Who’s to say?

DISCLAIMER:  THIS IS MY OPINION AND NOT THE OPINION OF THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA, TROOP 664, OR THE FINE LEADERS THAT I CALL MY FRIENDS.

Having said all of that I am going to briefly revisit this whole “Gay Scout” issue.
This last week it was announced that the BSA will be putting the issue on the table for a vote.  You can read all about it elsewhere, I am not going to go into the details here.
The bottom line is that the vote will come down to this;  The BSA will change it’s membership policy to include “openly gay” Scouts but it would continue to restrict the membership of “openly gay” adult leaders.
OK…. here is my opinion on the matter, and in light of recent announcements from a few of the Churches that seem to be at the fore front of the issue, I should say that my opinion has not changed.
First, I really don’t think that the issue will make a difference.  I do not care personally what a person does sexually.  Now many will argue that this is a sexual issue, I tend to disagree.  How many “openly gay” Scouts do you know?  I have a feeling on some Scouts and in most if not all cases when it comes to our teen-aged boys… they don’t really care either.  I guess the better question is how many gay boys are beating down the doors to get in to the Boy Scouts of America?  I have yet to meet one.  Most if not all gay boys will not be looking for the activity that the Scouts offer.  This is not a predatory issue.  They, gays, are not looking at the BSA as an opportunity to meet and date.  I mean.. that’s so ridiculous.
Anyway… Morality is the next issue.  So I suppose we need to address what that means.  Now, I know that I will piss some folks off with this, but I think it needs to be said.  Church does not make you moral.  I know openly gay members of the Catholic Church, the Baptist Church, and the LDS Church.  They may not make it to public, but you don’t have to be a sociologist to know that they are gay and they tend not to hide it among friends.  They hide it because they are made to feel like lepers in their respective communities that preach love, peace, and compassion.
If we look at moral thinking then where does love enter the conversation?
When we look into the definition of morality it leaves the reader wondering where does morality come from?  Defined morality looks like this:
1. a : a moral discourse, statement, or lesson.  b : a literary or other imaginative work teaching a moral lesson.
2.  a : a doctrine or system of moral conduct.  b. plural : particular moral principles or rules of conduct
3.  conformity to ideals of right human conduct
4.  moral conduct : virtue
So we over time have decided what the social norms are and how we practice moral thinking and teaching.  The first documented use of the term “Morality” was not till the 14th century.  What ever did we do before then?
Since morality is decided by man’s ideals and virtues, some say they received from God, again, in the Scouting context, which God is that?  It is common that all virtue and religious teaching universally comes down to “Do unto others…”
So why then do we treat people like outcasts, deviants, and unworthy of membership in our club?
There are those that think homosexuality is deviant behavior.. and it may be.. who am I to judge?  It’s not my cup of tea, but then again, I don’t like rap music either and certainly not the life style it promotes.  Not a big fan of smoking or excessive drinking either.  Not a fan of those that abuse their kids or beat their wives… yet that deviant behavior seems to be just fine.
I work with openly gay folks.  They are good people.  I have had discussions with them about Scouting and they all think it is a great organization… BUT…
Yeah, they always have the “but” comment.  They to do not understand that a group that claims to live by a certain code and a set of values would exclude people based on their sexual orientation.  Further, they consider the argument not one of sexual acts but of who they love.  And that gets me wondering where the morality comes in and who decides it.
A Scout is starts the Scout law.. it is followed by the set of values that we live by.  Which one of the 12 points would not allow a gay boy in?  Right away people go to “Clean” and “Reverent”.  Defined (again) the Scout law suggests that a Scout is Clean in thought, word, and deed.  But I still can’t find where sexual orientation would be an issue, especially when it comes to a boy.  Straight boys don’t even have sex when they are 13 for the most part… right?
Reverent?  The Boy Scouts of America does not define who God is nor does the organization suggest how a Scout must worship.  The Boy Scout handbook says “A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.”  The BSA does not extend its moral teaching beyond that of the Scout Oath and Law and refers the Scout to his faith group and family for furthering religious teaching and moral thinking.
So that is where it comes from and that is where it should stay.  Once we put our uniforms on and raise the Scout sign we should be inclusive and respectful.  We should be friendly and helpful.  We should be courteous and kind.  We should be loyal and cheerful.
All of this is found in Scouting and why not let openly gay Scouts in?
Now the LDS church has come out for this, the Catholic Church is sitting on the fence and other faith groups are afraid to take a stand that allows for love and friendship to trump bed room activity.  Even though we are talking about young men here and not pedophiles or social deviants.
So happens after the vote.  Gay boys will either be allowed in or not.  If they are in… who leaves?  If they are out.. who drops support?
It seems to me that what ever happens the Scouts will loose.  So are we willing to deal with the results and how?  My guess is that at the unit level nothing is going to change.  If the new policy is that gay Scouts will be allowed, I wonder how many families leave my troop?  I don’t care about funding or policy… but what about those folks that are unwilling to change?  I figure that if the families that are currently in my troop are happy now.. why would that change?  But I know it will and so I need to be willing to deal with it.
Will this be the end of Scouting as we know it?  I hope not.  Are there still Scouters out there that will be willing to stay the course, even though the course will have changed?
I don’t know the answers.. I am curious to see how this all plays out.
Let me know what you think.  Leave a comment.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Categories: Character, Citizenship, Ideals, Leadership, Methods, Motto, Oath and Law, respect, Scout Law, Values | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “Who’s to say?

  1. In complete agreement, Jerry — my question, though is, what changes about that gay Scout the day he turns 18? What makes him no longer acceptable in Scouts?

    • Tim, I agree… like I said in the post.. this is a loose loose situation for the BSA. It may be great in being inclusive, but the way this is being promoted and reported, we can not win here.
      Your question will not be answered without a ton more debate.

    • Beth L.

      I agree with you too. Also, there are a number of churches (like the non-denominational church that I attend) that fully accept gay and lesbians. I would truly hate to lose a great leader (like portrayed in the show The New Normal) just because of sexual orientation. I also like the bit that the one dad said about all of the leaders being physically fit – lol!
      Another issue that we have had is that our sponsoring charter group (a school PTO) has a non-discrimination clause in their charter. Therefore if someone ever pushed the issue of letting in a gay scout, we would most likely lose our charter. Luckily for us, as a pack with younger kids, it has not come up.

  2. Joe Carter

    I agree with you Jerry. I’m not going to decide the morals of anyone and I sure don’t want anyone trying to decide mine. The Scout Oath and Law have been or guiding light for 100 years. No were does it does it speak to the morals of anyone, but one self.

  3. jsmith702

    Jerry, you’re a good, unselfish man that has been distracted from the facts. I read your blog because you and I consistenly agree on how the scouting program runs best. You and I as Scoutmasters can’t possibly have any real argument over running a troop. We see eye to eye. You are certainly right that boys really don’t have a lot of visibility of all this same sex attraction stuff. They’re focused, as they ought to be, on the fun and adventure in the program. And there are plenty of homosexuals currently in the program and they see it all the same way as you and I. But there is a difference between how things are now and how things would be if the current resolution comes to pass in the Boy Scouts of America.
    First, some facts. Canada and the Girl Scouts have had disastrous and radical results in their program with being “open and inclusive”. Within 5 years of Canada allowing open homosexuality in their program, they lost 50% of their membership. It’s worth asking why because the BSA looks to be on the same path. Is it because 50% of the Canadians were bigots and haters? Or did Canadian Scouters see real problems with what the program subsequently became?
    In our own country, the Girl Scouts have gone from initially being advocates of diversity and “live and let live” to one that is decidedly secular and promotes the LGBT lifestyle as one that is worthy of emulation. From the Girl Scouts website “When reciting the Girl Scout Promise, individuals are free to substitute their own wording for “God.” Is this where the BSA is headed?
    Allowing transgender “boys/girls”, the Girl Scouts have shown a direction that makes one ask where the BSA is headed. A friend’s daughter recently had to dress in the stall of her school dressing room between acts in her school play because high school aged boys were in her bathroom. They claimed to be homosexual and therefore not attracted to the girls. Tent partners and public bathrooms at summer camp seem to make the subject a lot more complicated than advocates of diversity would like to admit. Is this really where we want the BSA to go? Is this going to keep sexuality out of the program? We really have to take a stand on what values and morals are, or else someone will decide for you.
    Other astonishing facts: HIV statistics regarding new infections are staggering! 70% of new HIV infections as of 2010 were attributable to MSM (CDC language for men having sex with men)! The CDC estimates MSMs only make up 4% of the general population. I’m not afraid of me or my Scouts being assaulted by anyone that’s HIV positive, but I really wonder about the mindset of MSMs. You have to ask yourself what’s going on in the minds of MSMs out there. I don’t think they need validation of their lifestyle, I think they need help. This indicates an abnormally high level of promiscuity and lack of judgement in the practice of unsafe sex. It’s not my opinion… it’s what the CDC statistics say. MSMs are not normal, and they are not healthy. You may not consider that deviant behavior, but you have to admit you’d be uncomfortable with someone who openly advocates unprotected sex with hundreds of partners. And, surely you’d want to know that about a person just as you’d want to know if a Scouter is an open drug user, unrepentant alcoholic, or sexual predator. I would accept a repentant alcoholic, or a drug user who has successfully rehabbed. But not an open and avowed substance abuser.
    So, maybe this newest resolution is all about the BSA being inclusive and tolerant to different viewpoints. Or, maybe it’s all about someone trying to force their viewpoint on an organization that has always shown to have a
    good handle on values and morals. But, to portray the BSA as a group of bigots and haters is just not fair. And to say that we and the current membership policy treats people like outcasts, deviants and unworthy of membership, is just not accurate. I don’t have gays knocking down the doors to join my troop either. But values and morality are important. My family gets to encourage my values and morals. The BSA should have the right to encourage its stated values and morals. If a person doesn’t agree with them, please… by all means, start your own group but don’t make me change mine. I think you’d definitely change your opinion of this issue if it is true that the

    • Thanks for that great comment. I think we are actually on the same page here. I think this is a Loose/Loose situation for the BSA. Whole I am not opposed to an inclusive policy change, I don’t think this will be good for the BSA. I think that the BSA will loose a lot of current members because of this change.
      Now… I never called anyone a biggot and I never portrayed the BSA as a group of haters. That is how we are coming across to the rest of America. Again, this is due to the BSA not telling their side of the story in the main stream media.
      Yep.. I want to know who is in my troop both leaders and youth. But that won’t change much because the current rules would not allow preditors in… the hard part is identifying them. Just because they are openly gay does not immediatelty place them in the preditor category.
      We have good Youth protection practices now.. that will not change.
      Again, thanks for the comments and moving the discussion along. If we don’t do it who will? The BSA certainly is not having the discussion in public. Maybe if they did this would not be such and issue.
      Maybe.
      thanks for your thoughts.

      • Yep, the BSA is being painted into a corner that it won’t get out of without quite a bit of damage. My personal opinion is that it’s by design. But whether it is or not, the fact remains. And the internal dissension makes it seem more likely to outside observers that we are the petty haters and bigots our detractors claim we are. I saw something similar during my tour in Iraq where the bad guys painted us as evil, created chaos and successfully blamed the chaos on us. As if that weren’t bad enough, we as a nation began to fight among ourselves which further made it look to outside observers that our lack of resolve was because we didn’t have a cause worthy enough to unite us. This emboldened our enemies and compounded our difficulties. Had we not been divided from within, we would have been much more resolute and successful. And fewer of our precious citizen soldiers would have been lost. Those that divide us from within are causing the real damage. Had the BSA stayed united, maintaining our policy would only have rankled those that would have never liked us in the first place. Now, the survey circulated around the Scouters indicates that the majority want to keep the policy the way it is. But, national has interpreted the results in a way that seems deceptive. Sneaky even. Which I say betrays their agenda. And, if OnMyHonor.net is correct, the vote in May is about to be packed with 2000 unqualified voters so that the outcome is overwhelmingly for the policy change. I haven’t confirmed that from another source but If I do, it will be clear that the resolution isn’t being pursued for the betterment of the BSA. It’s only being pursued for a political victory with no regard to the future of the BSA. I’ve been told by some local Scouters that this policy change wouldn’t change the way we do business in the BSA. Tell that to Canada and the Girl Scouts. If I’m right and this policy issue is an effort to force the homosexual agenda on America, we’ll see close alliances with questionable groups just like the Girl Scouts. I can provide links to prove my points from the Girl Scouts website. And then, we’ll understand why Canada lost 50% of its membership almost overnight. And this problem will not go away until the ring leaders at national are sent packing. This movement is not doing the BSA any good and there’s no indication it’s being done for the good of the BSA anyway. Those that are afraid of being labeled a bigot or hater are being painted into a corner. These are truly the times that try men’s souls.
        Jerry, my comrade in arms and fellow Scoutmaster, keep up the troop and the blog. And let’s stay united against those that seek to divide and conquer us.

  4. jsmith702

    Yep, the BSA is being painted into a corner that it won’t get out of without quite a bit of damage. My personal opinion is that it’s by design. But whether it is or not, the fact remains. And the internal dissension makes it seem more likely to outside observers that we are the petty haters and bigots our detractors claim we are. I saw something similar during my tour in Iraq where the bad guys painted us as evil, created chaos and successfully blamed the chaos on us. As if that weren’t bad enough, we as a nation began to fight among ourselves which further made it look to outside observers that our lack of resolve was because we didn’t have a cause worthy enough to unite us. This emboldened our enemies and compounded our difficulties. Had we not been divided from within, we would have been much more resolute and successful. And fewer of our precious citizen soldiers would have been lost. Those that divide us from within are causing the real damage. Had the BSA stayed united, maintaining our policy would only have rankled those that would have never liked us in the first place. Now, the survey circulated around the Scouters indicates that the majority want to keep the policy the way it is. But, national has interpreted the results in a way that seems deceptive. Sneaky even. Which I say betrays their agenda. And, if OnMyHonor.net is correct, the vote in May is about to be packed with 2000 unqualified voters so that the outcome is overwhelmingly for the policy change. I haven’t confirmed that from another source but If I do, it will be clear that the resolution isn’t being pursued for the betterment of the BSA. It’s only being pursued for a political victory with no regard to the future of the BSA. I’ve been told by some local Scouters that this policy change wouldn’t change the way we do business in the BSA. Tell that to Canada and the Girl Scouts. If I’m right and this policy issue is an effort to force the homosexual agenda on America, we’ll see close alliances with questionable groups just like the Girl Scouts. I can provide links to prove my points from the Girl Scouts website. And then, we’ll understand why Canada lost 50% of its membership almost overnight. And this problem will not go away until the ring leaders at national are sent packing. This movement is not doing the BSA any good and there’s no indication it’s being done for the good of the BSA anyway. Those that don’t want to be labeled a bigot or hater are being painted into a corner. These are truly the times that try men’s souls.
    Joe S.

  5. Doc Longo

    Wow. I’m just glad opinions are just that…opinions.

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