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View Full Version : The end of "don't ask,..." in the Boy Scouts.



huisjen
02-04-2010, 10:49 AM
A letter got sent a few days ago:


February 1, 2010

Mr. Robert Mazzuca
Chief Scout Executive
Boy Scouts of America
National Office
1329 West Walnut Hill Lane
Irving, TX 75038

Dear Mr. Mazzuca:

We write in response to the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) recent rejection of Cate and Elizabeth Wirth, two mothers of a Scout, who applied to serve as parent volunteers. We call on the Boy Scouts to end its policy of discrimination and exclusion based solely on sexual orientation.

Regrettably, the current, discriminatory policy of the Boy Scouts of America has denied opportunities for young scouts, dedicated community-oriented citizens, and loving parents. Most recently, as reported on December 30, 2009, Cate and Elizabeth Wirth, both legal mothers of their 10 year old son, Dylan, were turned down as volunteer Cub Scout leaders after the local Boy Scouts District Director cited the national policy of the BSA regarding lesbian and gay volunteers, and suggested that the Wirths would “push their lifestyle on the boys.” We would think the Boy Scouts would encourage all parents to take an active involvement in their children’s Scouting life. Cate and Elizabeth had volunteered before without problem, such that the Boy Scouts happily accepted their service again until learning of their sexual orientation.

For a century, the Boy Scouts have united communities, instilled the value of public service, and encouraged civic participation among America’s youth. Congress has repeatedly recognized the importance of the Boy Scouts in our communities with numerous honors, including a Congressional charter and, most recently, a resolution expressing support for February 8, 2010 as “Boy Scouts of America Day”. As you celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America, it is long past time that the Boy Scouts finally provide the opportunity for all Scouts, Leaders, and volunteers, to share in the joys of Scouting, regardless of sexual orientation.

This policy of discrimination and exclusion is contrary to the Boy Scouts own stated values. According to Scout law, “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.” We fail to see how it is friendly, courteous, or kind to bar loving parents from volunteering for their child’s Cub Scout pack just because of who they love. Furthermore, it is difficult to imagine how singling out the parents of one Scout for exclusion is an example of Scout loyalty.

As deeply troubling as the exclusionary policy is, the message that the policy sends is perhaps most damaging. The Boy Scouts are teaching America’s youth at impressionable ages that lesbians and gays are to be excluded because they are different, and not “morally straight” as per the Boy Scouts’ official stated position.

Furthermore, it is particularly disappointing that an organization that prides itself on inclusion and diversity remains committed to a policy that is anything but. Again, according to the Scout handbook, a Scout should “look beyond the differences that might separate you from others and accept them for who they are."

We urge you to honor the Boy Scouts’ own stated values and reverse this exclusionary and discriminatory policy by providing the opportunity for Cate and Elizabeth Wirth and all other interested Scouts, Leaders, and volunteers to participate, regardless of sexual orientation.

Sincerely,

__ _____________________
GARY L. ACKERMAN
Member of Congress

_________________________
TAMMY BALDWIN
Member of Congress

_________________________
Raúl M. Grijalva
Member of Congress

_________________________
James P. McGovern
Member of Congress

_________________________
Fortney Pete Stark
Member of Congress

_________________________
Henry C. Johnson, Jr.
Member of Congress

_________________________
Lynn C. Woolsey
Member of Congress

_________________________
Peter Welch
Member of Congress

_________________________

Dennis J. Kucinich
Member of Congress

_________________________
Luis V. Gutierrez
Member of Congress

_________________________
Linda T. SÁnchez
Member of Congress

_________________________
Barbara Lee
Member of Congress

_________________________
James P. Moran
Member of Congress

_________________________
Chellie Pingree
Member of Congress

_________________________
Jared Polis
Member of Congress

_________________________
Barney Frank
Member of Congress

_________________________
Yvette D. Clarke
Member of Congress

_________________________
Bill Delahunt
Member of Congress

_________________________
Keith Ellison
Member of Congress

_________________________
Jerrold Nadler
Member of Congress

_________________________
EARL BLUMENAUER
Member of Congress

_________________________
BRAD SHERMAN
Member of Congress

_________________________
BOB FILNER
Member of Congress

_________________________
Janice Schakowsky
Member of Congress

_________________________
HOWARD L. BERMAN
Member of Congress

_________________________
JACKIE SPEIER
Member of Congress

I thought this might deserve a separate thread.

Dan

Keith Wilson
02-04-2010, 10:51 AM
A pair of lesbians will "push their lifestyle on the boys"? Yeah, right. :D:D

huisjen
02-04-2010, 10:54 AM
Damn, Keith. I hadn't quite thought about it that way. :D

Dan

skuthorp
02-04-2010, 11:01 AM
I was involved in the Scouts from age 8 till age 46. It was a wonderful organisation for me and many other boys as a substitute for my war damaged father. It relied on dedicated volunteers many of whom had had a similar relationship with scouting. I started as a cub scout and finished as District Venturer Leader, and it was 'district politics' that made me leave but I kept a contact as an instructor. Many of my leaders, and later contemporaries were unmarried, some of my contempories were 'gay', but I do not recall one untoward incident. But this has not always been the case of course, in a volunteer organisation there is always the risk.

Ian McColgin
02-04-2010, 11:14 AM
There have been scoutmaster jokes - and crimes - ever since Gen Baden-Powell adopted Gen. Bruce's cute shorts. I believe that more honest recognition of healthy families, gay and straight, helps children protect themselves from the occasional pedophile whether scoutleader or teacher or priest or coach.

I am an Eagle Scout and proud of that despite my many and deep differences with how scouting has been made into a business over the last fifty years.

Michael Beckman
02-04-2010, 11:17 AM
My short time in the sea scouts taught me that it is a religious organization. I assume boy scouts is the same.

skuthorp
02-04-2010, 11:17 AM
Of what? Homosexuals turning into pedophiles? I believe statistics would prove it unlikely.

Doug

No, I didn't mean that, but a local minister/scoutmaster was alleged to be one many years later. As a scoutmaster I had one boy accuse his father, but most abuse was alchohol fuelled domestic violence. A difficult position for a scouter as there was no support network in those days. I found, strangely enough' that calling on them at home in full uniform (hat, shorts, etc) gained me some respect. But I got thumped a few times too.

Ian McColgin
02-04-2010, 11:24 AM
Scout dens, troops, posts, ships and whatnot are very community responsive in some interesting ways. Sort of like the near take-over of the US Air Force Academy by fundamentalists a few years ago, some scout groups really do run way outside the legitimate charter. Others are very open, with jews, moslems, buddhists and whatnot joining in scouting. Regretably, most troops have not figured out how to accept open atheists and agnostics.

elf
02-04-2010, 11:24 AM
Good ole God. Messing with good stuff again.

stoneyreef
02-04-2010, 11:32 AM
It is their group, they can run it as they see fit, that is what America is about. BTW, it started with Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve.

skuthorp
02-04-2010, 11:38 AM
Regretably, most troops have not figured out how to accept open atheists and agnostics.
Yes, I had my own issues there as an 'athiest' almost from the beginning. But my scouters were understanding when I absented myself from 'scouts own' services and I was never associated with a church troop. Doing formal training as a scouter was interesting but I always argued my case and said they could have me as I was or not at all. I wouldn't fake belief to fit the criteria. By then I had been doing the job for years and the problem just went away. As a scouter in charge though I ran services as required but kept a low profile and allowed others to do the speaking. It was never a problem and was seldom ever commented on.

John Smith
02-04-2010, 11:51 AM
It is their group, they can run it as they see fit, that is what America is about. BTW, it started with Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve.
That's not entirely true. All groups have to run in accordance with certain rules that are not theirs to make.

hokiefan
02-04-2010, 11:56 AM
Our troop was sponsored by the Baptist Church. Most of us went to that church but not all. On campouts we had Sunday services, short, low key, mostly the Scoutmaster talked about the wonders of the natural world we were enjoying. That was basically the extent of any religious activity, that 20 minutes Sunday morning.

Unless you got your God & Country award. But that was organized by the various churches in town. Ours was actually quite educational, as our pastor taught us not only about the Baptist faith, but a little about many others, not just Christian. But I have found that he was far more open minded than he pretended to be. A really good man, terrible preacher*, but great pastor.

Cheers,

Bobby

* by his own admission

Flying Orca
02-04-2010, 12:08 PM
BTW, it started with Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve.

Your mythology did, maybe, but what's that got to do with scouting here in the real world?

stoneyreef
02-04-2010, 12:14 PM
The Boy Scouts of America are a recognized christian group. Thus the "mythology" applies. This has already been upheld by the courts. But thanks for playing.

skuthorp
02-04-2010, 12:17 PM
The Boy Scouts of America are a recognized christian group. Thus the "mythology" applies. This has already been upheld by the courts. But thanks for playing.

So they are not really a part of the world wide scouting group any longer, but a captured sectarian organisation after all. I can imagine how that happened in America, but when? Scouting in Australia is a different organisation then.

Flying Orca
02-04-2010, 12:18 PM
By "here in the real world" I meant the part outside the USA. You know, the part of the world that has figured out that competing mythologies shouldn't be messing up kids' organizations? ;)

And just out of curiousity, by whom is it "recognized" as a "christian group"? Isn't your government supposed to stay out of stuff like that? Or do you mean that its constitution is Christian, in which case I wonder why the organization would discriminate in such wise?

stoneyreef
02-04-2010, 12:22 PM
http://archives.cnn.com/2000/LAW/06/28/scotus.gay.boyscouts/

http://www.bsalegal.org/

http://www.religioustolerance.org/bsa_1.htm

http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/99-699.ZS.html

How many legal precedents do you guys want??????

Kaa
02-04-2010, 12:24 PM
And just out of curiousity, by whom is it "recognized" as a "christian group"? Isn't your government supposed to stay out of stuff like that?

Had nothing to do with being Christian. The issue is that the Boy Scouts of America are a private organization and as such have the right to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

Kaa

stoneyreef
02-04-2010, 12:25 PM
Recognized as in, it is recognized by several court rulings that they are a group based in christian beliefs or even religious beliefs if you want to be generic, as such they have first amendment protections.

So perhaps even though they are a christian group, a more appropriate or legal way to say it, is they are a recognized religious group.

The real world huh? That is why the world shivers when the US economy moves?

The real world huh? Hmmm, good thing the USA is a benevolent country and not a dictator ship or hell bent on taking over the world. Last standing super power and all. . . .

Kaa
02-04-2010, 12:29 PM
Recognized as in, it is recognized by several court rulings that they are a group based in christian beliefs or even religious beliefs if you want to be generic, as such they have first amendment protections.

It might have escaped your notice that everyone in the US, even the non-Christians and even -- oh, horror! -- the atheists have First Amendment protections.


The real world huh? That is why the world shivers when the US economy moves?

Maybe because the US is a dinosaur..? :D

Kaa

stoneyreef
02-04-2010, 12:34 PM
It might have escaped your notice that everyone in the US, even the non-Christians and even -- oh, horror! -- the atheists have First Amendment protections.





Kaa


Yes, even the corporations! LOL!

skuthorp
02-04-2010, 12:34 PM
Ah, lawyers deciding on religious rights and ownership of a name. And on anti discrimination legislation as well. As soon as the lawyers were brought in the whole shooting match was corupted and it's goals compromised. And I see it's about property too, rich legal pickings there.
"Between 1992 and 1996, the BSA total assets in the U.S. increased from 277 million to 441 million dollars."
But then there is this: "BSA's federal charter obligates them to serve all boys"
That's where you get with lawyers, the baby get's tossed out with the bathwater.

Gotta get some sleep, GN

stoneyreef
02-04-2010, 12:35 PM
Really? Their Mission Statement (http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/Media/mission.aspx) doesn't say that. And their Calender of Religious Dates (http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/Media/Relationships/ReligiousCalendar.aspx) lists dates to observe from many religions. I was in Scouts in the '70's and we held services for Christian and Jewish faiths. So, if you don't mind helping me out a bit, where exactly on their Official Site (http://www.scouting.org/) does it say that they are a Christian organization?

Doug


You are a few posts behind, try to catch up will ya!

SamSam
02-04-2010, 12:40 PM
Adam and Eve, what a couple. Their first move causes the downfall of humanity. Their firstborn introduces fratricide and incest. Maybe Adam and Steve would be better role models.

stoneyreef
02-04-2010, 12:42 PM
Maybe Adam and Steve would be better role models.

To be a role model would require a progeny. Thus, it would have been impossible for them to be role models.

Kaa
02-04-2010, 12:56 PM
To be a role model would require a progeny. Thus, it would have been impossible for them to be role models.

On the other hand, but for the Fall, there would be no progeny.

So if Adam and Eve actually were proper role models (and listened to God), they wouldn't have had any progeny which means it would have been impossible for them to be proper role models :D

Don't see much difference from Adam & Steve, really :D

Kaa

SamSam
02-04-2010, 12:57 PM
"In The Beginning" didn't include the Boy Scouts. Who knows, maybe an "Adam and Steve" kind of guy did form them. Maybe there could be a better role model than Christianity.

SamSam
02-04-2010, 12:59 PM
On the other hand, but for the Fall, there would be no progeny.

So if Adam and Eve actually were proper role models (and listened to God), they wouldn't have had any progeny which means it would have been impossible for them to be proper role models :D

Don't see much difference from Adam & Steve, really :D

Kaa
That goes back to the South Park lyric "You can't have good without evil, so it's good to be evil sometimes."

ccmanuals
02-04-2010, 01:06 PM
Really? Their Mission Statement (http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/Media/mission.aspx) doesn't say that. And their Calender of Religious Dates (http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/Media/Relationships/ReligiousCalendar.aspx) lists dates to observe from many religions. I was in Scouts in the '70's and we held services for Christian and Jewish faiths. So, if you don't mind helping me out a bit, where exactly on their Official Site (http://www.scouting.org/) does it say that they are a Christian organization?

Doug

...and here is their tax status:


Income Tax Status. The National Council and its affiliates, Learning for Life, the Learning for Life Foundation, and the National Boy Scouts of America Foundation, are exempt from income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and have been classified as organizations that are not private foundations. However, income from certain activities (primarily magazine advertising income and net revenue from sales of livestock) not directly related to the National Council’s tax-exempt purpose is subject to taxation as unrelated business income. As of December 31, 2008, the National Council has a cumulative net operating loss of approximately $23,481 ,000. In accordance with Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 109, ―Accounting for Income Taxes,‖ management has determined that it is more likely than not that the net operating loss will not be realized and therefore has provided a full valuation allowance against any deferred tax asset. Each of the partners of Boy Scouts of America Commingled Endowment Fund, L.P. is responsible for reporting its allocable share of the partnership’s income or loss on their individual tax returns. 10

stoneyreef
02-04-2010, 01:26 PM
Is BSA a private group, like a church or a chapter of the Masonic order? It would be called an "expressive association" in legal language. Such organizations can discriminate freely against women or minorities, even if human rights legislation exists which normally prohibits discrimination based on sex, religion, sexual orientation, etc. Analogies would be the Mormon church (http://www.religioustolerance.org/lds.htm) which once prohibited African-Americans from being ordained, or the Roman Catholic Church (http://www.religioustolerance.org/rcc.htm) which still discriminates on the basis of gender. The BSA takes the position that it is distinctly private. In support of this argument BSA states: http://www.religioustolerance.org/_themes/topo/topbul2d.gifIt is basically a collection of small, local, intimate groups, called troops or packs or posts. http://www.religioustolerance.org/_themes/topo/topbul2d.gifForcing the BSA to accept homosexual members would be like requiring the NAACP to accept a Klansman into their group. http://www.religioustolerance.org/_themes/topo/topbul2d.gifGays, Atheists, etc. who bring lawsuits against the BSA are not really sincere members of the BSA. They are "testers" with a personal agenda.

Other than discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and religious belief, BSA has no barriers to membership. It aggressively recruit new members.

1998: The American Civil Liberties Union sued the City of Chicago over both the religious and sexual orientation issues in the Scouting units that the city entities sponsored. The city ended its affiliation with the BSA. The Parent/Teacher Association has adopted a national policy of not permitting its chapters to sponsor Scouting units. http://www.religioustolerance.org/_themes/topo/topbul1d.gif1999-APR - Illinois: The ACLU initiated a suit against the Chicago public schools and the Scott Air Force Base in southern Illinois. The ACLU position is that "Schools, military bases and other publicly funded groups have no business sponsoring Boy Scout troops so long as Scouts are required to take a religious oath...public funding of Boy Scouts of America troops violates the constitutional requirement of separation of church and state (http://www.religioustolerance.org/const_am.htm)." All one needs to do, is a bit more searching and they will find that they are considered a religious group.

huisjen
02-04-2010, 01:29 PM
They are "testers" with a personal agenda.

Truth, Justice, and the American Way has always been a personal agenda for some.

Dan

Nicholas Carey
02-05-2010, 01:15 AM
I pose the same question, with the same links and ask you where it says that they are a RELIGIOUS organization? Twit:rolleyes:

DougExactement. About as close as you get to religious, much less "Christian", is "reverent"...

and one can be perfectly reverent (defined as "a state of honoring or respecting") w/o being religious in any way.

When exactly did the fundies take over scouting?

Given that Baden-Powel hisself was likely gay or bisexual -- and at the very least a closeted kinkster -- it is more than passing strange and a bit ironic that Scouting has got their panties in a twist over sexual orientation. From Slate's Scouting for Boys: The alternative lifestyle of Lord Baden-Powell, the first Boy Scout (http://www.slate.com/id/33821/):
Although Baden-Powell himself never landed in court, he was certainly a strange man. He was obsessed with boys and "boyology." The index of Tim Jeal's excellent biography Baden-Powell speaks of his "aesthetic and sexual interest in men," "pre-marital celibacy," "dreams of young men," and "anxieties over sexuality." He got married, at 55, to (as Jeal put it) "a sporting girl whose interest in outdoor comradeship seemed at least as great as her desire for sexual fulfillment," and he even managed to beget three children. But thereafter he always slept out on his balcony (and this in the English climate) rather than in the marriage bed.

"B-P," as he was known throughout the Scout movement, studiously recorded his dreams, which were often about young men. In one, he recalled, a soldier snatched a whip away from him and asked whether he had ever been "disciplined." And in his 1908 manual Scouting for Boys, which has a fair claim as one of the most influential books of the 20th century, he focuses keenly on lust (though he does not mention homosexuality outright). Baden-Powell considered sexual desire a transitory phase in adolescence, and he was obsessed with self-abuse. He recommends that a young man beset by impure thoughts should drive them way by plunging his "racial organ" into icy water.

skuthorp
02-05-2010, 01:33 AM
Probably less now as they have girl and boy scouts in the same troop. Duty of Care assumes a much greater importance, and self discipline and responsibility a much bigger place in the training. But it seems that the adolescents themselves are much more relaxed about things than their parents were, or their grandparents were.

LeeG
02-05-2010, 01:55 AM
It is their group, they can run it as they see fit, that is what America is about. BTW, it started with Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve.

I thought it was Lucy and whoever else was in the trees.

LeeG
02-05-2010, 01:58 AM
To be a role model would require a progeny. Thus, it would have been impossible for them to be role models.

uncles , aunts and grandparents can be role models. Biological parents only have to screw.

stoneyreef
02-05-2010, 10:06 AM
Every example you posted comes about via progeny.

Ian McColgin
02-06-2010, 10:38 AM
Are they made from real Girl Scouts?