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Zach Wahls announcing the founding of Scouts for Equality.
Zach Wahls, founder of Scouts for Equality
The Boy Scouts of America really can't make up its mind about how strongly to commit to discrimination against gay scouts and scoutmasters. In 2000, the organization went all the way to the Supreme Court in defense of its right to keep out those scary, scary gay kids and has stuck to that policy until saying, last week, that maybe the policy would change to allow individual troops to accept gay people. Except maybe not! Now, after "an outpouring of feedback," the decision is being postponed until May because "due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy."

Let's remember here that the big complex issue is whether to drop the policy of enforced anti-gay discrimination for a more open policy of optional discrimination or keep it mandatory.

And while doubtless there are plenty of bigots up in arms about the possible change—because aren't there always—the American people are definitely in favor of allowing gay kids to be Boy Scouts and gay parents to be scoutmasters. A Quinnipiac poll finds 55 percent of people in favor of ending the ban and allowing gay scouts, while just 33 percent are opposed. While there's a big gender gap, with more women in favor, men still want to allow gay scouts by a 10-point margin. But religion is where the real gap opens up. White Catholics overwhelmingly support gay scouts, 63 percent to 25 percent. White evangelical Protestants, though, want to keep the ban by almost as strong a margin, with 56 percent opposed to gay scouts while 33 percent are in favor.

So to whatever extent white evangelical Protestants are a bastion of Boy Scouts, the pressure on the organization to keep on discriminating will be that much stronger. But there's right and there's wrong, and what's being debated here is whether the Boy Scouts will keep being quite so wrong. Not having the courage to just make a decision—the right decision—hardly sets a good example of moral courage for today's scouts. And really, I guarantee you that everyone but the most delusional 10 percent knows damn well that this policy won't last another generation. The question is not if it ends but when.

12:03 PM PT:

The Boy Scouts postponed their decision on admitting gays? What, were they not prepared?

@TheTweetOfGod via Twitter for iPad

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 11:47 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  you'd think they'd have been better prepared. (5+ / 0-)
    •  Cut off a corner of his totem-chip. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, nolagrl

      His pen cuts like a knife, that one.

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

      by polecat on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 12:35:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nothing to do with being prepared (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      scrape

      The Mormons have launched a fight against it.  Looks like they are winning.

      •  That's the dirty little secret BSA doesn't mention (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DJ Rix, TheDuckManCometh

        Mormons have been able to create Scout dens/packs/troops with as few as 2 eligible boys in a ward (congregation), give scouting credit for ward work (like carpet cleaning "merit badges") and "adjusting" Scouting programs to fit their "Aaronic Priesthood" system for bringing up boys/men. LDS church-based scouting accounts for 13% of current BSA membership (in numbers of scouts). That's a significant sized bloc (in any organization). So, BSA is stuck being dictated to by Mormons... who have invested a lot in a tailor-made Scouting program... and if you remember Prop. 8 in Calif., these folks aren't great fans of equality and aren't shy about sticking their noses in other people's business. Just Google LDS or Mormon and Scouting and it's clear this is going to get messier and messier and messier.

        I think that people want peace so much that one of these days government had better get out of their way and let them have it. - Dwight D. Eisenhower

        by scrape on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 06:54:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  (twas a joke, based on their motto.) (0+ / 0-)

        polecat got it. :)

        relax relate release

        by terrypinder on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 07:01:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Funny (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    citylights, commonmass, Gneissguy

    You'd think they would have allowed them in from the start.  one of the ranks are the webelos which as kids we always pronounced "weeblows".

    (sorry, off collar but I couldn't help myself)

    95% of all life forms that once existed on earth are now extinct. It is only a matter of time until the Republicans follow suit.

    by PRRedlin on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 12:04:09 PM PST

    •  I always thought of them as Weebles... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass

      they wobble but don't fall down.

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

      by polecat on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 12:36:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If you're looking for adventure (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens, nolagrl, Gneissguy, Zaq
        of a new and different kind
      And you find another Boy Scout who is similarly inclined
      Don't be nervous, don't be flustered, don't be scared—
      Be Prepared!
      Tom Lehrer updated

      Gerrymandra delenda est

      by Mokurai on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 03:00:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I was a Webelo. And I distinctly (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DJ Rix, TheDuckManCometh

      remember being called "fag" several times when I would wear my uniform to school. The perception where I lived was that the Boy Scouts was a sort of gay thing to do, and looking back I do think that uniform with the handkerchief and the shiny belt buckle was pretty risqué when you think about it.

      •  Even in the Sixties (0+ / 0-)

        I moved into the Explorer program because I wanted access to to the District camp in North Jersey for weekend camping. I didn't care about anything else - badges, rank, uniforms. I never would have advertised anything that corny around school.

        "There ain't no sanity clause." Chico Marx

        by DJ Rix on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 07:40:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  By postponing a decision on this... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, rabel

    we are distracted from their pedophile/scoutmaster crimes and cover-up for just that much longer.

    What a wholesome organization they are!

    "I was so easy to defeat, I was so easy to control, I didn't even know there was a war." -9.75, -8.41

    by RonV on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 12:26:42 PM PST

  •  Well, they weren't prepared (6+ / 0-)

    As I understand it, they were going to allow individual troops to make the decision for themselves.

    The problem comes in the regional or national scouting events where many troops come together. Would the no-gay troops have their own events or would they all come together? Would homosexuals be allowed to fill roles on District, Council, Area or Regional levels? A particular district might have Cub Scout Packs which allow homosexuals but Boy Scout Troops that don't?

    It doesn't seem like they had this all worked out.

    Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

    by absdoggy on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 12:30:26 PM PST

  •  Buying time. Probably waiting for a busy news day (7+ / 0-)

    to dump their press release.

    They're d•mned either way -- if they drop the ban their Mormon overlords will be greatly displeased, but if they uphold it, they'll continue with the worst press (and full court press from us Eagle Scouts) imaginable.

    Maybe if the Catholic Church releases more on pedophiles, there might be cover to make an announcement...

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

    by polecat on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 12:34:51 PM PST

  •  Sigh... the longer they wait (14+ / 0-)

    the harder it will be.  

    They should have settled on this back before Dale went to SCOTUS.  

    What's weird is everybody forgets that we've been through this before - new Scout families are always caught by surprise.  

    There was never anything in writing, anywhere, until Dale's council kicked him out in 1990.  He and his Scoutmaster went to council to find out WHY and all they got was a bunch of hemming and hawing... and they could not produce anything that said "we do not allow gay men to be leaders."  Naturally, after they lost in the State Supreme Court and took it to SCOTUS, where the NJ decision was overturned, they issued a "policy memo."  

    They sent it around with all of the rechartering documents along with a memo that each chartering organization's representative had to sign (in our case, the church's board members - a United Church of Christ facility).  Our board and our minister and our unit leaders refused to sign it.  Some of us had been in Scouting for years and years and it never occurred to us that we were supposed to not follow the church's rules of non-discrimination and being open and affirming.  

    BSA has had their membership drop drastically in the last 10 years.  The Mormons use the program as their "youth program."  The Catholics do to a certain extent, but they also still have the CYO around as well, so scouting isn't their only youth program resource.  But schools, more open / liberal churches, service clubs like Kiwanis, BPOE, VFW, etc. that used to sponsor troops don't any more - at least here in SoFla.  We've gone from almost 60 different scouting units in my district (north Dade County area) to less than a dozen since 2002.  Some of our oldest units have folded - we had 52 years of community service in when we closed our doors.  

    I never, in a million years, thought either I, or my son, would be embarrassed to say we were in Scouts.  He doesn't tell anybody he's an Eagle, because most of his adult friends look at him like, what they heck were you doing hanging out with a bunch of bigots like THAT?  He's got gay relatives and gay friends.  His wife is Canadian and she thinks it's just backwards down here, compared to their Scouting program - can't figure out why the heck we can't just judge people on their character rather than their orientation.  

    I always figured morally straight meant you were a good person who tried to do the right thing and help people - has nothing to do with if you're "straight."  Why don't they get that?  

    "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 Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 12:39:33 PM PST

    •  CYO is nothing like Scouts. (0+ / 0-)

      It's strictly religious. In the early years it's bascially catechism class for kids who didn't go to Catholic schools. Even in high school, its primary purpose isn't social unlike msot Protestant Youth Groups.

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

      by irishwitch on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 01:24:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, I know, but that means they have (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mark Noel, TheDuckManCometh

        two youth programs available to their kids.  The Mormons do not.  They use the Scouting program as their youth program and they incorporate all the religious stuff into it.  

        They "tailor" the program to suit their religion.  

        I did adult leader training for the district and we had a whole list of rules of what to do and not do when we did a session at a ward.  I didn't mind the Cub Scout leader training so much, they didn't get too far off track from the regular scouting program at that age group.  But the Boy Scout level had a lot of restrictions and they would get frowny-faced if too many women showed up to train the adult (male) leaders.  

        As one of the first women in our council to go with the troop for summer camp and the third woman in my council to get nominated for the OA, it was like going back to the 50's dealing with LDS attitudes towards women in Scouting.  They were really uncomfortable having women doing the training and that made US uncomfortable.  

        I am Wood-badge trained and was an adult leader from 1986 to 2002.  I was Scoutmaster of my troop for 3 years (when none of the men wanted to do it).  I never got Silver Beaver or any of those big Council awards, but I didn't care.  Our troop was active and successful and fun.  Our kids were from all kinds of backgrounds and their families were all different kinds of people.  

        Meetings, camp outs, hikes, canoe trips, summer camp, spaghetti dinners, service projects, Eagle Projects - we loved it all - we enjoyed it!  It was a lot of work for the parents, especially single parents who worked full time, but I also count it as one of the best experiences of my life and so does my son (he did far more than I did, got to go to Philmont with OA Trail Crew and to National Conferences with the OA).  Now, we don't really talk about it.  I would love for my nephew to be a Cub Scout, but he has two moms and we're all in agreement that until they are all welcome, as a family (since Cub Scouts is more about family involvement than Boy Scouts), we're just not going to support the BSA.  

        I don't know if it's every council, but here, the Mormons act like Scouting is just for THEM (and Boy Scouts is strictly for straight men and boys) and the rest of us are there on sufferance.  When they started  new units here, we did all the training, until they had enough leaders get enough experience and go through Train the Trainer themselves, so they didn't need us any more.  

        They run things they way they want to, within their units.  Why can't they let us do the same?  There are many churches and schools who dropped their charters after 2000.  Every church that sponsors a unit isn't a closed door policy church - UCC, Unitarians, Methodists, Episcopalians - not every denomination is as close minded as the LDS and some Catholic churches.  

        They're worried about how different troops will react at regional or national events?  Like the Mormon troops can't get along with the UCC troops at the Jamboree?  Gee, that's weird, Scouting has been around for 100 years - always thought a big part of it was different people from different backgrounds all getting together to celebrate what they had in common - a love of the outdoors, a commitment to helping others and finding the thrill of adventure by going to new places and learning new skills - despite different belief systems and backgrounds.

        It worked in the beginning, back when nobody knew that having gay kids or gay leaders participate wasn't allowed (and we really didn't - we never even thought about it - our church had been our sponsor for 52 years - always had an open door policy - supported desegregation, worked for civil rights, women's rights, wrote a Friend of the Court brief for the Dale case).  If BSA had had a written public policy before the Dale case, then James Dale (and several of my son's Scouting Brothers) would never have been in Scouting at all.  Maybe we were naive - but the whole discussion about gay / straight, anything to do with sex in general just didn't happen at the scouting unit - that was for parents or family members to discuss with their boy, not the scout leaders or troop committee people.  

        For all the years I was in Scouting and as involved as I was on a district level, you would think that if they had a "policy" about how to handle the gay kid or gay leader in your troop, I would have heard about it!  I hung out with District and Council level people - nobody on the training staff or Council Advancement committee had ever heard of it either.  The Dale conversation went on during all of 2000, both before and after the SCOTUS decision, because we were all wrestling with the BSA going all the way to get the NJ Supreme Court decision in Dale's favor overturned.  You think National would have told the Councils that they should mention it to the people who were in charge of running Eagle Boards and doing Adult Leader Training for all those years, before it ever got that far?  If it was a real policy, you think they would have told people so they would know "procedure" if they were faced with a kid coming out, or a kid who wanted to join but he had 2 moms or 2 dads (and we had a couple of kids with same sex parents or gay relatives who were merit badge counselors - never occurred to us to NOT let them participate!)

        "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 Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 06:47:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Spiral Scouts (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Throw The Bums Out

          (founded by Wiccans originally because many of the christian scouts didn't much like their kids) accepts everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof), gender identity and sexual orientation. It is also coed and each group has both a male and female leader.

          I was a brownie dropout. My troop leader and my 3rd grade teacher were great buddies, and my teacher disliked me so intensely that even my Mom (trained by the nuns to assume the teacher was always right) noticed it.  I had a less than stellar experience that year--actually, a fairly horrendous one in which I was a pariah. When we moved and changed schools, I had no desire to join another troop.

          IU frankly don't think I missed much. Camping is my efinition of hell.  I am soooo not the outdoorsy sort. And I was a bookish child and adolescent who preferred to do her research into odd areas without any pressure.  I was just not Scout material-and I DO realize the girl Scouts are a lot less discriminatory than the Boy Scouts, and also a separate group.

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

          by irishwitch on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 07:18:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Huh. I thought scouts were always prepared. (4+ / 0-)

    Isn't that like one of their mottoes?

    Anyway, I doubt they change their policy in May.  The Family Research Council and groups like that are pushing their members and listeners to spam the Scouts and threaten to remove their kids if they change the policy.  However, I would be very happy to be proved wrong, and for it to be shown once again that the religious right has less and less power.

  •  Well, Daily Kos has two famous Eagle Scouts: (7+ / 0-)

    They are always prepared.

    What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

    by commonmass on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 01:01:58 PM PST

  •  Meh! Look at Scouts Canada for a real model: (5+ / 0-)

    Here in the US, I'd hold up the Girl Scouts as a better example of an organization than BSA.

    http://www.scouts.ca/...

    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 01:17:42 PM PST

    •  That's all true, though they do (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ratcityreprobate

      require that all new scouts have at least one chipped tooth from playing hockey.

    •  What is that supposed to mean? (0+ / 0-)

      ""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."

      Like Santa Claus?

      What does a "fundamental belief in a force above mankind" (are we really intentionally teaching kids to believe in things for which there is no physical evidence as a positive thing?) have to do with soapbox derbys, camping, and (for that matter) being a decent human being?

      If anything, a person who does the right thing even though he isn't afraid of "a force above mankind" looking over his shoulder is a morally superior one to someone who thinks there's a cosmic scorecard.

      So, to recap- other than the pedophilia, the homophobia and bigotry, and the intentional self delusion and dilution of decent morals- the Scouts are A-OK then?

      My child will never be a scout.

  •  There's an alternative to Boy Scouts-- (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gneissguy, mudfud27

    and if I had had kids, I'd have sent them to this group: SPiral Scouts.

    Our program was developed to be as inclusive as possible in all areas: it features coed groups and leaders and is nondiscriminatory in all regards (sexual orientation, religion, gender). The flexibility of the SpiralScouts program is a novel feature, allowing individual groups to determine the exact manner in which they will pursue their own unique goals....

    Each group is led by both a male and a female adult; this is the most logical approach in a co-ed organization, and having leaders of both genders promotes an understanding of how differing leadership styles can cooperate and work together for the benefit of the whole group. While SpiralScouts was developed based on Pagan beliefs and practices, it is designed to be adaptable to work with any faith (or to be completely secular) as well. In addition to traditional woodland lore, camping, and outdoor living skills, the program includes teaching the many mythologies of the ancient world. It also includes learning and discussing life strategies and skills for teens, to help them learn early how to have good relationships with their peers and adults, and interpersonal skills that will serve them throughout their adult lives

    http://www.spiralscouts.org/...

    Co-ed. Inclusive. Not attached to any particular faith (and you know the "God" in Boy Scouts is the Christian  god). And not anti-gay. Can be completely secular.

    Geez if this had been available when I was a kid, I'd have loved it.

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

    by irishwitch on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 01:20:35 PM PST

  •  Why will it take until May to do the math? It's (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gneissguy, mudfud27, Ricochet67, blukat

    not that hard.

    $$ from Corporations w/non-discrimination policies
    $$ from Churches w/discrimination policies

    plus or minus (!)

    # of emails from Americans upset the BSA has discriminatory policies
    # of emails from Americans upset the BSA is thinking of changing its discriminatory policies.

    [BTW, if this postponement has anything to do with the mormon church's anti-gay policies, someone should remind the BSA of the mormon ban against African-Americans in their priesthood.  When the ban started hurting recruitment and retention, it changed (kinda like polygamy was tossed in order to gain statehood for Utah). Why would the BSA want to wait until they consist of only strict  fundamentalist troops? Well, until the ten years or however many it takes for the % tipping point...who wants to be the last one to change your discrimination policy?]

    Ironically this postponement isn't gonna help the PR of the BSA. They now have both sides mad at them--and they look like cowards.

    P.S.  If you haven't watched Zach Saul's debate the father of an Eagle Scout who is for the BSA retaining its bigoted policy, it's worth your time.

    Zach Wahls debates father who wants to keep BSA gay ban

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

    by citylights on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 01:21:16 PM PST

    •  Hey BSA: It Gets WORSE! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mark Noel

      Someone should start a "It gets worse" campaign on YouTube.

      BSA needs to know that they are INCREASINGLY out of step with the mainstream of American society.  From here on out, they will only encounter more ostracization, defunding, and protest if they persist in their discriminatory policies.

      If they keep it up, they will be entering--as Walter Sobchak so eloquently put it--"a world of pain."

    •  Damn that auto correct (and my inattention). (0+ / 0-)

      Obviously in my p.s. it should have been Zach Wahls not Zach Saul's.   It did it again.  Had to go back and fix it both times. Finally put Wahls in the dictionary. Duh. Duh. Duh.

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

      by citylights on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 03:56:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  In other words, the BSA put out the call for (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheDuckManCometh

    opinions on the issue last week hoping that they would find that the majority still wanted them to discriminate, and when they found that it did not, they decided to kick the can down the road until they could figure out a way to justify the discrimination without losing that sweet, sweet corporate funding. Not to mention retain their good reputation, which is just going to get more and more difficult as the tide turns on the issue.

    The last time the Republicans were this radical, they were working to elect former slaves to Congress. What a difference a century and a half makes!

    by jayjaybear on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 01:53:59 PM PST

    •  They KNEW the level of support FOR gays (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TheDuckManCometh

      but hoped the 'local' decision option would be enough to pacify the LDS and other conservatives.

      Life isn't fair but you should try to leave it fairer than you found it.

      by xrepub on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 05:41:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What good reputation? (0+ / 0-)

      The one they got from the pedophilia? The one from the religious bigotry? Or was it the one they got from the homophobia? So hard to keep it, ahem, "straight"....

      The BSA has anything but a good reputation these days. They're an embarrassment.

  •  Disappointed, but not surprised. (0+ / 0-)

    It's a failure of leadership. Oh well.

  •  I Was a Gay Scout (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gneissguy, Gardener in PA

    Yes -- gay kids like camping, hiking, wood-carving, making campfires, etc. just like straight kids. Crazy!

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 05:02:22 PM PST

  •  The problem they are up against (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gneissguy

    The majority of Americans may be ready for the change, but what about the majority of those involved in scouting? It is obvious that a non-trivial percentage of people involved in scouting are ready for change. Otherwise they wouldn't even be discussing it. But a non-trivial - and loudly vocal - percentage are adamantly against it.  I am disappointed that they essentially "kicked the can down the road", but I'm not surprised. As many others have said, this is not a matter of "if", but "when". Our problem becomes, how do we help them to finding the answer for "when" is "sooner rather than later".

    "No one life is more important than another. No one voice is more valid than another. Each life is a treasure. Each voice deserves to be heard." Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse & Onomastic

    by Catte Nappe on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 05:08:45 PM PST

    •  It's because the people left in Scouting (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mark Noel, Catte Nappe

      are the conservative closed minded folks, generally speaking.  Those of us who used to be in Scouting were forced out between 2000-2002 when the National office tried to force the chartering organizations to sign the policy memos that they would follow the BSA's "rules," even if they went against their own anti-discrimination policies.  Public schools, several denominations of churches - they all shut down their scouting units.  

      All that was left, unless the board member or minister or whoever was authorized to sign for the charter lied about it, were the sponsors who actually agreed in the discriminatory rules.  

      It quieted down for a few years and new kids signed up with their parents not knowing and some units practiced their own version of DADT.  But then they are caught by surprise when the headlines are shouting about a gay mom getting kicked out (the leader of her son's den) and a gay boy NOT being able to get the Eagle rank he worked so hard for.  Which tells me that they are still not advertising their policy and hope that generationally, people forget about it.  But we don't.  And our old outrage is being fueled by the new outrage from the next generation that doesn't remember what happened to James Dale and doesn't realize how many units were disbanded by the SCOTUS decision and are wondering why they didn't know they couldn't participate under the BSA rules, but that their unit wanted them there and was practicing DADT.  No unit says they practice DADT - they're not allowed to.  The military at least HAD DADT - units do it, but it's not policy, so they're really trying to fly under the radar, even more than the military people did.  

      "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 Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 06:59:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Profiles in courage (0+ / 0-)

    Way to train boy scouts to be waffling, indecisive men, BSA...

    "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for a real Republican every time." Harry Truman

    by MargaretPOA on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 05:09:42 PM PST

  •  The conservatives running the BSA (0+ / 0-)

    are worried that if scoutmasters are gay, they will go about converting impressionable scouts into homosexuals (and future Democrats, to boot).

    I can only hope that they are right!

    •  It sure would be (0+ / 0-)

      a good way to relieve the strain on the planet.

      “Over billions of years, on a unique sphere, chance has painted a thin covering of life—complex, improbable, wonderful and fragile. Suddenly we humans (a recently arrived species no longer subject to the checks and balances inherent in nature), have grown in population, technology, and intelligence to a position of terrible power: we now wield the paintbrush.”   — Paul MacCready, Jr.
      The population will double by 2050.  Americans use 25% of the world's petrol.
  •  gays have always been scouts (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gardener in PA, Gneissguy

    why is BSA making this such a big deal?

  •  If I remember correctly, my son's troop (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ratcityreprobate

    in the mid to late 80's was sponsored by his elementary school.  Today on NPR I heard that most troops are sponsored by churches.  What happened?

    Research Shows Poverty Creates the Biggest Achievement Gap.

    by Desert Rose on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 05:22:43 PM PST

    •  Mormons (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Desert Rose, scrape, TheDuckManCometh

      My son is in a school based Scout group, but many, many Scout groups are now chartered out of the Mormon church. Members are called to serve as leaders and pretty much every Mormon boy becomes a Scout and goes up through the ranks.

      It's one of the reasons I think it's still important for people who value Scouting to be involved. Otherwise, it will quickly be a wholly religious organization affiliated with the LDS church.

      I understand a lot of folks wouldn't think it was a loss, but a lot of boys (gay and straight) have benefited from their years in Scouting.

    •  Very few school or PTA troops these days. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Desert Rose, scrape

      Mormon Church, United Method Church and Catholic Church are the three largest sponsors of troops and account for the vast majority of all troops and cub scout packs.  Membership dropped 22% between 1999 and 2012 per Wikipedia.

      Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a Republican. But I repeat myself. Harry Truman

      by ratcityreprobate on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 05:32:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The church is looking (0+ / 0-)

      for future contributors and income.  For a lot of churches, it's about the money.  Especially now.  Churches are losing members.  Gotta get 'em while they're young and impressionable.  Put the fear of god in 'em and reap future memberships.  It's a concerted effort to warp the minds of the young for institutional benefit!

      Religion has crippled people.  Its given them shame about their bodies, guilt and fear.  —George Carlin

    •  Boy Scouts v. Dale happened. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Desert Rose

      Once the BSA won the right to discriminate based on its argument that it was a "private organization," a lot of public schools had to do a double-take.  

      Scouting was supposed to be open to "all boys" per its Congressional charter and founding documents, and everyone always assumed that was true.  After all, if you can't trust the Boy Scouts, who could you trust?  But then the BSA came along in the 1990s and produced written policies and high profile legal arguments that no, gays and bisexuals and atheists and agnostics aren't allowed to join. Ever.

      After Boy Scouts v. Dale was decided, the lawyers for most school districts instantly told their clients that taxpayer money and resources couldn't be used to sponsor discriminatory units.  As a result, a lot of packs and troops were forced to find other chartering organizations when the schools had to withdraw.

      This was yet another negative side effect of the BSA's discriminatory stance.  All kinds of public support dried up after the BSA executives decided that drawing a line in the sand against Teh Gay was more important than maintaining all its traditional ties to the larger community.

  •  Scouts are too busy following Akela. (0+ / 0-)

    Corny dimwits.

    "It's no measure of health being well adjusted to a profoundly sick society"

    by buckshot face on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 05:29:01 PM PST

  •  Ghost Rick Perry has do die first (0+ / 0-)

    Well, politically he has to die. That won't take very long. It basically already happened last year during the presidential primary, but it needs to trickle down to Texas.

  •  maybe they want to be the junior NRA (0+ / 0-)

    a youth recruitment organization for the NRA

  •  Funding vs. Membership numbers (4+ / 0-)

    BSA paid leadership sold the organization's soul to the LDS in exchange for a guaranteed influx of boys - a desperate attempt to prop up falling membership numbers.

    The second biggest scandal in BSA (first being the pedophile cover-uos) has been the outright fraud going to inflate membership numbers.  Immense pressure has been put on paid staff since the 70's to increase membership numbers (or at least keep them from falling even faster).  All kinds of games have been played - with 'ghost units' kept alive long after they have died to boys kept on unit rosters long after quitting to outright fiction -  nonexistent units and rosters.  BSA's 'Learning for Life' has been a big part of this effort - and a way for BSA to collect charitable $$$ that will not go directly to BSA because of their discrimination issues.

    The problems with this obsession with membership numbers is that BSA gave LDS and other conservative churches too much say and control - which is the push behind the 'God and Gays' obsession - can't have atheists or homosexuals (though BSA rivals the Catholic Church in covering up pedophile abuse - a far more serious problem).

    Pandering to conservative groups led more liberal groups to stop chartering units - many smaller religious groups like Reform Synagogues and some schools stopped sponsorship because of discrimination - gay AND atheist.

    Recently pressure has mounted with additional groups taking an anti-discrimination stand (the Methodists starteed telling churches to stop chartering scout units - perhaps one of the factors in BSA reconsidering their stand).

    Immense pressure has been applied by companies dropping sponsorship and contributions as well.

    So.... BSA's paid staff are between a rock and a hard place - dropping contributions and dropping membership numbers.

    The crux of the problem is BSA's Congressional Charter - which they defend to the death).  There can only be ONE organization for boys called 'Scouts' in the US.  BSA has that monopoly now - though there are competing groups in other countries and were competitors in the US originally.

    With (the very highly - indeed OVER) paid leadership of BSA trying to appease very different groups, there is no way ONE organization can give everyone what they want.  Even a 'local' decision which allows units and chartering organizations to make the choice to allow gays or not fails to address the atheism issue.  The religious conservatives will not be happy with ANY concessions and though they are increasingly in the minority in the larger world, they exert a disproportionate influence within BSA.

    Sidenote - with BSA losing more and more contributions they are selling off more and more property - over the objections of volunteers and often in violation of the original donation terms.  Decades after the original donation original terms are often 'forgotten' so that a camp no longer used by BSA ends up being sold - instead of reverting to the original donor or descendants.  We had a property that could not be sold unless 'replaced' with an equally valued property.  BSA argued successfully that they could simply rename another existing property to be in compliance. A donor who intended to EXPAND the places available to boys in BSA had their intentions violated and irreplaceable property sold off (with the funds benefitting paid staff more than boys).

    BSA can be a great organization - and I've met great people at the LOCAL level but the paid staff is often scheming and conniving and unworthy.  Too often, instead of serving the volunteers that do the work in Scouting they leech off of them.  There's a standing joke is that the ONLY time you see paid staff is when they show up to ask for money.  The national level seems worthless.  VOLUNTEERS (appointed by their church in the case of LDS) run troops and camps and do most of the real work in BSA.  In some countries there are NO paid staff at all.  In BSA the head gets over a million a year in total compensation -  an issue highlighted by many charitable organization rating groups.   The loest level paid staff are poorly paid by Council heads, regional staff and national staff are VERY well paid.

    Life isn't fair but you should try to leave it fairer than you found it.

    by xrepub on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 05:39:40 PM PST

    •  ^^^THIS^^^ is absolutely right! eom. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TheDuckManCometh

      "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 Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 07:03:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes. This. Seconded. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TheDuckManCometh

      The scouting program is delivered by volunteers.   That's where the rubber hits the road and all the real work is done.  The paid executives running the BSA seem to have retreated into their own world over the past decades and lost sight of even basic scouting values like honesty, transparency, and treating everyone with dignity and respect -- even (especially) when you disagree with them.

      It's a testament to the merits of the scouting movement that all those volunteers making their local packs and troops work can still achieve so much good while the BSA executives are constantly shooting the program in the foot.

  •  This Once Fine Organization (3+ / 0-)

    has a serious leadership problem.

    This Eagle Scout is disgusted at their decision today.  

    The LDS "Church" does not speak for me, and the willingness of the BSA National Council to continue to kowtow to the LDS "Church" is a travesty.

  •  How the BSA shot themselves in the foot (0+ / 0-)

    Did you know, that because of exclusionary policies, the BSA can NOT use federal land or facilities for their activities?  "But" you might hear the bigots say, "the BSA teaches VALUES".  True, but so does the KKK (to hear them talk about it) and they're not allowed to use federal properties either.  

  •  They must not want Intel's money that much... (0+ / 0-)

    however that is a big chunk of change to lose. Doubt if churches can come up with that much quickly, and if they do, well pretty much will state without a doubt that BSA is a religiously orientated group only.

    They have a huge ethics problem that isn't going to go away. Maybe they need to see how badly the Catholic Church has done and is still doing and get a clue?

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