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I saw another story today that made my heart sink.

It feels like I've spent a lifetime defending the good bits of the program and explaining away the bad.  I don't get paid for this; I'm a volunteer.

I became a Scout when I was 8 years old.  I have not been out of uniform since.

I've been a Committee Man, Unit Commissioner, Webelos Den Leader, Committee Chairman, Cubmaster, and now District Training Chairman.

I'm a Vigil Member of my lodge...and just completed Woodbadge this past year.

I have devoted my life to this organization and all the good things it does for youth.

But now, we are teaching them that it's OK to discriminate, OK to exclude, OK to be hateful and bigoted.

It's been coming for over a year.  I don't know that I can reconcile these two things anymore.  Every story I see makes my heart sink a little further.  I really don't know how much longer I can justify wearing the uniform myself if this is the course National is going to continue down.

My own son is a new Boy Scout, and he's headed for Tenderfoot right now.  These are not the things I want him to know as he becomes a man.  Talking about this with him, at least I am gratified that he "gets it".  I don't know if any of his friends have "two moms", as it were, but he thinks it's stupid that those kids can't be Boy Scouts.

Nay, it's our generation that will have to evolve and accept.  

I only hope Scouting survives long enough for a new attitude to take hold.  I only hope I'm still involved to see it.

Big Al, JV, Geordie....these men taught me all I know about what it means to be a Scout Leader, and indeed, a good citizen.  I'm trying to pass on what I have learned, but it's becoming increasingly difficult in the toxic, polarized, and politicized environment that the Boy Scouts has become.

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Comment Preferences

  •  We are not fans of the BS around here (12+ / 0-)

    My husband did everything necessary to make eagle scout when he was 14. They refused to give it to him because his family didn't go to church.

    O great creator of being grant us one more hour to perform our art and perfect our lives. ::: Jim Morrison :::

    by Kevanlove on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 05:40:44 PM PST

  •  most certainly (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Most certainly there should not be any discrimination in the Boy Scouts but I dont believe there should be open discussions about anything of a sexual nature with young children.

    I was in the scouts and there was nothing of a sexual nature ever discussed at meetings.  I didnt hear about sex with women just as I didnt hear about sex with guys.

    Basically we have to reassure the public who is fearful that there will not be profane conversations or actions with their children.  A persons sexuality and what they or straight...should not be a topic around young children.  Their parents can decide if that is a topic for their child.

    •  So...what is it about gay scouts or leaders that (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      celdd, mamamorgaine, CajunBoyLgb

      makes you think they're suddenly going to be going into excessive detail about their sex lives, any more than straight scouts or leaders do?

      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 Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 08:03:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  clarify (0+ / 0-)

        Its important to make this clarification to comfort parents.  I am a parent and most certainly I would not want you discussing your sexuality with my young children gay or straight.  When people see these articles about gay scoutmasters they tend to think they will start talking to their children about matters of sex and sexuality.  The boy or girl scouts are not appropriate forums to hold such discussions.  Its not a sexual education class.

        •  Question not answered. (0+ / 0-)

          WHY is the assumption that gay leaders are going to talk about their sex lives with the scouts? Why is that assumption made?

          Should I perhaps worry that black scout leaders are going to discuss their secret lust for white women? Should I worry that Catholic scout leaders will discuss their tacit approval of the pedophile priest cover-up? Should I worry that Jewish scout leaders will talk about how they used the blood of their last troop to make matzoh for Passover?

          And before you blow your top with outrage at that, consider that you're suggesting EXACTLY THE SAME KIND OF THING about scout leaders who happen to be gay!

          And, again, since this is about the third time I've had to counter THIS particular myth, if you think that not having "out" gay scouts in your kids' troop is keeping the boys from playing around, you have no understanding of teenage male sexuality at all.

          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 Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 09:10:22 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Oh, and incidentally, where did you attend Scouts? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Pleasantville? Mayberry?

      Put a bunch of teenage boys together, leave them alone for even 15 minutes, and they're going to talk about sex. It's what teenage boys DO when they're alone with other teenage boys. I was in Scouts for 5 or 6 years in my teens and my god...I learned more about straight sex in those 5 years (most of it absolutely wrong) than I ever had before!

      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 Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 08:06:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  WHY, WHY, WHY???? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      WHY should LGBT be required to "reassure" people that they won't molest kids or discuss sex in front of them?

      WHY should it be assumed that LGBT are any different than straight people?

      So, if it's an issue.  It's an issue for everyone.   Or, no one.  But, not just an issue for LGBT.

      The problem is not with LGBT.  It is in the perverted minds of people who hate LGBT.   If they have "issues", they need to go to counselling.  It should not be the responsibility of LGBT to "reassure" them.  

      Why is it the responsibility of LGBT people to go around reassuring people that they won't molest kids or discuss sex in front of them?    DUH!!!!    They also won't murder someone, have sex with squirrels or pee on the front porch.   Just like anyone else.   It sort of goes without saying.  Not "sort of".   It DOES go without saying.

      Why don't YOU reassure us that you won't molest gay kids and discuss sex with six year old gay children?    Ahhhh, but they WILL.   They WILL try to preach to little kids that being gay is wrong, and isn't THAT discussing sex with little children?    

      If you wouldn't do it, why would you assume that anyone else would do it?  And, THAT'S the issue.  R-E-S-P-E-C-T.   People are assuming (ASS-U-ME) that gay people do bad things to little children, just because they are gay, and that even little gay children are not safe to be around.

      And, by the way, when did you stop beating your wife?  

      By demanding that LGBT walk around constantly saying, "I won't molest your kids.  I won't molest your kids.   I won't molest your kids.  I won't talk The Nasty with your kids. ", you are asking them to agree with you that it's a real problem, and a problem that they are responsible for, and a problem that they must explain away.  

      Try this.  Why don't you write a sign in magic marker that says, "I am not a child molester" and wear that around town for a week.     Or, maybe, "I am not a Theif".   Or, "I am not a Murderer."    See how people react to you.   See how you feel about what you are doing.  See if you feel that it's fair that you should have to wear that sign, and "reassure" people.

      This is beside the point, that I DON'T agree that you should not discuss sex with six year olds.  I feel that it is important to share age apropriate information.   My six year old found a children's book by Dr. Ruth in Half Price Books, and asked to have it, and I bought it for her.   But, that's another topic.   And, I do agree that it's something better addressed at home, because not all parents agree on how it should be done.    Some parents seem to think that if you don't mention it, they'll never figure it out.    Out of sight, out of mind.   What really happens is that little girls figure it out, about the time that their uncle climbs on top of them.  Their STRAIGHT uncle.

      However, everyone seems to think it's really OK to discuss sex with kids, because they tell kids all the time not to be gay, and that's discussing sex, now isn't it?

      BTW, I'm straight.   But, I'm also atheist, and we gays and atheists seem to find ourselves in the same boat a lot, being accused of having no moral foundation, and being told that we have to reassure people that we aren't axe murderers and the like.

      TO HELL WITH THAT !!!!

      •  +1,000,000,000,000,000 (0+ / 0-)

        I'm gay AND atheist, and to the Buy-bull ThumpersTM that swings the needle off the dial to Amoral Spawn of SATAN setting.

        But dammit, you speak the gospel truth. The only people I know who will start off conversations with breathless descriptions of lewd, athletic, sweaty, Penthouse Forum-style sex acts are right-wing religious fundamentalists and Republicans.

        Why do people think LGBTQ folk just walk around sharing intimate details of their sexual lives apropos of nothing, all the live-long day?! Life isn't a Will and Grace episode, kids. Some stuff I keep from my BFFs.

        LGBTQ people are no threat to those delicate-flower Boy Scouts. The threat comes from sanctimonious pedophile straight men looking to assert power over innocent children because they feel they've lost it otherwise. Men who have run out of people to run roughshod over. Cowards.

        Bear in mind: LGBTQ folk are some of the bravest you'll ever meet. We've faced rejection from friends and family and neighbors, we've risked losing our jobs in many states, we've had to deal with hostility from total strangers on the street, sometimes violent attacks. And we forge on. Proud and defiant and, yes, GAY. What was it the great drag queen Latrice (Motherfucking) Royale says?

        It's OK to make mistakes. It's OK to fall down. Get up. Look SICKENING. And make them eat it!!

        -8.75,-8.00. 1,138 rights and responsibilities of civil marriage are denied married same-sex couples, and I demand that we get them. RIGHT. NOW.

        by CajunBoyLgb on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 08:13:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I've had to have that conversation. (0+ / 0-)

      The hell of it is, we never did talk about sex until this year.

      My local troop did some popcorn "show & sells", where we camp out in front of the supermarket and talk to people coming and going.

      So many folks refused us this year, that I pulled the boys aside and told them what was happening, and why...and to refer any adult that said why not to one of the adult leaders standing by so we could talk them through it.

      This in Newton, MA.   Boston Minuteman Council has had a non-discrimination policy since 2003....but of course a percentage of the popcorn goes to National and funds hate.

  •  Which is why if I had kids (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    celdd, sk4p, mamamorgaine

    (we chose not to), my husband and I wpuld have chosen SPiral Scouts--founded by Wiccans, but non-discriminatory on sexual identity, gender (they're co-ed, and each circile has both a male and a female troop leader), religion, ethnicity--and they accept people form all religions or none at all.

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

    by irishwitch on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 07:46:01 PM PST

  •  My son just earned his Eagle. (0+ / 0-)

    I like to think that he has learned his attitudes toward equality from more people than just scouting, and that not everyone sees the world the same. I would rather that Scouting was more inclusive, but it doesn't keep me from supporting my younger son, who intends to get his Eagle by the time he turns sixteen, thank you very much, and I'm not going to blight the pride of my husband, also an Eagle Scout, when he watches his son get his.

    But all this does not mean that I approve wholeheartedly of Scouting, because I don't.

    When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

    by Alexandra Lynch on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 10:42:11 PM PST

    •  It is sad (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alexandra Lynch

      He has worked so hard and is so proud of his accomplishments.  And, in the end, when we see his uniform, we wince and feel ashamed for him, like the lady who put a "Whites Only" sign on her pool, and claimed it  was for historical value.

      I hate to see a kid work so hard for something, and have so little to show for it.

      The discriminatory policies of the Boy Scouts rob their boys of their accomplishments.

  •  Always be proud of what you gave and (0+ / 0-)

    accomplished.  Too bad the Scouts leadership sucks.   Just like the cookies.    All those kids hustling cookies for what?  10 cents on the box?   OK, 25 cents.   I refuse to buy anything kids are trapped into selling.  I can hand them a $5 donation, and it would be the same as buying 20 boxes of cookies - less the corporate profit.     Meanwhile, leadership is (was) supplied a fleet of Cadillac cars.  

    Don't quit giving to kids.  

    What we need is a Democrat in the White House.

    by dkmich on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 04:41:10 AM PST

  •  Makes me glad to have departed the USA. My son (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mamamorgaine, DFWmom

    is 8 years old and he loves being a scout out here in 3rd world SE Asia. On Tuesdays, he looks forward to wearing his scouting uniform to school and hanging around with the other scouts at their activity room at school. Today, he is on his first campout to our island's mountain campground and he left home as excited as I have ever seen him.

    We don't have any reason to be ambivalent about scouting out here as we have none of the restrictions that USA scouting is self-inflicting on itself.

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

    by shann on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 05:00:11 AM PST

  •  The mathematics of morality (0+ / 0-)

    Do good deeds justify bad deeds?   Do they balance out, like a mathematical equation?      Something like....
    2 Good - 1 Bad = 1 Good

    Can you do as much bad as you want, as long as you balance it out with good deeds, like purchasing carbon credits to pollute the atmosphere?   Like, it doesn't really matter that you are poisoning people and causing cancer, as long as you paid for your credits?

    Is it OK to own slaves, if you volunteer at the local hospital and donate to the orphans fund?

    Let's see,
    2 Good (sick people and orphans) - 1 Bad (slaves) = 1 Good.  So, owning slaves is a good thing, right?  

    No.   I think we all know that's not how it works.  

    If it's wrong, it's just plain wrong.     You can't put a little lipstick on the pig, and claim it's an opera singer.

  •  A couple of things. (0+ / 0-)


    But now, we are teaching them that it's OK to discriminate, OK to exclude, OK to be hateful and bigoted.
    The fact is, we have been teaching that for a long time.  It's only that the rest of the world is progressing beyond that that the discrimination practiced by BSA is more apparent.

    I was a long-time scout, from Cub Scouts through Ass't Scoutmaster.  I did it all, from den meetings to troop camps to week long summer camp.  I made Eagle Scout.  I enjoyed my time in scouting, and I learned a lot, things I can't even measure.  My problems are with BSA, not scouting in general, and I want nothing to do with them now.

    You, however, are in a different position.  You're already heavily involved through your own work and your son's enrollment.  Inasmuch as you've risen to higher levels than most, you are probably in a better position to make your voice heard than ten thousand anonymous progressives signing petitions.  

    My suggestion is for you to push hard against the status quo.  Be that squeaky wheel.  Make it clear that not only do you favor more inclusiveness and acceptance, but you represent a lot of old Scouts who feel the same way.  If you hit a brick wall, then I'd say you can walk away, and it'll be their loss.  When they start losing dedicated scouters like yourself, maybe they'll wise up and join the 21st century.

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