The Churches have always been a critical partner in scouting. My troop meet in a Church of Christ church on weeknights. All our equipment was stored at the church. I don’t think anyone in the troop were members of that church, but their support was essential.
My local tv news reported tonight that a troop outside Little Rock had already been dissociated from their church sponsor. Within 2 weeks there will be a vote at the Southern Baptist Convention to decide if all sponsorship will end.
I’m frustrated that politics had to divide the support for the scouts. These are 12 to 14 year old kids that just wanted to have fun, make friends, and sit by campfires eating smores. Shame on all the adults for ruining this for them.
This won’t be the end of scouting. But it does mark the beginning of a sad and steady decline. There won’t be nearly as many scout troops available when my future grandkids are 12. It’s just one less activity for kids to enjoy and keep them out of trouble.
I don’t think the situation is as dire as you predict. There are many other organizations, including less assholish churches, that are sympathetic and will be willing to sponsor orphaned troops. Maybe not all of them will find a home, but I bet a lot of them will.
I’m hoping that our church will continue sponsoring, but I’m afraid they won’t. Our church is extremely conservative to the point where women aren’t allowed to lead in prayer. I fear this could end badly for a lot of Scout troops.
Fuck those churches - they’re in the wrong. Politics doesn’t have to divide scouts - the churches are choosing to withdraw their support because the BSA isn’t terrorizing gay kids enough. That’s an ugly, un-Christlike (though unfortunately, very “Christian”) thing for them to do.
This decision doesn’t mark the beginning of a slow sad decline in scouting - it marks a giant step towards improving it. If the Scouts continue to dissociate themselves even more from those churches, that’s a second step in the right direction.
IMO the BSA shouldn’t have ever gone to court and argue they were a private christian club. They really put the spotlight on the issue. In many cases they lost access to many of the state luxuries they enjoyed, now they are losing the church based ones for changing their minds the other way.
If they’d kept out of the politics they’d be better off today. The churches decided to pressure the BSA into taking a stance against gays and the BSA let them drag the whole organization down. The BSA should have stayed out of court and let the individual troops decide for themselves allowing the churches to take stupid stands on their own.
Unfortunately I don’t think the BSA can ever recover the memberships they’ve lost. They will forever be seen as bigots to those on the side of gay rights and now the churches see them as traitors.
It’s really sad to see them wither away and die. Scouting was a big part of my life and it was heartbreaking to see them destroy themselves just to exclude me.
Thanks for responding. The conservative church I grew up in(I’m not there now) doesn’t even have women as voting members of the congregation. My mother has been a member there all her life, and has never been to a Voter’s meeting. And of course women can’t be ordained, as well as not being allowed to read the lessons. But when they need Sunday School teachers, or dinners cooked, you know who they go to.
Completely agree. For many decades the BSA stayed out of Politics and religion. Their goal was character building and providing safe activities that kept kids out of trouble. I never had anyone discuss religion with me when I was in the scouts. Nor did anyone ever ask if I was Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or Christian. We we in scouts for fun and camping. No one cared what religion you were or what your ethnic background was. We were all scouts.
The vast majority of kids in scouts were 11 to 15. Most kids in my troop left the troop at 15 and started high school socializing and dating. I left after I got my drivers license at 16. Sexuality is just not that big of a deal for the younger kids. There was never any reason to inquire about sexual orientation. Just ignore it. There probably were some gays in my troop. We didn’t know and honestly didn’t care.
The genie is out of the bottle now. The BSA has pissed everybody off. They didn’t go far enough to satisfy the Rainbow Coalition and they went too far for the Churches. I don’t see much hope of fixing this mess.
I’m completely apathetic on all the issues here, but Baden-Powell, the founder of scouting, supported scouts having any religion they wanted, and the scouts have never been religious or tied to any religion; however like the freemasons, they didn’t care for atheists or in reality, atheists who mentioned they were atheist. Powell wore his religion lightly compared to his contemporaries but detested atheism.
Powell would not really care for church’s co-opting the scout movement; but his original 9 laws were increased to 12 by the Americans in their adoptation, which included explicit religious principles, so the BSA may have greater tradition ( solely in America ) in maintaining excessive religious faith.
". . . the Twelfth Scout Law is . . . one of the finest things in the whole scheme of Scouting and one of the reasons we have had such an outstanding success . . . From my point of view, the real people in America, the people that have made America from the early days, are those who have had deep religious convictions based upon personal religious experiences and those who serve others because of the joy of service. I felt at that time, as I feel now, that there is nothing more essential in the education of the youth in America than to give them religious instruction and I advocated that this be included in the Twelfth Scout Law. "(Murray, William D. The History of the Boy Scouts of America. New York: Boy Scouts of America, 1937. p. 54-55.)*
It kind of reveals the Second Crucifixion of Jesus. First, the authorities simply won’t allow any spiritual leaders. Then, well-meaning people who are trying to be religious (church members ie. the body of Christ, the subject of the second Crucifixion in this example) are forced to reject the BSA over bullshit that Jesus never even mentions. Once again, the church becomes a divisive force of social destruction. It is one thing after another with these people.
Compare to zombie apocalypse. No cannibalism or complete collapse of society, but OTOH mass mindless behavior generates negative consequences.
When DH was in Scouts (mid-80s), a bunch of the parents raised a stink about my FIL, an atheist, being Scout Master. Enough other parents spoke up in his defense that the issue was dropped. But (generic) you can’t claim that everything was sunshine and roses if Scouts or their leaders were non-religious; it wasn’t, and still isn’t. :mad:
I’m not sure if the Churches give any financial support to scouting. That would be a blow to lose.
Their role providing a meeting place and storage for the camping equipment will be hard to replace. Even in a medium sized town there might be a dozen troops with about thirty to forty kids in each troop. That means a dozen meeting places are needed every couple weeks. Big cities would have a lot more troops.
I lived in a small town and my troop had about 20 kids. There were five or six troops. It’s easier for a Scoutmaster to work with a smaller troop.
Only the most extreme fundamentalist churches openly oppose gay groups. More liberal churches, such as Methodist, have been trying to reach out to gay groups for years with their slogan “Open Minds, Open Hearts, Open Doors”. I suspect those churches will still happily support any scouting groups they currently have, and would welcome others that have been rejected by more extreme churches. In time those who don’t support the boy scout decision will leave and those who remain in the group will tip the scales the rest of the way. I predict gay scout leaders will be acceptable within 5 years. This is a brief hiccup as far as scouting in general. It’s very hard to justify bias and the more people cling to those views the more dated their ideals become. Those churches that stubbornly cling to exclusionary policies are the ones that will be far more hurt in the long run than the boy scouts.
Ah yes, another opportunity for a conservative denomination to demonstrate their capability of being assholes for Christ.
And now they can have fun, make friends, and sit by campfires eating smores, whether they’re gay or straight. It’s a shame that politics dictated for awhile in there that if the kids in question were gay, they were excluded from doing these things.
That’s what I’ve been saying for years. They’re trying to fix that now. Good for them.