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BSA discrimination policy :(
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David T
(DaveT) - F
kowtow. on 10/03/2011 12:13:53 MDT Print View

"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?"

Yes, why indeed?! I bow to your logic. Unassailable.

I'm done here, but in closing I'd offer that just because a religion says it, doesn't mean it's not sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, immoral, crappy, or wrong.

If you want to raise children to discriminate based on religious beliefs, sexual preference or identity (or color of skin or because you think women are property or whatever), you should take a hard look at yourself, your beliefs, and what kind of world you want to have in the present and in future. And you shouldn't get any public funding/support for it!

Tyler, best of luck whatever you do!

Edited by DaveT on 10/03/2011 12:16:36 MDT.

Chas Ho
(i_charles) - F
Re: kowtow. on 10/03/2011 13:38:09 MDT Print View

I hardly have watched any TV in recent years.
I enjoy a few shows.. Chopped is good and some shows on Discovery are watchable. However, in my not so humble opinion TV is 86.89% pure unwatchable trash.
Still, I am not going to call for the elimination of all TV. Pubically funded or otherwise.
Yeah, though I walk through the shadow of death kind of thing.

You will never eliminate bad choices from the earth.
Even if you ended the BSA.:)
There would still be drugs,alcohol,red meat,Facebook,South Park,Walmart,idleness...whatever, you may perceive as bad including whatever your personal preferences that are different than someone elses.
Personally, I do not know of any Boy Scouts committing a hate crime? Im sure there are exceptions to the rule. Its sort of like when that guy shot Gabby Gifford in AZ The media was specualting it might be a member Tea Party who did the shooting when there was no substantial evidence.
Turns out it wasn't a tea party person at all.
Even the President has unfairly made blanket general accusations about groups that were not substantiated by any real facts.
Otherwise, if we are going to take away perifiental treatment from the BSA we need to be taking ALL funding away from all groups.
The government should not be in the business of picking and choosing what group's should or shouldn't get special consideration.

Edited by i_charles on 10/03/2011 13:48:22 MDT.

Re: Re: BSA on 10/03/2011 15:34:04 MDT Print View

Yes they were pedophiles by definition.

But also by definition, unless the abusers were members of the opposite sex, which they have not been, they were also homosexuals. Undeniable.

No matter how much one dislikes the facts, they stand as they are.

Obviously all homosexuals are not child abusers, no one would imply that they are. As all heterosexuals are not child abusers either, theres plenty of cross gender abuse that occurs as well.

But in the BSA cases, they obviously were, and I stand by my statement. To wit that some such leaders were married as well, supports the "closet" aspect.

The simple matter is that it is a private organization that reflects values that its members want it too. They want role models for their children that adhere to their own beliefs. Regardless of what anyone else believes, that is still the choice of the parents, although there are groups out there that want to control everything our kids are taught to agree with "their" views.

If someone doesnt like it, I still say that they should simply go elsewhere.

Despite what many think, there is little absolute right and wrong. Look at how opinions on many topics throughout history have changed. There is only what you are taught to believe .... is right and wrong, and it is always changing. We are not more advanced, or enlightened than our ancestors, we have only been taught different versions of right and wrong.

Edited by livingontheroad on 10/03/2011 15:59:50 MDT.

Brian Feeney
(feenbot) - F
Legal Holding of National in this situation on 10/03/2011 16:16:42 MDT Print View

There is a very prominent Supreme Court Case on the matter; Boy Scouts of America v. Dale

To begin the Boy Scouts of America is a private, not for profit organization. NOT a quasi government organization.

Dale was an Eagle Scout, and an openly homosexual ASM. His membership was revoked on the homosexual basis. Dale actually challanged a State (New Jersey) statue that did not allow discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The Supreme Court ruled (5-4) that
1) associations do not have to associate for the "purpose" of disseminating a certain message in order to be entitled to the protections of the First Amendment. An association must merely engage in expressive activity that could be impaired in order to be entitled to protection,
2) even if the Boy Scouts discourages Scout leaders from disseminating views on sexual issues, the First Amendment protects the Boy Scouts' method of expression. If the Boy Scouts wishes Scout leaders to avoid questions of sexuality and teach only by example, this fact does not negate the sincerity of its belief discussed above,
3) Regarding whether the Boy Scouts as a whole had an expressive policy against homosexuality, the Court gave deference to the organization's own assertions of the nature of its expressions, as well as what would impair them. The Boy Scouts asserts that it "teach[es] that homosexual conduct is not morally straight," and that it does "not want to promote homosexual conduct as a legitimate form of behavior," While the policy may not represent the views of all Boy Scouts, the First Amendment "does not require that every member of a group agree on every issue in order for the group's policy to be expressive association." The Court deemed it sufficient that the Boy Scouts had taken an official position with respect to same-sex relationships. The presence of an openly homosexual activist in an assistant Scoutmaster's uniform sends a distinctly different message from the presence of a heterosexual assistant Scoutmaster who is on record as disagreeing with Boy Scouts policy. The Boy Scouts has a First Amendment right to choose to send one message but not the other. The fact that the organization does not trumpet its views from the housetops, or that it tolerates dissent within its ranks, does not mean that its views receive no First Amendment protection.

Rehnquist concludes: "We are not, as we must not be, guided by our views of whether the Boy Scouts' teachings with respect to homosexual conduct are right or wrong; public or judicial disapproval of a tenet of an organization's expression does not justify the State's effort to compel the organization to accept members where such acceptance would derogate from the organization's expressive message. While the law is free to promote all sorts of conduct in place of harmful behavior, it is not free to interfere with speech for no better reason than promoting an approved message or discouraging a disfavored one, however enlightened either purpose may strike the government."

In short because the BSA is a private, non-profit they are able to discriminate due to the message they intend to send and a leader of the association is openly against a message that the association attempts to promote they have the Constitutional right to sever ties with that leader due to the implied right of "freedom of association" in the 1st Amendment they also held that " all members of the association need not agree with the association" and "freedom of association....plainly presupposes a freedom not to associate"

legal references can be found here:
End of Legal Jargon

While I do not agree what so ever with the ruling (and in my opinion Dale's lawyers would have been better off attacking it on strictly freedom of association grounds combined with a little due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th amendment they might have won but the Court is bound by law to rule only on questions presented) and as an Eagle Scout myself find the Scouts position in regards to homosexuals and the non-religious revolting, they are protecting in almost all actions they take in regards to homosexual and non-religious leaders due to the protections the Courts granted to them in this case. However due to the nature of the ruling (5-4) there is a possibility that another Scout leader (or similiar organizations leader with similar guidelines and beliefs ) may get the ruling over turned and with a later case as obvious with this posting there is still discontent among the community about the nature of this ruling

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
BSA discrimination policy :( on 10/03/2011 18:52:32 MDT Print View

@John Shannon:

"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."

Just to clarify, the "sex" is not the same as "sexual orientation". I read it to mean "gender".

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Re: BSA on 10/03/2011 18:56:00 MDT Print View

"But also by definition, unless the abusers were members of the opposite sex, which they have not been, they were also homosexuals. Undeniable. "

Sorry Martin, but you're either simply showing your ignorance or your bias. Pedophilia is a psychological disorder, not a sexual disorder or preference. Sexual orientation has nothing to do with it, rather the fixation is on age, not the sex of the child.

Certainly some homosexuals are also pedophiles, just as some heterosexuals are pedophiles, but to many researchers, pedophiles are neither homosexuals nor heterosexuals, they are simply pedophiles.

You can do some research on your own if you like, or you can continue to believe what you believe. But just because you believe it doesn't make it undeniable in any way, shape or form. In fact, it seems many researchers would disagree with you.

Edited by idester on 10/03/2011 18:58:20 MDT.

BSA on 10/03/2011 19:27:36 MDT Print View

I dont recall anywhere in the definition of homosexuality where it makes exceptions for the age of the partner. If someone has a preference for sex with members of the same sex they are considered homosexual.

Many BSA victims have been past the age of puberty as well. Which would make the perpetrators NOT pedophiles, but ....just homosexual child offenders.

I have a minor in psychology since it was the easiest electives to take alongside engineering courses. I had collegiate classes once upon a time in abnormal psychology , including sexual psychology and sexual deviations.

There are pedophiles that prefer underage girls, and there are those which prefer underage boys. You are claiming that there is no distinction, that they just prefer children. That is a point which I think is not in unanimous agreement among researchers.

I would argue that there is a underage sex trade in some third world countries that is evidence that is most definitely NOT the case. The customers quite show a preference for one..or the other.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: BSA on 10/03/2011 21:43:07 MDT Print View

Very big +1 to all who support homosexuals, atheists, and agnostics. I think that people still arguing against them shows an enormous attachment to and stubbornness with outdated dogma. As others have said, it's 2011. Update your understanding of society, equality, and humanity. The time for bigotry is over.

I cannot agree with the idea that the BSA ought to be able to follow whatever bigoted tenets they adhere to because they are a private organization. They may be financially a private organization, but they very much operate in the public theater (they couldn't exist if they weren't in the public realm), and therefore they do not have the right to practice their exclusionary beliefs. Everyday they take what they believe out into the world, instilling it in the children within the organization, and then having those kids operate outside, where those bigoted ideas are spread. So the argument that they are private and therefore exempt from being prosecuted, doesn't hold. Sorry. They are publicly endorsing bigotry and discrimination. If I agreed with the right of private organizations to practice (legally... I am not including morally here) whatever they believe (and I don't, because nothing in society is truly private), then I'd say as long as the BSA kept to within its walls and never came out, never interacted with people in the public realm, then perhaps they'd have a right to do what they want. But it obviously is not the case.

I, and others here who support homosexuals, atheists, and agnostics (I am heterosexual and agnostic), are not, in general, anti-Christian, per se. We are anti-discrimination. There is a very big difference. I will not support a group which advocates discrimination, which Christianity to a large extent, very much does. And so does the BSA. The BSA needs to change. If they are to do any good in society (see, that is their mission, right?), they must stop their damaging way of thinking by making homosexuals, atheists, and agnostics into somehow "bad" people or influences.

(I used to be a BSA scout when I was in junior high school, Japan-based troop. I left because of the tenets they profess.)

And the statement that homosexuals are by default "pedophiles"... is so uninformed that it doesn't bear discussing.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
BSA discrimination policy :( on 10/03/2011 22:44:46 MDT Print View

So essentially, what we've learned here is that Christians and Muslims are bigots (Christians being right-wing bigots), because they won't endorse the world view of anything, anywhere, anybody, anytime. And the only way for said Christians and Muslims to have a place in our world is to, essentially, quit being Christians and Muslims, regardless of how they currently treat athesists, agnostics, and homosexuals. And BSA is a place where young minds are twisted against all non-God fearing, non-male non-heterosexuals. In between learning knots, first aid, and LNT principles. Am I missing anything?

tyler marlow

Locale: UTAH
RE: Miguel on 10/03/2011 22:46:51 MDT Print View

Great response, I too stopped paying attention to those still harping on the 'right' to discriminate and devoted all my attention to those with positive things to say.

What i've gotten out of this discussion is that there is a large group of scouters/ex scouters/would-be scouters that are opposed to the doctrines of discrimination that BSA is currently endorsing. What this tells me is that we need to start being very vocal in our local troops as well as with BSA on an institutional level to show that those of us who dont fit their criteria for "positive role models" are no less capable (and might even be able to offer a perspective they cannot ;) )

Most importantly though, BSA needs to be a place where all youth can feel safe and accepted while enjoying all the great activities provided.

Thanks all, I'll be putting in my application this coming week!

tyler marlow

Locale: UTAH
RE: Joe on 10/03/2011 22:59:43 MDT Print View


I sincerely apologize if anything in this discussion has come across as an attack on any faith. In fact, that is the opposite of what I advocate.

Christianity/Islam/Judaism all have a basic tenant of goodwill towards others and love for all people because GOD MADE THEM ALL. That doesnt mean to agree with everything everyone believes in but to respect that they believe what they do.

Mohammad created entire cities in which Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, and other religions were tolerated and accepted. A major part of his success was that he did not preach a doctrine of hate, in contrary to what many believe about Islam today.

While many religions may have beliefs that state that homosexuality is wrong, do they deserve punishment for what they feel or who they are? I highly doubt you condone stoning and death to homosexuals, or adulters, or idol worshippers. Isnt that what the gospel is all about? Loving those who others say dont deserve love? Jesus was all about compassion and a rejection of prejudice, why else would he hang out with sick people, prostitutes, the poor, and those who previously killed christians rather than the supposed priests?

I am sorry again if this discussion of acceptance has challenged you beliefs in some unstated way but i dont see the connection with my argument about BSA and your argument about religious conviction.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Joe on 10/04/2011 06:41:26 MDT Print View

Joe, if what I wrote also came across as being anti any faith, forgive me. That was not my intent. As a former Catholic who went to a Catholic school (but never practiced the religion, though I do study and learn a lot from Jesus' teachings), I am very aware of how Christianity operates from within. There is a lot of good in the teachings that anyone can learn from. But any time I hear anyone (Christians or any other group) calling for persecution of homosexuals or atheists or women, what have you, I cannot, in good conscience stay quiet about how I feel about that. It is simply wrong. I don't care what texts someone brings up to support that bigotry. It is wrong. And since it is official policiy in the Christian church, I stand up against them in protest. Take those discriminatory policies away and I'll be glad to support the Christian church and any other group that tries to do good in the world. BSA included. But two goods don't make one wrong right.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Joe on 10/04/2011 08:00:04 MDT Print View

"Take those discriminatory policies away and I'll be glad to support the Christian church and any other group that tries to do good in the world."

We'd be better off if we stopped thinking in terms of organizations, and started thinking in terms of people. I'm not sure I know of any 'organization' that doesn't discriminate in one form or fashion, including political parties who get taxpayer funding.

While the tenets of any organization may call for exclusion/discrimination, that doesn't mean everyone, or even a majority of people, who belong to such organizations believe in all of the tenets. Joe makes a very good point in his inimitable way, many of the PEOPLE in these organizations do wonderful work and provide a great benefit to society and don't believe in institutional bigotry or discrimination or exclusion, etc. For them, the organization is just the vehicle they've chosen through which to do their good deeds. The organization doesn't define them. We're wrong when we talk in such a fashion to infer otherwise.

Do I send money to the Boy Scouts? Nope, don't like the organization's policies. Do I give equipment to Boy Scouts and some of their leaders? Yup, because some that I know are some of the finest people I know who teach their charges understanding and tolerance. Do I fund any church? Nope, being an atheist I'd spontaneously combust if I did. Do I have close friends who are christians? Yup, and I'd give them the shirt off my back, and they would me (as long as, you know, I didn't actually take my shirt off right there in public, that would get ugly fast......).

When we focus on organizations instead of the people who make them up, I believe we miss the bigger picture. So, perhaps, we can focus on people instead of organizations. That is, after all, how real change happens. FWIW.

Edited by idester on 10/04/2011 08:01:26 MDT.

Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Thread moved on 10/04/2011 09:54:33 MDT Print View

I've moved this to Chaff at the request of a few, for not fitting the forum's description of "A place to share experiences, stories, techniques, and gear ideas for backpacking light with Scouts."

Thanks for keeping things civil, folks.

David T
(DaveT) - F
chaff. on 10/04/2011 10:07:49 MDT Print View

"I too stopped paying attention to those still harping on the 'right' to discriminate and devoted all my attention to those with positive things to say."


Edited by DaveT on 10/04/2011 10:09:44 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: chaff. on 10/04/2011 10:50:37 MDT Print View

Ah, things are looking up in this thread.

To me, a BSA stated core value is a duty to God and reverence to God. So given that, why would they accept an atheist into their organization, who by definition does not accept or support the concept of God -- which is a stated BSA core value? That would undermine this core value. Remember, I am an atheist. I disagree with their concept of God, but support their right to believe in God and to teach it to their membership.

Now, to me, the stance on homosexuality is another issue. Unfortunately, many religions teach that homosexuality is a life style choice, when in fact it is how some people are "wired" from birth. So if "God" made someone homosexual, they have no choice in the matter. But that is my belief. We can try to force many of the BSA members to change their minds, but that will not work well. For the BSA to change this tenet, a lot of individuals in the BSA need to change their personal belief on the subject. It will happen eventually, given time. So the question is, do we try to force a mind-set change on them via laws and/or judicial rulings to accelerate individual belief change, or let it happen slowly over time. We can force them to accept homosexuals via court decisions and laws, but we have not changed core beliefs -- which is the basic problem. I believe that each individual has the right to pursue their own happiness and live a good life. I also believe it is wrong to inhibit anyone's pursuit of happiness. But joining the BSA is not an individual right. It is optional.

I do not support the BSA stance on these subjects, but I do support their right to their own beliefs... even if I think those beliefs are wrong. Do the teachings of the BSA encourage or advocate hatred? Maybe and maybe not. But we cannot legislate how people must think. Sort of like the Republican Party. Some Republicans think that atheists and homosexuals are immoral, and many homosexuals and atheists are Republicans. But a belief in God or viewing homosexuality as immoral are not stated core beliefs of the Republican party. I only present the Republican example, as I have heard some of them spew out this garbage. Another question... should we pass a law that requires the Catholic Church to appoint women priests that reflects the percentage of women in the population?

Terry Trimble
(socal-nomad) - F

Locale: North San Diego county
BSA discrimination policy :( on 10/04/2011 11:36:04 MDT Print View

I think the BSA leadership has been taken over by quite a few faith based churches that why their enforcing the believing in god.
When I was kid back in the 70"s. I was in cub scout and boy scout troop separate from a church and are meeting were held at public schools. I was in the school based troop we did a lot of backpacking every other weekend leave friday and come back sunday afternoon. Then a lot of schools in California stopped letting clubs not affiliated with a school activity hold meetings on there property.

A short history of my scouting in a faith based experience:

So my mom asked me to join a mormon troop. When I joined the troop we only went on car camping trips once a month left on fridays came back on saturday afternoon to get back to church on time. After the first trip I drove back with our scout master and we talked about this was not the scouting way with no weekend backpacking.
I told him what my old troop did and he agreed and being a new convert to the church so he went to the bishop and explained the situation that we had and want to go on two day backpacking trips we would have church in gods country on sunday morning.

The bishop agreed and it happened we were going on backpacking trips some monthly some biweekly. I advanced quickly in rank in the troop fast through merit badge accumulation and I was a life scout at 13 years old. I was leadership role on the backpacking trips from day one because I had more outdoor skills. The church liked the our troop because it was tool to get non members join that maybe they could convert in to a mormonism. We had one of the best troop in the area won a lot of jamboree and scout camp competitions.

But what the church did not know was my buddies and I drank at night and smoked herb and cigarettes on these trips introduced it to the good members. I was bad jack mormon and agonistic by 8th grade.
Then I moved to Falbrook,California from Los Angeles area I left my old troop as a Life scout 3 merit badges and service project away from eagle and long hair down to my shoulders.

I was for a rude awaking in Fallbrook. I get to high school and it was first year they did not have a strictly enforced dress code from the 1950's Crew cuts,slacks,dress shirts and knee length skirts for the girls, I had the longest hair there of the guys.

So I show up at the mormon church troop with senior patrol leader on my shirt shoulder and long hair smelling of cigarette smoke. They thought I was from hell, I asked questions what they did.I explained what life was like in my old troop we did backpacking trips and how we talked the church bishop into the idea. It was no go and the scout master did not really care.

Long story short quit scouting because of poor leadership in the area did not get eagle went backpacking and surfing trips with my buddies instead. If I were you like being part of the scouting experience so much tell a little white lie to them enjoy.

Edited by socal-nomad on 10/04/2011 11:44:55 MDT.

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: Re: Re: Joe on 10/04/2011 12:28:08 MDT Print View

Good post Doug. Everyone forgets that churches, organizations, governments, etc are people. And people are not perfect. But, as a whole these groups can do a lot of good.

Personally, I agree with the Supreme Court's decision based upon the facts of the case. BSA says we want to create an organization with these values & should be allowed to do so provided it doesn't accept direct gov't funding. If a homosexual group wanted to create a group that wanted to preach homosexuality is XYZ and not allow Christians to join, then that's fine too so long as they meet the same requirements set forth by law. This is all my opinion so take it with a grain of salt.

On another note regarding homosexuality - I have a couple very close family members that are g.a.y. I'm a Christian so my beliefs tell me that it's a sin. But, you can bet that I'm going to love/hug/kiss them every time I see them. My same beliefs tell me that it's no more wrong than when I lie to a friend, curse at someone, etc. so for me to judge someone when I can do no better seems a bit hypocritical. Conversely, for anyone to look down on me for believing "some old book" is hypocritical also. Beliefs are beliefs. Mine aren't inherently correct because they are mine, as yours aren't inherently correct just because they are yours.

p.s.- One post opined that the Jesus of the Bible was compassionate and tolerant of sinners. Please note that he was compassionate, but not tolerant. I will spare you the references for this unless you want it by PM.


Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: BSA discrimination policy :( on 10/04/2011 16:10:10 MDT Print View

Good points everyone. You're making me look critically at my own prejudices. Thanks.

We'd be better off if we stopped thinking in terms of organizations, and started thinking in terms of people. I'm not sure I know of any 'organization' that doesn't discriminate in one form or fashion, including political parties who get taxpayer funding.

Very good evaluation, Doug. Just to make it clear, I did write, "Christian church", and not, "Christians". To me there is a big difference. I know a lot of wonderful Christians and BS members who do important and great things for the world, including my mother, who is Lutheran. I don't think there is anything wrong with looking at groups of people, too, as long as those groups don't promote hatred and ignorance.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: BSA discrimination policy :( on 10/04/2011 16:46:27 MDT Print View


As always good input. You and I have had some similar conversations in other threads. I think most people have a tendency to be "prejudiced" for their own "tribe." By "tribe," I mean anything characteristic or beliefs that are similar to most in our group, but not necessarily universal. One way to tell if we are, is to think about how we react if someone in our "tribe" tells a joke about a "characteristic" of another "tribe."

Eliminating discrimination can only happen when the majority of individuals change. This takes time. Laws and rules do not necessarily make it happen, sometimes they make it worse and sometimes they speed up the process.

If the BSA needs to change, then to be effective and real change, one of two things have to happen. The first is for the current membership to change the policy based on their own beliefs -- without outside pressure; or enough members leave because of the policies, and those remaining may review their policies if they are to remain a viable group to build character in our young men and boys.

Without doing any research, I would venture to guess that the percentage of Boys Scouts versus the number of boys in the US has been declining for several decades. If this is the case, one would think they may want to figure out why... which is probably because they are no longer aligned with the values of most Americans. And maybe they don't care they are not aligned... maybe they think their message is the correct one. And that is their right to do so, even if you and I disagree with them.