us that all are welcome regardless for orientation. This possible change in BSA policy will allow our faith to sponsor a Pack or Troop in good faith since at the time it goes against our tenets.

        • Our Church welcomes all repentant Simmers including non-practicing homosexual adults and youth. We do not, however, place them in situations which may cause them to fall or cause a brother or sister to stumble in their faith. So, are you saying your Church openly accepts avowed and practicing homosexual adults and youth as members of your Church?

        • Yes Fred the ELCA welcomes all to God’s table and open and avowed individuals are welcome to be pastors as well.

        • What is ELCA and how do they reconcile active homosexual behavior as compatible with God’s law. That rubber band of loose interpretation is getting a little tired. That is your right to believe it. It is my right to express the opinion that you beliefs are entirely incompatible with God’s law and Scout’s law.. We love the sinner but hate the sin. We welcome repentant homosexuals but not still practicing immoral behavior. As ministers? Cannot see an avowed homosexual as a good example or role model of any sort for youth. Surrendered to sins of the flesh and proudly proclaims it or am I missing something. I did not see repentance in your post.

        • ELCA, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, is a mainstream Christian denomination with more than 4 million baptized members. BSA, which is nonsectarian, should not assume the right to rule on whether a Christian denomination is “real,” “true,” etc. Nonsectarian BSA includes ELCA Lutherans, Congregationalists, Christians of several stripes that disagree with you, Fred, and also Buddhists, Hindus, and several stripes of Jews, some of whom would also disagree with you about what it means for BSA to be nonsectarian.

        • Karen Zeller said: “BSA includes ELCA Lutherans, Congregationalists, Christians of several stripes that disagree with you, Fred, and also Buddhists, Hindus, and several stripes of Jews, some of whom would also disagree with you about what it means for BSA to be nonsectarian.”

          Karen, I think I said all faiths are welcome in BSA as far as I am concerned as long as they believe in a higher being and support a moral code which does not allow open avowed homosexuals to serve in Scouting as does BSA under the current policy. I said nothing about all of the religions you identified which, if asked, have no Scouting Units which allow open avowed homosexual Youth and Leaders to serve.

          Karen Zeller also said: “BSA, which is nonsectarian, should not assume the right to rule on whether a Christian denomination is “real,” “true,” etc”

          I don’t think I said BSA should decide whether a denomination is “true” or “real,’ or “right.” I have always said BSA is not a Christian Organization. It is non-sectarian. It is compatible under the current policy with my CO and Church Christian beliefs. If it allows open, avowed homosexuals as youth and leaders it will not be. That policy would be incompatible with my Church beliefs. We have repentant homosexuals and Sinners of many stripes in my congregation and I am one that recognizes I am a Sinner, but they are no longer openly living in Sin. They are trying through faith and prayer support to escape it every day. My comment to you was just stating what my Savior requires in defense of faith. We are in an open forum and you are trying to make a case for open avowed homosexual Scouts and Leaders using your religion. I responded to that by disagreeing that my understanding of Christian is the same as yours and disagreed.

        • ELCA is not my church, Fred, but it is a standard Christian denomination (brought up by another poster), and you seemed to be asserting that the BSA should have a standard that tells ELCA whether its Christian doctrines are Christian enough for BSA. No?

        • Absolutely not. BSA should stay out of the Church business. God has that taken care of in my opinion. ELCA can believe what they like and they only have God to deal with. I just hit reply to the post and it almost always takes me back to the poster

          No BSA through 100 years has had a program that calls on belief in a higher being and a high moral code. BSA has defined that in the current policy to include open avowed homosexuals. Why else would they not be allowed except morality?

          No argument with you except the post that you posted defending them. My understanding of the Christian faith through my entire life rejects the interpretation of the scripture you defended as ELCA. I am commanded to defend the faith. They can certainly believe what they like and disagree with me.

        • What I would like to see, Fred, is for every Scout to be able to worship God as his parents and congregation teach, to be encouraged in troop to know and defend the principles taught in the home and congregation. I want you and your CO and your troop to be able to live by the principles taught in your church, no question, absolutely. I don’t want BSA to interfere in that, never. I also want that to be true for the Scouts in Deanna’s ELCA church. I want them to be able to learn and practice and defend the principles taught in their church as their duty to God. Right now, the current policy says to your Scouts, yes, practice and defend your faith. To Deanna’s Scouts BSA says, if you believe what your pastor says about duty to God, you need to drop out of Scouting. I know that your Christian principles and Deanna’s conflict. Doesn’t it seem to you that BSA is taking the position of deciding that your long-standing Christian denomination is teaching its children the right set of Christian morals and Deanna’s long-standing Christian denomination is not? How is that not getting involved in deciding between churches which one has correct doctrine?

        • BSA only should decide whether open, avowed homosexuals should be allowed in Boy Scouting. BSA has decided that they should not. My Church and I support that belief. I would respectfully decline leaving BSA under the current policy and suggest that possible Scouting is not for Deana’s Church and possibly not yours and your Units should leave.

          Scouting has never been for everyone. The current policy is compatible with my CO. I am defending BSA’s right to set their policy to exclude open, avowed homosexual Scouts and Leaders. As Scouting is a program, not a faith, why does not Deanna’s and possibly your Church find a more appealing program open to open avowed homosexuals serving as participants and Leaders. IN my Church, the Youth program serves all. Scouts does not but it is only one of many programs but very important for the purpose it is intended; as an outreach ministry to raise up young men of good character and moral ethics trained to save lives. The current policy does that.

        • Thanks for the reference. I can speak for my faith. Other posted what they felt ELCA believed and I responded to that information.

        • And there it is. All those whose church doctrines on this issue differ from yours are respectfully invited to go elsewhere, to leave our century-old nonsectarian movement. How unutterably sad. BP dreamed that an international, nonsectarian youth movement could strive for peace around that world. If it is really true that BSA means to disinvite those whose faith leads them to disagree on this, so sad.

        • Respectfully, Did you read what I said?

          Do not misdirect the argument. I said all faiths. Faiths that believe as BSA current policy believes are of the same thought I just posted. No one is excluded by my statement that supports the current BSA Policy. Not just my faith, all faiths that believe as BSA believes with the current policy that at present far outnumbers those who do not believe in BSA current policy.

          Unfortunately, BP is not here to answer this question but the moral code of the day rejected homosexuality far more stringently than anyone posting here does. I’m just saying maybe Scouting is not for open avowed homosexual scouts and leaders. Until the policy changes, those are the facts.

          As a Scoutmaster, I don’t want open and avowed homosexual behavior as part of a Program I am asked to lead. As a Church leader that assists with a comparable mission program for boys, I don’t want them exposed to it either until they are mature enough to make their own decision..I am sure we differ on that also.

          I do think it is presumptuous to assume that since a program has standards which some cannot attain, that is somehow a bad thing or it makes those who cannot attain those standards bad people. Its just the facts. Only 4% of Scouts make Eagle, is that somehow now discriminatory? Would you now have quotas?.

        • And, you invited me and all leaders who listen to their CO pastors to go elsewhere in your previous post..

        • I have neve felt the BSA dictated to me that could not follow the faith and morals of my religious beliefs or anybody elses. Where is this thought coming from?

        • To Fred, in response to your statement, “You invited me and others…to go elsewhere,” I don’t believe that I ever did that, because I very much do not believe that. I want, as I said earlier, for each of us to be able to raise our children in the teachings of our own faith, and still have them be able to be part of this organization. It is extremely important to me that the organization should protect *your* ability to do that, too — to be Scouts & Scouters and be true to your faith. I really want that for you — I do not want anyone to have to choose between faith and Scouting. That is what is sad to me, the idea that we would be told we have to.

        • Karen, I hear what you are saying but for me and my CO (Church) and Scouts and Parents, we all believe that the organization is where we want want our son’s to be because of the current policy. It coincides currently with our beliefs in faith. We would not join otherwise an all boys organization. I know Venturing but I am speaking of Boy Scouts traditional program. I could not attend a Camporee with homosexual Scouts and leaders. BSA has to have some standard of moral behavior.acceptable to my CO and parents..

          Is it preposterous to anticipate a NAMBLA unit being sponsored? How would you propose denying them a charter if they have never been convicted of a crime?. . Would you send your son on a Campout with a member of NAMBLA? If both are of the age of consent, it is not illegal and avowed and open homosexuality would be acceptable under a revised and open policy.

          Are you for atheists also? How would you continue to deny them the benefits of a successful Scouting program?

          My son was in 4-H and I was a leader also there. There policy required by federal policy to welcome all behavior no matter how offensive means I can no longer serve in 4-H. That’s fine. I’m not trying to gte then to drop federal funding becuase I can’t work in that environment or expose children to open homosexuals and Transgender adults.

          I really believe it is a slippery slope and the few who are denied membership are not injured by their denial. It is a program, not a faith or right.

        • Fred, you have brought up a great many things in your last post. Since you are asking, I will try to tell you what I think about them.

          I think that the combination of troop structure and Youth Protection policy should be sufficient to protect our youth from undue influences at Camporees and similar district/council activities. First, I strongly agree that sexual behavior does not belong at Scouting events; it would be out of line for any leader to act in a sexual way during camp. I would not cuddle with my husband at a campfire show. So I don’t think there should be any behavior from anyone that would announce to Scouts someone’s sexual orientation — beyond the wedding rings that I, and probably you, also wear. Second, my Scouts are always with a buddy from our troop at camp. They camp with our troop, not mixed with others, under my supervision, not under the supervision of an unfamiliar Scoutmaster from a troop that may have different policies than ours. Right now, I am sure that my Scouts rarely know the name of the Scoutmaster in the next site, let alone anything more personal about his life. Camp is about Scouting, not about adults’ sex lives. And the vast majority of our program is not at that week of summer camp and weekend of Camporee. Our boys already know that there are troops there who believe different things than they do.

          A NAMBLA-sponsored unit? I don’t think that is possible. It would require a whole committee of parents who all believe in adults having sex with children, who all pass background checks, who manage to meet the approval of the council. Just as in your CO, parents choose the organization they want for their children, and parents would not choose such a thing, even if there were no other barriers. And a Congregational church should not even be placed in the same basket of comparability with NAMBLA. We are talking about religious chartering organizations with different doctrinal positions with regard to homosexuality, not that.

          Do I believe in atheism? No. As I’ve said, I am an elder in my church. Do I believe that there is a wide variety of ways to understand deity that would fit the BSA’s nonsectarian position, yes. I believe we all have a duty to God, to do what we believe God expects of us, as taught in our families and in our faith communities. I believe that is fully consistent with what the BSA position is, and that it allows for a wide range of belief.

          The damage I see at this point to my own children has been that they have had to deal with the challenge in their confirmation programs as their church leaders questioned how they could justify being part of an organization that would not accept others from our church. This continues to disturb my children a lot. They have grown up in Scouting; my 13-year-old Life Scout was at a Roundup about 18 hours after he was born and has not had a single week of not Scouting in his whole life. Scouting is their family, but they are torn that their duty to God and their love of Scouting seem to be in conflict. I don’t think that should have to be so. People of faith should be able to practice and defend that faith and be Scouts — your boys and mine, too.

        • Thank you for depth of your response. To repeat, we are guaranteed Freedom of Religion on no religion in this country and we can agree on that I hope.

          I’d like to comment on your responses. Just for clarification. We agree sexuality has no place in Scouting, hence no homosexuality in Scouting. If an open and avowed homosexual defines his persona as sexual, how does he avoid expressing it?

          “If we don’t know, then Youth protection should handle it” Does not open, avowed homosexual by its very nature mean expressing your homosexuality as part of your gender identity? Coming out? So, heterosexual Scouts have to accept the open expression of the sexual identity of the homosexual Scout while being unable to express their sexuality without breaking the rules of Youth Protection. Why?

          “Summer Camp is one week of our Program.” In Boy Scouting, 5 full days + 2 1/2 days and 6 nights of a Scoutmaster never knowing every minute where his Scouts are at all times. You think you know. You trust Boy Scouts as an organization to not have questionable adults with sexual attraction toward the same gender Sometimes a single Scout may take a merit badge with a openly avowed homosexual adult leader, what can happen? I make it my business to get to know every Scoutmaster and leader at Summer Camp. I hope they make it their business to get to know me. Camporees. Merit Badge Midways. Would you send two young Scouts into the house of an openly homosexual adult leader to see his expression of his identity throughout the house? In Cub Scouts,, young boys trying to express homosexual tendencies adults have expressed upon them to a lot of confused boys wondering why is this happening. The transgender Girl Scout was six. Don’t tell me that child’s parents didn’t plant a seed. Like my wife says, “At six, I thought I was a puppy but Mama still didn’t let me pee on the carpet.”

          I very much think a NAMBLA sponsored unit is possible. People are clever like homosexual activists are clever and standards will continue ot be relaxed to allow more “tolerant” and “accepting” behavior of people wanting to adopt a Scouting program for their own purposes. I think one things progressives never see until it it too late is the destructive side of “tolerant” and “accepting” on a vulnerable child or young person.

          So, could a belief in self become a belief that would fit the Scout Law in your opinion? Should BSA’s definition of God be that broad?

          I will not pretend that I understand your religion nor will I criticize its confirmation process.

          My faith would never condone sending a child into an activity that could potentially harm him physically or spiritually or criticize him for not accepting a sinful lifestyle willingly. We would accept a repentant sinner in our Church but would never make accepting a sinful lifestyle part of acceptance as a member. We teach the opposite. A open avowed homosexual could not be a member of our Church. Could one be in yours? If not, then why would they be a member not allowed in Scouting. Love the Sinner, hate the sin. we teach homosexuality is sin, just like adultery, theft, lying and the rest of the Bibles teaching. But that is Church and BSA is not Church.


        • Speechless,
          From an outside point of view, you have taken something that you have little or no understanding of, thrown a full broadside at it and blown it way out of context.

          I have had a look at your youth protection and have done the online youth protection course, but I must have missed the bit where it says that homosexuals are a danger to our kids.

          I am not saing that there are no predators who are homosexual, for that would be blind, but there are predators who are heterosexual, and like Australia, they probably outnumber the homosexual predator in the USA. Now you throw in this NAMBLA, are you trying to cause an incident.

          During the 1980’s and 1990’s we had a very dark period of Australian heterosexual history. A group of gay haters went around in Sydney “Gay Bashing”. This led to the deaths of about 20 gays before the gang was arrested. What you all are doing now isn’t as physically harmful to the gay society, it is mentally harmful. If you are really that scared of gays then why dare I suggest that you create a utopia country where you can live and make it so that only those people who you like can live there as well.

          It is time to move into the 21st century, leave your bigotry back n the dark ages, accept everyone for who they are, look around you, are you at work, on the bus, in the shop be careful the peron behind you could be GAY

        • I have no idea why you are part of this conversation. You are an entirely different culture and understand NOTHING about American Culture otherwise your culture would not have been so willing like sheep to be disarmed Look to your own Society before condemning a sixth generation citizen of this one whose families blood has been shed in its defense.

          What may be fine in Australia, we resist here. I would be surprised if you speak for all of your countrymen, but if homosexuality is as widespread as you say, then maybe you should reflect on that issue for your children.

          BSA policy today denies membership to open avowed homosexuals. Like it or not, that is the Policy and I agree with it. So does my Church CO. So do my parents and Scouts. So you’ve insulted us all. There was a time when labels like “bigot” would call good people to cringe for fear of being labeled. Bigotry has nothing to do with this conversation as far as I am concerned. Child safety and upbringing does.

          For your information since you apparently feel I have no experience with homosexuals in my life. I have family who are homosexual now. I had an in-law who dies of AIDS years ago. I have vendors in my business who are gay and we have a great business relationship. I wouldn’t ask them to teach my kids and they wouldn’t offer knowing my Christian beliefs and background. They’re my friends and I do not devalue them. They don’t want to teach my kids. They don’t want kids at all. That’s their business.

          I think you are the bigot. Condemning people without even knowing who they are..

        • Disarmed… Australia hasn’t been disarmed and like you I have family that goes back generations who have fought and died not only under the Australian flag, but the Union Jack of England, the US flag during two world wars. So we can both wear our flags with pride, surely tho Fred you must admit that progress cannot be halted.

          With progress comes change, and through out history change has always hard to accept to start with, and then one day we wake up a realise that it hasn’t changed us at all just made us better. If you own President supports gays why is it so hard for others. If you had been told that you would one day have a black president would you have believed it

        • I wasn’t wearing pointing out that you are not American for my pride as you know. I was pointing out you are not an American to point out why you should stick to homosexual advancement in Australia. So, I guess there has been no compulsory gun control in Australia in the last decade?

          Progress? That is in the eyes of the beholder and I do not see placing children and young men under leadership of open avowed homosexuals as progress. Maybe that is the case in Australia.

          In America, the President is just another man referred to as Mister as George Washington declared so as not to be thought royalty. I disagree with about 90% of Mr. Obama’s progressive agenda. Pandering to Progressive Special interests is one of my least favorite of his hobbies.

          You know what? Your last statement illustrates how illiterate you are of America. In America, a Black man can rise to be President. Yes, I knew it would happen one day. I had no idea when. Funny thing, I grew up in the rural South as a poor white farm boy. My Daddy was a white sharecropper. We worked with more blacks than whites. We treated everybody the same because we were in the crap together. Did racism exist in my area? Yes. I guess you have a long list of aborigine friends? I have a long list of black friends starting with my Senior Pastor. Had to play the race card huh? Most progressives do, even in Australia…

        • and later, my Dad married my mother who had 25 acres given to her by my grandmother. My Dad expanded that to 168 acres and raised 8 kids. Three to the military and three to college, one to Trade School and one died young. A common American Story. We’re just common people. I and all the Scouters I know support current policy. We do not think ourselves backward and many including myself are University graduates. You don’t have higher moral ground by saying all homosexuals are your next door neighbor and get over it. They are not. 3 out of 100 are and they may be good people. We just don’t want them teaching our kids and that is perfectly fine…in America. .

        • Oh yeah, mentioning NAMBLA might cause an incident? For what, staying what could happen? I sure hope someone at BSA has considered worse-case scenarios once policy begin and then continue to be liberalized..

        • Fred, first, I do not want in any way to seem to be saying that people who support the present policy are bad, uneducated, or whatever. I believe, from reading your writing, that you are a wise and good Scouter who cares about his boys, his community, and his church, and who thinks about the bigger picture in things.

          One thing I wonder — you have said that all the Scouters you know agree with you. So then, how likely is it that your boys would encounter anyone they knew to be gay at a Camporee? Isn’t it more likely that the prevailing community standards in your district would result in nearly all units continuing the present policy? The power of parents, chartering organizations, and community standards in BSA — these things are very significant.

          My church takes a different stance than yours. (Side note in answer to your question: yes, my church accepts openly gay members at every level.) My community takes a different stance, too. Of the past Wood Badge course directors in our council, half favor the change. While the Scouts and Scouters in this area who oppose the possible change oppose it strongly, more are in favor of a change to local option. Cub leaders favor the change more than Boy Scout leaders. In my small church in a small rural town, a 70-year-old Eagle Scout recently told me that he and all three of his Eagle brothers have written to National in favor of a change to local option.

          BSA is seeking a solution that includes areas like yours, where there would likely be little change because the Scouts and Scouters are in agreement, areas like mine, where there is a wide spectrum of opinion on religious grounds and other grounds, and areas like Mt. Diablo-Silverado council, where something like 80% favor change.

          In each of these areas, the people expressing these opinions are long-term, dedicated, reasoning, principled Scouters who are looking for what they believe is the best path for their own boys and for BSA. I think we all need to pray for wisdom for the writers of the proposition, pray for wisdom for the 1400 voters, talk and listen to each other, and try to be patient as we watch for the actual effect on our programs of a decision one way or the other.

        • Thank you for a well-written and clear opinion I disagree. I think the current policy serves Scouting very well.

        • Karen
          Thank you for your support.

          I do not think that you will ever reach Fred. He is so firm in his beliefs that he can not identify with any of your points. Your points and facts are reasonable and well defined, sadly Fred will not be swayed. Fred does not agree with you and refuses to see the issues you so reasonably presented concerning the BSA being nonsectarian.

        • Fred, don’t let the liberals wear you down. There is no middle ground on the issue. The liberals yield with the wind and can’t understand why we stand up and stick to our God given morals and values. I believe BSA still has the 1st ammendment and the Supreme Court on our side. The liberals don’t like the constitution and would like to have it re-written whenever the wind blows in another direction.

          Hang Though

        • Do you want to name names when you charge that some people “don’t like the Constitution”? Or just cloak your charges of unAmericanism behind vague allusions, Mr. or Ms. Go?

          In an organization where we take an oath on our honor to do duty to God and country, we need to be very careful about calling people dishonorable, immoral, and unpatriotic. Far better to assume that each of us who takes that oath is doing our best to live by it, although we disagree about policy.

        • You for one would like to see the first amendment changed or voided since you can’t accept the decision of the Supreme Court on this issue. President Obama who stated it was unfortunate people were allowed to show inflammatory videos about Muslims. It turns out that the attack on Benghazi was an act of terror and had nothing to do with the alleged video. All the folks that want to change the second amendment for gun control.

          “..we need to be very careful about calling people dishonorable, immoral, and unpatriotic..” I don’t believe I used those words in my post. The left can’t take a stand on a lasting issue. If something/ideology is good today, the wind will shift and it will be objectionable tomorrow.

          Maybe I am missing the point. Where is the line on moral and immoral behavior? Point out what is immoral behavior. Then give some examples of moral behavior.

        • I have not said anything whatsoever that indicates I want an amendment to the Constitution (i.e., “want the First Amendment changed”). I have not said anything whatsoever that indicates that I reject the authority of the Supreme Court; the policy discussion is not about appealing, violating, or nullifying a Supreme Court decision. I teach Government to high school students, including the processes by which the Constitution is applied, interpreted, and amended. All of my discussion here has been directed toward a private organization’s policy, chosen by that private organization and subject to the organization’s decisions. It is not a policy *directed* by a court, so discussing it is not in violation of any court directive. And good grief — I don’t think anyone has said anything about the 2nd Amendment here, least of all me. Your allegation that I do not “like the Constitution,” the founding document of the country that I have pledged honor and allegiance to, is dangerously close to slander. Please cite the exact words I have used that indicate that I am opposed to the Constitution of the United States of America and in violation of my oath of honor, or withdraw your accusation, “Mr. or Ms. Go.”

          I operate on the assumption that other Scout leaders, whatever their position on the policy of a private organization, mean it when they pledge their honor to do duty to God and country. I believe that about you. I believe you want and intend to live by the Scout Oath and Law. Slander is not part of that, and I am sure that as an honorable person, you will be a brother or sister to every other Scout in assuming the best about us.

        • The BSA is on solid ground to maintain the current membership policy as a first amendment right. You however disagree withe the Supreme Court that sustaind the BSA on the membership policy. So where is the slander? You just can’t handle the truth.

        • Based on the fact that I am a member of an organization and am discussing the nature of the policy of that organization, you are charging that I have rejected the Constitution of the United States of America. That’s slanderous because, under the definition of slander, it is untrue and it is harmful, to my reputation as a Scouter who has taken an oath to do duty to God and country, and as a teacher of government. You cannot cite anything I have said that indicates I do not uphold the Constitution of the United States and so again, I expect you to withdraw your slanderous accusation of unAmericanism, Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous Go.

        • I take it then that anybody that disagrees with you is slanderous. By the very nature of your stance against the current membership policy tells me you think the first amendment and the Supreme Court are not correct. Sorry to tell you again the BSA is on solid ground to maintain the current membership policy.

          “…the Court ruled that a group may exclude people from membership if their presence would affect the group’s ability to advocate a particular point of view. Likewise, in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale,[171] the Supreme Court ruled that a New Jersey law, which forced the Boy Scouts of America to admit an openly gay member, to be an unconstitutional abridgment of the Boy Scouts’ right to free association….”

          You also didn’t answer the following question.

          Maybe I am missing the point. Where is the line on moral and immoral behavior? Point out what is immoral behavior. Then give some examples of moral behavior.

        • No, anyone who disagrees is not slanderous; Fred, for example, didn’t say anything slanderous, and we disagree a lot. I respect his opinion and his defense of it, and I appreciate that he was courteous in his response to my opinion. Only people who make false and harmful accusations that one is trying to overturn the Constitution — that is slander. Disagreement is not slander.

          Disagreement over the policy of an organization we both belong to is not revolution. Disagreement over this policy or any other is not sedition; it is one of the ways we exercise citizenship within our mutual private organization.

          Moral: seeking and choosing to do the right. Examining one’s conscience is a moral act. Telling the truth is a moral act.

          Brave: admitting the truth that you have not been courteous.

          We are all here because we believe in the Scout Oath and Law. We should not attack one another’s character, honor, morality, citizenship. I believe that you are a good Scout leader who loves the program and only wants the best for your boys, Mr./Ms. Go.

      • I’m sorry you feel that way, Jerry, but either you don’t understand Youth Protection or you’re stating a case to change the current rules. There is no prohibition on female leaders for Boy Scout troops, nor is there a prohibition on male leaders for Girl Scouts. (I am a female leader, as my username indicates, and I go camping regularly with my troop.) One-on-one contact is never allowed, adults never tent with or share shower facilities with youth, privacy is maintained for both youth and adults when changing clothes, and on co-ed campouts there must be a male and a female leader. If Youth Protection is followed, the kids are protected, because there is no chance of an adult and a child being alone together.
        As far as your child sharing a tent with a gay or lesbian child is concerned, why not let your child determine what is comfortable for him or her? I’ll tell you why this works. My son began Boy Scouting in grade 5, and is now in grade 9. He has been buddies with a young man I’ll call Joe all the way through. They often share a tent, and have a jolly good time together. If Joe comes out as gay someday in the future (I do suspect he is gay), the nature of their friendship doesn’t change — one of them is still heterosexual, and they’re still the buddies they always were. By the way, my sons and their friends refuse to change clothes in front of their tentmates as it is; one guy stands outside while the other changes clothes, or they change inside their sleeping bags. I find that odd, but they’ve found a way to make it work that is comfortable for them, so more power to them. I mention this to illustrate that if the newly-out-of-the-closet boy and his straight tentmate had any feelings of weirdness between them, they could find a solution that works for them (Scouting is partly about learning independent, creative problem solving, you know). If they couldn’t, they’d have the adult leaders and an understanding mom to help them sort it out. No need to get panicky or create drama. I can predict what would happen in my son’s case, though. Joe would tell him he’s gay, my son would shrug, and they’d go right back to whatever they were doing. Why wouldn’t it bother my son? He is loyal to his friend of four years. Four years of friendship doesn’t change with one statement. My son likes girls. There’s no conflict there. I am confident that he could work this out with his buddy, and that if he couldn’t, he could come to me for help with it because he knows I wouldn’t freak out about the situation. If you teach your kids that gays are predatory in nature, you won’t have as smooth an outcome, I’ll grant you that. A child raised to believe that will bring all kinds of unnecessary drama into the troop.

        • Well said ASM Mom.
          ASM Mom, I would like to ask you something, however it’s not related to this topic but more to coed camping

        • David Richardson, there are a lot of people on facebook by the same name. If you can tell me which one you are, I can send you an inbox message and we can hold a conversation there.

        • ASM Mom,
          Go to this website http://www.warnbroscouts.somee.com/contactus.aspx in the Scout section my cell and email is there. As far as Facebook goes, when you search for me I have the ugliest picture you could imagine from a sci-fi show. My old boss at the military jail thought it was appropriate, on the bottom of it it says “They call me Mr Staff here Maggot”

  30. Pets to Go
    In response to yor statement “I think I have found a new horse for you to beat. Why don’t question the Muslims for the way they treat women. This is a more serious issue than the one you are pounding on here.”

    Before you open you mouth I would recommend that yo enage you brin and do some research prior o making stupid comments. Below is how a Muslim s allowed to treat a woman, since you want to live by e law of god t is what Muslims do so well


    Menstruating women are unclean, and men must stay away from them. Women are men’s “fields,” and men can have sex with them whenever they want. Men are superior to women and have authority over them, while women must obey men or risk being beaten. A woman is worth one-half of a man, and men are above women. Muslim men may marry up to four wives, including prepubescent girls, and can own sex slaves. Muslims are not allowed to marry non-Muslims, unless the latter convert to Islam. Women must cover themselves and be seen only by relatives, eunuchs, slaves and children who have not yet had sex with women.

    And a further note according to Koran a male is worth twice the value o a female

    So my recommendation to you is S T F U

    • I feel I must apologize to the forum for leading the discussion that generated the response by Mr. David Richardson (Obiwan). He has revealed himself enough to me that I will not respond any further to his posts.

      Again please accept my sincerest apologies.

  31. Pets to Go
    I would like to apologise to you and to the forum for what ended up being a personal attack on you last night. That is not the scouting way, and it is not what we are about. I let my temper get the better of me.

    Please accept my humble apology

  32. This may be premature, but a concern I have applies to implementation of any solution that involves some sort of split or separation, whether it is the Local Option or the LFL Option or something else. If the Chartered Organization or the unit decides to go a particular way — whether to accept gays or to continue the exclusionary policy — there may be individual Scouts and Scouters in the unit who disagree. And they wouldn’t have much of an option; either they go along with the CO or unit decision, or they leave the unit. And many who leave will simply drop out of Scouting rather than hunt for a compatible unit. If the solution involves some sort of split or separation, we will need to have a support mechanism in place that will make it very easy for those individuals to find a suitable unit and make the transfer.

    • Honestly, you might as well go ahead and get your solution in place. No matter how this plays out, open it, don’t, or let the COs decide, I believe there are some people on both sides who will leave because it didn’t go “their way”

    • My guess is that people who feel so strongly about the issue that they are willing to leave over it, have already chosen a troop sponsored by a CO whose position on gays they already agree with.

      All COs I know of are pretty clear about their position regarding gays. I can’t see someone with strong feelings about gays choosing to associate with a CO, even before the ban is lifted, that they disagree with on the issue.

      • I had no idea who our CO was until my son was part of his troop for a couple of years. Our CO is completely uninvolved with our unit.

        • Our CO doesn’t know most of our leaders. The only reason they know who our COR is is that he made a point recently to start attending their meeting once in a while to try to establish a relationship. Our CO just rubber-stamps whatever our CC recommends. (Our CC is our COR, too.)

          What kinds of bad things should I beware of, jweaksnc?

        • The CO has to sign the adult leadership application form. Sure, they may not look at what they are signing. But technically, legally speaking, your CO knows your adult leaders.

        • ASM Mom,

          The CO of course “owns” the unit and is responsible for it. The CO should be involved and should have oversight and a strong connection to their unit. Unfortunately that is not always the case. The bad things that can happen when the CO is not providing proper oversight is everything you can think of up to and including the dissolution of the unit. I have seen what happens when a CO and a unit don’t connect. I have seen a unit have a charter on Monday and not have a charter on Tuesday because of a dysfunctional or nonexistent relationship.

          The proper way for the CO to interface and give oversight to the unit is through the COR. The unit (Packs and Troops) should have a “Key 3.” The Key 3 are the COR, the CC, and the CM/SM. It is unwise for a unit to operate for long without three separate people for these unique jobs. Sadly, it does happen sometimes that the CO/COR does not know what they should be doing, or they rubber-stamp the paperwork, or they are not active. Sometimes the CO/COR works quietly behind the scenes and that is fine. The parents and the youth may have no clue who the CC and the COR are, but every adult scouter in the unit should know them and see them.

          If I were in a unit that did not have an active COR or did not have a healthy active relationship with the CO, I would be very concerned. I would work to fix it and if that can not be done, I would have to consider other options.

        • The Heart of America Council requires the COR the complete training before he/she can be registered on the unit charter as the COR. Our CO requires the COR to be a member of the Congregation of the CO. Our troop makes sure that happens.

        • The CO of a troop influences many of the moral teachings of the troop that are outside the bounds of BSA. What is the role of women? What are a Scout’s obligations for prayer or church attendance? What are the teachings about sanctity of life? What is the position with regard to premarital sex? What dietary restrictions are practiced, and so on. If you have specific concerns about these or other moral issues outside the scope of the Scout Oath and Law, you will find to know your COs position on these issue, because it will influence what is taught to the boys. If you don’t feel strongly about these or other moral issues outside of the Oath and Law, then I guess being concerned about your CO is less important.

        • Thanks, jweaksnc, for your reply. Our Cub Scout pack was chartered by a Lutheran church, and we couldn’t convince them to take an interest in us. The extent of our relationship with them was that they provided us with meeting space. The pack had formerly been chartered by a public elementary school, but about a decade(?) ago our school district washed its hands of the BSA. Our Boy Scout troop is chartered by a Rotary Club, and I’m not sure what the history of the relationship is there, but I do know that our CC/COR (one and the same person) is making an effort to at least inform the Rotary of our troop activities. (As our CC he is very active in the troop, but he is not part of the CO even though he also serves as the COR.)
          As to cgmpls’s description of the CO’s role, I have to take issue: if the Rotary were to start prescribing the religious teachings of our troop, I’d find it entirely inappropriate. A Rotary Club should not be dictating what we in our troop, members of different faiths, believe about the sanctity of life, premarital sex, etc. That is for each individual family to determine. In a troop chartered by a secular organization, the only things the troop or the CO should concern itself with are the mission, the aims and methods, the Law, and the Oath. Would you agree?
          I think Boy Scouts may be very different when a religious group charters a unit as part of its youth program and when a secular entity charters a unit, and that may be where the slight disconnect is in the way we look at Scouting. It has been enlightening to hear your perspective, because I have never had experience with a troop that was so closely connected with its CO that the CO actually dictated the moral and religious training of the Scouts. I don’t have a clue who the CO of my brother’s troop was — and he’s an Eagle who spent seven years in his troop — and none of the local troops I’ve visited, including those that meet at churches, have a distinctly religious aspect to them.
          Thanks for the conversation. I am learning new things, and I hope you are, too.

        • ASM Mom,

          I wasn’t going to continue this because we’re getting off-topic, but I think I need to clear up some misconceptions. It is correct that some COs operate with additional and specific requirements on top of BSA requirements. I know that many do not. I have not researched this, so I don’t stand firmly on it, but I’m confident that the majority of COs add few if any requirements on top of BSA and many simply trust BSA and BSA ethics (usually because they agree or at least believe that BSA ethics are compatible or complimentary). Many COs do not have a sexual orientation policy and if they do it might not be explicitly known or passed down to the unit.

          The Rotary Club is a good example. The American Legion near me that is a CO is another good example. The majority of our COs may be churches and religious organizations but there are other types of COs. My own CO is a church. Some of the youth in the Troop are church members. The vast majority are not. Our unit serves the community and the geographical area. It’s not a private club for church members. My CO believes that the ethics of BSA is compatible and/or complimentary to the mission of the church. My CO does not have a set of rules on top of the BSA ethics and standards. That will change of course and indeed must change if BSA fails to take a stand on ethical and moral issues.

          I apologize if I am needlessly scaring you. Your unit may be just fine. I don’t know; I’m not there to see it, but I cannot deny I see warning signs based on your description. A completely uninvolved CO and a COR who does not really represent the CO is a danger to the function and sustainability of the unit.

          I also do not know how strong your District is, but your unit also has or should have a “Unit Commissioner.” The UC is usually assigned to multiple units so you may see him or her very infrequently. The District, though the UC, should know the OC or at least be aware of who is in leadership at the OC and where they stand in regards to their Charter. The CO is responsible for its own unit. If the CO is not being responsible for its own unit then the UC and the District should be aware of it. They (the UC and District) can take steps to help improve the relationship. Sometimes it just is not possible to have a UC, but your District has other officers that could help as well.

          “In a troop chartered by a secular organization, the only things the troop or the CO should concern itself with are the mission, the aims and methods, the Law, and the Oath. Would you agree?”

          No, I don’t agree. The CO can certainly limit itself to that standard or the CO’s standards could be the same. That’s entirely fine and many COs are this way. The “only” part is problematic however. It is also appropriate for the CO to have its own vision and mission, if that is compatible with the BSA. (They should not enter into a charter with the BSA if their vision, mission, and values are not compatible with BSA.) For example, it may be the CO’s mission reach a particular set of youth or it may be that the CO has a vision to provide a high level of community service and so on… a CO could have concerns beyond the things you stated. The key is that there must be compatibility between the CO and the BSA. It is unfortunate but inevitable that we will have some relationships that are incompatible or that become incompatible over time. And everything that I’m saying should be true regardless if it is a secular or religious CO.

          “I think Boy Scouts may be very different when a religious group charters a unit as part of its youth program and when a secular entity charters a unit, and that may be where the slight disconnect is in the way we look at Scouting. “It has been enlightening to hear your perspective, because I have never had experience with a troop that was so closely connected with its CO that the CO actually dictated the moral and religious training of the Scouts.”

          I think you have been misled in this regard. We’re far more alike than dissimilar. I’ve been involved in both a religious and a non-religious CO. Some units both of us might consider “very different” but most simply are not.

          “…and none of the local troops I’ve visited, including those that meet at churches, have a distinctly religious aspect to them.”

          That would be a typical experience and you would probably have the same experience if you came to one of my unit’s meetings. (We have a Pack and a Troop.) Reverence is expected of course at our meetings and a Chaplain’s Aide would give a prayer. Other than that you are not going to get a religious indoctrination. My CO wants to bring people, youth and adults, in the direction of our worldview without beating them up with religion. We believe in Scouting and we’re compatible with Scouting.

          I hope that answers your question. I’m going to get back on my soapbox now for a moment and take us back on-topic…

          Scouting is a dynamic entity that ebbs and flows. It’s imperfect, but still good. It could become imperfect and bad. Sometimes we need to be reminded of the higher standard and that Scouting calls out for and requires a higher standard. Sometimes we need to call Scouting back to its own calling. Scouting was, is, and forever should be “a society for the propagation of morals” (Baden Powell). If we (BSA) ever come to match the culture and personal feelings and desires and standards, I can guarantee you that we are finished. We’ll go own in another, weaker form, but the power and strength will be gone.

          We (BSA) have had membership losses due to many factors and cultural forces. How is that we (BSA) have avoided the very large drop offs that have been seen in other counties? The reasons they give for their massive losses have been in play here too. Could it be that people still seek us out for our beliefs and morals? Could it be that we still stand apart and have not become the culture? Could it be that we still call for a higher standard? While other Scouting organizations are dying or just limping along, we continue to serve more than 2.5 million youth and have over 1 million adult volunteers. We continue to serve, as a percentage of our youth population, more youth than places than like Canada and the UK. Yet BSA is the one being lectured to become more like them. No thanks.

          The sexual orientation policy is our biggest division. It exposes and expands other divisions that we would typically agree to disagree over and move on for the common good and work together for our youth. I still must stand where I stand on that issue for the reasons I have explained. We are going in the wrong direction and need to turn around before it’s too late.

          Sorry for being long winded.


        • Thanks, jweaksnc. I appreciate your response and your perspective.
          As far as your soapbox speech goes, I’ll say in a nutshell that I respectfully disagree. But you knew that. 😉

    • if Scouters, parents, or the kids have already decided that they would rather leave over the outcome of this one issue, then they’ve already given up on Scouting. if their main priority is over the openly Gay and Lesbian community joining our ranks (both literally and figuratively) that they are willing to give up on the teaching of our youth, then they weren’t good role model or teachers, and should leave anyways.

      most of the other Scouting avenues I’ve looked into all are already including and welcoming of the LGBT crowd, as well as allowing both boys and girls in, with no adverse side effects.

      now, if it is up to the individual unit or CO to make this decision, and they can find a group who fits their needs over this one issue, then great. but if they’re willing to hang up their uniforms and turn in all their badges and ranks, then I say let them. they aren’t really following the Scout Oath or Scout Law, and as such, should not be in Scouting anymore.

      • on that same notion, what will happen at a large group Scouting event, such as a Summer camp, Summit, or Jamboree, when gay Scouts and Scouters are allowed in? will they feel because of the troop in the next campsite having gay youth or leaders that they cannot attend? will there be a separate part of camp for the the troops that disagree with the outcome of this policy change?

        • Reading through the Scout Law, point by point, gives clear instructions about how to behave when you confront someone different than you, or with whom you have strong disagreement with.

          That is what the Scout Law is for. The scenario you describe sounds like a perfect situation to teach the Scout Law to the boys. That is what my Scoutmaster did when the Mormon troop rolled into summer camp, so I know it works.

        • I don’t see why there would need to be. We already know when we go to Camporee or summer camp that the troop in the next site may be of a very different religious stripe, or may not be overtly religious at all. Scout troops already went through the transition to accept that some other people’s troops will have female Scoutmasters. Long ago they noticed that some other Scoutmasters talked differently than the people in their church. They know that some troops go to interfaith worship and some don’t. I can’t imagine what they would see of a troop camped in the next campsite over that would even make clear the Scoutmaster’s sexual orientation. Do you usually know whether the leaders in the next campsite are married? I don’t.

        • But I have seen first hand, another Troop that wouldn’t allow a female leader to camp next to them for religious reasons.

          For all the good things that it does, do you ever think about the problems that religion produces? When too many people see their views as the only option and damn all others. Tolerance and understanding, if that would be preached about more then how we are all going to burn in hell, it would put us all in a better place.

        • Matthew said: “For all the good things that it does, do you ever think about the problems that religion produces? When too many people see their views as the only option and damn all others. Tolerance and understanding, if that would be preached about more then how we are all going to burn in hell, it would put us all in a better place.”

          Okay, let me get this straight. You just insulted 70% of Scouters who are chartered in faith-based CO’s. If we just followed “Why can’t we all just get along” this would be a better place and the absence of absolutes would make gray the color of choice in a moral code. .There will always be evil in the world and there will always be people who lower their standards to accept more and more immoral and objectionable behavior to be “tolerant and understanding.” In America, our military protects us from the worst evils in the world. Our Police from the worst among us and then there are those who now that they in a safe environment will try to tear down those who try to live a life of compassion and try to help people live to a higher moral standard and raise children to do the same. My faith has been responsible for incredible advances in civilization and charity to others. Actually formalized charity in civilized Society. I’ll take that and reject tolerance and understanding. Those two terms only encourage people to continue to live to a low moral code and never be morally straight. Secular society has a lot more ills than religion while religion does have its share ..

        • If I insulted anyone, its just people who can’t accept the possibility that their belief isn’t the only option, thus tolerance and understanding.

          You don’t to need religion to tell you what is and isn’t moral. Killing, stealing, those things are immoral, they cause actual harm to another individual. There isn’t any need to have tolerance and understanding for those activities and we don’t as a civilization. Being attracted to a member of the same sex, does that honestly affect you, no it doesn’t. Like its been said here already, there isn’t any place for sex in the BSA. So if that’s the case, and we are expecting our leaders to teach our youth the values of the Scout Law and Oath, then what does it matter what they do at home, or who they go home too.

          I went through Scouts as a youth with at least one boy who is now openly gay. I shared a tent with him on more then one occasion and it didn’t affect me the way some people think that it will. If we still lived near each other then I would still consider him a friend.

          Keep this in mind, how many times through the centuries has the church changed is teachings on things? More then once. I know that faith and what it offers does a great many things for our society, but its also been the force behind some low points in history as well. When speaking to my COs pastor about this subject he talked about how much worse things could be for different people if we still lived to the exact interpretation of the Bible.

          No matter what happens with this we are all going to lose. I am not a member of the church that sponsors the Troop I lead, but the church shares the same views on the matter that I do. I just hope that there is still a program in the future that I can continue to provide for the boys of the Troop.

        • John 14:6 Jesus * said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

          All I need encompassed in one verse. If you’re Christian, it’s easy to find out what the Bible says about homosexuality. You can twist it, re-interpret it or just ignore it but it is there. if you’re not a Christian, then you have to answer to someone else or some thing or belief. But, this is not a Theological discussion

          To say practicing homosexuality is not harmful to Youth is naive at best. The behavior is not in accordance with the laws of nature and only exists in civilized highly indulgent human societies. Tolerant understanding progressives promote and condone it. We disagree on the point that it is harmful. I would equate it with cheating (promiscuity), and lying (to yourself) at least.

          My Church is a body of believers who believe the Gospel. The Gospel is unchanged in over 2,000 years. So, my Church does not fit your profile. Is it perfect? No. Otherwise I would not be in it. But all members strive to follow the Gospel. That is our target daily. For a Scout, morally straight should be the target every day. BSA Policy says so and that is what we follow in Scouting.

          Scouting will either be an organization that teaches timeless values and Character education or it will not. If it does not, I will find other avenues. If it does not, you have a decision to make. I will leave the Program because I do not believe it can teach timeless values and Character education anymore.

          In the end, it is a program like many others in our Church. John 14:6 is a way of life and that will always supersede Scouting. It will be a great tragedy for the youth of our great nation to accept immoral behavior as normal. Next will be God and then who knows. It may seem outrageous but would not capitulation to the homosexual agenda lead to capitulation to NAMBLA for example. How do you measure degrees if you have compromised your principles?


        • Fred – Thank you for the last reply, and i mean that sincerely. Even though we have different views, we can be civil trying to explain those to each other. I am sorry to hear that Scouting may lose someone who sounds like they are a good leader to the boys of your Troop. Its obvious that we disagree on many things, but we, in our own opinions, are looking out for what we feel is best for the youth in our Troops.

        • You are correct. Thank you for the kind words. We can agree to disagree and still work together in Scouting. If the vote does not go your way, I hope you will stay in Scouting also. I will not know until after teh vote but I will give their decision a fair hearing.

      • Remember, BSA has always allowed for difference between standards for adult leaders between troops. Because you want specific characteristics in the leader of your boys does not mean you have lost your Scout spirit.

        Some COs do not permit women to lead boys. Some COs require adherence to specific religious doctrine before you are qualified to be an Scout leader. Some COs require their adult leaders to speak Spanish. I’m quite sure I can find a troop where no leader would be allowed to be a mormon, or a black, or a jew, although those restrictions are probably not advertised openly. Still, they are there.

        Allowing local COs to place additional requirements on their adult Scout leaders has been part of BSA from its beginning. That is what has enabled BSA to fulfill the youth development requirements of so many different and diverse faith communities throughout its history. Let’s hope BSA continues to use its CO structure the way it was designed, to permit local COs to place specific requirements on adult leaders that are not specified in the Scout Oath and Law. Setting high standards for your son’s adult leaders does not mean you are not a Scout!

        • There is a Troop in my area that has changed church homes and CO because the first CO would not allow for female leaders. The reasoning was that most of the boys they served came from single parent homes with mostly moms in charge and the CO wanted the boys to have more male role models. After trying for three years to find enough leaders to have a good program they have now switched to a new less restrictive CO/church home that will allow for female leaders.

        • That is exactly how the CO structure is supposed to work. The CO structure was set up so that people of all different religions, and even those who some would not consider religious at all, can all work together to develop youth based on the shared principles of the Oath and Law.

          Any group of parent should be able to find a CO that matches the moral teachings they want to pass on to their boys. If the parents and the CO are a bad match, the parents can always find a different CO. BSA has been set up that way from the beginning, and it is why BSA has been able to accommodate such a wide diversity of members through its history.

  33. There are many chartered organizations whose only involvement with their units is to sign the recharter paperwork and leader applications and have never even thought about the issues. And why should they? BSA’s policy — and thus all CO’s official policy — has been (and still is) that open or avowed homosexuals are not granted membership. So while there may be gays in a CO’s unit, they could not be open about it. So currently, there is no reason for any Scout or leader to make a decision about which unit to join based on the CO’s position on gays — all COs and all units have the same exclusionary policy. And as yet, we don’t know whether anything will change, so “preemptive” moves wouldn’t make sense if you otherwise like your unit.

    • All of the COs on the list of top ten BSA COs, according to Wikipedia, have wrestled with the issue of gay membership over the last ten years. Some of them very publicly.

      COs have thought about the issue very, very much over the last decade.

      BSA grants COs the right to review all adult leaders being considered and establish additional leadership requirements if they desire.

      Within the last 10 years, some of the largest BSA COs in the country have adopted policies permitting full participation, even in leadership positions, regardless of a person’s sexual orientation. What should those COs do now? Should they un-charter all their BSA units and set up their own youth programs, because they have felt the need for change while BSA refuses to change?

        • that is the entire point of this survey. you’re quoting the policy as it CURRENTLY STANDS. the survey is there to guage how well as policy CHANGE would go. you’re either confused on that issue, or you’re reading way too much into the questions being asked.

        • The current policy evolved sometime between 1990 and 2000. The language you are quoting was written in 2012. Many COs have been chartering BSA troops for nearly 100 years, so it would not be unusual for a BSA policy written in the last 20 years to deviate from the membership policies of COs who have been chartering troops for 100 years.

        • Yes, cwgmpls, the COs that do not agree with the stated tenets of BSA shouldn’t be chartering a troop. They should be supporting organizations with whom they agree.

          Just as COs that recognize homosexuality as a aberrence will do if BSA changes its stated and affirmed policies. Maybe not the first year, but as soon as those SMs and CORs with sons finish their Eagle, BSA will find the COs chartering elsewhere.

      • Guys, relax. No need to get all excited, or to jump to conclusions (no, Justin, I’m not confused). I was just saying that because the current policy (it hasn’t changed yet) is what it is, and has been for a while now, there are a lot of chartered organizations (the local ones that actually sign the paperwork, not the larger institutions to which some of the local COs belong) that haven’t had any reason to think about gay membership policy — in many cases, because they hardly ever think about Scouting anyway and it just hasn’t come up. And because the policy is what it is, and has been for a while now (having been reaffirmed less than a year ago), there has been no reason for individual Scouts and leaders to do any deep thinking (until now) about whether they are in a unit with a gay membership policy they agree with. In part because, you know, officially, every unit has the same gay membership policy. So it just seems unlikely to me that everyone has moved around to compatible units already, in preparation for the May decision. But that’s just me. And I think we ought to have a mechanism in place (in the unlikely but possible event that I’m right) should the policy change lead to some Scouts and leaders feeling out of place in their current units.

        That was the only issue I was addressing here. For my views on what I think the outcome of the ultimate issue should be, and what COs should do, you can see my comment to this blog dated March 16, 9:31 AM. (Click on the link at the bottom of this page to go to the Older Comments.) You can also find several comments of mine among the 1500 or so to Bryan’s February 26 blog post on this issue.

        • If your troop is chartered by a church, you know what the church’s gay policy is. If your troop is chartered by a school or PTA, you know what their gay policy is. If your troop is chartered by a community group, its gay policy may be a little less clear, but it is easy to find out.

          Can you give an example of a CO that does not have a well-known policy toward gays? I honestly can’t think of one. Maybe an example would help.

        • Again, for _Scouting_ purposes, the policy of every chartered organization and every unit is the same (at least for now): “[W]e do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals[.]”

        • Right, that is the current policy. One proposal is to move the decision to the CO level, where moral teachings that are not part of the Oath and Law are normally handled.

        • The BSA policy is currently the same for every CO. But if you know your CO, you know your CO’s policy regarding gays outside of BSA. ELCA churches welcome gays. Public schools welcome gays. I can’t imagine most parents would put their boys in a CO that holds a position about gays that the parents don’t agree with, even though the policy for the troop is to ban gays no matter what the CO policy is. People tend to settle in with COs that they are most comfortable with, even before the gay issue came up.

        • cwgmpls: My troop is chartered by our local Rotary. I know Rotary International’s policy for its own membership, but I honestly don’t believe that our local Rotarians would impose their code on our troop. They’d be more likely to go with whatever they felt the local community’s values are, or to go with whatever their personal values are. My dad, a Rotarian in another city, said he thought local Rotary Clubs had a bit of leeway in this department, but there has not been a precedent for us to gauge their position, so the both of us are only guessing. Our CO has not had anything to do with our troop to this point, with the possible exception of signing paperwork. Then again, our CC also serves as our COR, and he is not part of the CO — perhaps he does all the signing? I truly don’t know.

        • Rotary International allows each local chapter to decide for themselves if they want to welcome openly gay members or not. This has worked well for Rotary, and it will work for BSA as well.

          Being a troop chartered by a Rotary chapter means it would probably be okay for your local troop to accept a gay adult as a leader, if that is what the parents of the troop want. If the parents of the troop don’t want gays, I Rotary would not force the troop to accept gays. Rotary leaves those decisions up to the local group. It would be nice if BSA national took the same approach.

          In short, whether or not a troop accepts gays is up to the parents. If the parents can’t agree, that is hardly anyone else’s fault.

  34. In addition to the Voice of the Scout surveys, it looks like BSA has also commissioned a Harris Poll. I got one this morning, addressed to me with the phrase “because you are a current member of Boy Scouts or Venturing” and with the indication that it was a poll sponsored by BSA. It asked demographic information, and then it was done — i.e., my demographics weren’t the target for the poll. I am not sure that it was on the membership policy, since I never saw the content questions, but it is the first I’ve heard of a Harris poll going out.

    • Instead of all of these surveys, why doesn’t BSA set up an open, transparent, representative council at the national level, with regional representatives chosen by local vote? Why doesn’t BSA implement real democracy instead of hiring PR professionals to create the appearance of democracy?

      • I thought that was the point of the meeting I was going to this week, to give my opinion to our local council so that when they cast their four votes on the possible policy change my voice is being heard. I’m sorry that it seems like there are some councils that are not being open about it, but some are.

        • Well, in this case, BSA seems to be operating a little more openly than usual. They also seem to have some six-figure consultants on retainer. Why don’t they save some money and operate that way as a matter of structure, all the time?

          We usually hear about national decisions after a secret, anonymous group meets in private somewhere.

        • To Justin, no, I don’t still have a link. To cwgmpls, it looks like the Voice, the Harris, the fireside/local meetings are all designed to provide information to a) those who are wording the exact proposition (not written yet) and to b) the 1400 who will vote — 3 or 7 of whom come from your council.

        • The Bay Area’s Mt Diablo Silverado Council certainly was not open and evenhanded about exploring the pros and cons of a policy change — it was evident that the leadership had the definite agenda of ramrodding this through. There was no open forum prior to their decision, no open debate, just an online survey that who knows if the results were legitimate, dissent was squashed during the meeting presenting the results, and the survey results were interpreted in a very arbitrary fashion as presented in the Council’s recommendations to National. They did not want to entertain any discussion of concerns for the safety of our boys.

        • At our “family meeting” we were told that there would be 2,000 individuals voting. We were able to get the names of two and those two were at the meeting for questions.

      • I think it was probably meant for my 17-year-old, as it disqualified me before asking any pertinent questions but after getting my age; my teen’s email address with BSA is the same as mine.

  35. I thought the questions were very well written. You had to take a stand. That is the way it should be with no equivocation. I completed the questions honestly.and feel my opinion has been heard.

    The only shading that I saw the opinion that a CO should determine what is morally straight. I believe that is the responsibility of Boy Scouts of America to set their standards. That is why the Church sponsor CO of the Troop is in Boy Scouts. They believe Scouting standards are compatible with the teaching of a Christian Church and a useful program for bringing up Youth. They and I and all of the current Scouts and parents in the Troop oppose a change in Policy. They and I do not want avowed homosexual Adult leaders or Scouts in Scouting.

    It was funny though. As I finished the last message was; “Your answers indicate you are not happy in Scouting, would you like someone from the Council to contact you?” I am guessing it was because I put it on BSA to establish their standards, not let members decide what they ought to believe about a moral code. I have seen posts where co-habitating adults could be leaders, alcoholics, avowed lesbians and gay males and I have never believed that met the moral code of Boy Scouting. That is my belief. Everyone else is entitled to theirs.

    Just so I’m clear, I do not believe Boy Scouts is a Christian Organization..BSA serves many religions and Associations and organizations.


      • True, but substitute BSA for “yours” and you have the current policy. Why would a CO join knowing that BSA teaching is inconsistent with their beliefs? To change it of course. Why would not that CO start a new Scouting program free of the current BSA policy to serve all youth.Why change BSA from what is to what you want it to be when what it is now attracted you to the program in the first place..

    • Do you expect BSA to set standards of dress that are compatible with your church teachings? Why do you expect BSA to set standards that are outside the scope of Scouting?

        • But BSA did not state that morally straight had anything to do with sexuality until 1991. Unless you joined after 1991, morally straight had nothing to do with sex when you joined Scouting.

          Morally straight has everything to do with Scouting, sex education does not. Teaching about sex was something BSA started doing in 1991, and it was outside the bounds of Scouting from the start.

          “Education for sexuality belongs in the home… Scouters should reinforce rather than contradict what is being taught in the family and by the youth’s religious leaders” — BSA Statement on Human Sexuality, 1984

          Sex education does not belong in Scouting.

        • Are you seriously asking me to believe that BSA thought avowed homosexuality was okay before 1991. Really? It was forced on BSA to clarify a position in 1991 just like is being done now. If the policy is not changed, then Progressives will find another way to attack BSA to try to change the Policy. Avowed homosexuals are the issue here. Their very persona is defined by their sexuality. They cannot refrain from letting everybody know.

          Sex Education has nothing to do with this conversation, you are correct. It also has nothing to do with Scouting. Why did you bring it up? I didn’t

          Morally straight has to do with maintaining high moral standards. I would not expect a morally straight Scout to engage in promiscuous sex with girls or cheat on a friend or steal or lie or engage in avowed homosexual behavior.

          Do you really think the 1984 Statement even contemplated families teaching their sons about Homosexuality being a positive moral choice. I don’t see how you could. BSA never thought avowed homosexuals could be morally straight and the 1991 action clarified that position.

        • cwgmpls said: “Sex education does not belong in Scouting”. What is the Youth Protection initiative and the video Time to Tell all about.

        • I didn’t bring it up. I figured he was talking about Sex Education around the campfire which has no place in Scouting. Trolling for Comments are we?

        • If a gay individual chooses not to be open about their sexuality issues then that is between that individual and the higher power the choose. When the gay person decides to be open about their sexuality then it becomes a mater for whom ever accepts or is offended by it. This true in all moral conundrums.

      • “Education for sexuality belongs in the home… Scouters should reinforce rather than contradict what is being taught in the family and by the youth’s religious leaders” — BSA Statement on Human Sexuality, 1984

        Sex education does not belong in Scouting.


        While agree with this statement, I believe it goes one step further

        Sex does not belong in scouting.

        • “Sex does not belong in scouting.”

          I agree. And I assume BSAs straight members are not required to be neutered before they join. Openly gay men are fully capable of adhering to the same moral standards that today’s openly straight men adhere to in BSA.

        • “Openly gay men are fully capable of adhering to the same moral standards that today’s openly straight men adhere to in BSA.”.

          I, for one, do not believe this is possible for avowed openly homosexual men or boys.

  36. After decades of suing the BSA culminated in a loss at the Supreme Court, the militant gay lobby switched tactics and began pressuring corporations to stop donating to the Scouts. What they could not accomplish in the courts, they now seek to accomplish through economic pressure. The ONLY reason the BSA is considering a policy change now is fear over the loss of contributions. My question: What lesson does that send to our boys? Be morally straight….unless there is a personal cost? Shocking that the BSA would sell out so easily. My oldest is an Eagle Scout. And my other three boys are in scouting solely for the purpose of character development. There is no character in compromising your principles in the face of external pressure. If they change the policy now, the Scouts will have lost their very soul.

    • I totally agree with your assessment of the economic impact. I hope the BSA does not get blinded by the bottom line. I have six Eagles in my family. Three sons and three grandsons. There are two more grandsons on the trail to Eagle. I doubt that the family will leave scouting if the BSA chooses the wrong decision but it will definitely effect my opinion of the metal of the BSA. Much of the credibility of the BSA will be in question. If the BSA yields to the will of the gay lobby. Can the BSA be considered TRUSTWORTHY, LOYAL, or BRAVE? I believe the Scout Oath and Law will have to be ammended.

      If the BSA puts the decision on the CO’s then the economic impact will be heavy to defend themselves in the courts if they choose maintain the current membership policy. The ACLU is chomping at the bit to take the CO’s to court. That will force the CO’s to yield or fold.

    • The ONLY reason the BSA considered a policy change in the 1990s, when they first went public with their no-gay membership policy, was fear over the loss of contributions.

      “should the Court agree that the Scouts must admit gays, the LDS Church will withdraw from Scouting” Salt Lake Tribune
      April 26, 2000

      Not surprisingly, most organizations are very sensitive to the desires of their largest donors. It has always been that way.

      When the tide turns, and the majority of donors switch positions, organizations change with them or lose money. Twas always thus.

  37. ASM Mom,

    I replied above to one of your comments where you asked me a question. I have no idea whether or not you would see my reply unless I call you attention to it. -jw

  38. Just out of curiosity

    Of those posting here, how many are homosexuals (Gay or Lesbian) or consider themselves a part of the LGBT community.

    From an earlier post by ASM Mom it sounds like she is a part of the LGBT community.

    ASM Mom, Are you a Lesbian?

    • In answer to your question about whether we are LGBT, Steve. I am not. I am married, in my 50s, with three teen children. I am an elder in my church, the leader of my church’s children’s program, and a high school teacher. I have been a leader in BSA units for 14 years, and I am a trainer as well as heading my council’s special needs committee. Each of my three children has had to think carefully about what whether duty to God conflicts with their involvement in BSA, because our church teaches that homosexuality is not wrong and that they have a duty to God and others to accept all equally.

  39. To be clear on one point

    Even with the current policy BSA does not teach, advocate or tolerate bigotry, bullying or hate of any person or group either inside or outside BSA.

  40. A great many governmental jurisdictions (e.g., Cities, Counties and States) are defining or GLBT citizens as a *legally* protected class. I am certainly no legal scholar but I suspect this fact, alone, will force BSA National to leave the decision of whether or not to admit G/GLBT members up to individual COs because those units will be compelled to abide by local laws.

    For myself, I think it is quite a sad commentary that a private organization is finding it so very difficult to choose its membership – albeit within the confines of law. As a citizen, I fear this does not bode well for other organizations. But that said, people with a positive outlook and possessing an open mind will find ways for the BSA to continue to be the outstanding organization it is.

  41. What is your evidence that the ONLY reason they went “public” with the policy on gays was fear over loss of contributions? The LDS indicating they would leave the organization was in response to litigation brought by activists. It was not pressure tactic used against the BSA. So poor example.

    And the LDS had the right response — we’ll go elsewhere to develop our kids’ character if you compromise on principle. I’m wondering why the gay actvists and their supporters don’t do the same?

    • If I am not mistaken, about 50% of registered scouts are in LDS chartered units. If they were to pull out what would that mean to scouting?

      • LDS allows openly gay men to be full members in good standing, and to hold leadership positions in the church. BSA’s current gay membership policy is more restrictive that the LDS church membership policy. In fact, I’m quite sure BSA wouldn’t even consider changing the current policy if the LDS church hadn’t already given their approval that a change was needed.

        Past LDS statements that were harshly anti-gay have turned out to be an embarrassment to the LDS church in the long run, and LDS church has been working hard to improve their public image.

        See http://www.mormonsandgays.org for more details.

        • I spoke with a Bishop in the LDS Church and he said your statement is an inaccurate one. Avowed homosexual adults are not leaders in the Church, only declared abstinate homosexuals and not in Youth positions. The Official Statement from the LDS Church said they had no part in developing this policy or supporting it. They are waiting.

  42. A question for everyone. I’ve been a leader for 23 years and have always been against the ban on Gays in Scouting. If the ban is not overturned, I will still be a leader the next day. How many of you will still be putting on the uniform if it IS overturned?

    • I believe my sons will continue in scouting. It was their choice to join in the first place. Seeing that they were 5 and 6 respectfully we did not discuss the ban on gays and my youngest son actively recruited and succeeded in having a dear friend join with him into Tigers (although the young man now 11 has not announced to anyone that he is gay, it does appear evident that he is – actually it was pretty clear that he was when he was 6).

      My eldest would like to see the ban lifted. He knows that the ban is not supported by our church or our family (their grandparent -both sets- agree). He is quite adamant and has informed me that many of the older scouts have discussed the ban and all agree it should be lifted. The CO of the troop is a VFW and the CO of the pack is a grade school.

      • Goes to the thought of should we include more youth opinion on this? And not just for the national process, but at the council level, where the actual final decision will come from.

    • Our family will be done. We cannot support an organization with whose values we do not agree. Among our friends, it’s about evenly split. Most of the ones who will stay have older boys who are well along the path to Eagle. I suspect they’ll discontinue Scouting involvement after the rank is earned. Of those with younger boys, only two have indicated that they are going to stick with Scouting no matter what. Our CO is a church; our COR considers homosexuality incompatible with Scouts, as does our SM. I don’t expect they’ll recharter once their sons complete their projects. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty certain of it.

      As previously pointed out, staying would be as hypocritical as those who support open homosexuality being current members.

  43. That’s a really tough question, Michael, but a very good one. I’m not sure. I love Scouting and I believe in it. I love what it has done and continues to do for my sons. I love participating in their troop. A line has been drawn in the sand recently, however, and now more than ever being involved gives the appearance of complicity in what my family feels is wrong. My sons were oblivious to the BSA’s anti-gay position until this year, but they are keenly aware of it now, and when the decision is made in May I will have to answer to them.

    • I would like to ask a question ASM Mom; You said “…now more than ever being involved gives the appearance of complicity in what my family feels is wrong. My sons were oblivious to the BSA’s anti-gay position until this year, but they are keenly aware of it now, and when the decision is made in May I will have to answer to them.

      Why do you stay in Scouting? Why say anti-gay instead of traditional values? one more. How could you sons not know about Boy Scouts policy against avowed homosexuals? Did you not tell them when you knew they would not agree?. As a leader you had to know. Why did they join in the first place? If I knew joining an organization would disturb my kids, I would tell them all I knew and discourage it.

      • I made it clear why I am in Scouting in my answer to Michael, above. My boys joined because they like hanging out with other boys and going camping — isn’t that why all boys join? The policy entered my consciousness when it became big news this past summer, and that’s when I made my boys aware of it, too. I said “anti-gay” because the policy is against homosexuals joining. (You see, in the English language, “anti-” means “against”.) I do not call the anti-gay policy “traditional values” because values implies something that positively guides one’s character, integrity, and behavior, while rejecting people for something that has nothing to do with the content of their character is not a value.

        • You’re being hypocritical, ASM Mom. You allowed your sons (and apparently yourself, judging from your name) to join an organization with whose values you completely disagree. Did you not know at the time that the BSA had specifically stated that homosexuality was incompatible with BSA? Or did you simply decide that you wanted the benefits BSA supplied to your family without regard to the responsibility to uphold the values of BSA?

        • I joined BSA the first time with the younger brother for whom I was guardian, when I was 26. The issue was not front and center in 1986, nor had I fully developed my own beliefs. Those beliefs have evolved over time, as have the beliefs of my church.

          I joined again with my first son, in 1999. At that point, if someone were deeply concerned about homosexuality one way or the other, I’m sure s/he could have learned a lot about BSA’s stance, but it was not as clear as it was after the 2001 court case. Our pack was sponsored by the Moose Lodge, and they never brought up the question. One member of my church was a past Council President, and he has continued to be a strong supporter of both Scouting and our church since the 2001 court decision and since my church’s clarification of its position in 2002. I felt that if a Council President could wait to see what happened, I could, too.

          By 2003, my oldest was in Boy Scouts and my younger two were Cubs. No one — at camp, church, den or patrol meetings — no one had ever sat down with them and said, “Son, you can’t ever be gay, and you can’t be friends with people who are gay, either.” Over time, I was becoming clearer in my conviction that my church’s position was correct; but I also believed, from conversations with other Scouters (including my Wood Badge mentor), from watching the society as a whole evolve, and from becoming more aware of the world Scouting movement, that eventually there would be a recognition from BSA that the firm sectarian position of excluding gays was in conflict with its commitment to being absolutely nonsectarian.

          I didn’t go around looking for an organization on the basis of its position on homosexuality. I don’t think most people do; but that doesn’t mean we agree that it is right to exclude gays when the issue arises. We join Boy Scouts because we believe in the Scout Oath and Law, because we agree with BSA’s mission and vision, because we want to be part of Baden-Powell’s dream.

          I thought about leaving when I saw kids with special needs abused in a troop; I decided to help start a new troop instead. I thought about leaving when the only pack in town didn’t want female leaders; I decided to help start a pack instead. When my oldest child no longer wanted to be part of troop activities, I thought about leaving; I decided to focus on Cubs for awhile and to become more active in training. I thought about leaving when my second child was challenged in confirmation classes over involvement in BSA; that child and I talked about things and decided that we could stay, and be open and honest and clear about what we believed. When I taught the Diversity and Inclusiveness module in Wood Badge a couple of times and then mentored others teaching it, I became more convinced that eventually, a program with those ideals would find a way to implement them.

          My children will probably leave if the current policy is reaffirmed. They will tell me that I was wrong; the BSA actually does take a narrow sectarian position. Our camps, our NYLT, and our VOA will lose them as outstanding leaders. But I believe in BSA’s ideals, and so I will wait and see, and I will keep teaching Webelos to tie knots, teaching Boy Scout campers Wilderness Survival skills, teaching adults conflict resolution. It is a program that is worth believing in, even though I think that in this one matter, it is, for the moment, or for the decade, or for the generation, wrong.

        • Karen, you do NOT believe in BSA’s ideals. You believe in *some* of them. You knew (or you could have known by reading) their position on homosexuality. You chose to join anyway. I think you are a hypocrite. You and every other person who knowingly joined an organization with whose core values you disagreed.

        • You may call me names, KS. My council leadership, who know me far better than you do (you, whose name we do not even know), do not call me by those names. I do not make any secret of my beliefs; I am morally straight, living openly and honestly by my commitments to God, citizenship, family and Scouting. They trust me to lead boys and adults at camp, in interfaith worship, at Wood Badge, in council committees, in units. Believe what you want about me, but perhaps there is something you are missing in your analysis.

  44. Question: I understand why people who find homosexuality wrong/forbidden would want to leave Scouting if the policy were to change, they would feel that by being associated with an organization that condones homosexuality shows that they too support it.
    Why would people who support homosexuality leave if the policy doesn’t change, something is only discriminatory if there is different treatment for an ARBITRARY reason. A homosexual lifestyle is inconsistent with Scouting and therefore shouldn’t be considered discrimination.
    Not taking someone for a job because they don’t meet the qualifications: not discrimination.
    Not taking someone for a job because they have red hair: discrimination.
    If the BSA were to extend their policy to exclude members or adults who engage in premarital sex would people leave because their faith teaches them to not to discriminate?

    • To me and the others for whom the policy causes a crisis of conscience, rejecting people based on their sexuality is an arbitrary reason. We see nothing wrong with homosexuality, and neither do our churches. We believe the anti-gay policy is inconsistent with the Scout Law.

      That’s the funny thing: even for the people who count homosexuality as a sin, the policy is completely arbitrary. For it not to be arbitrary, the multitude of other sins that make one unsuitable would also have to be specified in the Membership Standards. There are many sins that make one unsuitable for leadership in Scouting, yet the BSA specifies only one.

      While it is within the BSA’s rights to enumerate in its membership policy the many reasons one might be unsuitable, I think that would get ugly very quickly. Divorced people who have remarried would have to go, for example, as they are committing adultery without repentance (not according to me, mind you, but according to the Bible). Getting rid of remarried divorced people would decimate our numbers, to say nothing of the folks kicked out for myriad other reasons.

      It would certainly be more consistent to say, “BSA declares itself to be a conservative Christian-based organization, and as such, we find this long list of people inconsistent with Scouting values.” But if it wishes to remain true to its nonsectarian roots, and wishes to live up to the values stated in its Law as described and explained in the Boy Scout Handbook, it makes sense to establish as its one and only criterion the content of one’s character.

      • So how would you ever define morally straight? If engaging in an activity that has never been proven to be traced to a specific gene or anything other than vague claims of a series of genetic markers that may explain why some people prefer sex with the same gender to heterosexual sex as designed by our Creator. Cohabitating heterosexual couples would not be considered for leaders in our Troop, known alcoholics or adulterers either. So where would you draw the line for acceptance as a leader. We consider adults for leaders who have been divorced but it is rare they are approved. I don’t think it’s that hard to identify an unsuitable Leader. It seems that some Scouters on this list find it very difficult to even find leaders. One reason Churches sponsor many Troops. Parents of a higher calling than work or play want to provide a good example for young people to grow into as an adult. You talk about lack of leaders if we demand moral standards of our adult leaders. I see a slippery slop of declining values and morals if we do not demand that character in our adults. I do not believe an avowed homosexual youth can be morally straight. I am certain in my belief that an avowed homosexual adult cannot. Neither do my parents and CO believe they can. You can be a good person and immoral or amoral. You cannot be of high moral character and be immoral or amoral. ..

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

        • Very well said. Where we depart from one another is believing that an avowed homosexual adult Leader or Scout coule “be clean in their Speech and actions.” That’s why we are a different side of this issue and i strongly believe the policy should not change as you believe opposite.

      • ASM Mom,
        You didn’t quite address my question (the policy is not arbitrary because it’s intrinsic to the BSA’s values, one’s individual values do not play a part in determining if an organization’s policies are arbitrary), but I will try to address your points.

        The BSA doesn’t exclude membership based on religious sins; which is why divorce and remarriage isn’t included in the membership standards, there are many different marriage and divorce rules amongst the different religions. If a unit is chartered to a religious organization, though, the CO may.

        The BSA does exclude membership based on criminal actions, like theft and murder. This policy isn’t because the BSA doesn’t want “sinners” in its midst, even though these are also religious sins in most religions, rather this is because such actions are universally recognized as wrong. Homosexuality also used to be recognized as universally wrong. Why? My understanding is that sexual activity is primarily for the purpose of procreation; though there is a lustful aspect to it, the life creating potential takes precedence. Homosexual behavior, though, is devoid of any life creating aspect and is purely lustful. In recent years, though, there have been efforts to legitimize it. The BSA still rejects it. It wasn’t necessary to put it in writing until 1991 when the lawsuits began. The BSA teaches people to be giving, homosexuality is pure self pleasure seeking, the total opposite of giving. Another reason I believe the BSA has this policy is because sexuality doesn’t belong in Scouting. Homosexuals define themselves by their sexuality and thereby bring it with them wherever they go. Almost no one feels the need to tell people that they are heterosexual. Excluding open and avowed homosexuals keeps sexuality out of Scouting.

      • Even if you see homosexuality as a sin, the current policy is arbitrary for a couple of reasons. First, as ASM Mom notes, the policy lists only homosexuality as a specific basis for denying membership. It does not list other unsuitable characteristics that should disqualify individuals from membership; it doesn’t even list other characteristics related to sexual conduct that should disqualify individuals, such as adulterers. Second, the current policy is arbitrary because it doesn’t exclude _all_ homosexuals, or _all_ persons who engage in homosexual behavior; rather, it only excludes “open or avowed” homosexuals. Thus the current policy does _not_ exclude people who are actively engaged in a homosexual lifestyle but keep it to themselves, while at the same time excluding people who are or believe they are homosexuals and are upfront and honest about it, but who live a chaste life.

        • I see the new tack of the Progressive voices. They say because BSA does not provide a laundry list of sins that would make denying homosexual adults and youths an arbitrary decision and how is a CO to know if BSA doesn’t tell it, the policy is discriminatory and we cannot discriminate. As before 1991, I believe there was a relatively common definition that BSA accepted that CO would follow and they would not have to handhold the CO’s on moral issues. It seems that some CO’s and leaders cannot now tell what is immoral and the slippery slope is a little steeper. Now BSA wil be pressed to provide that list so that more and more marginally acceptable people will be angry and eventually the policy will be reversed our of the sheer impossibility of maintaining such a list. There would have to be an office of immoral behavior to define it for CO’s.

          Folks, we discriminate every day in who we associate with, spend time with at work and in society and as long as we do not run afoul of man’s law, we ar efine ot discriminate.

          It is becoming apparent that a lot of CO’s and adult leaders no longer follow the historical definition of moral in Boy scouts as i am sure it is outdated and more marginal human behavior now is acceptable as moral than 20 years ago and especially 10o years ago. BSA should not be so. Thefolks you mention would not be considered for my Troop and BSA did not have to tell me that. The voices of dissent from outside became so loud, BSA had to define homosexuality as incompatible with morally straight. No dissent from inside progressive voices is forcing them to define it again..

        • On the contrary. I’m pointing out that Scouts and Scouters who believe that homosexual conduct is incompatible with Scouting’s values should be pushing for a stronger policy than the weak and arbitrary “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” policy that BSA has now. Do your churches and religious teachings deal with homosexuality as a “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” matter? That is, only “open or avowed” homosexuals are sinners, while closeted homosexuals are not? I’m surprised that the major churches and conservative members have tolerated the current policy at all.

        • The failure of the current policy to deal with any specific issues other than homosexuality is, at the most basic level, bad public relations for conservative churches and members. This policy makes it look like they are just homophobic and don’t care about any other moral issues. In fact, it looks like they are so fixated on “homosexuality – bad/heterosexuality – good” that even egregious heterosexual misconduct should _not_ be highlighted. Adultery, which tears apart families and damages children; premarital sex that leads to teen pregnancies, single parenting, and abortions; pornography, which exploits the individuals and promotes personal immorality. No, no, we don’t need a policy against any of those things, because they don’t even approach the same level of immorality as homosexual conduct. That’s what the current policy is doing, and you should be as upset about what it doesn’t do as the progressives are about what it does.

        • What is it about “openly” do you not understand. If an individual was open about his or her sex life or other immoral behavior most CO’s would take the necessary steps to correct and/or elimiate that individual from paticipating in their chartered unit.

          You need to think about what “openly” means.

        • Pets to Go: “Openly” means wearing a wedding band. “Openly” means holding hands while you wait in line at the movie theater. “Openly” means showing up at parent-teacher conferences together. “Openly” means talking about the Disney vacation you took with your family within earshot of others. People can get booted for ordinary stuff like that. What does “openly” mean to you?

        • Why, I understand “openly” just fine. In the case of this policy, it means that gays and lesbians are welcome in Scouting as members and leaders as long as they are discreet about their sexual orientation and sexual activities.

        • Dan, I agree that the current BSA policy is completely arbitrary, and is unnecessarily strict, because it even excludes open gays who live a chaste lifestyle. Even the LDS church fully welcomes openly gay, chaste men.

          The problem is, outside of the context of a particular church teaching, it would be hard to know who has taken a vow of chastity and who hasn’t. And we really don’t want BSA sex police snooping around, making sure gay folks aren’t having sex.

          Outside of a specific church, most people assume that an openly gay man is engaging in gay sex, even if that assumption is false. That is just what people think.

          I think the only way to allay people’s perceptions of gays is the policy that BSA has proposed. Let each CO decide if they want to allow gay men, and leave it at that. Within an LDS troop, it will be clearly understood that a gay man has vowed to remain chaste, because that is what their church requires. Within an ELCA troop, it will be clearly understood that a gay man may be married and engaging in gay sex. Within a Southern Baptist troop, it will be clearly understood that there aren’t any openly gay men around. And so on.

          The only way to avoid the arbitrary nature of BSA’s current policy, and align BSA with the various teachings of sexuality that are taught by churches, is to take sex out of scouting, and put it back with each CO. That is how BSA was designed from the beginning, and that is how BSA works best.

        • I agree that the decision should be with each CO, with the caveat that I don’t want to know about sex in the CO. That was a joke. Personally, my preference is the Learning for Life Scouting option, which would keep the decision with each CO but separate the anti-gay units from the inclusive units. My concern with the local option is that (a) it would mean that anti-gay institutions and individuals would still be supporting and participating in a program that allowed homosexuals to serve as youth leaders, even if it doesn’t happen in their own units, which they may consider to be cooperation with an ongoing moral evil; and (b) it would mean that anti-gay Scouts and Scouters would have to mingle with gays and lesbians at camporees, training, OA functions, etc. OR withdraw from those activities that they used to feel free to participate in. In other words, they may feel that the local option is not a satisfactory solution and would elect to leave BSA. I’d prefer to keep everyone, even if it means two separate programs. But that’s just me.

        • You are right about that Dan. I have already had parents asking me about what will happen regarding the many things we do in combination with other units and at bases and camps and so forth.

        • First, as ASM Mom notes, the policy lists only homosexuality as a specific basis for denying membership. It does not list other unsuitable characteristics that should disqualify individuals from membership;


          That simply is untrue.

          You cannot be an avowed atheist and join boy scouts.

      • So, did you have a similar crisis of conscience when you JOINED BSA, knowing that it stated homosexuality was incompatible with Scouting?

        • I wasn’t aware of the policy when I joined. I joined when my oldest was a Cub and they needed leaders. At the time, I didn’t know diddly about Scouting. It was no more than a club for kids to me. And just like when the school asks for volunteers, when the pack asked for volunteers, I volunteered. It never occurred to me that a club for kids would establish a policy barring gays, and it’s not something our pack would have emphasized upon joining. (Willing adult with a pulse? Sign ‘er up!) To me, setting a policy on sexuality for a kids’ organization would have seemed completely outlandish.

        • Think about where that policy appears, and where it does not. Unlike the “absolutely nonsectarian” policy, it does not appear on the application. It does not appear in the old “This is Scouting” orientation or the old Fast Start orientation trainings. It does not appear in basic Scoutmaster Specific or the various Cub leader specific trainings. I don’t think it appears in any of the various Scoutmaster and Cub Leader handbooks (though it has been awhile since I last read every word of these, so I may be wrong) or in the boys’ handbooks. You would know about the policy if you inquired about it from national or went searching in the scouting.org site (which did not have its present form in the 1990s when many of us joined) — something you wouldn’t do if homosexuality was not on the top of your list of key child-rearing issues. You would know if the media outlets you follow happened to cover it in the months when you were first considering Scouts. You would know if you had a CC or COR who had homosexuality high on his or her list of key issues. But as hard as it may be for those for whom it IS a key issue to understand — yes, a great many people join a BSA issue without ever dreaming that this is a policy, without ever dreaming that they might want to ask their den leader about his or her beliefs about sexuality.

        • ASM, when you found out, did you leave? No, you did not. You remained. Did you change your mind? Or, did you simply decide that you would knowingly participate in an organization with whose values you disagreed? Shame on you. That’s dishonest, at best.

        • KS, in what way do you demonstrate your commitment to the BSA ideal of absolute nonsectarianism?

        • I disagree with some of the things my country does, too, KS, but I don’t leave it. When something is worthwhile, you work to correct its problems rather than abandon it. I believe in the vision and mission of the BSA, and I believe in the Scout Law and Oath. I believe the BSA strayed from its vision, mission, Law, and Oath as well as its nonsectarian roots when it established this policy in recent decades. I have stayed in part to help steer it back on course.

        • Morning ASM Mom,
          For all of you out here who are jumping up and down on the moral band wagon, and for all of those who have cited the Supreme Court challenge are you aware of the following.
          1908 Scout Law
          A Scout’s honor is to be trusted.
          A Scout is loyal.
          A Scout’s duty is be useful and to help others.
          A Scout is a friend to all, and a brother to every other Scout.
          A Scout is courteous.
          A Scout is a friend to animals.
          A Scout obeys orders.
          A Scout smiles and whistles under all difficulties.
          A Scout is thrifty.
          A Scout is clean in thought, word, and deed.

          That in 1911, 1972, 1990 and 1999 there were four changes made to the BSA scout law and in non of these changes, has the word Moral, ever being used either explicitly or implied.

          So I wonder what scout law was shown to the Supreme Court, since he judges said that they read the scout law before deciding on their verdict. If the BSA gave the court a modified set or rules, that were not ratified the the BSA is in contempt of court.

          In closing “A Scout is a friend to all, and a brother to every other Scout”

        • Obiwan included in his post: “A Scout is clean in thought, word, and deed.”

          For me and practically every Scout and Scout Leader I know, this part of the Scout explains why avowed homosexuality is not compatible with Scouting.

          We love Scouting and that is why we see a clear contradiction in including and supporting that behavior. which Scouting would by being inclusive and supportive of avowed homosexual behavior..

    • BSA allows divorced men to be adult leaders without any examination about the reason for the divorce and even if the man openly admits he would divorce again if he needed to. Would you say BSA condones divorce?

    • “If the BSA were to extend their policy to exclude members or adults who engage in premarital sex would people leave because their faith teaches them to not to discriminate?”

      I would leave, but not for the reason you give. I would leave because such a policy would be a violation of BSA’s long-standing position to leave instruction about sexuality to families and to clergy. Once BSA starts superseding parents and clergy on matters of sexual morality, I wouldn’t want to send my boys there.

      • Hear is where you are confused. Most of the folks that participate in immoral behavior don’t come out and shout it to the world. Ones private life should stay private. One who is open about their private life will suffer from the exposure.

        And since when was divorce reduced to immoral behavior. Doo Doo happens in relationships and that Doo Doo is not always related to infidelity. Some folks just can’t get along.

        • If a gay man never says anything about his private life, but wears a wedding ring, is that private enough for you?

          Divorce for any reason other that marital infidelity is considered immoral behavior by the Catholic church.

        • Wrong on the immoral behavior. I a person is divorced and does not remarry that individual may enjoy full sacramental participation. If one remarries that individual may not participate in the sacraments. Unless an annulment has been granted.

        • If I understand correctly, divorced-then-remarried people are openly committing adultery and are therefore avowed adulterers. If we have a blanket ban on open and avowed homosexuals, shouldn’t we also have a blanket ban on open and avowed adulterers (i.e., remarried divorced people)?

        • If I joined you in calling for a higher adultery standard. would you join me in calling for keeping the sexual orientation policy?

        • I wouldn’t call for a sexual-anything standard. I was using the example of remarried people to illustrate the hypocrisy of the current policy, since the anti-gay stance is usually supported by people who believe that it is immoral by Biblical standards, and the view that gays are inherently immoral is often coupled with a belief that adultery is immoral, and that remarriage after divorce is Biblically considered adultery. (I admit I am not explaining myself well, but I hope you understand what I mean.) I myself do not believe there is anything inherently wrong with either homosexuality or remarriage. So, no, I wouldn’t call for adding more to the exclusion list. I continue to call for character to be the only standard for membership.
          It might surprise you to know that I would have no problem with the anti-gay policy if the BSA would simply drop the nonsectarian pretense and admit/decide that they intend to serve only certain religious groups. But since they maintain that they wish to continue to serve all boys without regard for which sect or creed or belief system they subscribe to, I feel they should stop telling kids who are raised with more inclusive faiths that they’re wrong.

        • I hate to keep saying this but the BSA has the first amendment and a 5 to 4 Supreme court decision on the gay issue. The BSA is on solid ground to maintain the current membership policy. The only reason this is being considered by the BSA is the potential effect it has on the bottom line.

        • I think that a very big factor in this question arising now is the Voice of the Scout survey from the fall. These were sent out to randomly selected registered members at all levels by National. Of the 3000+ that replied, the vast majority in every group except Cub Scouts (so, District-Council volunteers, parents of Boy Scouts and of Cub Scouts, older youth), indicated that the then-recently reaffirmed membership policy had a negative impact on their desire to be part of BSA. I don’t think BSA expected that outcome.

  45. And here’s the kicker: Aside from “open or avowed” homosexuals, the only people that the policy excludes from membership are individuals “who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.” NOT “behavior that is immoral,” but behavior that is “a distraction.” Kind a makes you wonder: Is BSA excluding “open and avowed” homosexuals because it is only the open and avowed homosexuals who become a distraction? The quiet gays and lesbians are okay because nobody raises a stink about them? Seems like BSA is saying that they aren’t excluding certain homosexuals because homosexuality is _immoral_, but because open homosexuality is a “distraction.” Is this policy really just a public relations policy, NOT a morality policy?

  46. No wonder they postponed the vote! If the (well considered and succint) responses here are representative of the national mood, there IS no good solution that will put this issue to rest! I’m personally gearing up to handle the fallout from WHATEVER the decision will be because passions are high on both sides of the issue! I can only hope that, whatever the national policy becomes, we all can accept it and work with it to continue to promote and support this Scouting program that we care so much for.

  47. With the forces that are work, the local option will not work for long. It won’t be acceptable and it will be attacked from day one. BSA cannot afford to play the part of Pilate and wash its hands. We cannot be a house divided on this issue.

    • By moving the issue from BSA to the CO, any attacks that do happen will move the the CO. BSA will be out of the loop. And I don’t think any attacks against COs will happen, because most COs have already made it clear what their position regarding gays is, so there won’t be much to argue about. Current COs who ban gays all have a legal basis for doing so. Current COs who allow gays are also legally protected in their position.

      Who, specifically, will be attacked if a CO has to choose whether or not to admit gays? Be specific, please.

      • The New York Times editorial on January 30, 2013 says that the new proposal “falls far short of the clear and strong renunciation of anti-gay bigotry that is called for.” And they go on to say that this is “an unprincipled position” and that it will not satisfy those who demand their ideal of full inclusion at every level and every unit.

        The New York Times is correct. The attacks will just be shifted downwards once National caves. And the Times goes on to say “The new policy would, however, undermine the rationale the Supreme Court voiced in 2000 when it affirmed the right of the Scouts…” to select their own membership.

        The invitation for more lawsuits after there is no longer a unified policy that can be argued as part of our core principles, is self evident. The local charters will be attacked over it. I heard, within just a few days of the announcement, comments from people who can’t wait to find out which units will continue a sexual orientation policy.

        • Well, lifting the ban certainly won’t free us from gay-rights windbags. But writing an editorial page hardly counts as an attack on Scouting, unless you don’t believe in free speech.

          To the disappointment of some people, BSA will never become an advocate for gay rights. Just as BSA is not an advocate for women’s rights, or worker’s rights, or children’s right. BSA shouldn’t be such an advocate. It is a long-standing BSA policy to not engage in political debate. Non-Scouts don’t understand this, and will always be disappointed that BSA does not take sides on the popular political controversy of the day. But BSA never has. It is BSA policy. It is not what BSA is about.

          But with all of its rhetorical bluster, the editorial fails to name one CO that is likely to face legal challenge if they refuse to admit gays. That is because all COs who currently ban gays already have fully legal rights for that exclusion.

          If anyone knows a CO that is likely to be sued if the BSA gay ban is lifted, I would like to know what CO that is.

          Meanwhile, we will always have loudmouth, gay windbags. Unfortunately, there is nothing BSA can do to get rid of them. That is what it is like to live in a country that permits free speech.

        • I can’t show you an example of a CO being sued or attacked over policies that have yet to be created or changed regarding a national BSA policy that has yet to be changed. I can only point you to the fact that it is being shouted from the rooftops that the local option will not accepted and will not stop the attacks.

          I am a COR. I represent a CO. This is what many COs are having to deal with right now and think ahead as to what we are going to do; how we can operate and even if we can continue to operate. Not all attacks will be by lawsuits. My CO is in the middle of one of the most morally liberal areas of my State. My CO has been vandalized and threatened over our stand for traditional marriage. Once we can be singled out the target on our backs will only grow.

        • As sure as I am typing this the ACLU is plotting their strategy. The folks that promoting the change are very short sighted and naïve to think the limit of their campaign will stop if the membership policy changes in their favor.

          Once the cart has been pushed over the hill they will not put on the breaks until is completely destroyed.

        • its simple really , right now the BSA policy is no gays , BSA is the private orginazation , the cos are not , so if the BSA changes its policy , and then a co says no to a gay , guess what then its not protected by the private organization ,anymore .
          and also wont have the vast amount of money the BSA has to defend itself in court .
          next u need to consider when several units show up say to summer camp , and 1 unit allows gays , if something doesnt go the way the group allowing gays way, athe first thing out of their mouth will be , theyre discriminaing against us .

          everyone likes to point out that scouting is non-secular so the bsa should have same stance on gays , yet their claim to leting gays in is their religous org, is ok with it ,so its not immoral , hypocrosy in action, .

          and yes i know several gay people , and everyone of them make it known they are gay ,and make a spectical of them selves ,is this what u really want to turn scouting into , EVERYONE in the BSA knew the BSA’s stance on gay BEFORE they joined, if its discrimanation now , why wasnt it when u joined , and why did u join in the first place ??????????????????????

        • In response to Derek, the COs *are* primarily private organizations, correct? The only public organization sponsors I can think of would be those that sponsor Explorer units, which are not included in the issue considered here — police departments, fire departments, and so on.

          A church is a private organization. A church which has requirements of its youth leaders should have no problem making the same requirements of a Scouting program that is an extension of its church youth program. Rotary, Kiwanis, American Legion, VFW are all private organizations.

        • Nobody has yet named one single CO, that currently restricts gay membership, that will in any way be affected by BSA leaving the decision to ban gays from its troop up to the CO. I can’t reply if nobody will say which CO we are talking about.

          What “attacks” are we worried about? Please be specific. Warning about attacks without providing any details is simply engaging in more of the same empty rhetoric that the January 29, 2013 New York Time editorial writer used.

        • JW,

          You’ve said your CO is a church. I don’t recall hearing what type of church, but it doesn’t matter. There is no way any outside group could successfully apply legal pressure on a church to have the church change their beliefs. If a church teaches that gays are not appropriate role models for boys, that church and all of its BSA units would have a fully-protected , legal rights to exclude gays from membership.

          Please name one instance where a court was able to force a church to change their beliefs. It just can not and does not happen in the U.S.

        • cw, I believe I have fully explained this, but I will try once more. I never said a church could be forced to change its beliefs. That’s not how this works. The pressure, legal and otherwise, will be directed at how we operate and where we can operate, not what we believe.

          Our units are not a private club for the sole benefit of our church or our church members. If we were talking about a completely in-house function, we would be fairly safe, but this will be new ground. The units are a joint venture with BSA and that alone opens a hole for attack.

          Let’s just say for example that they do not sue us, but rather continue the same pressure on BSA to no longer charter with us. See where that goes? It is not our program alone. It can be killed from the other side. And probably from directions we haven’t even thought of at this point.

          Churches have been sued over tax exemption status, zoning ordinances, building permits, etc… They are numerous ways of attacking churches without going directly after their beliefs. The goal being to let them have their beliefs, but isolate them and limit how and where they can operate.

          And one more point of many… lawsuits and other pressures do not have to be won in order to get the desired result. Forcing an entity to defend itself can win or gain concessions by force of the pocket book. And once more, COs are already being effected. We were neither warned nor consulted.

        • I fully support your position. It is logically reasoned and no matter how many ways you say it or how many times your explain, the other side will join in to nitpick every word. Yes, CO’s that support traditional Scouting which does not include openly avowed homosexuals will have pressure brought to bear from every corner including name calling and attacks of supporters and supporting organizations. Look at the Southern Baptist Convention. It has made mistakes as have all groups whether the group is religious or not but today CBC have arguably the most effective Disaster Relief grassroots organization in America. They can always be found on the front lines after a disaster providing relief for all comers for no support from the government just Baptist members. They are rarely interviewed or shown on TV and they do not do it for that. When portrayed, Southern Baptists are shown as backwoods illiterate hicks that want to keep women pregnant and barefoot..But guess what, Southern Baptists will never follow popular culture and neither should Scouting. There should be a higher calling for the organization and all faiths are welcome that recognize God in the Scout Oath as a supreme being with a worthy moral code.

        • @Derek. They joined because they wanted the benefits. It did not matter to them that they were being hypocrites. Likely they did not even connect that. Nevertheless, that’s what they are — hypocrites who disagree with a core value of an organization. I think that’s part of the entitlement, “me” generation. “Values, integrity, and honesty be damned, as long as I get mine.”

  48. I have really enjoyed the adult conversations on here, and it gives me hope that Scouting may not come out as damaged as I am afraid it might, I only hope.

    Just got back from my council’s meeting on the subject and was surprised by the handful of people who showed up, 2 dozen or so. I expected the opinion to sway one way due to the location of our council, and the first few speakers backed up that idea. Then we had our first opinion from the other side and it seemed to open up more people to speak the same. Just as I feel it is dividing my Troop, the council, admittedly based on a few dozen people, is fairly evenly split as to what to do. We had two other leaders from the Troop come to the meeting with me, with me sitting right in the middle, and had one speak for each side of the discussion.

    One question that was asked, what do the youth think? A Dad told a story that his son is allowed to take three friends on a weekend long birthday party to a local resort town. Its been the same three kids for several years, and two of them are gay. He admitted that he doesn’t understand it, but supported his son’s decision. So should we be including more opinions from some of the youth in this organization? The program today is for them, tomorrow its for their kids. If they have been raised with the values that you want them to have then letting them help make this decision shouldn’t be an issue either.

    • It sounds like your council meeting was a lot like mine.

      Youth input — I’m sure there is a similar divide among our youth. I would guess that it tips a little more in favor of change, however, than among us greying ones. That’s based on the national polls about gay marriage which show a very decided generational shift, even among evangelical youth; conversations with young people I teach and those I have met in Scouting; the facebook posts of the 18-30 year olds who have graduated from our troops; and my own children. Whatever happens with this proposal, I expect to stay in BSA. My three children, however, have all told me that they intend to leave if the policy is not changed. Through the discussions among their friends and in their church since the July reaffirmation, they have each come to realize that this is something they care a lot more about than they thought they did. If they leave, it will make me very sad, but I will respect the process they have gone through to make that principled decision — the younger two, especially, as Scouting is very deeply important to them.

      • Now here is an interesting twist to this dscussion, instead of levang to the faults for the vote, maybe we should be looking at what the Scouts are thinking.

        No matter where we re in the Scouting world, at the end of the day we are here for one thing and one thing only, (hopefully although I know some in Australia who are here for the title), the guidance of the Scouts. Without the youth there would be n Scouts, so ay be we should be asking them the youth what their feeling are and what they would like see happen

        • This particular conversation seems so strange to me. i grew up and learned from my parents and the adult mentors in my life. I know in my business which see parents of a number of children, I see the parents not that interested in the education the government schools are providing. Government Schools protect homosexuals from any criticism and preach that the homosexual lifestyle is just as normal as straight The major youth programs on the networks and internet shower youth with images of promiscusous sex of all types and pre-marital sex wherever you cna find a quiet spot i.e. the liberal permissive lifestyle. For those that want to raise their kids conservative and tradiitonal, Scouts is one of few options outside theChurch.SHould we as mentors then for parents seeking a quality character education that teaches the outdoors abdicate our responsibility to provide the guidance under the program? My Dad never asked me advice of establishing moral and ethical character traits, he instilled them in me as we should the Scouts in the Program. A youth awash if popular culture and exposed to kids whose parents are as permissive as they are needs that guiding hand to instill the character education of the Boy Scout Program. I would not rely on the Scouts on this matter. Their life experiences are too few or are there those on this list that thought they knew everything at 17 and never discovered they did not. Adults do not need to abdicate this hard decision. Have an open dialogue with Scouts? Yes. Let them drive the decision. I respecfully disagree. We discused ths with our Scouts and in our case, they made the decision that reflected their ages. What’s sex got to do with Scout’s. Why are they trying to change Scouting? WHy are we having this conversation? I know gays at Shcool, they just seem confused and dress weird. We don’t need that in Scout meetings or trips. I see that at school, I don’t want to see it here.

        • Fred you certainly have your head screwed on correctly.

          I totally agree with you. I have seen so many parents let their children guide them and refuse to say no. This idea of lets give a prize to everybody so we don’t hurt their feelings syndrome. Don’t keep score so nobody looses. Tell your child he/she never fails so we don’t damage their self esteem.

          In Scouts we let the boys fail so they can learn from failure. I believe in a boy lead troop/patrol but with a measure of adult guidance to keep the program safe. One poorly planned campout produces better planning for the next campout. It is not fun being cold and hungry on a campout.

        • Why not give the children a voice?

          A child shall lead them. Isaiah 11: 1-9

          Let the little children come to me. Matthew 19:14

      • I would agree with Fred that this is a decision for the adults to make. The long view of understanding our program over its century, and the broad view of understanding the many varieties of thought among our members — these are both important, and difficult for young people. I would agree with Matthew that the long view should include imagining the BSA program when today’s Scouts are the Cub Scout parents — picturing the future along with the past and the present. These will be difficult decisions. One of the most difficult will be the crafting of the proposition itself on which the 1400 will vote, a process that I understand is still going on.

    • My understanding is that Harris International has been commissioned to poll youth in their “youth poll” both inside and outside of Scouting. So there will be some input for the Executive Officers to review in mid April

  49. I don’t believe that the topic at hand is really about allowing gays in, I believe that it is really about what is moral? Who decides which criteria should be used to decide. I really believe that is the base of the argument? My charter origination the Methodists Church teaches open minds, open hearts, and open doors, does that mean that because of my religious affiliations that I am going to be gay or be affected by gay people that attend the church? My church welcomes all people because all are sinners.

    It has been stated that other churches and organizations have different standards of morality. For example I attended a summer camp where there was a troop near me that was Muslim, they did not accept women, did I let that bother me, NO, I was not there to judge them for their beliefs. So since there are multiple standards, the question becomes what standard do we accept? If I were Hindu, wouldn’t eating cow at a scout campout be seen as “sin?” What about if I were Catholic and got an abortion? My point is that we all do things that others find “wrong”, but who are we to judge unless you can say that you have never done anything “wrong” Doesn’t most all religious teachings point out that it is not our job to judge, but gods?

    My point is that there is no agreeance on what is “wrong”! Obviously, there are some things that everyone can agree upon that are “wrong”, for instance murder, but where do we draw the line between acceptable and unacceptable, and I do believe that at one time even murder was accepted, the old eye for and eye belief? Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that murder is okay, just bring up a point of how things change as to what we find acceptable. If the only thing holding a boy from being a scout is his sexual orientation, then I would say that you don’t have any ground to stand on as to sex is not permitted by BSA rules. Banning someone from membership because of who they are attracted to seems to me to be based upon “our” perception of right and wrong. Who is to decide the standard that we should impose on the rest of Scouting, when we all have very different beliefs?

    My concern is for the continuation of the Scouting program, after all that is the reason that we are here right. We have implemented youth protection programs for a reason. I believe that what we have in place is sufficient to alleviate any situation concerns. It is not like leaders go around advertising their sexual orientation at meeting and camps, there are probably more gays in scouts than you know of, and to me those individuals would be extra careful of following the rules just because of this. I know that as an adult leader you are a roll model for the boys, but since sex is to have no part in the program, a gay leader wouldn’t be teaching the boys to “be gay”. At my districts meeting on this topic the point was also brought up that someone that is gay is more likely to be a pedafile, my response to that is well what about all those Catholic priests, just because you are gay doesn’t make you any more likely to be a pedafile than the next person. Again I do believe that someone that is gay would be more cautious of BSA’s rules and regulations because they know that because they are gay they would be under the microscope more than straight guy.

    In any case, I would not want anyone to leave the Scouting program in protest over this issue!! Scouting is a great program for the boys! I believe in it and will continue to do my best to help Scouting, we owe it to every boy, that is who this program is all about anyways.

      • Last time I checked and that was Friday after research and talking to a DE that is Methodist and a minister that is Methodist, UMC does not support open avowed practicing homosexuals as members. Repentant Sinners, yes, but that is not what an openly avowed homosexual is as far as I can tell.

        Your UMC Scouting Man stuck his foot in his mouth and had relase a new statement 180 degrees from his first supporting the change. Might be different in your Church in your town but its not UMC policy to support openly avowed homosexuals in Scouting.

        • Fred, if you notice, what I said was that my church was open to all, I didn’t say where any exclusions would be. I do believe that my pastor would not turn anyone away. John and ASM Mom in order to lift the ban on gay members some people would have a moral relativism. That is part of the problem of this whole big mess, with so many different views on the subject, there is absolutely no way to please everyone no matter what decision is made. Again I just hope that how ever this goes that this program will be strong enough to take it, it is after all no about us adults, it is about the boys and their future. Let’s get back to the basics, what do scouts stand for.
          A Scout’s honor is to be trusted.
          A Scout is loyal.
          A Scout’s duty is be useful and to help others.
          A Scout is a friend to all, and a brother to every other Scout.
          A Scout is courteous.
          A Scout is a friend to animals.
          A Scout obeys orders.
          A Scout smiles and whistles under all difficulties.
          A Scout is thrifty.
          A Scout is clean in thought, word, and deed
          With this in mind the answer should be clear.

        • Jennifer d posted a part of an older Scout Law: “A Scout is clean in thought, word, and deed”

          As I said in another post, I do not see how an open avowed homosexual could meet this tenet of the Law. I don’t think the Law ever contemplated accepting a boy or adult defined by strictly sexual behavior and “clean” in thought, word or deed, certainly not action and certainly not moral.

        • Fred, you do need to update your info re the UMC. While homosexuals are currently prohibited from being clergy, they are not prohibited from membership or from full participation in the life of the church.

        • Fred, this is a complex issue that the UMC struggles with, as do many other denominations. As I said, homosexual individuals are not allowed to be clergy in the UMC. I take exception, however, to your comment that, “You can play Church and be a open avowed homosexual but you can’t live Church.” I do not find that to be a valid characterization of the UMC’s stand on homosexuality.

          “Therefore, be it resolved, that The United Methodist Church dedicate itself to a ministry of Christ-like hospitality and compassion to persons of all sexual orientations, and to a vision of unity through openness to the spiritual gifts of all those who have been baptized into the Body of Jesus Christ. Such ministry and openness may include: welcoming sexual minorities, their friends, and families into our churches and demonstrating our faith in a loving God; a willingness to listen and open our hearts to their stories and struggles in our churches, districts, annual conferences, and General Conference; encouraging study and dialogue around issues of sexuality; and praying for all those who are in pain and discord over our Christian response to this controversial issue.”

          Also, continuing your previous quote about homosexuality: “We affirm that God’s grace is available to all. We will seek to live together in Christian community, welcoming, forgiving, and loving one another, as Christ has loved and accepted us. We implore families and churches not to reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends. We commit ourselves to be in ministry for and with all persons.”

        • ¶ 304.3
          While persons set apart by the Church for ordained ministry are subject to all the frailties of the human condition and the pressures of society, they are required to maintain the highest standards of holy living in the world. The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals1 are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.2

          Pretty much what the Baptists and BSA believe

        • BSA was and hopefully will continue to be a “Society for the Propagation of Moral Attributes.” There surely does appear to be a push to take BSA away from being a nonsectarian, religious, ethical and moral based organization to one that is nonsectarian, nonreligious, balkanized ethics and amorality.

        • jweaksnc, here we agree 100%. BSA will become a bumper sticker and not an organization of guiding principle.

    • Yes, well put indeed…for those in favor of moral relativism that is. Unfortunately, that is NOT what Scouting is about.

      • This is why sex is not a part of scouts Fred, gay or not isn’t any sexual thought, word, or deed inappropriate? Just saying you should look at the whole picture!

        • Open avowed homosexual means expression of your sexual identity. I see the big picture? Homosexuality is immoral and that is the violation of the Scout tenet. Heterosexual thought is not immoral at all. Open expression in a Scout meeting is prohibited.

        • Fred – here’s the key that keeps getting overlooked in this discussion: TO YOUR FAITH, homosexuality is immoral. To my faith, it is not. Who is right? Both of us, of course, since faith is very personal. So much so, that the BSA has a policy about it. It is called the Declaration of Religious Principle. Among other things, the declaration states, “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.”

          Since we are a nonsectarian organization, how can we say that your belief is correct and mine is wrong (or vise versa)? If we want to follow our own policies, we cannot. We don’t say that no unit can camp on Saturday nights because it is prohibited by some faiths. We don’t stop Scouts from having meat on Fridays or from consuming beef or pork. All of those are prohibitions for certain faiths, but the BSA leaves them between the Scout and his or her faith. With so many faiths having differing opinions about homosexuality, this issue also rightly belongs with the faith organization, not the BSA.

        • Well put MT_Momma. I respect that everyone has a right to their own opinion, and I am glad that at least on this part of the discussion board everyone for the most part is being mindful of that and not being to nasty to each other. It is for that reason why I state what I see and try not to put my personal opinion in it, and that is a hard task. The point is that when a final decision is made we all know that it is not going to be unbiased, there is no way to make it otherwise. I just hope that we can arrive there in one piece. I have heard good arguments from both sides of the issue and I agree MT_Momma who is to say who’s opinion is the right one, I do have a problem with people cutting others down though. Fred when I posted about the “A Scout is clean in thought, word, and deed”, you stated in a reply ” I do not see how an open avowed homosexual could meet this tenet of the Law. I don’t think the Law ever contemplated accepting a boy or adult defined by strictly sexual behavior and “clean” in thought, word or deed, certainly not action and certainly not moral.” I don’t think that was very christian like thing for you to say. You are saying that heterosexuality thoughts, words, and deeds are okay or “clean”, but gay ones are not, and the fact of the matter is neither have a place in BSA! I don’t see it as our place to judge each other like that, and yes on that part I will clearly put my opinion in it. If the policy did change and allowed gay members in Fred what is it exactly that you think that they are going to do to the program, are you thinking that our boys are more likely to be molested, or that they will “teach” them to be gay? Just curious as to what you think the “damage” would be……

        • Can’t remember ever saying there would be “damage.” ertainly a lowering of the moral bar. You spent a lot of time talking about being unbiased and fair and then accused me of being biased and unfair. These are my beliefs. I think homosexuals will bring immorality to the Program. “Open” “avowed” homosexual means practicing and is used by many denominations as the dividing line for acceptance as moral or immoral behavior. Homosexuals own definition includes “open” and “avowed” as being “out” and expressing their homosexual nature. A person who defines their persona by sexuality is by nature immoral in my opinion just like gay sexual thought about same-gender sex is not “clean” in my opinion.

        • Fred, yes you are being bias and unfair in your writing, it doesn’t matter how many bible quotes you throw out there, or how many fancy words that you use, it doesn’t cover up the fact that you believe that a gay person in general is a “dirty” person in scouts where as a heterosexual person is not, cut and dry that is what you are saying no matter how you like to sugar coat it. Please make sure to read the replys by MT_Momma, Deanna, and Matthew. It seems as if you have blinders on and only want to see your side of the issue, fact of the matter is though you need to either open your eyes or get your head out of the sand so to speak and look at the real world around you. Like it or not it is changing. If you talk to any young adult long enough you will see that your thoughts and views on things are very different ( I am being general here, there are exceptions ) What society was and what it is now are two very different beasts. Don’t be so closed minded Fred,you need to put aside your fancy words and bible quotes and look at the issue from anothers point of view.

        • A lot of you folks muts not work. I checke my email going to lunch and realized I must be the topic of the day.

          What you call close-minded, I call following my faith. I was not the one that started with religion in Scouting. My very first statement on this post was “Boy Scouts is not a Christian Organization. My CO has a Scouting program because current policy is compatible with Christian principles.” Others then weighed in on how there Churches were more open and accepted open and avowed homosexuals and it was not a morality issue. I disagreed and defended my position. Then others said Church has no place in Scouting and in non-sectarian. I repeated my first statement.

          Now you say I am calling homosexual kids who define their persona as sexual as “dirty.” Your word not mine. Are they immoral? In my opinion, yes. Does Scouting policy prohibit the behavior in Scouting? YES! Are all heterosexuals moral? Certainly not. Practicing adulterers would not be welcome in my Troop either. Sexually promiscuous boys would not be welcome. Certainly heterosexual but indicates a lack of morals. What about adult leaders and Scouts who like to drink and smoke on campouts? Not welcome if they continue the behavior. Completely non-sexual but not a good role model for Scouts and prohibited by SCOUTING policy.

          So if you are accepting of open and avowed homosexual Adult Leaders or Scouts in your Troop or Pack directly against current Boy Scout Policy, who has there head firmly in the sand. You it appears.

          The “Real World” you speak of is your perception of the real world wherever you live. I don’t think I ever said homosexuals do not exist or are invisible in Society. Hard to miss such an open display of ones sexuality in the news, on TV and in public schools. The best estimate I can find for homosexuals in America is 4-6% of the population. We can play with numbers all day but even 6 people out of 100 doesn’t really cause me to change the way I go about my daily business. I don’t frequent bars or strip clubs and I am sure more than 6 in 100 spend time in one of those places. The city I work in has a pretty large homosexual population. I have a few vendors who are homosexual. After work, I drive out of the City and leave it behind. Your “Real World” may be overrun with homosexuals but they are few and far between here. The Constitution also guarantees the “right of association” and I exercise it daily. I serve charitable organizations that feed the homeless, clothe the sick and needy and generally serve the Public good. If your “Real World” says homsexuals are here and now and welcome them with open arms no questions asked, I do not want to live in your “Real World” and you don’t want me there. Major media is not the “Real World.” Your on this earth for so many years. I try to make a difference in the lives around me and support organizations that believe as I do as does BSA currently. I have been accused of “unwilling to see the world from anothers point of view.” I see that point of view and each person has that right to have that point of view but please do not be offended if I do not accept that point of view. Its yours, you own it and I hope you are happy with it. No one is trying to take it away from you. I just don’t agree with it and that’s fine. Do be so presumptuos that you feel you have the correct all-encompassing understanding of “Real World.” very few people I know think like you do about open and avowed homosexuality.

          The only topic that matters here is BSA Policy. I support wholeheartedly the current policy and will continue to defend it. It is a one of many standards I believe makes Scouts a Program of Standards. To me, you should have to reach up to attain the standards of Boy Scouting and be set aside an person of principles and values. BSA should not lower its standards to meet current cultural mores. I have also said BSA is not for everyone. The debate here is who is accepted and Scoutng and who is not. Has nothing to do with that boy or adult as being a good person. Do they meet the standards Boy Scouts has established for membership in a Program of Standards and Values. Curently homosexual youth and Adults do not. I support the Policy. We can disagree and continue tio defend our respective positions.

        • Very well said. I thought about retort to Jennifer D but you said it better than I could have. Why are we require to lower ourselves to the liberal standards?

        • MT Momma
          It has been explained to Fred more than once that not all faiths feel the same about homosexuality. I understand his view that if you don’t uphold the membership policy as it is currently then you, regardless of how your faith views homosexuality, then the BSA is not for you.

          He fails to grasp the nonsectarian view that the BSA does not view one religion superior to another. The BSA does not base policy on one faith then one can conclude that the BSA is not adhering to its own policy. Even if only one faith, that is recognized by the BSA, warmly welcomes homosexuals then the BSA needs to allow for that faith to set its own membership policy.

          It is time for the BSA to remain true to its guiding policy of being nonsectarian.

        • The continued use of religious views as the reason to not change the policy is what is getting old. I know that what 70% of COs are churches, so obviously there is some issue with how you incorporate a churches teachings into this, but BSA doesn’t operate based on a single denominations views. So if you remove the, “it doesn’t jive with MY churches views” argument, because the BSA doesn’t care what your views are as long a you believe in a higher being (or whatever the exact verbiage is) then the biggest argument I am hearing now is thrown out the window.

          For being concerned about a gay adult being involved with the BSA program, how is that any different then having a father involved in his daughters Girl Scout program, and as far as I know that happens. Yes, avowed gay people are open about who they like to go to bed with, but that doesn’t mean that they have to do that every night or try to lure others there. It goes back to a couple points of the Scout Law of being kind and courteous. I don’t openly talk about my wanting to go to bed with my wife at scouting events, and the same would be expected of a gay leader. You don’t talk or act on sexual desires at Scout events, no matter which way you swing. The BSA already has guidelines in place for how adults interact with youth, and on the adult side those should be satisfactory.

          Openly gay individuals are a part of our society now like it or not and are probably not going away anytime soon. Putting your head in the sand and acting like the are not there is just trying to be blind to the issue. Camping with or knowing a gay person isn’t going to suddenly turn your sons gay. Assuming you instilled all of the values you want your child to have, then knowing a gay individual isn’t going to pollute them or sway their “moral compass”.

          What the BSA is doing with the national vote (thought it doesn’t sound like it will be proper representation from some councils) is the right thing to do here.

  50. Today the Supreme Court hears arguments on a case that could result in a ruling that gays have a constitutional right to marry. I hope the voting members are listening carefully. BSA could have a public relations nightmare on its hands if they retain some sort of discriminatory policy, even the local option, and the Court then shatters the legitimacy of any legal discrimination against gays. I’ve been mainly concerned about the major churches pulling out of BSA if there is a policy change, but it may be that BSA has to preemptively break away from the major churches on this issue if it is to retain any public credibility. And BSA is no ordinary private organization. It is a “patriotic” corporation chartered by federal law, and arguably has an obligation to reflect the public’s (and perhaps the Court’s) expanding view of the constitutional rights of citizens over catering to the private constitutional rights of member churches.

    • Today the Supreme Court hears arguments on a case that could result in a ruling that laws protecting traditional marriage of a man and woman only are constitutional. I hope the voting members are listening carefully. BSA could have a public relations nightmare on its hands if they fail to support the current policy of excluding gay Scouts.and allow local Units to adopt policies in contradiction of the opinion of the Supreme Court as it shatters progressive thought that all sexual behavior is moral. I have not been so concerned with Progressive CO’s including Churches pulling out and feel that may increase public credibility especially among the majority of Units who are faith-based and support the current policy. And BSA is no ordinary organization. It is a “private” organization that supports traditional values that do not shift like sand in a blowing wind and has an obligation to stand for those timeless values and not bend to popular culture especially if the Supreme Court upholds traditional marriage protection laws as constitutional and strengthens the Defense of Marriage Act and rejects decay in moral culture driven by progressive thought.and the liberal churches and other progressive CO’s that support that decay.

    • Funny. I hope the churches are listening carefully as well and making contingency plans. As I’ve said before, I’m surprised that they stuck around after BSA adopted “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell,” which allows gays and lesbians to be fully participating members as well as den leaders, committee members, even Scoutmasters. On second thought, since the churches have already acquiesced in having gay and lesbian Scout leaders serve as daily examples and influences on their kids, they may just be blowing smoke for the benefit of their congregations, and will go along with whatever BSA decides.

  51. If anyone in favor of keeping the current policy would like a research and support paper to use or pass along to the voters in your Council, let me know. My gravatar icon to the left has contact info.

  52. Have just seen the episode from the NBC The New Normal -About a Boy Scout. If you ever had any doubts that this policy review wasn’t going mainstream, you had better think again, and now if you didn’t think it had gone international, think again.

    Do you not consider it strange that this episode as come out (no pun intended) smack bang in the middle of the BSA’s most controversial policy change in the last 100 years.

    Public opinion is a very powerful barrier, and depending on which way the pendulum swings, if the BSA makes the wrong choice, we might only be able to read about the BSA in the pages of history

    Quote from the end of the show The New Normal -About a Boy Scout.
    “When I joined the scouts te most coveted badges you could earn was archery and Indian law, today it robotics and nuclear medicine I know equally cool right. No one can deny the world is changing and in some ways the scouts have proven they can change with it. So I’m going o honor the oath I took and use all the values I learned honesty, perseverance, bravery and courage, to fight for change so that maybe one day I can help my son earn his own badges. Like the scouts taught me Be Prepared, because change is coming”

    I know that the above quote is from a tv show, I know that tv shows are the imagination of the writers, but in reality how close to home is this particular episode. How many parents are facing this paradox right now.

  53. Probably not nearly as many parents as popular culture and Hollywood would have you think. 4 to 6 out of 100. Progressive Hollywood will always play the most leftist position as normal in America. As you say. I not only expected they would, I expect many more such episodes, maybe a SNL skit and more. The “new Normal” is like “a new American family” by ABC. Let pick the most outrageous combination of adults and children who can live together and sell it as common. Its not common or even regular, its juts Hollywood selling the dram to folks who want to hear it. Probably an Atheist show will be next.

    What are the chances that an Eagle Scout who comes back into Scouting to preserve traditional values will get an episode? None. Doesn’t fit the “new” normal.

    If BSA determines Principles based on modern culture, it should fold. Atheism is widely accepted a option to religion, its not in BSA? Camel’s nose is under the tent, folks and if BSA does not stand for clear principles and high morals standards, it stands for nothing at all and why would a parent of high principles and moral standards want to place his son in such an organization. Not many Hollywood stars my children respect because they see the cesspool of thought that drives most Hollywood producers, stars and Directors. This episode was highly expected. I’m sure we’ll see more.

    • Probably nowhere near as low a number of families as you estimate, Fred! There are a lot of us in Scouting who support much about the program but who have a real issue with being forced to discriminate. Don’t believe me? Check out the results from the Fall 2012 VOS – http://www.scouting.org/filestore/mission/pdf/VoS-Infographic-2013-Executive-Summary.pdf

      On page 9 is a nice summary – what is driving loyalty and what is getting in the way? Among Boy Scouts and their parents, 97% of the 1,325 comments received stated that the reaffirmation of the membership policy negatively impacted their loyalty. Among volunteers, it was 95% of 3,444 comments.

        • Hmmmm, I’m going to print this out and read it thoroughly tonight but at first glance, I did not see much of anything to support your premise that not letting open avowed homosexuals in is hurting the program. In the end, you are not being forced to “discriminate” as you mean i.e. unfairly keeping someone out but rather required to abide by the rules of National Leadership to “discriminate” by not allowing those who do not qualify to participate. An organization that has standards will never be received positively by a secular humanist Society which is what we have become in many places Scouting is offered. As long as it feels good, do it does not fit into having high standards and moral principles. BSA may be out of touch with secular Humanism but I for one believe that is a good thing. 68,000 respondents and that means activists within the organization and it was not the number one topic? Didn’t see any blaring headlines that “I’m leaving Scouting if open avowed homosexuals are not allowed in..

        • I saw a really interesting presentation on the Voice of the Scout last fall at our Area Course Directors’ Conference (before the one was released which Deanna has pointed to). It is an ongoing program. This round right now is being sent to registered adults who ask for it, but aside from this one, the Voice has been sent randomly. You don’t ask for it — you are selected to get one. Everyone is supposed to get one once or twice a year. Now, of course there is some self-selection in the choice to respond, but it is probably as random a method of assessing the thoughts of Scouts and Scouters as possible. And it is designed to distinguish the opinions of people who are more active and more loyal to Scouting differently from those who are dissatisfied or more on the outside of the program. I don’t think one could describe it as just the message of activists.

          One interesting element of the ongoing VoS is that it can and will be used to assess the health of councils, districts, and ultimately units. It goes hand in hand with the Journey to Excellence assessments and helps National understand what aspects of a unit/council program build loyalty and what aspects take it down. It is what it says it is: a broad, random sampling, repeated frequently with new samples, to identify what makes the program grow, so that we can make it so.

      • Then WHY did you join? You are a hypocrite, MT, if you joined Scouting but did not agree with the BSA’s stated position that homosexuality is incompatible with Scouting. Shame on you, and on anyone else who joined knowing that they were not upholding Scouting’s core values.

        • KS, I object to your tone and your name calling. This is a Scouting board and we should be able to deal with one another in a courteous and kind manner, even when we disagree.

          My son joined Scouts when he was in 1st grade. Despite my concerns over national policies, I supported his desire to be a Cub Scout. What I discovered is that most Scouting happens on the local level so when I was approached to take on a committee position in our pack, I agreed. That doesn’t mean that I have to agree with every position that the organization takes. I have posted about that elsewhere in this discussion.

          You also say, “Shame on you, and on anyone else who joined knowing that they were not upholding Scouting’s core values.” Just because I disagree with one of our policies, find it incompatible with other of our policies, and am advocating for its change does not mean that I am not upholding Scouting’s core values. I do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout law, to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight. Ok, so I could put more effort into the physically strong part 😉 , but I do try to live the Law and Oath. We have a difference of opinion about whether or not homosexuals should be allowed to be members but that in no way means that I am not upholding our values.

        • MT_Momma commented on Voice of the Scout membership-policy survey questions give Scouters, parents a chance to be heard.

          in response to KS:

          Then WHY did you join? You are a hypocrite, MT, if you joined Scouting but did not agree with the BSA’s stated position that homosexuality is incompatible with Scouting. Shame on you, and on anyone else who joined knowing that they were not upholding Scouting’s core values.

          KS, I object to your tone and your name calling. This is a Scouting board and we should be able to deal with one another in a courteous and kind manner, even when we disagree.

          rofl, yet you find it perfectly ok for u to call peolpe discriminatory and biggot on the same scout board !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Derek – if you read my posts, you will find that I have never called anyone a bigot. I have said that the organization causes me to discriminate but I have never called any individuals discriminatory and I have repeatedly said that those of us who disagree on this have a difference of definition and interpretation. In return, I have been called a liar, dishonest, a hypocrite, childish, a liberal permissive, a progressive secular humanist, a societal radical with an agenda, a homosexual activist, etc. I have been told that my church is an errored sect, heretical, has false beliefs and a socio-political agenda. Because I feel that excluding homosexuals is wrong, I have been told that I must also support bigamy, bestiality, incest, felons, athesists, and pedophiles.

          I have tried to be polite and respectful in my discussion here, following both my faith and Scout teachings. I admit to occasionally slipping into sarcasm, but I have not called names or told people that they were not entitled to their own beliefs (and their membership requirements for their own units). Unlike some of the others who are posting here, I try my best to disagree without being disagreeable.

          Regardless of all of the smokescreens and specious arguments that you and others on this discussion keep throwing out, the heart of this issue is still that there are different views about the morality of homosexuality and our Declaration of Religius Principle (which predates this membership policy by about 50 years) says that we are nonsectarian.

        • I know you’re not speaking to me but you used a couple of generalized comments I made in your claims of personal name-calling. Generalized statements are never the best but to avoid making a personal comment I used generalized statements reflecting the opinions you were presenting. You never disagreed with my characterization of the opinions you presented. You never said the Church you belonged to so all we know is what you say they believe with not presentation of a national policy to support it. A general reference to the list of religious organizations supporting homosexuality offered by others prompted no response.

          You admitted you joined Scouting in hopes of changing the organization to better suit our beliefs. That would classify you as an activist. Your support homosexuality, homosexual youth and homosexual leaders. That would define you as a homosexual activist. Where am I wrong?? You Church as You say believes homosexuality is cool in direct contradiction of the Old and New Testament. It is an errored sect.

          Boy Scouts of America has a stated Policy that homosexuality is incompatible with Scouting and if pressed will say you cannot be morally straight or clean and be homosexual. seems pretty clear to me and to them. No confusion here. Religion thus non-sectarian has nothing to do with it to support your argument.

        • MT:
          You are pushing for a social policy: tolerance and equal rights…nondiscrimination, despite the inconsistencies in your arguments about why nondiscrimination towards practicing homosexuals is laudatory but not nondiscrimination in the Boy Scouts towards other excluded boys and men. We, however, are pushing strongly for the protection of our children. We do not want their organization to push upon them an agenda that equates deplorable behavior to that which we teach is clearly God-sanctioned and healthy to them both spiritually and emotionally. We do not want to have others undermine our teaching. You will always be free to socialize your boys with practicing homosexuals in your offtime, as you see fit…leave our kids alone.

          “Nonsectarian” does not mean that we are relativistic when it comes to morality — that all opinions are equally valid. Nonsectarian refers to religious practices, it does not refer to fundamental religious understandings of sinful conduct. Once again, Christianity — the Bible and 2,000 years of Tradition — has always been crystal clear on the grave sin of homosexuality. The Boy Scouts are founded on the moral code of Christianity, which does not preclude “nonsectarian” allowances for specific practices.

          And, regarding your using “Christianity” as a defense of the behavior that Christianity irrefutably condemns as evil, you bet I call those sects “errored”. Any sect that calls itself “Christian” but supports the killing of babies in the womb (Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church, United Methodist Church, et al) is fraudulently exploiting the title of “Christian” in order to both obtain an unearned legitimacy and to undermine Christian orthodoxy from “within”. Similarly for any sect that supports the practices of homosexuality. God is not a democracy — he commands, we obey. If that does not fit the social agenda we want, we are the problem, not Him.