The Scouts’ pitiful compromise

Leaders of the Boy Scouts of America, trying to find a compromise over the organization’s ban on gays, have managed to offend just about everyone, regardless of their positions on including gays.

The Scouts have proposed allowing gay Scouts into troops, but banning gay adults from any role with Scouts. This proposal fails on many levels but here’s two:

One, it basically tells gay Eagle Scouts that once they have entered adulthood they are no longer morally fit to be associated with Scouting. Two, it tells gay Scouts that their lifestyle is so morally unfit that there can be no adult gay role models in Scouting for them. It just boggles the mind that this “compromise” actually moved beyond the brainstorming stage, through discussion and into a major proposal. I can’t imagine such a bad idea being approved in May at the Scouts national council meeting.

Even those who favor the ban are not happy with the proposal. Tony Perkins, of the conservative Family Research Council, told the Los Angeles Times that the latest proposal was “incoherent.” He’s right.

The Scouts should bite the bullet and do the right thing, which is ending its ban on gays, period. The organization could return to an earlier trial balloon idea, which called for allowing local troops to decide whether to include gays in Scouting. Or, the Scouts’ leaders can simply reaffirm their ban on gays and deal with any economic consequences as a result. I don’t support an idea from liberal California legislators to revoke the group’s tax-exempt status, but any private organizations which choose to pull sponsorship from the Scouts because of their stand on gays have the right to do so. And, it’s true that if the Scouts allow gays, the organization may lose its affiliations with some churches, maybe The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

But this pitiful compromise needs to be dumped. It’s an insult to gay youths and gay adults.

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31 Responses to The Scouts’ pitiful compromise

  1. D. Michael Martindale says:

    This is why you make decisions based on principle, not social pressure.

    • Erick says:

      This is a strange situation for the BSA. I’m not going to tell the BSA what their values ought to be, but this vacillating on the issue isn’t speaking well for the leadership.

      The fact is, society at large is substantially divided over the issue of what role homosexuals have in society, and most people see it as a moral issue of some kind. In other words, your not likely to find any serious compromises on peoples sense of morality, so you’re not likely to be effective trying to compromise. This really is simply an issue of pick a side and accept the fact that there will be costs.

  2. Steve says:

    The Boy Scouts should either commit to being a bigoted organization or commit to not being a bigoted organization; this trying to have it both ways is completely ridiculous. If they decide to continue being an organization for bigots, they could easily distinguish themselves from the KKK by wearing their neckerchiefs along with the traditional dunce cap and bedsheet.

    Whatever they do, the scouts have damaged their reputation with pretty much everyone by making such a milquetoast proposal.

    • F. Chateaubriand says:

      Calling those with opposing viewpoints bigots? You should know based on this statements of intolerance. I agree with the views of the blessed Pope John Paul VI, the subsequent popes and Cardinal George on their thoughtful statements on homosexuality. Your secular progressive values are certainly superior to these other “bigots.” Regarding the KKK as an example of bigotry, I suggest you use Margret Sanger’s Planned Parenthood as a better example of really effective bigotry.

      • Paul Bothwell says:

        Although I agree with you 100% I see one thing in your post that may be a problem. I know of Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul l and Pope John Paul ll but I have no idea who Pope John Paul Vl is.

  3. midwinter says:

    Yup.

  4. ScottH says:

    As a scouting volunteer, it seems to me that the BSA has already caused significant and maybe even permanent damage to its brand. The problem wouldn’t be so bad if the BSA had not insisted long ago that its current membership policy was a core principle that was vital to the organization’s function and identity. But that is the only way it won the Supreme Court case a few years back.

    Taking that position put the BSA on a collision course with shifting public attitudes about homosexuality. Now, even entertaining the idea of altering the ban comes across as a crass violation of the organization’s integrity, which is supposed to be THE core identity value underlying scouting.

    Not a few adult volunteers I know assume that if the BSA is willing to dump a ‘vital principle’ when it becomes financially challenging, other ‘vital principles’ are up for sale too. Some long time volunteers that I know are so disheartened that they are re-evaluating their association with the organization.

    Doug is correct that the compromise is bad. The ban is either wrong and always has been wrong, or it is right and always has been right. How can it be half wrong and half right at the same time?

    Doug’s suggestion that the organization dump the ban could cost the organization a huge portion of its current membership. Many members belong to churches that still teach that same-sex attraction in any form is unacceptable sin. They would not tolerate being forced to accept gay members into their troops.

    Maintaining the ban would be unpopular, although, two-thirds of adults that have children in the program or that volunteer in the program support doing so. Many are willing to weather the persecution that would result.

    A scouting friend of mine opined that it really doesn’t matter how the BSA votes on this proposal next month; the damage has been done and cannot be undone. I cannot see that the ultimate outcome will bode well for the scouts, no matter how the vote goes.

    • Bob Becker says:

      “…weather the persecution that would result ”

      Persecution?

      Good grief….

      • Rockgod28 says:

        Persecute: to harass or punish in a manner designed to injure, grieve, or afflict; specifically : to cause to suffer because of belief.

        Persecution is not execution which is the logical conclusion to this practice.

        The BSA is harassed. They are grieved. They are afflicted. Most of all they have been caused to suffer because of belief.

        To pretend otherwise is to reject the reality of what is happening to an organization that is being compromised to meet the price of corporate sponsors and major donors that is about sexuality.

        Sexuality should have no place within the Boy Scouts. Sex, sex, sex. What the heck does that have to do with the boy scouts? There are no sexuality merit badges, rainbow or otherwise in the Boy Scouts.

        There is a supreme danger of getting homosexual men to be leaders in the BSA. Even other professed homosexual boys now admitted to the BSA. What are boys who are sexually immature to do?

        Would a man be allowed to lead girls alone in the wilderness married or not? Unless there are waivers and hold faultless documents signed the BSA would be harassed and sued over and over. They are already today. No one would think it wise to leave girls in the charge of a man who is not their father or close relative.

        Why do we think leaving a man who professes a sexual preference for males with teenagers in a similar situation if the genders were opposite?

        You don’t put lambs in the care of a wolf. Not unless you want to have lamb chops for dinner.

  5. Rockgod28 says:

    Tolerance

    Equality

    Where is that in the scout oath, scout motto or scout law?

    Oh that’s right. It isn’t.

    As long as local troops are not compelled to accept openly homosexual leaders the BSA will survive. That however is just not possible. LGBT and other activists will demand equality and compel all troops to accept their terms.

    When the activists sue the LDS Church or other sponsors still banning homosexual leaders from participation in the Scouting program they will just quit. So the BSA will get their corporate sponsorship money with a greatly reduced membership. 13% reduction. Any organization should be able to survive a 13% loss.

    So we will see what happens next.

    • Denny says:

      The Boy Scout motto will have to be modified to full accommodate
      the gay boys who don’t believe in God’s command for morality. It
      is a shame that the gay community forces religious morality to be
      rejected in order that they can have things their way. Is there
      anything sacred that the gay community is not out to destroy and
      press their ideology into all walks of life. I don’t think the Boy Scouts pf America will ever be the same if these changes are made. The tradition of the scouts has been an excellent opportunity for these young boys to learn about life through
      morality and religion. Unfortunately this education may come to
      a halt due to changes in leadership. It is this leadership that the scouts learn and profess according to their motto. How can they
      continue to be loyal to a motto that is no longer true. I hope the BSA leadership takes a long hard look at what they are proposing
      and thinks of the scouts instead of their own personal gain. +Entsng

      • Rockgod28 says:

        If the BSA leadership really did follow the principles of Scouting this would not be a problem. However they are chasing after money. Money, donations, and corporate sponsorship has a price. The organizations with the most money and influence are bearing down on the BSA.

        They scream: “Equality!”

        When there is nothing equal about what they are doing. Equality has the implication that there is fairness, justice and equal opportunity to voice opinions even if it does not agree with the majority opinion.

        That is Liberty! Liberty is true equality.

        As the hammer of equality rains down on the BSA will they be able to stand and endure. No.

        Why?

        The foundation upon which the BSA is build is being tested and it has been found wanting.

        You are right. It is the boys the BSA should be most concerned about. They are not.

        What the heck is a boy, from 11 to 14 or even 17 doing exploring his sexuality? To come to the determination as he is around other boys he likes them more than girls and worst of all think he has to act on it which is in violation of everything about Scouting.

        Last time I checked there isn’t a sexuality merit badge or anything else like that in the Boy Scouts.

        Injecting sexuality into the Boy Scouts is a huge mistake and if the BSA leadership continues down this path there will be an end to the organization that has lasted over 100 years.

  6. figureitout says:

    I see this as a difficult situation for the Church. As the Church (LDS) has come out in support of gays, only prohibiting the actual sexual expression of gay sentiments, but allowing same sex attraction, what will be its position if gay scouts are permitted to remain? It can’t very well oppose now…to do so would be a contradiction from its new position of ‘tolerance’.

    • ScottH says:

      The Church could still reject the proposal on technical grounds, saying that the policy is ill formed and would likely result in problems for the BSA that the church thinks would be unacceptable.

  7. xrayiiis says:

    Maybe the Scouts should split in two – on side allowing gays, atheists, transexuals, and whatever else – the other adhering to the traditional values. That would be an interesting experiment. Of course the left does not like to accommodate opposing views, so this is unlikely to happen.

    • ScottH says:

      I doubt the BSA could split. But it is entirely possible that some sponsoring organizations could split off and form their own version of scouting.

      • Zen Wordsmith says:

        Albeit I read this weeks declaration from the
        Boy Scouts of America, as “Affairs of the Heart.”
        Unless a young adult male in the ranks is “getting
        it on” with every role model he wants to emulate;
        There is no cause for alarm.
        As for Scout Masters who guide, exhort and ad-
        monish the Boy Scout, let the ranks of the lower
        dominions…”Bring the Boy Out”. No strong-arm
        tactics. Just a gentle showmanship of what
        tutorial care is all about.
        An “Out-Scout” can affirm his sexuality, after a
        long talk over with his Dad, quickly realizing that
        “One time is Usually Enough”. But the important
        part to discern, is the Scout will never be the
        same again. “You might say he was borne again”
        Thus alas. Discretion is the better sign of valor.

  8. charles pfeiffer says:

    yep the compromise is bad.The bsa should have said no we are not allowing gays in .If people dont like it then homosexuals are more than free to statrt their own organization call it the pink commando who cares this is nothing more than the liberal progressive mentally to destroy anything related to the family or what the majority of us in the country call a normal lifestyle

  9. Bob Becker says:

    It would be nice if the creeping religiosity that seems to have overtaken the BSA since I was in it began to ebb with this new decision. But, sadly, I don’t expect that to happen. I expect the holier-than-thou-ism not to give way to the emphasis on camping, hiking and self-reliance that I recall as the main focus. A Scout’s religious beliefs, training was pretty much his own business and that of his parents. This was true of both the American Legion sponsored truth if which I was a part, and the Lutheran church sponsored troop my first son was in all the way to Eagle. I was surprised and, frankly, appalled to read in the SE recently that thelocal council had organized a kind Ten Commandments hike/ bike recently. Ten stops at ten churches to receive ibstructions on one of the commandments at each one. Council irganized that? Council? Good lord…. no council I or my kids were part of ever organized anything like that.

    • Bob Becker says:

      Sorry for the typos. (Damn it, SE, add an edit function to your blog comment software.)

    • Paul Bothwell says:

      Bob the Troop you belonged to bares little resemblance to the one I belong to. The Scout Oath that is recited at every meeting still has “duty to God” in it and the Scout Law still has the word “reverent” in it. All three of my sons have participated in the BSA Religious Emblems Program. So are you saying that your troop does not recite the oath and law?

      • Bob Becker says:

        Nonsense. I said nothing of the kind. I said a Scout’s religious beliefs and training, when I was in [more than half a century ago] and when my sons were in [twenty years ago] were considered the Scout’s business, and his parents,not the troop’s and certainly not Council’s.

        The Oath does not require troop leadership and certainly not Council to become involved in an individual Scout’s religious training. The opportunities were there [the various religious medals, dozens of them for different faiths, Scouts could earn] if the Scout wanted to take advantage of them. But religious training was NO part of the troop’s or the Council’s responsibility. That seems to have changed, at least in these parts. It was not a change for the better.

  10. Somebody or Other says:

    On the contrary, according to their own internal surveys, this compromise offends almost no one.

    Full disclosure: I am…
    1. Mormon
    2. A 10 year scouting alumnus
    3. A 12 year scout leader
    4. Parent to current and future scouts.
    5. Politically, socially, religiously conservative… of the kind that finds Fox News considerably too moderate.

    Despite this, the compromise offends me not at all. Indeed, I find it to be perfectly consistent with the values BSA has always espoused. It is, in fact, not a compromise at all. It is a more consistent and thoughtful application of the values it has always espoused. My one quibble is that they do not seem to have reworked the adult guidelines to make the fine distinctions that they have for the youth.

    Allow me to explain:
    The problem all along has been one of terminology. Terms like “homosexual” and “gay” are simply not specific enough. Do they indicate orientation of sexual attraction or do they indicate sexual activity? If the former, then I see no reason for excluding a youth based on that factor alone. If the latter, then in the case of youth it does not matter whether the activity is homosexual or heterosexual. It’s all outside of “morally straight”. The new wording reflects exactly that. Orientation should have no bearing on youth participation in Scouting. Advancement in Scouting should be dependent on moral behavior, not the experience of some particular temptation.

    In the case of leaders, I hope that they take the opportunity to make distinctions there as well. The same distinction as for the youth should also apply, with this caveat: those with same-sex attraction should not be eligible for direct contact leader positions of youth over the age of 11 or 12. In fact, to make it thoroughly consistent, scout leaders should never be eligible for direct contact leader positions if they are attracted to the gender they will be leading, regardless of whether that attraction is hetero- or homosexual.

    To put it another way, a man with same sex attraction should not be a Scoutmaster for the same reason that I should not be the leader for a troop of Girl Scout Cadettes. It’s just not appropriate and it is asking for trouble. Past a certain age and entering into young adulthood, it really is not appropriate for direct contact leaders to feel sexual attraction for the gender they are shepherding during impressionable, vulnerable years. Yes, that would mean no female Scoutmasters.

    However, only about 20% of scout leadership roles are direct contact leaders. Leaders with same-sex attraction who are committed to the principles of the scout oath and law absolutely should be eligible to serve in any of the 80% that are not.

    So why haven’t they done that as well? Probably because of the hue and cry that would go up from the progressives in the media if they attempted to sever sexual orientation from lifestyle identity. Daring to assert that someone with same sex attraction can find fulfillment by following any path other than a gay lifestyle is the ultimate sin in today’s political landscape and a sure way to invite retribution. Ironically, those who center their worldview on sexual proclivities would be more incensed at the inclusion of those with same sex attraction who choose not to act on it than they currently are at the blanket exclusion.

    • Rockgod28 says:

      Thank you for your comment and information. I believe you exactly right. A divorce of same-gender attraction orientation and lifestyle identity is blasphemy which requires political assassination. It will not be countenanced or tolerated in the name of freedom and especially equality.

      Direct contact BSA roles should be prohibited for exactly the reasons you pointed it.

      I do feel the issue is about money and public perception. The BSA is taking a huge risk for boys who have publicly stated they are potentially challenged with obeying the principles of the Scouting program. While it is good they are honest which is part of the Scout Law, it is more important they obey the law of being morally clean. If they can do that required of every Boy Scout I can accept the risk. There is no inequality. The same rules apply to all boys regardless of attraction.

      I hope the BSA can see their way clear of the traps and snares set by activists who bully corporate sponsors into compliance of their definitions of equality. So far so good.

      The real test will be the leaders. If the BSA follows your recommendation then I have no problem. However that is what these activists are fighting for right now. As you pointed out this would be viewed as the ultimate sin by the progressive media regardless of the risk to the boys, leaders, and families that would be damaged if the risk is ignored by the BSA.

      A man will never be taking young women to girls camp as a director, counselor, or anything alone. It is not that we don’t trust the man, however it would be a high risk situation that is unacceptable to sleep near or be in the same area alone. Why should we accept the risk of a same-gender attraction person with boys or girls?

      • Zen Wordsmith says:

        I say, Oh Zion’s tribe.
        “All” like Saint “P-aul” and undergo chastity in
        the strictest sense of the principal. Where leadership roles require a placement by there bishop/cleric;
        let a “new age dawn”, where enormous sensitivity
        disciplines, embellish just what chaos transpires
        within the mind set of an impressionable young mind. [Packs, Troops & Dens], this truly would
        be the “clan of the cave bear”.
        Always has been. Always will be. Into adulthood.
        Bear’s, especially are attracted to honey.
        If Out [Gay] Scout Masters are not careful , there
        going to attract a plentitude of “action” from the streets. Like a book, they’ll want to “check-U-out.”
        “Head for the Honey Comb Hideout!!”

  11. Wayne Dequer says:

    I have spent significant time working within BSA at the troop level and as a merit-badge counselor. It is a great program when it is understood and followed by the leaders. I am personally happy to see this move toward including “gay” scouts. Given the data I’ve seen, I personally do not fear child abuse by “gay leaders” any more than I would “straight leaders.” If Child Protection guidelines and common sense are followed it should NOT present a practical problem. BSA says they made their decisions in large part due to survey results. Additionally there was a “Legal Study Group,” and BSA has understandably been sensitized about potential child-abuse. Given the survey results, etc. apparently others feel differently than I do. Maybe this transition need to be done in steps.

    For more information see http://www.bsaseabase.org/licensing/sitecore/content/MembershipStandards/Resolution/FAQ.aspx and http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2013/images/03/13/bsaq.pdf .

  12. kspjrp1023 says:

    All of this started with some gay den mother. Now the BSA has the stupid liberals trying to force their agenda down their throats. I am sick and tired of the democrats and liberals constantly destroy this country and throwing our Constitution out the window. Hopefully when 2016 comes, we will start getting back to our true morals and the country our founding fathers wanted.

    • Bob Becker says:

      As the courts have held, the BSA is a private organization. As such it is free to exclude gays or atheists or everyone who’s left-handed if it pleases. But that also means it’s free to admit gays or atheists or left handed people if it chooses to. It’s not being forced to do anything by anyone. Not by gays, not by liberaks, nio by the Courts and not by Congress. Just what part of its freedom to choose would you deny it?

  13. kspjrp1023 says:

    All this started by a gay den mother. I am sick and tired of the liberals and democrats forcing unmoral things down our throats. They just want to destroy our country and morals. Hopefully in 2016 we can get our country and morals back to the way our founding fathers intended.

    • princeoftides says:

      touche kspjrp1023. may be wishful thinking there about 2016, but we can only hope. I had a wonderful tenure twice as a Scoutmaster, parent of an Eagle scout, and another who is a Life scout. Boy scouting should not be another social militant forum for working out morality issues even adults dont agree with. Our Heavenly Father revealed that practicing homosexuality is a sexual perversion and a sin and our weaknesses should be worked on not flaunted and praised. I know that each one of us will answer to Him on this law. I would not enroll my boys, or girls, in any org which condones it.

      • Zen Wordsmith says:

        Choose the Right, Uh [princeoftides}?
        And this is “Only a test”, testosterone.
        Walk with God.

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