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01-28-13, 09:16 PM #1
Boy Scouts considering lifting ban on gayshe announcement on Monday by Scouts officials that the ban on gays was in line for elimination was thus a thunderclap on two fronts, scouts and people close to the organization said. First, it removed from discussion the idea, voiced in July by senior national scout leaders, that the ban was in the best interests of scouts themselves.¶Perhaps even more momentous was the acknowledgment that scouting itself had moved on, with a diversity of thought like the multicultural and sexually diverse buzz of modern America itself, that no longer could be confined or defined by a dictated policy from headquarters. Local chapters will now decide whether to admit gay scouts.
"The Boy Scouts would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units, members, or parents,” said a spokesman for the Boy Scouts of America, Deron Smith, in a statement. “This would mean there would no longer be any national policy regarding sexual orientation, and the chartered organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with each organization’s mission, principles, or religious beliefs.”
01-29-13, 01:19 AM #2Scouting is a values-based program with its own code of conduct. The Scout Oath and Law help instill the values of good conduct, respect for others, and honesty. Scouts learn skills that will last a lifetime, including basic outdoor skills, first aid, citizenship skills, leadership skills, and how to get along with others. For almost a century, Scouting has instilled in young men the values and knowledge that they will need to become leaders in their communities and country.Scout Oath or Promise
On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.
A Scout is ...
trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly,
courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful,
thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.
We are who we choose to be.
R.I.P. Arielle. 08/20/2010-09/16/2012
01-29-13, 10:12 AM #3
I have no problems with gays being allowed in the scouts. The only thing the exclusion ever caused was one more layer of isolation and one more thing for kids who have done nothing wrong to feel ashamed of. I have a problem with the scouts "perversion files" and their history of not turning in pedophiles.\\` ` ` ` < ` )___/\
`` ` ` ` (3--(____)
"...but to forget your duck, of course, means you're really screwed." - Gary Larson
01-29-13, 01:27 PM #4The Reason People Hate Cops & Causer of WarSupporting Member Lvl 2
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I respect and support the right of the Boy Scouts of America as a private organization to set the rule for their membership.
At the same time -- this policy struck me as being rather unenforceable and silly.Voting against incumbents until we get a Congress that does its job.
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01-31-13, 09:07 AM #5
I've thought a lot about this one. Full disclosure: I'm the Cubmaster for my son's Cub Scout pack. This is his fourth year in Cub Scouts and my second as pack leader.
While I don't have any problem with an individual's choice of (legal) sexual partner, allowing openly gay scouts does raise some big practical issues with the program.
BSA seems to be very concerned about liability in all aspects of scouting, though I guess any private enterprise is these days. If I want to take the cubs (with parents of course) on an overnight campout I have to complete quite a bit of paperwork covering all the details of the trip and the attendees. I have to show proof that multiple leaders are attending and that they have completed the required training courses. It isn't like when I was a cub and we went on overnight camps at somebody's farm. Someone from the district office has to come and inspect the area where we will camp and insure that it meets BSA requirements weeks before we are scheduled to go.
As was mentioned upthread, BSA hasn't done a great job in the past of dealing with potential threats to the kids. Since my son has been involved though, they seem to be doing as much as anyone could, to deal with potential abusers. All leaders at any level are required to take training every two years called "youth protection". It's comprehensive and includes information about contacting LE immediately on suspicion of improper contact. They also have a rule that no leader can be alone with a scout other than their own child. There must be at least two adults with a scout outside a group setting (escorting a kid to the restroom at night for example).
All of that said, adding openly gay scouts to the mix seems as if it would open up whole new areas of liability. Cub Scouts are closely supervised by leaders and parents, but Boy Scouts camp with minimal adult oversight. The concept is to teach the boys leadership skills with as little interference from the adults as possible. The older boys (patrol leaders etc.) lead the younger scouts in setting up camp, cooking, and other camp activities. The adults have their own camp set up near the boys' but not right on top of them. While I'm supportive of alternative lifestyles, I wouldn't feel comfortable sending my son out for a week long camp with openly gay scouts any more than I would if it was co-ed. It just isn't the right environment for that mix. I guess you could mandate that there is enough adult supervision to prevent fraternization, but then it isn't scouting anymore because the boys aren't learning to function independently. If you try to segregate the gay scouts away from the "straight" scouts then you're treating them differently (gonna get sued!). If you segregate and have more than one gay scout and they share a tent, how would that be different than boys and girls sleeping in the same tent? At least you wouldn't have to worry about pregnancy I guess.
Its a tough call for BSA, and it seems like a no-win scenario. Leaving it up to the individual Councils sounds like liability mitigation to me, but I don't have a better alternative for them. Scouting is a program that can really enrich a boy's life and teach skills and provide memories and friendships that last a lifetime. I'd hate to see those opportunities disappear because a small group of people want it "their way" or no way at all.
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