I disagree. Scouting and sexual orientation have no connection, so I
wouldn't introduce it in this context. It was never the design of scouting
to exclude any boys based on orientation, but to preserve the experience as a
place free from such politicized and distracting topics. Admittedly, the public
cultural messages regarding this topic are insipid and full of bromides, but
its not up to scouting to add substance to the dialogue. Quite the opposite. For
my son, scouting is the same. If he has a question, he will ask. I think the
opportunity requires more nuance than seizing.
Very good suggestions and perspective here Jason. As and LDS parent of two boy
scouts, thanks. The one addition I'd make though is the insight that the
church has actually been more liberal than BSA historically in that they've
never excluded anyone based on sexual orientation (at least not to my knowledge)
whereas BSA has long had that discriminatory policy in place and still does with
respect to scout leaders. I'd also add that BSA is still being hypocritical
as (to my knowledge) a gay man who is celibate cannot be a leader in scouts but
a single, straight man who is not, can (not in LDS troops, but in others). That
seems like a bad double-standard.
I think there is no problem with Scouts admitting young men who openly
acknowledge they feel a same-sex attraction. I think we have become more
civilized as a society to recognize that the attraction by itself is not
threatening anyone. BYU changed its Honor Code several years back to reflect
the same thing. But the values haven't changed. Scouting still does not
encourage any sexual behavior so claims that Scouts are now allowing open
Homosexuality are ridiculous.
Excellent article Jason! Your 3 points to talk with our youth about are
excellent, they are crucial, they are what we need more discussion of in
society. I do agree; scouting has not changed, the same standards, values,
morals and expectations are in place and have not changed.Youth will
have questions and while a very few may ask a question here or there we are
fooling ourselves if we think we can wait until they come to us with a question.
It is up to the parents to bring up topics of sexual standards, values, morals
and expectations. If we don't start the discussion our youth will learn
from another source.
I understand the article and the comments made so far. For the most part I
agree. However, the point being missed here is that the gay community will
interpret this as a partial victory and a sign that we as a society are becoming
more accepting of them. Here I part ways with the BSA. In my opinion, any
sexual behavior outside a legally binding marriage should not be condoned. In
my opinion, marriage should stay defined as between one man and one woman,
recognizing marriage as the foundation of a strong family. In my opinion, any
homosexual behavior (not tendencies) is wrong. I reject that life style as I do
the lifestyle of pedophilia etc.
I think part of the problem relates to the definition of terms. Those who are
still denied participation in Scouting are those who are "openly gay."
There is no prohibition for those who are privately coping with "same-sex
attraction." It is "behavior" that disqualifies the one and not the
other, because that behavior is contrary to Scouting principles, values, and
standards. "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Those
adults who flaunt their indiscretions and seek public approval of their sexual
sins, whether homosexual or heterosexual, are likely to be denied leadership
roles among the young men who participate in The Boy Scouts of America.My heart goes out to good men who cope virtuously with same-sex attraction. I
have little patience for the "openly gay" men who seek access to such a
pool of virtuous young men.
Jason:Any reason you left out "clean" from the Scout Law?Funny to see many LDS now converting to the Unitarian "God Loves
Everyone...especially those who are gay" mantra. Just a reminder, if we are
going to accept one sexual deviation, then we need to accept all
others...including polygamy. Aren't these polygamists also our brothers and
sisters? Doesn't God love them as much as those in the LGBT community?
I would hope that with this policy, there is a clear line of demarcation
regarding scout leaders. No doubt this will bring legal problems to the BSA, but
in this culture, that is to be expected. In regards to leaders, the BSA needs to
be clear that no one who is gay can be a scoutmaster, an assistant scoutmaster,
a member of a scout committee, a district level or national level leader, and
cannot be a sponsor of any scouting troop. If this policy is not clear, it will
be challenged in court.
@The Economist:"I think we have become more civilized as a
society to recognize that the attraction by itself is not threatening
anyone".You must be joking! How about the three girls kidnapped
in Ohio? How about Elizabeth Smart, or, the boys at Penn State.Attraction is so open and, advertised.I would say it's very
threatening, and I would never place a boy with an openly gay leader.
This article is well written. I have read the Church's statement, too,
regarding the BSA delegates' vote. My "issue" with all of this is
the BSA membership policy was never "broke"-- and did not need to be
"fixed", except that the LGBT today is very vocal today. It is no more
than maybe 3% of our population. They are simply very vocal, and are currently
succeeding at making many groups bow down to what they want.The
Church's statement says it the BSA as it leads our young men into lives
that are morally straight. Read it closely- that is what it says.Being an artist, I associate with many "gay" people- I have absolutely
nothing "against" them. I have two sons, one an Eagle, one nearly an
Eagle. We talk openly in our home about sexual issues in all their
"forms". They know what is right. I venture to say our family is not
unusual in this.Writing something down opens it to manipulation. The
BSAs original membership policy is sound and needed no modification. Now that it
is written down, our culture being what it is today, I fear greatly that it will
now be manipulated further.
When serving as scoutmaster for 6 years I had two young men who were homosexual
although not openly and didn't avow such until several years later. They
were a good addition to our troop. In my opinion there was no need for change
in policy and these young men were accepted and seemed to enjoy the outdoor
activities and the learning experience we provided. Regarding the article: if
the writer is going to quote the Scout Law he should include it in its
entirety:, A scout is helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful,
thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. That covers a lot more ground than then the
portion he chose to highlight.
@maple donClearly you misunderstand or misinterpret the LDS position on
SSA. There is absolutely no acceptance of sexual deviation! None whatsoever!
The issue is acceptance of those with SSA who are living virtuous lives(not
Thanks for a great even tempered article.
oddman: motes and beams my friend, regarding the scout law, you forgot
what sucks about this is neither side is happy. the gay community insists boy
scouts didn't go far enough since it does not include gay leaders. the
straight community is not happy because they feel their boys are not going to be
safe and they are being subjected to sexual topics which should NOT be a part of
the scouting experience, such a sad situation. a lose a lose proposition.
The LDS Church has the right view on this issue and will remove those who
participate in inappropriate sexual behavior. I support their decision. The problem is that this decision will not reduce the pressure on the
BSA and will only encourage the LGBT community until they get everything they
want. They can't stand any organization that says that what they are doing
is wrong. The BSA have now opened the doors to additional lawsuits and created
some very nervous parents. What parent would want to send their son
on a campout with an openly gay scout? The parents would sue if something
happened between them and the leaders would be caught in the middle. The BSA has chosen money over morality and it is a sad day in our country.
They should have stood their ground and left the original policy in place.
Already there are numerous groups and churches that are leaving scouts, and it
has been a heart wrenching decision for them. I personally resigned
as District Chairman because I cannot be in a position of having to enforce a
ruling I do not agree with.
'What parent would want to send their son on a campout with an openly gay
scout?' Would you say `what parent would want to send their son out on a
campout with an openly black scout?' The logic - or complete and utter
lack of it - is identical. My kids have several friends with same sex parents.
Those folks do a perfectly good job. Their sexuality has absolutely nothing to
do with their capacity to parent. Move on.
@KellyWSmith -- "What parent would want to send their son on a
campout with an openly gay scout?'"You've always sent
your sons out with gay scouts. The only difference now is that gay scouts can be
honest about it. @Hornistin -- " It (gays) is no
more than maybe 3% of our population."Gays are 3-5% of the
population. Mormons are less than 2% of the US population. Do you really want to
make claims based on group size?@worf --"How about
Elizabeth Smart, or, the boys at Penn State......I would say it's very
threatening, and I would never place a boy with an openly gay leader."You bring up a good point, Worf.Most abuse of children, of
either gender, is perpetrated by adult men who are straight (or perceived to be
straight). In fact, the most recent case of abuse in the BSA involved a married
man.So let's ban all straight men from being scout leaders.@MapleDon --"if we are going to accept one sexual
deviation, then we need to accept all others...including polygamy."Why would the BSA **not** accept the children of polygamists?? Those kids
haven't done anything wrong.
AS a mom of a gay son, I am grateful for the decision as well as people like you
Jason who exemplify what Christ taught. Love one another, Bear one anothers
burdens. This really isn't a sexual issue. It is very frustrating that
people want to lump all gays into the category of Pedophiles or sodomizes etc.
It is actually sickening. To see my sweet son and have to worry about those who
will bully or worse even Physically harm him because of how he was born is
scary. Even within the church there is so much judging and criticizing. WE are
chasing these young men out of the church and in many instances even casuing
them to take their lives. Parents please think about what you are doing and
@Contrarius, you may want to check your math. Your statement and numbers
don't add up. Considering the average patrol may have about 8 members."You've always sent your sons out with gay scouts".
"Gays are 3-5% of the population". There would be 3-5 gays out of a
hundred scouts. So everytime I sent my son on an overnight, unlikely there were
gays joining with them. "So let's ban all straight men from
being scout leaders". No straight man has ever crossed the line. The moment
the thought enters there mind, there not straight. Bi or gay, yes.
@FT1/SS --"Your statement and numbers don't add up.
Considering the average patrol may have about 8 members."You're right about the specifics here. I should have said something like
"Patrols have always had a good chance of including gay members". If on average gays make up 4% of the population, then roughly one out of
every 25 scouts will be gay. If patrols have 8 members each, then roughly 1/3 of
all patrols will contain a gay scout."No straight man has ever
crossed the line."LOL!First, notice that I said
"or perceived to be straight". Most molesters appear to be
"normal" members of their communities, and are often married. Second, you -- like many people -- are confusing pedophilia with adult
orientation. These are not at all the same things.From a psychology
researcher at UC Davis:"The distinction between a victim's
gender and a perpetrator's sexual orientation is important because many
child molesters don't really have an adult sexual orientation. They have
never developed the capacity for mature sexual relationships with other adults,
either men or women. Instead, their sexual attractions focus on children --
boys, girls, or children of both sexes. "
I suspect there were several who were surprised that the LDS church would agree
to this, so called, change in policy. It has never been church doctrine to
encourage or to spread hate. Policy has always been in place to uphold moral
standards not to alienate people based on their problems. Any who may have been
'cast out' were not because they had problems, but because they
refused to conform to established policy and standards.Christ
invited all to come unto Him. But he did rebuke those who's intentions
were contrary to the tenets of his gospel.
For now at least.... BSA will keep my sons and grandsons. If BSA folds to PC and
allows gay leaders then BSA is dead as an organization. The LDS church will drop
BSA as will the Catholic and many Protestant churches such as Southern Baptist.
BSA can't survive without the money from these churches ...especially the
LDS church. When the New Testament moral code is done away with then the support
will sink as well. I suspect BSA would try to morph into some sort of global
boys organization but the vast majority of Christian parents will pull their
boys out and that is the very core of BSA....like pulling out the roots of a
tree. Our godless - moral-less government may try to control our health care and
eliminate our core rights but only under strict Communism could they control
what we do with our kids. Maybe I spoke too soon - Communism is certainly the
direction we are headed with our current White House resident.
@Opinionated;Thank you for sharing your opinion. Now, if you
disagree with it and think it's wrong, don't do it. As for your
belief that marriage is man/woman, that's what you should have then (you
don't get to decide for anyone else though).As for me, I find
organized religion to be abhorrent and wrong and I reject that lifestyle (btw;
religion IS a choice).@Linus, worf & coleman51;Please stop equating homosexuality with pedophilia. The two are not the same
and I hope you object to openly heterosexual men who seek access to such a pool
of virtuous young men as well. Statistically, your pedophiles are coming from
the 2nd group.@Rikitikitavi;Virtuous can also mean in a
committed relationship (since we're not allowed to marry - yet).
re:RanchHandAs for me, I find organized religion to be abhorrent and
wrong and I reject that lifestyle (btw; religion IS a choice).Yes
you are free to choose however you are NOT free to determine your judgement or
consequences of your choices after death. Death is that one door no one has a
choice to by-pass and that also applies to the life - after - death. Remember
opinion doesn't determine truth - neither mine nor your opinion has ANY
power over absolute truth. Absolute truth exists in spite of our opinions. There
is a TRUE GOD and a TRUE religion and if you ever made the effort - softened
your heart - opened your mind - you would certainly find both. I would hope you
would make that effort at some point because the sweetness of divine truth far
surpasses any man-made short term thrill you might experience here. You and I
are both children of a Heavenly Father and Mother that love us. That is absolute
@Contrarius, at 1/3, I would not consider it a good chance. 1/3 is less than
average, so a mediocre chance. The article is about men and boys within the BSA,
so your chalkboard discussion from UC Davis is meaningless. I prefer common
sense. I'll stick with my statement, within the BSA "No straight man
has ever crossed the line. The moment the thought enters there mind, there not
straight. Bi or gay, yes." Now go back and read both your
comments, your back peddling or maybe your "confused"? The LOL is on
Many of the comments on this controversial subject come from misconceptions of
how the Scout Program was designed from the beginning by Lord Baden Powell. To
summarize: (a) scouting was stated by Powell to further the building of the
Kingdom of God (b) scouting was designed to support a chartered
organization's youth programs, not be stand-alone or in competition (c)
scouting has an inclusive, diversity policy that does not discriminate on the
basis of race, religion, and now, sexual orientation. The only
'discrimination' involved is those who do not abide by the ideals of
the scout oath and law.In the case of the LDS Church, scouting is the
activity program supportive of Primary boys ages 8 through 11 and of the Aaronic
Priesthood age boys ages 12-18. The Church statement clearly reinforces the
principles outlined in the "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlet.There is more to tie the programs closely together, not only for LDS boys, but
for other religions that support the ideals of scouting. "Morally
straight" is still a part of the scout oath, and "straight" should
not be confused with the limited SO definition. And I'm out of room for
Who cares if the "LGBT Community" sees this as a victory, or will try to
leverage more out of it. Do anyone else's intentions change what's
right? What is more shocking to me that an organization that
purports to believe in and follow God didn't make this move before. Some say homosexual scouts aren't following the "morally
straight" part of the Scout Oath. I say those who would continue
discriminating against gay boy scouts are forgetting to be "loyal,"
"friendly," "courteous," "kind," or "brave."
@FT1/SS --"at 1/3, I would not consider it a good chance.
"We disagree. I think 1/3 is a great chance.Do
scouts go out on more than 3 camping trips during their scouting years? Do they
know more than 24 other scouts during their scouting years? I think the answer
to both questions is most likely "yes"."The article is
about men and boys within the BSA, so your chalkboard discussion from UC Davis
is meaningless."The nature of pedophilia doesn't change
just because the pedophile happens to be a BSA leader. The fact remains --
pedophilia is separate from adult orientation."I prefer common
sense."Common sense used to tell people that the world was flat.
You know how that worked out. ;-)"I'll stick with my
statement, within the BSA "No straight man has ever crossed the
line."You have the right to stick with whatever fantasy makes
you most comfortable.But in reality, molesters do very good jobs of
appearing and functioning normally in organizations that give them access to
kids. And a lot of them are married and would pass any "straight" test
you'd like to put before them.
If we assume that a scout is following the rules and is not engaging in sex,
what difference does it make if the person with whom he's not having sex is
male or female?
So you "treat all people with respect". Apparently, we know this
because gay young men can join or remain in scouts. Where is the respect for
gay adults who cannot join or remain in scouting? Once a homosexual, always a
pedophile? The prejudice remains as does the blurred self-image.
And what about when these gay young men graduate the scouting program and desire
to become leaders? Then what. It doesn't make any sense to me why the
Church would not just stand up for moral values as the Baptists have. How hard
I am just thankful that my boys are now adults and no longer a member of the Boy
Scouts so we don't have to deal with the controversy of it all. Of course
when their children are older, it will be interesting to see how they deal with
it. I hope they will put logic to reason. I am not for open admitance of one
being gay at this age however, I am not going to tramp on ones individual rights
either. Sexual orientation should never be a factor in the scouting program on
either side of the isle as that is not the purpose of scouting. I just hope
scouts themselves can differentiate between the two.
I first moved to the US in '98. In an effort to help me make friends and
improve my English, my aunt put me on Scouts. One day, our scout leaders took
our troop to help a scout's Eagle Project, which was to go door to door
gathering signatures to put a gay marriage ban on the ballot.At that
point, we had moved to a different city, and the drive to my troop's
meeting place was about a half hour. Up until that point, my mom never had a
problem taking me. Then she started saying that she didn't want to take me
because the drive was long. She would take me every other week, then once a
month, then not at all.Years later, she told me the reason she
stopped taking me was because our troop had been taken to gather those
signatures. She did the right thing.By the way, I was 13-14 at the
time, didn't think anything of gathering those signatures. I didn't
fully understand the subject. But now that I think about it, I can only think
one word. Despicable.
The very fact that this story appears under the 'faith' tab is
symptomatic of the problem of religion trying to wield power and influence far
beyond what it should. Religion is personal, and no matter how much one person
says it's true, another is equally entitled to write the entire exercise
off as myth. And so, especially when we consider ostracizing a group or
individual, i think it's fair to ask for more than faith as a rationale.
FT1/SS:From a former Norview Pilot.Great point.
I am shocked that the church, that has been so conservative on this issue has
changed. Hmm I wonder why. Just a little background info 14 years ago I was at
a function, due to the fact that our Company was an equal opportunity employer.
On stage in front of me what the Attorney, who tried to force gay leader on the
BSA. He stood there and smiled and stated" I will push and push until I
make them buckle and bring them to their knees or disband them". This is
what it is all about the gay militant group is forcing ( which is probably 3% of
the population forcing 97% of the population how to live their lives.)
eventually taking God out of our Culture. They being the norm we being the
abnorm. There were always, I am sure gay boys in the scouts, but nothing was
made of it unless some boy was bothered. Now you are taking out what the
founding fathers started,(who I am sure are turning over in their graves)