I suppose it is time to poke at the hive again. I reposted an article by Doug Metz the other day called Honoring the Scout Law. Now I did not write one word of the original post, but I thought it was well written and expresses the views of many Scouts and Scouters currently serving in our organization. I knew that by putting this post on my blog I would get emails, comments, and other communications regarding the content. And yes I did. Most of the emails I received were in line with the sentiment of the post, I wonder how much communication Doug got.
Either way, while it was not my post, and since I received multiple, let’s call them “opinions”.. I figured it was my turn to give you mine.
Now, if any thing I about to write upsets you of causes you to unsubscribe from this blog, well, I understand and I thank you for the time you spent here. I hope that you got something out of the blog or at least enjoyed reading it until now.
So.. here it goes.
The Boy Scouts of America have policies, I understand and agree to live by those policies. What I think is more important than policy is living the Scout Oath and Law. And I think that all policy should stem from them. The policy that excludes certain people from being a Scout or Scout leader is just that and certainly there is room for interpretation in it.
When it comes to homosexuality. I just don’t care and don’t think the BSA should either. I understand the apprehension that the BSA has, but don’t think it is thought through completely. My guess is that the policy is directed at adults and not the youth. Again, I understand, but don’t necessarily agree. Examples of non homosexual adult abusing children out weigh those of homosexual ‘predators’ I think. Now I don’t have the numbers to prove it, but you never really seem to hear of it.
Besides if the BSA was really concerned there would be better checks on who can and can not be an adult volunteer. Really, the current process is lacking if we are really that concerned.
My opinion is allow the Charter Partner to make the decision on who is a leader. Let them go through the vetting process. Ensure that good interviews are in place and background checks. But even background checks are not enough. They will not tell what a person is capable of.. right.
Anyway.. when it comes to sexual orientation, the church, the government, the PTA, and the Boy Scouts of America should stay out of it. As a private organization, the BSA has the right (upheld by congress) to decline membership to anyone.. and I agree with them having the right to do so. I think the screening process needs to be tightened up.
The other argument here is that of a Scout being Reverent and Duty to God.
This is where the argument should just stop. Why? Because the BSA does not define God or how to worship that God. The Boy Scouts of America have a Declaration of Religious principle. It states: “The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God and, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but it is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. Its policy is that the home and organization or group with which a member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life. Only persons willing to subscribe to this Declaration of Religious Principle and to the Bylaws of the Boy Scouts of America shall be entitled to certificates of membership“. This is wide open for interpretation and allows for pretty much anyone to participate. Further the BSA does not define who God is or how we are to worship and so that is up to the member and his family to decide.
Once again, when it comes to religion. The Boy Scouts, the Government, the PTA, and the local Ice cream shoppe should mind its own business. I have seen Scouts have greater connections to their God in the out doors than they will ever find in a church.
Now to the point of a Scoutmaster not signing a book because the Scout “comes out”. SHAME ON HIM. The Scout did the work, as far as you know he has faith in something (as defined by him and his family). You, MR or MRS Scoutmaster I know for certain are NOT God and you need to get out your pen and start signing.
YOU Mr or Mrs Scoutmaster are not allowed to make the decision of faith or sexual preference. If you will decline his membership at the end than you were wrong all along. As far as you know this Scout has been a good Scout, completing all of the requirements as laid out by the BSA. Over the last 7 Scoutmaster conferences you approved all this work and determined that this Scout was worthy of advancement.. now.. you would change you mind? I work with an individual that goes to church every Sunday and is gay. You see in her church it’s ok to be homosexual. I know that her son is being raised by good person and it is my hope that one day she may even consider bringing him to Scouting.
All of this rings of the civil rights movement to me.. what ever happened to judging a person by their character and not their color, sex, sexual orientation? Hmmmm are we going to preach being helpful, courteous and kind and turn our backs on our neighbor?
We make a promise to live the Scout Oath and Law. Do we keep it? I suppose that is what Doug was asking in his post. To keep myself morally straight does not mean I turn my back on those that live in our community. And who are we to decide that homosexuality is immoral? Again, if are not to discriminate when it comes to our religious declaration than we need not make that call. Morality is shared values and I am certain that even homosexuals find that being Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent are good values. I am sure that all of us agree that Doing unto others as we would have done to us is a Golden Rule. But we are willing to make these decision based on… what?
So do I think Homosexuality is wrong? I have no idea.. truth is, I don’t really care. The older I get the more live and let live I get. Right or wrong is immaterial to me in this case as it is up to the individual and his family. NOT the Church, the Government, and certainly not the Boy Scouts of America. This whole issue to me comes down to Scouts. How do we treat them and how do we handle a Scout that may be searching for answers both in religion and sexuality. Both of those discussions need to start at home, but we all know that sooner or later, they end up in Scouts. How will you handle that conversation? It’s easy to avoid it, but that Scout is looking to you for guidance. You are a mentor, you are a role model. What is your answer.
So that’s where I am on the subject. We can discuss. But I have always been told to be careful when talking Politics and Religion… and the BSA should not engage in either and so neither will I. We can talk about Scouts and how this effects them and I am certainly glad to hear your thoughts on the issue, but I won’t argue this issue with you. Opinions are many on this, share yours… but when you do remember the Scout Law when you hit the submit, send, or enter key.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
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