Scouts greeting Romney violated policy against political participation

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  • funny_guy Vacaville, CA
    Sept. 25, 2012 5:51 p.m.

    I have been involved in Scouting the past 50 years. It's beyond me why the Church continues to support Boy Scouts, other than if they were to pull out Scouting would no longer exist. Most Councils around the country would be hard pressed to replace leadership provided by Church members. I became disillusioned with Scouts some 10 years ago when we were told when our Scouts blessed a meal at Scout Camp the prayer needed to be generic as not to offend anyone. I informed them that I was not about to tell my troop how they should pray. Religious tolerance is a two-way street. When someone has been asked to pray, those in attendance should allow that person to pray as they would normally. Everyone else should be tolerant of that persons beliefs -- not the other way around.

  • Bebyebe UUU, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 9:22 a.m.

    "'Citizenship in the Nation' merit badge, which requires meeting political leaders"

    Romney isn't a political leader. He's a candidate. The BS 'honor guard' is a tacit endorsement of Romney and is against the rules. The leaders should be dealt with accordingly.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 7:35 p.m.

    Re: " Those scout leaders . . . should be asked or required to resign. And, if this was an LDS sponored troop their bishop should release them . . . ."

    Spoken like someone who takes partisan political trickery WAY too seriously. And who has never served as a bishop. Any bishop would LOVE to have a scout leader as proactive as the ones in question, and would probably release an enthusiastic nursery leader before these scouters.

  • Blue AZ Cougar ,
    Sept. 21, 2012 3:14 p.m.

    @Mike in Cedar City
    I see your point, but that's precisely my argument. Our society is WAY too sensitive about these types of things. People see these pictures and automatically assume the Church sponsors Romney. Whatever happened to common sense? You're right in what you said -- the problem IS in the eye of the beholder, because the beholder can't tell the difference between a political endorsement and a casual outing by a scout troop. The problem with our society is that people intentionally misconstrue things to fit their political or personal agendas.

    I disagree, it shows how politically charged our society has become. Why can't the pictures just be about some scouts who got to meet a presidential nominee? Why does there have to be this debate about whether or not these pictures suggest the Church is no longer politically neutral? We hang on every political innuendo and are way too concerned about the "he said, she said" in politics. Why can't we be happy that these youth spent their time meeting a politician rather than playing video games or doing drugs?

  • Mike in Cedar City Cedar City, Utah
    Sept. 21, 2012 2:28 p.m.

    Blue AZ Cougar. "If the Church wanted to endorse...." The problem is in the eye of the beholder. I did not say that the Church either did or wanted to endorse Romney, I said it could be viewed by some that way if this troop was sponsored by the LDS church. You need to keep in mind who Ronney is and how much money he contributes to the Church.

    True nO sign, just a big picture of the scouts standing in fromt of Romneys campaign plan with big Romney letters plastered all over it. This was misuse of the instittion to make a political statement. And did those kids have any opportunity to opt out? Adn if any did what price would they have paid for that?

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 1:11 p.m.

    Blue jeans?
    No scarfs?
    No Troop or National Flag Color Guards?

    Yep - a political stunt, shame of their leaders.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 1:03 p.m.

    Re: " Those scout leaders . . . should be asked or required to resign. And, if this was an LDS sponored troop their bishop should release them . . . ."

    Spoken like someone who takes partisan political trickery WAY too seriously. And who has never served as a bishop. Any bishop would LOVE to have a scout leader as proactive as the ones in question, and would probably release an enthusiastic nursery leader before these scouters.

  • Mr. Bean Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 12:26 p.m.

    The scouts were merely working on their 'Citizenship in the Nation' merit badge, which requires meeting political leaders. And the adult scout leaders were there simply as drivers and to see to the boys were safe.

    What's the big deal, anyway?

  • Blue AZ Cougar ,
    Sept. 21, 2012 12:17 p.m.

    @Mike in Cedar City
    Really, it could be construed as an endorsement by the Church? Seeing that picture, is that the message you get? Sounds like a perception problem. Get real. If the Church wanted to endorse a candidate, they're not gonna send a group of 5 teenage scouts to go greet him as he gets off a plane. There was no violation of BSA policies here. I didn't see any of those scouts holding a sign with Romney's name on it.

    Sept. 21, 2012 12:14 p.m.

    Dixie Dan -

    You forget who shunned who:

    President Obama will make history as the first sitting president on a daytime talk show when he visits with the ladies of "The View." But he'll be missing out on another historic occasion -- the Boy Scouts' Jamboree marking the group's 100th anniversary, right in the president's backyard.

  • Mike in Cedar City Cedar City, Utah
    Sept. 21, 2012 12:07 p.m.

    The most cogent argument here was by Dixie Dan. Those scout leaders should ask that question of themselves. And since they violated Scout policy they should be disciplined to forstall others from violating rules. The should be asked or required to resign. And, if this was an LDS sponored troop their bishop should release them as this could also be construed as an LDS Church endorsement of Romney.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Sept. 21, 2012 11:33 a.m.

    I didn't give it a second thought when I saw the pictures of Boy Scouts greeting Romney. The recent statement by the BSA reminds me of how partisan we have become. Last February Governor Herbert ordered state buildings not to put up signs that said "Closed for Presidents' Day" because that would include our current President. Instead he wanted "Closed for Washington/Lincoln Day" lest somebody be offended. Isn't all this going a bit too far?

  • Lone Eagle Aurora, CO
    Sept. 21, 2012 11:29 a.m.

    Memo to BSA: Meeting a candidate for office at an airport as said candidate deplanes does not constitute a "political" activity any more than attending a city meeting or school board meeting (requirement for Citizenship in the Community). Indeed, said meetings are clearly political in nature. Please correct either the policy or the merit badge requirement to prevent a violation of the policy as presently constituted.

    Complaining about this non-event is absurd.

  • ute alumni Tengoku, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 11:18 a.m.

    if only the scuts would have held the new obama flag.

  • ute alumni Tengoku, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 11:15 a.m.

    and these (BSA) are the same people that are in the middle of a membership donation drive? timing is everything.

  • Dutchman Murray, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 10:46 a.m.

    Well, if the Boy Scouts do meet President Obama it won't be at Ft. A.P. Hill, Virginia or any other federal installation because the BSA is now prohibited from using military property for any of their functions even though the BSA used Ft. A.P. Hill for generations for its National Jamboree gatherings and the military liked that relationship and wanted it to continue. After all, many of the military's best recruits come from the ranks of the BSA. No matter, the BSA can no longer use military installations and it has nothing to do with security. So a few great donors went out and purchased private land in Virgina to replace Ft. A.P. Hill so that BSA national jamborees could continue in that area because it is closeness to Washington, D.C. and other historic sites. One of those donors was the Marriott Corporation. Don't be surprised if another was Mitt Romney. And if so, it is entirely appropriate for a few scouts to show up at the airport to greet him.

  • TreeHugger Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 10:33 a.m.

    The Eagle Scout Award “I” earned was “fake” signed by President Clinton, and it didn’t have any effect on my thoughts about politics.

    The leaders made a mistake, it happens! The leader wasn’t trying to brainwash the scouts. I trust these kids can think for themselves when it comes to politics. They got an opportunity to meet someone they will never get a chance to meet again, unless they have $25g’s sitting around or are famous like JayZ.

  • eagle651 Chino Valley, AZ
    Sept. 21, 2012 10:28 a.m.

    Sounds like a case for the ACLU.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    Sept. 21, 2012 9:57 a.m.

    rE: UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    "Yes, asking people to obey the rules of their organization is truly political correctness gone amuck."

    Is that some reference to Obama and his instructions to the US Border Patrol to look the other way while illegal aliens enter our country? Isn't it OK for Boy Scouts to follow the example of the leader of this country?

  • Grundle West Jordan, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 9:57 a.m.

    I agree with NedGrimley's remarks.

    I would also like to see the LDS church's split from the BSA as well. The BSA are a terrific organization that are being bandied about as a political football. There are bound to be decisions on an institutional level that are inconsistent with the LDS Church's policies.

  • Star Bright Salt Lake City, Ut
    Sept. 21, 2012 9:54 a.m.

    Hey Dixie Dan: "0" is the only President in the history of the boy scouts who refused to go to the Scout Jamboree. He has disdain for anything American. He was not in the US when he was young and when he went to Hawaii, he was mentored and raised by communists and so of course Scouting was not part of his history.
    I would certainly think that if he ever set foot in Utah the Boy Scouts could go out and greet him, but I'm not sure they would be welcome.
    Come on look up his history and don't just believe the msm who are so in the tank for "0".
    I'm sad there is so much criticism of our scouts having a civic's lesson.

  • Blue AZ Cougar ,
    Sept. 21, 2012 9:52 a.m.

    @ Dixie Dan
    The real question is whether Obama will step foot in Utah. He's already attacked the BSA for it's stance against gays serving in its ranks. I'm quite sure there are at least a few troops who will meet Obama somewhere in the country over the next few months. Our society is too easily offended -- we're WAY too concerned about being PC than we are about teaching our kids what is right and what is wrong. Encouraging children to be involved, or at least interested, in politics seems to take a back seat to whether or not they wore the right shirt for the occasion. Ridiculous!!

  • Blue AZ Cougar ,
    Sept. 21, 2012 9:48 a.m.

    Between this story and the reaction to Romney's "47%" comment, I can't help but think our society is too easily offended. Our society is too caught up in being politically correct, being neutral on all issues, so as not to offend ANYONE. To this I say "Humbug!"

    I understand the BSA's policy and their response, but these kids did nothing wrong. They weren't holding up any signs endorsing Romney, they didn't appear at a rally chanting his name, they weren't going door-to-door handing out fliers for his campaign, and they weren't giving him any money. They just wanted to meet him. No harm no foul.

  • wrz Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 9:45 a.m.

    @Dixie Dan:

    "The unanswered question is whether they would have also shown up for President Obama's plane."

    Of course they would.

    But another unanswered question might involve kindergarten and elementary school students being taught and performing pro-Obama songs at a Texas School...

    'He’s Our Man, Yes We Can! mm mmm mmmm.'

    We also wonder about Obama flying to his fund raisers in our Air Force One jet, on taxpayer dollars.

    While we're at it... perhaps the scouts should ask why Obama flaunts federal rules/laws, such as our immigration laws.


    "I love the lesson being taught here.... if you decide it isn't hurting anything, well then by all means violate the rules."

    I'd bet the leaders violated traffic Rules (laws), such as speeding on their way to the airport, as well. Some real teaching opportunities here, if you look closely.

  • Dutchman Murray, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 9:25 a.m.

    In my opinion by raising this issue in Utah the Boy Scouts just lost huge donations to the BSA to run their programs here in Utah. We all know who the complainers are. They do not want Republicans seen in a photo op with Boy Scouts. That plays too well in Utah. And it is not because there should be neutrality or separation. That is just cover. It is because some groups would never have the Boy Scouts out at the Airport anyway because of their hatred of scouting. That is the real issue and the bottom line.

    If it was truly about neutrality and separation then why did my son’s Eagle Scout certificate that he just earned have the signature of Barack Obama on it? I say remove all politician names from BSA certificates and let the President of BSA sign them. There was nothing wrong with this group of Scouts going to the airport. Once again the media is trying to make something out of nothing.

  • BrentBot Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 9:22 a.m.

    Who remembers the Democratic convention when a Boy Scout honor guard was booed by the Democrats? Perhaps the Boy Scouts need more participation in political events to regain civility of the political class.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 9:06 a.m.

    Re: "Scouts greeting Romney violated policy"

    This is a small, politically motivated tempest in a very small teapot.

    BSA has to enforce it's poltical neutrality in order to maintain its IRS 501(c)(3) tax exempt status -- particularly in an era in which BSA has become a target of professional liberal haters over its stance on atheism and homosexuality.

    It has now done so, and is on record as enforcing the policy, which will immunize it from the inevitable attack by radical LGBT activists and other liberal hacks.

    Case closed. No criminal law was violated. No intentional flouting of the 160,000-page IRS code. No overt BSA expression of preference for one candidate over another.

    True, they won't be appearing with Obama -- he would never have invited them in the first place.

    That's not because of his superior ethics, however, but because failure to show hatred of BSA and its members would offend an important Democrat radical fringe constituency.

  • Stephen Kent Ehat Lindon, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 9:04 a.m.

    Instinct Magazine has an August 2012 article titled "President Obama Comes Out Against Boy Scouts' Ban On Gays." (Google "instinct magazine" and "President Obama Comes Out Against Boy Scouts' Ban On Gays" to see it.) Look at the photo that accompanies that article.

    The Boy Scout policy could easily be tweaked to allow these young men, even while in uniform, to greet and be greeted by sitting and campaigning politicians -- local, state, national, and international -- so long as the Scouts hold no signs and make no other verbal statements.

    And both BSA officials and professionals, BSA local and troop leaders, Boy Scouts themselves, parents, and the public can simply adopt the mental attitude that even when in uniform, these young men are not, either for themselves or for the BSA organization itself, in any way either endorsing any candidate or making any political statement. They are, instead, getting worthwhile exposure to what makes their governments, here and abroad, worth being involved with.

  • Terry Sandy, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 9:01 a.m.

    This is NOT a breach of policy or protocol. It is an actual requirement of the Boy Scouts in the Citizenship merit badge to go meet and talk with Political Leaders. This is a GOOD experience for them to help them develop the concept and idea of politics. What would have been breaking policy is if they would have held up signs in their boy scout uniforms endorsing one candidate or the other, which they clearly DID NOT DO! Shaking hands and being at a location with political leaders meets a Boy Scout REQUIREMENT, and does NOT Endorse anyone!

    Next time do some more research people, this is a NON Story and I can't believe it made the newspaper or that anyone with logic or reason would be denouncing this experience for those scouts!

  • ute alumni Tengoku, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 8:55 a.m.

    Jim Dabakis for governor. the only lib that makes sense. thanks Jim.

  • Downtime Saint George, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 8:53 a.m.

    Good! Let's hope this horrific breach of protocol causes the LDS Church to, once and for all, break its ties with the BSA!

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 8:48 a.m.

    I disagree that they were just "props" for the candidates. We encourage our scouts to take part in the political process, but meeting with someone at the airport does not mean you endorse them.

    I understand the need for the policy which is to prevent the appearance of political favoritism, but I think it should be changed to allow scouts to appear in uniform at places like this for both candidates.

    I personally dislike Obama. I think his policies are very bad for the country. However; if I were invited to meet with him at the White House or anywhere else, I would go. It would be an honor to meet with the president, no matter who occupies the office.

  • NedGrimley Brigham City, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 8:44 a.m.

    @My2Cents: Sorry, but your post is just a little over the top. Their is nothing in BSA policy that infringes on these young men's constitutional rights. The BSA has every right to determine when, where and how their uniform will be worn. I'm guessing you support their right to be exclusionary when it somes to other things. Why then should they not be able to set policy about the wearing of their uniform at political events?

  • xscribe Colorado Springs, CO
    Sept. 21, 2012 8:23 a.m.

    @Sergio: No, the message here is that it is against BSA policy.

  • sergio Phoenix, AZ
    Sept. 21, 2012 7:59 a.m.

    So is the message here: that Utah Republicans are a bad influence on Boy Scouts demonstrating disrespect of rules and teaching them to be outlaws.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Sept. 21, 2012 7:56 a.m.

    Let's hope these scouts, don't cause riots.

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 7:19 a.m.

    OK, if the scouts had vote for Mitt signs, that would have been one thing. They are supposed to be involved, going to town halls, city council, etc.

    I think this blog is the one out of line. I believe even the very liberal leaning new Citizenship in the Nation pamphlet, written by Harry Chatten Boyte (a Pres. Obama supporter and aid) a required merit badge, would disagree with Rick Barnes, especially his timing.

    Re: pamphlet, From the apparent intentional confusion re: Democracy and a Republic, to contradicting the 10th amendment prior to introducing it, to the flexible constitution that is amended informally in broad ways. The lack of understanding and explanation of the electoral college. Broad Implied Executive Powers.

    It is hardly politically neutral. The timing of the complaints is just as bad.

  • financenco Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 7:04 a.m.

    There is no need to send warnings to scout troops who wave or actually just shake a hand at someone while traveling to an event. If that were true. Why are there scouts at Obama's events? Yes, I have seen scouts, and other youth groups that also aren't supposed to be there. And they are actually violating their bylaws. And they are holding signs. Why does he have soldiers forced to stand behind him, when troops are not supposed to be a part of any political events either, while in uniform? It is okay for Scouts to be a part of this environment. They need to know about our system, and how to participate in it. They get Merit Badges for stuff like this. They didn't have a sign saying "vote for Mitt". They also didn't say, "to heck with Obama." I am sure they would have done the same for Obama, as he has allowed other scouts to do the same, without a fuss.

  • AZnewser Snowflake, AZ
    Sept. 21, 2012 6:56 a.m.

    I went with thousands of scouts, in uniform, to see President Reagan speak at the Salt Palace, a great thrill. My parents also took me to see President Carter speak at the Tabernacle... I didn't get in, but I did get to shake his hand afterward, as he walked out and greeted the crowd. That's not endorsement, merely involment. I've been interested in the political process ever since.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 6:16 a.m.

    It may have been nice for Matthew and his buddies to meet the Presidential candidate, but they were nothing more than props to the candidate, which is what is truly sad.

  • My2Cents Taylorsville, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 4:54 a.m.

    I see no harm or violation of the rights of these scouts. The BSA does have a merit badge for community service and donating time to charity and other community projects. Local police and fire department visits, UDOT road cleaning, and rivers and water ways preservation. They also have a merit badge showing respect and loyalty to being an american and duty to god and country and this is also a meritorious gesture of respect by the scout leader.

    There are many state and federal and city projects scouts participate in and every one thanks them for their help. These scouts were not participation in any particular violation of their oath to themselves and their country. If the BSA rules are in conflict with the constitution and these childrens freedoms, then the BSA is the organization in the wrong.

    The BSA is not funded and should not be politically controlled to ban the practicing of scouts duty to country and rights then the policy is out of touch with reality, these scouts have every right to participate in their constitutional rights.

    Politics in the BSA has driven the BSA to stop scout participation in freedom of speech and their rights.

  • Liberty or Death Taylorsville, UT
    Sept. 20, 2012 10:45 p.m.

    They make a big deal of this at the same time they are asking for donations to Friends of Scouting, to support the operating costs and professional scouters salaries, for the Great Salt Lake Council? I may have to think about whether to donate this year.

  • don17 Temecula, CA
    Sept. 20, 2012 10:43 p.m.

    Just a reminder: Both Candidates have had scouts present at events the past few months.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Sept. 20, 2012 9:12 p.m.

    Yes, asking people to obey the rules of their organization is truly political correctness gone amuck. I personally see no real foul here at face value... but the Boy Scouts has rules to protect itself, and if local leaders should decide for themselves if they choose to abide by them, regardless if they agree with them or not.

    Take the kids there next time as just a bunch of families to support the candidate, and no one will care. Go there wearing the uniform of an organization in violation of the bodies rules... that isn't political correctness, it is just a disregard to the rules.

    I love the lesson being taught here.... if you decide it isn't hurting anything, well then by all means violate the rules. I assume these were church troops, so what a wonderful message to teach these kids.... rules are subject to your own judgement if you want to obey them.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 20, 2012 8:45 p.m.

    You really don't have to look very hard to find someone who will be offended by just about anything.

    Jim Debakis is right on this one.

  • rightascension Provo, UT
    Sept. 20, 2012 8:40 p.m.

    It is right for the Deseret News and the National Scout leadership to comment on what happened at the Salt Lake and Provo airports and to instruct people to be cognizant of the message that kind of image sends to the populace. In this case, the message was: certain Utah scout leaders aren't reading their handbooks carefully . . . .

  • Dixie Dan Saint George, UT
    Sept. 20, 2012 8:39 p.m.

    The unanswered question is whether they would have also shown up for President Obama's plane.