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Watch Weathervane Mitt express his personal opposition to the Boy Scouts' anti-gay policy
before he sets the Wayback Machine to 1994 and #retroactively changes history.

On Tuesday, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) aggressively reaffirmed their commitment to keep their ban on both gay members and leadership. In a press release they said the policy "remains in the best interest of Scouting and that there will be no further action taken on the resolution." Rumors had circulated recently that the board may revisit the current policy via board vote next year.

The statement was at once surprising and, of course, not so much. Unsurprising because it was just a restatement of the current policy, one you'd expect by an organization whose hierarchy is heavy with Christian fundamentalists, Catholics and Mormons.

Still, there had been some cause for optimism, as in recent months, national Boy Scouts board members Ernst & Young's James Turley and AT&T's Randall Stephenson had spoken publicly to the press about their personal opposition and desire to work for change.

The BSA has been under rather intense pressure of late. In April, they suffered a rather public embarrassment when The James Beard Foundation Executive Director Susan Ungaro returned an award from the Boy Scouts saying "accepting the Distinguished Citizen Award implied I support their anti-gay policy, which I absolutely do not."

The ousting of a popular Scout Leader Jennifer Tyrrell has sparked a national media tour, where the Ohio mom has proven herself an excellent spokesperson for the movement. Undaunted by the announcement, Tyrrell delivered Change petition to BSA headquarters on Wednesday with over 300,000 signatories asking BSA to change their policy. Her request denied, tears in her eyes, she told the local NBC affiliate (video above), "I'm here. I'm not going anywhere, I'm staying until I'm included."

Zach Wahls announcing the founding of Scouts for Equality.
Eagle Scout Zach Wahls pressures BSA
More recently, Zach "that nice boy raise so right by those two lesbians in Iowa" Wahls has taken up the cause, founding Scouts for Equality with an aim of organizing members to push for change from below. Wahls is a former Eagle Scout himself. In response to this announcement, he penned a piece for The Advocate, saying "A Secret Committee Will Not Stop Us."
Having learned that the resolution to end its policy of discrimination actually stood a chance of working its way through the BSA's executive board, the BSA dropped the hammer, trying to crush this grassroots movement to help the Boy Scouts become more inclusive and accepting.

In their eyes, this issue is now resolved and the book is closed. Indeed, they've even stopped answering calls from Fox News.

Fact is, the movement to end the BSA’s antigay policy is ramping up, and is poised to be stronger than ever.

Wahls, a former Eagle Scout, will attend the 100th anniversary of the Eagle Scouts at the National Order of the Arrow Conference July 30 through Aug. 4 "to rally current scouts and scout leaders to support an end to the antigay ban."

The BSA press release says:

This decision follows a nearly two-year-long examination, started in 2010, of the policy commissioned by the Chief Scout Executive and national president. Under their leadership, the BSA convened a special committee of volunteers and professional leaders to evaluate whether the policy continued to be in the best interest of the organization.
This claim of an extensive secret two-year study and secret committee has been met with skepticism by many. Boy Scouts of America spokesman Deron Smith told Think Progress the secret committee's secret report would remain secret and never disclosed to the public. Nor would he name any of the 11 people reported to have served on the committee. David Badash of the New Civil Rights Movement blog experienced similar stonewalling when he pressed the Boy Scouts for more information on the study.

Notorious homophobe, hate group leader and Romney campaign human resources consultant—American Family Association's Bryan Fischer—took to the airways on Wednesday to crow "the head of the Boy Scouts" had called him to assure him there'd be no change.

Bil Browning, writing at the Bilerico Project, is less diplomatic about expressing his skepticism about the secret two-year study and committee. He says: "I'm calling bullshit."

I don't believe they made a worthwhile effort to actually decide what's best for all children and everyone involved in scouting. They may have formed this "secret committee," but I'd posit they knew the outcome before they held their first meeting.

You don't take your need to discriminate all the way to the Supreme Court just to throw it out the window a few years later. They've dug themselves into this position and they're just fortifying their position as their opposition grows stronger. They're looking for a way to save face and are able to shrug off responsibility for their reprehensible actions by blaming a group of unnamed individuals for making the decision.

The usual suspects cheered, like the One Million Forty Thousand Moms:

The Moms of course, were the group that wanted JC Penney to fire Ellen Degeneres for being a lesbian. (Something Penney's probably knew when they hired her.)

But the declaration has not been met with much enthusiasm outside the religious right. The New York Times "Room for Debate" section now hosts seven response essays by people of note. Only the one penned by Bob Mazzuca and Wayne Perry of the Boy Scouts' executive council offers a defensive support for continuing the policy. The rest offer varying degrees of disappointment and condemnation.

My take? It's true, an animal is most dangerous when it is deeply wounded. And it does seem reasonably and entirely possible BSA recognized the public conversation was getting a little too heated, they sought to make a definitive statement to close out the subject.

But Wahls and others aren't taking it lying down, continuing to demand that the Boy Scouts of America allow the resolution to allow openly gay scouts and leaders to come to a vote at the next BSA convention, in May of 2013 (petition here).

(Continue reading below the fold.)

TV icon and former Boy Scout George Takei joined Jennifer Tyrrell -- the Ohio mom ousted as leader of her son's Boy Scouts troop because she's gay -- as well as GLAAD and local scouts at the 43rd Annual NYC LGBT Pride March. Take action today at
Jennifer Tyrrell and actor and Eagle Scout George Takei lead New York City's gay pride march June 2012. (GLAAD)

Why does it matter?

The question of the legality of BSA's policy was already asked and answered by the Supreme Court in the 2000 case, Boy Scouts of America v. James Dale.

Isn't it time to move on? Abandon the organization to the Christian fundamentalists, let BSA subsist indefinitely off those who are indifferent to or support their discrimination?

It's a fair question. And it's one that certainly crossed my mind during the battle to repeal "Don't ask, don't tell." I wondered why so many of the gay and lesbian soldiers I met who had been so unfairly victimized by the military didn't just turn their backs on the whole mess? Moreover, many of them expressed a sincere interest in re-entering the service if they could.

It was a love of the culture that I couldn't easily grasp, although I did come to understand it. Perhaps because my bourgeois preconceptions of who military people were began to give way to a recognition that many were very smart, talented and, ultimately, idealists. They loved the organization and they wanted it to be better, and that included being a part of it.

And on this, I can relate. I loved the organization of Scouting as well. I still do.

I am not a dispassionate observer. I spent my entire childhood in Scouting. I am among the lucky ones who were able to spend not one, but two summers at the crown jewel of the Boy Scout organization, Philmont Scout Ranch. A land gift made in 1938 by oilman Waite Phillips, Philmont is 137,500 acres of pristine land in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.

I was so taken by my first troop visit, when I returned to Michigan I applied to join their Trail Crew program for the following summer. I was accepted and in summer of 1983, I and a friend joined Scouts from all over the country. For half the time, we built a hiking trail through the mountains, with picks and shovels, sometimes through solid rock. And for rest we were rewarded with a glorious hiking expedition through the Rocky Mountains. I can't say that the "work" part of the trip was any less enjoyable than the "reward" portion. I had the time of my life every single day.

Summer of 1983
Summer of 1983
And I confess, before I arrived, I was nervous. I was just 16. I might not be able to hack it. We were told it would be very physically demanding, and it was. I was part of a team, I needed to pull my weight.

And I did. We all pulled together as a team.

I returned from New Mexico feeling strong and powerful and resourceful and independent and popular, and at a time when it's so hard for teenagers to feel any of those things. And I conquered fears and performed feats I didn't think I could. It's hard to convey how beautiful and precious those memories are to me still today. These experiences left a lifetime impression on me, as surely as many of us can remember a favorite teacher or another life-changing event.

Today, I glanced through my photos taken with my Kodak Instantamatic X-15. The are blurry, and fading yellow, and poorly shot. Yet the memories they elicit are still vivid and bright.

It hurts me personally to think an organization I loved considers me, as a gay man, unworthy to wear the uniform. And in their eyes, I always was unworthy. Even when I was later asked to serve as assistant Scoutmaster.

And later in my adulthood, it crossed my mind to return to Philmont. I even went as far as applying to be among their summer seasonal staff. Part of me did so with great trepidation, knowing it'd be difficult to lie about myself for an entire summer. And the burden of scrupulously guarding a secret may spoil the summer and make it impossible for me to really bond with my colleagues or charges. I got called for an interview by a recruiter that seemed enthusiastic, and well he should have been, my relevant experience was great. But, I never followed through. Maybe Thomas Wolfe was right and you really can't go home again.

This is a fight worth having. There are armies of former scouts, now grown ups like myself, who have fond memories of many years of Scouting. And BSA holds a virtual monopoly on so many great resources:

  • No one else has Philmont.
  • No one else has the hundreds of local Scout camps.
  • No one else awards an Eagle Scout, still an impressive résumé bullet.
  • No one else has the credibility to be welcomed into local, even national government, for educational experiences.
  • No one else has the literally millions and millions of charitable dollars, public and private, funding their operations.
These are opportunities I hate to see any kids deprived of having access. I hate to see families like the Tyrrells made strangers to their own community by a top-down policy the local community wouldn't even support.

It isn't only leaders like Tyrrell. Kids are often expelled as well. Even as BSA affirmed their policy a story was breaking nationally of the expulsion of an 18-year-old Scout, Eric Jones of Missouri, being fired from his camp counselor job and ejected from the his troop.

Ilya Shapiro, senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute and the editor in chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review, gets it. Writing in the New York Times he says (emphasis mine):

What kind of message does it send to hormone-addled adolescents discovering that they’re gay (or that their friends are) when an organization central to their identity turns out not to want them?
Imagine how Eric Jones feels right now. After one quick disclosure of honesty, Jones has transitioned from being a counselor, a leader entrusted with the responsibly of being a role model, to being an outcast, viewed as a danger to the same kids he was just months ago hired to mentor?

And kids are coming out earlier and earlier. In fact, this generation of kids increasingly may not even have a concept of having been "in."

The average age of coming out has been dropping dramatically, with public self-identification happening between 15-17 (as opposed to 19-23 in the 1990s). The LGBTQ support hotline, The Trevor Project, has also observed increasingly younger callers making use of their services. This is well within Scouting range. At least, if they're sincere in their desire to mentor boys into men.

Greg Lattera of Philadelphia was just 18 when he was expelled from the Boy Scouts in 2003 for being gay. At the time, the 18-year-old Lattera held a rank just below Eagle Scout. He too was also a camp counselor. His case spurred a federal lawsuit about public subsidizing that failed at the appeals level. After he told CNN:

"I'm still the Scout that they turned into a man... Gay Scouts are just as good as any other Scout. ... We love Scouts just as much as anybody else."
Philmont Trail Crew, Summer of 1983
Philmont Trail Crew, Summer of 1983
This is a fight worth having. Once upon a time, Boy Scouts taught me and so many others to literally climb a mountain.

And we're going climb this one too, and we're going to win this fight. It'll happen because we're right.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Woodwork merit badge project: construct a closet (40+ / 0-)
    Wood is an amazingly versatile, practical, yet beautiful material. A skilled craftsman can use wood to fashion just about anything. As a woodworker or carpenter, you will find no end of useful, valuable, and fun items you can make yourself, from wood....
    Create your own carpentry project. List the materials you will need to complete your project, and then build your project. Keep track of the time you spend and the cost of the materials.

    Präsidentenelf-maßschach"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Ensanguining the skies...Falls the remorseful day".政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

    by annieli on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 02:07:06 PM PDT

  •  Their religious discrimination is also disgusting. (23+ / 0-)

    That the two are so closely related is ironic, to say the least.

  •  What would have been so wrong (7+ / 0-)

    with not having an opinion one way or another? That's what most people think anyway. Especially children. All that has happened so far is BSA has equated itself with radicals, and so I think less of them.

    No Jesus, Know Peace

    by plok on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 02:09:18 PM PDT

  •  I quit the Cub Scouts in the early 1960s. I am... (24+ / 0-)

    ...hereby changing the reasons for my departure retroactively in protest of their hateful policy, which I was not aware of back then.

    "So, am I right or what?"

    by itzik shpitzik on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 02:09:55 PM PDT

  •  They may be doubling down (15+ / 0-)

    but they are also denying the inevitable.  

    I believe that Stephenson is supposed to become the next board president.  That may help.

    Membership has gone way down in the Boy Scouts.  And their stance on this issue isn't helping that, among other things.

    Barack Obama for President '12

    by v2aggie2 on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 02:10:27 PM PDT

    •  Membership (4+ / 0-)

      Yeah, it went down a lot after the Dale decision (my own district went from more than 60 units to less than 30 in 2 years - the 26 or so that remained were either LDS or Catholic church charters).  

      A lot of packs that were chartered to public elementary schools folded when United Way pulled funds and the school district told BSA they couldn't allow them to use their school rooms for meetings because the BSA policy violated the school district's anti-discrimination policy.  

      Most of the cub packs that survived were chartered to church schools, some LDS, some Catholic, some miscellaneous churches.  

      It'll go down again - the only ones who seem to be "happy" about this continuing discrimination are the Mormons and some of the Catholics (although I still know several scouts and scouters who practice their own version of DADT in their units, some Catholic, some Jewish.  They don't need to ask, because they already know, and they just don't tell.)

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

      by Ricochet67 on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 06:44:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  the fight about using PUBLIC aschools as meeting (0+ / 0-)

        places went all the way to the congress...  I remember hearing some of a debate about it...  that debate was bad news

        "You've got to be an optimist to be a Democrat, and a humorist to stay one" - Will Rogers

        by KnotIookin on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 11:51:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Of course there membership is going down... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      v2aggie2, Cassandra Waites

      ...that's what happens when you choose to involve your nonprofit in the religious right's culture wars, as the BSA has chosen to do.

      I suspect that some folks are seeing that the BSA has been hijacked by these groups and want nothing to do with it.  So they leave.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 07:16:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If I knew where my merit badges were (13+ / 0-)

    (from 55 years ago) I would return them in protest.

    Even though I am disappointed at some of his actions, I am thankful every day that Barack Obama is President and not George Bush and certainly not John McCain.

    by gritsngumbo on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 02:16:10 PM PDT

  •  Turley and Stephenson should resign (6+ / 0-)

    and stop raising funds (if the BSA board is like any other board I've heard of, that's what board members do).

    Bigoted Scumbags of America.

    •  Turley and Stephenson (0+ / 0-)

      may not be able to change BSA policy immediately from the inside on the board, but they can be far more effective than they could from the outside of the organization if they resign.

      The Scout Law (trustworthy, loyal, helpful...) is a GREAT liberal manifesto.

      by DaytonMike on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 03:40:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The act of leaving (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tamar, Tennessee Dave

        may have an impact.  Especially if they can get a lot of other people to leave.

        •  Stay or go? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cassandra Waites, plf515

          Spielberg left the board in 2000, because of the Dale decision.  

          A lot of us had a choice to make:

          Stay and try to make it better (which is something my son's first assistant scoutmaster told him when he was having a hard time with some of the older kids not exactly living up to the Oath and Law).  

          or Leave.  

          We tried, we wanted to stay, but when National wanted us to sign a statement, in writing, that our chartering organization (UCC church) would abide by the policy, despite it being completely AGAINST the open and affirming United Church of Christ policies, we had to fold.  The church was no longer allowed to charter us and none of us were going to go sign up at an LDS or Catholic unit.  We had some gay family members, relatives of scouts.  They had participated in the unit on various levels for several years.  Who better to teach first aid and safety merit badges than a firefighter / paramedic?  We didn't care she was a lesbian - we all knew it - we'd all known her since she was a teenager, some of us had known her since she was a little kid.  But we weren't going to be allowed to re-register her...

          UCC was sort of targeted because their open door policy is very well known and the UCC filed friend of the court briefs for Dale.  There aren't any UCC churches chartering scouts in my area any more.  

          We did transfer a few kids to a nearby Catholic church where I had friends who were doing DADT for their troop with the church's blessing - but they were pretty liberal for a Catholic church.  The church signed their letter and sent it back from the church committee, but they never asked any leaders to sign it - just said they would be responsible for choosing scout leaders in keeping with the church's policies and let BSA assume that their policies were the same.  

          They're actually still pretty active - troop is smaller than it used to be, but they still go camping and hiking and whatnot.  Still doing DADT, and were hopeful they wouldn't have to any more, but I guess that's not the way it's going to be this year.  

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

          by Ricochet67 on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 10:00:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  The Old Lady that bakes Sheriff Bart a pie (9+ / 0-)

    Major League Soccer goes Blazing Saddles.

    MLS is dropping its business relationship with the Boy Scouts "for a variety of business reasons"

  •  Scout leader here... (12+ / 0-)

    on a volunteer basis.  Like all institutions, there is a diversity of opinions within Scouting about the inclusion of gay Scouts and leaders.  There is no discrimination in most other organizations within the WOSM (World organization of Scouting Movements), and most worldwide Scouting organizations allow for both boys and girls to join.  Only the United States and the Muslim countries has single-sex Scouting.   Even in the US, there are young ladies in our Venturing program.

    Okder Scout leaders and the heirarchy are still stuck with their antiquated anti-gay prejudices.  In addition, Scouting operates like a franchise business, with individual units "owned" by chartering organizations.  About 47% are "owned" by the LDS and Catholic churches, and nearly 2/3rds are sponsored by religious organizations.  For Scouting to accept GLBT leaders immediately, they would lose a tremendous amount of their support.

    Younger leaders and Scouts are more tolerant, and eventually, they may be able to change the organization.  It will take a LOT of time.

    I stay in because, on the whole, the Scouting Movement does a tremendous job fostering character, citizenship and fitness in the boys and girls in the movement.  There are more than our fair share of conservative, stick-in-the-mud leaders.  There are also a very large number of truly dedicated volunteers.

    At the end of every Scout meeting, the Scoutmaster has a one-minute presentation, used to help build the Scout's character.  My father, the Scoutmaster of my troop over 40 years ago had a memorable one, which I have used since then.  He put a dot on a sheet of paper, and asked the Scouts what they could see.  All of us said "a dot".  He observed that everyone could see the black mark on our character, like that black dot, but nobody mentions the clean white paper.

    Scouting is like that clean white paper, with one big black dot.  I prefer to see the white paper, and work where I can to erase the dot.

    The Scout Law (trustworthy, loyal, helpful...) is a GREAT liberal manifesto.

    by DaytonMike on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 02:24:37 PM PDT

    •  I understand, Mike (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tennessee Dave

      I also understand that all the well-meaning people who taught in the private Christian academies that were set up in the South in the 1960s so white children didn't have to sit next to black children were there for much the same reasons. I'm glad you're working to erase the dot, but "where I can" sounds a lot like "all deliberate speed" to me.

      -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

      by Dave in Northridge on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 02:43:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  gay lives worth no more than a dot on a piece of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tennessee Dave

      paper ...

      crumple 'em up and threw 'em away.

    •  Yep (2+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      DaytonMike, Americantrueandblue
      Hidden by:
      Tennessee Dave

      I agree.  I have a near-age first cousin who is gay, and is an Eagle Scout (so am I) and I approve of his achievement, and I think he would make a fine leader in the BSA.  We grew up together, and were in the same troop.   However, the BSA decided not to allow gay leaders.  So be it.  That may change in the future, but who knows?  I'm neutral on it.  Unfortunately, these days, you're not really allowed to be a "grey" on issues like this, but rather, you're totally on "our" side, or subject to insult and exclusion because you're on "their" side, depending on the polarizing standard of us vs them.

      •  That's like being "neutral" on the issue of (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Forest Deva, Anonyman

        racially segregated troops.

      •  NEUTRAL! (0+ / 0-)

        You're trolling here for outrage. HOW Effing DARE YOU. NO. THERE. IS. NO. EXCUSE. FOR. BIGOTRY. You and your attitudes are hurting people. Supporting the BSA policy here is troll activity. You deserve a HR.

        "Individuals need to know how to judge truth claims objectively; how to be skeptical; how to be avoid gullibility, nincompoopery, fraudulent and counterfeit promises; how to live with ambiguities and uncertainties." Paul Kurtz

        by Tennessee Dave on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 08:13:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think that was the opposite of what LuvSet meant (0+ / 0-)

          -- not espousing bigotry, but instead calling it out.  I think we're all pulling in the same direction here.

          'Powerful influences strive today to restore that kind of government with its doctrine that Government is best which is most indifferent.' -- F. D. Roosevelt

          by LandruBek on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 03:03:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  My son is a Scout. (9+ / 0-)

      ...and we are both very troubled by these policies.

      How do you square "A Scout is honest" with forcing some scouts into the closet?

      Likewise, what do you do with a Scout, like my son, who at the ripe age of 14 has decided he's an atheist?  Should he be de-scouted?  (I don't even know what the verb is, help me out.)  If so, what do you do with a scout who just has a crisis of faith?  What about a scout who has some doubts about his church's teachings?  Is there a stated, written policy on this?

      Early to rise and early to bed Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and dead. --Not Benjamin Franklin

      by Boundegar on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 04:06:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  He's got a big choice to make. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cassandra Waites

        Is he ready to fudge his way through his Eagle Board of Review in a few years?

      •  Scouts with doubts... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cassandra Waites

        are given every possible "break" at the Eagle Board of Review.  Questions are often phrased like "Tell me how you live up to 'A Scout is reverent'".  A wide range of answers are acceptable.

        Two occasions come to mind.  Normally, a Scoutmaster introduces the Scout to the Board of Review, and then leaves.  As an assistant Scoutmaster, I was asked to introduce "A", and stay, if needed, to answer questions. "A's" parents had been burned badly by their church, and never brought "A" or his sister to church. "A" was not an atheist (in the sense of "There can be no god") but he didn't have any particularly strong religious convictions.  He and I had discussed faith on several occasions, so I was there to help if needed.  "A" impressed the Board of Review with his charachter and etics, and no question was ever raised.

        On another occasion, when I served as committee chair, I was a member of an Eagle Board of Review. Scout "B" was asked how he lived up to reverent, and he replied that he had a hard time believing what his church believed, and rarely attended.  The representative of the District (who didn't know "B" or his family) got visibly upset.  I knew that "B"'s family attended a very rich, self-satisfied church.  I asked if he was referring to God or his parish.  He replied that he had no problem with the revealed faith, but he couldn't understand how his parish actually lived that faith.  Problem solved, and his answer made "B" appear to be a serious, thoughtful Scout.

        So in answer to your question, Boundegar, if your son is a militant "There is no god" atheist, he will have a hard time passing an Eagle Board of Review.  If he is struggling to figure out what he believes, he'll be given every consideration.

        The Scout Law (trustworthy, loyal, helpful...) is a GREAT liberal manifesto.

        by DaytonMike on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 03:05:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  That is a difficult choice you and your son face, (0+ / 0-)

        because BSA does not allow atheists, and they expel members who declare their atheism.  As you know, BSA is not exclusively Christian: a scout can be any religion, but they've grown increasingly insistent that a boy must be of some religion, and they have lots of written policy on this general theme.

        It sounds like your son and you have to decide whether he can "pass" as some kind of believer in the divine, or if a sense of integrity forbids him.  FWIW, I could understand either choice.  Good luck.

        'Powerful influences strive today to restore that kind of government with its doctrine that Government is best which is most indifferent.' -- F. D. Roosevelt

        by LandruBek on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 03:42:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks, guys. (0+ / 0-)

          The problem is, his mother is clergy.  And she's very invested in him being a "successful" scout.  And he's just the right age to assert his independence.

          See where this is going?

          He's not old enough to be a "militant atheist" yet, but in a year or two he will be.  I'm waiting to see how this plays out, and I've got his back 100%.  

          Early to rise and early to bed Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and dead. --Not Benjamin Franklin

          by Boundegar on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 07:14:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, he's fortunate to have parents who care (0+ / 0-)

            so much about him, and I'm sure you three will find the right path.

            In my humble opinion, the institution of BSA sucks, and I'm going to try to return my eagle award as soon as I can locate where it is.  But the experience of scouting is full of many good things, and I can't imagine my life without it.

            'Powerful influences strive today to restore that kind of government with its doctrine that Government is best which is most indifferent.' -- F. D. Roosevelt

            by LandruBek on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 07:36:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  That "big black dot"... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Debby, Cassandra Waites

      ...represents an awful lot of people.

      When you're one of the people in that dot, it's not so easy to see the surrounding clean white paper that you're not allowed to be a part of.

      So understand that there's a very good reason why many of us don't see it the way you do.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 07:19:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  DaytonMike, you rationales are shameful. (0+ / 0-)

      Bigoted Scumbags of America.
      It's just not anyone you care about getting hurt. You're sucked in by the property and fancy campgrounds. Go OUT AND SET UP A NON-DISCRIMINATING GROUP OF BOYS.  It's only the BSA wealth and property that's sucking you in.
      A former Scout.

      "Individuals need to know how to judge truth claims objectively; how to be skeptical; how to be avoid gullibility, nincompoopery, fraudulent and counterfeit promises; how to live with ambiguities and uncertainties." Paul Kurtz

      by Tennessee Dave on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 08:09:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So let's say 1 Million (40,000) Moms is right. (14+ / 0-)
    So proud that the BSA, a Christian based organization, didn't cave in!
    If true, then there's a corollary here:  as a "Christian based organization", it is not entitled to any government funds, nor any special treatments not given to other, non-Christian organizations.  To do otherwise would be an unconscionable, and Unconstitutional, entanglement of Church and State.

    So, no more use of government facilities--parks, city halls meeting rooms, etc.--for free or at lower rates that any other organization receives.  No more awards or gifts of money given to Boy Scouts by City Councils which do not also give such things to other groups.

    No more treating Boy Scouts as though it's anything other than it claims to be--a discriminatory religious group which wants to feed at the public trough, and should not be permitted to do so.

    "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions." - Thomas Jefferson

    by rfall on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 02:28:11 PM PDT

    •  Scouts Canada put this out on Twitter (11+ / 0-)

      after the BSA reiterated their ban:

      Unfortunately, Scouts Canada hid dozens of incidents of alleged abuse from police.

      I wonder what the record of the BS of A is on abuse?

      In fact, the smoking gun in the most recent of the many cases filed against the Scouts by former members for failing to protect them from predatory leaders was the Scouts' own "perversion files". These privately kept documents, over 20,000 pages of them, detail accusations and investigations of sexual abuse and other improprieties by 1,200 Boy Scout leaders across the United States from 1965 to 1985 – as well as what the organization did and did not do to protect their youth once cases of abuse were known to them. The files were never meant to see the light of day, and the Scouts fought hard, and unsuccessfully, to prevent them from being released after the trial, which resulted in an $18.5m punitive judgment against the Boy Scouts of America, the largest finding ever against the Scouts in a sex case jury trial.
      Protect the pedophiles and keep gays out?


      •  That's probably why it was a "secret committee" (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LuvSet, cocinero, madhaus, xaxnar

        ...which "reviewed" and reiterated the ban on gay scouts and leaders.

        That committee was likely composed of homophobes who, like most such bigots, think that allowing gays into the organization is tantamount to inviting pedophiles into their midst.

        The "gays == pedophiles" trope is still in full-bloom among anti-gay bigots.

        Nevermind, as you point out, that pedophilia and sexual abuse is already rampant among the Scouts, even as they try to keep "teh gays" out.

        These people are evil.

        "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions." - Thomas Jefferson

        by rfall on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 02:53:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This Eagle Scout Is (8+ / 0-)

          disgusted by this latest move.  

          I have heard through the DC grapevine that there was momentum to change this time, but the LDS influence was still too much to overcome.

        •  Here's what chaps my backside... (7+ / 0-)

          There are arguably way more little girls who are sexually abused and raped by ostensibly straight men in the world than there are little boys.  Nobody equates heterosexuality with pedophilia in those cases.  There is an understanding that the men who perpetrate those assaults are pedophiles and that their orientation is not the most salient feature of their sexual perversion.  Nobody ever suggests that we remove all straight  men from positions in which they might have contact with little girls, like from teaching, coaching or church groups.

          But let a pedophile rape a little boy, and suddenly all gay men are suspect and calls for banning them from such positions are vociferous.

          This pisses me off on at least two levels:  
          1) We are rightly outraged that boys are sexually assaulted. However, in my opinion, we lack a similar level of cultural outrage at the sexual abuse of girls.  2) This leads, in part, to the conflation of pedophilia with one sexual orientation, thereby impugning  healthy adult consenting relationships among gay people.

          And on a personal note, I credit my experience in Girl Scouts as helping me realize, understand and embody my own lesbian identity in a healthy and life affirming way.  I suspect that would truly piss these troglodytes off.

    •  true, and i pointed this out, (4+ / 0-)
      So, no more use of government facilities--parks, city halls meeting rooms, etc.--for free or at lower rates that any other organization receives.  No more awards or gifts of money given to Boy Scouts by City Councils which do not also give such things to other groups.
      in a letter to the editor of our local paper, when the USSC decided the BSA was a private organization, entitled to discriminate as it saw fit. why this made such a splash (nasty phone calls, etc) is because the scouts hold (or held) their jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill, in caroline county, va, a few exits down south 95 from me. the local businesses made lots of money off that every four year event, they were not happy, when i pointed out that the BSA should no longer have free access to those federal facilities, due to them now being a private organization. some of the local fundie ministers were less than thrilled with me as well. they aren't the brightest bulbs in the box. even so, i got tired of playing intellectual games with them, i do have an actual life.

      fortunately (and i checked with my wife, before the letter was sent. not only did she agree with me, she signed the letter as well.), the angry villagers, pitchforks and lit torches in hand, didn't show up on my front yard.

  •  Stop saying FORMER Eagle Scout (12+ / 0-)

    It's like being a Marine.....

    I disagree with this policy, strongly, but that doesn't change  the fact that I AM an Eagle Scout.....even at 31, not having attended a scouting event since graduating HS.

    •  Mike Rowe (of Dirty Jobs) stepped there too... (2+ / 0-)

      when he released a video asking Scouting to drop "clean" from the Scout Law, and said that as a 'former Eagle Scout" he had some authority.  He was told in no uncertain terms that he was still an Eagle Scout.

      He visited the 2010 National Jamboree and changed his tune to "A Scout is clean, but willing to get dirty".

      And congratulations on the Eagle.  I'm not an Eagle Scout, but my son is, and an ASM in his old troop.  When you get the chance, think about volunteering.

      The Scout Law (trustworthy, loyal, helpful...) is a GREAT liberal manifesto.

      by DaytonMike on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 02:38:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I was wondering about that. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Thanks for the clarification.  So you are still an Eagle Scout if you have been drummed out for being gay?  

      "The next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president of the United States, please, pay attention." Molly Ivins

      by janmtairy on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 02:49:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Glad you caught it... (0+ / 0-)

      ... was gonna post the same thing.  Once an Eagle, always an Eagle - my son is a 32 year old Eagle Scout (and I am a lot more reluctant to talk about it now - he earned his in 1998 - because I feel like we were unknowingly part of a hate group for 20 years).  

      That memo that they "said" came out in the early 1990's "discussing" the policy was never shown to volunteers - only professional scouters.  We were all pretty much taken by surprise when the whole James Dale case got underway.  We hadn't even heard of the earlier Tim Curran case (which I think is what prompted the unissued-to-volunteers memo).  

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

      by Ricochet67 on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 06:53:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Female leaders all gay? (3+ / 0-)

    Many of my sons' Cub Scout leaders were adult females. Looking back, I believe some of them were actually heterosexual. They were even in open straight relationships. I had no idea at the time my boys were in such danger!

    Use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?

    by UncleDavid on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 02:38:52 PM PDT

  •  Do they know Baden-Powell was gay? (10+ / 0-)

    You have to love an organization that has policies that would make it impossible for their founder to be a member. I understand all about memory and nostalgia, and I hope that enough of you act on that to force a change in policy.  If part of the BSA wants to become a wholly-owned subsidiary of fundamentalist Christianity, let it, but don't let them keep the name.

    -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 02:39:39 PM PDT

    •  BP may or may not have been gay... (4+ / 0-)

      but he excelled at going behind his organization's rules.  many of the early Scouting units got started before he founded the Boy Scouts in England.  They joined the official organization after he founded it in 1907.  At the first Jamboree at the Crystal Palace, some of those irregular units showed up with both boys and girls in the unit.  BP thought that this was great, but his Board of Directors overruled them.  BP then got his sister, and (after his sister died) his much-younger wife to start the Girl Guides as a parallel organization.  In England, they have largely merged.

      An early Girl Guide organizer then returned to the United States, and proposed that the BSA let girls in.  When they refused, Juliette Gordon Lowe founded the Girl Scouts, with BP's and his wife's full support.

      The Scout Law (trustworthy, loyal, helpful...) is a GREAT liberal manifesto.

      by DaytonMike on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 03:49:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Scouter signed petition and commented (10+ / 0-)

    I am also an Eagle Scout and a Vigil member, those in Scouting will understand what the second means. However, I cannot in good conscience devote my time or resources to an organization that aligns itself with haters and excludes a good portion of our society. I too went to Philmont. It is a remarkable place. I have memories of Scouting that are irreplaceable, but there will be no additions to them until they change their stance on this issue. Dayton Mike states that the LDS and many other churches sponsor troops and are largely staffed by members of that home church. In fact many LDS troops are the de facto boy's youth group. If the BSA was to decide to allow gay men, boys and women openly it would mean the end of millions of dollars. I suspect that has as much an influence on the decision makers as any so-called moral stance. The last time this quandary came up the United Way pulled their support along with other charitable organizations. In the aftermath it was discovered that not unlike the rotten boroughs of late 19th century England, there were troops that existed strictly on paper and yet were considered into the funding. They had to sell off camps and land to keep up what they could hold onto. The thought of losing the support of Baptist, Catholic, LDS and other anti-gay churches might well have been a big part of why this resolution went no where. Nonetheless, it is a sad state of affairs when they have chosen to continue down this path.

    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 Jul 22, 2012 at 02:44:40 PM PDT

    •  Here's the problem. (2+ / 0-)

      I'm a member of the Episcopal Church, which is arguably one of the more GLBT-friendly denominations.  My own parish certainly is.  Most Episcopal churches as well as UCC churches (the other very GLBT-friendly organization) therefore refuse to sponsor Boy Scout units.  To use my analogy from upthread, they focus on the black blot on our record.  meanwhile, conservative churches, who don't see the blot as a black mark actively support the BSA.  National has to listen to the organizations that support the movement, and the "liberal" voices are being drowned out.

      I'd find a unit with a sponsor that you can respect, and volunteer to give back to the boys.  It's only when there are more liberal voices in the organization that anything can change.

      The Scout Law (trustworthy, loyal, helpful...) is a GREAT liberal manifesto.

      by DaytonMike on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 03:55:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I hear ya (0+ / 0-)

        I do think that part of the ideals of Scouting is to share what you gained. I looked around at the new place I will be moving to soon. I am reluctant to utterly leave them, but they are making it hard to be a part of the group. Perhaps I can help some on the inside. I do not want to surrender the organization to the haters. Gonna have to think about this. I have been one of the 'outlaw Baptists' that votes Democratic and speaks their mind when asked. I have been willing to confront hatred and misinformation in other places. I am really, really torn about this.

        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 Jul 22, 2012 at 06:54:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  My 52 year old troop folded... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rproctor, Cassandra Waites

        ... after the Dale decision.  Our church was UCC.  We got a letter from National stating we could not renew our charter unless the church leaders and the unit leaders agreed, in writing, to abide by the heretofore unknown policy.  

        We all knew our unit leaders, the scouts and their families.  We knew who had gay relatives and who did not (none of our kids were gay).  We decided if the people who wanted to help our scouts raise money for camp or teach them merit badges or drive them to summer camp were not welcome to continue helping that way and we couldn't even register them without lying, it was over... we stuck it out until the end of our charter year to help two of our boys who were in the middle of Eagle projects finish up and we were done.  

        One of the saddest days of my life... my son and I were in scouts a long time - I started as an Explorer when I was a teen and they first went co-ed in the 70's.  Was a cub den leader and then an ASM and finally SM for his troop for 4 years, then back to ASM and District Advancement Chair - I met some great kids from other units that were working on Eagle.  We were both Brotherhood members of the OA.  My son went to Philmont on OA Trail crew, a bunch of my scouts were in the OA and we went to Section Conferences and they went to NOAC.  I went to summer camp 10 times.  I camped every weekend 9 months out of the year for 10 years.  I hiked almost 1,000 miles (Barefoot Mailman anyone?)  My son and his fellow scouts hiked as much as I did and canoed hundreds of miles on Florida rivers.  

        It was an amazing experience, but it feels tainted both by the SCOTUS decision and now, again.  

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

        by Ricochet67 on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 07:06:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  like the catholic church (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LuvSet, cocinero

    in so many ways

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

    by Laurence Lewis on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 02:45:45 PM PDT

  •  its good to see (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the bsa promoting that good ole american bigotry and hatred for those that just don't fit into that round hole, square pegs don't apply at the bsa, why, because bsa stands for the opposite of their charter.

  •  An organization whose time has gone. (0+ / 0-)

    Who cares what the BSA does? It's irrelevant, a haven for bigots of various kinds, and sort of ridiculous. Let them do what they want, but make sure they don't get a dimes worth of public money, public accommodation, or any more public recognition than the Klan. Now that they're officially a religion make sure separation of church and state is rigorously enforced.

    We already tried a dumbass rich kid, remember? That really wasn't enough?

    by DaveW on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 02:55:08 PM PDT

  •  Its a great idea, except for the bigotization of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pasadena beggar


    Which is why we don't have anything to do with scout organizations. Sometimes the hubby will buy GS cookies, but my experiences with them, didn't inspire anything within me but contempt.

    We didn't go camping or hiking. It sucked. But they sure wanted their money out of those cookie sales.

    Screw that.

    I am doing just fine teaching my kids how to be, in the genuine outdoors without an organization.

    I know this was great for some kids back in time, but it appears to be the childhood equivalent of the GI Bill. Right after WWII it was great, but somewhere in the 70s it went down hill real fast for the rest of us.

  •  Scouting, making itself obsolete. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Says Who, Tennessee Dave

    We don't need organizations that teach our kids hate and intolerance.

    Private health insurance: a protection racket without the protection.

    by rustypatina on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 02:56:42 PM PDT

  •  Since the Boy Scouts are chartered by (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cocinero, Eric Nelson, Monitor78, Debby

    Congress, one suspect they are on thin ice with their discriminatory practices.

    Willard's forte = "catch 'n' cage"

    by hannah on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 03:00:03 PM PDT

    •  I think the ice is still pretty thick (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cocinero, Tennessee Dave

      Expecting Congress to do the right thing ... yeah ... not in the near future ... but who knows ...

    •  According to sec.2 of The Federal charter.. (0+ / 0-)

      ..Approved June 15, 1916

      ..Territories of the United States; to make and adopt bylaws, rules and regulations not inconsistant
      with the laws of the United States of America or any State thereof,
      and generally do all such acts
      and things (including the establishment of regulations for the election of assocates and
      successors) as may be necessary to carry into effect the provision of this act and promote the
      purposes of said corporation. - emphasis added
      You have a point there.  Discrimination is NOT consistant with with US law.
      Because  BSA is a private corporation doesn't mean that their charter can be "inconsistant with US law - does it (?)
       You've raised an interesting point here hannah
  •  a fight worth having (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ahumbleopinion, cocinero

    Fighting to be included, accepted & loved in church is also a fight worth having, even if exclusion, rejection and hate dipped in a lovy coating are legal, even if these cruel cultural responses to glbt people are taken for granted and believed essential to the mission. There is no mission for which hating-the-gay is essential. Hating-the-gay is best left out of child rearing, is best left out of charity work, is best left out of bonding with new people, is best left out of community altogether.

    I'm not a churchgoer. Never really have been. Mom took the family to a Unitarian Church for awhile. That was okay. I don't recall anything bad there, other than running out of things to do and being bored. My husband & I married in a UU fellowship with a Unitarian minister when same sex marriage was briefly legal in California.

    I didn't do Boy Scouts as a kid either.

    But if love and acceptance are important to you, then striving to drive hate and rejection from the Boy Scouts, from the churches, from wherever it is harbored - these are worthwhile missions.

  •  My son was in boy scouts (0+ / 0-)

    for a couple of years when he was 8 or 9.  I would say a good quarter of the kids in boy scouts are gay.   Nothing wrong with that - but to deny it and make these ridiculous blanket statements that they are not going to allow gays is silly.  

    •  Actually (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tennessee Dave

      A boy needs to be 11 years old to be in the Boy Scouts.

      He was probably in Webelos or maybe the Cubs.


      I wonder if there is any kind of "study" or factual data on how many scouts are actually gay.  It'd be interesting.  Of course, any of them that are most certainly are "in the closet", of it'd be difficult to get an accurate number methinks.

      The truth is sometimes very inconvenient.

      by commonsensically on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 03:32:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Gay scouts (0+ / 0-)

        My son and I know several.  Like James Dale and others, they didn't come out until after they earned Eagle and went on to college (this would have been mid- to late 1990's just before the Dale case went to SCOTUS).  A couple of them were really well known in our council and got all kinds of local and national awards.  One of them was chosen by National to represent the entire BSA in Europe at a special event.  

        After the Dale decision, we'd see them at statewide events and my son saw some of them on campus at college.  He was active in APhiO, some of them were in the campus Gay-Straight Alliance groups.  One of them was a little uncomfortable to run into my son at a campus event - he with his group and my son with his - until he realized that my son didn't care - it wasn't anything earth shaking or horrible.  They had known each other for years within the council and at summer camp and whatnot, so it didn't change the way my son viewed this other guy.  I think he was a little shocked that nobody went running off to council to rat him out.  And my son was a little shocked that anybody would think somebody who was a brother in scouting might do that.  

        That's what's so hurtful - despite being grown men now, despite having earned Eagle and other honors and making a good life for themselves after college - they still have it hanging over their head - that BSA doesn't want them - if they have sons, their sons won't be able to follow in their dads' footsteps.  

        Also, BSA is denying themselves a tremendous resource of grown up Eagles who won't come back to give back - either because they can't (they're gay) or they won't (not gay, but think it's really wrong what BSA is doing).  

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

        by Ricochet67 on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 12:39:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent post. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Says Who

    I stopped after cub scouts, never went on to Boy or Eagle. I still think of myself as a scout though.

    And because I can't resist... green daisy dukes? That's you right? ;)

  •  boy scout gays (5+ / 0-)

    I wholly applaud and respect efforts to make the Boy Scouts inclusive of gays.  Way back in 1955, I declined to join the Boy Scouts because I was afraid I would be rejected on account of being gay.  I think now that I would have gained immeasurably from such a membership in terms of my appreciation of wilderness and nature, not to mention camaraderie and communal action.  The Boy Scouts need to change their mind.

  •  Public funding for BSA? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson

    And interesting article on this.  Seems if any public funding goes on or in any way taxpayer dollars are involved, BSA is necessarily then breaking the law by discriminating.

    This article speaks to that:

    The truth is sometimes very inconvenient.

    by commonsensically on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 03:27:33 PM PDT

  •  Do kids even want to be boyscouts... (0+ / 0-)

    ...these days?  Seems like it would cut into video gaming time.

    •  My son is a Scout (0+ / 0-)

      Despite my strong feelings against the anti-gay policies, as long as they are not actively teaching the boys to hate each other, we will probably stick, as he loves it and has loved spending time with his dad throughout Cubs.

      And for the record, he is a big video gamer and still wants to go all the way to Eagle.

      If you are true, but not in the same truth with me, cleave to your companions; I will seek my own. --Ralph Waldo Emerson

      by sopranospinner on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 07:40:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The is a rather compelling reason (0+ / 0-)

      for why they are needed and why they shouldn't be turning away willing and qualified people.

      "When I think of all the harm the Bible has done, I despair of ever writing anything to equal it." ~ Oscar Wilde

      by Scott Wooledge on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 08:00:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well said, Scott (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DaytonMike, cocinero, Eric Nelson, Matt Z

    I was also a scout, and it was an incredibly important part of my life. I have great memories of it, and it pains me to see the organization so entrenched in this bigoted position.

    "One of the secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others." - Lewis Carroll, 1832-1898

    by Audio Guy on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 03:33:10 PM PDT

  •  the Boy Scouts should not be allowed (5+ / 0-)

    to camp in national parks until they end this bigoted policy.

    •  Yep (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cocinero, Castine, Tennessee Dave, Matt Z

      Nor should they be able to use any government building for their meetings.  Many use firehouses and police squad rooms and other such places.  It is no different than allowing the klan to hold meetings in these.  

      Seems enough pressure could be put on the scouts to force them to change their policy.  10 years ago, no one ever thought a person would ever serve openly gay in the military...but enough pressure and public outcry made it happen.  This should be no different.

      The truth is sometimes very inconvenient.

      by commonsensically on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 03:44:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  such a taint on good memories (6+ / 0-)

    Being female, I had no involvement with BSA until high school, when I joined 2 Explorer crews (now Venturing?) basically to go camping, specifically for the opportunity to backpack at Philmont, and also to explore the heath care field.

    Trail Crew is hard-core! Don't let the obstinate BSA taint your good memories. I struggle with that myself, and I wasn't even involved for as long as you were, Scott.

    I went to Philmont with a co-ed crew, and the next year went on a 15-day Rayado trek there (sort of Philmont's version of Outward Bound). During college, I signed up with the BSA in order to work at Philmont in the summers (5 in all), and they were the best summers of my life. I met so many wonderful people on staff, many of them Eagles. They tended to be high-achieving types, as well as boatloads of fun. They were people who had gotten a lot of positive things out of their participation in Scouting, and who in tuen were giving back.

    As with the military, there are already gay Scouts, and there always have been. I knew several people at Philmont who have since come out. Some of them held positions of leadership on seasonal staff, and Philmont would have been poorer for their absence. I know at least one who filed suit. That they are no longer welcome in Scouting, and that future youngsters and adults like them are not welcome is ridiculous, as they were so clearly assets to the program.

    It makes me sad.

    And yes, I resent the taint that it puts on my good memories, which is nothing compared to the hurt they do to kids and adults who get tossed out. "Morally straight" would seem to include not having to live a lie. That's the way I read it. It was not originally written to have anything to do with orientation.

    I recently attended an employment workshop sponsored by the LDS (hey, it was free, and I'm unemployed). That I had worked at Philmont impressed one of the facilitators, meaning it could actually help me with some employers. But there are now other employers (the ones who are more like me) who might associate anything related to BSA on my resume as a negative. It's a quandary, as being on staff was for so long such a point of both personal pride and gratitude for me.

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one. - Mother Teresa

    by wasatch on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 03:42:31 PM PDT

  •  I only went as far as cubs. (0+ / 0-)

    Dyb, dyb, dyb, We'll dob, dob, dob!!
    In retrospect, I wish I had completed my crystal radio for my tawny star.

    Something interesting:
    129th Toronto Scouting Group

    The 129th Toronto Scouting Group (also known as the Queer Toronto Scouting Group) was believed to be the first group worldwide exclusively for gay, lesbian, and bisexual youths and adults. The group was founded by gay activist Bonte Minnema and chartered by Scouts Canada in 1999.[8][9] Consistent with Scouts Canada policy, the group was co-ed. It made world headlines, including the BBC World News, when a story by Reuters first brought attention to the group's existence.
    In October 1999, American Pastor Fred Phelps and his congregation at the Westboro Baptist Church planned to protest outside the Ontario offices of Scouts Canada. However, Canada Customs denied them entry into the country. This prevented Phelps and his church members from appearing, and left supporters of the group to rally outside the offices without opposition.
    The group folded in 2001 due to a lack of interest.

    God be with you, Occupiers. God IS with you.

    by Hohenzollern on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 03:54:47 PM PDT

  •  Yay, George Takei! He's a great (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar, Tennessee Dave

    national spokesman for the cause.

    I'm glad the BSA no longer gets federal funding, but the sad truth is, as a private organization, they can do as they want-- even be total asswipes if it suits them.

    I think a lot of Scout organizations in other countries are government run. The Israel Scouts are coed, too; I saw them a lot of hike sin the Negev. It'd be great (and easy) to start up an organization like that here that is non-discriminatory, but you know the howls and shrieks of the "no big government!" crowd will raise the roofs. Sigh.

  •  How can they determine precisely who is gay? (2+ / 0-)

    And what do they intend to do about it?

    Will they prove "gaiety" in a court of law and toss them out?

    The whole idea is peculiar, especially if gays (members and leaders) have to disobey Scout's honor just to remain a scout.

    Some of their leaders appear to be asexual.
    Is that okay? Or do they have to demonstrate unmistakable heterosexuality? Just how are they expected to do that with only boys around?

    The whole idea seems half-baked. Do eleven year olds know their own sexuality?

    It is incumbent upon the commander in chief to defeat the enemies of democracy… in this case, a two-faced narcissist and his tax-exempt horse.

    by Says Who on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 04:17:36 PM PDT

  •  as a youngster, i was in the scouts, (0+ / 0-)

    from cub scouts through boy scouts. while i never made eagle, i had a great time, and learned a lot. i still have both hands, because the scouts taught me the proper use and care of an axe.

    unfortunately, i fear the BSA, with its continued insistence on overt discrimination, will not survive in the long run. yeah, i know, in the long run, we'll all be dead. however, in the meantime, it would be a good thing, i think, for both the BSA, and those boys who would benefit from being a part of it, but won't, because their parents (like us) will not allow them to join, for the BSA to reconsider its position.

    the girl scouts don't seem to have this problem, and they're going stronger than ever. perhaps, the boys should give some thought to following the girl's lead.

  •  Excellent Diary, Scott (4+ / 0-)

    And some interesting comments, too.

    From Tenderfoot to Explorer Post Advisor, Scouting has been an integral part of my life. My Gay life.

    The first time I ever said the Scout Oath, I knew that I was lying. And, yes. It was the whole "morally straight" part. I knew that I was, and would always be (ah, the intentions of youth) morally straight.

    I also knew I could never be "straight". So, how does a Scout today deal with this dilemma? I can no more constrain my Scouting experience from my brain than speak Greek to a Martian!

    I believe that Scouting is as important today as it has ever been. I believe that because, for many years, it was a haven of friendship, development, and advancement into the social world. Yes, I still have many Scouting friends. I consider what they would say, or how they might feel, to learn that I was gay then, too.

    I want to believe their evaluation of me now, as it was then, would be based upon my character (dangerous enough, thank you very much!), and not my sexual orientation. After all, that's what Scouting taught. That's what Scouting taught me. That is what I have tried to live every day in my life. That is, to me, being "morally straight".

    I am, and will always be a Scout. I will always be an advocate of Scouting. I cannot be otherwise.

    It lies within the power of the Scouts to change this horrendously damaging "policy". And, if changing the policy offends some Church group, so be it. Scouting is more than a religiously-based organization, and has been for more than 100 years. It is the heart of every Scout. Even if the Executive Council does not share that view, that does not mean they are correct. Yes, finances may continue to suffer. Yes, troops and Packs may need to seek other homes. But, isn't it homes where Scouts first met?

    I join you in your determination that your Tenderfoot Badge, O/A, Philmont, AP Hills, and every other Scouting memory, for every Scout is worthy of our best efforts to finally eliminate this precarious, and greatly damaging immorality from one of the very best organizations ever proffered for the advancement of a society. Now. Lead on.

    Nurse Kelley says my writing is brilliant and my soul is shiny - who am I to argue?
    Left/Right: -7.75
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.51

    by Bud Fields on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 04:22:18 PM PDT

    •  Morally straight I only interpreted as (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bud Fields, Khun David

      honest and sincere. I stood up with what I believed in. I understood honor and integrity. I have never felt it had anything to do with gender. Suddenly idiots think it has everything to do with gender. Wow, was this Eagle Scout confused. To think all I was lead to believe in my understanding of the definition was wrong. It was all related to whether or not I could connect to the right socket.

      •  Confirmation of my precise point! :) (0+ / 0-)

        Me, too. Sometimes, it felt like a great joke of some kind was being perpetrated against my brother Scouts. Not much of a funny one, either. It cost me dearly.

        My response was just as you have said. For my reasons. As I was raised. It was, is, and will always be what I can contribute to society, from my roof to the world.

        Honesty. Integrity. I had no problem with that. I still do not. And, yes it still does sometimes come at a significant cost. Yet, it was Scouting that led me to believe that the cost would be worth it, no matter what.

        I stand by that. I stand by you.

        And, what "they" believe it means has nothing to do with my heart, OR my integrity. :)

        Nurse Kelley says my writing is brilliant and my soul is shiny - who am I to argue?
        Left/Right: -7.75
        Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.51

        by Bud Fields on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 08:05:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Two gay Eagle Scouts: (4+ / 0-)

    Bill in Portland Maine and Common Sense Mainer.

    These guys just visited me this weekend at The Rock. Their scouting knowledge is intact, thank you very much.

    My last fortune cookie was a The Nephew sockpuppet.

    by commonmass on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 04:25:09 PM PDT

  •  My grandson at about six years old (0+ / 0-)

    really wanted to be a boy scout. Among his friends, being a scout was so important.

    I did not like the religious aspect or the uber-patriotism (sorry, I did not understand the umlaut lesson, wink).

    But I got the uniforms, took him to meetings, etc., he loved the camaraderie.

    I loved that he wanted to learn. I learned a lot in a Baptist church, he is learning in the scouts. I just hope he is learning the right things.

    And now ten years later I think he will decide to quit.

  •  Something happened (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tennessee Dave, Debby, wildweasels

    Once upon a time Scouting national headquarters was in New Jersey; then it got shifted to Texas and things have been downhill ever since. Things got a lot more conservative at that point.

    The organization is secretive and increasingly authoritarian. It used to be at the local level the hierarchy was a lot more diverse and accessible; you'd have troops, leaders, and the next step up from that was Council offices - maybe covering several counties, and on up from that to national regions and finally national.

    Well, over time those councils kept getting conglomerated into bigger units as they were merged. It became harder for local leaders to deal with an increasingly remote hierarchy. Local connections were lost as facilities like local camps were closed as part of the mergers. The trend is towards one council per state.

    The paid professionals who work at the council level were making out by driving these mergers - the more scouts in their councils, the higher they pay they get. (And there are widespread rumors of the numbers of scouts carried on the books getting inflated to further boost that pay.)

    The Boy Scouts of America is long overdue for some transparency and outside audits. But that's not going to happen.

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

    by xaxnar on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 06:01:37 PM PDT

    •  Unfortunately (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xaxnar, Cassandra Waites

      Girl Scouts is doing the same kind of consolidations and the "lifers" are controlling it more and more, in my opinion.  Our girls are going troopless this year as Middle and High Schoolers because they want to continue having great experiences together but are over the cookie selling which is so integral to the national organization.  We also had a co-leader run off with all our money a couple of years ago, which rather jaded us all, especially after the perpetrator got more support from our Council than the victims did.  Sound familiar?

      If you are true, but not in the same truth with me, cleave to your companions; I will seek my own. --Ralph Waldo Emerson

      by sopranospinner on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 07:46:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am and Eagle Scout with Bronze Palms.......... (6+ / 0-)

    and Order Of The Arrow.  

    I will proudly admit that those days in scouting were some of my best memories of growing up and I still think about how fortunate I, along with my neighborhood friends, were to have such an outstanding Scout Master who taught us not about just Scouting, but also about life skills and responsibility.

    Our Scoutmaster also grew up in our neighborhood and we all knew him and his family.  He was about 15 years older than us and also drove the school bus route that most of us took to go to high school.  Our parents also knew him and trusted him with us and never questioned his judgment, or his qualifications to be that excellent leader that he was.  He was a terrific person that we all respected, and admired.

    Our Scoutmaster was Gay, and we all knew it and so did our parents, and it didn’t make one bit of difference to any of us.  If he were here, I would thank him once again for having given his time and guidance to us kids way back when and for all those memories:  We trusted him and he in return gave us all every reason to be trusted and to be the best Eagle Scouts in the council that we could be, based on his example of being the best role model there ever was for us all, and for me, teaching the most important motto in life that I have believed in since those days, and that has served me well:

    Be Prepared.


    “The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.” — Marcus Aurelius

    by LamontCranston on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 08:06:55 PM PDT

  •  I just visited the NOAC 2012 site (0+ / 0-)

    and, I must tell you Scouts, I became very sad. Why?


    They don't want me there. They won't allow the ME I am to participate. Exclusion. Reduction to second class (no offense, Scouts) status. I would not even be welcomed to that activity as an observer. Yet, that is a conference that I believe I could enhance with my presence.

    Is this what the Scout Oath should invoke in a Scout?

    Nurse Kelley says my writing is brilliant and my soul is shiny - who am I to argue?
    Left/Right: -7.75
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.51

    by Bud Fields on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 08:12:20 PM PDT

  •  Is this nonsense unique to the BSA? Out here in (0+ / 0-)

    3rd World SE Asia, scouting is about as un-political as an issue can get. It is about camping and merit badges and nothing else. The uniforms are different, so maybe there is no connection between the Amerian Madness and our local scouts.

    I voted with my feet. Good Bye and Good Luck America!!

    by shann on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 10:18:52 PM PDT

  •  I don't think everyone quite understands this (0+ / 0-)

    BSA only adopted it's anti-gay policies in fairly recent memory -- say the 1980s(?).  When it went to the Supreme Court, the leaders of the BSA swore that anti-gay hatred was a central and principal part of the BSA "philosophy."  It wasn't some small part of their beliefs, etc., it was one of their main ideas.

    For well-meaning people to tolerate this kind of hatred legitimizes it, enables it, forgives it.  I'm a parent of boys in the US and have seen how so many nice people think that the BSA offers so many positives -- all recounted above, often so compellingly -- that it "outweighs" the negatives, and, after all, they're working on it.  This is not ok.  Immoral actors need to be confronted publicly, shamed, and shunned, not asked to sit in the parlor and try not to hate anyone too much.

    If the 90+% of "good" scouting people -- those that say they renounce hatred and fear -- were to stop showing up for just one month, the leadership would fall, and the organization could be salvaged.  That these "good" scouts do not do so tells me about their priorities.  To teach a boy that it is OK for an organization to expel someone out of simple fear and hatred is not a lesson anyone should be willing to tolerate.  

  •  So why hasn't someone already started an (0+ / 0-)

    alternative organization, not based on religion and its bigotry?  Make the scouts obsolete.  

    •  Alternatives (0+ / 0-)

      They've tried it - Steve Cozza started Scouting for All after the Dale decision.  I don't know if it's still active, the webpage hasn't been updated in a couple of years and even the news links don't show any recent activity related to this latest debacle.  

      Trouble is BSA owns Eagle and everything leading up to it.  It owns the Order of the Arrow.  

      There is no equivalent - even the military gives you a pay bump if you enlist as an Eagle.  What we once held so much pride in has become tainted.  Our memories of all the wonderful things that our boys did during their time in scouts is dimmed by this wretched policy, especially if your scout is gay or if he has gay family members.  My nephew can't be in scouts because he has 2 moms.  My son won't volunteer for a unit that won't allow his cousin or his aunts to participate and he's got Eagle, OA, Philmont, Camp Staff experience, he's a veterinarian - was teaching vet science merit badges while in vet school - that's the only thing he'll volunteer for.  

      Contrary to what BSA says this policy was not "always" there - nobody on a volunteer level heard about it until the mid to late 90's - part of the Dale case was his requesting the documentation that showed he was not eligible to be an assistant scoutmaster for his unit.  He made Eagle, turned 18, signed up to be ASM in his troop, as so many other 18 year old Eagles do.  He was ASM for awhile - it wasn't until he was in the Gay/Straight Alliance at Rutgers, I think, that the local paper wrote an article about him.  He told them he was an Eagle Scout when he was reciting his qualifications for whatever the article was discussing.  It made his hometown papers (well, yeah, I'd be proud, too if somebody wrote up something nice about my troop's Eagle / ASM).  Council wrote to him to expel him without stating the reason - he went home, and with his Scoutmaster went to Council to find out what was going on - and that's when they told him gay people were not allowed to be in scouts.  

      He sued, because the council couldn't produce a written policy memo and he went after them for discrimination, I think.  If I recall, he won in court, BSA won on appeal, then he won in District Court and then BSA took it to SCOTUS?  Have to go look - it's been 12 years.  

      So there aren't really any alternatives out there.  Zack Wahls may have the right idea by starting Scouts for Equality, to get all scouts, scouters and former BSA members to just keep chipping away until BSA wakes up and does the right thing.  

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

      by Ricochet67 on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 01:04:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Religious fanatics are running the Boy Scouts. (0+ / 0-)

    Yes, the "Christians" are in charge.  The founder of the Boy Scouts was a gay man.

    It seems like the boy scouts themselves should take a break from being boy scouts, until the religious fanatics who run the BSA evolve.

    " With religion you can't get just a little pregnant"

    by EarTo44 on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 06:24:39 AM PDT

  •  The local councils are already pushing back (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zekeaz, Cassandra Waites, wasatch

    Minnesota's Northstar Council has recently come out saying that they will reject the national ban and welcome gay scouts and leaders. It remains to be seen how the national leadership will respond.

    The Northstar Council is the largest in Minnesota, and one of the largest in the country, serving over 75,000 scouts.

    “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom” - Anais Nin

    by legendmn on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 06:52:07 AM PDT

  •  No poll was taken of BSA families (0+ / 0-)

    This statement from the press release is either not true or unknown:
    “The vast majority of the parents of youth we serve value their right to address issues of same-sex orientation within their family, with spiritual advisers, and at the appropriate time and in the right setting,” said Bob Mazzuca, Chief Scout Executive, Boy Scouts of America. “While a majority of our membership agrees with our policy, we fully understand that no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society.”

    No questionnaire on this subject has ever been circulated nationally.  In addition, the support for change is coming from very traditional Scouters as well as ones who are gay.  National is out of touch with their membership and change is coming if the membership keeps up the pressure.

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