Last Word

morallystraightAnd on the heals of this great debate, and to be honest… like a reader suggested… I’m ready to stop talking about this and get back to backpacking and other more meaningful subjects…
But on the heals of the debate, yesterday Jason Collins, a professional basketball player in the NBA “Came out” in an interview with Sports Illustrated.  This morning on ESPN that is the head line news and Jason is being hailed as a hero.  Now, I am not going to rehash my position on homosexuals.. well maybe I should just clarify my belief.
First.  People are people and deserve respect no matter who they sleep with.  Second.  I am not homophobic and believe in live and let live… In short.. I don’t care.  Third.  I am not gay, it is not my thing, but the “Gay agenda” has little or no impact on me and my life, so… live and let live.  And finally, I think when it comes to religion and religious institutions, they should practice what they preach.  If it is a sin.. hate the sin.. not the sinner.
Ok.. having said all of that for the last time… I am going to move on.  The BSA is going to make a change in the policy.  I think they are to far into this to turn back and I think in light of Jason Collins interview, the public will not allow any other decision other than to change the policy to include openly gay Scouts.
So what do we do now?  Well, let me tell you what this Scoutmaster is going to do.  NOTHING.  I will comply with the policy and treat every Scout just like I treat them today.  I will keep teaching and coaching.  I will train leaders and I will go camping each month with them.  Nothing will change in Troop 664.  Now, some families may leave due to the fundamental idea that the organization has let them down and changed a policy that they feel contradicts their values.  I hear that, but at the end of the day… it is the collective values and training at the unit level that matter.  The Oath and Law stand firm.  I believe in the Oath and Law and know that they assist in making good citizens and men of character.  Gay, Straight, or whatever would be in between.
How I deal with the conversations that happen with those families that will certainly be unhappy with the BSA’s decision is going to be critical in maintaining a positive Scouting experience.
I had a talk the other day with a parent.  They shared with me that they did not want to see the policy change.  I shared with her that really nothing will change locally and asked if she and her family had up to this point a positive Scouting experience.  The answer was yes.  so I had to ask if she thought any of that experience would change.  She said not locally, but she was disappointed in how the Boy Scouts could let down the majority of its members.  I agreed.  Like it or not, the BSA is a pretty conservative organization that has took pride in staying the course.
Again, I don’t have a problem with opening up the doors, but that is where the change stops.  When a boy joins our Troop we ask him to promise to live the Scout Oath and Law.  We expect that they live a certain way in which the values found in the Oath and Law dictate their daily walk.  We don’t allow abuse, hazing, or disrespect.  And so when a gay boy comes in, he will be expected to do the same.  I will not make concessions in the Law and Oath.
I really hope that no one leaves Scouting because of this.  But I know it’s going to happen.  For that I am sad.  I am not leaving.  At the core Scouting will still be the best program for our youth and the program will still be selling point that keeps Scouts looking for adventure and developing into great men.
This is the last word on this subject for me.
Now, I need to weigh some gear and get packed for Wood Badge.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Categories: blog, Ideals, Leadership, Oath and Law | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Last Word

  1. Keep up the good work Jerry. I look to your blog for ideas and affirmation on many of my thoughts about being Scoutmaster. We missed each other at Philmont by 1 day last summer. Maybe our paths will cross soon. We’ll agree on much more than we’ll ever disagree. You’ve inspired me to take up my own blog. Only slightly related to Boy Scouts but more related to the military and our country’s culture. Hope you’ll stop in from time to time as your combat experience in Iraq will be a great contribution. I like to hear the perspectives of my brothers-in-arms. Cheers!

  2. what is your blog address?
    Thanks for the comment

    • jsmith702

      Hah! I’m making it today. I’m reading the WordPress TOS to figure out how to start the blog. I’ll let you know ASAP when I get it up and going.

  3. Ray

    Jerry,

    I agree with most of what you are saying. Aside from the religious implications, there are some realities here in the South. 1. 98% of charters belong to churches. I am fearful for the number of church boards that choose to dissolve their charters preemptively to stave off discrimination lawsuits. 2. These boys are boys. For the same reason we don’t want girls in camp is the same reason we don’t want homosexual relationships in camp. Chasing boys around in the woods who want to sneak off in the middle of the night is something that will get old quick. 3. The growth of homosexual leaders will grow. Now I am not saying that all homosexuals molest boys but I have yet to see a straight man do it. Once again, not an indictment but opportunity for abuse is greater. Two Deep leadership only works if everyone practices it and that starts with a single leader making the choice to observe the policy. These are my concerns. Like you I will continue to treat all of my scouts with respect and I expect the same from all of those who are affiliated with my unit. Thank-you, Ray

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