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Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Re: Re: Adam's comments on 10/02/2011 21:04:06 MDT Print View

No worries Tyler.

Don't stress over it too much, it probably won't affect your Scouting much, if at all.

As Matt said, add to the Mass of Adult Scouters that will one day create a tipping point. The BSA, further up the chain, is a rather old generation organisation. This very much flies against the grain of Scout Organisations around the world. Its a youth organisation, and although there is nothing wrong with very old Scouters being apart of it, and I applaud them for their dedication to young people, there does need to be some reality check and there is a need to keep-in-touch with the younger generation. That includes on ethical and moral issues and standpoints. I totally understand where some of the parents are coming from in this forum, but they have to remember the whole point of Scouting is to create young people who are both independent and team thinkers, and who stand up for what they themselves believe in.

I wouldn't be too concerned with a Scout themselves being kicked out for being g.a.y. I don't think (as I recall from conversations with pro-g.a.y BSA Scouters) it has happened that a youth member has been kicked out (well its probably happened or they've been made to feel uncomfortable and left, but who knows, its not reported). Its more targeted at Scouters.

Statistics on homosexuality are pretty high in pretty much every country on the planet. I've been told in Australia its something like 11% of people are homo/bisexual (gained from blind confidential studies). In some countries its much higher-the Swedes told me its more like 1 in 4 there. I'm sure its at least a few % in the USA. There will be a fair proportion, no doubt, of young people who are in Scouting, who come up and find themselves once they hit puberty and start thinking about their sexuality, in an organisation where their sexuality is not tolerated. In many troops that won't be a problem depending on its culture. But imagine you were in a troop, where, say, a young leader came along to start helping out. After a few weeks, they no longer come anymore. The boys ask why; he/she was a great leader and had lots of really cool ideas and taught them lots of things and they just couldn't wait to go out on that hiking trip or summer camp with them. Then they all get told that he/she was homosexual (insert derogatory comment here) and we don't want them (...) around here and they are banned from Scouts.

How does that make the young person feel? Pretty horrible I imagine.

Yep, BP will be turning in his grave.

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
closet. on 10/02/2011 21:45:12 MDT Print View

"They were not closet homosexuals, they were pedophiles. There's a difference, and a rather large one at that."

+1 to that. (And Martin, I can think of at least one large organization that had/has a much larger problem with pedophiles. I'll give you one guess.)


"Scout leaders have an impact on developing kids, they must be a role model."

I was not aware that atheists and/or homosexuals are unable to be role models for youth.

Edited by DaveT on 10/03/2011 07:43:22 MDT.

tyler marlow
(like.sisyphus) - F

Locale: UTAH
Douglas and Dave on 10/02/2011 22:23:02 MDT Print View

+1 thanks for standing up against homophobia!

tyler marlow
(like.sisyphus) - F

Locale: UTAH
long response on 10/02/2011 22:37:26 MDT Print View

“Yours is an interesting dilemma. Is participation a tacit endorsement of policies you find objectionable? Or does participation afford an opportunity to influence and facilitate change from within the organization? Where do you believe your efforts would best serve as an instrument for change?”

Dirk, thank you that is exactly the kind of discussion I was hoping for.

Chas, your comments about racists or Nazis being allowed in such groups is a very different story, although I will concede that there are many who would put atheists and homosexuals in the same category with racists and Nazis. This is about making an instutition that I think does a lot of good open to even more people.

Matt,
Thank you. Eloquent words spoken with experience.

John Shannon,

What that means is that I believe that scouting should be open to everyone! And that includes atheists, homosexuals, aliens, and the boogeyman. Not to mention girls. But that’s a whole other thread that’s already being discussed!

Jon,

I see nothing narcissistic about it! My intention is to influence scouting so that scouts will not be discriminated against.


Finally,

The argument that I should start my own organization is a good one, but I don’t think we need to start over when there is a long tradition already in place that need only be updated with the times and finally incorporate a fully inclusive policy.

Thanks for all the great discussion everyone. I think I might go for it. Although I disagree with some of the policies on a human rights ground I believe I can do more good within the organization than boycotting it altogether.

All the best,
Tyler

Morgan Rucks
(rucksmtr) - F
... on 10/02/2011 23:45:12 MDT Print View

As an Eagle Scout, I disagree strongly with the discrimination policy of the BSA. It truly flies in the face of the scout oath and law.
I learned more useful skills in scouts than I did in school, and it pains me to see a organization that I cherish, turn into a organisation that promotes bigotry and shame.

Tyler: go work at Philmont, you'll have a blast.

Edited by rucksmtr on 10/02/2011 23:46:24 MDT.

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Ask a kid on 10/03/2011 04:36:37 MDT Print View

I had an interesting conversation with my 10 yo and 12 yo last week. (One is in Scouts and one not)

The crux of it was them asking me as a genuine question.....What is wrong with being g@y?

I couldn't come up with anything, but maybe someone else can?

Mark Primack
(Bufa) - MLife

Locale: Cape Cod and Northern Newfoundland
Shame on BSA on 10/03/2011 06:28:12 MDT Print View

My dad was a Scout and Scout leader when we were growing up. My brothers and I were Scouts and all of us attribute our love of backpacking in part to that experience. We loved the BSA and at least a few of our family were serious financial donors to both our local troops and the national. None of our sons and daughters are Scouts and we have stopped donating, and its specifically because of their discriminatory policies. Atheists and agnostics, which includes Buddhists and yoga practitioners, can be deeply spiritual as can be gays. The BSA policies have nothing to do with morality and everything to do with bigotry. Our family--mom Catholic and dad Jewish--has known the sting of bigotry and we won't support it against others.

The real shame is that this wonderful organization allowed itself to be captured by the Right-wing's political agenda, specifically the use of wedge issues that divide us rather than bringing us together as a nation.

Edited by Bufa on 10/03/2011 06:58:22 MDT.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Ask a kid on 10/03/2011 06:35:33 MDT Print View

Rod
Well my understanding is the main opposition to the practice is from verious religous groups that have teachings against it. You may not agree with it but thats a more principled reason to oppose something than just being narrow minded.

Tyler
Dougles and Dave were right in that its not really fair to lump someone who is g.a.y with a secret pedophile. I wasn't in on the decision making process but I doubt this was a major factor anyway. I think BSA made its choice based on its values, there are plenty of other ways to keep kids safe.

Can we do one thing and be careful how we us names like "homophobe"? Yes some people are bigots but the vast majority of people who are not big fans of the g.a.y movement are not. They just have certain values that cause them to disagree with the lifestyle of others. Just because you don't approve of an activity doesn't mean you're a bigot. I once helped set up an adventure race, a mountain bike race and mountian biking camp with an openly l.e.s.b.i.a.n, two athiests and the staff of an openly Christian adventure camp used as a basecamp. Everyone got along famously and had actually become good friends.

Edited by Cameron on 10/03/2011 06:44:50 MDT.

Kronos Master of Fate
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Ask a kid on 10/03/2011 06:36:25 MDT Print View

There is no right or wrong with being homosexual. It's not a choice, it's how they are.

Nothing immoral either.

It's the 21st Century. Get with it BSA!

Edited by kthompson on 10/03/2011 06:38:12 MDT.

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
discrimination merit badge. on 10/03/2011 07:01:34 MDT Print View

> They just have certain values that cause them to disagree with the lifestyle of others.

"I'm not a bigot, I just have certain values that cause me to disagree with black men being able to marry white women. And women voting."

The sooner off folks are willing to realize and/or admit that being a homosexual is like being tall or having blue eyes or being left handed, the better off we will all be. Talking about it like it's a lifestyle choice is as ridiculous as saying you or I thought about it and decided to be heterosexual. Continuing to discriminate based upon it has no place in society; if you do, it's you that has the problem, and it's you that is being left behind by society moving forward and evolving to a better place. If your "values" lead you to xenophobia, racism, homophobia, and/or bigotry, you should be looking at yourself, not others.

(However, I never really did trust the look of those left-handers. Something just not right about them. And now they are demanding special scissors and other accomodation for their lifestyle choice.)


"Well my understanding is the main opposition to the practice is from various religious groups that have teachings against it. You may not agree with it but that's a more principled reason to oppose something than just being narrow minded."

In the case of the Bible, if you pick and choose which line you want to hold up as Gospel (e.g. homosexuality) and which you want to conveniently ignore (e.g. divorce, polygamy, murder, incest, ad nauseum), you might find yourself on pretty shaky ground when it comes to taking a "more principled" stance on things.


As opposed to some of the posts above, I don't think it's a question about whether a private discriminatory group CAN exist, it's a question about 1) whether a "private" organization should be able to discriminate while also having a foot in the public realm (for dollars, support, access, facilities, etc.) and 2) should people support a group which openly discriminates?

Also FYI, I am supportive of the Boy Scouts and all their efforts to raise good kids and citizens and get them into the outdoors. I just want them to reflect the evolution of society towards a better place. Sounds like the rest of the world (e.g. Australia, Sweden) has moved forward already. (Adam, thanks for your excellent posts!)

Edited by DaveT on 10/03/2011 07:47:49 MDT.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: BSA discrimination policy :( on 10/03/2011 08:13:19 MDT Print View

Tyler, link to where you find the info you posted. I cannot find it.

From Philmont Application:
Applicants are considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age (if over 18, or 21 for certain positions), marital status, veteran status, or the presence of a disability that is unrelated to your ability to perform the job requested.

Found it,
http://www.bsalegal.org/duty-to-god-cases-224.asp

Edited by jshann on 10/03/2011 08:20:45 MDT.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Discrimination Merit Badge on 10/03/2011 08:16:11 MDT Print View

Dave by "principaled" I meant it at least makes sense. If a Christian or Muslim dissapproves of homosexuality they may be politically incorrect but at least they can point to a logical reason why based on other beliefs they already hold. In other words even if you disagree with them I think their stand is a lot less narrow minded then someone who just opposes homosexuality becuase its different than what they are used too (my friend's non religous dad would seem to fit this discription). If you aren't following a religion that bans homosexuality than I see no logical reason to oppose it.

Edited by Cameron on 10/03/2011 08:17:35 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Ask a kid on 10/03/2011 10:06:03 MDT Print View

"The crux of it was them asking me as a genuine question.....What is wrong with being g@y?

I couldn't come up with anything, but maybe someone else can?"

Ah, kids ask the toughest questions. For me the answer is something like this...

There is nothing wrong with being Gay. Some people are just born that way. Just as some people are born with extremely high IQs, great musical or athletic talent. Some people are born with handicaps. People are born with different skin colors. None of us have a choice with what we are born with. What is important is that each person try to live a good life with what they were born with, and that other people do not inhibit other people's attempt to pursue their own happiness.

Chas Ho
(i_charles) - F
Re: long response on 10/03/2011 10:11:38 MDT Print View

Chas, your comments about racists or Nazis being allowed in such groups is a very different story,
although I will concede that there are many who would put atheists and homosexuals in the same category with racists and Nazis.
This is about making an instutition that I think does a lot of good open to even more people.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The reality is the BSA has it perimeters like any org.
If you do not fit those perimeters then you do not belong in that org.
I would not want to be a leader in a atheist oriented scout group and I wouldn't obcess over whether they would have me as a member.
I certainly wouldn't contemplate ways I could LIE to get into a atheist oriented scout group
and then try to OPEN their minds to group prayer...haha

BTW ..I wasn't comparing Homosexual to Nazis. Anyone who suggest I was, even subtly is full of crapola.
Although, during WWII there were homosexual who were Nazis but by no means were all Nazis homosexuals but such groups are a very differnt story.:)
I used neo-Nazis as an example ( I did actually use a bunch of examples including "egg lovers" org) but it could be any group.
Name any group and I could suggest individuals they would not want for a memember/leader.
Should a women's org allow a sexiest man to be a leader of their group? Why can't a 14 be President of the US? Why can't a 13 y/o legally drive a semi-truck?
Why can't a 10 y/o marry a 8 y/o?

WE ALL SET PERIMETERS..g@y,Staight,Religious,Atheist,pegan,black,red,yellow,white,young,old,rich,poor,conservative,liberal,independent,fat,skinny,ugly,handsome,smart,stupid,complicated,simple...

Edited by i_charles on 10/03/2011 10:22:57 MDT.

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
narrow. on 10/03/2011 10:12:21 MDT Print View

"In other words even if you disagree with them I think their stand is a lot less narrow minded then someone who just opposes homosexuality becuase its different than what they are used to."


That's funny, because I think about that exactly the opposite way around.

Basing your views on some cherry-picked line out of some old book seems very conciously narrow-minded, especially when solidified into an organization - to me it is the opposite of logical, principled, with reason, etc. On the other hand, I think it's human nature simply to be uncomfortable (or opposed to or weirded-out by or whatever) around something you aren't used to, like being nervous around dogs if you didn't have them growing up, or black people if you grew up in a small all-white town, or heights or lightning or homosexuals or spiders or whatever.

Anyway, this isn't really a thread about whether being gAy is a sin or bad or whatever, it's more about whether BSA can/should practice discrimination, and if it is legal to while it also receives government/taxpayer support in the myriad ways it does.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: closet. on 10/03/2011 10:16:32 MDT Print View

"I was not aware that atheists and/or homosexuals are unable to be role models for youth"

Many are excellent role models, and many are not. It is the individual, not their religious beliefs or sexual orientation.

The BSA's mission includes teaching duty to God and reverence to God. I don't think an atheist can do this. Most religions have Gay followers, but some sects feel that homosexuality is a moral decision which is why some organizations exclude them.

I am straight. I would rather hang our with 10 Gay people than 10 evangelical Christians.

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
see: Brad Pitt. on 10/03/2011 10:19:39 MDT Print View

Chas,

Logical fallacies and spelling errors are not helping your case. However, I can imagine that a woman's group might not be fully opposed to a SEXIEST man as a leader (e.g. Brad Pitt, George Clooney).

To put it in terms you might understand, if "breakfast choice" was a state and Federally-protected class, and you ran an egg-lovers group with some tax credits, special access to a government kitchen with All-Clad fry plans, and were sponsored by a state government agency, the bacon-lover might find themselves winning a discrimination suit in court after you barred them from entry.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: BSA discrimination policy :( on 10/03/2011 10:57:17 MDT Print View

Why can't the BSA exist and have their exclusions without being persecuted for their beliefs? They are not discriminating unlawfully.

Any one or any organization can be called a bigot if you talk to them long enough and find out their beliefs. It's not homophobic for a religious group to believe it a sin to practice homosexuality and want their children to not be exposed to it at a young age.

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
It is all about the local leaders on 10/03/2011 11:02:09 MDT Print View

Every large organization will have conflict and politics. The important
place to look at when deciding whether to join or not, is to the local leaders.

My relatives have their kids in a cub scout pack with several families with les bian parents. Those parents are some of that pack's largest supporters. They must feel the
benefits outweigh any discrimination encountered. I would guess they are involved enough
to help mitigate any difficulties that come up.

Many of the boy and cub scout volunteer leaders here do not go to a church, but do great
things for the youth. I don't know any that discourage the kids from their faith walk tho.


About public funding- Scouts should be treated like any other private organization.

Edited by oware on 10/03/2011 11:14:04 MDT.

Chas Ho
(i_charles) - F
Re: see: Brad Pitt. on 10/03/2011 11:41:05 MDT Print View

My bad spelling aside,you are making an assumption. Beside noone is demanding that a women's group MUST have a sexist leader in their group or else loose any g'ment money they may receive as a org.

The bottom line is certain groups get preferential treatment from the g'ment. If you remove one you will have to remove all.
Else, ye be full of crap. Or, at the very least picking nits.

"To put it in terms you might understand, if "breakfast choice" was a state and Federally-protected class.."
Hmmm..you mean like g@y charter schools using tax payer money or, hate crime legislation which picks and chooses what groups are haters, or affirmative action who gives bonus points based on specialness, or any number of other "protected classes" that recieve preferential treatment in the name of "fairness" All of which are at tax payer expense or who get special consideration while denying others...???
Im in favor of eliminating all the "protected classes" as well as SEPERATING marriage from government while we are at it. You know seperation of church and state.

Solyndra should get a break because why? Because the government picks and chooses who is the winner and who isnt? Seems they are doing a lousy job of it?

Edited by i_charles on 10/03/2011 12:14:14 MDT.