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Where have we heard this before? An organization known for hierarchy, homophobia, and a self-presumption of moral and religious superiority is revealed to have a long history of protecting sexual predators and covering up their crimes.

Last month, the Boy Scouts of America were found liable in a case of sexual abuse that is being compared to the scandal that is rocking the Catholic Church. As reported by The Oregonian:

A Multnomah County Circuit Court jury found this morning that the Boy Scouts were negligent and awarded non-economic damages of $1.4 million to a man who was sexually abused as a Scout in the 1980s.

The jury then went on to award the plaintiff, Kerry Lewis (no relation), $18.5 million in punitive damages. The Scouts will appeal, and are attempting to distance themselves from the man who committed the abuse. The problem is that they weren't distanced. The Scouts knew they had a sexual predator in their midst, and didn't prevent him from having access to potential victims.

As explained by the Associated Press:

A former assistant Scoutmaster, Timur Dykes, acknowledged in early 1983 that he had abused 17 Boy Scouts.

But despite the admission to a bishop for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which sponsored the Scout troop, Dykes continued to associate with Lewis and other Scouts. Lewis' parents did not learn the truth about Dykes until a police officer made a routine traffic stop during a camping trip and discovered that Dykes had a record, and arrested him in front of Lewis and other boys.

The Mormon church won't be required to make any payments, because it already reached a settlement with Lewis. But this is about much more than this single case. In a separate article, The Oregonian's Aimee Green writes:

Legal experts say Tuesday's verdict against the Boy Scouts by an Oregon jury could have a snowball effect in much the same way high-profile molestation suits against the Roman Catholic Church had early on.

They say the $1.4 million verdict could spur more former Scouts who were victims of sexual abuse to file suits.

Others who suffered such abuse now know there is precedent for their cases to be heard and taken seriously, and for justice to be served.

Although the Boy Scouts of America has been sued at least 60 times since the mid-1980s, no other Scout sex abuse trial has garnered such intense scrutiny coast to coast and had such potential to damage the Boy Scouts' brand, said Patrick Boyle, the leading national expert on the issue and the author of "Scout's Honor: Sexual Abuse in America's Most Trusted Institution."

This may be but the tip of the iceberg. The article says most such lawsuits have been settled out of court, and that obviously contributed to what Boyle says has been the Boy Scouts' success in keeping such cases largely out of the spotlight; but that now could change. Perhaps the biggest news reported in the article is that the Scouts have kept confidential files of such cases, while this was possibly only the second time ever that a jury got to see them.

Lewis' attorneys, Kelly Clark  and Paul Mones, argued that the Scouts repeatedly failed to warn parents and boys even though the files -- dating to at least 1925 -- prove the organization knew it had a problem.

Another Oregonian article, by Green:

The Scouts, Clark said in opening statements, knew it had  pedophiles in its organization yet allowed Dykes and others to continue to associate with its members. He held up file folder after file folder from Boy Scout headquarters that he said proves the organization knew of at least 1,000 suspected child molesters from 1965 to 1985.

"Those decisions led naturally, predictably and foreseeably to the abuse of boys like" my client, he said.

The Scouts claimed it was a larger, societal problem that wasn't specific to the Scouts. In other words, everyone's doing it, so why blame us?

And in another article by The Oregonian's Green, the comparison to the Catholic Church scandal becomes even more explicit:

The files offer an exceptionally rare glimpse into the Scouts' inner workings -- showing that the Scouts themselves knew the organization had attracted scores of pedophiles, and providing ammunition to critics who see the Scouts as discriminatory because of their antipathy toward gays and those who don't profess belief in God.

And one former Scout employee, reading about the Lewis case on the Internet, used his own money to come to Portland, so he could testify about similar examples of the Scouts covering up similar crimes.

The bottom line, as reported by The Oregonian's Lynne Terry:

A specialist on sex abuse told a Portland jury Wednesday that the Boy Scouts of America knew more than any other organization about offenders within their own ranks but failed to inform parents -- or go to law enforcement -- to prevent more boys from being abused.

"They realized they had a problem, and they created a system to deal with it," said Gary Schoener, a certified psychologist in Minnesota who has advised churches and other nonprofits nationwide about the abuse of authority. "You don't create a system if you don't have a problem."

And that system was similar to the system devised by the Catholic Church: cover up the crimes, protect the criminals, and allow more innocents to be victimized.

Last week, The Oregonian's Les Zaitz and Nicole Dungca got access to some of the secret files:

Secret files obtained by The Oregonian from 1971 to 1991 contain no record that Scout leaders alerted authorities to adults suspected of child abuse in at least 11 instances in Oregon.

In all, 46 people were booted from Scouting in Oregon in those years, most based on police or media reports of suspected or proven cases of child molestation.

Scout leaders insist they take appropriate measures to protect children.

Appropriate measures apparently usually meaning to ignore the crimes and protect the criminals until the police or media find out, at which point the Scouts finally expel the perpetrators. As explained by one of the jurors in the Lewis case:

"We were trying to send a message," said Margaret Ormsbee, one of the jurors. "It seemed to most of us they were putting their PR and reputation above children's safety."

A reputation for moral rectitude that now proves to be institutionalized moral turpitude. The Scouts did create a program that was supposedly designed to protect kids from sexual abuse. But it was voluntary. And no records were kept. And they've never bothered to assess how much it is used or if it works. In other words, it was a false front.

With The Oregonian so thoroughly investigating this story, the Scouts did schedule an interview, requesting written questions that they said they would answer. But a day before the interview was supposed to take place, the Scouts canceled both it and the written response. Instead, they gave The Oregonian a statement of their own version of events. Oregon Scout executives were similarly opaque.

Another Oregonian article, by Zaitz and Dungca, found more evidence that the Scouts just didn't care to deal with the problem:

The Scouts ignored their own experts' advice to study and learn from thousands of confidential files on abusers.

They seemed to think that by continuing to pretend the problem doesn't exist, it will just go away. At least in the legal sense.

"They never said once that 'We have a problem,'" said Margaret Ormsbee, one of the jurors. "It felt to jurors that maybe they weren't taking this seriously."

The Scouts face another ten lawsuits, just in Oregon. And they told The Oregonian, on Thursday, that they will begin requiring that any adults who will be around Scouts must attend youth protection training. Which is good. But for it to take this lawsuit and these public revelations to motivate the Scouts to take this step is a bit odd, given the organization's pretense of valuing discipline and responsibility.

"The biggest thing is that even in 2010, things were not mandatory," said Ormsbee. "Even after 60, 70, 80 years of kids being abused, it's still not strictly mandatory."

The Scouts have extensive records dating back to the 1920s. Thousands of files. They claim that opening the files would have a negative effect on efforts to protect youth. Which, given their long history of not protecting youth, is a transparent excuse. The only negative effect they really fear is what will happen to their own reputation. What deserves to happen to their reputation. What likely will happen to their reputation, as the Lewis case inspires more lawsuits to go forward. And if they won't willingly open those thousands of files to the public, some legal entity should force them to do so. The names of innocent victims can be redacted.

"We saw a lot of cases from the '60s and '70s where they were reported as abusers. In the 1990s, they're still there," Ormsbee said. "We're wondering why they were not kicked out."

There's no wonder at all. Self-righteous hierarchical organizations that institutionalize bigotry often deem themselves above the normal rules, not to mention the law. And lots of people suffer for it.

In closing, it's worth noting that many people have gotten great value out of Scouting, and there are members of this blog community who would not be the wonderful people they are, if not for the positive role Scouting played in their youthful development. But there is a rot at the core of Scouting. Establishing mandatory programs that will better protect children is a good step. But it is far from being enough.

The Scouts need to figure out what it is about their culture that allowed them to systematically ignore such horrendous behavior, and to protect the perpetrators rather than the victims. For decades.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:02 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Turkan used to write like this (17+ / 0-)

    :)

    The crooks are leaving have left office, unprosecuted and scot-free fully funded, thanks SCOTUS.

    by BentLiberal on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:03:57 PM PDT

  •  The Courts have no business... (26+ / 0-)

    telling the Boy Scouts they can't molest their members.

    If you don't want your son molested, don't let him join the Boy Scouts.

    </Rand Paul>

  •  I was a Girl Scout for many years. (28+ / 0-)

    I loved it. The Boy Scouts are radically different from the Girl Scouts. They are acting just like the Church at the moment.

    •  very different organizations (25+ / 0-)

      i may be wrong, but as i understand it, girl scouts don't discriminate the way the boy scouts do. and then there's the cookies...

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:13:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  true but there are people out there (6+ / 0-)

        saying all kinds of horrible stuff about the Girl SCouts too, that they are promoting lesbianism, that they are communist, etc.  One of my troop parents sent me this article the other day wondering what my take on it was because she'd been accosted when promoting girl scouts at a public event.

        Linky

        A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

        by k8dd8d on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:38:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  basically, people will destroy anything (5+ / 0-)

          if it promotes their agenda.

          not meant to say that's what's happening with BSA.

          A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

          by k8dd8d on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:40:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  world net daily? (6+ / 0-)

          people reading that site get what they ask for...

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:40:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  World Net Daily? (5+ / 0-)

          They're the perfect example of "some would say..."

          I don't know of any substantial phenomenon of people claiming any such thing about the Girl Scouts. You might as well be worrying about what they're saying over on stormfront.

          •  well, a parent in my troop (5+ / 0-)

            was working a recruitment table at a secular homeschool group's resource fair, and had someone walk up to her and BLAST her about GS and lesbians and all kinds of other shit she'd never heard of, so it's out there somewhere.  She was so distraught, she went looking for a source and found this, so at least she could explain where this lady was coming front when she gave her an earful.

            A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

            by k8dd8d on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:49:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Crazy people all over the place. (7+ / 0-)

              I hear ya. I'm just saying I wouldn't be too worried about the Girl Scouts taking a hit any time soon because a bunch of nuts somewhere think some nutty things about it.

              •  well, there's that and the little fact (8+ / 0-)

                that we don't molest the girls :-)

                A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

                by k8dd8d on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:54:02 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Ouch. (4+ / 0-)

                  Neither do Boy Scouts. The national organization has consistently and purposefully fucked this up, but many troops and councils have done an incredible job of protecting their scouts.

                  If only the BSA could just give all this idiocy up and become more like the Girl Scouts... seems so obvious.

                  •  I know that, but unfortunately, one (5+ / 0-)

                    drop of ink taints the whole pool, and thousands of files of cases that have not been handled properly, really hurts their reputation.

                    Yes, there are a lot of people doing incredible things with and for kids.

                    But there are those who are not.  We had a very poor experience in Cub Scouts, not due to molestation, but due to some adults who felt the whole purpose of their kids being in scouting was so they could party after every meeting.  When my son started equating scouting with "staying up late and having adult beverages", we realized we had a problem and we moved to another den.

                    Where we had a leader who did NOTHING.  Planned nothing, followed through on nothing, communicated nothing.

                    But I know people who have had fabulous experiences.  It's really about KNOWING who your kids are involved and spending time with.

                    And being involved.

                    Funny story, the local little league website has a complaint department icon on their home page.  When you click on it, you get a volunteer application.

                    Too many people think youth organizations are convenient drop offs and baby sitting.  Kids get more out of it if more adults are involved.

                    A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

                    by k8dd8d on Sun May 30, 2010 at 09:13:15 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I still remember the Assistant Scoutmaster... (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Donkey Hotey, k8dd8d

                      who attempted to suggest the adult leaders ought to have wine on campouts.

                      He was laughed out of the room. Unbelievable what some people think is acceptable.

                      •  I've been on many a GS campout (5+ / 0-)

                        where I would have loved to have had a glass of wine after they FINALLY go to sleep.  But I would never actually do it, if for no other reason, the fact that I am morally and legally responsible for the beasties until I hand them back at the end of the weekend.  If something happened, someone got sick or hurt, I couldn't live with it.

                        A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

                        by k8dd8d on Sun May 30, 2010 at 09:26:11 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  thank FSM there's no rule against coffee (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          2020adam

                          for Cub Scout / Webelos den leaders ....

                          and whoever decided the adults ought to drink bug juice too needs to have his head examined (she said flatly).

                          Texas is NO Bush League! LBJ, Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees -7.50,-5.59

                          by BlackSheep1 on Sun May 30, 2010 at 10:39:42 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  Boy Scout leaders do drink on camp outs (0+ / 0-)

                        Girl Scouts never allow it.

                        Good thing we've still got politics in Texas -- finest form of free entertainment ever invented.- Molly Ivins

                        by loblolly on Mon May 31, 2010 at 05:28:08 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Not in our Pack. (0+ / 0-)

                          Absolutely forbidden. No leader worth his salt bends that rule.

                          No matter how cynical I get, it's just never enough to keep up. -- Lily Tomlin

                          by frostyinPA on Mon May 31, 2010 at 11:53:14 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  I believe you're incorrect. (0+ / 0-)

                          If any troop is acting otherwise, it's in contravention of a) common sense and b) BSA rules.

                          From the BSA's own website:

                          The Boy Scouts of America prohibits the use of alcoholic beverages and controlled substances at encampments or activities on property owned and/or operated by the Boy Scouts of America, or at any activity involving participation of youth members.

            •  went to the link (0+ / 0-)

              Made me wish I could have persuaded my daughter to be a girl scout.  Great stuff.

        •  I'm fond of the girl scouts because (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          boofdah, neroden, Matt Z, Uberbah

          of their refusal discriminate against gays and lesbians.  The boy scouts are another matter altogether.  
          Some very nice neighbors of ours left a note at our door asking for contributions of canned goods because their son's boy scout troop was collecting food for homeless and hungry families.  Obviously a worthwhile endeavor.  We gave them canned goods but emailed the parents that we had hesitated because of the religious and anti-gay discrimination.  
          These nice neighbors (still perfectly pleasant to us) never said a word in response.   I wonder if the boy scouts refused to accept black children or Jewish children whether the very nice neighbors would continue to ignore the discrimination.  

          If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

          by Tamar on Mon May 31, 2010 at 12:18:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  LDS Church doesn't much like the Girl Scouts (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          neroden, arlene, Uberbah, Keori, prdrums77

          true but there are people out there saying all kinds of horrible stuff about the Girl SCouts too, that they are promoting lesbianism, that they are communist, etc

          .

          The Girl Scouts goals:

          Girl Scouts of the USA is the world’s preeminent organization dedicated solely to girls—all girls—where, in an accepting and nurturing environment, girls build character and skills for success in the real world. In partnership with committed adult volunteers, girls develop qualities that will serve them all their lives, like leadership, strong values, social conscience, and conviction about their own potential and self-worth.

           

          The Girl Scouts goals are in direct opposition to an LDS Church  that wants girls to marry, be subservient to their husbands, and have as many babies as possible.

          Good thing we've still got politics in Texas -- finest form of free entertainment ever invented.- Molly Ivins

          by loblolly on Mon May 31, 2010 at 05:24:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I have a very good friend (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            neroden

            who is Mormon and a GS leader.  Her daughter is in my troop, she is leader for a younger daughter's troop.

            From what we've talked about, the Mormon church has a structure for development of girls, while they use BSA for the development of boys.

            In her case, she was interested in having her girls have other opportunities, and she's brought several other girls from their church into GS.

            This is just one family, one place, but they are very, very involved in LDS, and I think if there was an organizational issue against GS, she wouldn't be doing it.

            A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

            by k8dd8d on Mon May 31, 2010 at 11:56:11 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Testosterone, honey.........n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laurence Lewis

      4% Neanderthal, 95% chimp.

      by exMnLiberal on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:42:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No relationship with each other (5+ / 0-)

      whatsover.  When I did my Girl Scout Leader training I was told that nearly every troupe in my state was sponsored by the LDS church.

      However, the troupe in my neighborhood was totally different, terrific, open-minded, active and had a long history with the local schools.  You can't just all troupes by the actions of some.

      The changes that we've made are the changes we promised. That's what you should expect from a President. Barack Hussein Obama

      by Im nonpartisan on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:18:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  & like the church, bet they'll blame pedophilia (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      karmsy, Commoditize This, prdrums77

      on homosexuals.  They'll use this as justification for firing or refusing to hire gay men to be scout leaders.  It's been the method of anti-gay groups for years -- accuse gay people of wanting to molest children (and then ignore the real pedophiles in their midst).  

      If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

      by Tamar on Mon May 31, 2010 at 12:22:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Mormon Church & Boy Scouts (4+ / 0-)

      the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which sponsored the Scout troop,

      The LDS Church uses Boy Scout troops to convert  boys to the faith, and consequently, the  LDS Church is probably the biggest sponsor of Boy Scouts nationwide. The position of Boy Scout leader is a calling in the church. This means the Bishop of each Stake picks the leader of the troop that the church sponsors.

      Girl Scouts are not affiliated with the LDS Church. My daughters were Girl Scouts when we lived in Utah. I doubt the LDS Church would ever sponsor an organization that helps girls become strong women.

      Good thing we've still got politics in Texas -- finest form of free entertainment ever invented.- Molly Ivins

      by loblolly on Mon May 31, 2010 at 05:18:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I lucked out (0+ / 0-)

      The worst I ever saw was an alcoholic skipper in Sea SCouts.

      "You can't take sex, booze and weekends away from the American people." John K. Hanson, founder, Winnebago

      by hobie1616 on Mon May 31, 2010 at 09:03:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Whew! (6+ / 0-)

    I never got past Tenderfoot. Good thing!

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:10:47 PM PDT

  •  yikes (11+ / 0-)

    I bailed on the Scout thing when I was a couple rungs from the bottom, I didn't like the military-likeness of it. They had us doing calistenics push-ups and jumping jacks at the meetings. My brother cut his hand with an ax while cutting firewood. Nothing else, luckily.

  •  Some years ago I was on a message board (21+ / 0-)

    with a rabid, NARTH-worshiping homophobe.  He had a particular obsession with the Boy Scouts and not wanting any gay person to ever, ever go near them.

    Every time they have a molestation scandal, it's some straight guy, usually married.  

    While they're busy looking under gay people's beds, the molesters walk in the front door.

    I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death; I am not on his payroll. - Edna St. Vincent Millay

    by Tara the Antisocial Social Worker on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:11:51 PM PDT

  •  I'm a proud Eagle scout (19+ / 0-)

    Loved it. I hope this story doesn't discourage parents from allowing their children to participate.

    But there's a lot of things about the leadership that I disagreed with and for the past few years they have been marketing themselves toward more conservative militaristic families- the first creationists I ever met were in my Troop during Astronomy merit badge. I'm concerned that marketing Scouting in this way will hurt them publicly as they alienate people with progressive views on gay rights.

    Civil and productive arguments among citizens are impossible if they take place on alternate planes of reality

    by grinning dog on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:13:26 PM PDT

    •  and atheists (13+ / 0-)

      what does religion have to do with scouting?

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:14:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ask yourself this (4+ / 0-)

        what was the actual social function of scouting?

        We who have been nothing shall be all. This is the final struggle. ~E. Pottier

        by ActivistGuy on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:34:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  when i was in it (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bear83, Uberbah, Egalitare, HylasBrook

          it was mostly about learning to hike and camp.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:44:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I made it to Star Scout... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            neroden, Uberbah

            ..and I had a positive experience. My Black Baptist Church sponsored the first troop I was in, and my scout masters were congregation members and known family friends. I recall it being my first social integration experience as we attended a regional Jamboree at Yorktown and were constantly reminded to be on "our best behavior because we were representing our community."

            But I fully understand that the BSA of recent years is not the organization I used to be in, and my 7-year-old is frustrated that I will not allow him to join the Cub Scouts organized at his school.

            "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." -- Frederick Douglass

            by Egalitare on Mon May 31, 2010 at 03:45:38 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  leadership (7+ / 0-)

          I've been involved in Cub Scouts (briefly, before we figured out it wasn't a fit for us), Girl Scouts (where I've been a leader for 6 years) and Campfire USA (where I am coleader of my younger son's club) and the primary goal of all three is to foster leadership ability in kids.

          It's about process over product, and giving them chances to develop leadership skills.

          A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

          by k8dd8d on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:10:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  put in a plug for Camp FIres (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            neroden, Egalitare

            'cause they take both boys, and girls, together in the same club.

            GSA won't. BSA sorta does with Explorers, but it's high-school-age kids by then.

            Texas is NO Bush League! LBJ, Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees -7.50,-5.59

            by BlackSheep1 on Sun May 30, 2010 at 10:41:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  As stated above by k8dd8d, leadership is (5+ / 0-)

          one function, but self reliance is at the core and original purpose of the organization. They have very similar skill sets since no good leader can properly function without self-reliance.

          Scouting taught me both, and I have been adept at both since early adulthood. I held those leadership positions in scouting and earned an Eagle badge, but the recent hard right turn of the leadership has made me very reticent about introducing my twin sons to it. Their position on gays, and now this, raise my worst suspicions.

          A lot has changed since the 1970s, and the value of scouting--including self-reliance, leadership, and respect of natural resources--may be one of them.

          It's not a campaign anymore, Mr. Obama.

          by huntergeo on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:45:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'd just recommend getting to know... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Laurence Lewis, bear83, huntergeo

            your options before writing anything off. If your local troops are well run, your boys won't be exposed to any of this, and they will be well protected.

            •  That's probably the right approach. I just hate (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Laurence Lewis, 2020adam

              to think that the top of the pile is homophobic and strictly interested in closing off any liability for allowing pedophiles to operate in the organization rather than righting a wrong. I will have some serious consideration before a decision. That said, there's still a strong positive leaning towards scouting based on my experience.

              It's not a campaign anymore, Mr. Obama.

              by huntergeo on Sun May 30, 2010 at 09:00:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I hear ya. Completely. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                huntergeo

                I'm currently deciding whether or not to volunteer with a local troop. My decision isn't made any easier by having moved to Oregon where the trial being discussed happened. I have a vague hope that the local organization has its shit together, but if this legal conflict means anything at the troop level, I just couldn't do it.

              •  huntergeo: check out Camp FIres (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                neroden, Tamar

                as well as Scouts for all kids.

                Texas is NO Bush League! LBJ, Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees -7.50,-5.59

                by BlackSheep1 on Sun May 30, 2010 at 10:42:49 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  also -- think about the fact that your gay (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                neroden, k8dd8d

                neighbor or friend, or the gay teenage son of a friend or family member would not be welcomed by the organization.  Nor would anyone you know who isn't willing to state they believe in god.
                Even if the local troop is different, they are part of a tremendously harmful national structure.

                If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

                by Tamar on Mon May 31, 2010 at 12:39:23 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  except that part of your dues, etc. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              loblolly

              go to the national organization, I believe.  Check it out -- I think that local troops have to support the national organization.
              And then think carefully whether you can justify giving money to such a horrendous national organization.

              If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

              by Tamar on Mon May 31, 2010 at 12:35:27 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I'd just recommend getting to know... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              neroden

              your local whites-only club before writing anything off. If your local club is well run, your boys won't be exposed to any anti-Negro sentiments expressed toward the servants, and they will be well protected.

              Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

              by RandomActsOfReason on Mon May 31, 2010 at 03:18:50 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  A scout is (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Laurence Lewis, bear83, Uberbah, 2020adam

           trustworthy,
           loyal,
           helpful,
           friendly,
           courteous,
           kind,
           obedient,
           cheerful,
           thrifty,
           brave,
           clean, and
           

        reverent.

        Not so much the last one for this former scout, but that's the scout law, anyway. ;~]

        Pretty estimable qualities if formally followed, actually.

        It's not a campaign anymore, Mr. Obama.

        by huntergeo on Sun May 30, 2010 at 09:12:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yep. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          neroden

          And if the upper reaches of the organization can't follow the first (and most important, IMO) two why should we think that the leadership is anything other than a troop (ha!) of hypocrites?

          I earned the Life badge, and have a few friends who stuck it out to Eagle.  I still use some of the skills I learned there to this day, but at this point if I have a son I will not be enrolling him.

          As for reverence, I had issues with that too.  Luckily my scoutmaster let me complete the 'belief in god' test by stating that I believed in life.  To me reverence is important, but it really bothers me that they only formally accept the judeo-christian god as an object of reverence.  Why not revere the natural landscape, or goodness in people?

          Hey, hey, hey, hey-now. Don't be mean; we don't have to be mean, cuz, remember, no matter where you go, there you are. --Buckaroo Banzai

          by glarbl Blarbl on Mon May 31, 2010 at 02:34:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Scouts are not supposed to be atheists (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        neroden

        The Bear Scout (Cubs) handbook says on the back:

        Self
        Family
        Country
        God

        These days you can't get Eagle without a signoff from a religious leader-- it may always have been that way, but I don't recall from my Scout days. Which religion has been immaterial with every troop I've ever been associated with -- I haven't see any push from the Mormons or any fundamentalist Christianists here on the East Coast.

        No matter how cynical I get, it's just never enough to keep up. -- Lily Tomlin

        by frostyinPA on Mon May 31, 2010 at 11:57:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  being homophobic and discriminatory is OK? (6+ / 0-)

      any decent parents should keep their children a long way away from Boy Scouts. Can't you read?

      •  No it's not (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Uberbah, huntergeo

        But there are other ways to resolve such issues. That's similar to the logic that Catholics should not go to church when they disagree with the Vatican about abortion and birth control. Rather than leave it is better for youth and adults to express their displeasure with BSA's discriminatory rules.

        Civil and productive arguments among citizens are impossible if they take place on alternate planes of reality

        by grinning dog on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:07:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Would you give them a similar pass (7+ / 0-)

      if they excluded black kids rather than gays and atheists?  

      •  Mormon Troops Used to (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        polecat, Laurence Lewis, Uberbah

        exclude blacks from even patrol leadership positions. I think this changed in the 1970s in the midst of a lawsuit.

        •  Blacks were excluded from LDS Priesthood (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          neroden, Uberbah

          Every active LDS boy becomes one of the priesthood at age 12; however, blacks were excluded from the LDS priesthood until 1978.

          The Book of Mormon has changed also. It used to say that converts with black skin ( referring to both black and Native Amrican converts) would become  "white and delightsome". Current editions say "pure and delightsome".

          Good thing we've still got politics in Texas -- finest form of free entertainment ever invented.- Molly Ivins

          by loblolly on Mon May 31, 2010 at 05:53:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  That's really a shame (6+ / 0-)

      I'd hate to see scouting go away, at least not the form I remember.

      I haven't followed scouting for years, but I was also a scout once (never made eagle thought).  For us it was all about going out in the woods, learning things and having fun.  It was a very environmentally conscious organization in my day and certainly not what I would call extreme right wing.  

      This really says something about what we've become as a society.  I do think it's more than scouting - it's about the absolute moral and ethical decay we see all around us (and no, I don't mean morals and ethics in the religious sense).

      Die energie der Welt ist constant; die Entropie der welt strebt einem Maximum zu. - Rudolf Clausius, 1865

      by xgy2 on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:28:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good point - (5+ / 0-)

        It was a very environmentally conscious organization in my day and certainly not what I would call extreme right wing.  

        People with extreme conservative religious views seem to be moving into every part of our society.  Like Mormons and the Catholic church that spends millions of dollars to get people to vote against equal rights for gays.

        There's the Jesuit saying - "Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man."  I wouldn't be surprised if hard line religious conservatives have taken over the Boy Scout hierarchy to propagate their conservative religious beliefs.

        An earlier poster asked "What does religion have to do with Boy Scouts?"  and the answer SHOULD BE nothing, instead of "to teach young children to discriminate against gays & non believers."

        Aud, the Deep Minded

        by HylasBrook on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:18:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  another Eagle scout (0+ / 0-)

      hard as it might be to believe, this outlaw was once an Eagle Scout.

      There are problems in the BSA I readily admit. There needs to be a wholesale change in attitude and administration, but they still serve a valuable purpose and have the potential to do good works. I cannot see their dissolution as an answer.

      I can name several humans that have found some early direction in their lives as a result of being a Scout; some fairly recognizable ones and some randomoid run of the mill ordinary joes that got good stuff out of being in the scouts.

      It grieves me that it has become an organization that has aligned itself with the less informed side of the debate of social issues. It grieves me that they have been a haven for fraud and ignorance. I still want to believe that they can be a force for good in this and other countries.

      They are going to pay dearly for their mistakes. I do not have a good feeling about this. It makes me queasy in the belly like the day after a bad drunk.

      Putting on the spectacles of science in expectation of finding an answer to everything looked at signifies inner blindness. -- J(ames) Frank Dobie

      by cactusflinthead on Sun May 30, 2010 at 10:31:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Believe me, their record of anti-gay (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      neroden, Matt Z, RandomActsOfReason

      and religious rigidity has hurt them already.  I don't have sons, but if I did, they would not be allowed to be in the boy scouts -- I don't want any of our money or hard work going to a discriminatory organization.  And that's before this pedophilia scandal.  
      I'm sorry that this must make you feel bad since your experience was so terrific.  But organizations change and so should our support.
      My mother, born, lived and died Jewish, was a big supporter of the Salvation Army.  She was an old-time social worker -- the kind who got food, shelter and medical care for people in need.  She told me that she loved the Salvation Army because she could just call them up, tell them about someone in need, and immediately get help.  Because of that, I always donated money to them.
      But during the Bush years, the S.A. got involved in lobbying and trying to get Congress to allow them to discriminate.  That ended my support for them.

      If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

      by Tamar on Mon May 31, 2010 at 12:33:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  there is something (6+ / 0-)

    about these cloistered hyper-masculine patriachical organiziations that leads to trouble..

    Boy Scouts Priests Military Prison Football..

    Miscogyny power lust and rape culture lay at the root

    In the abscence of women - other men and children are the victims..

    thanks for this Laurence -- i had not realized the  extent of the legal morass here

    "....while there is a soul in prison, I am not free." Eugene V. Debs

    by soothsayer99 on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:14:19 PM PDT

  •  Selling Off Scouting (18+ / 0-)

    The Boy Scouts of America doesn't have $20 million extra to pay damages. The org is going to have to sell assets, probably scout campground areas. That were probably donated by people or the government to be used by boys to learn the scouting ways of the outdoors. Probably bought by loggers, some oil corp, etc.

    The Boy Scouts will have both helped molest boys, and have used them to feed wilderness to corporate exploitation. What a travesty.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:15:09 PM PDT

  •  the Mormons need to open up too (16+ / 0-)

    I'd like to see the LDS church which is also very sex obsessed and homophobic reveal their own secrets. It seems they also covered some things up but settled to keep it all secret.

    But despite the admission to a bishop for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which sponsored the Scout troop, Dykes continued to associate with Lewis and other Scouts. Lewis' parents did not learn the truth about Dykes until a police officer made a routine traffic stop during a camping trip and discovered that Dykes had a record, and arrested him in front of Lewis and other boys.

    The Mormon church won't be required to make any payments, because it already reached a settlement with Lewis.

  •  Well They Claim to Prepare Boys for Success In (7+ / 0-)

    leadership in American society. More and more I'm tempted to say, they've got a point.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:16:20 PM PDT

  •  As an Eagle Scout (10+ / 0-)

    I appreciate this comment

    In closing, it's worth noting that many people have gotten great value out of Scouting, and there are members of this blog community who would not be the wonderful people they are, if not for the positive role Scouting played in their youthful development.

    My son in now in Scouts, and his Troop and leaders are great. The training leaders get now is outstanding, and I think at least here in Minnesota the Boy Scouts are going to great lengths to prevent any problems. I know that kids cannot be alone with an adult, etc.

    Are there problems in scouting? For sure. However, this Kossack still thinks the advantages are worth any potential issues (and I have not encountered one problem in my former troop and my son's current troop.

    While I understand the sentiments of this diary, the Boy Scout-bashing too frequent a theme here at dKos.

    •  different troops (8+ / 0-)

      clearly deal with things differently. but the problem comes from the very top, and needs to be dealt with there.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:19:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Leadership Training comes from the Council (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        polecat, frostyinPA, Uberbah, beemerr, 2020adam

        and is required by the National BSA. So, this does come from the top.

        This is not decided troop-by-troop. All adults involved at any level in Scouting MUST now have appropriate leadership training or they cannot interact with the scouts or serve on the troop committee.

        I do not see anything in the articles that suggests any problems with abuse in the last 20 years. The quote that this training is not mandatory is wrong.

        Can we be sure there are no problems now? No, that's not possible in an organization of millions. However, I do think Scouting as been actively working to clean up its act. In this way, their pro-active approach is the opposite of the Catholic church, and maybe some credit for this improvement should be recognized.

        •  the requirement (0+ / 0-)

          is very new. the jurors said the training was a good program, but it had been voluntary. meanwhile, the top of the chain has been keeping these secret files, and has been complicit in abusers not being exposed and taken to the law.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:42:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  mndan, YPT was mandatory in '94 and (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          frostyinPA

          later in West Texas.

          We also had the two-adult rule: no adult alone with any youth member. If you were in camp, you did not share a tent with a child not your own.

          Texas is NO Bush League! LBJ, Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees -7.50,-5.59

          by BlackSheep1 on Sun May 30, 2010 at 10:48:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  "clean up its act" except when it comes to (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          arlene, RandomActsOfReason

          discrimination, which they have been "actively working" to promote.  
          If your child were black and the national organization of boy scouts openly discriminated against black children, would you have similarly nice things to say?  Organizations that clearly discriminate against people on the basis of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religion do not deserve support.  Period.

          If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

          by Tamar on Mon May 31, 2010 at 12:47:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The National BSA bars gays and atheists (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          neroden

          You support that, and implicitly send the message to your son that it is ok, as long as it isn't happening right in front of his eyes.

          Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

          by RandomActsOfReason on Mon May 31, 2010 at 03:24:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  but if your son was gay? (6+ / 0-)

      would you also let him join the KKK if he was white? Same thing imo. You're saying to just over look their homophobia.

      •  Catholic Charities does great work. (11+ / 0-)

        But would I ever give to them?  Hell no.  Homophobes, by definition, are bigots, no matter how helpful they may be in other areas.  Shit, Hizbullah has a great social outreach arm that does real good for people in need.

        "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you can succeed." -Nancy Pelosi, 6/29/07.

        by nailbender on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:26:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  So no one should join the military? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        polecat, Uberbah

        With DADT, that would follow with your logic.

        So, yes, I do overlook the homophobia of the Scouts. I agree that it's a problem, and we (my wife and I) have gay friends, and I am sure he's accepting.

        Tolerance applies at many levels. Being prejudiced about Boy Scouts because they do not fit your idea of a perfect organization is no better than the Scouts stance on gays.

        •  No one should be tolerant of intolerance. (11+ / 0-)

          The Boys Scouts have refused -- and have gone to court -- to continue to exlude atheists and gays from a well-known,popular organization that has served as an important source of learning and socialization for young boys.

          Being excluded from such an organization for who someone is as a person is a painful rejection.

          We can acknowledge the good the Scouts have done, but that is no reason to give them a pass for intolerance.

          Aud, the Deep Minded

          by HylasBrook on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:30:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  would like to rec this comment many times (4+ / 0-)

            A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

            by k8dd8d on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:41:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I think that the Boy Scout homophobia is a (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Laurence Lewis, HylasBrook

            reflection of the popularly held belief that homosexuality equals pedophilia which while not usually true, is a belief that many people have.  Were the Boy Scouts to welcome homosexuals, I think that that the national organization thinks it would be the death knell to Scouting due to the fear among the general populace that their strait kids would be converted to "the gay" by their homosexual fellow Scouts, or Scout leaders.

            And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

            by MrJersey on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:46:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I don't think there's any use... (5+ / 0-)

              in attempting to deduce the 'logic' being used by the national organization. Maybe it's person beliefs. Maybe it's strong financial pressure from LDS. Who knows.

            •  And the logic for barring atheists? (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              neroden, Matt Z, HylasBrook

              Stop rationalizing bigotry.

              Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

              by RandomActsOfReason on Mon May 31, 2010 at 03:28:58 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Last part of the Scout Law (0+ / 0-)

                ... a scout is Reverent.

                Scout motto: "On my honor, I will do my best, to do my duty, to God and my country."

                No way around it, the organization is founded on principles of believing in God. Any spiritual inclination will do.

                Mind you, not believing didn't stop me from being an Eagle Scout and a Cubmaster, however. I figured live and let live. No one at the local level really cared that much.

                No matter how cynical I get, it's just never enough to keep up. -- Lily Tomlin

                by frostyinPA on Mon May 31, 2010 at 02:33:33 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  So, lived a lie so you could use my tax dollars (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  neroden

                  to help perpetuate illegal discrimination and bigotry.

                  Thanks!

                  And, of course, you did it in order to personallky benefit in many ways - from the fact that Eagle Scouts are automatically hired for federal jobs at a higher starting rate than others - including those of us who had the integrity not to lie to gain advantage from an illegal discrimination racket, to the fact that many private employers favor Eagle Scouts over other candidates - foolishly thinking you learned honesty and integrity, rather than how to lie and prevaricate in order to gain personal advantage.

                  It is interesting to me that those who defend the merit of the Scouts the most tend to be those who lied about their sexuality or atheism in order to fit in. (If you deny lying, I challenge you to write to the National BSA and tell them you are, and were, an atheist. Let's see how quickly they take that Eagle Scout status away from you.

                  Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                  by RandomActsOfReason on Mon May 31, 2010 at 05:41:40 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Is this true? (0+ / 0-)

                    from the fact that Eagle Scouts are automatically hired for federal jobs at a higher starting rate than others

                    If so, I blew it years ago by never mentioning the fact that I was a Eagle Scout when applying for government jobs.  Since only men can become Eagle Scouts, wouldn't a rule like that be considered sex discrimination?

                    And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

                    by MrJersey on Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 08:15:43 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  HylasBrook: it's that outright (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            HylasBrook

            combative exclusion that's new, afaik.

            Kids who weren't churched used to be welcome in BSA troops in West Texas. Some churches hereabouts used it as their youth outreach program (the UMC is one such). But ... it wasn't a place where you evangelized. Kids could be in the troop and not the church.

            That's changing, now, sadly.

            Texas is NO Bush League! LBJ, Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees -7.50,-5.59

            by BlackSheep1 on Sun May 30, 2010 at 10:50:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Kids who "weren't churched" not equal atheists (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              HylasBrook

              Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

              by RandomActsOfReason on Mon May 31, 2010 at 03:29:54 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  no, that's not what I mean -- they (0+ / 0-)

                might be atheists or agnostics, but more likely they just weren't members at the church. I made a point of never asking about church affiliation or religion with the kids.

                Texas is NO Bush League! LBJ, Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees -7.50,-5.59

                by BlackSheep1 on Mon May 31, 2010 at 09:12:18 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You sound like someone saying (0+ / 0-)

                  if their skin were pale enough, you'd let them pass as Whites in a Whites-only club - and patting yourself on the back for being tolerant and "defying" the national policy.

                  Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                  by RandomActsOfReason on Mon May 31, 2010 at 10:05:35 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Nope. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    BlackSheep1, neroden

                    More like hearing that your club is run by a whites-only organization, but your chapter doesn't give a shit and admits red, yellow, black, brown, and no one cares.

                    You just don't get how far removed the national BSA is from the daily running of troops and packs.

                    Not that I'm defending national, they sound like real pricks and I'm sorry it's turned that way since I was a kid.

                    No matter how cynical I get, it's just never enough to keep up. -- Lily Tomlin

                    by frostyinPA on Mon May 31, 2010 at 02:36:50 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  here's the deal: we met in a UMC building (0+ / 0-)

                      and we had a member of the UMC congregation as our chartered organization representative on our troop committee. They did not charge us rent for the building (although if we made a mess or broke something we were expected to clean up / make it right). They did not demand we restrict Pack / Troop membership to church members. They supported the Pack and Troop by providing a place to meet, a place to store equipment, and adult volunteers to assist with transporting kids, gear, and so on.

                      The church officially recognized that this was a youth outreach mission. My part of that was to try to make the kids in the Pack / Troop feel welcome in the Pack / Troop regardless whether they were a member of that church, some other church, or no church at all.
                      Is that more clear?

                      In other words, I wasn't recruiting for the church. I was trying to help the kids have fun and reach their Scouting objectives.

                      Texas is NO Bush League! LBJ, Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees -7.50,-5.59

                      by BlackSheep1 on Mon May 31, 2010 at 04:13:03 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

        •  I have a gay daughter and I'm (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          neroden, RandomActsOfReason

          not accepting at all.  
          No, it's not acceptable to discriminate.
          And the military is changing in the right direction much more rapidly than the boy scouts.

          If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

          by Tamar on Mon May 31, 2010 at 12:48:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  And you ignore the atheophobia (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cacamp

          Atheists are barred from the Scouts, too.

          I'm sure some of your best friends are atheists, too.

          And you call condemnation of an organization that officially bars gays and atheists "prejudiced"? And you equate those who reject discrimination and bigotry to discriminating bigots?

          Shame on you.

          Seems you do more than overlook the homophobia, and ignore the atheophobia. Seems you actually defend it.

          Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

          by RandomActsOfReason on Mon May 31, 2010 at 03:27:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No one answers my question about US military (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wildweasels, Uberbah

            According to your standards, no one should join the US military, as DADT is essentially the same as the BSA policy? Please tell me the difference in these situations.

            So, yes, on a local level, I have no problem with Scouts. Could the national policy and administration be better?- probably. However,  Scouts gave me, and now gives my son the opportunity to learn about the beauty of the outdoors, how to get along with others, be a leader, and do service to the community. Whatever mistaken national policies should not take away from these opportunities.

            No one here discusses that for each rank advancement, a scout must do many hours of community service. To be an Eagle Scout, the scout must design and lead a service project.

            As far as "atheophobia"- a scout is reverent is the 12th part of the Boy Scout Law. Can be interpreted in many ways. Personally, I am atheist, and we go to a UU church- no one has a problem with this.

            Scout-bashing seems to be an easy target here when you narrowly focus on a couple issues that I also disagree with. However, you need to be able to understand that some people scouts (like the military) is more positive than negative.

            •  "Narrow issues" (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cacamp

              I see.

              Excluding Negroes - would that be a "narrow issue"?

              As for your own claimed atheism - is your son an atheist?

              I challenge you to write a letter to the National BSA stated that you are an atheist, and were an atheist during your time as a Scout, and that your son, a current atheist, is a Scout.

              Then, write a diary here about the response. I look forward to seeing just how "narrow" the issue is.

              You sound like someone who defended the John Birch Society because your local chapter was nice to the Negro servants.

              At least Robert Byrd has the integrity to denounce his membership in bigoted organizations in his youth. You tout the fact - of course, you do so anonymously in a comment buried deep on a blog few Scout officials are likely to read.

              Go ahead - write the national leadership telling them your son is an atheist, and that you were one as a Scout.

              Let's see if it is a "narrow issue" that "no one has a problem with".

              Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

              by RandomActsOfReason on Mon May 31, 2010 at 10:04:27 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I am sorry- you seem to be the only one here (0+ / 0-)

                who has a problem.

                Why don't you go back to insulting Muslims, as in your previous diary.

                I did not know BSA excludes blacks- it doesn't. So, why do you keep bringing up this nonsensical argument.

                How much community service have you done this month? Helped clean a park, worked on a food drive, worked with disabled?

                My son is actually working on his Disabilities awareness merit badge. Seems like a good program to me. Do you know another good way to get teenagers working on things like this?

                Overall, I think scouts does lots of good for both the scout and the community. If you don't like it, then stay away. I am done with your nonsense and insults.

                •  your son is learning homophobia (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  RandomActsOfReason

                  from the scouts and you. happy?

                  •  More insults? (0+ / 0-)

                    I don't think you have the faintest notion about my family, so bud out.

                    The point of this diary was not to insult other Kossacks- so please don't do so.

                    •  you insult gays but (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      RandomActsOfReason

                      think it's too much to tell you the truth? Think man, you're protecting homophobia and religious intolerance, think. You're teaching those ugly values to your son in the process, try to THINK about what you're doing.

                      •  Sorry I'm with mndan on this. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        mndan

                        No one in any Scout organization I've ever been associated with has exhibited any more or less homophobia than the rest of US society. Nowhere in scouts do they "teach" the values of homophobia and religious intolerance. Nowhere. You're setting up a strawman that doesn't exist just for the sheer joy of knocking it down.

                        No matter how cynical I get, it's just never enough to keep up. -- Lily Tomlin

                        by frostyinPA on Mon May 31, 2010 at 02:59:09 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Are gays barred from restaurants? (0+ / 0-)

                          Are gays barred from movie theaters? From clothing shops?

                          "no more or less homophobia than the rest of US society - really, THAT is your defense?

                          From the way you are contorting yourself, it is pretty clear that, deep down inside, you know you are defending the indefensible, rather than face up to your own responsibility for helping to perpetuate hateful bigotry - which, until very recently, was conducted unconstitutionally on the public payroll, using my tax money.

                          Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                          by RandomActsOfReason on Mon May 31, 2010 at 05:27:26 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Well, since you're not listening to me (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            mndan

                            Nowhere in scouts do they "teach" the values of homophobia and religious intolerance. Nowhere.

                            And you're not listening to any of the commenters with experience as Scout leaders, I will take my leave of this discussion. Have a nice evening.

                            No matter how cynical I get, it's just never enough to keep up. -- Lily Tomlin

                            by frostyinPA on Mon May 31, 2010 at 05:38:16 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  By barring gays and atheists, they teach it (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            neroden

                            it is an implicit lesson, transferred through modeling - one of the most powerful ways to influence children's values.

                            In contrast, by publicly outing yourself to the national office, you stand up for honesty and integrity, and provide a positive model for young people to look up to.

                            You're taking leave of the discussion because it is confronting you with uncomfortable truths and your complicity in helping to perpetuate an unjust system.

                            I'll have a nice evening when atheist boys and homosexual boys are included in the Boy Scouts.

                            And, when the Boy Scouts refunds millions of dollars of US taxes that they illegally used for discrimination while accepting government monetary and in-kind aid.

                            Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                            by RandomActsOfReason on Mon May 31, 2010 at 08:20:04 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Thanks for the support. (0+ / 0-)

                            There is no reasoning with some people here at dKos.

                            A Scout is:...friendly, courteous, kind...cheerful...

                            For me, this debate/argument has caused me to look more at the Scout Law. Really 12 good points to follow.

                            Unfortunately, not true for all Kossacks.

                          •  If you're digging back into the Scout Law ... (0+ / 0-)

                            You might be interested in a diary I wrote a couple of years ago:

                            This (Bush) administration has violated all 12 of the Scout Laws

                            It's a little dated, but still true.

                            No matter how cynical I get, it's just never enough to keep up. -- Lily Tomlin

                            by frostyinPA on Wed Jun 02, 2010 at 05:16:24 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                •  Ad hominems are no substitute for (0+ / 0-)

                  substantive debate.

                  Typically, when someone runs out of defenses for what is essentially indefensible, they resort to attacking the messenger. At least, people who lack the maturity to simply admit error or the integrity to stand up for principle.

                  Then, with no apparent sense of irony or self-awareness, they typically complain about insults, after hurling an array of personal ones.

                  Thanks for meeting the stereotype to a T.

                  Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                  by RandomActsOfReason on Mon May 31, 2010 at 05:25:29 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  You used my tax money as a Scout (0+ / 0-)

                  in a program that explicitly, and illegally, excluded me and people like me.

                  I suppose you respond the same way to the misconduct of the Bush administration- by denial and by saying, "if you don't like it,  then stay away".

                  Ironic that you open your comment with a personal insult, and close it whining about being insulted.

                  If this is the morality and ethical code taught to you and your son by the Scouts, then it is worse than I thought - not only are you helping to perpetuate and prop up bigotry and injustice, you are apparently taught - and teaching your son - to justify and rationalize and defend it, when it benefits you.

                  Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                  by RandomActsOfReason on Mon May 31, 2010 at 05:30:15 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  millions are fighting the military (0+ / 0-)

              where have you been, mars? People are chaining themselves to the WH fence, others are refusing to serve, Congress is rife with infighting and Obama has called for an end to the discrimination.

              People have given the scouts a fucking pass they don't deserve. Your "scout bashing" meme is wrong on many counts but understandable from someone so unaware of what happening on earth.

              •  Glad the military is trying to change (0+ / 0-)

                However, by your standards, no one can join the military since they currently don't allow homosexuals.

                •  "shouldn't" is the better word (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  neroden

                  you just refuse to admit you understand it but excuse the homophobia. sad

                •  I can respect people who join for the money. (0+ / 0-)

                  Or who join because they genuinely think their country is under attack and needs to be defended RIGHT NOW (they're insane, but respectable).

                  People should not join the US military; its bigotry has more dimensions than just DADT.

                  They still have legal quotas restricting enlistment of women (illegal elsewhere for generations).

                  Probably largely as a result, they have a really nasty rape culture and routinely fail to enforce their own rules to prevent sexual assault.

                  -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                  by neroden on Mon May 31, 2010 at 09:48:43 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  So, if the official BSA (0+ / 0-)

      banned Negroes from membership, you'd still be ok with it, as long as your son has a nice Troop leader and all?

      After all, they get some great training - like how discrimination against gays and atheists ain't no big deal.

      Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

      by RandomActsOfReason on Mon May 31, 2010 at 03:23:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm a former Cub Scout (6+ / 0-)

    and yet, this story is a jawdropper.  Unless the Scouts do something--and not just cosmetic stuff either--this might end up worse than the Catholic molestation scandal.  1925???  Holy crap ...

    GOP=Grand Obstructionist Party

    by Christian Dem in NC on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:17:37 PM PDT

  •  Mormon Church Is Connected How? (5+ / 0-)

    But despite the admission to a bishop for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which sponsored the Scout troop, Dykes continued to associate with Lewis and other Scouts.

    [...]

    The Mormon church won't be required to make any payments, because it already reached a settlement with Lewis.

    How does the church "sponsor" the troop? I was a Boy Scout, and though we met in a VFW hall, the VFW didn't "sponsor" the troop. Our Cub Scout troop met in a church, but the church didn't sponsor it. The troops just rented those public meeting halls.

    What is the actual connection to the Mormon Church? Why did the bishop get an admission, and what liability did the church have once the bishop had that admission, for which it settled out of court? Was it some kind of holy confession, the kind that I thought (like I see on TV about Catholic confessionals) was protected by law?

    The role of the Mormon Church in this is a mystery to me. But if it's making settlements, it must be important. What is it?

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:18:52 PM PDT

    •  the bishop was told (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Swordsmith, mamabigdog, soothsayer99

      and didn't report it, and didn't do anything to remove the abuser from having access to kids. i don't know about confessions in the mormon church, but as i understand it, if someone confesses a serious crime, it has to be reported.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:21:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is state law in Oregon (6+ / 0-)

        that if a mandatory reporter knows of a crime committed against a child, you have a responsibility to report it.  Fines and jail time can follow if it is discovered that a mandatory reporter failed to uphold that responsibility.  

        Who are mandatory reporters? Medical personnel: Physicians, psychiatrists, surgeons, residents, interns, dentists, dentist hygienists, medical examiners, pathologists, osteopaths, coroners, Christian Science practitioners, chiropractors, podiatrists, optometrists, naturopathic physicians, registered and licensed practical nurses, emergency medical technicians, substance abuse treatment personnel, hospital administrators and other personnel involved in the examination, care or treatment of patients.

        School and child care personnel: Teachers, school personnel, educational advocates assigned to a child pursuant to the School Code, truant officers, directors and staff assistants of day care centers and nursery schools.

        Public employees: Members of the Legislative Assembly, employees of the State Commission on Children and Families, the Child Care Division of the Employment Department, the Oregon Youth Authority, a county health department, a community mental health and developmental disabilities program, a county juvenile department, and all DHS employees.

        Law Enforcement: Truant officers, probation officers, law enforcement officers, and field personnel of the Department of Corrections.

        Others: Psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, licensed professional counselors, licensed marriage and family therapists, members of the clergy, attorneys, firefighters, court appointed special advocates, registered or certified child care providers, and foster care providers and their employees.

    •  All Scout troops must be "sponsored" (5+ / 0-)

      Some are sponsored by local organizations, others by local churches. I don't know the numbers, but a fair number are sponsored by the mormon church. My troop was sponsored by the local catholic church but had no relationship otherwise - we didn't even use their building. For many troops, it's simply a question of signing the charter forms every once in a while, nothing more.

      •  's called a Chartering Organization (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Donkey Hotey, 2020adam

        and it can be a school, a civic club, a PTA / PTO (yeah, in Texas PTA still scares some schools because once up on a time the McCarthyites claimed a PTA was a communist front, so they call 'em PTOs and don't allow 'em to benefit from the national organization ... go figure!), a church, sometimes it's a business (like a little league team).

        Texas is NO Bush League! LBJ, Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees -7.50,-5.59

        by BlackSheep1 on Sun May 30, 2010 at 10:53:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The LDS church was the "Chartering Organization" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DocGonzo, Donkey Hotey

      Every BSA unit (pack, troop, etc.) has a "chartering organization". In most cases, as in your case, there's very little connection or interaction between the chartering organization and the pack/troop. In most cases, unless you are on the pack committee you wouldn't know who your C.O. is.

      But the C.O. does (technically) appoint the leadership of the unit and, I guess, in some sense is responsible for how things are run, along with the district, council and national BSA leadership.

      With the LDS, however, there is a very tight connection and integration. From what I understand, the LDS pretty much has it's own parallel scouting structure, with LDS scouts in (basically) LDS-only troops.

      So, in this case, the local church was very intimately involved in the situation.

      For better or worse, the LDS in this case decided very early on to settle with the accuser, thus they weren't a party to the lawsuit.

      This Oregon case is a tragic situation all around. I have two sons in scouting and I am a Cub Scout den leader myself and it makes me really mad to hear about the crap that went on in this case.

      I really hope the national BSA org gets its act together pronto to fix anything that still needs fixing with regard to  protecting children. And to echo what others have said above, the groups that I have been involved with have been vigilant about enforcing the Child Protection best practices that are REQUIRED for anyone working with children in scouting.

  •  Did they have a file on Alec Baldwin (0+ / 0-)

    You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

    by Cartoon Peril on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:19:45 PM PDT

  •  I pulled my youngest son out of scouting (16+ / 0-)

    after, during a parent's meeting, one of the scout leaders (who was also a middle school counselor) went spouting off about keeping gays out of teaching positions.  The conflation of gays with pedophiles is at the crux of not only the mental disease that is homophobia, but also of the propensity for these self-righteous orgs to look the other way when members of their guidance staff are caught with their hands down childrens' pants.

    I wouldn't be surprised in the least if I found out that that scout leader in my son's troup was himself a predator.  That's the way it often is with the ones who are the most evangelical about "protecting" children in their charge from gays.

    I hope this escalates to the point that Scouting disentegrates and something actually healthy (ie, gender and orientation neutral, less emphasis on formulaic "achievements", and much less militariistic) takes it's place.

    "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you can succeed." -Nancy Pelosi, 6/29/07.

    by nailbender on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:21:34 PM PDT

  •  the Mormon church is the real area to investigate (8+ / 0-)

    I had a Mormon roommate years ago who was looking at kiddie porn on my computer.  I told the leader of his church because the guy seemed to me like he was trying to associate with children.  Anyway, from what I heard from other Mormons at the time, their church basically has a vast industry of psychiatrists set up to council members and cover up sex addictions and crimes.  Their main goal seems to be making sure no one finds out.

    My personal belief is that the more you try to sublimate sexuality like the Mormon church councils unmarried members to do, the more often it comes out in ways that are considered abnormal or perverse.  Basically, if everything is considered wrong then people stop distinguishing between normal activities and stuff that is really out there.  I don't have any evidence of that other than hearsay though.

  •  What is this rigid hierarchy of which you speak? (4+ / 0-)

    I understand the idea with the Catholic Church - every single priest is responsible to the pope himself and the entire hierarchy under him. The Boy Scouts is nothing like that. While some local councils may still have issues with sexual abuse, others do have substantial training and reporting requirements both for adult leaders and youth.

    I think you misread the Scouts if you believe the entire organization functions as a monolith, with every Scoutmaster getting a weekly communique from high command or something.

    •  i never said it was that rigid (3+ / 0-)

      but it does have a militaristic type hierarchy. and it's not just some local councils. the organization itself has thousands of files.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:37:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't really agree with that. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        polecat, bear83, Dragon5616

        In many troops, parents can volunteer and change its direction quite easily. And if a troop simply doesn't work for them or their scout, many towns have a number of different troops with potentially vastly different leadership styles that are not dictated by any militaristic hierarchy. Additionally, it's worth noting that in most troops, youth leaders have a very direct role in how their troop is run.

        I think it's absolutely worth highlighting the plain old insanity that is the national organization - they clearly make bad choices, whether because of their own misguided values or pressure from the LDS. But I'd still like to know what you mean by "militaristic type hierarchy".

        •  it's based on military-type ranking (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Donkey Hotey

          complete with uniforms and ribbons and badges.

          this case was not just about the lds association. there are ten more cases pending, in oregon; but the secret files make clear that this is a massive problem, across the country.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:47:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not arguing that there is no problem. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mndan, polecat, bear83, Dragon5616

            Far from it. But badges and ribbons (and, yes, uniforms) do not make a militaristic hierarchy. Scouts learn about good citizenship and stewardship of the earth every day while wearing that uniform.

            I'm really not disagreeing with the point that the national organization is a mess, and that individual councils across the country have had problems that the national organization was more than happy to help keep under wraps.

            But I just don't think you're supporting the claim that this says something about every Troop, the way that the Catholic Church's abuse very clearly has to do with every single parish.

            •  i agree that it's not every troop (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Tamar, Donkey Hotey

              and i never claimed otherwise. i'm also assuming that not every catholic parish has been involved in their abuse scandals.

              The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

              by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:55:34 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm sorry, I just feel like you're being... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                polecat

                a bit evasive with me. I know you're not saying that every troop is raping kids, and I know you didn't use the term "rigid" hierarchy. We're totally clear on that. I'm not trying to put words in your mouth, I promise.

                I just think you're mistaken about the nature of the organization's 'hierarchy', and I'm trying to help correct that. The idea that every parish is connected to the scandal makes sense because of a very rigid hierarchy within the catholic church. If a pedophile shows up in the until-now untainted local parish, things will not end well. The hierarchical nature of the organization ensures that. Well intentioned priests or bishops are obviously no match for a system more interested in excommunicating rogue humanitarian nuns than punishing and removing rapists.

                That is quite simply not the case in the Boy Scouts. If a troop in your town has in place the necessary safeguards (as many troops do), scouts will be actively encouraged to speak freely to parents and troop leaders if they ever feel unsafe. If a pedophile is found, the troop can and will report them to the police and remove them from the organization. That is all within the power of a well-run local organization.

                Do you kinda see the distinction I'm trying to make here?

                •  i don't (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  2020adam

                  because there have been catholic parishes that dealt appropriately with abusers. the catholic church is as rigid a hierarchy as exists, and yet despite its long history of a variety of crimes and abuses, it also has a long history of internal dissent. which, of course, often is suppressed. but it does exist.

                  The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                  by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:17:33 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Fair enough, (0+ / 0-)

                    but it kind of seems like you're hoping to make our discussion moot by claiming the reference point we happen to be using - the Church - is less rigid in its hierarchy than we know it to be. I think it's worth noting that you haven't really defended the original claim that I was arguing against. But if you're just not interested in discussing the point, I can move on.

                    •  i haven't misread it (0+ / 0-)

                      i've been addressing it- not every troop is involved, and it's not as if there were directives from above to protect abusers. but when abuse did happen, those troops that chose to cover it up were protected, from above. the national organization has been compiling these files, for decades, chose not to address it, and therefor is complicit. the juror i quoted for the title of this post could not have made a more succinct summation.

                      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                      by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:28:48 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Yea, we've agreed on that. (0+ / 0-)

                        I've been incredibly clear that you and I agree on that.

                        I disagree on focusing on the organization as being particularly hierarchical. That's just about it.

                        •  ah (0+ / 0-)

                          well, it depends how you define hierarchy. but organizations within organizations, and a specific hierarchy of uniformed rankings is pretty hierarchical, in my book.

                          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                          by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:42:59 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Girl Scouts have uniforms. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Laurence Lewis

                            And if we're talking about achieving ranks (which they do in the Girl Scouts as well), then yes, the Boy Scouts does happen to reward incremental progress towards a goal with the bestowing of 'ranks', just as many organizations do in one way or another.

                          •  yeah (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            2020adam

                            hierarchy isn't inherently bad, in my book. but when you add the bigotry and religious self-righteousness, hierarchy compounds the problems.

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 30, 2010 at 09:07:51 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Okay. I guess I'm just not clear on what... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Laurence Lewis

                            you mean by hierarchy here, since it rests on simple things like uniforms and incremental achievements entitled 'ranks'.

                          •  Girl Scouts DO NOT achieve ranks (6+ / 0-)

                            it's not a part of the program.

                            The levels, such as brownie, cadette, etc are based only on their grade in school.

                            Girls can choose to earn specific awards.

                            I noticed this difference when I first got involved.  In Cub Scouts you have to DO something to belong, to achieve a rank.  In Girl SCouts, you get to belong from DAY 1, and then you get to try lots of new things.

                            A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

                            by k8dd8d on Sun May 30, 2010 at 09:20:21 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Hm. Yea, I guess I totally forgot about that. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            k8dd8d

                            Apologies. I don't think there's anything especially hierarchical or non-inclusive about the rank system though. Especially early on, the ranks are basics like tying knots and building a safe campfire. Later, the rank system encourages otherwise quiet scouts to take on leadership roles and do service in the community.

                            But it's definitely a significant distinction worth making, so thank you for pointing out the error.

                          •  it can certainly by non-inclusive for kids (3+ / 0-)

                            who have developmental disabilities, or who are not physically as adept as other kids.  Anything that requires you to do something to belong, by definition, would be non-inclusive for a kid with social anxiety, or lots of other things.

                            In theory, scouting should help kids with these sorts of issues, but IMO a rank system that makes them of a lower status if they haven't accomplished what someone else is able to do could defeat that purpose.

                            I have a girl in my troop who was adopted out of a foster home, and the first few times we used pocketknives, I noticed she was having a difficult time.  When I discussed it with her parents, I found out that she had some occupational issues with small motor control that was related to some abuse she had suffered prior to removal from her birth parents.  If she had to earn a whittle chip or rank involving knife safety, she couldn't have done it and so would have been excluded when in fact, it was an opportunity to HELP her rather that tear her down.

                            Once I knew, I backed up and tried some other methods, and gradually, she has become proficient (after a lot of bandaids).

                            A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

                            by k8dd8d on Sun May 30, 2010 at 09:40:19 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  IIRC, there are alternatives for scouts... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            k8dd8d

                            physically unable to complete requirements. As for personal barriers (and I don't mean that in a derogatory manner) to advancement, a supportive adult and youth leadership should have absolutely no problem helping each individual scout make their way through the ranks. I had incredible personal help with any number of merit badges and rank requirements during my time as a scout, sometimes advancing faster than others, and other times taking a much more 'leisurely' pace.

                          •  Yes, I'm sure there are ways to work with it (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            2020adam

                            but on the surface, I was disagreeing with your assertion that it was not non-inclusive.

                            A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

                            by k8dd8d on Sun May 30, 2010 at 10:08:46 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  At least for Cub Scouts... (0+ / 0-)

                            ... the requirement for advancement is "Do Your Best" and the person who is supposed to sign off on the achievement is the boy's parent. A sign-off is not questioned by any of the leaders.

                            A little different and more rigorouse for Boy Scouts, I admit.

                            No matter how cynical I get, it's just never enough to keep up. -- Lily Tomlin

                            by frostyinPA on Mon May 31, 2010 at 03:06:52 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

    •  I was in a scout troop (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      neroden

      sponsored by our local Catholic Church (parish) in NYC.

      There had been some sort of scandal with a previous scoutmaster.  That's all my little ears heard back then.  The current scout leaders talked about among themselves it with winks and nods.

      I convinced my parents to let me quit after a year or so because of the proto-militarist and sadistic aspects.  The favorite joke by the leaders was about "playing kick the can on the overnight [hike]," where boys would have to bend over and be booted as punishment for whatever infraction they were accused of by the leaders.

      It was a bullying male culture, seemingly preparing us working class males for later military life.  It was not kind, trustworthy or brave.  Mostly sadistic.

      •  Welll that's pathetic. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        neroden

        I don't really understand why any adult (or, it seems, group of adults) intent on physically abusing children would join an organization meant to turn young men into good citizens and leaders. Did they think physically abusing you and your friends would somehow turn you all into good stewards of the earth?

  •  If you can (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis, soothsayer99

    view the two hour video "Stewards of Children" available throught the Darkness to Light organization.  It gives adults the skills to protect their children.

  •  Sadly, not a new story..... (7+ / 0-)

    see

    http://www.postregister.com/...

    Scouting can be a great thing for boys BUT BSA has abrogated its responsiblities.  Instead of dealing with this and other problems, they cover up and pretend all is well, attacking those that call them on such horrid behavior.

    BSA sold its soul to the LDS and other conservative religious groups to make up for falling membership in the 1970's......  Too often their pairing with LDS has been a real disaster - with untrained leaders, abuse and serious injuries to boys.  

    However - ANY parent that blindly puts their child in the care of ANYONE - Scout Leader, Clegyman or ANYONE else should have their head examined.  I say this as someone who has been involved in Scouting for well over a decade.

    •  Amen. (4+ / 0-)

      Be an active parent! If your troop is not one of the many that insists on basics like mandatory Scout and Scouter abuse prevention training, and the three-person rule, either work like crazy to get the rules changed or get your kid out of there. The BSA has totally fucked this up - as with other central issues. But there are many individual troops and councils that have gone down a much better path.

  •  If memory serves me right (3+ / 0-)

    most Scouts that were sexually abused were abused by other Scouts.

    We who have been nothing shall be all. This is the final struggle. ~E. Pottier

    by ActivistGuy on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:30:01 PM PDT

    •  This is true (4+ / 0-)

      BSA Youth Protection Training stresses ways to look out for signs of such abuse.

      I haven't forgotten The Path to 9/11, Disney. You're still dead to me.

      by beemerr on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:52:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  When I was in the Boy Scouts, we had (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      neroden

      a senior guy, an "Explorer" scout, who was all of sixteen or seventeen, who made all of us 6th and 7th graders take off all of our clothes at a summer camp and run laps.

      We thought it was part of the militaristic tradition of humiliating those not in power.  At that age, it was an embarrassment to have to do that, but I never thought there might be sexual motives involved.

      For all I know, this Explorer scout had us do that so he could pick out which guy he was going to abuse.  I'll never know, but it is scary to think about.

  •  We do 'protective training' (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis

    in my diocese.  In fact, a whole industry exploded on the scene in the wake of the Church scandals. It always rankles that someone is making some big bucks off the suffering of children.  The 'training' we receive is mostly online, and always rather, well, silly.  There is a lot of gallows humor among us about how it could train people to avoid detection or to develop their skills to groom kids for abuse.  We have to joke about it, otherwise we'd be crying a lot.  :-(

    Now and then, a few of us will sit down and try to figure out what could possibly make people do that, but we never get much beyond the "Ewww!" point.  It just not compute in a 'normal' mind...

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:33:08 PM PDT

  •  Rotting from the top? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis

    How is the national leadership of the Boy Scouts selected? Who do they report to, who exercises any oversight of them? When was the last time their books were opened up to an outside audit? There's a real lack of transparency here.

    Something that's been happening for years is consolidation of local councils into larger and larger units. Where decades ago the next level up from troops and troop committees was a lot more local, the current trend has made that level a lot more remote from the local scout leaders - and less responsive.

    There's a sense that the national leadership has an agenda that is not quite in line with the needs, goals, and traditions of Scouting or scouts.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:35:07 PM PDT

  •  The scouts have been a right wing haven (9+ / 0-)

    for years. I was a scout in the early 60's and we were told that Bob Newhart was a communist. I made the mistake of disagreeing with the political views, and the next time I had completed the requirements for a merit badge I was told I was lying and was kicked out. I never forgot that--it taught me a very important lesson about ideologues. They will lie and dishonor anyone, even children, who disagrees with them. So I am not surprised that they will also condone abuse.

    Once one has given up all pretense of honor and fairness, hypocrisy and lies are the only road left open.

    Yes we did, yes we will. President Obama

    by marketgeek on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:36:51 PM PDT

    •  I guess it depends on where and when you were (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laurence Lewis, wmholt, k8dd8d

      a Boy Scout.  I was an Eagle Scout in the early 1960's in the northeast and never heard anything like that.  The Boy Scouts back then were sort of a mainstream organization reflecting the generally concervative 1950's God and Country values that were predominant in the late Eisenhower society.  I still have my Eagle Scout card because it was ceremonial signed by the honorary head of the Boy Scouts of the time, the President of the United States, JRK.  

      And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

      by MrJersey on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:53:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They always barred gays and atheists. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        neroden

        Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

        by RandomActsOfReason on Mon May 31, 2010 at 03:31:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I got all of my requirements done for my (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        neroden

        Eagle merit badge in the late 1960's, except for my community service project.  I went to Philmont for a month or so, and it was a growing experience to have to depend on yourself in the wilderness.

        Except for one experience, I think that the scouts were pretty main-stream during my time.  I didn't know any conservatives except for some of the scout masters.  I just attributed that to the military-like nature of the organization.

        Congratulations to you on becoming an Eagle scout.  I wish that I had stuck with it a little longer, but playing football and dating girls seemed a far more pressing issue.

  •  I've said it before in comments-- (4+ / 0-)

    I'll say it again: the lid is only just coming off this stuff. The sex-abuse scandals in the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts are strictly the tip of the iceberg. Brace yourselves. Soooo much more is going to come out...

    It was an even-handed diary you wrote, giving the Scouts their due, for good programs that have contributed positively to the development of many, including many in this venue.

    You also called out this organization on its lack of ability to police its own ranks, stating that hierarchical, authoritarian organizations appeared to be hotbeds for child sex-abuse. You asked why.

    Thanks.

  •  BSA is more likely to throw out a vocal critic (7+ / 0-)

    than a child abuser.....

    Volunteer leaders that have raised complaints about membership fraud - inflating numbers to boost charitable funding, paid staff misdeeds and more WILL have their membership revoked under the rules put in place to 'protect' boys, while abusers remain protected.

    The upper echelons of paid BSA staff are GROSSLY overpaid - to the point of recurring comment in the non-profit world.  The paid head of BSA collects over $1 million in total compensation - despite declining membership for DECADES.

    The head of 'youth protection' in BSA was arrested for distributing child porn a few years back and was allowed to retire with full benefits while a respected (but closeted gay) leader had to sue for benefits when outed and fired.

    http://www.bsa-discrimination.org/...

  •  An in-depth view of BSA (from the inside) (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    polecat, Laurence Lewis, wmholt
    •  Excellent link (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laurence Lewis, wmholt

      It captures a lot of what I've heard from Scoutmasters who've been turned off by the 'professionals' who treat them as disposable underlings. It seems more and more that Scouting is the victim of a hostile takeover, and is being left a stripped shell.

      "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

      by xaxnar on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:57:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  +4, wish I'd seen it back in January. /nt (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laurence Lewis, wmholt

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

      by polecat on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:05:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  All these male-only institutions rife with abuse (4+ / 0-)

    I guess that's why we can't have gays in the military, right?

    Some people are intolerant, and I CAN'T STAND people like that. -- Tom Lehrer

    by TheCrank on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:46:31 PM PDT

  •  Boy Scouts (5+ / 0-)

    I was a scout in the 50s and 60s and none of my leaders ever acted in an inappropriate manner.  Was it just my area or my time period?

    I was even a Scout father who went on many a camp out. I never saw any inappropriate behavior.

  •  I was a scout (5+ / 0-)

    and my older son is an Eagle Scout. My younger son went through Cub Scouts before deciding to concentrate on baseball.

    My older son joined in 1995. He and his brother both watched a film that the Scouts provided that educated them about pedophiles. If I remember right, the parent had to sign off for the child to see it. It was a good film and was well made.

    There were also rules that adult leaders could not be alone with a child or sleep in a tent with a child unless it was their own child.

    I understand how many in the community feel about the issues of religion and homosexuality as it relates to the Boy Scouts. I am an atheist myself.

    Despite these failings, the experiences I had and my sons had with Scouting were all positive. Religion was rarely emphasized and it was non-denominational and often included Native American belief elements as well. I never really thought much about homosexuality. It was certainly never emphasized either. Most of the leaders were married men and women that I knew personally who had boys involved. If there had been a homosexual leader or scout (and there may have been), neither I or my boys would have objected.

    Also, the troops we were involved with weren't particularly militaristic, either. They did teach some great lessons about teamwork, personal responsibility, and community. They also heavily emphasized respect for the environment.

    I have no regrets regarding my own participation or that of my sons.

    When it comes to Democrats, criticize, don't demonize. As for the GOP, I love Republicans--especially flame-broiled.

    by Dragon5616 on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:48:48 PM PDT

  •  I've been a Scout leader for 10 years (7+ / 0-)

    In both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.  

    Youth Protection Training is required of all of its registered leaders, and must be taken at least once every two years.  Until a few years ago, our local council (Hudson Valley) would overlook whether all leaders were current on their training, current policy is that a unit without all of its leaders trained would be unable to have its annual charter renewed (usually timed in April).

    As far as LDS involvement in this case goes, all Boy Scout units must be "chartered" (or basically owned) by a local organization.  Most charter organizations are churches, though other civic groups also participate.  Moreover, the LDS church has integrated the Scouting curriculum into its own youth programs; they make up the largest category of charter organizations for Boy Scouts, with Catholic churches coming in second.

    As far as BSA's official policies on religion and sexual orientation are concerned, I dissent on both.  I also strongly stress to the scouts who have been under my direction that homophobia and slurs have no place in Scouting (they don't square with the Scout Law).  I would encourage other like-minded parents to get involved and change this organization for the better one troop at a time.

    I haven't forgotten The Path to 9/11, Disney. You're still dead to me.

    by beemerr on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:49:47 PM PDT

  •  You might not like what I have to say... (5+ / 0-)

    As an Eagle scout and a former unit commissioner, first I never saw or knew about anything like this.  What I did see was a rich vs. poor dichotomy where the rich troops were very insular and resisted outside (e.g. District) oversight and at the same time there was very little regard for the troops that had little in the way of resources.  I tried to do something about that.

    The training that I went through to be a unit commissioner was rather extensive, and I believe they also put us through a background check.  Furthermore, we had a number of things to look for in the event of misconduct of one kind or another.  We were there as a safety net -- to catch things before they became systemic.

    Now the diarist would say that the mere existence of people like me -- essentially the Boy Scout's equivalent of "Internal Affairs" -- is proof that there was something to hide.  On the other hand, the purpose is to make as sure as possible that a good environment can be created and maintained that is safe and educational for the boys.

    Do I condone the homophobic anti-atheist crap that comes out of the Mormon wing of the Scouts?  Absolutely not.  And I am not a member of the organization and have not been for more than a decade.  But I've got to say that there is a lot of baby going out with the bathwater around here.

    I would put the Catholic Church in a totally different category -- what they've done is ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE WORSE than anything that the Boy Scouts have done.  And the Scouts have actually tried (and as far as I can tell succeeded!) in fixing the problem.

    Sorry if that doesn't fit the diarist's narrative.

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

    by polecat on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:58:21 PM PDT

    •  and there's no question (0+ / 0-)

      that many troops have clean records. and i'm sure there are some that quietly refuse to enforce some of the institutionalized bigotry. but we will see how big this becomes. thousands of files, dating back decades. ten more cases already pending in oregon. this was the first successful lawsuit. more will come.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:09:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Now, if you want to talk about inner city troops (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        k8dd8d, 2020adam

        and how those kids get an experience VASTLY different than the high-adventure/campfire events that the suburban troops have, that'd be really significant.

        Because while segregation is illegal in public schools, de facto segregation happens all the time in Scouting.

        Those inner city kids are not being well served (IMHO) at all.

        And for your article and responses, you're carefully avoided the question of whether these are isolated incidents and have implied that this is rampant.

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

        by polecat on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:17:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  this particular case (0+ / 0-)

          was not from an inner city troop.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:19:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not my point. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            2020adam

            My point was twofold:

            1. There is some there, there if you'd look into minorities within Scouting. (especially poor)
            1. You have implied that this kind of sexual predation is rife throughout the organization.

            I don't think #2 can be supported, and I've noticed how you've worded everything.  And I'm not happy about it.

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

            by polecat on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:22:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  thousands of files (0+ / 0-)

              how can you ignore thousands of files? how do you define rife?

              The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

              by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:29:55 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  How many scouts have there been since 1925? (0+ / 0-)

                How many Eagle Scouts have walked on the moon?

                And you don't know what is in those files.  Nice bit of innuendo.

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

                by polecat on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:33:38 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  we know what was in the files (0+ / 0-)

                  that the oregonian got to see. we know what the jurors suggested about what they saw. you can define "rife" any way you like. time will tell. the experts quoted by the oregonian seem to think this story is not going away.

                  The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                  by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:37:41 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I expect it won't. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Laurence Lewis, 2020adam

                    And that is a good thing.  But the conclusions you're drawing don't seem to be right.  At least in my opinion and in my experience, which is not inconsiderable.

                    Now, this may have legs in another direction: The Catholic Church.  They've got a problem with children of BOTH sexes and CENTURIES of coverups, all the way up to the present Pope.  In my (highly inconstant) crystal ball, I foresee the Catholic Church taking a hit several orders of magnitude worse than anything that happens to BSA.

                    (Personally, I love to see BSA forced to end the homophobia, but I don't think that will happen until long after DADT is gone.  And the anti-atheist stuff p*sses me off, too.)

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

                    by polecat on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:42:53 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  well... (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      polecat, k8dd8d, 2020adam

                      the church includes member of both genders, and has been around a lot longer. hence, the problems are more widespread, and more endemic. but the church also is a lot more powerful, both in terms of money and history.

                      certainly, if you care about scouting, getting this all out, as quickly and fully as is possible, has to be a good thing. the people involved need to be held accountable, from the top down. then, scouting can assess how it all happened, and a real transformation can begin. which very well might include ending the discrimination.

                      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                      by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:46:32 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

      •  many troops do quietly ignore the bigotry (4+ / 0-)

        and when I asked about the religious piece, I was told that "everyone looks the other way".  At the same time, what is the point of having to lie (I am atheist) to have my son join an organization that is about building character?

        We did Cub Scouts without knowing what we were getting into.  Finished that but didn't move onto to Boy Scouting because of the above.  From time to time my son has regretted not being involved (when the neighbor kids are going out to do fun things) but I remind him they would kick us out if they knew what we believed, and he's old enough now to understand that.

        A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

        by k8dd8d on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:34:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Atheist were barred from day one (0+ / 0-)

      it is part of the original BSA.

      Blaming it all on the Mormons is a cop-out.

      Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

      by RandomActsOfReason on Mon May 31, 2010 at 03:34:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Now, wait a minute... (0+ / 0-)

    ...I'm as disgusted by the church sexual abuse scandal as the next guy, but I would say that "hierarchy, homophobia, and a self-presumption of moral and religious superiority" is not quite a complete or fair description of the Catholic Church; don't forget that they were ahead of many other religious organizations in opposing Bush's war, and that they do a lot of good work with the poor and in inner cities.  Of course, that just makes the whole abuse scandal even sadder, but it doesn't mean the other stuff isn't worth mentioning.  

    The era of "the era of big government is over" is over.

    by lungfish on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:03:29 PM PDT

  •  The religious right and Mormons took over (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis, irishwitch, loblolly

    The religious right took over the Boy Scouts in the 1980's and the Mormons sponsor the largest number of troops and contribute the largest amount of funding to the BSA.

    All the policies against gays, atheists, and non-Christians come from the two groups who control the BSA. Many local councils pay lip service to those policies but a lot more follow them.

    It doesn't surprise me that BSA has a abuse problem and it doesn't surprise me they try to cover it up. That's what they use to do all the time in other children focused activities.

    I don't plan to ever support BSA again until the religious nuts go away so I am not sad they will have to pay large sums to abuse victims.

  •  Please go through you article and wherever (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    polecat, Laurence Lewis

    you have written 'scouts' please correct it to say Boy Scouts.  There are multiple scouting organizations in this country and this should specifically be pointing to BOY SCOUTS (BSA) wherever it is mentioned.

    Thank you.

    A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

    by k8dd8d on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:07:49 PM PDT

  •  Habitat for Humanity had it's moment with (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    arlene

    Millard Fuller.  http://www.washingtonpost.com/...  Another Nobel peace prize recipient spent considerable time and energy trying to keep the lid on Fuller's scandal. Jimmy Carter, dishonoring the women Fuller harassed and humiliated, tried hard to smooth it all over.  Fuller was finally pushed out in 2005.  And, get this, he had a history elsewhere.  Of course.

    •  i'm not sure (0+ / 0-)

      what that has to do with this post.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:13:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I thought we were discussing organizational (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        arlene

        coverups in the service of preserving appearance and privilege.  Generally.  Because the Roman Catholic Church and BSA are not unique in fostering and protecting lousy behavior.  It's just another consistent aspect of human behavior and operative every day in family behavior, to stray even further from your topic.  

        •  Explains Carter's Tonedeafness about Women (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CarolinNJ

          and why his campaign staff had to beg NOW to endorse his re-election.  I was a chapter president at that time.  I wasn't happy about it but I held my nose and went along because the alternative (Reagan) was worst.  Reagan won anyway which is why I don't hold my nose to tolerate and vote for a sexist candidate any more.

          Don't look back, something may be gaining on you. - L. "Satchel" Paige

          by arlene on Mon May 31, 2010 at 07:20:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I remember a cartoon with the line (0+ / 0-)

            "The evil of two lessers," describing the then-presidential candidate choices.  One of those turns you wish you had thought of.  Rightly considered, we make that kind of choice in every election.

            It's always interesting to hear from someone who was there.  Thanks for the comment.  I voted for Carter but I wasn't enthusiastic either time.  I thought Reagan was a creep.  Still do.

  •  A camp for Boy Scouts I once worked at was (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boofdah

    actually run by priests for the most part.  There was one in particular that would round up some of the younger counsellors and serve them wine.  (At the time I was 14 and one of three girls working at the camp headquarters as a clerk).  It was whispered that the priest was gay.  There was something very wrong going on at that camp, I sensed it then but didn't have the words to identify it or the proof to go along with the whispers.  

  •  FWIW, at least some Girl Scout Troops (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    polecat, Laurence Lewis, k8dd8d

    require their troop leaders to undergo background checks. One of my oldest friends is a troop leader outsie Boston, and they ran a background check.

    Geez, even the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) doesn't allow  people with even low-level records of sexual crime to host an event.  They do backgroudn checks!

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:23:19 PM PDT

    •  I'm a GS leader in suburban Seattle (4+ / 0-)

      and until recently, background checks were only required for leaders, asst leaders and cookie managers.  Starting this year, we are to get background checks on every adult who will spend time with the kids, driving, chaperoning, helping at meetings, etc.

      A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

      by k8dd8d on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:29:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  GREAT. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        polecat, Laurence Lewis, k8dd8d

        Even back in 86 in FL you had to have an FBI background check to do anythign with kids--and were requried to take a course on child devt. and spotting abuse if you were a Pre-school teacher or an after-schol program director. Enormously borign because I HAD a minor ine ducation and certification in about six different areas, but still a good idea.

        The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

        by irishwitch on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:45:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  girl scouts are VERY different (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elfling, 417els, k8dd8d, loblolly

      they share a name, but are not related organizations.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:31:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank Goddess. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Laurence Lewis, k8dd8d

        I was a Brownie Drop-out due to terrible troop leader. Left at age 7 and never looked back. Since I laothe camping, I don'tt hink I missed much.

        The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

        by irishwitch on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:43:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  it's not just about camping! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elfling, Laurence Lewis

          and I'm sorry you had a bad leader.

          It's about empowering girls to become leaders.

          The mission of GS is:  Girl Scouts create girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.

          Camping is one small piece, and it's really just a vehicle to build girls up by helping them to be successful and confident.

          A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

          by k8dd8d on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:45:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Admittedly, it's the camping that attracts me (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Laurence Lewis, k8dd8d, loblolly

            the most, but for example, Girl Scouts in the San Francisco Bay area has an amazing range of activities, from camping to kayaking to rock climbing to advanced science to art to cooking to frilly makeovers.

            And, even if you don't have a local troop, there are many ways to participate. You don't have to be part of a troop to go to camp or to the general activities. You can earn badges etc via the Juliette program if you like, sort of an independent study.

            My daughter has been to sleep-away Girl Scout camps for the last few summers, and she comes back so much more of her own person that it amazes me. They do a great job at creating all kinds of opportunities for the girls to try some really amazing things yet in a very safe environment. My 4th grader got to do a ropes course, vaulting on horseback, and learned to handle a llama. I was deeply impressed by the high quality of the instructors they had for each of the specialties - they really knew their stuff.

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Sun May 30, 2010 at 09:43:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think they've done a good job (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Laurence Lewis

              of trying to come up with activities for a wide range of interests and desires.

              For example, if you don't like camping out in the dirt, they have overnights at science museums too...

              Girl Scouts of Northern California Activities

              Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

              by elfling on Sun May 30, 2010 at 09:46:47 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  if you have a chance, you might want to read up (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Laurence Lewis, neroden, loblolly

              on what GS calls the Girl SCout Leadership Experience.

              Basically, it's the idea that all these experiences are the PROCESS by which girls become stronger and better people, who will give back when they grow up.  

              The PRODUCT (ie, camping, rock climbing, frilly makeovers) is not as important as what they learn about themselves and the confidence it gives them.

              The Products are what they enjoy, the fun the girls come for.  The Process is what we as leaders know is happening when they participate in a high quality experience of any kind.

              A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

              by k8dd8d on Sun May 30, 2010 at 09:52:38 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Let me put it this way: (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Laurence Lewis, k8dd8d

            All it did was make me uncomfortable and unhappy.  The first troop I ws in wasn't much better.   I don't feel as if I missed anything.  I stayed away from joing  until I got in sf fandom and the SCA which were much better fits for me. I infinitely prefer drawing  by myself and reading tot he stuff I read about in GS manuals--just not me.

            The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

            by irishwitch on Sun May 30, 2010 at 09:44:45 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's good too (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Laurence Lewis, irishwitch

              Certainly if you're active and productive on your own, you didn't need the structure of Girl Scouting.

              I suspect one of the challenges is in putting together a group of girls, with a good leader, that share enough similar interests in doing activities. But, the GSA structure is very flexible. We talked about putting together a troop out here and they were very receptive to us doing whatever worked as far as age groupings and meeting frequency and the specific programs we wanted to choose from.

              Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

              by elfling on Sun May 30, 2010 at 09:52:13 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  that's the beauty of GS (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Laurence Lewis, irishwitch

                and the challenge is to coordinate a program for a diverse group of girls.  they don't have to share similar interests, but if they don't, it's a lot more work to keep them interested and involved.

                A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

                by k8dd8d on Sun May 30, 2010 at 09:54:04 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  all things are not for all people (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Laurence Lewis, irishwitch

              and I'm glad you found somewhere that you fit.

              A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives ~ Jackie Robinson's epitaph

              by k8dd8d on Sun May 30, 2010 at 09:56:07 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  GS leaders are volunteers (0+ / 0-)

          Some leaders are better than others. Best bet is to get involved yourself as an assistant leader..

          Good thing we've still got politics in Texas -- finest form of free entertainment ever invented.- Molly Ivins

          by loblolly on Mon May 31, 2010 at 07:49:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I was a Brownie & a Girl Scout decades ago. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Laurence Lewis

        All of our Scout leaders were volunteers and mothers of current or former members. Our troop met in the grade school basement kindergarten room & I was never aware of having any kind of sponsor.

        I joined to get to wear a costume (called a uniform), to get to earn badges & sew them onto a diagonal thing that was part of the costume.

        Probably the biggest motivation, though, was getting to make SomMores (sp???) & eating as many as you wanted at Camp Wildwood Summer day camp.

        "Evil is a lack of empathy, a total incapacity to feel with their fellow man." - Capt. Gilbert,Psychiatrist, at the end of Nuremberg trials.

        by 417els on Sun May 30, 2010 at 09:00:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The faster all of this comes out, the better. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis, boofdah

    The Boy Scouts need to be forced - financially, if that's all that will do it - to air all of this dirty laundry and fix their shit. The organization is completely capable of turning around and making all of this right. The sooner it does so, the better it will be able to serve the millions of young men who rely on it.

  •  When I wrote about this subject... (6+ / 0-)

    ...in April, I got the highest honor imaginable: a whiny ass titty baby tantrum from some guy no one's ever heard of at NewsBusters.  The comments are particularly enlightening.

    I got more hate emails from it than anything else I've written. All of them refused to believe I'm an Eagle Scout (Troop 339, Mount Vernon, Ohio---certificate signed by Ronald Reagan), and two of them called me a faggot.  Not unexpectedly (this being a conservative, top-down entity), many in the rank and file (and certainly in the national leadership, which is the entity I was criticizing) close ranks in the face of terrible accusations.  Now those accusations are bearing fruit, and still many keep their heads in the sand.

    It will be interesting to see how all this plays out over the coming months and years.  It ain't over by a longshot.

    -

    I am now a Twiterror. @BillinPortland

    by Bill in Portland Maine on Sun May 30, 2010 at 09:32:20 PM PDT

  •  Well, this sucks. (0+ / 0-)

    Not all scouting units are the same. Ya know?

    I was in scouting in the 80s and did not get molested.

    We did get cool gear. As we were sponsored not by some lame ass church, but by a military unit. We were all military dependents, stationed with our families in the middle of nowhere.

    I know, you're gonna now get your panties in a wad over a government agency sponsoring a private organization.

  •  When one starts off with bigotry and exclusion (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis

    it is not a long road to other ethical compromises and eventually outright criminal behavior.

    A children's organization whose first lesson is "hate atheists and gays, or learn to lie about yourself" has a narrow moral basis upon which to stand.

    Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

    by RandomActsOfReason on Mon May 31, 2010 at 03:15:06 AM PDT

  •  How many of you were involved in Boy Scouts? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    2020adam, JenS, ScienceMan

    I've just got to ask, because even an article like this won't exactly detail all the steps taken by Scouting to make sure Scouts are protected from people within their troop.

    I worked at a Boy Scout camp for six years, and every single year the staff was required to watch a video about protecting the Scouts from pedophiles and other dangers as part of youth protection training.  I had to undergo some form of youth protection training every other year while I've been an assistant scoutmaster with the troop I've been helping out.  We are required to remain "two-deep" around the boys, meaning that there are always two people over the age of 18, making sure nothing inappropriate can happen.

    There are also requirements for the Scouts themselves which teach them how to protect themselves and alert them to dangers.  I know I saw the video that goes along with that every single year for almost 8 years.  I'm not saying that excuses any misconduct by leaders; I'm saying that steps are taken to try to protect the boys, and to help the boys protect themselves.

    These means of protection can work.  There are background checks on leaders to determine whether or not they can even be allowed to join troops.  On a Jamboree I went on, someone was hanging around the troop, claiming to be from a local newspaper.  Our Scoutmasters sniffed him out and got the police to come and get rid of him.  At the camp, we addressed several issues and removed leaders as needed.  So the plans that are set in place can work.

    It's also important to note that not every council or district is the same.  There are many troops and councils that have publicly protested BSA policies, and have announced they will not follow their discrimination guidelines towards gays or other people.  So while it's nice and tidy to lump every troop in together, there are a lot of troops doing things the right way.

    But, as in the case of any tragedy, those efforts are going to be ignored as we focus on the groups that have been doing things inappropriately and endangering the Scouts.

    I'm just saying that there are a lot of good efforts and practices in place.  Don't knock all of Scouting.

    •  This was my experience as well. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      k8dd8d

      I have to disagree with this.

      The Scouts did create a program that was supposedly designed to protect kids from sexual abuse. But it was voluntary. And no records were kept.

      In our Council, Youth Protection Training was mandatory for all scout leaders, records were kept, and you were required to update the training periodically. If followed, the YPT guidelines pretty much make it impossible for a bent leader to be alone with a single unrelated scout.

      I'm sorry to see the direction that National Scouting is going. Every Council I've been involved with as a kid and as a leader, has been exemplary. IMHO the LDS influence, which wasn't there when I was a kid, has not helped Scouts.

      No matter how cynical I get, it's just never enough to keep up. -- Lily Tomlin

      by frostyinPA on Mon May 31, 2010 at 11:50:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Another Eagle Scout from the 60's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis

    My scouting experiences were some of the best in my life.  However,  we had at least 2 pedophiles troop leaders and they ruined several young lives.

    You have to remember back in the day people did not talk about sexual topics. Women did not talk about rape or battery and kids certainly did not talk about being abused.

    Scouting was one of the organizations that was taken over by the Rt Wing in their grand scheme to remake culture culture in their vision. Just as Pope John Paul ran all the liberal and moderate bishops out of the hierarchy of the Catholic church, the hierarchy of scouting became a bastion of intolerance and bigotry.

    It's time to clean house at both dysfunctional organizations.    

  •  There are certainly other orgs out there... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neroden

    ... that can teach boys how to develop good characters. The Boy Scouts isn't the only one around.

    I haven't given a dime to the United Way for decades partly (the rest of my reasons have to do with the United Way's strong-arm tactics) because some of their money goes to support a bigoted, religious organisation - the Boy Scouts. If I like a group that gets some funding from the United Way, I give directly. Cuts down on overhead - more $$ goes to the group itself.

    It's raining, it's pouring, The BP guys were snoring, Gas bumped their well and it went to hell, And then blew off its mooring...

    by SciMathGuy on Mon May 31, 2010 at 05:25:06 AM PDT

  •  What makes the scouts and the church different (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    arlene, karmsy

    is that they are both organizations that left horrificley long paper trails of legally provable acts of both ommission and commission of these crimes.  The churches authoritarian culture in particular has made the prediton of children possible, even excusable (indulgences for a few quiet nasties to make up for your great service to the cause).  It does happen in society at large-because we have been taught from cradle to grave for centuries by the church that sex is a dirty and morally wrong act instead of an act of love every human requires.  Repression does not lead to morality it leads to deviance-the church has proven that, repeatedley, for centuries.  In an authoritarian world a crime, particularly one of sexual predition, only exists depending on which way the economic/power trajectory points-strong on weak-no crime, weak on strong-crime.

  •  LDS Church Boy Scout Website (0+ / 0-)

    The LDS Church uses sponsorship of Boy Scout troops to convert boys to the LDS Church. The position of Boy Scout leader is a calling in the LDS Church, which means that the local BIshop prays about who should lead the troop the church sponsors, and God tells him who the leader should be.

    If a troop is sponsored by the local LDS church, non-LDS parents should be aware that their son may become a convert. Not by direct pressure, but there are subtle pressures, such as the Faith in God badge given by the LDS Church, for example. At age 12, every LDS boy becomes a member of the Aaronic Priesthood...

    From the website LDS Scouting

    I am convinced that Scouting is a mighty activity arm to hold these boys close while they learn to appreciate the honor of holding the priesthood of God."

    "The thing that concerns me, brethren, is that we must have a goal, and that goal must be eternal salvation for every boy.

    The scouting programs exist in the Church to support Aaronic Priesthood purposes.  Every YM leader, no matter what his specific assignment, should have a clear understanding and commitment to these purposes, which are, for each ordained Aaronic Priesthood holder, to:

    1. Become converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ and live by its teachings.
    1. Serve faithfully in priesthood callings, and fulfill the responsibilities of priesthood offices.
    1. Give meaningful service.
    1. Prepare and live worthily to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and temple ordinances.
    1. Prepare to serve an honorable full-time mission.
    1. Obtain as much education as possible
    1. Prepare to become a worthy husband and father.
    1. Give proper respect to women, girls, and childre

    n.

    Good thing we've still got politics in Texas -- finest form of free entertainment ever invented.- Molly Ivins

    by loblolly on Mon May 31, 2010 at 06:17:31 AM PDT

  •  1666 words (0+ / 0-)

    What arrogance to think what you say is so compelling.  It's why I never, EVER read your stuff.

  •  Who is in charge? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    k8dd8d
    Catholic church run by men....Boy Scouts run by men.
    You have two patriarchal groups that do not value the contribution of women....
    They see the bogeyman in the homosexuals, but pedophilia is http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/... really age fixated rather than gender fixated.
    I'm not saying that all social groups run by men are inherently flawed, but a group that does not value the input of ALL members has basic flaws. My kids participate in scouting and have learned and grown within the program. But there is relatively no oversight, troops are semi to totally autonomous, and old boy network does not even begin to describe the hierarchy.
  •  I'm just amazed I survived six years (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WV TN DEM

    of scouting without an encounter. I suspect that's the case with 99% of scouts,and that most adults involved in scouting are involved becuz their own kids are involved. That a few are involved to eye and fondle the boys, maybe get in some sex with the boys...
    Well, it's a shame, but hardly is "the essence of scouting." the B.S.A. shouldn't go down in flames becuz of a few pedos in the ranks.

  •  A call for caution (0+ / 0-)
    I cannot approve of a person of an older generation having sex with someone younger than 14. I most certainly do not approve of coercion.
    Nevertheless I cannot completely trust the American mainstream when it comes to S-E-X. As a gay person I have always had to stand apart from the mainstream. In the 1990's there was a rash of draconian laws requiring registration of sex offenders and other marks of 3rd class citizenship. Often these laws were quite broad and seemed to embrace the hidden agendas of very puritanical people. There are demogogues out there who want to have an issue that most people do not think rationally about. Prior to Stonewall the glbt population was such an issue. That has been a contested issue since then and something else took its place.
    You may recall the McMartin School and the incident at Wenatchee WA. Prosecutions were made without good evidence. You might also recall that Martha Coakley prosecuted the Amirault family. I had enough doubts about that case that I did not donate a cent to her Senate campaign.
    I think the Boy Scouts, the Catholic Church, etc. are worried about more than just PR; they have a real reason to expect public hysteria. I cannot completely blame them for not disclosing. There may not be hysteria now, but it goes in cycles. There will be 'moral panics' and legislatures will enact draconian laws. Then some people will be reluctant to apply these to real people.
    A book I recommend is 'Solving America's Sexual Crises' (1997) by Ira L. Reiss, Professor Emeritus of the U of Minnesota (Prmetheus Books).
  •  Entire article and most comments are off the mark (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scott5js, frostyinPA, WV TN DEM, 2020adam

    While any abuse or molestation or anything of that nature must be condemned, this thread and the article on which it is based are full of third-hand impressions, allegations, and statements that just do not ring true to anyone with fist-hand experience in Scouting.

    ALL adults currently in the program who have direct contact with youth are required to be trained and are not allowed to either be or to allow other adults (whether in the program or not) to be alone with any youth.  I have been involved as an adult leader in Scouts for about 15 years now, and am still, as my youngest son is currently in the program. I am proud of him and of the progress in personal development that this program has helped him to achieve.  

    For the entire time I have been involved as an adult, all youth rank handbooks come with extensive discussion of youth protection issues in a prominent location at the beginning of each book. Extensive materials on youth protection are available and discussion on them features prominently in every adult training event.  Age-appropriate materials to encourage youth to be aware of these issues are interwoven into the program at every level.

    As an active (and I do mean politically active) progressive, I would certainly be aware of any "homophobic tendencies" in the organization and am aware of the distance that Scouting has to go before it can catch up, as society itself also does, to the goal of equality in treatment of both adults and youth with respect to sexual orientation; but it is wrong in the extreme to label this very valuable organization as hateful or full of hateful rhetoric.  It does not come up in 99.99999% of the conversations and interactions that occur within Scouting.  Perhaps this fact itself is, as I believe it is, a certain basis for criticism; but to label Scouting as hateful or homophobic (as in a homophobic hate group) does considerable disservice to the positive benefit that does really come to most youth who participate in its goals, methods and program.  I speak sincerely and from the heart when I say that this is a good program; one that could be improved in many ways, perhaps, but one that in my decade-and-a-half experience as adult leader and parent of Scouts who have benefited from this program, does NOT deserve the calumny heaped on it in this article or the comments above.

    Michael Moore is an Eagle Scout.  I personally only made it as far as the rank just below that; but this was largely because my parents were largely absent from the program then, and no one explained to me how important achieving that goal would be to me later in life.  I have dedicated a lot of my time (with no financial reward or other motivation, of course) to helping other youth achieve their own goals through Scouting as my own sons have progressed through the program.  (Others above have mentioned Girl Scouts and other programs for youth; and note that the Scout Venturing program provides high-adventure outdoor opportunities for both young men and women, although I have not had time or opportunity to be involved.)

    It is NOT true that the program is led only by men -- some of our best adult leaders and personal friends in the Scouting program are women.  While there may be some units who choose to keep to the older paradigm of having only male adults as advisers and leaders, this is not a requirement -- and in my view, these units are missing out.

    So while Scouting may have a past in which the whole country was also more repressed (and repressive) and less educated in dealing with the terrible problems of abuse and of neglect of abuse in this area, it is completely unfair to characterize that terrible situation as endorsed, protected, tolerated or allowed in the current Scouting program.  I would ask all who want to jump to conclusions to educate themselves about the great good work being done by Scouting, the freedom that each youth (and, where appropriate, their adult advisers, parents and others associated with the program) have to help each young person who participates in it really "do their best" to achieve their own personal goals and to learn to develop in a positive setting.

    Thank you very much.

  •  I'm an Eagle Scout (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scott5js, Laurence Lewis, neroden

    and overall I had a pretty good experience with Scouts. The group I was in was really inclusive, and never really mentioned religion. I never brought up the fact I was an atheist. (Although this was in direct conflict with the official policy). But when I heard about a gay friend of mine getting kicked out of his troop because of rumors going around, I stopped attending meetings. I had a profound disagreement with the policies, and if I had a son, and the rules were still in place, I would not have him join.

    "The Bible's blind the Torah's deaf the Koran is Mute. If you burned them all together you'd get close to the truth." - Bright Eyes

    by prdrums77 on Mon May 31, 2010 at 07:25:19 PM PDT

  •  The BSA is definitely in need of reform (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis

    and new leadership, just like the Catholic Church.  Also like the Catholic Church, it should not sued out of existence because of the actions of a tiny minority of its members.

    The Republicans bombarded us with a litany of abuses of the Welfare system back in the 90s.  They had a point, many of the accusations were irrefutable.  Did we allow them to use that to destroy the Welfare system?  No, we fought for reform.  "Mend it, don't end it."  Remember that?

    Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.

    by WV TN DEM on Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 01:10:46 AM PDT

  •  I'm really frustrated now, (0+ / 0-)

    for once I feel I have something to add to the conversation and ScienceMan sums up my thoughts better than I can myself. I will add that I'm not dropping my support for this organization because its past imperfections and the fact that I don't agree with all its policies. What could I possibly be a part of that I agree totally? And I do disagree with their non-gay membership policy. One of the reasons is that my church, the UCC doesn't consider it immoral to be gay so I don't understand how they can put their denominational belief structure above mine. That said, we must work to better society not quit on it because it's not perfect.

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