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View Diary: UPS no longer delivers support to Boy Scouts of America (156 comments)

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  •  The BSA not only says that gay (7+ / 0-)

    males can't be recipients of their fine morals and character building organization, but that atheist/agnostic young men and leaders are to be shun from their ranks also.

    Can't have morals if you're gay, can't have morals if you don't believe in fairy tales and gods.

    All in all, a fine organization. And now it's one worthy of our contempt.

    By the way, where are the parents of the kids in all this? What parent would put their kid in an organization that teaches only some of the world can be taught to be good moral citizens while at the same time, covers up crimes?  Oh wait... there's another organization with the same problems....

    •  Parents are mixed. (6+ / 0-)

      There are lots of parents who decline to enroll their kids in the org over this. Which clearly is a fine choice to make.

      But, if change ever comes, it will come from the grassroots up, and that will require progressive parents and Scouts to continue pushing from below for change.

      So, I wouldn't presume all parents involved are quietly going along to get along. Many are working hard to drag BSA into the 21st century, kicking and screaming all the way.

      And Zach Wahls and his team needs them to cover his back.

      Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

      by Scott Wooledge on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 01:12:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My husband and I, and some friends of ours, met (4+ / 0-)

        with 2 local troop leaders after I complained about a Boy Scout recruiting email posted on the PTA listserve. The PTA president (a terrific guy), invited us to his house to talk about the issues.
        The 2 troop leaders shared our values on sexual orientation but are devoted to scouting. They have a written statement for their troop saying they will not discriminate based on sexual orientation or religious views.
        However, they admitted that they survive by flying under the radar. They also brought with them a local Cub Scout leader who is lesbian. She grew up in a scouting family and wants her sons to have that experience.
        I disagree with them -- after all, their dues help support the bigoted national structure of Boy Scouts, but I respect them for their commitment to the kids. And I do think that the more troops like them there are, the more likely there will be change in the organization.
        But the bottom line for me is always: if the national organization said no African Americans or Jews were welcome, would people like these troop leaders make the same choices they've made when it comes to sexual orientation? (I actually know they wouldn't since one of the leaders is Jewish!).

        We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

        by Tamar on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 01:41:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have heard lots of troops (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tamar, lirtydies, Cassandra Waites

          do have "DADT" policies, and quietly ignore the national policy.

          Frequently these blow-ups, like the Jennifer Tyrrell story, happen because that had been the case.

          Then one bigoted parent makes a stink usually over nothing, just the knowledge a person is gay, and draws the national board's attention. And the national board sides with the loudmouth bigot.

          And in the case of Tyrrell, and many like hers, the LGBT person actually has the support of the locals who don't agree with banishment and national overrides their wishes.

          In Tyrrell's case at least one regional council member resigned in protest.

          But that's how national wants to play it out. Ignore the local dissent, make them comply.

          Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

          by Scott Wooledge on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 02:09:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  the BSA had the opportunity to allow each troop (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Scott Wooledge, Cassandra Waites

            to make its own choices -- wouldn't have fully resolved the problem, but would certainly have improved things.
            But they chose not to go even that short distance.
            They are truly a despicable group.
            I was just wondering why the Mormon and Catholic churches haven't had the same deleterious effect on the Girl Scouts?

            We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

            by Tamar on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 02:26:53 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I agree. It's true. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Cassandra Waites, Tamar

              There was a proposal to relinquish this policy to the local level, so at least in blue states, and progressive areas, troops could choose their own policy vis a vis LGBT leadership and members.

              But nope.

              Not even that was acceptable to the national board.

              They just couldn't bear the thought of awarding an Eagle to a gay person (though obviously they already have many times).

              Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

              by Scott Wooledge on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 02:30:52 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  The Mormons have their own group for girls (3+ / 0-)

              because the GSUSA is raising up feminists, don't you know.  Also the Girl Scouts didn't have to go hat in hand to the Mormons for financial backing.

          •  A lot of us did DADT (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Scott Wooledge, Cassandra Waites

            Until the SCOTUS decision on Dale.  My troop folded after 52 years of service because our charter wasn't renewed.  Our charter was held by United Church of Christ and UCC filed a friend of the court brief on Dale's behalf.  

            We were asked to sign a letter that, despite our chartering organization's open and affirming policy, that we would adhere to the BSA policy and not admit any gay leaders.  Considering we had 4 boys with gay relatives, who went hiking with us and taught several required merit badges, we refused to sign it and BSA would not let us renew.  

            We knew who our leaders were - they were all related to a kid in the troop - everybody knew everybody else and nobody cared about anybody's orientation (other than the kind that you teach when using a compass).  

            My son is an Eagle Scout, currently lives in Canada, where Scouting is open to all.  He treasures all the memories and experiences, Philmont, OA, working on summer camp staff.  He knows several Eagles who are gay and some OA Vigil Honor guys, too.  Doesn't matter - it's just part of who they are - they are still his brothers who share a love of camping, hiking, the environment, helping others in times of need...

            His aunt is a lesbian and captain in the fire department.  She was one of our first aid and safety counselors.  She was really into hiking and frequently was my second adult on day hikes for the troop.  

            For us, it was all about what we had in common and doing the things we enjoyed with people who felt the same way.  Didn't matter one little bit until SCOTUS ruled in favor of BSA.  Only troops left in my district now are Mormon or Catholic.  We went from over 60 units serving over 3,000 boys (January 2000) to less than 10 units (January 2002).  

            "Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential." - Barack Obama

            by Ricochet67 on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 05:41:44 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Well, one can hope that change can come from (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lirtydies, LilithGardener

        the grassroots up... however, people have been trying to do the same thing with the Catholic church for 2000 years with no luck.  

        Sometimes change comes more quickly when the money dries up.  The only way to do that is to walk out the doors and start your own organization.

      •  You are right - I leave it up to each parent (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Scott Wooledge

        who knows their local troop and how it operates. I suspect there are a lot parents who are quietly working behind the scenes with other like-minded parents, to reject the bigotry and keep all the good stuff.

        Might lead to a split - where the national org has to allow each troop to set their own policy. There may be many steps.

        I say this is one org where walking away is hard for some to do - put enough pressure, and National will cave. Let the religious bigots pull their kids out.

        Go UPS - they are taking an important lead.

    •  FWIW, I spoke to a gay dad (8+ / 0-)

      he and his husband let their 8-year old become a Scout. He was expressing reservations--obviously--but said, "I can't deny my son anything, and he really wanted to join, and loves it."

      I told him I thought he made the right choice.

      Being out parents, who are known and respected by the other parents of kids in the troop (which he assured me was the case) is a form of activism.

      The other troop parents can see that the BSA's policy is bullshit.

      Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

      by Scott Wooledge on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 01:20:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This doesn't address the fact that the whole (0+ / 0-)

        organization is tied by its purse strings to Christian churches, and it discriminates against atheist children and their parents.

        I often think that atheists have the same "coming out of the closet" issues as gays.  I kind of wish that there was some solidarity there too on the part of gay parents.

        •  You're right it doesn't. (3+ / 0-)

          But none of us can live on the grid and lead a perfectly pure existence.

          We've both doubtlessly helped make the Koch Brothers or their oppressive ilk wealthier in countless ways just this week whether we realize it or not.

          It's not like Scout dues are so huge. Most of Scouts money comes from charitable/corporate giving like this.

          Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

          by Scott Wooledge on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 02:12:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Of course there are situations (0+ / 0-)

            that intertwine our funds and support that would take a lot of investigation and unwinding to figure out. But this is not that kind of situation.

            The BSA discriminates against gays and atheists and that discrimination if right there in their policies. They act as an arm of religion too. Plus they have been involved in a rather large cover up of crimes against children. You join them just like you join a church or join a country club. It's not complicated.  If you join an institution that discriminates and covers up crime, you have a simple solution... walk out the doors.   And you certainly can explain to a child who is begging to join this that the institution is immoral and you don't want him exposed to that nor do you want to support it in any way.

      •  Make the policy become a paper tiger - the (0+ / 0-)

        paper gets thinner and thinner with each passing year.

        Let the bigoted troops and parents secede!

    •  I'm an Eagle Scout w/ a 9 month old son... (3+ / 0-)

      ...and I'm very torn about this.

      To be clear, I am NOT torn about the BSA's ridiculous exclusionary and hurtful policies, but I learned a hell of a lot about life (more than from school) from my time in the organization, both as a scout and as an assistant Scoutmaster for a couple years after I got my Eagle.

      I am, however, torn about whether I should go back on my pledge to never expose my son to such an organization.  My original thoughts were that keeping him out was setting an example of how to not support such organizations, but now I'm thinking that organizations like this (i.e., ones that may be worth saving due to their other merits) need changing from the inside.  Maybe that's the better example to set for my son.

      Who knows... maybe it'll be a moot point by the time he's old enough to join.

      "The political system, including elections, is carefully managed to prevent the threat of democracy."  ~Noam Chomsky

      -7.38, -6.97

      by cotasm on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 02:28:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I can only tell you something my son learned (3+ / 0-)

        When he crossed over into Scouts from Cubs, the troop we chose was well known and had a very good reputation in the district.  

        But during our first meeting, while I was in the parents' committee meeting and the scoutmaster was giving his report on the past month's activities, we hear an uproar from the scouts' hall...

        Going outside we find 3 of the new scouts in tears, in the parking lot, including my son.  One of the bigger kids thought it would be funny to scare them by trying to literally run one of them up the flag pole while they were practicing one of their Tenderfoot requirements.  They tore his new uniform pants.  My son was yelling about the scout law and what kind of people said they were scouts but were UNkind, UNfriendly, UNhelpful...

        The scoutmaster sent the 2 instigators home, stripped the SPL of his leadership position and made the rest of them apologize.  But my son just wanted to go home.  He said they ruined his idea of what scouts were all about.  I was heartbroken - he had loved cubs so much and could not wait to be a Boy Scout...

        That night both the scoutmaster and assistant scoutmaster called him.  But he didn't want to go back.  Tuesday nights were sad.  Then, after 3 weeks, he asked me if I had Mr. Bergman's number (the assistant SM).  I did and gave it to him.  He called and they had a fairly long conversation.  

        A few days later he said, I think I want to go to the troop meeting on Tuesday.  I'm like, OK, are you sure?  And he said no, but he had to find out something.

        So we went.  He was welcomed back, warmly, by everybody.  They were working on some plans for a camp out and asked him lots of questions about helping plan some activities for new scouts.  

        I was surprised when he came out of the meeting and said he wanted to keep coming back every Tuesday.  

        And that's when he told me about his conversation with Mr. Bergman.  

        Mr. B. was very sorry about his first experience and he was embarrassed by it.  He told Ryan that he was a good scout, with good instincts and that he was just the kind of scout they wanted in their troop.  

        He didn't want Ryan to be unhappy so he asked him to think about what he thought would make him happy to stay in scouting, or find another outlet.  

        He said, you could do something else, youth sports or something like that - there are lots of good programs.

        You can transfer to another troop and stay in scouting and not have to worry that this troop won't treat you right.

        Or you can come back and help me make this troop better, so that it's a place where other new scouts will want to come and learn and have fun.  

        Stay and make it better.  

        Ryan never forgot that - he did go back and he did make it better.   He participated on many levels and got the troop more involved in district and council events.  He found out about the OA and got involved in that, and got other kids involved in it.  He went to Philmont & NOAC.  He made Eagle, taught all the animal and environmental science badges on summer camp staff.   He joined APhiO in college.  

        And during his thank you speech for Eagle, he thanked Mr. Bergman especially, for opening the door and supporting him when he came back to make it better, and for giving him the courage to come back as a 10-1/2 year old tenderfoot to show those guys he WAS a good scout.  

        He was in college when our troop folded - we weren't allowed to recharter since the United Church of Christ wouldn't sign the letters agreeing to discriminate - we are an open and affirming church, the Dale decision in 2000 was against everything our church believes in.  I know if we were still active, we'd both be fighting these policies, until every boy is allowed to be a scout and every leader who wants to help and is willing to take all the training required for whatever position they want to help fill, is allowed to do so.  

        "Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential." - Barack Obama

        by Ricochet67 on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 06:48:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you! Stories like Ryan's are exactly (0+ / 0-)

          what has driven me to rethink my position!

          "The political system, including elections, is carefully managed to prevent the threat of democracy."  ~Noam Chomsky

          -7.38, -6.97

          by cotasm on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 02:20:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I think it kind of depends (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cotasm

        if your local troop are true believer, party liners, or the kind of troop that doesn't care that much, or is maybe defiant.

        Way back in Michigan in the 70s and 80s, I wouldn't have even known BSA was "Christian." We really didn't go in on all that. We just hiked, and camped and skiied and fished, etc.

        I'd say keep the idea open. If he wants to join, the two of you can talk about it. It might be a good opportunity for a lesson about diversity and inclusion, too. See what he thinks about inclusive and exclusive groups?

        Usually kids have pleasantly surprising things to say.

        Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

        by Scott Wooledge on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 09:03:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I counseled depending on your local troop (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cotasm

        because, as a child, the national policy won't really impact your son--unless the troop is filled with true believers.

        (Or if your son eventually turns out to be gay, then, well, who know? Could be heartbreak, could be a necessary learning and growth life experience. Lots of gay men have happy memories of Scouts, so it wouldn't necessarily be a bad environment.)

        If you get to know, and observe, the troop you can probably get a sense pretty quick if the individual troop is going to be the sort of influence you want on your son, or not.

        You'll see if they are the kind of people you want to trust to mold your son. You could have a conversation with the leaders too. You could find it's run by parents who, like you, disagree with the national policy. You might be surprised.

        Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

        by Scott Wooledge on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 09:11:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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