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July 17, 2012 1:44 PM   Subscribe

Boy Scouts reaffirm policy denying membership to gays. [Reuters] "The Boy Scouts of America on Tuesday said the organization would continue to deny gay people membership, saying that the policy "is in the best interest of Scouting."
posted by Fizz (222 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
I was a Scout. They took away my Religion in Life badge because the Unitarian Universalists withdrew their support for the BSA over this bigotry. I lost a lot of respect for the Boy Scouts at that time. I'm even more disappointed, though unsurprised, to hear that ten years later they haven't improved.
posted by Scientist at 1:47 PM on July 17, 2012 [14 favorites]


Every single preferential-treatment deal BSA has across the country should be terminated, or failing that, not renewed. They are a private organization. This is their right. Cities also have a right to ban hate groups.
posted by andreaazure at 1:47 PM on July 17, 2012 [36 favorites]


Be prepared. FOR A WELL-EARNED SHITSTORM.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:49 PM on July 17, 2012 [42 favorites]


I really want my boys to be Scouts but refuse to allow them to participate until this ridiculous policy is overturned.
posted by double block and bleed at 1:50 PM on July 17, 2012 [22 favorites]


Fine! I'll find my own group of men to go into the woods with for long periods of time!
posted by The Whelk at 1:51 PM on July 17, 2012 [79 favorites]


As a Canadian this is really confusing, as in Canada I don't believe they have this policy (I think it would be impossible to have this policy). On top of that, Scouts in Canada accept both boys and girls. Why? It's because the traditional girls' version of Scouting - Pathfinders - is perceived as being too artsy-craftsy, with no emphasis on outdoor activities.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:51 PM on July 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Has the Girl Scouts of America ever considered creating a brother organization for boys?
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:52 PM on July 17, 2012 [94 favorites]


What
posted by Melismata at 1:52 PM on July 17, 2012


I really want my boys to be Scouts but refuse to allow them to participate until this ridiculous policy is overturned.

The policy might be overturned tomorrow when its politically expedient to do so. You should question whether the culture will ever change within that organization.
posted by Slackermagee at 1:53 PM on July 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Mitt Romney sat on the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America.
posted by XMLicious at 1:53 PM on July 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I saw this this morning and was actually surprised. It is so obviously against the tide and my initial feeling was that I found it hard to believe a huge organization would still be so openly discriminatory. I feel like it's a big deal that it's a big deal, if that makes any sense. Ten years ago would this even be making headlines?
posted by something something at 1:53 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm so proud of Girl Scouts of the USA, and so saddened that my young male cousins and the boys my friends have will still have to confront such bigotry.
posted by jetlagaddict at 1:53 PM on July 17, 2012 [10 favorites]


Unfortunately for Scouting, by the time the BSA recognizes that reversing the ban is in the best interests of Scouting, Scouting will be no more.
posted by notyou at 1:54 PM on July 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


What's next, redesigning the uniform?
posted by perhapses at 1:54 PM on July 17, 2012


I used to be a Bigot Scout of America too. Not feeling too good about them right now.
posted by found missing at 1:55 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Related: Boy Scouts of America Eagle Scout Fired From Camp Counseling Job After Telling Director He’s Gay
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:56 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Scout's Honor tarnished.
posted by Celsius1414 at 1:57 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


No cookies and no gays? The Girl Scouts are totally the better set of scouts.
posted by eustacescrubb at 1:57 PM on July 17, 2012 [23 favorites]


I am an Eagle Scout and I have to say this decision makes me feel ashamed.
posted by Fizz at 1:57 PM on July 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


Also, buy more Girl Scout cookies and tell them why!
posted by Celsius1414 at 1:57 PM on July 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Scouts in Canada accept both boys and girls.

This. Seriously, BSA is not enshrined as a monopoly; parents need to start pulling together to create a new version of scouting in the U.S. that doesn't have any of this cultist baggage.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:57 PM on July 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


I meant "wanted".
posted by double block and bleed at 1:58 PM on July 17, 2012


Cities also have a right to ban hate groups.

The BSA should reverse their position on this issue. They could do so without changing the mission or meaning of scouting one iota.

Calling them a hate group is kind of over-the-top, though, don't you think? This is not an organization that exists for the purpose of suppressing the civil rights of minorities: it's not even a political organization. I kind of think a hate group has to do more than have exclusionary policies around membership, otherwise most organizations that existed prior to the Civil Rights Act are hate groups.
posted by gauche at 1:58 PM on July 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


From now on, at all camping outings, only one boy per tent.
posted by perhapses at 2:00 PM on July 17, 2012


Boo! Booooooo!
posted by Aizkolari at 2:00 PM on July 17, 2012


I wonder if this will boost membership in SpiralScouts
posted by exogenous at 2:00 PM on July 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


I guess kids will just have to join a gang instead.
posted by jonmc at 2:00 PM on July 17, 2012 [25 favorites]


SOMEBODY PLEASE MAKE THE SPIRAL SCOUTS A BETTER WEB PAGE. PLEASE.
posted by eustacescrubb at 2:01 PM on July 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


otherwise most organizations that existed prior to the Civil Rights Act are hate groups

If they haven't changed since then, yeah maybe.
posted by ryanrs at 2:01 PM on July 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


I don't know, I'd be okay with calling them a hate group on the basis of them teaching their shitty bigoted beliefs to generations of kids and presenting these disgusting ideas as valid viewpoints.
posted by elizardbits at 2:02 PM on July 17, 2012 [15 favorites]


The Whelk: "Fine! I'll find my own group of men to go into the woods with for long periods of time!"

In fact, forget the merit badges!
posted by boo_radley at 2:02 PM on July 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


"While a majority of our membership agrees with our policy, we fully understand that no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society," he said.

God I fucking hate this. 'Some people are terrible bigots, and our desire to be inclusive means we must cater to them!'
posted by shakespeherian at 2:03 PM on July 17, 2012 [14 favorites]


When I read about the Boy Scouts doing stuff like this, I remember how good the Girl Scouts are at being completely opposite and look forward to buying more Samoas the next time they're on sale.

Yup, in my brain "Homophobia = Cookies". Weird.
posted by benito.strauss at 2:03 PM on July 17, 2012


in other backwards assholes reaffirming their hate news - chick-fil-a COO owns up to being against marriage equality.

i wonder if dan cathy has ever seen this.
posted by nadawi at 2:03 PM on July 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was an eagle scout and an adult leader. I wrote a letter of protest to our local council asking them to defy national policy.

I still have the letter they sent me kicking me out. When I have a study I am going to frame it and hang it on the wall.

From what I have heard of the national leadership, it is run largely by Mormons who do have a significan portion of membership. And while individual Mormons can be sane, modern humans it seems the BSA attracts only the Neanderthal variety.
posted by munchingzombie at 2:03 PM on July 17, 2012 [41 favorites]


Folks, you recognize that this is because of the Mormons, right? The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints provides so much money (and bodies) to Scouting that they've essentially taken over the organization. Romney's participation on the board is not an accident.
posted by leotrotsky at 2:05 PM on July 17, 2012 [30 favorites]


andreaazure: "Every single preferential-treatment deal BSA has across the country should be terminated, or failing that, not renewed. They are a private organization. This is their right. Cities also have a right to ban hate groups."

Their religious discrimination policies have already largely done that -- they pretty much destroyed their close relationship with the military because of it.

Also, if their goal is to keep gays out of the scouts, they're doing a terrible job of it.
posted by schmod at 2:05 PM on July 17, 2012


While a majority of our membership agrees with our policy
aka, the mormon church.
posted by nadawi at 2:05 PM on July 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


No really, even at the tender age I was a Boy Scout, it was pretty obvious that what the org. really was for, was getting you ready to not really think all that much for yourself (LOTS of memorization!) and to ready you to join the military as a nice little moron of a Patriot.
posted by alex_skazat at 2:05 PM on July 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


I.... have never heard of the LDS connection to BSA.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:06 PM on July 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


What's next, redesigning the uniform?

Changing to brown shirts.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:07 PM on July 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


And wait a minute, everyone's got their sexuality completely and TOTALLY secured at age 10? How can the Boy Scouts ban a prepubescent little rug rat?! Oh hey, I just defined homophobia.

ps: Boy Scouts: I have sexual fantasies of men. YOU CAN TAKE MY PINE WOOD DERBY TROPHY FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS!
posted by alex_skazat at 2:08 PM on July 17, 2012 [10 favorites]


Mitt Romney sat on the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America.

But of course was not involved in making any of the actual decisions made during that time!!!
posted by O Blitiri at 2:08 PM on July 17, 2012 [44 favorites]


Oh, I'm also a former 10 year member of BSA, from Tiger Cubs up through Eagle. It's such a waste of a wonderful organization.
posted by leotrotsky at 2:08 PM on July 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


So, the United States military is officially more liberal than the Boy Scouts? Am I reading this correctly? "Eagle Scout" leaders can't be openly gay, but Army Ranger scouts can be? WTF?
posted by mattbucher at 2:10 PM on July 17, 2012 [56 favorites]


Press release:
"While the BSA does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA."
posted by kiltedtaco at 2:10 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fuck. My son has loved being a cub scout. And his pack and den are great. He loves camping and archery and all that sort of thing. But this restated policy is against everything we believe and everything I've ever taught him about people. He knows my gay friends and loves them. It doesn't occur to him that "gay" is a bad thing...and I want him to keep thinking that.

He understood when we started boycotting chikfila, because ya know...it's fast food, whatever...if the company does mean things we don't give them money...it made sense to him; but it will break his heart; and his dad's and both grandfathers if I force them to boycott cub scouts.

I'm really torn. I think he'll probably give up scouting before this issue even comes up for him; he and the other kids are still in elementary school, but damn, this is so offensive, and heart breaking and just morally and ethically wrong. I just don't know what to do.
posted by dejah420 at 2:10 PM on July 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


shakespeherian - every mormon boy of appropriate age is a boy scout. individual congregations are given goals as far as how many eagle scouts, how many merit badges, how many go to the jamborees, etc.
posted by nadawi at 2:11 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.

So no girlfriends either?
posted by shakespeherian at 2:11 PM on July 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


When young, I joined the scouts but then discovered that learning to light fires in the woods with a bunch of young boys was no way to meet girls. I quit.
posted by Postroad at 2:12 PM on July 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


I.... have never heard of the LDS connection to BSA.

News to me as well. But it does make it clearer how it came to be that when my father (a Canadian Air Force pilot) was working a NATO job on a huge US military base in Germany, so many of his colleagues were Mormons.
posted by gompa at 2:12 PM on July 17, 2012


and yet they're grown men in shorts.
posted by The Whelk at 2:12 PM on July 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Their religious discrimination policies have already largely done that -- they pretty much destroyed their close relationship with the military because of it.

When did this happen? A 30-something friend who was an Eagle Scout told me that the jamborees had become recruiting efforts for the military. Has that stopped?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 2:13 PM on July 17, 2012


I'm still taking my kid to Cub Scouts and will run the Webelos in September. I am no true believer, but it is a good bunch of kids. Lots of girls are there, too, doing the activities. Little boys with earrings, also. Everybody doing their best to be fair in the imperfect context they find themselves in.
posted by Glomar response at 2:13 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Eagle Scout here who has long been disgusted by this policy. Back when I was active in the BSA (in the late 80s and early 90s) my father, a Scoutmaster, was asked by the local Scout council to publicly back the policy -- a request he denied in an open meeting by declaring "I don't pimp for bigots." All these years later, I still smile proudly when I recall that episode.

At the time, we were told repeatedly that this policy would not change due to the heavy influence of the LDS Church on the national organization. The Wikipedia notes that the "LDS Church is the largest single sponsor of Scouting units with over 30,000 units nationwide, which comprise about 13% of BSA's youth members. The LDS Church has stated that it would withdraw from the Scouting program if it was ever compelled to accept openly homosexual Scout leaders." (Apparently Penn & Teller explored this in an episode of their "Bullshit!" tv series as well.)

If the Mormon angle is still a major problem, I don't understand why the BSA can't take a first step in the right direction by allowing individual troops to decide whether they want to be inclusive or bigoted. There are many reasons why Scouting is proving a bad fit for the 21st century and may be dying a well-deserved death, but the whole anti-gay stance is at the top of the list, and it saddens me deeply.
posted by /\/\/\/ at 2:14 PM on July 17, 2012 [11 favorites]


[Folks, if you flag please move on. Don't use this thread to grind your same old axes please.]
posted by jessamyn at 2:14 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


My husband is an Eagle Scout (was an Eagle Scout? I don't know how that works) and has many great memories of his time as a Scout. It meant a lot to him, growing up non-Mormon in Utah, to have that group.

He talks about our boys joining the Scouts, and every time, we have to have this discussion, as well as the one about religion - which is surprising, as he is agnostic at the most. I think seeing our daughter in Girl Scouts, where these are not issues at all, is showing him that I'm probably right. And that's painful for him. But this is one of those hills I'll die on, so it's a difficult subject in our house.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 2:15 PM on July 17, 2012


I'm really torn. I think he'll probably give up scouting before this issue even comes up for him; he and the other kids are still in elementary school, but damn, this is so offensive, and heart breaking and just morally and ethically wrong. I just don't know what to do.

My boy is in Cubs, and we are all loving the experience. It's a great bunch of people, he's learning a ton, including some genuinely good values. In all the hundreds of meetings and camping trips and neighborhood clean-up days and pancake breakfasts, the gay issue has never once come up. That's probably more to do with his young age than anything, though.

But I just wanted to reply to you, dejah420, with the glass-half-full approach we're taking with scouts: I honestly believe that by the time my boy (and possibly yours) is old enough for this to be an issue, they will have changed their policy. DADT is dead, the tides of public opinion are rapidly changing when it comes to stupid shit like this. They can't possibly keep this position for very much longer, is what I optimistically (naively?) choose to believe.
posted by jbickers at 2:16 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


munchingzombie: "I still have the letter they sent me kicking me out. When I have a study I am going to frame it and hang it on the wall. "

Are you comfortable sharing this? I'd be interested to see a picture of this kind of document from the BSA.
posted by boo_radley at 2:16 PM on July 17, 2012 [12 favorites]


This. Seriously, BSA is not enshrined as a monopoly; parents need to start pulling together to create a new version of scouting in the U.S. that doesn't have any of this cultist baggage.

There's the Baden-Powell Scouts' Association, which has a US branch. The US version is not as firmly non-discriminatory as one might like, but at least they don't have overtly discriminatory policies. They're open to both boys and girls, and I believe they are also okay with atheists.

In terms of curriculum and activities it is pretty much exactly like the BSA.
posted by jedicus at 2:16 PM on July 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


And, yes. LDS engineered a hostile takeover of the BSA. It's impossible to talk about the national scouting organization without mentioning that the Mormons literally call all of the shots.

I'm sure one of Metafilter's several resident Mormon apologists will come along and say that there are various exceptions to this rule, but the fact remains that their church's most visible role in America is as an engine of discrimination.

But, seriously. What's it going to take for there to be a schism within the BSA that creates an organization that promotes inclusion (girls too!) and can actually integrate into secular American society?

Here's one gay eagle scout who would give a lot of money to support such an effort.
posted by schmod at 2:17 PM on July 17, 2012 [114 favorites]


I can't favorite your comment enough, schmod.
posted by Catblack at 2:20 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


The LDS Church has stated that it would withdraw from the Scouting program if it was ever compelled to accept openly homosexual Scout leaders."

which makes no freaking sense, as it's my impression growing up in the church and along side scouting (i was a girl, i had to learn to sew, no scouting for me), that the only people who lead LDS scout groups are church members in good standing. as you can't be a "practicing/open" homosexual and in good standing, they wouldn't be leaders in the church's troops anyway.
posted by nadawi at 2:20 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


double block and bleed, talk to your local troop's leaders. You might be pleasantly surprised. My son's troop was led by open-minded men and women who wrote a formal letter of protest to the national organization (a few parents withheld their signatures but you know what? they were welcome too!) and refused to tolerate bigotry of any kind.
posted by headnsouth at 2:20 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


every mormon boy of appropriate age is a boy scout

That's just not true. Some are, some aren't. Any way you slice it though, the Scouts are Christian. They have the John Locke-like policy of being accepting of all religions as long as you believe in Jesus. Mormon's have largely taken over many leadership positions, but the Scouts have been entangled in this controversy long before that happened. This is nothing new or unexpected.

A 30-something friend who was an Eagle Scout told me that the jamborees had become recruiting efforts for the military. Has that stopped?

No, this hasn't stopped. The military recruits heavily from the Scouts. There are lots of reasons for this. Socioeconomics, penchant for wanting to join culty things, etc.

I'm an Eagle Scout. It's a shitty policy. But don't lose sleep over your kid not being in the Scouts. There are just as good if not much better ways of learning to be a responsible camper and to administer appropriate first aid without the culty stuff and the basket weaving. Don't try to change the Scouts. They are what they are. Being bigots about gay rights is just one of the reasons you don't want to participate. Start a new group, or just find some good friends to go on camping trips with and learn to tie knots and tell your kids to be nice to other people.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:20 PM on July 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


The exclusion policy “reflects the beliefs and perspectives” of the organization, the Boy Scouts said in a news release from its national headquarters in Irving, Tex

As an Eagle Scout and current Cub Scout Den leader, this enrages me. Nobody asked for my opinion or for the opinions of my parents or scouts. For that matter we have zero input into the BSA's National Council leadership and its decisions. This reflects the befiefs of bigots who make these decrees on the National Council with impunity.

Obama is the honorary president of the BSA...I hope he provides his perspective on this, to put it mildly...
posted by Esteemed Offendi at 2:23 PM on July 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


if a mormon boy between 8 and 18 participates in youth activities, he's in scouting. there is no other youth group for boys. it's preisthood on sunday and scouts on wednesday/tuesday. the only way to not be part of scouting is if the parents opt out, but i've seen this tried and the parents are generally reprimanded by those in power until they either relinquish or leave.
posted by nadawi at 2:23 PM on July 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


This is Boy Scouts of America damage only:

"Scouting is a world wide, multi cultural movement. We welcome people to membership regardless of gender, race, culture, religious belief, sexual orientation or economic circumstances. Youth members are strongly influenced by the behaviour of adults. We need to be sensitive to the traditions and beliefs of all people and to avoid words or actions which "put down" anybody." From Scouts Canada. Duty of Care, February 2001, CODE OF CONDUCT FOR ADULTS

The objectives of FLAGS is simple, we want people to know that It’s ok to be Gay and be in Scouting we want people to then join Scouting in their local areas and contribute to Scouting without fear and continue that very important role. FLAGS – the National Scout Active Support Unit for LGBT members of Scouting in the UK.

Scouting in the UK actively recruits homosexual leaders as the organization thinks that their inclusion provides richer experiences for the scouts.

This position by BSA in no way represents scouting world-wide.
posted by bonehead at 2:24 PM on July 17, 2012 [29 favorites]


Ten years ago would this even be making headlines?

It's only been a policy since 1993. I remember it being a pretty big deal then too.

I, however, am not surprised at all by this announcement. (I wouldn't have been surprised the other way either. They have to give in at some point.)
posted by mrgrimm at 2:25 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Being bigots about gay rights is just one of the reasons you don't want to participate.

About which gay right are the Boys Scouts of America bigoted? Is there a right to be a member of the Boy Scouts of America?
posted by Tanizaki at 2:26 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised no one here has mentioned the Scouting For All organization. I admit to not knowing much about them - are they not a viable alternative?
posted by triggerfinger at 2:27 PM on July 17, 2012


human rights?
posted by found missing at 2:27 PM on July 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


andreaazure: Every single preferential-treatment deal BSA has across the country should be terminated, or failing that, not renewed. They are a private organization. This is their right. Cities also have a right to ban hate groups.
IMO, cities even have a duty to ban hate groups (from preferential-treatment, not from public places). Some lawsuits need to get started in states that prevent discrimination on the basis of who you fall in love with.

It's sad. I used to think a lot of the BSA, even though they didn't work for me - too many bullies beating me too often back then, and so loosely-supervised gatherings of my own male peers filled me with fear at that age.

But at this point? Fuck them.
gauche: Calling them a hate group is kind of over-the-top, though, don't you think? This is not an organization that exists for the purpose of suppressing the civil rights of minorities: it's not even a political organization. I kind of think a hate group has to do more than have exclusionary policies around membership, otherwise most organizations that existed prior to the Civil Rights Act are hate groups.
No, not over-the-top at all. If the BSA had a no-colored-people policy, and their reasoning was that 'allowing their members to mingle with blacks and other non-white races would detract from their mission of making respectable men out of the boys in their charge', who on earth wouldn't see that as a hateful mission?
posted by IAmBroom at 2:28 PM on July 17, 2012 [22 favorites]


I'm still taking my kid to Cub Scouts and will run the Webelos in September. I am no true believer, but it is a good bunch of kids.

That is the rub. The national leadership is a pack of bigots. But how much contact do they have with local troops? Troops elect their own leadership from within and set their own agenda. As long as dues are paid, I have found that regional leadership doesn't have much influence.

So, your troop is probably awesome, just like the hundreds of other awesome troops. I was/am the gayest gay that ever gayed. I even performed in drag at a few scouting events. My troop accepted me and it was fantastic! Too bad it is under the umbrella of an evil organization.

I hope you and every other sane adult in the organization tries to make the experience as great as possible for each kid while quietly telling the national fascists to fuck off.
posted by munchingzombie at 2:28 PM on July 17, 2012 [12 favorites]


Damnit, BSA. You know, I really thought that after the military came around, BSA would too. It's the same situation: There are gay scouts, there have always been gay scouts, and it is ridiculous that they just can't say so. Same thing with gay Scoutmasters.

Thanks for the links to the Baden-Powell Scouts' Association. My son is only 2 for now, so cub scouts is about 5 years away. Time enough for change, I hope.

Eagle Scout '94
posted by BeeDo at 2:29 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, it looks like Scouting For All isn't really active anymore. Bummer.
posted by triggerfinger at 2:30 PM on July 17, 2012


I'm sure at the National Executive Council level or whatever (I'm not a scout, but a member of several other national youth organizations), this is all about risk management and "youth protection." No doubt that they fear more molestation (which is wrongheaded) and more lawsuits.
posted by mattbucher at 2:30 PM on July 17, 2012


The vast majority of the parents of youth we serve value their right to address issues of same-sex orientation within their family, with spiritual advisers, and at the appropriate time and in the right setting,

...and to reinforce their children's insularity we shall exclude good people from our organization to create the illusion that 10% of the population does not exist.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:30 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was a scout, I think it was the only scout pack in Brooklyn at the time. We were like the sweathogs of scouting. We had no uniforms, we earned no badges, we did no public service. We did not attend conventions or meetups or whatever. I think I was the only one with the handbook because I was a nerd. We played touch football in a school gym. Once a year we went camping, everyone brought a red piece of cloth and we tied it around our heads like Rambo. We shot bottle rockets and threw firecrackers at eachother. Eventually I got my arm broken in a fight, went back a few times to show them I wasn't a pussy and then drifted away.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:32 PM on July 17, 2012 [11 favorites]


I'm really torn. I think he'll probably give up scouting before this issue even comes up for him; he and the other kids are still in elementary school, but damn, this is so offensive, and heart breaking and just morally and ethically wrong. I just don't know what to do.

Take your concerns to the scoutmaster. Let him know you're trying to keep the boy in scouts, but that it's extremely important to you that scouts not teach your kid bigotry and division, and that you'd like to know if the scoutmaster can do his part to keep the scouts important and beneficial to the new generations.

This is a way that organizations can change. Policy might be laid down from the top, but the people at the top get there from the ranks.
posted by -harlequin- at 2:33 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


As the parent of a boy who loves the outdoors and would make a kickass scout, this whole thing just makes me sad sad sad.
posted by middleclasstool at 2:33 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was a Scout. Several years ago, there was a campaign for people to mail their old uniforms in with a letter explaining why they were withdrawing support from BSA. My mom, who saved everything, had mine. I packed them up and mailed them in with a letter that said that Scouting taught me to live my life honestly and that I was, honestly, gay. I never heard a word back, but I felt ... lighter for having done it.
posted by driley at 2:35 PM on July 17, 2012 [41 favorites]


If the BSA had a no-colored-people policy, and their reasoning was that 'allowing their members to mingle with blacks and other non-white races would detract from their mission of making respectable men out of the boys in their charge', who on earth wouldn't see that as a hateful mission?

As I mention in the paragraph immediately above the one you quote, they could allow gays without changing their mission one bit. A restaurant that wouldn't serve blacks, to pick an example, is certainly wrong, but it is also still a restaurant and not the KKK. It could serve blacks and continue to be a restaurant: discriminating against blacks is not an essential part of what the restaurant is. But it is an essential part of what the KKK is.

So it is with the Boy Scouts. If you think that the BSA is a hate group, I take it to mean that you think it essential to the mission of the Boy Scouts to discriminate against gays. I disagree. I don't think that's what scouting is about.
posted by gauche at 2:37 PM on July 17, 2012


Ten years ago would this even be making headlines?

It's only been a policy since 1993. I remember it being a pretty big deal then too.

It was a big deal then, yeah. It's a big deal whenever it comes up every now and again. I remember in the 90s when Hilary Clinton made waves by voicing her opinion that gays ought to be allowed in the BSA. I heard about it from my Dad, who was a Scoutmaster. It was never discussed in Scouts.

it's preisthood on sunday and scouts on wednesday/tuesday. the only way to not be part of scouting is if the parents opt out, but i've seen this tried and the parents are generally reprimanded by those in power until they either relinquish or leave.

A minor contention I suppose, but no, this isn't really true ime. I grew up with a lot of Mormon friends, and probably only half of them were Scouts.

The thing is is that Scouting is a religious organization. Christianity is so entwined within Scout lore that the two are inseparable, from all of the "God and ___" badges to all the God and Country talk to "brave, clean and reverent." And, unfortunately, Christianity in this country is still by and large anti-gay. This is not much different than the E-Free Church of America reaffirming its belief that homosexuality is a sin. Like I said before, the anti-gay stuff is only the tip of the iceberg with the Scout weirdness.

If the Scouts accepted gays, the huge advantage would be that it would be another positive step in the overall campaign for equal rights, and would be a great show of support. It would not make you want to be in the Scouts, though.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:37 PM on July 17, 2012


Being bigots about gay rights is just one of the reasons you don't want to participate.

About which gay right are the Boys Scouts of America bigoted? Is there a right to be a member of the Boy Scouts of America?


No one is saying it's a constitutional right. The question of whether or not gays do or should have the right to belong to the BSA is the issue under dispute. The BSA think that gay people should not have that right--they therefore think that gay rights should be more circumscribed than do most other people.

If you don't like the idea of applying the word "right" to something as narrowly defined as belonging to a particular organization then think of it this way. Most of us believe that gays should have the right to participate in all social institutions which non-gays are allowed to participate in; the BSA clearly believes that gay people should not, in general, have that right--that they should be seen as suspected child-molesters and shunned from all institutions that would place them in positions of responsibility over children. That is clearly a position that seeks to restrict gay rights and one that is in opposition to a position that seeks to broaden those rights. Fair enough?
posted by yoink at 2:38 PM on July 17, 2012 [13 favorites]


Being a scout was one of the most enjoyable experiences I had in a childhood and adolescence that mostly sucked. I don't recall that the subject of homosexuality was ever discussed in any way, shape or form during any Boy Scout activity. It just wasn't an issue.

On the other hand, I completely disagree with this policy. But, please, calling the Boy Scouts a "hate group" or bunch of "bigots" is just not at all reflective of my experience with scouting. Change comes from within. Put your kids in boy or girl scouts. They are great organizations. For me, it's one of the only parts of my childhood that I truly cherish and had a LOT to do with making me into a man.
posted by gagglezoomer at 2:39 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


A minor contention I suppose, but no, this isn't really true ime.

i'm third generation mormon. they might not have advertised they were in scouts, but if your male mormon friends went to church in the middle of the week, they were a part of scouting. if they didn't go to church in the middle of the week, they weren't members in good standing.
posted by nadawi at 2:42 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


>> Any way you slice it though, the Scouts are Christian.

>> Christianity is so entwined within Scout lore that the two are inseparable...

With respect, Lutoslawski, these statements are simply not true. The Scout Oath and Law require reverence to God, but not the Christian one in particular.
posted by JohnFredra at 2:42 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


As the parent of a boy who loves the outdoors and would make a kickass scout, this whole thing just makes me sad sad sad.

There are lots of ways, arguably much better ways, to feed that love of the outdoors and to teach him how start fires and camp and care for the environment and stop a nosebleed and turn his jeans into a flotation device without joining the Scouts. The BSA is not the be-all-end-all of outdoorsmanship.

I just returned from a great camping weekend on the mountain where we caught and ate fish, sailed, tied hammocks in the trees, hiked, and picked up all the trash left behind by idiots who don't know how to pack it out. Guess how many of us were Scouts? Just myself. And I was the worst fisherman of them all.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:42 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


and to reinforce their children's insularity we shall exclude good people from our organization to create the illusion that 10% of the population does not exist.

Actually, it is more like 2% of the population.

A recent theory is that the societal norming of homosexuality has the effect of reducing the number of gays, with the operative effect being that where gays previously might have tended to remain closeted, married, and breed, they are much more likely to live openly gay and never breed.

I predict that when genetic engineering of babies becomes mainstream, no matter how tolerant the parents, the gay population will be about the same size as the current Down Syndrome population.
posted by Tanizaki at 2:43 PM on July 17, 2012


Tanizaki: " About which gay right are the Boys Scouts of America bigoted? Is there a right to be a member of the Boy Scouts of America?"

Well, as I mentioned earlier in the thread, there's the right not to be fired based on your sexual orientation, for one.

Granted, the scouts are hardly alone in disagreeing with this one as an actual right gay people should have. (See also: every Congress since 1994.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:44 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Um,
posted by shakespeherian at 2:45 PM on July 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm still taking my kid to Cub Scouts and will run the Webelos in September. I am no true believer, but it is a good bunch of kids. Lots of girls are there, too, doing the activities. Little boys with earrings, also. Everybody doing their best to be fair in the imperfect context they find themselves in.

I don't know what this means. I think it means that you belong to an organization of bigots, and that you lack the imagination to think of things for your kids to do that aren't supporting bigotry? But I could be wrong. It's written in such a strange passive voice that it's like you won't even accept responsibility for your use of English.
posted by OmieWise at 2:45 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


>> Any way you slice it though, the Scouts are Christian.

>> Christianity is so entwined within Scout lore that the two are inseparable...

With respect, Lutoslawski, these statements are simply not true. The Scout Oath and Law require reverence to God, but not the Christian one in particular.


That's fair. I actually just looked up the religious emblems available, and it's actually pretty broad, everything from Buddhism to Unitarian. Perhaps all of the Jesus stuff in the Scouts is more just my own conflation of personal experience growing up in the Scouts and the Church and the basically common group of kids between the two.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:46 PM on July 17, 2012


I predict that when genetic engineering of babies becomes mainstream, no matter how tolerant the parents, the gay population will be about the same size as the current Down Syndrome population.

That's a totally weird thing to say, and I suspect it has more to do with your own prejudices, and those of the folks you know, than with reality.
posted by OmieWise at 2:46 PM on July 17, 2012 [50 favorites]


I am confused with how gay people remaining childless connects to less gay people.
posted by sgrass at 2:47 PM on July 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


Change comes from within. Put your kids in boy or girl scouts. They are great organizations.

For those already in Boy Scouts and having a good experience with their local groups, I can see the appeal in trying to change the organization from within (though it isn't a position I necessarily agree with). However, if your family isn't already involved in Boy Scouts, I don't see why they should join an organization that has such terrible attitudes toward homosexuality and atheism when there are alternatives that don't share those attitudes.
posted by audi alteram partem at 2:47 PM on July 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Tanizaki: and to reinforce their children's insularity we shall exclude good people from our organization to create the illusion that 10% of the population does not exist.

Actually, it is more like 2% of the population.
Actually, it's a disputable proportion, which is estimated to be somewhere between 1% and 10% of the population.

But the exact number isn't what's important. If the BSA discriminates only against left-handed albino Hispanic children, and there are only two in the entire country, the BSA still sucks for hating on them.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:48 PM on July 17, 2012 [49 favorites]


I predict that when genetic engineering of babies becomes mainstream, no matter how tolerant the parents, the gay population will be about the same size as the current Down Syndrome population.

This is frankly a really shitty thing to say. I don't have any kids yet but I think it would be absolutely delightful to have gay kids, despite the difficulties that society will impose upon their lives. I would never in a trillion years hope with bated breath to find out that my kid is heterosexual.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:53 PM on July 17, 2012 [44 favorites]


I am confused with how gay people remaining childless connects to less gay people.

If there is a genetic component in sexual orientation (and there's a lot of research to suggest that there is) then that makes some sense. Of course, in the brave new world of genetic engineering that Tanizaki envisions there's not much to stop gay couples from having passing on their genes to their children. I also think Tanizaki's belief that future couples will in general have a "no queers" rule for their genetically engineered offspring may involve a smidgeon of projection.
posted by yoink at 2:53 PM on July 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


Tanizaki: A recent theory is that the societal norming of homosexuality has the effect of reducing the number of gays, with the operative effect being that where gays previously might have tended to remain closeted, married, and breed, they are much more likely to live openly gay and never breed.
And such a "theory" is based on the assumption that there is a "gay gene". Nothing whatsoever in legitimate genetic/biological research has ever suggested that this is the case.

Since you suggest eugenics will eventually eliminate them (that is what you're saying), let me jump ahead and point out that I'm not saying it's a "choice", either. There are many paths a human organism can take between the point of two sets of genes combining, and full cognitive decision-making, that determine the fetus/child's path. Most of them are barely to not-at-all understood.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:53 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


The list of the BSA's national officers and council members is available at the end of their Annual Report for those curious. Rex Tillerson-not surprising; Zig Ziglar-who knew?
posted by Esteemed Offendi at 2:53 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tanizaki, I'm going to point you first to Wikipedia:

Biology and Sexual Orientation

Which IAmBroom just said basically. Also, you're trolling.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:55 PM on July 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


Any way you slice it though, the Scouts are Christian. They have the John Locke-like policy of being accepting of all religions as long as you believe in Jesus.

... Jews are accepted
posted by caddis at 2:56 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


also, don't feed the trolls
posted by caddis at 2:56 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was in an imperfect scout troop until First Class. By then I felt I had done my time, given back what I felt I owed my parents for having been my Cub Scout den parents. I had fun and learned a lot. Stuff that has come in handy, first aid, fire safety, camping skills, a bunch of swimming-related stuff.

I also learned that my scout troop was full of sickos. The kid who jabbed our future Eagle in the ass with a stick while he was off in the woods taking a shit one Jamboree night eventually stabbed a girl to death behind a convenience store counter when he was a senior in high school. The one scout leader I really didn't like because he was alternately wheedling and severe with us boys was jailed for molesting kids in the troop many years later. That killed the troop, though I think by that time there was a bigger troop that could take in its refugees.

It was a mixed bag, but at least it wasn't run by Mormons back then. That would have been creepy.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 2:57 PM on July 17, 2012


gagglezoomer: "But, please, calling the Boy Scouts a "hate group" or bunch of "bigots" is just not at all reflective of my experience with scouting"

No, you're absolutely right. It's a decent organization with some hateful bigots controlling the purse strings at the national level, with virtually no input from its (non-Mormon) membership*. It's why I never formally renounced my membership in the organization, but always make a point of prominently wearing the rainbow knot to any scouting function that I attend.

*And, really, how on earth did this happen? Did somebody at LDS HQ suddenly decide that it would be a good idea for the church to take over the Boy Scouts?

I was personally fortunate to be a member of a troop that declined to abide by any of the BSA's insane discriminatory policies. My scoutmaster was an atheist who wore a HRC pin on his uniform. I wasn't out until long after I got my Eagle, turned 18, and moved away, but we we did have at least two scouts in our troop who were, and it was never an issue at all. I'm going to generously assume that most other troops are at least somewhat similarly openminded and tolerant.

Unfortunately, I can't make a recommendation for any young person to become a Boy Scout today, because I simply cannot guarantee that they'd be treated with the same level of tolerance. (I remember being bullied at a jamboree, and being told by one of the regional leaders to "man up;" I was 12, and the kid holding me down was 17)
posted by schmod at 2:58 PM on July 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


[I am not exactly hot on the potential of this thread in the first place but if it's gonna work one thing it needs to not do is turn into some sidebar argument about parents culling gay babies or whatever. Drop it, thank you.]
posted by cortex at 3:00 PM on July 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


I predict that when genetic engineering of babies becomes mainstream, no matter how tolerant the parents, the gay population will be about the same size as the current Down Syndrome population.

I wonder if the BSA allows them to be scouts. Oh, they do! Just not if they are gay.
posted by tittergrrl at 3:01 PM on July 17, 2012


Any way you slice it though, the Scouts are Christian. They have the John Locke-like policy of being accepting of all religions as long as you believe in Jesus.

... Jews are accepted


Yes, I corrected myself. Experience bias. Apologies.

posted by Lutoslawski at 3:03 PM on July 17, 2012


This made a bad day even worse for me.
I am an Eagle Scout and former Philmont Staff and I am ashamed of the organization that did so much for me.
I was in an inclusive troop (which now has gone whacko as the church we were in went from liberal to fucking insanely crazy conservative).
My son is almost to an age where Cub Scouts is looking good to him and I just can't let that happen. the announcement that the BSA was reviewing the policy gave me hope. This report dashed it.

Schmod, do you know where one can get those knots?
posted by Seamus at 3:04 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


A recent theory is that the societal norming of homosexuality has the effect of reducing the number of gays, with the operative effect being that where gays previously might have tended to remain closeted, married, and breed, they are much more likely to live openly gay and never breed.

A huge percentage of openly gay people I know are parents to biological children. And the kids are not the product of some pre-coming-out het relationship.

It's as if you think that people only have kids if they're forced to by society. It's also as if you think that being openly gay, and being able to live an uncloseted life, means that one cannot desire children. Both of these assumptions are false, and those are not the only false assertions you make.
posted by rtha at 3:11 PM on July 17, 2012 [10 favorites]


gagglezoomer: "Change comes from within. "

I know reasonable, levelheaded people who volunteer or work in just about every level of the BSA. By virtue of the social circles that I run in, many of them are gay.

The BSA's policies will not change until the source of the money changes. Same as in politics.
posted by schmod at 3:12 PM on July 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


A recent theory is that the societal norming of homosexuality has the effect of reducing the number of gays, with the operative effect being that where gays previously might have tended to remain closeted, married, and breed, they are much more likely to live openly gay and never breed.

Something about the unspoken distinction that "straight people have children" while "gay people breed" has me feeling very much like a barn animal right now.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:15 PM on July 17, 2012 [9 favorites]


What about Camp Fire? Am I the only former Spark out there? I sure hope not; Camp Fire was the *best*!
posted by epj at 3:16 PM on July 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Some of my best friends were scouts, they had an awesome troop and did some seriuosly cool things. The regional administration though are kind of huge jerks and almost exclusively mormon. Anything progressive was shut down and any inter-group stuff was . . . unpleasant. They also take all the money and use it . . . dubiously. We had a big 'chocotini' scandal in our area. Well, not big. But funny.
posted by Garm at 3:17 PM on July 17, 2012


I vote take your kids camping yourself of course, fuck the BSA. There is no intrinsic meaning in scouting, it's simply a specific curriculum of camping survival skills.

I couldn't resist googling "burner scouts", sure enough : Black Rock Scouts.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:18 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


to some it's more than camping and survival skills

a bishop's view of scouting

just something to think on if you enroll you boys in BSA just for the camping - some people might have different ideas about what they're hoping to teach.
posted by nadawi at 3:20 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Something about the unspoken distinction that "straight people have children" while "gay people breed" has me feeling very much like a barn animal right now.

Well let's not tell Rick Santorum.

(In seriousness, fuck the BSA. I really hope they get their shit together in the next five or ten years, so it's not super weird when I encourage my daughter(s) to join Girl Scouts but forbid the son(s) from going near the Boy Scouts.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:25 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


My husband came home with some literature from our local Boy Scouts. I hit the roof over the following:


"Along with Family, we believe that the Scouts should have some sort of religious beliefs. Being affiliated with [Local] Church, as an outreach ministry of the church, we will stress a belief in God and will encourage that belief in the boys in the program. The Boy Scouts of America, in its Cub Scout programs, require each boy to complete some religious requirements in each level before advancing. These requirements are not ties to any one religion or denomination, however, Cub Pack 000, being a part of [Local] Church, will focus primarily on Christianity. Any Scout of any religious belief is welcomed here, and we will make every effort to understand and respect his beliefs."

Nope, nope, nope. I also could not square my son's potential participation with explaining it to our gay friends.
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:27 PM on July 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Something about the unspoken distinction that "straight people have children" while "gay people breed" has me feeling very much like a barn animal right now.

I meant no offense to you or anyone else and I apologize if I caused any. Although, you have brought to mind the pejorative, "breeder".

A huge percentage of openly gay people I know are parents to biological children. And the kids are not the product of some pre-coming-out het relationship.

A huge percentage of the people you know is just over zero percent of the population. The context in which the theory was raised was in response to the fact that in surveys that inquire as to sexual orientation, the percentage of "gay" respondents has been declining for several decades. I found it curious that self-reporting of homosexual orientation would be in decline in light of the increased acceptance of it in American society. Why do you think that might be? (I ask that sincerely)
posted by Tanizaki at 3:28 PM on July 17, 2012


[Folks, this thread is about the Boy Scouts, more or less and needs to not turn into a referendum of one person's opinions about homosexuality. Everyone can pitch in to help make that be so. Thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 3:32 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


put your kids in boy or girl scouts

Girl Scouts of the USA is not affiliated with Boy Scouts of America in any way, and has official non-discrimination policies on sexual orientation, gender identity, and religion or lack of same. Don't conflate the organizations.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:32 PM on July 17, 2012 [15 favorites]


My sons loved scouts until the leader started lecturing them about attending church on a regular, weekly basis--specifically the only 'true' church--Mormon, of course.


Isn't scouting supposed to make a man out of a boy?

Couple of years ago after a community service event, as a reward, one of the scout leaders took the boys to Hooters for hamburgers. That did not Go Over Well.
Can't find the news link. Too hot and cranky to look for it.
posted by BlueHorse at 3:34 PM on July 17, 2012


Yeah Girl Scouts is all the things Boy Scouts could be if it smartened up. They are aggressively anti-discrimination and have a number of progressive programs including Girl Scouts Beyond Bars for girls with incarcerated moms. Here's their diversity statement.
posted by jessamyn at 3:35 PM on July 17, 2012 [14 favorites]


The now coed Camp Fire USA explicitly bans discrimination based on sexual orientation.
posted by sonascope at 3:37 PM on July 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Former scout and a Mormon here. There is a fine and fuzzy line between Scouting and church-stuff when you are a adolescent male in the LDS church. On Sunday you have church meetings. It's' called priesthood. This is mostly religious teaching. Sometimes boys and leaders will plan scouting events. During the week is when things get fuzzy. You might have a specific church meeting. Something like a motivational speech, a service project or a combined meeting with the young women of the local congregation.
There are scout-specific meetings times where you do scout things. Service projects, merit badges, plans for scout outings.
This is how it was for me. Things may have changed.
Also, weekday scouting meetings usually devolve into 'screw scouting, let's play basketball!'

If you are a young man who does not want to participate in scouting, you may get sideways looks from other leaders, but I find it unlikely you'll be drummed out of the church for not participating in scouting. I did not get my eagle scout and I know plenty of boys who didn't either. I also know of boys who actively did not participate in scouting.

In my experience there are four types of mormon boy scouts.
1. The boys who have the drive and motivation to earn the eagle scout award themselves. It's a pretty big challenge. Takes a lot of planning and work.
2. The boys who's parents insist or force their son to get the eagle scout award. These poor boys are denied their driver's licsence until they get their eagle scout. Maybe the parents use some other kind of force.
3. Boys who's parents want to maintain the illusion of an obedient son that they sign off on merit badges even though the boy doesn't do the work. (Sometimes these boys get their eagle, sometimes not.)
4. There are boys like me. You work on it for a while, then you lose interest, discover girls, or are just lazy. People like me usually don't get the eagle scout award.

Also, signing up to be a scout leader is serious. You get a background check. You have to provide references. And you sign a pledge saying something like 'I will not be an atheist and I am not a homosexual.' I'm paraphrasing this of course.

It's disappointing that scouts can't be a more open group. I had a great time in scouts. Every kid should have the opportunity.
posted by bronco trolley at 3:43 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Where is the international organization? BSA is a member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, and it doesn't sound like they have the same bigoted policies. Couldn't they set up a parallel scout organization in the USA (with dues payable to the international organization) and invite current American troops to join them instead? BSA could reorganize as the Boy Scouts of Zion or whatever, and everybody would be happy.
posted by Killick at 3:43 PM on July 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


@BlueHorse. Yeah, if a kid isn't a Mormon, they'll get invited to come to church. Boy Scouts can also be used as a recruitment tool for non-mormon kids. (They do have to get parent approval if the kid actually wants to join the LDS church.)
posted by bronco trolley at 3:45 PM on July 17, 2012


bronco trolley - as far as being pushed out of the church - i think that's dependent on area/stake/ward - for instance, in our ward/stake, the bishops were pretty focused on hitting metrics passed down from on high. my father was removed from his church calling and was told it was because his bad leadership at home (due to my brothers dropping out of scouts) reflected poorly on his ability to lead at church.
posted by nadawi at 3:48 PM on July 17, 2012


Alternatives...

4-H prepares young people to step up to the challenges in their community and the world. Using research-based programming around positive youth development, 4-H youth get the hands-on real world experience they need to become leaders.
posted by j03 at 3:50 PM on July 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


As a little kiddo, I learned a ton hanging out at the back of Girl Scout meetings, as my mom was a leader for several troops. Cub Scouts was kind of blah by comparison. When I was old enough to move from Cub Scouts into Boy Scouts, I moved to a new troop organized at a different church. There, the meetings were a complete train wreck, lasting for five to ten minutes, followed by two hours of a game called Smear the Queer. I dropped out.

The BSA can go fuck itself, Girl Scouts rules x 1million.
posted by samofidelis at 3:50 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


in our ward/stake, the bishops were pretty focused on hitting metrics passed down from on high.

@nadawi
This is true. If your congregational or regional leaders are super-serious about one particular thing then you get stuff like your dad being replaced because of his "shortcomings."
posted by bronco trolley at 3:56 PM on July 17, 2012


All of a sudden I feel a lot better about my Played Video Games And D&D Instead Of Hanging Out With You Corny Squares badge
posted by FeralHat at 3:59 PM on July 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


A 'Scout is:

- Trustworthy
- Loyal
- Helpful
- Friendly
- Courteous
- Kind
- Obedient
- Cheerful
- Thrifty
- Brave
- Clean
- Reverent
- Homophobic
posted by LordSludge at 4:04 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


The BSA is not the be-all-end-all of outdoorsmanship.

No, but there is no alternative close to where we live if he wants to go camping with a bunch of other kids and without his folks, and maybe learn something about putting up tents and tracking animals and such. All of which he finds fascinating. The only camping his dad and I know how to do involves getting drunk with our friends around a campfire. I'd love to send him to BSA, but not at the expense of giving my dues to a homophobic group.
posted by emjaybee at 4:07 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


How many people in this thread who are/were Boy Scouts and hold ranks in the organization (Eagle, etc.) are willing to give up those titles and... quit? Resign? End their membership? Over this? Otherwise, isn't the disappointment just lip service? Things don't change unless people move beyond being unhappy participants into being actively former participants.
posted by tzikeh at 4:13 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


If your congregational or regional leaders are super-serious about one particular thing then you get stuff like your dad being replaced because of his ‘shortcomings.’

Всегда готов!
posted by XMLicious at 4:29 PM on July 17, 2012


>> I am confused with how gay people remaining childless connects to less gay people.
> If there is a genetic component in sexual orientation (and there's a lot of research to suggest that there is) then that makes some sense.


Really quickly: gay people having hetero sex seems unlikely to explain much of the incidence of homosexuality. In particular, one hypothesis about genetics of homosexuality that has recently been gaining some traction states that the same genes that lead to homosexuality in men/women actually make their mothers/fathers more fertile, and there is indeed some preliminary evidence to support this (at least on the mother/son angle). If nothing else it's at least an interesting model of how natural selection can produce results that seem paradoxical at the outset.
posted by en forme de poire at 4:31 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


How many people in this thread who are/were Boy Scouts and hold ranks in the organization (Eagle, etc.) are willing to give up those titles and... quit?

I don't know if there's really any way to give up those titles. I stopped participating about 1990, and I don't buy popcorn. Beyond that, there's not much I can do to register my protest.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 4:33 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm skeptical that there's a single gene responsible for what appears to be a continuous and quantitative with significant environmental and developmental influences.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 4:38 PM on July 17, 2012


Nothing to add except nthing the continued outrage against this bigoted organization.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 4:48 PM on July 17, 2012


Flying back from Geneva in Saturday the terminal was full of Scottish Braveheart unit explorer scouts, I assume on their way back from the mountains. All ages, both sexes, they even all wore skirts. How's that for equality?
posted by biffa at 4:49 PM on July 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


Change comes from within.

No. If you participate in this organization, you are signaling your agreement with their policy of intolerance, or at the very least, your indifference to the policy. The only way the policy will change is if the organization becomes so hollowed out as to be unsustainable. If you stay with Scouting, you are teaching your sons that your principles only matter when its convenient.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:53 PM on July 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


Ironically one of the big things they teach in scouts involves rubbing two sticks together until something exciting happens.
posted by humanfont at 5:04 PM on July 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Between this and the Prop 8 ordeal, the LDS is really pissing me off.

Hot pants, espadrilles wearing John Wayne agrees with me and says, "Well, this is just un American!"
posted by snsranch at 5:05 PM on July 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Are you comfortable sharing this? I'd be interested to see a picture of this kind of document from the BSA.

I sure am. You can read it here.
posted by munchingzombie at 5:09 PM on July 17, 2012 [46 favorites]


I was in boy scouts four times. First time we lived in NJ and my old man signed me up for cub scouts. It was not a good fit. I've always been a bit of a loner. Anyway we had some crazy door to door sales thing (nothing says scouting like selling door to door), we were selling tickets to the Pinetop Derby or something. I lost my tickets and some folks got all twisted up about it. I was allowed to stop going.

Next time was a bunch of years later, we were living in a small town in Michigan. there really wasn't much for kids to do so some young guys from the local Air Base started a troop. I was actually too young but they let me join anyway. We didn't have uniforms, but we all got along and had a good time. I don't remember any bs about excluding anyone (hell, they let me in).

The next two times were two very church oriented groups, one in suburban Phila, and the other in Phx. By that time I really had no interest in doing merit badge nonsense or churchy things either. It was not a good fit. I was glad when we moved the first time and unhappy when they "found" me another troop in Phx. I don't remember what happened there but I know that my involvement didn't last long.

It seems to me whatever the National Org. says it comes down to your local group. Out of 4 tries I had one good experience, and I'm glad for it. If you want your kid to get a good scouting experience, as has been said upstream, there are other organizations. Or you could take your kid camping. Or you could get lucky with your local scout troop.
posted by evilDoug at 5:14 PM on July 17, 2012


Deplorable.

I'm not in the BSA, don't have kids and aren't doing anything else personally (that I know about) that lines their coffers.

However, I am in the ARRL (an organization that promotes ham radio, and is affiliated with the IARU). Said ARRL have a lot going on in terms of cooperative programs with the BSA.

I completely understand why. It helps shore up the greying ranks of the radio amateurs. It fits in with the scouts' mission (the preparedness one, not the one having to do with fostering ignorance, superstition and prejudice). And kids get to play with nifty gadgets.

But I think it's time for me to write some letters to the board, and maybe have a talk with my section chief in re: Is it really a good idea to publicly support an organization with such a reprehensibly discriminatory policy? There are plenty of other places where the ARRL could spend time and resources getting young people interested in radio, places without the BSA's dark-ages mentality.

de NF3H
posted by sourcequench at 5:17 PM on July 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


I think of BSA and scouting like many (inter)national organizations, where the general purpose for the organization is positive and enjoyable by many, but the parent/head group make some outlandish decrees from time to time. The local chapters may or may not act upon those decrees, as there is limited control of the parent/head group at the local level, so if you find one group that is more conservative in their implementation of the organizational rules, look for another more liberal group, and you can still be part of a (mostly) positive organization.

I'm another guy who earned his Eagle Scout rank years back, had a blast with camping, and enjoyed the weird merit badges along side the useful ones (fingerprinting was awesome, because it literally took 15 minutes, and that meant I earned 8 or 9 badges in a week, which was a camp record for that week).

I went through scouting first as a cub scout at my elementary school with a lot of other young boys. As we grew up, more kids turned to sports, leaving scouting behind. By the time I got into Boy Scouts, the group was mostly Mormon kids, so we started meeting at the local temple. I spend a lot of time with Mormons, and while there were prayers at camping outings for meals and whatnot, the Mormon religion was not brought up or pushed on me and the few other non-Mormons. We were Christians, so I guess they were content that we were praying to somewhat the same God.

Anyway, my brother went through scouting a few years later, and his cub scout troop fed into a different boy scout troop, which also met at a church, if I recall correctly, but it wasn't Mormon. There was little in the way of pressing religion on the kids, but again I think most of the boys identified as some form of Christian. They had a wholly different style, with a lot more camping and less focus on the merit badges. I got my eagle largely because I kept up with the Mormon guys who had to be done in time for their Missions. My brother never got that far, as he lost interest, and his troop was more laid back about all that.

My son is still far from being the right age to be a cub scout, but I'll be keeping an eye on BSA, and what the local chapters are up to. I'll also look into other scouting organizations, because I loved scouting, both for what I got out of it, and for the trips I took with my father as part of scouting.
posted by filthy light thief at 5:25 PM on July 17, 2012



boo_radley
In fact, forget the merit badges!

No WAY - we can just buy cooler ones. And we can award this one to the Boy Scouts of America.
posted by peagood at 5:36 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Has the Girl Scouts of America ever considered creating a brother organization for boys?

Ron is the leader of a Boy Scout-like group called the Pawnee Rangers, with Andy as his assistant. Leslie was not allowed to join the Rangers as a girl because it is boys only, so she created the girls-only Pawnee Goddesses.

The Pawnee Rangers become jealous of the Pawnee Goddesses, who appear to be having a lot more fun on the trip. Leslie is glad her efforts to make the boys jealous worked, but the Goddesses, after a public forum, decide to let the Rangers join them if they want. Every Ranger - including Andy - defects to the Goddesses.

posted by ersatz at 5:43 PM on July 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'll thank the Boy Scouts for one thing: One of our staffers here at the gay rights warehouse came up through the scouts, and used to run the biggest camp in the St. Louis region before he realized that he just couldn't work for an organization that denied something so core to his identity. So he quit them and now all of his organizational skills and people skills go toward working for LGBT equality. He's an incredibly cool guy, and the scouts' loss is very much our gain.
posted by klangklangston at 5:45 PM on July 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


sourcequench, maybe the ARRL should look into partnering with Camp Fire or Girl Scouts?
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:46 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


While I get that not every chapter takes after the heads of the organization, imagine discovering at 13 that the parent org would throw you out if they ever found out the truth about your sexuality.
posted by en forme de poire at 5:47 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


(And as a side note: Identification as LGBT hasn't been declining for decades, especially once you realize that Kinsey's numbers were bunk. Likewise, the idea that it's somehow non-procreating gays and lesbians that are responsible for that shouldn't even get past that moment of reflective thought we all have before we hit post, as it's so absurdly wrong about how genetics work.)
posted by klangklangston at 5:48 PM on July 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


MonkeyToes: "My husband came home with some literature from our local Boy Scouts. I hit the roof over the following:


"Along with Family, we believe that the Scouts should have some sort of religious beliefs. Being affiliated with [Local] Church, as an outreach ministry of the church, we will stress a belief in God and will encourage that belief in the boys in the program. The Boy Scouts of America, in its Cub Scout programs, require each boy to complete some religious requirements in each level before advancing. These requirements are not ties to any one religion or denomination, however, Cub Pack 000, being a part of [Local] Church, will focus primarily on Christianity. Any Scout of any religious belief is welcomed here, and we will make every effort to understand and respect his beliefs."

Nope, nope, nope. I also could not square my son's potential participation with explaining it to our gay friends.
"

Either my husband didn't let me see that bit of paper, or that bit of paper wasn't included in Boy's signup packet last year.

For the record; I'm pretty openly agnostic, and Boy hasn't been hassled and was allowed to move up to Webelos. That said; he doesn't have all the badges and beads and gewgaws that the kids who do churchy stuff have. I'm still reeling about this announcement today though, and I really need to talk with my husband and my son about how important it is to him for him to stay in scouts.


filthy light thief: " I'll also look into other scouting organizations, because I loved scouting, both for what I got out of it, and for the trips I took with my father as part of scouting."

Yeah; and that's the primary reason that I hesitate to put my foot down. Boy loves going camping with Man, but he also loves the fact that it's a tribe of kids his own age, running wild in the woods like...well...like 9 year olds. And my father, who was a boy scout with *his* father; you should have seen the look on his face when he gave my son the boy scout knife his father gave him...it meant so much to him, I didn't even know he'd had it all these years. For a lot of American men, especially those raised in military families, the Boy Scouts is an almost sacred space of memory.

I hate the thought of depriving my son something that has been so important to so many generations of men in his family, and I hate having to be put in the position of even considering it because some people are so petty and fearful of the "other" that they would divide us rather than accepting everyone.
posted by dejah420 at 5:57 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure why I stayed in scouts as long as I did (all of cub scouts, up to - First Class, Star?). They were total dicks. I had a few fellow scouts who were friends but we were all cowed by the same bullies who abused us at school. The scoutmasters were either checked out or interested in verbally abusing us as well. I remember being berated for several minutes for not having an apparent smile on my face while standing at attention at some summer camp. I'm glad to hear some folks in this thread had a good experience in the program.

Earning my wilderness survival badge was my first experience with hallucinations, though. That was kinda fun.

I wouldn't encourage my son to enter scouting. There's a civil air patrol base near my house, apparently you can join that at 12. Since it's more closely tied to the US Military, I assume it's not going to discriminate in its leadership in the same way? (what a bizarre statement to have just typed!)
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 6:01 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm really sort of surprised there isn't a more active/organized movement of Scouting alumni to publicly pressure the organization. I'd be happy to write a check.
posted by louie at 6:04 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


There are plenty of other places where the ARRL could spend time and resources getting young people interested in radio, places without the BSA's dark-ages mentality.

...indeed...find (or start!) a local Hackerspace. As a matter of fact, the Make Magazine summer issue has some Boy Scout-ish projects, like lashing and solar cooking. Leastways, I remember things like that from my old troop back in the 70s.
posted by foonly at 6:06 PM on July 17, 2012


It's not just the genetics that's a problem. The whole science of sexual orientation is still in its infancy, with no consistent methodology for defining or quantifying sexual orientation. I don't think we're even close to the level of validity and reliability that would allow for discussion of sexual orientation as a phenotype, much less doing better than very fuzzy genetic correlations. I don't know if there's even enough validity to make meta-analysis of multiple studies over time
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 6:19 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


No matter how open-minded and accepting and fun many local troops might be, they are explicitly prohibited from having gay (or atheist or agnostic!) Scouts, Scoutmasters or other volunteer leaders. Jennifer Tyrell, the ousted den mother cited in the Reuters article said she "was told by the cubmaster that there would be no problem, that yes, there is the BSA policy, but that locally everybody would be accepted. And I was accepted by all." ...and then all it took was a phone call from a local pastor to a BSA council representative, and she was out.

Even if a local troop is doing its best to be inclusive in defiance of the policy, every Scout (and parent of a Scout) should know that the national organization they are helping to fund with their membership dues believes that the gay people in their communities are not "morally straight," "clean in thought, word, and deed," or "desirable role models." I don't think I could stomach writing them a check every year.
posted by argonauta at 6:20 PM on July 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


What is really awkward is refusing to donate to the adorable wee cub scouts who panhandle at the grocery store. I usually just smile, shake my head and sidle off sideways, but I wish there were some way to tie my refusal to donate to the institutional bigotry. I think it's not possible - grade school children are not the ones setting policy and saying anything to their adults would probably start an unseemly argument.
posted by winna at 6:21 PM on July 17, 2012


I had a great time in Cub Scouts, less fun in the regular Scouts, and never made it to Eagle, to my father's profound annoyance, but fortunately, I managed to go sideways into Explorers, with Post #1275 out of Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, and that, in its way, has made all the difference. I never became a scientist or followed the career paths that my fellow Explorers did, in large part because my intelligence in those fields nowhere nearly approached my enthusiasm, but for such a short sojourn, I was changed in the aftermath.

I'm still not a fan of the military regimentation of the Scouts, but at the core—that drive to be outside and to be resourceful and to have ethics and skills and curiosity about the world are things that I think kids now need more than ever, but the bastards at the BSA have repudiated what was once their best aspect.

After a storm tore the roofing off the corner of my run-down shack in West Virginia for the fifth time a couple years back, I started to ponder. What if I don't try to rebuild this thing as a cabin? What if I just built a bunch of little cabins here, on the postage stamp of land I own on the mountainside, and started my own damned troop of misfit scouts, where my friends could come and bring their own families and hike around the woods and swim in the river below and tell stories around a big roaring campfire and whittle pointless things out of sticks? If I threw a Jamboree for the folks who aren't afraid to fly their freak flag as high as they wanted to, would anyone come?

Maybe I'll never have the time to pull it off.

Still, I keep notes on new ideas for further lyrics to "The Cat Came Back," just in case.


Wait, the original title of "The Cat Came Back" was WHAT!? Oh, for fuck's sake.
posted by sonascope at 6:22 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Boy Scouts is where I learned about the concept of zoning. I was the worst scout in the entire history of the organization. After four years, I had barely advanced to Second Class, but I was one of the oldest kids in the troupe, so I was den leader or division captain or whatever for a smaller group of kids - some higher ranks than me.

Anyhow, I was sitting around with my group, chilling at a meeting and we were supposed to be doing some sort of activity or other but we were barely interested. My group was always coming in last for everything because of our overwhelming apathy. I don't know if that apathy was my unit reflecting my personality or it was just that our Scoutmaster (who looked just like Paulie Walnuts) had put us together because he recognized we were all cut from the same cloth.

So I was complaining that I couldn't pay attention when the Scoutmaster was talking because he was so dull.

This kid named Duke says "you need to learn how to zone."

Now, all of us know what zoning out is, but it was a new concept to me in 1982 so I asked him to explain.

"I look at the floor, and I start to divide it into large zones, then smaller zones, then smaller zones, until the zones are so small it just looks like the floor again and then I start over."

This captured all of our imagination (well, everyone in my posse) and while we were never quite able to get a fire started or get a lean-to to stay up, we could all play mental Qix for hours on any surface we had to look at while adults were talking, be it floor, grass, cement or dirt.

My other memory of scouting was going to a jamboree where they told us Blondie was going to perform and then watching a two man folk duo called The Blondies get up to perform.

Lessons from Scouting: Adults are boring and they lie.

Heck, a kid could learn that lesson anywhere these days, so thank you BSA for giving me an excuse to keep any kids I might have from suffering the same soul killing tedium I experienced.

That said, I did like the camping, if only because my crew and I kicked ass at skit night.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:25 PM on July 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was a scout.
Pedophile scoutmaster at summer camp, so I was told. No evidence to me, but I believe my friends from back then. Scary.
Gay scoutmaster? I wouldn't have cared, that was 1965. I couldn't have. It would not have made any difference. I wanted to pass Orienteering for my merit badge. If my scoutmaster helped me do that, great. If not, asshole. I didn't need his help defining God and country. I knew it already.
Hang on if you wish, BSA. The world ain't with you.
posted by nj_subgenius at 6:37 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


...And I passed Orienteering without help despite my asking. Asshole.
posted by nj_subgenius at 6:41 PM on July 17, 2012


nadawi: "A minor contention I suppose, but no, this isn't really true ime.

i'm third generation mormon. they might not have advertised they were in scouts, but if your male mormon friends went to church in the middle of the week, they were a part of scouting. if they didn't go to church in the middle of the week, they weren't members in good standing.
"

This is interesting. My husband's experience - 1980s in Salt Lake City - was that all the LDS kids at his (public) school went to the stakehouse (that's what it's called, right?) after school, so all the non-LDS kids had to find other things to do. Thus, Boy Scouts.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 6:41 PM on July 17, 2012


Lulu's Pink Converse: In Utah, maybe, but I think that's an LDS thing. Not Boy Scouts. No thus. No nothing. Pure LDS. Good bye.
posted by nj_subgenius at 6:45 PM on July 17, 2012


Before you start to think too highly of Scouts Canada, there's this, remember.
posted by anothermug at 6:51 PM on July 17, 2012


In addition to the spiral scouts already mentioned up thread, there is the Geek Scouts, a group I just learned about at Seattle maker faire. I've heard people are looking at expanding it beyond the area.
posted by formless at 7:34 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


munchingzombie: "I sure am. You can read it here."

Thank you. I appreciate you sharing this.
posted by boo_radley at 7:36 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


What a stupid move! Big Gay Al of South Park is crying. That was an excellent episode, where Al was kicked out from being a troop leader for being openly gay, and replaced with a "manly man" who turned out to be a pedophile.
posted by mermayd at 7:36 PM on July 17, 2012


Mormons have been gutting the BSA for decades. Effectively mandatory membership for all Mormon youth. Rotating Scoutmaster positions, assigned by the higherups in each local church, leading to lackluster leaders with no personal investment in the program. They ram the boys through to Eagle at lightning speed (majority are Eagles by age 14!), fudging requirements and badges right and left. There is a standing written threat from the LDS church that the Mormons will pull out if the current homophobic rules are overturned. Overnight, a plurality of the BSA would evaporate.

I am an Eagle Scout and I worked on a camp staff for two years. Mormon scout troops are destroying scouting on the ground and at the highest levels. I have always advocated that the BSA cut its losses and dissociate from the LDS church, thereby allowing the organization's long-term preservation. Instead, the BSA has chosen short-term financial benefit at its ultimate demise.
posted by tetracycline at 7:43 PM on July 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


If I remember right our local United Way dropped financial support for the BSA but not the GSA.
posted by pdxpogo at 7:53 PM on July 17, 2012


Thanks for sharing that, munchingzombie. My only hope is that a future generation will view it like we view "No Coloreds" water fountain signs.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:00 PM on July 17, 2012


That letter to munchingzombie makes this less abstract and just exceedingly fucked up. Fuck you, haters.
posted by found missing at 8:06 PM on July 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Sidhedevil: maybe the ARRL should look into partnering with Camp Fire or Girl Scouts?

I know they do some work with the Girl Scouts already (and actually, that's one of the specific groups I was thinking about when I made the remark about better places to spend our energy). Admittedly, it's not on anything like as large scale as the work with the Boy Scouts, but there are people working to change that.

Another thing I should have been more clear about: BSA is not "The Scouts" -- the WOSM (World Organization of the Scout Movement) is. While some WOSM member organizations have discriminatory policies, WOSM itself (AFAIK) does not. JOTA (Jamboree on the Air, and I'm as sick of these four-letter acronyms and initialisms as you are), one of the big joint ARRL/Scouting efforts, is an international event under the aegis of WOSM. So, I'll probably stay on the air for that -- I just won't answer any US callsigns.
posted by sourcequench at 8:32 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


For a lot of American men, especially those raised in military families, the Boy Scouts is an almost sacred space of memory.

It certainly was that way in my military family. When my brother earned his Eagle (at 15), it was a more emotional experience for some of the men in my extended family than marrying off their daughters had been.

What was -- and remains -- remarkable to me was the loyalty those boys and young men in my brother's troop had to each other and their leaders. When my dad died very suddenly, word spread rapidly and some of his former scouts drove more than 24 hours to attend his funeral and ask to carry his casket. A lot of them spoke later, quite movingly, about their scouting experience being the place where they learned how to become men from the leaders who stepped in for absentee dads, or where they learned to become better people because they wanted to be like the fellow scouts they loved and admired.

With the right people, scouting can be a great thing. It breaks my heart for the boys of today that the wrong people are wrecking it. I feel guilty for being grateful that my child is a girl, because so long as the GSA keeps most of its current policies, I will face no dilemmas when it's time for her to begin her scouting adventure.
posted by sobell at 9:05 PM on July 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Minnesota's biggest Boy Scout group said Tuesday that gays and lesbians remain welcome in its troops, despite a national announcement that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) will continue to bar leaders, employees and members who are "open or avowed homosexuals."

The more you tighten your grip...
posted by Esteemed Offendi at 9:14 PM on July 17, 2012 [14 favorites]


I wrote to my state scouting office suggesting that they follow Minnesota's lead.
posted by jessamyn at 9:19 PM on July 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


I really liked being a Boy Scout long ago, but what I liked about it was doing cool camping/survival/first aid stuff, and the rather odd patriotic/religious overtones were present, but fairly muted. They had a problem with my choices in camping gear (they have a ridiculous notion that a machete and a bowie knife are not valid camping tools), and I left at the age of 12.

The religious aspect was minimal in my troop, and what was there seemed to be tied to, and fading with, cold-war anti-communist propaganda. It was present, but never really focused on. Soon after I left there seemed to be a religious revival of sorts, but less about politics and more about Christianity. The rest of the members did not last much longer, and the focus turned to the younger, more 'malleable' Tenderfoots.

I'm glad I got out when I did. I have no problem with the patriotic angle, so long as the patriotism is truly for the benefit of all, not used as a tool for some dogmatic religious warrior/squire program.

In my time there, I learned a great deal, not only the tradition scouting skills, but also how to recognize how the foundations of injustice and hate are built by 'leaders' clothed in righteous dogma.

Half of their ideals are in conflict with the other half. The organization's behavior if they continue on this path is self-destructive. If the end result is an eventual schism/dissolution of the organization, then the problem has corrected itself. If they can adapt, then they will have earned survival as a productive member of society. If not, then they will just become just a religious indoctrination society that could be of concern in the wrong hands in the long term.
posted by chambers at 9:52 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Aah, I'm so proud of Minnesota Scouts! Lead the way boys!

And now if we could just get rid of the ugly marriage amendment on our horizon
posted by triggerfinger at 9:55 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Of only Boy Scouts spent half as much time outing and banning child molesters, instead of repeatedly covering up for them, as they have done in the past, then maybe I'd give a crap about the organization. [Okay, this is Boy Scouts of Canada, but I'm guessing there is probably a recurring pattern down south]
posted by 1000monkeys at 9:59 PM on July 17, 2012


The thing that makes this hard is: for all the listed "alternatives" to Boy Scouts, there is no actual alternative to Boy Scouts that gives as much as the Boy Scouts does, or is as well-recognized as a badge of excellence. The military, when I went in at least, would jump you a rank if you came in as an Eagle Scout, in recognition of all you've gone through. Grown men are still impressed. There's this fraternity of Boy Scouts and former Boy Scouts all over the nation, and nothing, nothing says "clean-cut all-American boy" like Boy Scouts. It opens doors for your kids early and later in life, as well as making them into leaders.

People talk about Girl Scouts being amazing, but it does about a tenth of the things the Boy Scouts does - or at least certainly did when I was a kid. How much riflery is the Girl Scouts engaging in? The Boy Scouts at least seem to be preparing for Heinlein's
"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, con a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly."
The girl scouts sing songs and bake cookies, while the boy scouts learn how to do ten mile marches and repel an invasion. There is absolutely no comparison. (and it was one of the bitternesses of my youth. Stupid Girl Scouts.)
posted by corb at 9:59 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


When I was a Girl Scout, we did lots of wilderness activities and didn't waste time learning "how to repel an invasion" by an underpowered unit of new recruits from the Army of the Potomac. Not being all caught up in Baden-Powell's quest to teach teenage boys how to fight the Boer War is a feature, not a bug, of Girl Scouting.

Sounds like you had a crappy troop or perhaps a crappy council, corb. I learned how to start fires and canoe and fish and improvise a shelter in the woods. It was fucking awesome.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:08 PM on July 17, 2012 [20 favorites]


My mother was exceedingly disappointed in the local Girl Scout Troop for all the reasons you cite, corb. So she took over management of the troop. Before long, we were learning how to start fires with a magnifying glass, how to tie knots and lash together poles to make a comfy structure, how to load a pack so it wouldn't chafe, how to ride a horse, all kinds of first aid, how to find water in the forest, how to rig and sail a boat, and archery. No riflery because my mom hates guns, but archery at least.

I ought to call my mom and tell her how awesome she is.

my brother was a boy scout, too. He left after the troop decided that their fundraiser would be fertilizer sales. He said "Peddling bullshit door-to-door for God and Country is a little on the nose, don't you think?"and got thrown out.
posted by KathrynT at 10:09 PM on July 17, 2012 [21 favorites]


KathrynT: Folks upthread did point out the LDS is the major influence, so bullshit door-to-door is excellent training for later, when the 'priests' become 'elders' and go on their 'mission', before college.
posted by Goofyy at 4:38 AM on July 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Grown men are still impressed. There's this fraternity of Boy Scouts and former Boy Scouts all over the nation, and nothing, nothing says "clean-cut all-American boy" like Boy Scouts. It opens doors for your kids early and later in life, as well as making them into leaders.


And bigots. Don't forget the part about how the Boy Scouts teach intolerance and bigotry.
posted by OmieWise at 4:51 AM on July 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


The girl scouts sing songs and bake cookies, while the boy scouts learn how to do ten mile marches and repel an invasion.

Yikes, sounds like you just had a really bad troop. Girl Scouts helped send me to three other countries, learn orienteering, (and then relearning orienteering with Finnish scouts,) knife skills for whittling and other camping needs, backpacking, wilderness survival, safe fire skills, first aid training, serious community service, archery, learn business networking and skills from local women CEOs, windsurfing, horseback riding, and so on and so forth. My brother was active in a local BSA troop and used to complain that we got to do all the cool stuff. I don't at all regret not learning rifle skills, butchering, or invasion planning. While the Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouts, isn't as well known, it does provide an advantage in college applications as well as, you know, the experience of planning a detailed large-scale community service project. I think both sides of American scouting could stand to learn from each other, because I'm sure there are GS troops that do want more hard-core camping and don't have as many local options to explore it or don't have the kind of council structure and prodding that BSA has, since they're organized really differently. Baking isn't the limit of Girl Scouting, nor do I think being an order-taking invasion force is really a highlight of Boy Scouts.
posted by jetlagaddict at 5:13 AM on July 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


Shouldn't the reason not to send your kids to BSA be because your sons may very well find out they're gay?
You don't know who these people(your children) are yet, why would you want to send them somewhere where they might become attached and then hurt or confused when they realize they're not officially welcome?

I don't think it has anything to do with your beliefs or the options in your area. Don't let your kids get attached to something that might break their hearts. If you're heterosexual you have the privledge of going into homophobic situations, but it would be a mistake to think you can project that privledge onto your children of unknown sexual orientation.
posted by yonega at 5:51 AM on July 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


The BSA is not the be-all-end-all of outdoorsmanship.
There are alternatives: The Civil Air Patrol,
Army ROTC, and Air Force ROTC and Jr. ROTC programs offer alternatives. AFAIK the Civil Air Patrol even offers discounted pilot training programs.
posted by Gungho at 6:07 AM on July 18, 2012


I have never heard about this LDS cabal secretly taking over the BSA. But my experience is today in New England -- not a hotbed of Mormonism AFAIK -- and Minnesota in the 1980s.

I long wondered whether a past leader of mine was gay. Not because there was anything wrong with it, but because such a warm, patient, caring man should have had sons & daughters of his own to bring up. (Lucky for us he didn't: he was a fine, fine man. RIP, R.L.) After he died suddenly, the troop hung together but it was a little looser, a little more casual. I still got my 50-Miler, though, even though I didn't earn my Eagle.

Scouts is strong in my own family (I was in the same Troop as my father) and my wife's family (several Eagles, her dad a former Scoutmaster). My boys are Cubs now, but when there's a bit too much religion or the kids are too damn hyper in so many of the meetings, I start to have doubts. An that makes me sad because the program can be great on the human scale, even if it's so flawed on the marco scale.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:15 AM on July 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm gay, but over 50. So I'm old enough to be rather understanding about old prejudices when it comes to us queer folk, well, really, I'm recovering from such silliness, I should say.

So for me, for all the problems with BSA and gays, I personally am far more enraged over the religious bigotry. See, the BSA is a flag-waving bunch if ever there was one. Where the hell do they get off engaging in religious discrimination while waving MY stars and stripes?!?!?!?!?!

If I ever accepted anything as a "fundamental" American value, it is freedom of religion. The whole gay thing is something we're still getting modernized. The religion thing is something we supposedly fixed with the founding of the country. So, BSA, where exactly ARE your "American values", hmm? I'm asking most sincerely. Seems kinda old-worldy, kinda like that monarchy crap we decided to be done with.
posted by Goofyy at 6:41 AM on July 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


I have never heard about this LDS cabal secretly taking over the BSA. But my experience is today in New England -- not a hotbed of Mormonism AFAIK -- and Minnesota in the 1980s.

I'd stayed out of the thread, and I haven't really read it, but this was the primary reason my family dropped out of Scouting. The LDS took it over. One tactic was decreeing that every LDS boy was required to be in Scouting, typically in dedicated troops attached to their local church. They became a huge fraction of the total Scout population, but that wasn't even the main thrust.

In our area, the guy running the district was LDS, and he was such an amazing fundraiser, compared to everyone else who had preceded him, that he rapidly became a Golden Boy as far as the upper management in Scouting was concerned, and was fast-tracked into higher positions. I suspect that many other LDSers, elsewhere in the country, were promoted for similar reasons, showing an equally uncanny ability to raise cash. It only took about twenty years for them to take over Scouting almost completely. The older management in Scouting didn't realize that it was a coordinated offensive; they had no idea they were under attack until they'd already lost control of their program.

There are still non-LDS troops, but they have little political power, because it used to just be a program for boys, and when a religion focuses its considerable resources at co-opting a social group, the resistance is too diffuse to be very effective. I don't think they were ever actually a majority in my area, but they did become a plurality, and what the LDS church wanted was what happened.

The Mormon troops were horrible, horrible. Our scout camp had a week that was dedicated to the LDS troops (I was told that this was because they didn't like to mix with other, lesser Scouts), and let me tell you, there is no better plan for disaster than to take a lot of young boys, who don't even want to be Scouts, away from home for a week. They were goddamn hooligans, and they'd always leave the camp in terrible, terrible shape. It would take ages to fix all the damage they'd done. You almost never saw that with any of the other troops; there might be an occasional accident or problem, but they didn't happen often. The camp would have required very little maintenance, if not for the Mormon troops. They were far more trouble than they were worth, but it was already politically impossible to eject any LDS troop from Scouting, ever.
posted by Malor at 7:17 AM on July 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


Working at a High Adventure base in the early '90s, it was amazingly obvious that LDS was taking a huge interest in the BSA. The number of Mormon employees increased. There were constant visits from VIPs from all over the country, but Utah had a much larger number than their population would explain. Entire weeks at the camps were dedicated to Mormon only groups. Standards of hygiene were cranked down to the point where long hair and beards started being frowned upon and were eventually banned. Punks and hippies were harassed, driving us together into an odd, odd fraternity. It was a strange time.
posted by Seamus at 7:26 AM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Minnesota's biggest Boy Scout group said Tuesday that gays and lesbians remain welcome in its troops, despite a national announcement that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) will continue to bar leaders, employees and members who are "open or avowed homosexuals."

This is the council (well mine was folded into this one some years ago) that I grew up in and in which I am currently a den leader. Everyone I've dealt with in our local organizations and the regional office has been wonderful. I'm not saying it's perfect or there aren't major problems with the larger organization but there are many great leaders and kids in scouts.

Growing up we had openly gay scouts and one girl in my troop and at least from my perspective they were treated just like the rest of us. They may have had a different experience, but it wasn't obvious. This was before the 'official' stance was on the books.

My current pack is sponsored by the local Catholic church and is very welcoming of everyone from any type of background. Catholicism (or Christianity) is not pushed at all though we do meet in church buildings for leadership meetings. We don't have any females as official members (but yes to official leaders), but there are usually 25% moms and sisters at our meetings and events and they are welcomed to participate fully and most do. It's a great group to be a part of.

There is a nearby pack/troop sponsored by an LDS church and my dealings with them have been much less pleasant although some of the leaders are friends of mine outside of scouting and I find them to be wonderful people. I get the impression from them that they get a lot more direction from higher up the leadership chain than my pack and often disagree, but mostly go along. Of course this is all just more anecdata to add to the pile so make of it what you will.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 7:32 AM on July 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Interesting in terms of others who are saying Girl Scouts have been very different in their area. Though I suspect I still would have preferred more of the warrior skills the Boy Scouts provide, I think if I had access to more outdoorsy stuff, I wouldn't have run screaming at the first sign of "I have a smile in my pocket." Which is really all I remember of my early experiment into Girl Scouts, and may be primarily responsible for my image of them as ultra-yielding and soft.

May be worth checking out for my daughter if it has improved since then.
posted by corb at 8:18 AM on July 18, 2012


This seems to be an issue that neither candidate for president wants to touch. When will Romney be asked about this, or Obama? Unless I missed something they are staying quiet and hoping this fades away before they are forced to take sides.
posted by caddis at 8:26 AM on July 18, 2012


To corb-- please do! One key difference is that troop activity in Girl Scouts is very troop-based, whereas the Boy Scouts are much more regulated by their councils (which is why announcements like this are so wide-stretching and depressing.) So if there's an activity you'd like to do (or to volunteer to help another troop in your area with!) you can basically plan it and do it, assuming it falls under the safety guidelines. This is also why some troops become solely for crafts and singing, if that's what the parents decide...Your local council should have a website with contact info and current programs/camps offered.

We did a lot of backpacking because my mother was our leader and my family believes in camping like a religion, and we'd work with a couple of other local older girl troops to take them camping too. This is the website for Destinations, the travel program. Older girls can also do Outward Bound programs, which include things like snowshoeing and backcountry camping. And, hey, maybe the Civil Air Patrol would be more up her alley. It includes things like camouflage and learning drills, but also search and rescue operations and flight training. (Previously I might have suggested the Explorers, the co-ed branch of the Boy Scouts, but....)
posted by jetlagaddict at 8:30 AM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


How many people in this thread who are/were Boy Scouts and hold ranks in the organization (Eagle, etc.) are willing to give up those titles and... quit? Resign? End their membership? Over this? Otherwise, isn't the disappointment just lip service? Things don't change unless people move beyond being unhappy participants into being actively former participants.

I had a lucky and kind of atypical experience in Scouts. In the late 70s I was part of a troop that consisted of mostly nerdy, misfit kids around the same age. We met in a church meeting room but only about a third of the boys were from families that went to that church. Mostly we worked on merit badges like Reading and Astronomy and Woodworking during meetings, went on camp-outs where we talked about sci-fi books and tv shows, and hiked somewhat ineptly with our over-stuffed packs full of paperback Tolkien books and Star Trek novelizations (well, and snacks). Friends at school who were in other troops reported the paramilitary trappings of their organizations, the leaders who were beer drinking (at meetings and campouts, in front of kids!) disgruntled vets lecturing them about how grateful the kids should be for not living under Commie rule, and the horror stories of older kids in the troop who routinely terrorized, and sometimes sexually hazed, younger boys. I felt lucky to have fallen in with the group I did.

Because many of my friends were in my troop, I stayed involved and earned Eagle Scout after a while. After going away to college and getting some life experience (and seeing articles on discrimination in Scouting even back then) I did actually write BSA telling them what I, an Eagle Scout, thought about some of their policies. I never got a response and I'm not sure if my opinions got me struck from the rolls as others have reported. My dad (who is politically conservative) stayed in Scouts as a leader for maybe a decade after I moved away and for a while would ask me why I wasn't getting involved in local troops and he was uncomfortable when I told him I had troubles with national policies discriminating against gay scouts and leaders. He often insisted if I disagreed with how things are run I should try to change it from the inside, but honestly, that seemed pretty futile given the policies handed down from the national organization, and the fact that I doubted I could find a troop I would be comfortable being part of (during the Reagan-Bush years in particular).

He tried a couple times to recite the party line about the anti-gay ban being there to keep out child abusers, didn't I want to prevent boys from being abused?, and I always explained to him how it's not adult gay men who abuse boys, but rather seeming-straight and married men, and older teenaged boys, exerting power over younger boys that leads to abuse. (I know deep-down he knew this was true even if he was reluctant to admit it because I know he and his fellow leaders caught older boys abusing younger boys a couple times in their troop, and several such incidents led him eventually to leave his assistant Scoutmaster post and the troop he had been connected to -- though he always described it as his frustration that one of the other leader's boys -- a chief perpetrator of abuse against younger Scouts -- was getting "preferential treatment" and that upset him.)

Like many, my dad has always prefered the ideal image of people or institutions rather than the more tarnished reality, and he has this all-American Norman Rockwell image of Scouts (literally, hanging on the walls of his den) that's more appealing to him than the actual institutionalized homophobia, sexism, and racism that's the reality of Scouts for many. (I'm sure it's no surprise that you can describe the difference between his and my views of the U.S. in much the same way.)

I understand I should have had the gumption at some point to send the my actual Eagle award (a little silver eagle hanging from a red-white-blue ribbon decoration) back to national headquarters with a second more-strongly worded letter of protest, but I have never dug it out of whatever trunk in the basement it has been moldering in for the last 30 years.
posted by aught at 8:40 AM on July 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Malor: "In our area, the guy running the district was LDS, and he was such an amazing fundraiser"

And, seriously. Let's not forget the effect that money's had on scouting.

The Boy Scouts are based in Texas, because Ross Perot paid an unfathomable sum of money to the organization to get them to pack up, and consolidate all of their operations to Texas. Undoubtedly, this has also influenced the organization's culture...

By doing so, the BSA almost completely pulled out of the East Coast, and abandoned/sold most of their properties there. Only a few were actually preserved as open space. Through a comedy of errors, the enormous (and historically-significant) scout reservation in my hometown was left to rot, and eventually got sold to a developer.

Also, I want to continually emphasize that there are a lot of great people working for the Scouts, and that the organization is not full of bigots and hatemongers.
posted by schmod at 8:42 AM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


In scouts and camp counselor for many years. Most of us didn't know what gay was. Years later I saw the camp director at a gay bar in NYC. Thinking back It now seems obvious but they were cool and we never suspected anything. DADT all over again. I know of Troops where most are gay and you'd never know it except they get more badges than anyone else. Later I joined CAP (civil air patrol) which is a whole 'nother story.
posted by judson at 8:54 AM on July 18, 2012


Seamus: "Schmod, do you know where one can get those knots?"

They used to be distributed through an organization called Inclusive Scouting, although their domain name seems to have reverted to a spammer. Sadly, I can't find the guy's contact information...
posted by schmod at 8:55 AM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, I want to continually emphasize that there are a lot of great people working for the Scouts, and that the organization is not full of bigots and hatemongers.

There's a lot fewer now than when I was young. The LDS has been a terribly corrosive influence, driving out the best and brightest.
posted by Malor at 8:59 AM on July 18, 2012


In the wake of writing my ridiculously long snowflake history above, I looked a lists of current and new merit badges on the web and noted that they're (half assedly) trying to catch up topically with current interests -- recent badges include geocaching and robotics, and upcoming additions include programming, game design, and animation. (I guess these'll be like reading and astronomy were for kids my age, that the mainstream Scouts will ignore...)
posted by aught at 9:13 AM on July 18, 2012


For folks who haven't had the chance to click on XMLicious's link, Romney in 1994:
I believe that the Boy Scouts of America does a wonderful service for this country. I support the right of the Boy Scouts of America to decide what it wants to do on that issue. I feel that all people should be able to participate in the Boy Scouts regardless of their sexual orientation.
Surely his position is exactly the same todayHAHAHAHAHA
posted by argonauta at 9:24 AM on July 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


Scouts for Equality
“Since 1991, the Boy Scouts of America has barred openly gay individuals from participating in its program at any level. Scouts for Equality will lead a respectful, honest dialogue with current and former Scouts and Scout Leaders about ending this outdated policy. By embodying the values of the Scout Oath and Law, we believe we can restore the social relevancy of one of this country’s great cultural institutions: the Boy Scouts of America.”

When I was earning my Citizenship in the Community merit badge, I learned the importance of standing up for what you believe to be right. This is the guiding philosophy that will define the future of this organization. In our first public campaign, we are inviting current and former members of the scouting community to share their stories about how the BSA’s discriminatory policy regarding homosexual scouts and scout leaders has affected them in order to assess support for changing this policy from within the scouting community. By gathering these stories and evaluating support, we hope to provide those working from within the Boy Scouts of America with the resources they need to end this policy. Thank you, and we’re looking forward to hearing from you.

Zach Wahls
Co-founder, Scouts for Equality
posted by caddis at 9:30 AM on July 18, 2012


I spoke too soon. You can order the patch here. Sadly, the (much cooler) pin and bumper stickers appear to no longer be available.
posted by schmod at 9:39 AM on July 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


You see, a lot of people just weren't paying attention. The first badge you get to earn after becoming a new scout is a Tenderfoot.

Scouts could always tell someone's orientation if they quit trying after they got the Star badge.
posted by Twang at 10:05 AM on July 18, 2012


Zach Wahls
Co-founder, Scouts for Equality


This Zach Wahls, I presume.
posted by KathrynT at 10:09 AM on July 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


Scouts could always tell someone's orientation if they quit trying after they got the Star badge.

I don't get this, or don't want to get it if it is a reference to the stereotype of homosexuals liking sparkly things. I don't see anything in the requirements for Life rank that make this make sense either.
posted by achrise at 10:46 AM on July 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Scouts could always tell someone's orientation if they quit trying after they got the Star badge.

I don't get this, or don't want to get it if it is a reference to the stereotype of homosexuals liking sparkly things. I don't see anything in the requirements for Life rank that make this make sense either.


I don't get it either. I am a Life Scout. What is my orientation? Would I have had to quit before Life for you to know for sure? What if I had continued to Eagle? What does one thing have to do with the other?
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 11:01 AM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well I'm in the UK, and this is one of the reasons why I no longer volunteer for the Scouts (it's a bit far down the list, a couple of entries below god in the promise, but that's a discussion for another day).

Some bits and pieces from the rest of the world:

Today the Swedish Scouts have publicly expressed disagreement with the BSA's policy. I don't speak Swedish, but I think this is the statement.

The World Organisation of the Scout Movement is bankrolled by the BSA, so they aren't going to take much of a stand on this, and (I think) they couldn't intervene in this decision anyway. However, if enough other member organisations were to kick up a fuss, maybe something would change. If you are involved in Scouting outside of the USA and you disagree with this policy, write to your national organisation and ask them to follow Sweden's lead. You might also want to find out who represents your country at the World Scout Conference and write to them directly.

And finally, because there is another way, here is a picture of The Scout Association in the UK taking part in World Pride London two weeks ago.
posted by Helga-woo at 3:53 PM on July 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Scouts could always tell someone's orientation if they quit trying after they got the Star badge.

This makes no sense to me either, and I gotta say, it's really giving me the impression that I should be offended for not only a juvenile homophobic joke, but that I left scouting before reaching even second class. Why? They were a bunch of litigation-fearing ultra-safety fascist robots (as stated in my previous post).

Granted, I was fairly hardcore, country-fied, backwoods outdoorsman at the time. While you were learning dutch-oven tips, having pinewood derbys, and learning all the things you can do with a #10 tin can, I was out learning how to evade bears and packs of wild dogs, hunting with spears and other weapons made by hand, forging knives and axes at a forge I made myself, using coal I dug out from the ground with my own hands and generally being more bad-ass at 14 than the patch-sewing, jamboree-singing, permission-form waving scouts were.

Now if you're implying what I think you are with that joke, damn, I wish I could put a cherry on top of that rant and say I'm gay, but alas, I'm not, but those kind of jokes don't fly with me.

If I'm mistaken, sorry for getting so wound up and starting a pissing match. I hadn't thought about scouting for a long time until yesterday, and I suppose I have a fair amount of resentment and dislike for the organization, and every five years or so when they come up in the news, those feelings keep getting reaffirmed and justified.

To get back on point, though, how many of the 'Scout Laws' are broken by this policy?

Out of Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent, this policy goes against 8 of those 12.

So you are left with obedient, cheerful, thrifty, and clean. Well hooray for scouting, then!
posted by chambers at 8:08 PM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Frankly, I'd argue against cheerful. Bigotry doesn't exactly bring a smile to my face.
posted by KathrynT at 8:21 PM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


NYT: Scouting's Gay Founder?
posted by schmod at 11:49 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Major League Soccer will not renew partnership with Boy Scouts of America following 2012 season
posted by homunculus at 1:48 PM on July 21, 2012 [6 favorites]


Boing Boing collects some links and letters from Eagle Scouts who have sent letters of protest to the BSA.
posted by OmieWise at 9:11 AM on July 23, 2012


A 'Scout is:

- Trustworthy
- Loyal
- Helpful
- Friendly
- Courteous
- Kind
- Obedient
- Cheerful
- Thrifty
- Brave
- Clean
- Reverent
- Homophobic
- Religious
posted by Cosine at 9:54 AM on July 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Eagle Scouts Returning Our Badges

A tumblr full of letters from Eagle Scouts mailing back their badges in protest of the Boy Scouts' continued homophobia. Even as a non-Scout, I found it surprisingly touching.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:31 AM on July 30, 2012 [5 favorites]


Dissent Magazine: Return Your Eagle Scout Badge
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:08 PM on August 6, 2012


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