Breaking down barriers with the Boy Scouts

  • Article by: EDITORIAL BOARD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 29, 2013 - 7:12 PM

Scouts, military rightly end discriminatory policies.

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ericgus55Jan. 29, 13 8:29 PM

I've been glad to see the Scouts change their tune this week. I grew up in Scouting, but I have been hesitant to let my son join, primarily due to their policy towards homosexuals (the recent abuse stories reinforced my choice). He hasn't shown much interest, so it's been mostly a non-issue, but it is now something we will reconsider. I'm also glad to see that it was done voluntarily by the Scouts and not "forced" upon them through a lawsuit.

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wallyworldmnJan. 29, 1310:46 PM

Nothing has changed - yet. It is on their agenda for a National meeting. Everyone has jumped on a bandwagon that hasn't left yet. Let's suppose for a minute that they do change their position and consider what will come next. Because Scouting units are all volunteer, the adult leaders do not work for the Scouts. The Scout Troops and Cub Packs are actually under the jurisdiction of their charter organizations. Roughly 70% of them are under the auspices of churches (nationwide). The charter organizations will then get to make the call regarding whether sexual orientation is even considered. The Troops and Packs are simply joined in a program that is offered through the national Boy Scouts but is run under the umbrella of the charter organization. If the National Boy Scout organization drops their position, the local organizations will make the call. There will be continued controversy moving forward, regardless of the coming decision by the national Boy Scouts. Effectively, they will have passed on the issue to others to decide, which is what we all refer to as "kicking the can down the road". People are dug in on both sides with little to no middle ground. A lot like most of the national political debate. The Scouts have already prevailed at the Supreme Court so it is not anything that could be forced on them by lawsuit. There are apparently other forces at work. Dig deeper for the editorial analysis because it is not about sexual orientation.

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orpheus90Jan. 30, 1312:03 AM

Seems the Scouts finally realized that if they didn't change their tune they were on the verge of putting their organization permanently out to pasture. Funny thing about a changing world: the ones who wear uniforms are always the last to go along.

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orpheus90Jan. 30, 1312:16 AM

wallyworldmn writes: Dig deeper for the editorial analysis because it is not about sexual orientation ... Oh, I don't think you have to dig too deep, Wally. The Scouts have taken a beating in the PR realm, enrollment is down and many who used to give charitably will no longer do so because they refuse to support an organization that, at least historically, has proclaimed an entitlement to bigotry. Like everything else, follow the money - or in this instance, better put, the lack of it.

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roymercerJan. 30, 13 2:24 AM

Low-information critics of scouting fail to understand that scouting has nothing to do with sexuality, at all. It's never discussed, promoted or tolerated. Scouting exists to promote the non-sexual aspects of human development. Which annoys critics that seek to make it a platform for sexual expression. Take your social agenda to your local glee club. Scouting is a mechanism to shield boys from MTV minds.

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wa0tdaJan. 30, 13 6:12 AM

All organizations evolve. There are plenty of other forces tugging at the 1950's worldview of what it means to be a family, what is "right" and "wrong", and how individuals fit into and become part of a community. Kids spend a lot of time in front of internet-fueled screens these days, and interact with their peers in different ways. They are much less likely to hold the stilted, insular views of their grandparents toward sexual orientation and religion because their world is just simply bigger and more diverse. Scouting will adapt or continue to shrink. It is the marketplace of ideas in action and scouting is not immune.

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ericgus55Jan. 30, 13 7:23 AM

roymecer-- If Scouting has "nothing to do with sexuality, at all" then WHY did they have a ban on homosexuals serving as leaders or scouts? Wouldn't a ban on talking about any "sexuality, at all" have served the purpose if that's what it was about?

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roymercerJan. 30, 13 8:12 AM

I know the truth is heresy among liberals, but pedophiles that prey exclusively on boys are not - by definition - "straight." The policy is one of child protection.

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ericgus55Jan. 30, 13 8:45 AM

roymercer-- The vast majority of pedophiles self-identify as heterosexuals. The Scouts have known this for years, and they've had policies in place preventing any adult from being alone with kids ("two deep" it's called). The reality is that the guy who's honest enough to tell you he's gay (inviting increased scrutiny) poses less threat than average. I'm curious, why would homosexual women be banned while straight women (who are attracted to males) be allowed as leaders?

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smdentJan. 30, 13 9:03 AM

I was a cub and boy scout and I am gay. This was long before even being "gay" was an issue because no one talked about it. No scout leader or fellow scout "molested" nor I others. Who ever posted that it was the "tone" set by leadership is exactly right. That "tone" helps to create a culture that enables young boys and teens to be accepting, inclusive and tolerant of others. We need more of that in our society...not less. Thank you BSA. The local chapter of the Northern Star Council has offices in St. Paul and Golden Valley. Drop by and give them a few dollars to thank them. I did.

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