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Thread: BSA and their ruling on homosexuals in scouting

  1. #1

    Default BSA and their ruling on homosexuals in scouting

    I'd just like to hear some peoples opinions on this matter. I personally am somewhat stunned that this organization can actually contend that discrimination against homosexuals is appropriate because they "violate" the clean part of the scout law. Particularly the part where the leaders in question who made this decision violated at least 4-5 principles in the process.

    Not that I agree with the BSA's classification of clean anyways. For what it's worth I'm an Eagle Scout.

  2. #2

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    As an Eagle Scout, I'm disappointed, but not surprised. The organization has a particularly strong religious slant, at least in the upper management, and this is where religious groups generally are on social issues right now.

    BSA does a lot of good for a lot of people, and this policy is a huge dumb black mark on an otherwise sterling reputation. I imagine that it's only a matter of time before they do, in fact, wake up and realize it's the 21st century.

  3. #3

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    This was always my issue with the boy scouts. I feel like overall it's a good organization that teaches kids a lot of good life skills. I looked up the patch requirements a while ago and was quite impressed by them. At the same time it's ridiculous for them to be banning homosexuals from their organization. I'd really love to see a similar organization that focuses on why it's important to have good morals outside of a religious context take off.

  4. #4

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    I can't stop laughing at this thread because of the ..."Troop" my brother and I were in, he ended up leaving about 8 months before he'd eagle out, I left before I even made tenderfoot XD

    Back on topic - I don't think it's right, but hey - private organization, what are you goin' to do about it?

  5. #5

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    Well I'm a Roc scout. Yeah, you heard right, a Roc scout. I'm bigger and badder, and I eat you guys for lunch! Oh, and I'm also extinct, but I guess we all knew that.

    Okay, I too was a cub scout drop out, but the scouts serve a purpose. That said, I think they're sadly behind the times in barring someone who's gay as a scout leader, but I know why they did it. Years ago, there were a number of scout leaders who were accused of molesting boys. This was a little before the Catholic Priest scandals, if my memory serves me. The scouts jumped to the conclusion that if a male is gay, they automatically like boys. Though we know that's not the case, they were reacting to their past history. Unlike teaching in a public school, there would be more opportunity for a scout leader to take advantage of a boy in an outdoor, camping situation. They simply were trying to be cautious.

    The problem with this thinking is that it assumes every homosexual is a potential child molester. One is simply guilty before the fact, with no history, just guilty by association. I don't agree with their reasoning, but I can see where they're coming from.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by dogboy View Post
    Well I'm a Roc scout. Yeah, you heard right, a Roc scout. I'm bigger and badder, and I eat you guys for lunch! Oh, and I'm also extinct, but I guess we all knew that.

    Okay, I too was a cub scout drop out, but the scouts serve a purpose. That said, I think they're sadly behind the times in barring someone who's gay as a scout leader, but I know why they did it. Years ago, there were a number of scout leaders who were accused of molesting boys. This was a little before the Catholic Priest scandals, if my memory serves me. The scouts jumped to the conclusion that if a male is gay, they automatically like boys. Though we know that's not the case, they were reacting to their past history. Unlike teaching in a public school, there would be more opportunity for a scout leader to take advantage of a boy in an outdoor, camping situation. They simply were trying to be cautious.

    The problem with this thinking is that it assumes every homosexual is a potential child molester. One is simply guilty before the fact, with no history, just guilty by association. I don't agree with their reasoning, but I can see where they're coming from.
    This really isn't it.

    The BSA used to have a lot of problems with abuse into the 1980s, but they took a hardline approach to cleaning things up and around 1990 instituted their very strong Youth Protection System (YPS) rules and training. Today, they have the lowest abuse rate among major youth-serving organizations in the nation.


    This is really all about religious social conservatism. My understanding is that the national organization's leadership has been co-opted on this issue by the heavy influence of the LDS church (Mormons), who have a very large presence in the program, particularly in huge swaths of the West. Since the organization leans very conservative as it is, and mandates religious beliefs (any kind is fine, even agnostic, but almost all members end up being some flavor of Christian; Lord Baden-Powell considered being reverent very important so having religious belief is a rather fundamental tenet of the program), the weighing of views in the organization comes down against gay membership.

    Give it enough time, with evolving views in the general populace, and they'll eventually change their mind on the issue, but I fully expect the BSA to lag heavily on the issue relative to the rest of society for the above reasons.

  7. #7
    Cygnus

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    This makes me sad. I wasn't aware of this. I'm a life scout, close to eagle, and I love the program. Hell, it probably saved my life when I was able to realize that I was suffering from bad heat exhaustion and knew what to do to stop it about a month ago. They do good things, but they are definitely very religious. When I was at scout camp a month ago, I got a speech on the honor trail about how a scout is respectful to God and His wishes. Not the scout's own god, but (capital 'g') God. You even get a little patch to put on your uniform if you accomplish certain tasks in the LDS church.

    It's good, but religious. Very, very religious.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fruitkitty View Post
    My understanding is that the national organization's leadership has been co-opted on this issue by the heavy influence of the LDS church (Mormons), who have a very large presence in the program, particularly in huge swaths of the West.
    This is very true. The LDS church is a big fan of the Boy Scouts and the majority of boys in the Mormon church are involved in Cub or Boy Scouts. That's how I got in. It's hard to throw a stone and not hit a Latter-Day Saint in a scout camp.

  8. #8

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    This is absolutely discrimination and I think is clearly morally wrong to anyone with a kind heart and half a brain.

    And until the government passes a law that makes people of differing sexual orientations a protected class, it's entirely legal. Not moral. But legal.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by AEsahaettr View Post
    This is absolutely discrimination and I think is clearly morally wrong to anyone with a kind heart and half a brain.

    And until the government passes a law that makes people of differing sexual orientations a protected class, it's entirely legal. Not moral. But legal.
    Sad, but true.

    Frankly, if there's one organization that is likely to be slower to act to stop this kind of discrimination than the BSA, it's probably Congress, where you need 60% of a bunch of mostly old white people with disproportionate representation of low-population rural states + a favorable House in order to move any kind of social issue legislation.

    It only took high 70s-80s % majority opinion in the populace plus imminent court defeat plus 59 Democrats in the Senate to overturn DADT.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fruitkitty View Post
    Frankly, if there's one organization that is likely to be slower to act to stop this kind of discrimination than the BSA, it's probably Congress, where you need 60% of a bunch of mostly old white people with disproportionate representation of low-population rural states + a favorable House in order to move any kind of social issue legislation.
    As much as I detest the status quo, there are few things in life I'm as confident about as I am that sexual bigotry is disappearing. There will be adherents for a long time, mostly hiding under the guise of religious freedom. But such people have little to no moral grounding (none if we discount religious doctrine) on the issue and public opinion is falling in line as appropriate.

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