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 I grew up in the Boy Scouts, for many years I went to Scout camp. I backpacked thru a couple of thousands of miles with the Scouts. So lets just take all the politics out of this. The Scouts are a very honorable institution, and they are a benevolent organization. At the same time, they have political realities. The Mormon Church is very active in Scouting, as are many other Churches. However, it is no secret, the Mormon Church is very anti Gay rights, and they hold a very large vote in regards to Scouting Policy.

All that said, I'm very in favor of the vote to allow Gay members into troops based on a local decision. I don't think that the organization should deny membership from the top down to people they have never even met. This has to be the decision of the Scoutmaster. The kids are in his care, if he is comfortable with the person, that is enough.

 I know, I was fortunate that my Scoutmaster was beyond reproach. A three war vet, he was awarded the family Doctor of the year after his famine relief efforts in Ethiopia. He had no problem with allowing a gay man, a felon at that, interacting with the troop. The man had the support of my mom, they worked together, he sponsored him, and he was the only person who could play the troop song on the piano.

 Beyond that, I understand the real concern, we are dealing with kids. The Scouts would be negligent not to be concerned about sexual abuse. A lot of parents are going to be uncomfortable with this. And this calls for action from the LGBT community. The facts are, pedophilia and homosexuality are very different things. The truth is, most sexual abuse is from heterosexuals.

 I don't know if that changes anything. The reality is that pedophiles infiltrate organizations like the scouts, because it gives them access to kids.

 So lets take this to the next step. If the LGBT want to be a part of Scouts, then they have to discuss these fears that people have. You can't just ask people to not be concerned about their kids. And you can't ask the Scouts to fight the culture war. It is the responsibility of each of us. The Scouts can only respond to its membership.

Originally posted to Kozzmo on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 01:12 PM PST.

Also republished by Street Prophets .

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Comment Preferences

  •  A very nice diary. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    We weren't scouts (though I have a cousin who is an Eagle Scout) and I wouldn't have my kids in scouting either. Not so much because gay people like me are so far not welcome, but because I think that putting kids in uniform boosts our disgusting culture of militarism, something which I think we should be more ashamed of than proud.

    What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

    by commonmass on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 01:26:15 PM PST

    •  that was then, this is now (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      citylights, commonmass

      I was in scouts for many years as a kid - maybe 40+ years ago.  Looking back on it, there were real military aspects to our meetings and procedures.

      Then I got to do it all over again with my son (and my daughter, when she was old enough for a co-ed Venture crew) - maybe 15 years ago.  There were uniforms, but very loosly enforced.  I didn't see any militaristic tendancies.  It was much more about teamwork and learning & practicing basic skills.  There was a large outdoor component and a reasonably healthy service component - but much less dependance on hierarchy and rank than I remembered.

      And, to some of the other points - they have a good sexual abuse prevention policy, with mandatory training  for leaders, 2 deep leadership policies and education for the scouts.  Abuse can happen anywhere, but they try to prevent it as much as possible.

      I don't know how recent your experience is, or what your local troop and council may be like.  But I found scouting to be a great experience for me, and then for my kids.  

      My son & I are both Eagle scouts, by the way.  I really regret that my daughter couldn't start as early as my son and didn't have the same advancement / recognition opportunities.  Once the current debate is settled, I hope to see equal opportunities for both boys & girls in scouting someday - like every other country with a scouting program seems to do.

  •  Honorable? (8+ / 0-)
    The Scouts are a very honorable institution
    NO.  They are not.  That's the whole point.  They hold themselves up as role models, but they have a long history of practicing as much bigotry as they could possibly get away with, starting with the initial decision to exclude girls from their organization, a form of bigotry that continues until today.  

    It is true that the Mormons heavily support the Boy Scouts.  And, guess what.  They don't support the Girl Scouts to the same degree.  There are great opportunities to be had through the Boy Scouts.  Girls have to struggle to get those same opportunities.

    And, then there was their fight to exclude black people.  

    And, the fight to exclude gays.  

    And, no one mentions the exclusion of atheists, much.  We're not even worthy of the mention, I guess.

    What it comes down to, is some boy is a Boy Scout, and he gets to a certain age, and it becomes obvious that he's gay, and they say to him -- "Get out.  We don't want you here."  

    Or, his Mom wants to participate.  And, she does.  Until someone figures out she is gay.   And, then she is just thrown out.   With the boy watching all this, and seeing how the so-called-honorable Boy Scouts just treated his mother.

    That's not just politics.   That's a human being that they did that to.   That's just evil.  That is my definition of dishonor, to suddenly turn on someone who has walked beside you for so long, and always behaved in an honorable fashion, and suddenly just throw them away like a particularly stinky bit of trash.

    If the LGBT want to be a part of Scouts, then they have to discuss these fears that people have.
    I think that LGBT have said it many times, very publicly.      What do they need to do?    Hire airplanes and write it in the sky?    They have said it very plainly.   "LGBT are not child molesters."   The Boy Scouts don't want to hear that.  It interferes with their paranoid fantasy of how they are keeping "our kind of people" safe from "them".   It's so hard to insist you are so much better than those other people, if you have to keep including "those other people" in your group.   It's all about finding some other people, so you can be better than them.  

    Women.  Blacks.   LGBT.  Atheists.    Lesser people.

    That is not honorable.

  •  My son was a scout until 8th grade, (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    citylights, Eman, Smoh, Ricochet67, skrekk

    but we left for a number of reasons.  I observed some subtle but "soft" bigotry and right-wing nuttery among some of the adults who should have known better.  Some of it would be contrary to the teachings and policy of the Methodist church that sponsored the troop.

    Meh! Look at Scouts Canada for a real model: Here in the US, I'd hold up the Girl Scouts as a better example of an organization than BSA.

    Does Scouts Canada Admit Both Boys and Girls?
    Yes, Scouts Canada became completely co-ed in 1998.

    Do You Have to Believe in God to Join Scouts Canada?
    Is Scouting a Christian Organization?
    No, but you must have a basic spiritual belief. Spirituality has been one of the three main principles of Scouting around the world since its inception more than 100 years ago. Scouts Canada is proud of its commitment to diversity and welcomes members of many different faiths and denominations.

    You need not belong to an organized religion, but all members must take the Scout Promise in good faith and leaders may include some form of spirituality in their program for the youth. “God” represents spirituality and for some may represent an actual deity, but it may also mean an expression of your personal spirituality.

    "Duty to God" as defined by the World Organization of the Scouting Movement, means "a person's relationship with the spiritual values of life, the fundamental belief in a force above mankind."

    Are Homosexuals Allowed to Join Scouts Canada?
    Scouts Canada does not discriminate for reasons of gender, culture, religious belief or sexual orientation

    I'm part of the "bedwetting bunch of website Democrat base people (DKos)." - Rush Limbaugh, 10/16/2012 Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

    by tom 47 on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 01:47:13 PM PST

  •  The conflation of homosexuality & pedophilia (7+ / 0-)

    is quite clear throughout this diary. Ugh.

    into the blue again, after the money's gone

    by Prof Haley on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 02:01:58 PM PST

  •  Bigotry on the local level is OK??? (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drsampson, Chrislove, Smoh, Prof Haley, skrekk

    You stated:

    This has to be the decision of the Scoutmaster.
    Separate "but equal" drinking fountains and washrooms are OK as long as the decision is local???  Somehow I think the country made that decision about 50 years ago.

    Just as a woman can't be semi-pregnant (unless Todd Akin is making the decision), a boy can't be semi-welcomed into Scouting.

    A major issue here is that the Boy Scouts of America, unlike other non-profit corporations, is chartered by The United States of America.  

    36 USC Chapter 309 - BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA
    Subtitle II - Patriotic and National Organizations
    Part B - Organizations
    Therefore, just as with federal voting rights, they need to follow the rules and regulations of the United States - NOT some rules, opinions, and and especially the "comfort levels" of local scoutmasters.

    "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty (John Boner, Paul Ryan, or Scotty Walker (pick your favorite) said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."

    by Eman on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 02:12:05 PM PST

  •  Maybe it can seem like we're not giving parental (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drsampson, Smoh, Prof Haley

    fears due consideration.  I don't personally think that is true, but for a parent who is worried, they need to hear the truth: the vast majority of pedophiles are heterosexual. You don't look at those facts and say, "The majority of heterosexual men are attracted to children."  

    What I don't understand is the view that sees no harm in institutionalizing bullying practices and teaching a child to be a bigot.  Teaching children, by word and deed, to fear -- and then hate -- someone who is different; why is that not a worry of people who are purportedly religious?

    "In politics stupidity is not a handicap." Napoleon Bonaparte

    by citylights on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 02:30:56 PM PST

  •  I'm confused by your discussion. You admit (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chrislove, Bob Love, Smoh, Darmok, Prof Haley

    that the "facts are [that] pedophilia and homosexuality are very different things"; that "most sexual abuse is from heterosexuals"; that "pedophiles infiltrate organizations like the scouts, because it gives them access to kids."

    So if "pedophilia and homosexuality are very different things"why is it the responsibility of the LGBT community to "discuss these fears that people have"?

    Why?  How does this make any sense whatsoever?

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

      Scouts want to keep pedophiles out, so admitting gays has to be a local decision?

      into the blue again, after the money's gone

      by Prof Haley on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 04:31:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is what I expect from the left (0+ / 0-)

      People tend to be protective of their kids. When asked to expose their kids to homosexuality, people are going to raise red flags. Pretending that isn't going to happen is not a solution. Calling me a bigot is not a solution either. If we are going to  solve the underlying issues, then we have to discuss the issues, even if they are uncomfortable to talk about.

       The real question, what happens if we don't talk about the abuse? Do we protect a football coach? A Priest? Do we blame and ostracize people that are LGBT? Do we just cling to the status quo?

       I'm not trying to stop bigotry, it would be futile, I just put the issues out there. If thats not PC, whatever. Someone has to have the courage to speak out. Now if you would rather be offended, and fight a culture war, then you are exactly the same as those on the right trying to exclude lgbt.

      •  My point is simple: it's not the LGBT community's (0+ / 0-)

        responsibility to help the Boy Scouts and others overcome their bigotry and fear.  Just as it's not the African American community's responsibility to teach white Americans about black culture or to help whites overcome their bigotry.

        Moreover, this is not a left-right, liberal-conservative question and to construe it as such is mistaken.

        •  These are fair questions (0+ / 0-)

          The thing is, I just don't think you understand all the politics in this. The survivors network tends to be very feminist, which tends to support gay rights. This is a natural alliance, the survivor network lends a lot of credibility, the lgbt network has the muscle.

  •  No, it's not the responsibility (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Love, Smoh, Darmok, Prof Haley, skrekk

    of the LGBT community to "discuss these fears." The reality is clear, and those who conflate homosexuality and pedophilia are operating in a non-reality-based world. This "discussion" has been had many, many times over. And frankly, the BSA has had plenty of issues with abuse with the gay ban in place. Those who are "concerned" about their children's safety gay Scoutmasters are probably the same people who believe homosexuality is a sin punishable by death and that gays recruit children. These people are beyond help.

    Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?

    by Chrislove on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 03:05:35 PM PST

  •  Address your own fears. Don't project them. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Smoh, Chrislove, Prof Haley, skrekk

    GLBT have been educating you for over a half century. We have lives we'd now like to get on with, and you're asking for yet another decade of pleading for equality?  

    Thanks, but your contribution would have been more useful in, say, 1970.

    "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

    by Bob Love on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 03:35:07 PM PST

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