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View Diary: I sent my Eagle Scout badges back yesterday (93 comments)

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  •  You are upholding the values of Scouting (8+ / 0-)

    You're brave in the face of cowardice and reprehensible pandering.  BSA is beholden to the LDS Church at this point, because they've told BSA if the gay exclusions are dropped, LDS will pull every one of their kids and their troops out of the program.

    HALF of all Boy Scout troops are LDS.  That is not a misprint or a wild speculation.  The typical LDS troop is smaller than the average, but they do account for HALF of all Boy Scout troops (does not include the Cub Scouts).

    Proof:

    From Scouting in LDS:
    At the end of 2010, the Church’s use of Scouting included:
    142,085 Cub Scouts in 10,345 packs
    205,990 Boy Scouts in 19,285 troops
    64,645 Venturers in 8,298 crews
    2011 Year-End Units/Groups
    Packs 45,962 -3.07%
    Troops 39,392 -1.88%
    Teams 8,461 0.81%
    Crews 17,853 -5.54%

    Total Scout Units 111,668 -2.89%
    Posts 5,267 -5.91%
    Total Units/Posts 116,935 -3.03%

    Note that troops are Boy Scout units.  The LDS troops (19,285) were essentially half of all troops (39,392).  LDS Cub Scouts are 23% of all packs (10,345 of 45,962).  LDS crews are almost half of all Venture Scout units (8,298 of 17,853).

    Note: I can't find 2010 numbers.  I looked.

    Anyway, now you see why BSA is completely stuck.  The world has changed and they can't, or they die immediately.

    In capitalist America, bank robs you!

    by madhaus on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 04:56:40 PM PDT

    •  the early 90's when I was a Unit Commissioner (8+ / 0-)

      it was only about 25% LDS.  Went through the background check and the training to spot "inappropriate" conduct (in the wake of some scandals!!) and became disillusioned with the leadership at that time that seemed to be accepting donations  and then simply selling off land.

      I'm absolutely disgusted at their attempt to 'own the high ground' regarding Religion and Sexual orientation, but I also recognize their financial irregularities and susceptibility to the LDS Church.  (At Philmont we had one [elect] LDS camper 'attached' to our group.  I was the poor unfortunate soul that was stuck with him.)  

      The point is that through bad management of finances (funny, there's a required merit badge called 'Personal Finance') they needed a bailout from the LDS and that has colored their behavior since.

      It's only a matter of time before their implosion.

      I've been considering the manner in which I could cause the greatest effect by returning my eagle medal for quite some time.  The other letters on http://eaglebadges.tumblr.com/ have struck me and brought back many memories and shown stark differences between the 70's and today.

      These leaders are simply not worthy of respect.  The organization isn't what it was intended to be by Baden Powell.  As I received my Eagle Letter from President Jimmy Carter (also an Eagle Scout), I plan to write him because of all of us, he and a number of Astronaut-Eagles have the standing to make the greatest impact for meaningful change.

      I salute you Adam.

      Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
      I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
      —Spike Milligan

      by polecat on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 08:55:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  yow, what part of being morally straight does (0+ / 0-)

      Polygamy exemplify, even retrospectively?

      "I'll press your flesh, you dimwitted sumbitch! " -Pappy O'Daniel

      by jakewaters on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 10:11:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Fair summary of the effect of money (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mark Noel, madhaus, Ginny in CO, polecat

      The comment above summarizes the core issue facing the national Boy Scout organization - do you accept the money and support of your largest current partners despite their insistence on maintaining an immoral status quo and as a result remain in existence, or do you bravely do the right thing, change policies to ones your existing partners cannot tolerate, and probably cease to exist as a consequence?

      The numbers above for LDS sound about right, but it’s not just the LDS.  The Catholic church and the Methodists together represent about a third of BSA membership, and both have said to the BSA national board that they will disband their units if the BSA changes its policies.  

      I am an Eagle Scout, and a member of a council board that is actively struggling with a way to get the national organization out of this mess.  By active I mean we discuss this at every single meeting, and we have the ear of several national board members and national staff members.  They know what we think, and we know from them that this is far from a settled issue or monolithic position of the national board.

      I have chosen, as have many others who feel this policy is wrong, to continue to work to fix the problem rather than to quit.  We're not silent within the organization and we're not ignored.  The members of the national board don't all agree with the current policy.  

      I don't want to fault or belittle those who have exercised their conscience by quitting or sending in their badges.  Several have described how hard it was for them.  I've considered quitting many times.  Those of us still in the organization probably share the opinion (or fault if you choose to see it that way) that we care for the good things that Scouts can offer.  We don't want to kill it, sick as it might be, and we're think we can fix it if we keep working while personally living with the contradictions to our values.

      I've always thought that when BSA saw people voting with their feet and not signing up, they would realize that they would have to change.  Recently I've begin to see some more dramatic effects.  I've seen significant local and national board members resigning specifically over anti-gay policies.  There are corporate donors saying they been struggling for years to justify donating to Scouts to their employees and shareholders, and now are just going to stop donating.  I think (hope!) that relatively soon the exodus of people, the donation pressure, and the continued demands from those within the organization will cause some change.  I hope it comes and I know it can't come soon enough for you or me.

      •  External pressure won't do it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        polecat

        By now, I'm convinced that external pressure won't change the BSA's national leadership in Texas.  They've dug in their heels and feel like they're taking a heroic stand against outside nefarious outside influences.  

        You can see this all the time in the way they frame the issue in terms of LGBT people or non-theists wanting to enter into the program rather than kids hitting adolescence and wanting to not get kicked out, or outside groups wanting to "change" scouting rather than make an already successful program available to everyone.

        Plus, from a practical standpoint, what's the cost/benefit analysis look like?  Stand firm and suffer some bad PR, some declining membership, and reduced funding.  Change, and have the LDS and Catholic church totally pull out (and probably a lot of the Methodist units, too), resulting in an immediate collapse. It's a no-brainer. Once there's a constituency inside the BSA that can rival the membership and funding from the LDS and Catholic churches, the calculus will change.

        So we've got to find ways to keep people engaged with the BSA so that there's some leverage, but also in a way that provides meaningful opposition to the policies and also creates "safe space" for the scouts put at risk by these membership policies.  Damage control, essentially, until the permanent fixes can be put in place.  That's the idea behind the Inclusive Scouting Award I linked to earlier.  The Inclusive Scouting Network is sending the patches out for free to any active scout or scouter who promises to sew it onto their uniforms.  The good news is that they're currently swamped with new orders.

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