A Damn Good Idea,
July 6, 2000 8:07 AM   Subscribe

A Damn Good Idea, but about as likely as Dr. Laura joining NOW.
posted by Doug (19 comments total)
Yes. Being affiliated with such an organization hurts the President's ability to be a role model for America's children. Oh wait, we're talking about Clinton.... Nevermind.
posted by Nyarlathotep at 9:01 AM on July 6, 2000

why would he decline? he's not gay. then again, he doesn't exactly stand for what the Scouts consider moral behavior (or is adultery OK with the Scouts?)
posted by jaybarrow at 9:59 AM on July 6, 2000

This has to be a joke, right? Doesn't matter... I'm laughing my ass off anyway.
posted by chiXy at 10:09 AM on July 6, 2000

The President is also Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, but that doesn't mean he's ever been a soldier or gone to war... I'm not just talking about Clinton specifically, because the office of the President entails a great deal of what is sometimes an entirely figurehead position as the head of national organizations such as BSA. But just because the president has, by merit of his office, the position as head of the BSA, or Commander of the armed forces, or whatnot - it doesn't mean he holds their particular specific beliefs. Yeah, the military does need an executive, objective leader in times of crisis. But that doesn't mean that every military policy is one that the president agrees with. Just because he has the title of the head of the BSA doesn't mean he needs to agree with policy, or needs to decline that position. He just needs to do the job he was elected to do.

Once again, I'll reiterate that this was not in regards to any one particular president since I obviously don't know Clinton's views on the matter....
posted by elf_baby at 10:12 AM on July 6, 2000

Elf_Baby, I think what you're missing is that the presidents job is to be commander in chief of the military. So, he really doesn't have a choice as to whether or not he wants to be. Now, while he doesn't have to by any means denounce the BSA, and give up his position in it, it would be a good idea, as that organization has shown itself to be bigoted, closeminded, and more importantly, forces young people to dress funny. Seriously, though, if the KKK suddenly made Clinton honorary grand dragon, do you think people would be laid back and just say, "Well, he's got all these kooky figurehead roles, why bother making a big deal out of our president supporting, even if only through inaction, an intolerant organization?"

posted by Doug at 10:28 AM on July 6, 2000

i'm confused. shouldn't the bsa actually be asking clinton to give up his honorary title?
posted by lescour at 10:30 AM on July 6, 2000

Lescour, did you read the article? Cause it seems a lot of people here didn't.
posted by Doug at 10:34 AM on July 6, 2000

If the BSA wanted to avoid hypocrisy, they would have asked Clinton to surrender his honorary position as head of the BSA a year ago following his affair, since such action was certainly not "Morally Straight", according to most Christian values.

If Clinton wanted to do something wonderful for society, he would give up his honorary position to express disapproval for the BSA'a policy concerning anti-gay leaders. It would be a fantastic, legal, non-agressive gesture to get people thinking about the issue and the consequences of the recent court decision. Can you imagine? He would explain why, and everyone would stop and say "huh". No one could accuse him of intolerance, either.

Such non-agressive public dissaproval of actions and policy is *absolutely necessary* these days, since a second wave of politically correct blah blah blah is stifling our ideas, and morning show hosts aren't allowed to have a stance on important issues. If we, and the media, are afraid to voice our dissaproval, how will anything ever change? Freedom of speech is undeniabley necessary. All opposing points of view deserve our attention and even our respect. But if we don't shoot down the ideas and opinions we disagree with, those ideas are going to survive and spread.

Anyway, Clinton won't do anything like that. He's too much of a wuss.
posted by sixfoot6 at 11:16 AM on July 6, 2000

Besides, if Clinton were to disavow his figurehead BSA position to make a point, wouldn't the new President-elect still shoulder the post upon entering office? And if it turns out to be Bush, his public support of the BSA ruling would probably mean more than Clinton's refusal. So as much as I'd like to see a stand taken, it wouldn't amount to much in 6 months' time.
posted by Awol at 11:44 AM on July 6, 2000

That's true. It would just be a pathetic lame duck attempt to be remebered for something.

By the way, Andrew: if Bush becomes president, I'm moving to Newfoundland.
posted by sixfoot6 at 12:45 PM on July 6, 2000

I have heard so many people say they will move out of the country if Bush gets elected, that I fear for my house's equity value falling. What I really want is a presidential canidate so horrible that all of you will leave the country, and I can wander the streets just like in my last man on earth fantasies. Saddamn Satan for President!
posted by thirteen at 12:52 PM on July 6, 2000

Doug, you make a good point (and one or two I hadn't thought of, actually). It is the president's job to be commander-in-chief... but I also think it has to do with whether or not the position has just become a routine part of the presidency. So I have an honest question that I might have missed the answer to somewhere along the line: Is the president being the head of the BSA something that just happened with Clinton, or has it been an on-going thing? And if Clinton did step down (which he won't), who would the "power" go to? Jerry Falwell? Now that is a disturbing thought....
posted by elf_baby at 1:01 PM on July 6, 2000

You know, 6'6... I read that as "if we, the media."

I liked that.

Damn. :-)

An *excellent* overview of what's actually happened is here., courtesy of the Law News Network.
posted by baylink at 1:15 PM on July 6, 2000

There's an interesting article on Slate about Scouting founder Lord Baden-Powell that put's a different spin on the whole "no gays in Scouts" idea.
posted by dogwelder at 2:45 PM on July 6, 2000

doug, i did read the linked article. american atheists want the president to resign from the honarary title of chief cub scout. but my point (which i did no further research to try and see if this had already happened, cause a: i only had a few minutes over lunch, and b: i'm horribly lazy) is that the bsa, who are very worried over the morals of their leadership, should have demanded a long time ago that clinton step down from his titular position.
posted by lescour at 3:22 PM on July 6, 2000

and as a reminder that this sort of symbolic action can actually spur debate: a few years ago former president george bush resigned from the nra because of the malevolent tone of the advertising and public statements they made. i remember having conversations with friends, and wading thru some newsgroup chatter about the issue.
posted by lescour at 3:30 PM on July 6, 2000

Better idea: Bill Clinton should legally and officially pass the title of honorary BSA head to Bryant Gumbel. That'll make a statement!
posted by ZachsMind at 5:42 PM on July 6, 2000

Are atheists not allowed to be boyscouts? It seems wierd that the American Atheists would weigh in on something that has nothing to do with their reason for existing. I am not saying this was an unreasonable request, I believe this is the only acceptable way to attempt to change the boy scouts. I do not think the group should have an agenda beyond basic defense of atheism, anything more starts to take on the trappings of religion, or ambition beyond what the name of the group suggests. Given the history of this particular group of atheists, and the continual black eye they give their fellow atheists with their stupid manger lawsuits, they certainly do not represent me.
posted by thirteen at 7:14 PM on July 6, 2000

actually, there was a well-publicized case about 5-10 years ago, where an atheist parent sued the scouts because they required his two sons to make some pledges 'under god.'

If I remember correctly, the atheists lost.

So I could see why the atheist site would carry this story.
posted by mathowie at 10:24 PM on July 6, 2000

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