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The Boy Scouts ponder removing restrictions on Gays


Guest (Lightsider)

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Guest (Lightsider)

Wait a minute there Nicole! Why are you placing this post in the Mormon section?!?? You say.

Well, because the LDS church's youth program for young men is the Scouting program. It is huge! Nearly every ward (congregation) has the boy scout program. CNN has it on their breaking news ticker at the top of their page as I write this that the BSA is considering lifting the ban on gays. Now i have to wonder if what I have heard through out the years is about to happen.

I have heard from various leaders large and small that should the BSA ever lift the ban on gays or for that matter allow athiest scouts then the church has it's own program ready to go and they will pull out of the BSA. The contribution to the BSA by the LDS church is not tiny and I wonder what will happen to the BSA if they do lift the ban.

Here is what I suspect will happen, the LDS church will pull out and use it's own program and let the BSA sink. The BSA might disapear all together or become so small no one will care much about it. I hope the BSA does lift the ban because regardless of the outcome, that is the right thing to do! I also bet the LDS leaders are putting up a fight over this idea of lifting the ban at the moment.

This is something to watch closely.

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Guest (Lightsider)

No mention of trans. The local troup thing might be an effort to appease the LDS church. But I think the LDS church will bail even on that idea. They do not want to expose their children to openly gay males at their Jambories.

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  • Admin

I'll believe it when I see it.

If they left it up to local troops, what happens when they have regional, state or national confabs? Whose rules would apply? Who would get left out? Could you just imagine the West Hollywood, California troop being allowed to bunk with the troop from Dallas, or Lexington, or Casper, Wyoming? I think its a bone being tossed out for PR purposes.

Carolyn Marie

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Guest Robin Winter

I dunno, I think that might backfire. If individual troops have to make the call, how many of them will want to be the one to say no and bring down the media on themselves? I could be wrong, we'll see, I'm fairly certain that any refusal to accept someone based on sexuality will be in the news.

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Guest SaraRider

I dunno, I think that might backfire. If individual troops have to make the call, how many of them will want to be the one to say no and bring down the media on themselves? I could be wrong, we'll see, I'm fairly certain that any refusal to accept someone based on sexuality will be in the news.

I totally agree It should be on the news refusing to accept someone based on sexuality is wrong. As long as they people in question are not hurting anyone they should be allowed to be a part of it of course as a organization they have the right to refused anyone but revoking their rule on gays is the right thing to do no matter what will happen because of it.

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Guest Amanda Whyte

It has to start somewhere. Let them leave it up to some troops. Over time, I think more and more troops will elect to do it until it becomes a national policy. Are the Girl Scouts hurting because of their stance? It might hurt in the shortrun and the size of the BSA might drop but I dont think it will go away.

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Well stated Amanda Whyte. The professional BSA haters will continue to hate... The homophobic BSA leaders will back a little farther out of the direct light into the cracks and crevices.... and change will come. Maybe we underestimate the average citizen. Many scout supporters are simply patriotic adults who want to instill good values in their children in a crazy world. Those values often include loving their fellow men and women. I bought a Christmas wreath from a Scout who attends my church. His mom and he can tell I'm trans... the world changes...

Michelle

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Guest Chloe518

Well, I know I'm probably gonna get a lot of heat hear for posting this, but I don't think the Boy Scouts should change their policies. The ban against gays and trans comes from the core values set from the very beginning of scouting. While this may seem discriminatory, and gays and trans are becoming more accepted, I still believe that the BSA should stay by their core values and not change them due to pressure from outside sources. They are a private organization, and therefore have the right to say only certain people are allowed. The are other organizations that accept gays and trans, so I think people should let up on the boy scouts for not accepting certain groups. I'm not promoting discrimination, but I believe that a group shouldn't have to change their rules to accommodate everyone. And just because the BSA doesn't allow certain people to join, doesn't mean that everyone in the BSA are anti-gay or anti-trans. I haven't met anyone involved with scouts who wasn't open minded and accepting of others, no matter who they are. Anyway, this is my view on the matter. I really hope I didn't make any enemies from this. :unsure:

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Guest (Lightsider)

I can see your point. I used to see it that way but bigotry is bigotry. Private or not. If the walls fall, all the better. And since I know the LDS are huge contributors and thet they fed money into the campaign against gay marriage in california, all the better.

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Guest Amanda Whyte

Chloe, you wont get any heat from me. I support a private organizations right of association. I am glad though that they are rethinking that right. I also support the right of the businesses to pull funding if they think the Scouts are wrong.

I do have a question though, a lot of people say there are organizations for homosexual and trans youth like the Scouts. What exactly are those organizations?

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Guest Melissa Lissa

Being an Eagle Scout that was out as "queer/bisexual" and atheistic when I was in scouts, I do think they should lift the ban. My troop was very small and the church we were associated with was very accepting of others. It was never really an issue, the scout leaders knew, the kids knew, no one ever said anything aside from the usual banter between guys.

When I went for Eagle and they asked the question about God and religion, I simply told the truth about respecting all religions and being confident in my own beliefs and morals associated with those beliefs(I didn't outright say I was atheistic, but I didn't lie and say I was Christian either, I may have admitted to liking some Buddhism based ideals, but it was a long time ago and I don't remember, the God/religion aspect of obtaining Eagle was very minor compared to the leadership attributes).

Overall on the local level I think the troops already follow the views of the local community and the parents of the kids in the troop(since the parents are typically the most active leaders in the troop aside from the scouts themselves), lifting the formal ban simply allows them to keep doing what they're already doing without a similar situation as don't ask don't tell when it comes to the regional and national level.

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I was ascout leader for both of my sons. My younger son's friend was pushed out just before eagle for coming out in high school. great kid. I was asked to speak at an aniversary service. I may have to accept now as it might help our troup to be more accepting. It is a pity that the organization has been so difficult in the past. It is a great program with just a few exceptions.

Hugs,

Charlie

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  • Admin

I have been a member of the BSA since I was 8 years old, as boy and adult. I received my training as a District Commissioner at the Boy Scouts National Training Center, and went on to be an adult instructor for other Council, District, and Unit staff, while my son made his Eagle rank. (I retired in late 2010.)

The organization is a little different than the general public often sees Boy Scouting. The National Council of the Boy Scouts is actually a franchisor of a program based on the Scouting model first copyrighted in England by Robert Baden-Powell. The NC licenses this program, along with the publicity rights, etc. to local organizations who agree to certain language in what is known as the Unit Charter. The basic idea is and has been that the individual units and their Parent Committies who are guided by the sponsoring organization, run the troops, packs, etc for that organization's benefits, and are pretty much left alone by the national organization. As a Commissioner, (a volunteer adult position) I had first hand knowledge of HOW little most units really cared about the truly national organization. It was a cheap source of liability insurance and had some tour and travel advantages that were otherwise not available, and the publicity angle. It is far from a united organization, but the Board Of Directors of the National Council DO have some serious input from the Mormon Church and the Roman Catholic and there are members who are from both groups.

The problem is that at the minute, the National organization has been losing local sponsoring organizations heavily. 30 years ago when my son first joined as a Tiger Cub, the serious push against Gay scouts had not begun. I had in fact served with two gay leaders when I was a 22 year old Assistant Scoutmaster, who were in my opinion finer examples of how young men should be, than many of the Het and Cis parents of the time were. It was shortly AFTER my son joined, that the third of the major Scouting sponsors, the National Parent and Teachers Association (PTA) declared that it could not accept the Gay ban, and the loss of units at that time was very substantial, nearly a 5th of the units in existance at the time either had to create new sponsors (which did happen) or fold. Other churches, such as the Episcopal Church and the UUC that used to be substantial sponsors have also dropped units, and others allow the units to meet in their church buildings, but have little to do with actual sponsorship of the unit, and thusly have dropped financial support which has been significant.

The Mormon Church was not always the best sponsoring organization, and in fact created its own structure to the program, and was pretty chintzy about supporting local Councils financially, or allowing their members to do so. As a district finance chairman, I have first hand knowledge of that!! So, while a power player in some ways, the LDS church is not quite the financial source at the local levels that it could be. The fact that the Mormon Scout Leaders are changed at the will of the local bishops, did not lead to high levels of trained leadership or continutity of leadership that the boys needed. Troop discipline levels at District and Council events always had several of the LDS boys at the center of serious and often life and health threatening behaviors. (When you are on a military base, throwing mud blobs or eggs at the Base Commander's jeep, with the commander in it, is not in the Scout Handbook.). The Non-Mormon leaders were always relieved when the LDS scouts left on Saturday nights so they could be in Church on Sunday's.

The last consideration on this, is that the Boy Scouts Of America is part of the World Association of Scouts and Guides in order to keep its own use of Scouting from being voided. The other World Scout and Guide organizations, for the most part condone and accept many practices forbidden by the BSA. These organizations are also bringing pressure to bear on the BSA, and have rescinded invitations for international participation in some events in recent years.

I have hopes some changes are in the offing, because I might like to leave retirement as a FULLY TRAINED leader to join with my grandsons.

I did not mention it, but the Girl Scouts are fine with me, and I have received their third highest adult appreciation recognition, and will help with my grand daughter in a few years (she is only 3).

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I was just reading this, and they're going to let the local troops decide individually. I read that as a smokescreen for continued bigotry without the spotlight.

Until they mandate inclusion at the national level, they're only abdicating responsibility for the exclusion of gays.

Did anyone mention a policy regarding Trans?

Love, Megan

I agree, basically a smoke secreen

mike

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I was just reading this, and they're going to let the local troops decide individually. I read that as a smokescreen for continued bigotry without the spotlight.

Until they mandate inclusion at the national level, they're only abdicating responsibility for the exclusion of gays.

Did anyone mention a policy regarding Trans?

Love, Megan

I agree, basically a smoke secreen

mike

Here is where the subversive in me kicks in, and where my own infiltration of the Scout organization as a "mole" comes to play. The National Council of the BSA DOES NOT really have the authority to dictate what a local unit can or cannot do, so even making a national policy statement is not going to work. Forget National, get Local!!!

Where we need to turn is to the Unitarian Universalist Churches, the Metropolitan Community Churches, Episcopal Churches, Buddhist or other philosophical fellowships that are GLT inclusive, the local and regional GLBT service centers and alliances, and get them to decide to sponsor and Charter Scout units that do include our children. If the National Council of BSA lifts the restrictions on leadership and allows local units to decide, then we create units based on our own sponsorship and membership. We do not have to wait for the long painful process of others doing things for us. We will be able to CREATE our own units if WE do the work. This is something that Baden-Powell himself would highly applaud and give us a "Well Done" on. I have full faith that units that are truly Safe Haven for all children will fare excellently, and will accurately carry on the Scouting Program, and possibly restore it to its former high place in society. Scouting is fading. I read a quote from Baden-Powell made just before he died in 1940 that says in effect "Scouting is rich in traditons, but 'Traditional Scouting' is CHANGE and acceptance of the future!!"

Megan would make a great Chartered Organization Representative based on her past. When the time comes we need to get going!!

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I will believe it when I see it happen. I just don't see them really doing this. My experience with the scouts when I was young was not all that great. It really brought out my dysphoria in a lot of situations. I found 4H more suited me. I have a son and a step son who were both in scouts and they both quit after a couple of years because of the way that some of the members treated other members.

Mia

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Mia, I agree, there are so many stereotypes hard-coded into scouting that it is hard to imagine how it can be fixed..

Most people know one or at most two or three Scouting units, usually by their own membership, or that of family members. My experience as a Commissioner put me in direct contact with over 100 scout units over the time I had my volunteer job. Each of those units was as different as could be. To be sure, the same ranks and badges and program items were used by all of them, but don't get me started on the uniform topic. The difference came from the unit leaders, and unit parents & grandparents who controlled the unit behind the scenes. I knew units that were highly paramilitary, and others where just getting the kids in a line was a problem. Since the kids themselves run the action in a Boy Scout Troop, we had marine corp wannabees, and geeks with thick glasses who had no idea what a comb was for. Where adults did not know when to let go and do the program the way Baden-Powell thought it up, or had certain institutional agendas or church or other organization, yes you had stereotypes of the sort the local newspaper picked up. My job in part was getting the adults to get their ego's out of the way and let the boys do things THEY wanted to do. Getting the adults to quit re-living their childhood wants and ideas, and letting the kids go responsibly was a chore. Scouting is done under the "guidance" of adults, NOT CONTROL.

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