Boy Scouts reaffirmed ban on gays - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-18-2012, 04:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-bsa-gay-20120718,0,5267056.story

 

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Old 07-27-2012, 03:49 PM
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Do we have another thread about this going on somewhere? I expected this to be a pretty hot topic of discussion. 


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Old 07-30-2012, 08:09 AM
 
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I imagine if it were linked in TAO the thread would get a lot of response, but no one really comes to News and Current Events anymore.

What a shame, though I am not exactly surprised. When an organization is largely funded by two religious groups who are anti-gay it isn't shocking that they would continue to hold with those group's ideals. greensad.gif I hope that the hypothesis at the end of the article is correct; that as the current generation grows up and takes over leadership there could be changes made in a positive direction. It's a long time to wait, though.
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Old 08-05-2012, 02:07 PM
 
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It's been discussed several times, in several forums and it's pretty much always the same - everyone agrees it sucks. 
 

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Old 08-09-2012, 09:45 AM
 
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It is a private group, privately funded, privately ran, they are aloud to make their own decisions.  There are plenty of other groups availlable.  I don't think you can knock a group for trying to stick to there morals, whether you believe in them or not.  And no I am not some crazy republican against gay rights.

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Old 08-09-2012, 10:36 AM
 
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It is a private group, privately funded, privately ran, they are aloud to make their own decisions.  There are plenty of other groups availlable.  I don't think you can knock a group for trying to stick to there morals, whether you believe in them or not.  And no I am not some crazy republican against gay rights.

 

Seriously???  So, if they were run by, say the KKK (not that it's all that different in my eyes, maybe slightly more dramatic) you would say live and let live?  :(  I think we can say that what they call morals (hate?) sucks.


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Old 08-09-2012, 08:32 PM
 
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It is a private group, privately funded, privately ran, they are aloud to make their own decisions.  There are plenty of other groups availlable.  I don't think you can knock a group for trying to stick to there morals, whether you believe in them or not.  And no I am not some crazy republican against gay rights.

 

This isn't *entirely* true.  In many places, Boy Scouts are given reduced rates for rental of public buildings/lands.  That means that we are, indirectly, subsidizing their existance. 


 

 

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Old 08-10-2012, 11:12 AM
 
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What about churches?  Same difference.  KKK still exists as a group because they are allowed to exist, this is anyones right. I live in Toledo Ohio and they actually have a court order for a white supremist group to march through downtown.   It is a right, get over it people.  All you can do is make your own voice heard and not be a part of it.

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Old 08-10-2012, 11:15 AM
 
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This isn't *entirely* true.  In many places, Boy Scouts are given reduced rates for rental of public buildings/lands.  That means that we are, indirectly, subsidizing their existance. 

Actually, a lot of these organizations get  reduced rates at public lands, grocery stores, you name it, because they are a not-for-profit organization.  Tax exempt.  I don't know if boyscouts are this way for sure, but I don't see how we are  "subsidizing their existance".  I am pro-life and my tax money goes to planned parenthood but I deal.

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Old 08-10-2012, 11:34 AM
 
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I agree that they have the right to exist and to be as bigoted as they want. They have the legal right to damage the world with bigotry because bigotry in itself is not illegal--unless we're talking about discrimination in hiring, right? They are not a school or an employer, they're just a club that nobody's obligated to join. But they have every right to exist.

And, for the record, over my dead body will my son ever be a boy scout. If he expresses interest, I'll just explain why--I mean, he'll get it. This generation we are raising now will be shocked to learn how badly gay people were treated in the past.

There are plenty of alternatives that, while they might be smaller organizations, actually promote good values like love and inclusiveness.

Even if the boy scouts change their stance in the future, their history of homophobia and hate is too disturbing. I just can't see myself ever supporting that organization.
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Old 08-10-2012, 01:36 PM
 
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So unfortunate that an organization associated with good takes such an anti-child position. Times are changing.

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Old 08-10-2012, 09:36 PM
 
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I don't think you can knock a group for trying to stick to there morals, whether you believe in them or not.  And no I am not some crazy republican against gay rights.

 

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It is a right, get over it people.  All you can do is make your own voice heard and not be a part of it.

 

In your first post you were saying that we should not be making our voices heard, that because they have an opinion and a right to it, the rest of us need to "get over it" and shut up basically.  But in fact those who are against what they stand for also have a right to their opinion.  If everyone had just "gotten over it" in the 60s and 70s and felt that it was "their right" to be racist and segregationist, where would we be now?  I think that those of us who are offended by what the boy scouts are doing absolutely have a right to stand up and say so and the world will be a better place for it.  

 

I'm not sure I understand what it means "to make your own voice be heard", as it seems like what you are saying is that we can't or shouldn't say anything.


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Old 08-22-2012, 12:16 PM
 
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It is a private group, privately funded, privately ran, they are aloud to make their own decisions.  There are plenty of other groups availlable.  I don't think you can knock a group for trying to stick to there morals, whether you believe in them or not.  And no I am not some crazy republican against gay rights.

 

They may be a "private" group but they use public buildings to hold their meetings - like my son's public elementary school where they also recruit. So I have to face the organization often and have to remind my son why we can't join.

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Old 08-24-2012, 05:34 PM
 
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I'm a Scout leader and my older ds is a Scout, the younger ds still has a few years until he will join. I love the Scouting program, the good that Scouts do, and the influence on character development.

 

I also attended a very liberal college and one of my two majors was history, with a concentration in the history of gender and sexuality. The other major was biology, including work in neurobiology. I have seriously contemplated gender and sexual orientation issues in these two disciplines and feel I have a better understanding than the average person. 

 

As recently as 1973 homosexuality was considered a mental illness by the APA. The diagnosis was removed from the DSM that year. As homosexuality becomes better understood by society at large, discrimination will lessen and one day stop. Change comes slowly, maybe frustratingly slow for many, but it does come.

 

If the BSA changes this policy in the future, the change will come from within as more tolerant people replace the old guard. Change is not going to happen because you call someone a bigot, or act mean to little boys selling popcorn. Name calling and boycotts I think are unhelpful in promoting understanding and desired change.

 

Until that day comes, I just strive to keep my Scout Unit as open and inclusive as possible and keep discussions about religion, sex, and sexual orientation in the private family domain.

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Old 08-27-2012, 01:54 PM
 
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I'm a Scout leader and my older ds is a Scout, the younger ds still has a few years until he will join. I love the Scouting program, the good that Scouts do, and the influence on character development.

 

...

 

If the BSA changes this policy in the future, the change will come from within as more tolerant people replace the old guard. Change is not going to happen because you call someone a bigot, or act mean to little boys selling popcorn. Name calling and boycotts I think are unhelpful in promoting understanding and desired change.

 

Until that day comes, I just strive to keep my Scout Unit as open and inclusive as possible and keep discussions about religion, sex, and sexual orientation in the private family domain.

 

So, have you contacted the National organization and told them your feelings?  Because in their recent decision they stated that they feel the membership shares the same beliefs that they are protecting (that atheists and gays *cannot* be moral).  The dues you pay goes to support that cause in Federal Court.  Change could also come from people refusing to join or support a group that insists on being bigots. 

 

ETA: I would *never* act mean to a child selling popcorn.  But they would not let my child join, or let people I love join or participate.  Really, who is being mean? 


 

 

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Old 08-28-2012, 01:53 PM
 
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La Limena, this must be hard for the leaders and scouts to come to terms with. I admire you for working within the organization for change. I'm curious as to how you leaders have dealt with this and if you talk about the decision with your scouts. I would imagine that a decision like this would be strongly influenced by the old guard in the Boy Scouts, as you say, and especially because the Boy Scouts is an institution, always slow to change unfortunately.

 

Do you see yourself and others like you moving up in the organization? Do you see any trend toward changing this policy any time soon?

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Old 09-03-2012, 04:35 PM
 
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As recently as 1973 homosexuality was considered a mental illness by the APA. The diagnosis was removed from the DSM that year. As homosexuality becomes better understood by society at large, discrimination will lessen and one day stop. Change comes slowly, maybe frustratingly slow for many, but it does come.

 

Change comes, though, because some courageous people stand up for what is right. For awhile, they are rebuffed. Eventually, their voices prevail.

 

Change doesn't come because people do or say nothing.

 

The Boy Scouts do have a right to exist and set their own policies, but this doesn't mean anyone has to be happy about it. For instance, I'm allowed to produce a terrible play, but I have to expect bad reviews. If the Boy Scouts want to promote bullying, intolerance, bigotry, and hatred, then they should expect to feel people's displeasure.

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Old 09-11-2012, 11:04 AM
 
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And, for the record, over my dead body will my son ever be a boy scout. If he expresses interest, I'll just explain why--I mean, he'll get it. 

Even if the boy scouts change their stance in the future, their history of homophobia and hate is too disturbing. I just can't see myself ever supporting that organization.

 

I find these two statements really interesting.

 

The first one states that if your son decides he wants to be a boy scout it will not be ok with you any way for him to be the person he wants to be or associate with people he wants to associate with. If he really wants to be a boy scout and doesn't 'get it' as you assume he will he will have to hide it from you and go on not showing who he wants to be. Isn't that the same as what you're saying the boy scouts are doing? They say it's ok for people to be who they want to be as long as they're not open about it.

 

The second statement indicates that no matter how much a person or organization changes you will not have anything to do with them because of what they've done in the past. That's a harsh stance. Just as one example: Many moms here consider themselves part of the democratic party. One democrat, FDR, ordered the imprisonment of more than 100,000 Japanese Americans 70 years ago. Does that mean you don't support anything they support because in the past they did things you don't agree with? Organizations often change with time.

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Old 09-12-2012, 09:41 AM
 
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The first one states that if your son decides he wants to be a boy scout it will not be ok with you any way for him to be the person he wants to be or associate with people he wants to associate with. If he really wants to be a boy scout and doesn't 'get it' as you assume he will he will have to hide it from you and go on not showing who he wants to be. Isn't that the same as what you're saying the boy scouts are doing? They say it's ok for people to be who they want to be as long as they're not open about it.

 

 

That is like saying the person who doesn't allow their child to join an Aryan pride group is being just as bad as the racist group.  Yes, I am going to attempt to stop my own child from being a bigot or supporting/joining groups that support bigotry.


 

 

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Old 09-12-2012, 10:42 AM
 
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I find these two statements really interesting.



The first one states that if your son decides he wants to be a boy scout it will not be ok with you any way for him to be the person he wants to be or associate with people he wants to associate with. If he really wants to be a boy scout and doesn't 'get it' as you assume he will he will have to hide it from you and go on not showing who he wants to be. Isn't that the same as what you're saying the boy scouts are doing? They say it's ok for people to be who they want to be as long as they're not open about it.



The second statement indicates that no matter how much a person or organization changes you will not have anything to do with them because of what they've done in the past. That's a harsh stance. Just as one example: Many moms here consider themselves part of the democratic party. One democrat, FDR, ordered the imprisonment of more than 100,000 Japanese Americans 70 years ago. Does that mean you don't support anything they support because in the past they did things you don't agree with? Organizations often change with time.



Ummm...no. Joining the boy scouts, or not, has nothing to do with the person you are. It's a club. I find your logic really kind of confusing. Being gay (or straight...or bi...or trans...) is part of your sexual identity. It really is who you "are." You are suggesting that culturally identifying as a member of an external group is the same thing as personally identifying with your own internal sexuality---Sooooo NOT the same thing. You can choose to be a boy scout or not, but you can't choose to be gay or not. Really, really, not the same thing.



And yes, my son will understand this if it ever comes up. You'd have to be really mentally deficient not to. My DH and I have a responsibility to teach good values, as we understand them. This means not aligning ourselves and our family with hateful groups. Period. This does not mean my son can't be friends with boys who are boy scouts. It doesn't mean we have to be mean about it. It doesn't mean we can't have compassion and understanding. But it does mean as responsible parents, we're not going to just willingly sign him up to be part of an organization with a hateful agenda. Excluding little kids from a group where other little kids get to have fun--that is not acceptable. It's mean, and wrong, and causes a ripple effect of hurt throughout our society. People need to take this seriously. Gay boys are bullied and ostracized everywhere. Gay boys are at a huge risk for suicide.



And before you say it, I know the boy scouts, from the little boys' perspective, is just about camping and having fun, and the issue of gayness most likely never comes up at all at scout events, especially for the younger boys. My DH was a boy scout for his whole boyhood and does not remember anyone ever talking about gayness. He knew of at least two boys from his troop who grew up to be gay--of course they were gay all along, but just in the closet during their boy scout years. So they were able to participate despite being gay, like, I'm sure, many little boys today are doing. I understand that this is largely about ideology and idealism. But I stand by it. I simply cannot support an organization that is for little innocent boys but not inclusive of ALL little innocent boys. It's just, truly disgusting. It goes against my family's values.



Maybe you don't have kids yet--it took having kids for me to really understand how important it is to be inclusive and loving towards other people. I need to do my part to create the world I want my kids to live in.



All the good things about the boy scouts, like hanging out with other kids, and with adults who care about you, going camping, learning awesome skills and spending time in nature, can be found elsewhere. I know the boy scouts is large, and an iconic part of American culture, but that does not give them a monopoly on these things. If my son wants to go on group camping trips with friends (and the likelihood is high since we encourage that kind of thing) then we will make that happen. You know there are alternative organizations to the boy scouts, right?



If there weren't alternatives, and my son really wanted to join the boy scouts, I might consider supporting them in the future, IF they became completely inclusive. But, there are alternatives, without the embarrassing history, so, yeah. And those alternative organizations also include girls, which would mean my DS and DD could participate together as siblings, so, win/win.



As it stands now, this whole thing is a moot point. My DS, even if he were old enough to join, even if he were old enough to know that he was attracted to girls and we were sure he was straight, he still would not be allowed to join because our family leans towards atheist/agnostic. He'd pretty much have to lie and say he was a member of a Christian church to be allowed to join. Just think about that for a second. Not cool.

ETA: I think what you're probably reacting to is my high level of intolerance for xenophobic BS. I freely admit that I see the cognitive dissonance that can be caused by having zero tolerance of intolerance. All I can say is *shrug* if you're going to be intolerant, the best possible thing to be intolerant of is injustices that cause harm in the world. I think that this kind of "intolerance" just might bring about real positive changes for the next generation. I know I'm not alone and I'm thankful for all the other parents who care enough to take a definitive stand against things that hurt children, even if their own children would be unaffected either way.
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Old 09-12-2012, 08:06 PM
 
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You'd have to be really mentally deficient not to.

 

This is as far as I was willing to read to. I feel that you're calling me and people I associate with mentally deficient, not ok. Saying hateful things about a group you don't like is just as bad as them saying things about you.

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Old 09-12-2012, 08:22 PM
 
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That is like saying the person who doesn't allow their child to join an Aryan pride group is being just as bad as the racist group.  Yes, I am going to attempt to stop my own child from being a bigot or supporting/joining groups that support bigotry.

 

I honestly don't see that connection. Anyway, there is a really huge difference between boy scouts and white supremacists. I think what people need to realize is that those who support the ban on openly gay members actually don't say much to their children about it. If you asked the average boy scout about the ban they wouldn't know much, if anything, about it. They're generally really nice kids. They never have rallies the way an aryan pride group would about their ban. The parents don't drill the message into their kids. They may not believe homosexuality is right but they (again, generally and in my experience) don't hate gay people or 'have it out' for them. What I've seen is that the kids from families that support the ban hear a lot more of this stuff at their church than at home, certainly never at boy scout meetings (it's never mentioned). Yes, kids will make jokes but IMO they are fewer and more tame than what kids would hear in school and the kids are immediately told it's not appropriate and they are not to say things like that again. 

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Old 09-12-2012, 08:33 PM
 
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You'd have to be really mentally deficient not to.

 

This is as far as I was willing to read to. I feel that you're calling me and people I associate with mentally deficient, not ok. Saying hateful things about a group you don't like is just as bad as them saying things about you.


No, that was not directed at you. Read it again. I was saying, that if, for example, I said to my son "Boy scouts does not welcome our family or anyone who is gay, and that is mean, and we don't believe it's okay to treat people that way...therefore I'm not comfortable with you joining that group." --he would get it, because it's a pretty simple concept, ya know? I was not saying anything insulting about you or anyone, and I'm sorry you read it that way.

Also, I'm not saying anything "hateful" when I point out the truth. Boy scouts excludes little boys from participating in fun with their peers, on the basis of sexual orientation and religious affiliation. THAT is a hateful policy. Wanting nothing to do with it does not make me hateful, it makes me principled.
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Old 09-12-2012, 08:44 PM
 
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That is like saying the person who doesn't allow their child to join an Aryan pride group is being just as bad as the racist group.  Yes, I am going to attempt to stop my own child from being a bigot or supporting/joining groups that support bigotry.

 

I honestly don't see that connection. Anyway, there is a really huge difference between boy scouts and white supremacists. I think what people need to realize is that those who support the ban on openly gay members actually don't say much to their children about it. If you asked the average boy scout about the ban they wouldn't know much, if anything, about it. They're generally really nice kids. They never have rallies the way an aryan pride group would about their ban. The parents don't drill the message into their kids. They may not believe homosexuality is right but they (again, generally and in my experience) don't hate gay people or 'have it out' for them. What I've seen is that the kids from families that support the ban hear a lot more of this stuff at their church than at home, certainly never at boy scout meetings (it's never mentioned). Yes, kids will make jokes but IMO they are fewer and more tame than what kids would hear in school and the kids are immediately told it's not appropriate and they are not to say things like that again. 


If you had read my whole post you would know that I mentioned my husband's experiences growing up as a boy scout, and I understand all of that.

It doesn't change the fact that the boy scouts have a xenophobic and hateful policy that hurts many people. And that some of us care about standing up for others by making it clear that WE don't stand for that kind of bigotry, and we see it as so unacceptable that we refuse to be aligned with such an organization. It's 2012, for cryin out loud! I mean really.
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Old 09-12-2012, 08:46 PM
 
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No, that was not directed at you. Read it again. I was saying, that if, for example, I said to my son "Boy scouts does not welcome our family or anyone who is gay, and that is mean, and we don't believe it's okay to treat people that way...therefore I'm not comfortable with you joining that group." --he would get it, because it's a pretty simple concept, ya know? I was not saying anything insulting about you or anyone, and I'm sorry you read it that way.
Also, I'm not saying anything "hateful" when I point out the truth. Boy scouts excludes little boys from participating in fun with their peers, on the basis of sexual orientation and religious affiliation. THAT is a hateful policy. Wanting nothing to do with it does not make me hateful, it makes me principled.

 

 

thumb.gif

 

What if you lived 50 years ago and your child really really wanted to join the club that excluded blacks or jews?  Is it "not letting him be himself" by saying, "our family believes in equality, we do not give our time and money to organizations that fight against it."  Well, it's the same thing.  The boy scouts take your dues and use them to fight in court for the *right* to exclude non-heterosexuals and atheists.  They say that is the only way to raise *moral* children. 


 

 

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Old 09-12-2012, 09:33 PM
 
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Exactly. Or, to put things in perspective another way, what if boy scouts allowed all boys, except fat ones and short ones?

We are talking about an organization *for children* whose official policy is to bully children (yes, ostracism and outright exclusion is bullying).

Nobody has ever claimed that the boys who participate in boy scouts are not nice boys. But guess what--the boys who are not allowed to join are nice boys too, and they don't deserve the pain of exclusion just because they're different.

That exclusion hurts everyone in the end. The boys who are included in the group are the ones who will grow up thinking they've never met a gay person or an atheist, thinking those people are freakish anomalies instead of just people, like themselves. They will be the ones keeping us in the dark ages, no matter how nice they are as individuals.

Besides, this policy is not even consistent with the things a boy scout is "supposed" to represent! Amongst the list of things that a scout is are "helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, and brave." Discriminating against whole groups of the population is not any of those things.
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Old 09-12-2012, 09:52 PM
 
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La Limena, this must be hard for the leaders and scouts to come to terms with. I admire you for working within the organization for change. I'm curious as to how you leaders have dealt with this and if you talk about the decision with your scouts. I would imagine that a decision like this would be strongly influenced by the old guard in the Boy Scouts, as you say, and especially because the Boy Scouts is an institution, always slow to change unfortunately.

 

Do you see yourself and others like you moving up in the organization? Do you see any trend toward changing this policy any time soon?

In my Pack sexual orientation is a non-issue. We don't ask boys or their families about their sexual preferences. During leader training we are instructed that whoever a boy considers his family, is his family. According to BSA "Many Cub Scouts do not come from traditional two-parent homes. Some boys live with a single parent or with other relatives or guardians. Cub Scouting considers a boy's family to be the people with whom he lives." That seems open-minded to me, and a decent step forward considering Don't Ask Don't Tell was until recently the law of the land.

 

At the District level, I know there are leaders who are up in arms about the "gay issue." They are not up in arms because they are Scouts, however, they are up in arms because they are LDS and would be up in arms regardless. 

 

In my own Den in some cases I have yet to see a second parent at an activity. For all I know a little Cub could have two same sex parents and I am none the wiser. I am not going to investigate and report to Council.

 

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As it stands now, this whole thing is a moot point. My DS, even if he were old enough to join, even if he were old enough to know that he was attracted to girls and we were sure he was straight, he still would not be allowed to join because our family leans towards atheist/agnostic. He'd pretty much have to lie and say he was a member of a Christian church to be allowed to join. Just think about that for a second. Not cool.

 

This is an odd comment. You don't have to be Christian to be in Scouts, not sure where you got that information. In my small Den, I have Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, Hindu, Orthodox, Jewish, and Muslim families. I have one family who is agnostic as far as I know so when there is a "faith" achievement to complete on the family level, (all faith activities are done as individual families and not as a Den or Pack as a whole since my Pack does not belong to a religious institution) I advise them to talk over why it is that they believe what they believe. The rest of the Pack has a similar mix of faiths. In February there are Scout Sunday (Christian) and Scout Sabbath (Jewish) observances in our area. The Scouts can work on special Religious Emblems programs and earn recognitions from their houses of worship. Emblems are available for various Protestant denominations including the Quaker, Episcopalian, and Unity Churches, Catholics, Orthodox denominations, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Baha'is, Meher Babas, and Zoroastrians.

 

What is also interesting is that very open, non-discriminatory denominations such as Unity, Episcopal, and Quaker churches are equally recognized by the BSA as are the very intolerant religions and denominations such as LDS, Islam, Pentecostals, and Salvation Army. This variety in religious belief is why I think that change is possible in BSA. If I am a moral and faithful Episcopalian and my church ordains gay bishops and performs same-sex blessing ceremonies, my religious beliefs in the dignity of all people should be supported and respected by BSA. The very large and vocal LDS contingent in BSA doesn't have a monopoly on morality and faith. For the time being, it is a numbers game. I think it is important that families of non-discriminatory denominations participate in Scouts to balance and then tip the scales in the other direction. 

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Old 09-12-2012, 10:14 PM
 
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Quote: Originally Posted by Peggy O'Mara La Limena, this must be hard for the leaders and scouts to come to terms with. I admire you for working within the organization for change. I'm curious as to how you leaders have dealt with this and if you talk about the decision with your scouts. I would imagine that a decision like this would be strongly influenced by the old guard in the Boy Scouts, as you say, and especially because the Boy Scouts is an institution, always slow to change unfortunately. Do you see yourself and others like you moving up in the organization? Do you see any trend toward changing this policy any time soon? In my Pack sexual orientation is a non-issue. We don't ask boys or their families about their sexual preferences. During leader training we are instructed that whoever a boy considers his family, is his family. According to BSA "Many Cub Scouts do not come from traditional two-parent homes. Some boys live with a single parent or with other relatives or guardians. Cub Scouting considers a boy's family to be the people with whom he lives." That seems open-minded to me, and a decent step forward considering Don't Ask Don't Tell was until recently the law of the land. At the District level, I know there are leaders who are up in arms about the "gay issue." They are not up in arms because they are Scouts, however, they are up in arms because they are LDS and would be up in arms regardless. In my own Den in some cases I have yet to see a second parent at an activity. For all I know a little Cub could have two same sex parents and I am none the wiser. I am not going to investigate and report to Council. Quote: Originally Posted by artekah As it stands now, this whole thing is a moot point. My DS, even if he were old enough to join, even if he were old enough to know that he was attracted to girls and we were sure he was straight, he still would not be allowed to join because our family leans towards atheist/agnostic. He'd pretty much have to lie and say he was a member of a Christian church to be allowed to join. Just think about that for a second. Not cool. This is an odd comment. You don't have to be Christian to be in Scouts, not sure where you got that information. In my small Den, I have Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, Hindu, Orthodox, Jewish, and Muslim families. I have one family who is agnostic as far as I know so when there is a "faith" achievement to complete on the family level, (all faith activities are done as individual families and not as a Den or Pack as a whole since my Pack does not belong to a religious institution) I advise them to talk over why it is that they believe what they believe. The rest of the Pack has a similar mix of faiths. In February there are Scout Sunday (Christian) and Scout Sabbath (Jewish) observances in our area. The Scouts can work on special Religious Emblems programs and earn recognitions from their houses of worship. Emblems are available for various Protestant denominations including the Quaker, Episcopalian, and Unity Churches, Catholics, Orthodox denominations, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Baha'is, Meher Babas, and Zoroastrians. What is also interesting is that very open, non-discriminatory denominations such as Unity, Episcopal, and Quaker churches are equally recognized by the BSA as are the very intolerant religions and denominations such as LDS, Islam, Pentecostals, and Salvation Army. This variety in religious belief is why I think that change is possible in BSA. If I am a moral and faithful Episcopalian and my church ordains gay bishops and performs same-sex blessing ceremonies, my religious beliefs in the dignity of all people should be supported and respected by BSA. The very large and vocal LDS contingent in BSA doesn't have a monopoly on morality and faith. For the time being, it is a numbers game. I think it is important that families of non-discriminatory denominations participate in Scouts to balance and then tip the scales in the other direction.


Sorry, my mistake. My DH grew up as a scout in the south, and apparently in his troop there was not even one person who did not identify as Christian, and based on some of the language on BSA's website, I assumed. Still doesn't make it okay to exclude atheists. I'm sure there are plenty of boys who, even if raised in a particular faith, don't personally believe in God. That has to do with their own private personal truth and shouldn't be something they have to lie about or pretend doesn't exist just to be included.

Now, it sounds like your troop is diverse and you are a good leader, and if one of your boys told you he doesn't believe in God, you would treat him with love and not make him feel less-than. But the truth of the matter is, if someone wanted to raise a stink about it, they could legitimately get that boy kicked out, because it is actually written in the official policy. I just recently read an article about a wonderful den mother getting kicked out after someone discovered she was gay. This is obviously not okay.

ETA: It is encouraging that you think change is possible, but I still don't think I can be morally okay with my family supporting this organization until that change is evident. Until that policy changes, all the members' money and time are still going into an organization that officially condones hate. I get your suggestion that if enough inclusive-minded people joined, the change would happen from within. But there's a chicken-egg issue here. If the change comes, inclusive-minded people will join, and if inclusive-minded people join, change will come. But which comes first? I simply just can't bring myself to get behind that. I don't want to endorse a hateful policy, directly OR indirectly--does that make sense?
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Old 09-13-2012, 09:13 AM
 
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To me, it all comes down to the money.

 

If you started a boy scout group that welcomed atheists and non-heterosexuals, I would still not allow my son to join.  Why, because the *national* level association STILL gets a portion of your dues.

 

Which they turn around and spend on lawyers that defent their right to exclusionary behaviors.  The national leadership, in fact, recently said they felt a majority of their membership agreed with their fight.  If you are working "within the organization" they are *not* hearing you.

 

Your money is going to promote hatred.  I, as much as I can, want to ensure that mine does not.


 

 

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Old 11-13-2012, 10:49 AM
 
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This is an odd comment. You don't have to be Christian to be in Scouts, not sure where you got that information. In my small Den, I have Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, Hindu, Orthodox, Jewish, and Muslim families. I have one family who is agnostic as far as I know so when there is a "faith" achievement to complete on the family level, (all faith activities are done as individual families and not as a Den or Pack as a whole since my Pack does not belong to a religious institution) I advise them to talk over why it is that they believe what they believe. The rest of the Pack has a similar mix of faiths. In February there are Scout Sunday (Christian) and Scout Sabbath (Jewish) observances in our area. The Scouts can work on special Religious Emblems programs and earn recognitions from their houses of worship. Emblems are available for various Protestant denominations including the Quaker, Episcopalian, and Unity Churches, Catholics, Orthodox denominations, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Baha'is, Meher Babas, and Zoroastrians.

 

What is also interesting is that very open, non-discriminatory denominations such as Unity, Episcopal, and Quaker churches are equally recognized by the BSA as are the very intolerant religions and denominations such as LDS, Islam, Pentecostals, and Salvation Army. This variety in religious belief is why I think that change is possible in BSA. If I am a moral and faithful Episcopalian and my church ordains gay bishops and performs same-sex blessing ceremonies, my religious beliefs in the dignity of all people should be supported and respected by BSA. The very large and vocal LDS contingent in BSA doesn't have a monopoly on morality and faith. For the time being, it is a numbers game. I think it is important that families of non-discriminatory denominations participate in Scouts to balance and then tip the scales in the other direction. 

 

Belief in a god is a requirement.  Which, by definition, excludes atheists.  I'm surprised as a leader you don't know that. 


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