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Old 2013-05-25, 09:41   #1
Brian-E
 
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Default Boy Scouts of America: who should be welcome?

The recent decision by the Boy Scouts of America to start allowing openly gay boy scouts (at the discretion of their local troop) but to maintain the ban on openly lesbian and gay scout leaders has been widely reported. Presumably it is an attempt to compromise between the severely divided views on the issue of homosexuality and scouting. But of course there are still many people who are deeply unhappy with the new situation, either because they don't like the new inclusiveness for gay boy scouts or because they feel that the ban on gay scout leaders discriminates and sends the wrong signal.

The issue is close to home here, which is why I've hesitated for a while before starting this topic. Our site owner and administrator told us last year that he had resigned from his deep and long-lasting involvement with the BSA due to disagreeing with the organisation's values. He made it clear what he was talking about by including a link to the story of the boy scout who was denied an Eagle award because he was openly gay. At that time, of course, the BSA had a clear policy that no-one, children or adults, could be allowed in the scouts if they were openly gay.

My own views about the new situation are well reflected in this essay written by a parent of five-year-old twins:
http://www.ivillage.com/boy-scouts-l...iew/6-a-537277
Quote:
Let's be honest: the Boy Scouts' values are no better today than they were last week. Gay adults are still seen as morally unfit for the company of children. Gay youth are forced to confront the organization's implicit belief that, while they may embody scouting principles today, they will one day morph into perverse and possibly predatory adults unworthy of their badges.
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Old 2013-05-25, 15:21   #2
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Thanks for posting this, Brian. I have to say that it is hard for me to separate the organization the author cites from the Scouts I knew growing up. However, my youthful experiences cast many things in a negative light. I should be glad that people are attempting to incorporate the good parts into something new.
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Old 2013-05-25, 17:55   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kladner View Post
Thanks for posting this, Brian. I have to say that it is hard for me to separate the organization the author cites from the Scouts I knew growing up. However, my youthful experiences cast many things in a negative light. I should be glad that people are attempting to incorporate the good parts into something new.
As has been noted:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Lehrer
The Boy Scouts of America, those noble little bast ... ions of democracy
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Old 2013-05-29, 09:06   #4
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The Bible says that that which is tolerated by one generation will be accepted by the next.

This goes for everything from Communism to slavery to, well, this.
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Old 2013-05-29, 10:10   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasong View Post
The Bible says that that which is tolerated by one generation will be accepted by the next.
Two centuries ago people believed the fleas and the lice were souls too, like any other living thing created by the Lord, and they are harmless and helpless, and have the right to live. Therefore they did not wash themselves, and wasted money to buy expensive "little hands" (made from exotic materials, from the cheap bamboo wooden to the expensive ivory) to scratch their heads and backs gently, not to kill the pure souls. They were tolerated at the time, but after several waves of typhus and other epidemics, you know, mentalities change....

Last fiddled with by LaurV on 2013-05-29 at 10:16 Reason: link
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Old 2013-05-29, 10:25   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasong View Post
The Bible says that that which is tolerated by one generation will be accepted by the next.

This goes for everything from Communism to slavery to, well, this.
Applies to gay marriage in that case. Nice to see you providing Biblical support for that development.
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Old 2013-05-29, 21:27   #7
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I find it offensive that they openly discriminate against girls ... and other non-boys, for that matter.
/sarc

My late father used to liken the boy scouts' uniforms and rituals to those of the Hitler youth, and would not even consider letting his children join any such organization. He grew up in post-WW2 reconstruction Austria, so was perhaps understandably a touch sensitive on the theme of "militaristic indoctrination of youth" as a consequence. But as kids, his vehemence on the subject struck as quite bizarre.

Last fiddled with by ewmayer on 2013-05-29 at 21:28
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Old 2013-05-30, 09:24   #8
Brian-E
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewmayer View Post
I find it offensive that they openly discriminate against girls ... and other non-boys, for that matter.
/sarc
I find it at best peculiar, and at worst offensive, that boys and girls are segregated by gender in scouting. This is without any sarc. I'm particularly interested to know why this segregation occurs in modern times, and this will affect how peculiar or offensive I find it.

Quote:
My late father used to liken the boy scouts' uniforms and rituals to those of the Hitler youth, and would not even consider letting his children join any such organization. He grew up in post-WW2 reconstruction Austria, so was perhaps understandably a touch sensitive on the theme of "militaristic indoctrination of youth" as a consequence. But as kids, his vehemence on the subject struck as quite bizarre.
Was he correct at the time that the scouts had a military tint to them? If so, is that still the case in the USA today? I grew up in the UK where there was also a strong scouting movement, and while I did not get involved in it I was well aware of what my brother, my sister, (in separate organisations because, yes, the genders were segregated there too) and various friends got up to in their scouting groups. There was a uniform and a certain amount of ritual (songs and chants, respect for queen and country), to be sure, but it could hardly be compared with military set-ups. It was basically structured recreation.
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Old 2013-05-31, 01:33   #9
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We have not posted in this thread, but not for lack of trying. Unfortunately every time we try to post we get carried away and start typing a small book. We could talk for hours about our experiences and observations but we doubt anyone would have the patience to listen.

On a side note, the uniform officially serves four purposes.

http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/...s/Uniform.aspx

Note that quite a few countries have very simple uniforms - sometimes just the neckerchief. (In addition to regular outdoor clothes!) We have some thoughts on that topic but again they are lengthy.

Here is a quote from the "Father of Scouting", Robert Baden-Powell:

Quote:
The uniform makes for brotherhood, since when universally adopted it covers up all differences of class and country.
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Old 2013-05-31, 05:23   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xyzzy View Post
We have not posted in this thread, but not for lack of trying. Unfortunately every time we try to post we get carried away and start typing a small book. We could talk for hours about our experiences and observations but we doubt anyone would have the patience to listen.

I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking that we could benefit from your expertise in this area. Several months back you intimated at the personal struggle that this issue had caused you, and that perspective has immense value.

Besides if people decide to skim over your novella, they will do so with the expertise born of endless practice skimming past my 337 posts, and thus it will be very little trouble for them.
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Old 2013-05-31, 09:17   #11
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The Baden-Powell quotation, as given by Mike, about the reason for a uniform in scouting is just wonderful. The Boy Scouts of America, to my mind, lost sight of the scouting founder's values of equality and inclusion for all, at least until very recently. And I'm not at all sure they have actually embraced those values now either, despite the enormous criticism laid at their door in recent months.

Mike, I emphatically second what Chappy writes. Your experiences would be extremely valuable here if you do feel able to give them. I think unusual length is sometimes appropriate in a discussion if the participant has a strong personal involvement with what is being discussed, as you have here.
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