A reasonable solution to the Boy Scout dilemma

I haven’t followed this discussion too much on the board, so forgive me if this aspect of the problem has been presented before. But an editorial in the Providence Journal on Friday presented what I think is such an elegantsolution to the “Gays in the Boy Scouts” problem that I wondered what others though of it.

The editorial posited the idea that Scouting is not really and shouldn’t be about sexuality. It’s about building character. Good character can be found in both the gay and straight communities.

So, the BSA should make it policy that no sexuality of ANY kind should have a place in their activities, either gay or straight. After all, there are female scout leaders as well. That would put the focus back on what scouting is really all about, make everyone, both gay and straight responsible for the rule, and pretty much negate the argument.


Well, yeah, that would work. But obviously those who run the Scouts have a difference in their basic opinion – essentially that a person must be straight to be of good character.

I think you have a good idea, but the BSA won’t go along with it.
The sticking point with the BSA is the “physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight” part of the Boy Scout Oath.(not getting into the use of “straight”)
Their position is that homosexuality is immoral and thus can not be a part of “good character.”

I was a cub and boy scout and belive that it is an excellent organization, but it needs to change with the times. I think that you can build character without reference to god and/or sexuality, but most supporters of the scouts will scream blue murder when hearing something like that.

Yeah, we all know morals are outdated in these Modern Times. :rolleyes:

Well Saint Zero, I think a morality that discriminates against a person’s sexuality is outdated. Simply my personal opinion, of course.

At what point did I say that “morals are outdated”? Perhaps if you had continued to read on to the next sentence, you would have seen “I think you can build character without reference to god or sexuality”. I’m not against building character,but maybe teaching discrimination is the wrong way to do it.

Right, Revtim. We need to distinguish between true morality and false morality. Morality which relies on circular logic or religious beliefs is false morality, i.e. superstition.

Of course, there’s also the opinion that you can build character and morality without the flippin’ boy scouts either.

It seems to me, it’s their club and they’ll run it how they want to and there’s not much we on the outside can do to change it. So we can do what we do what we do with other organizations we disagree with. Boycott them.

Of course, I’d like to see the BSA start a policy of tolerance and inclusion as much as the next guy, but there’s alot of things in this world I’d like to change that probably won’t happen either. I just roll with the punches and don’t play with the kids I don’t like, you see what I mean.

I may be a bit jaded, because I was a member of the Boy Scouts for about a month when I was a tyke, and I hated it. In my little town, it was practically a weekly prayer meeting with an odd bird-house thrown in here and there. Even at that young age I was a bit of an atheist.

I was a Boy Scout; I made it up to the rank of Eagle Scout, in fact. This was in the 1980s, when we in America were just learning to teach our children that God and Jesus hate homosexuals, and that we should, too, so the problems with gays in Scouting hadn’t quite come to the fore yet.

Personally, I’m ashamed of the organization, and I no longer take pride in calling myself and Eagle Scout. When I was in Scouts, sexuality was not an issue and our straightness was never encouraged or discouraged, much less gayness. Sure, we were a bunch of pubescent teenage boys, and anyone who’s ever spent much time around boys of that age knows that admitting that you’re gay is just another way to say, “Please kick my ass.” In other words, Scouts’ attitudes toward gays aren’t much different from those held by most other kids of that age.

I don’t think things have to be like this. I feel that tolerance ought to be emphasized or, at the very least, prejudice ought not to be encouraged. The Scouts have the legal right to exclude, sure, but they have a moral obligation not to. While it’s unreasonable to expect the Boy Scouts of America to ever suggest that gays should be treated as equals, they should at least stay away from the issue. Scouting is about many things, and sexuality is not one of them.

By the way, the real issue here is that gay scoutmasters should be banned. This is ridiculous, since it plays into the ignorant stereotype that all gays can’t keep their hands off of any male meat that crosses their path. Here’s a clue for you all: gays are as capable of self-control as straights. Let me emphasize that assertion with a question: can any straights hold off from forcing themselves on any woman in their path? Think about it.

I’m not screaming.
An Eagle Scout and supporter of the BSA.

So, fill us in , **BF[/], do you favor the exclusion of homosexuals from the BSA, or for that matter, what is your views on sexuality being broached at all when it comes to your organization.

Oops. vB spill on aisle 6. Use your imagination and pretend I didn’t screw that up.

I support the BSA’s policies. However, I am not up-to-date with current doctrine at the troop level.

Okay, I suppose that’s good enough. You’re an upstanding member of the organization, who toes the party line. In light of the debate going on here and accross the country, I thought you might like to express your own thoughts on the matter. But if you don’t want to, I can’t force you.

You know, I almost wish that was the issue for the BSA.It would be a lot easier to change peoples minds then. At least then I could say if the BSA is so worried about pedophiles,they’d do a better job of protecting kids if they actually made sure that a Scoutmaster (ostensibly straight-in actuality an exploiter} who molested kids in one place couldn’t simply move to another place and sign up with a new group.No, the issue for the BSA is that homosexuals (as well as athiests),can’t be of good moral character,even if celibate.
Part of the reason, in my opinion, is because of how the BSA is set up. The BSA doesn’t itself run the troops,etc. “Chartered organizations”, such as a church, school, American Legion or any other non-profit organization, do. Some of these groups believe that homosexuality is in and of itself immoral. Others don’t.Apparently, those that do have more of an influence on national policy.

The best solution, given that there are differences of opinion as to the morality of homosexuality, even within the BSA-it’s not only outsiders who are against this policy would be to allow the chartered organization to determine whether they consider someone to be of good enough moral character, as they already do in every circumstance other than homosexuality and atheism. The fact that a Mormon troop may not choose a Scoutmaster who drinks alcohol, or that a Catholic troop may not choose someone who remarried without an annulment doesn’t restrict other troops from choosing those people, and there’s no reason why some group’s belief that homosexuality is immoral should restrict groups that don’t share that belief.

Eutychus55, I think that you are completely misunderstanding the BSA position on homosexuality. Their positions is not that homosexuality is banned from scout activities, but that homosexuals are banned. It’s not like gays are fighting for the right to make out while the other scouts go gather firewood. If we are to impose the same standard on heterosexuals, then anyone who engages in heterosexual intercourse should be banned from the scouts. If the BSA did that, I’m sure that they would have great difficulties finding scout leaders.

Very well put, Doreen, and a very good example of the BSA structure. Nice contribution.

I’m afraid I don’t quite understand you here. Are you saying that straights who practice homosexuality but who aren’t in fact homosexuals are perfectly acceptable role-models?
I’m sorry if that sounds facetious, but how do seperate “homosexuality” from “homosexuals”?

I think my real problem with this debate is that, I really don’t care about the BSA. I found the three troops I was in to be the same: teen age juvenile deliquents. I didn’t see anyone trying to live up to the Oath at all. If they can’t impress on the kids the idea is to fulfill the rest of the oath, why bother with them at all? I gave up after qualifying just short of Eagle.

ChiefWahoo, I may have jumped the gun on my quote a bit. I think morals aren’t an outdated concept. You didn’t say they were.


I think the Supreme Court’s opinion stated that they are free to ascribe to their Morals and deny homosexual Scoutmasters. Perfectly legal.
But, perfectly stupid and shortsighted. Besides the already mentioned stereotype it plays into (homosexuals are merely closet pedophiles), it’s ignoring the fact that many people don’t consider it morally outrageous. A person is more than their sexual preference. The Scouts think it is, however, which is the problem.
We can’t force them to change. As much as we like, we can’t do it. What we can do is ignore them, quit hosting them, let them go their own way.

Very well put Saint Zero. Because many people think that their message is relevant, and yes, there are many people who feel that homosexuality is a moral outrage (following in line with the many who feel it is not outrageous.) These are the same people who support the BSA and their policies.

The BSA is not banning homosexual Scoutmasters, they are saying that if you are gay, please go somewhere else. (Like they are all sitting around wondering if their 16 year old is being “converted”, as they sit.)

Please, ignore them, let them go their own way, and let those of us who have shared the camaraderie and learned many life lessons while growing up continue to support their mission.