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Bsa Proposed Policy Statement On Sexual Orientation And Membership


KevinG

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I am posting this here for discussion since I don't want to hijack the other threads:

This morning the BSA released the resolution which will be voted upon during next month's National Council Meeting, four weeks from today.

The resolution, if passed, would become effective Jan. 1, 2014.

"Youth membership in the Boy Scouts of America is open to all youth who meet the specific membership requirements to join the Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, Sea Scout, and Venturing programs. Membership in any program of the Boy Scouts of America requires the youth member to (a) subscribe to and abide by the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Scout Law, (b) subscribe to and abide by the precepts of the Declaration of Religious Principle (duty to God), and © demonstrate behavior that exemplifies the highest level of good conduct and respect for others and is consistent at all times with the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Scout Law. No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone."

What do you think the effect will be on LDS troops in particular if this is passed?

Will this put the controversy to rest or will outside groups continue to push for changes within the BSA?

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Since the LDS position is that a member can be gay and still participate in every aspect of the church as long as they are celibate, i don't think this will have any impact on the church's use of the scouting program at all.

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As far as I can tell, gay rights advocates are not happy with this because it does not say that openly homosexual men with single or multiple partners can be leaders.

The issue that is presented to American Institutions is not merely: "Do we accept Homosexuals?" but "Do we accept Homosexual Behavior?"

It is insufficient to say yes to the first question and no to the second question.

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If passed, I don't think this resolution would have much of an impact on LDS Troops since the church kinda does what it wants either way. I imagine we'll continue to register celibate gay youth as we have done in the past (at least in my ward).

If there is an openly gay brother in a ward who has chosen to live the standards of the church, it's possible that a bishop could want to place him in a YM/scouting leadership position (going against the BSA rules) but that seems unlikely.

I doubt this will satisfy the corporate donors who are suggesting that they cannot continue to financially support an organization which discriminates against homosexuals.

Also, there appear to be some within the BSA organization who are also not pleased with this compromise. This article posted by California Boy in another thread discussed two councils (Baltimore & LA) who are already submitting alternative resolutions.

I wish I could see a compromise that would leave the BSA unscathed.... Right now it really seems like they are either going to lose a significant portion of their corporate donors or lose a significant portion of their members.

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Both internal and external groups and individuals will continue to push for changes in the BSA.

Daniel2

Primarily external: http://scoutingmagaz...y-findings.pdfand of those who volunteer and are active in Scouting the numbers for keeping the old policy go up significantly.

According to the study the potential gain in membership from a policy change would be 10-15x smaller than the potential loss of membership.

Right now it really seems like they are either going to lose a significant portion of their corporate donors or lose a significant portion of their members.

Seeing as how the BSAs mission is about youth and not about corporate sponsorship I'm good with a little belt tightening and independence over having policy (of any kind) dictated by outside groups. Remember the BSA is a private organization and not a governmental body and as such they have the right to set their own rules and direction. Why give that up for the sake of money? That seems like a bad way to determine policy regardless of the issue of the day.

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If this goes through I am cutting my ties with the BSA... period. However, I would be very surprised if the church does. I would also be surprised if the church wasn't intimately involved with the new proposal, And it will not solve the controversy.

I do find it interesting that it says that you cannot use sexual orientation alone, leaves the door wide open to exclude practicing/ non-celibate boys.

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...leaves the door wide open to exclude practicing/ non-celibate boys.

It doesn't jive with morally straight. I would have a hard time approving a rank advancement for an unrepentant boy for any number of reasons including openly flaunting sexual activity, drug use or acting improperly towards women.

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As I have said on other threads this compromise, unlike the original simply keeps the controversy alive. I think the prior compromise would have deflected the controversy away from the BSA and back onto the chartered organizations where it belonged. That would have allowed the Catholics and LDS Units to preserve their standards as to both youth and adult leaders and allowed others to go their own way as to their units. As more and more Christian sects which do not have as strong doctrinal reasons as we do begin to cease to discriminate against homosexuals they will either have to accept this inconsistency as to leadership appoint policy or leave. My guess is they will leave and BSA will come to be dominated by increasingly conservative groups until it is considered to be something akin to a youth John Birch Society . At which point the Church will probably drop its affiliation as well. I hope not but expect it to in the long run play out that way. Meanwhile suits over discrimination in the application of this policy will abound.

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The Church was never affiliated with the John Birch society (or the society for the preservation of wooden toilet seats: the birch john society). Individual members including prominent ones were affiliated but the Church never sponsored any of their activies or formed a partnership with them.

I also don't see the LDS, Catholics and Methodists along with a handful of other large protestant denominations, muslims, buddihsts, etc. being so far out of the mainstream as to be akin to political activists of any stripe.

If anyone marginalizes themselves based on politics it will be groups who insist others give up their freedom of association to conform to their pet issue.

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Seeing as how the BSAs mission is about youth and not about corporate sponsorship I'm good with a little belt tightening and independence over having policy (of any kind) dictated by outside groups. Remember the BSA is a private organization and not a governmental body and as such they have the right to set their own rules and direction. Why give that up for the sake of money? That seems like a bad way to determine policy regardless of the issue of the day.

I agree that they should not give up a policy that they deem to be correct and of value for the sake of money. (And I certainly agree that as a private organization, they have that right.) Unfortunately, I suspect that there could be the harsh reality at play that many of those making the decision, depend on the corporate sponsorship to keep their jobs and/or salary levels. I'm not trying to question the integrity of the good men & women who lead the Corporate BSA. I'm just saying that it could get tougher to see the value of keeping a policy if it means that you will no longer be able to work for that organization in a year.

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I agree that they should not give up a policy that they deem to be correct and of value for the sake of money. (And I certainly agree that as a private organization, they have that right.) Unfortunately, I suspect that there could be the harsh reality at play that many of those making the decision, depend on the corporate sponsorship to keep their jobs and/or salary levels. I'm not trying to question the integrity of the good men & women who lead the Corporate BSA. I'm just saying that it could get tougher to see the value of keeping a policy if it means that you will no longer be able to work for that organization in a year.

There is no doubt that this could put immense pressure on someone to steer their decisions. I know of two times where the BSA got into trouble by providing incentives to professional scouters to grow membership and phantom scouts appeared on the roles. Atlanta was the latest and it was a huge problem causing the United Way to sever ties.

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I agree that they should not give up a policy that they deem to be correct and of value for the sake of money. (And I certainly agree that as a private organization, they have that right.) Unfortunately, I suspect that there could be the harsh reality at play that many of those making the decision, depend on the corporate sponsorship to keep their jobs and/or salary levels. I'm not trying to question the integrity of the good men & women who lead the Corporate BSA. I'm just saying that it could get tougher to see the value of keeping a policy if it means that you will no longer be able to work for that organization in a year.

I suspect they are getting buffeted pretty badly right now. The one question that I have that we will probably never know is whether the Church representatives would have been instructed to vote for the original compromise, and whether this compromise originated as a result of the pressure by the Salt Lake Council rather than from the Church. The practical matter is that keeping the controversy going is going to have a price. Perhaps it is worth it, have a hard time imagining how, but perhaps it will be.

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The practical matter is that keeping the controversy going is going to have a price. Perhaps it is worth it, have a hard time imagining how, but perhaps it will be.

There would be a price associated with caving into the gay rights pressure groups as well, probably including the Church and other sponsoring organizations severing ties with BSA, which might well mean the demise of BSA.

Either way, it's a matter of cutting losses.

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There would be a price associated with caving into the gay rights pressure groups as well, probably including the Church and other sponsoring organizations severing ties with BSA, which might well mean the demise of BSA.

Either way, it's a matter of cutting losses.

Our stake's Friends of Scouting donations are down about 40% from last year. Obviously I don't know why but I suspect this issue is a factor. So yeah, I agree that it's a matter of cutting losses.

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There would be a price associated with caving into the gay rights pressure groups as well, probably including the Church and other sponsoring organizations severing ties with BSA, which might well mean the demise of BSA.

Either way, it's a matter of cutting losses.

Church press release on the matter:
Church Issues Statement on Boy Scouts of America

Salt Lake City — 25 April 2013

For 100 years, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has enjoyed a strong, rewarding relationship with Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

Recently, BSA has been reviewing a possible policy change in its standards for membership and leadership. Now that BSA has finished its review process and has proposed a resolution for consideration, the Church has issued the following statement:

“Over the past several weeks BSA has undertaken the difficult task of reviewing its membership standards policy. In their own words, this undertaking has been 'the most comprehensive listening exercise in its history.'

"While the Church has not launched any campaign either to effect or prevent a policy change we have followed the discussion and are satisfied that BSA has made a thoughtful, good-faith effort to address issues that, as they have said, remain 'among the most complex and challenging issues facing the BSA and society today.'

"The current BSA proposal constructively addresses a number of important issues that have been part of the on-going dialogue including consistent standards for all BSA partners, recognition that Scouting exists to serve and benefit youth rather than Scout leaders, a single standard of moral purity for youth in the program, and a renewed emphasis for Scouts to honor their duty to God.

"We are grateful to BSA for their careful consideration of these issues. We appreciate the positive things contained in this current proposal that will help build and strengthen the moral character and leadership skills of youth as we work together in the future.”

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Church press release on the matter:

Wow. While I disagree with the policy change and remain convinced it is still only a temporary fix that will result in ongoing problems for the scouts before reaching an inevitable position that will require allowing gay and lesbian leaders to serve, I did not anticipate the LDS Church's response to gay scouts would be so agreeable. I'm very pleasantly surprised at how cordial and accepting the response is. Kudos to the church for a classy response tha encourages civility and respect.

Daniel2

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The Church's press release is pretty vague, I could still see the church going either way on this one.

The Deseret News article accompanying it states that Church spokesman have stated that the Church is satisfied with the compromise. But, the Salt Lake Council still has not signaled its acceptance and they led the attack to derail the last compromise. I suspect the Church would have accepted the original compromise, but the Salt Lake Council derailed it before it got that far. We may be witnessing a firsthand struggle here between the Church and Utahn culture, but that is just my speculation.

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Wow. While I disagree with the policy change and remain convinced it is still only a temporary fix that will result in ongoing problems for the scouts before reaching an inevitable position that will require allowing gay and lesbian leaders to serve, I did not anticipate the LDS Church's response to gay scouts would be so agreeable. I'm very pleasantly surprised at how cordial and accepting the response is. Kudos to the church for a classy response tha encourages civility and respect.

Daniel2

I agree it's a classy response.

But for the Church, the newly enunciated BSA policy (or, more accurately, proposed policy) does not really amount to a departure from the status quo. I would be suprised to learn of any LDS ward that was excluding boys from its Scout troop on the basis of sexual orientation alone.

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Bear in mind that the new policy is only a proposal. It could still be rejected when voted on, and the association of the Church with Scouting would again be in jeopardy.

I understand that, the Church isn't going to make a definite statement until the BSA has actually made a change. I'm just not convinced that the Church would sever ties over this policy. I could see them go either way.

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Wow. While I disagree with the policy change and remain convinced it is still only a temporary fix that will result in ongoing problems for the scouts before reaching an inevitable position that will require allowing gay and lesbian leaders to serve, I did not anticipate the LDS Church's response to gay scouts would be so agreeable. I'm very pleasantly surprised at how cordial and accepting the response is. Kudos to the church for a classy response tha encourages civility and respect.

Daniel2

Of course the Lord’s anointed will be agreeable (as they do even when they disagree!). They fully appreciate and acknowledge the difficulties inherent in this kind of listening exercise and policy decision. They give the BSA kudos for putting forth its best good-faith efforts and for constructively addressing important issues, and avoid critiquing the proposal, or either outcome of a vote. The Church seems more engaged in the process for finding the best solution (proposal) than in the actual product at this point, which is typical of how councils work.

While the Church’s top leaders are on the NEB, they seem to have a highly developed sense of boundaries between their role in the Church and their role in the BSA. They have allowed the Church to follow the discussion while not campaigning one way or the other (as other NEB members have), and have also allowed the Church to acknowledge the more positive aspects of the process.

I find the wording interesting, and maybe I’m reading too much into it: “We appreciate the positive things contained in this current proposal that will help build and strengthen the moral character and leadership skills of youth ...” This tells me, all things considered, that there may be some negative things that might not build and strengthen, but which, with typical Mormon optimism, can be worked out in practice “as we work together in the future.”

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Of course the Lord’s anointed will be agreeable (as they do even when they disagree!). They fully appreciate and acknowledge the difficulties inherent in this kind of listening exercise and policy decision. They give the BSA kudos for putting forth its best good-faith efforts and for constructively addressing important issues, and avoid critiquing the proposal, or either outcome of a vote. The Church seems more engaged in the process for finding the best solution (proposal) than in the actual product at this point, which is typical of how councils work.

While the Church’s top leaders are on the NEB, they seem to have a highly developed sense of boundaries between their role in the Church and their role in the BSA. They have allowed the Church to follow the discussion while not campaigning one way or the other (as other NEB members have), and have also allowed the Church to acknowledge the more positive aspects of the process.

I find the wording interesting, and maybe I’m reading too much into it: “We appreciate the positive things contained in this current proposal that will help build and strengthen the moral character and leadership skills of youth ...” This tells me, all things considered, that there may be some negative things that might not build and strengthen, but which, with typical Mormon optimism, can be worked out in practice “as we work together in the future.”

Well, it might tell you that, or it might also signal that they would have gone with the original compromise as well.

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