Debate about gay members unlikely to end well for Scouts

Yesterday was Scout Sunday in the United Methodist churches that sponsor more than 11,000 Boy Scout troops and Cub Scout packs. That figure ranks the Methodists second among all sponsors of Scout units, right behind the Mormons and ahead of the Catholics.

Together, those three churches essentially own the franchise for nearly half of all Scout units, serving two in five boys in the program nationwide. Including all other faith-based organizations, both figures rise to roughly two-thirds.

That’s about half of what you need to know to understand the difficulty the Boy Scouts of America faces as it deals with calls to admit gay youth and adults after 103 years of disallowing them.

The other half is that pressure put on the BSA by secular groups, such as businesses and large non-profits, comes largely in the form of financial contributions they withhold from the organization until it meets their core conviction that excluding gays is wrong.

Which runs counter to a core conviction for many of the BSA’s largest religious sponsors that homosexuality is a sin.

It’s no surprise, then, that the Scouts’ board members decided Wednesday to wait until May to decide whether to keep the ban or lift it completely or in part, by allowing local Scout groups to decide whether to admit gays.

No one should expect their decision, whatever it is and whenever it comes, to resolve this conflict of convictions. Or to portend a bright long-term future for the BSA.

It would not last long as an organization that allowed some local units’ policies to, in the eyes of other local units’ sponsors, violate the Scout Oath’s dictum to keep oneself “morally straight.” A house divided against itself will not stand.

Its secular donors and ex-donors make clear the BSA will continue to lose critical funding if it keeps the ban. Its dominant cohort of religious sponsors make it equally plain they will not countenance ending the ban.

Anyone who understands the vital role played by Scouting’s sponsoring organizations – as I do, having spent 11 years as a Cub Scout and then Boy Scout, eventually serving in a multi-state, regional role — knows the threat the religious groups issued is an existential one for the BSA.

The charters for the troops they sponsor are up for renewal every December, so the fall could be both severe and swift. The churches could render the BSA a shell of its current self, if not dead, as soon as next year if they stopped sponsoring Scout units.

So, many of us wonder if those seeking change are ignorant of the BSA’s structure, naive about the likely fallout, or just less interested in its fate than their agenda.

All the more so, because most disputes about the ban — like almost all fights within the BSA, frankly — center on adults who used to be Scouts or adults who want to be Scout leaders. That is, they chiefly center on “adults,” not “boys.”

It would be far simpler if the debate were only about the boys: only about who learns how to tie knots and how not to burn eggs over a campfire. There has long been a de facto “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for youths in Scouting. Simply making that official might assuage faith groups’ concerns while expanding access for boys.

But it wouldn’t comfort those who demand a complete change, those who know national treasures make good trophies, and those who would prefer the BSA serve no one if it won’t include them.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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229 comments Add your comment

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

February 11th, 2013
7:55 am

Now let’s think long and hard why homosexuals would want to be troop leaders.

Once you allow gay youth (if there even is such a thing) or gay leaders, why even have a Boy Scouts?

Don’t the libs already have the north american man boy love association? (You think I’m kidding, look it up.)

Lil' Barry Bailout - OBAMAPHONE!!!

February 11th, 2013
8:16 am

The groups pushing this issue are not one whit concerned about the children. They care only about their continuing efforts to pervert the culture and deconstruct the institutions that once made and kept America strong: marriage, family, and now a major boy’s organization that has long fostered traditional American values.

Let us hope the Boy Scouts will stand up to the selfish efforts of a sick minority.

middle of the road

February 11th, 2013
8:17 am

If the Boy Scouts of America wants to change into a religious organization, why don’t they change their name to “Youth Christians of the Backwoods”? You could require Bible reading. The we could start a new organization that is not religious in nature for the Boys who just want to go camping and learn about the outdoors and do service. I don’t know what to call it. Maybe “Boy Scouts of America”?

Lil' Barry Bailout - OBAMAPHONE!!!

February 11th, 2013
8:21 am

If the homosexual lobby wants to change the Boy Scouts from what they are into whatever it is they prefer, why don’t they do THAT?

Oh, right, it’s easier to just harrass the Boy Scouts.

Lil' Barry Bailout - OBAMAPHONE!!!

February 11th, 2013
8:22 am

What I meant to suggest is that the homosexual lobby start their own gay-friendly organization. Then families and boys can choose.

SBinF

February 11th, 2013
8:28 am

Cons can’t stomach the fact that the country they’ve known and loved is no longer in existence. Sorry folks, but you’re on the wrong side of history.

There are gay people in the world. There have been gay people since humans climbed down from the trees and formed civilizations. They occupy every career and level of society. Get over it.

SBinF

February 11th, 2013
8:29 am

Boy Scouts are free to exclude who they want, just kiss your corporate sponsors goodbye. The spineless board has tossed the responsibility of deciding to the larger voting body. Way to have some stones!

Jerry Eads

February 11th, 2013
8:30 am

I agree, Kyle (I know I know – how often does that happen – -). the organization will anger many adults no matter what decision they make. I’m a country boy so my childhood was 4H, not Scouts, but my own kid spent a half dozen years in Scouts and I did several adult roles during that time. My guess is that few Scouts worry much about whether the kid next to them is gay nor, which no one is discussing, whether the kid next to a Girl Scout is lesbian. Adults are the problem – on any side of the issue.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

February 11th, 2013
8:30 am

efforts to pervert the culture and deconstruct the institutions that once made and kept America strong

Speaking as an Eagle Scout and a heterosexual male, I say we tear it all down. The whole point of what they are trying to accomplish is to get boys comfortable in the company of others not like themselves.

For lil Barry and Aesop you could substitute “blacks” or “muslims”, or “jews” into their posts above and you’d have America 50 years ago.

I say the move to change the scouts is more “christian” than what they’ve done in the past. You have to learn to get along with all members of society – not those who are just like you – or we will just be fomenting and reinforcing the closed-mindedness, lack of acceptance, and compassion for our fellow men and women.

MiltonMan

February 11th, 2013
8:33 am

Couple of points that are missing here:

(1) Supreme Court in 2000 ruled that a private organization, specifically Bioy Scouts, could express its “freedom of association” and exclude/include any person that it decides.
(2) The Boy Scout oath: “On my honor I will do my best; To do my duty to God and my country…”

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

February 11th, 2013
8:34 am

errr, that should be “lack of compassion”

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

February 11th, 2013
8:35 am

(2) The Boy Scout oath: “On my honor I will do my best; To do my duty to God and my country…”

It doesn’t specify which God.

MiltonMan

February 11th, 2013
8:36 am

“Cons can’t stomach the fact that the country they’ve known and loved is no longer in existence. Sorry folks, but you’re on the wrong side of history”

…and libs can’t stomach Supreme Court decisions that they do not like.

rwcole

February 11th, 2013
8:37 am

Kyle, after reading Aesop and Lil Barry’s hateful bile every day, how can you not question your views on issues like this. If I ever agree with one of those two guys, I would seriously have to check my conscience and rethink my stance.

Cherokee

February 11th, 2013
8:38 am

“It would not last long as an organization that allowed some local units’ policies to, in the eyes of other local units’ sponsors, violate the Scout Oath’s dictum to keep oneself “morally straight.” A house divided against itself will not stand.”

Kyle I have never understood this argument. This seems to me to be in the best tradition of America. If a local sponsor is a Catholic church, and they feel strongly about this topic, keep the current ban. If another group feels that there is no problem with gay members, let them admit them.

Everyone wins. It’s not a ‘house divided againts itself’ – it’s simply recognition that different people have different views, and that in America our tradition is that we allow and encourage that.

How would that destroy the Boy Scouts?

bookman parrot

February 11th, 2013
8:39 am

To Finn McCool (The System isn’t Broken; It’s Fixed)
February 11th, 2013
8:30 am
Get along… YES. agree with everything NO.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

February 11th, 2013
8:39 am

For lil Barry and Aesop you could substitute “blacks” or “muslims”, or “jews” into their posts above and you’d have America 50 years ago.

finn – If you want to prey on and “teach” little boys so bad, why don’t you join the taliban muslims you love so much?

Cherokee

February 11th, 2013
8:40 am

Oh, and by the way, what rwcole said. If those two represent the ‘Christian’ view of things, then Christianity is in dire straits…

Peadawg

February 11th, 2013
8:40 am

“(1) Supreme Court in 2000 ruled that a private organization, specifically Bioy Scouts, could express its “freedom of association” and exclude/include any person that it decides.”

That’s correct. Donors also have the right to not give them money anymore.

“On my honor I will do my best; To do my duty to God and my country…”

Which is to be loving and accepting of everyone.

MiltonMan

February 11th, 2013
8:40 am

“(2) The Boy Scout oath: “On my honor I will do my best; To do my duty to God and my country…”

It doesn’t specify which God.”

Gotta love that lib spin. From the BSA founder Baden-Powell himself:

“We aim for the practice of Christianity in their everyday life and dealings, and not merely the profession of theology on Sundays”

Lil' Barry Bailout - OBAMAPHONE!!!

February 11th, 2013
8:41 am

rwcole, disagreement is not hate. I know you like using that term because then you don’t have to think, but it just reveals your intellectual laziness.

Road Scholar

February 11th, 2013
8:44 am

Jerry and Fins: Good posts!

The trifecta above (Aesop, LBB, and Milton) are up early this morning. Has the thought ever entered your minds (now that is something novel) that their God is loving and different from your God/beliefs? Didn’t Jesus tell us not to judge? That God is the judge?

As long as the troop members are treated with respect who cares? Or does the molestation of kids by “straights” not register with you?

Lil' Barry Bailout - OBAMAPHONE!!!

February 11th, 2013
8:45 am

SBinF: Cons can’t stomach the fact that the country they’ve known and loved is no longer in existence.
————————–

It still exists. The takers are currently feeding on it and will likely devour it in the not too distant future.

Lil' Barry Bailout - OBAMAPHONE!!!

February 11th, 2013
8:46 am

“Straights” don’t molest children of their own gender. By definition, that’s a homosexuals act.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

February 11th, 2013
8:47 am

If I ever agree with one of those two guys, I would seriously have to check my conscience and rethink my stance.

Oh, and by the way, what rwcole said. If those two represent the ‘Christian’ view of things, then Christianity is in dire straits…

Coming from two people that wouldn’t know Christianity if they fell over it.

But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Matthew 18:6

Jesus didn’t mince words about the children and you heathens need to leave them alone.

MiltonMan

February 11th, 2013
8:48 am

“The trifecta above (Aesop, LBB, and Milton) are up early this morning. Has the thought ever entered your minds (now that is something novel) that….”

Then turns around and asks about judging others??? Classic!

Dusty

February 11th, 2013
8:48 am

Perhaps there are records that show why the Boy Scouts decided not to have gay leaders and gay boys.

The idea of molestation always raises its ugly head but has that happened? I don’t know.

Presumption is not good evidence. Real evidence proves a point better, if there is a point..

Road Scholar

February 11th, 2013
8:48 am

LBB: Oh Really! I believe it is an act of dominance, similar to the tone of your posts!

Aquagirl

February 11th, 2013
8:50 am

finn – If you want to prey on and “teach” little boys so bad, why don’t you join the taliban muslims you love so much?

Classy move there Aesop, shrieking “CHILD MOLESTER” at another poster, barely two minutes after someone noted you typify one of the reasons why people run from conservative views.

Frankly if you’re a Poe, you’re doing a stellar job.

MiltonMan

February 11th, 2013
8:52 am

““On my honor I will do my best; To do my duty to God and my country…”

Which is to be loving and accepting of everyone.”

Would love to see Pea accept the following to his “church”:

Mass-Murderer was has just escaped from jail.
A person who has threatened harm to him and his family.
An unrepentful adulterer who keeps hitting on his wife.
etc.
etc.

Road Scholar

February 11th, 2013
8:52 am

MM: They were questions. What, can’t answer them? No judgement involved.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

February 11th, 2013
8:56 am

Either way, I wouldn’t stay with a troop that asked a kid to leave because he displayed homosexual tendencies. What about the mentally retarded kids who want to participate. We throw them out cause they are different?

I would think most kids between 11 and 16 are only beginning to get an inkling of what they prefer but whatever that may be it takes a back seat to fishing, hiking, camping, etc.

Should behavior becomes inappropriate you deal with it as adults dealing with kids. “This is not appropriate, you shouldn’t do this, or you shouldn’t do that, etc.” And also you ensure you have leaders in the troop who are good at dealing with such situations.

MiltonMan

February 11th, 2013
8:56 am

Jesus did indeed tell us not to judge but also stated unless we are ready to be judges ourselves.

He also saved an adulterer from being stoned to death but told her to go and sin no more; using the logic by many here, you could say that Jesus supported adultery

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

February 11th, 2013
8:57 am

Classy move there Aesop, shrieking “CHILD MOLESTER” at another poster, barely two minutes after someone noted you typify one of the reasons why people run from conservative views.

Thanks for your concern, aq, but I tend to disagree with the views of the northeastern big government flip flopping aisle reachers in the Republican party. Me, myself, I’d rather not belong to a political party that allowed the likes of you to be in it.

MiltonMan

February 11th, 2013
8:58 am

“What about the mentally retarded kids who want to participate. We throw them out cause they are different?”

When I was in scouts, we had a “mentally challenged” young man – got his Eagle Scout!

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

February 11th, 2013
8:59 am

The issue of gay leaders has been dealt with pretty well over the last 20 years with the introduction of 2-deep leadership. There must be 2 adults in the presence of the boys at all times. A troop outing can not occur unless there is a specific adult/child ratio, etc.

Road Scholar

February 11th, 2013
9:01 am

I believe Jesus said to judge ourselves. How else would a person know if he/she was living up to God’s word?How would one know to change their life? Jesus did not support adultery; he supported forgiveness and penance for ones sins.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

February 11th, 2013
9:03 am

I might be moving soon. Seems there is a job opening in the Vatican City….

JDW

February 11th, 2013
9:05 am

“That figure ranks the Methodists second among all sponsors of Scout units, right behind the Mormons and ahead of the Catholics.”

Interesting group…seems to me that the Catholics and Mormons should keep their eyes on the rampant sex scandals that are internal to their organizations. As for the Methodists my guess is they will do the right thing and include all.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

February 11th, 2013
9:06 am

My wife and I were both wondering this morning if something huge was about to break in the catholic church which might have led to his resignation.

SBinF

February 11th, 2013
9:09 am

“…and libs can’t stomach Supreme Court decisions that they do not like.”

You seem to be under the mistaken assumption that this is being litigated in the courts. It is not. The Boy Scouts are getting the squeeze from their sponsors. If they money dries up, the Scouts cease to exist.

SBinF

February 11th, 2013
9:11 am

“It still exists. The takers are currently feeding on it and will likely devour it in the not too distant future.”

Yes, please continue to spout this opinion. You know, since it worked so well for Romney last November.

Road Scholar

February 11th, 2013
9:12 am

Finn: About that job at the Vatican….I think it is single males only. I mean not that the wife would be good for redecorating!

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

February 11th, 2013
9:13 am

“…and libs can’t stomach Supreme Court decisions that they do not like.”

Yeah, the Con reaction to the June SC announcement about ACA was splendid.

bu2

February 11th, 2013
9:16 am

“It would not last long as an organization that allowed some local units’ policies to, in the eyes of other local units’ sponsors, violate the Scout Oath’s dictum to keep oneself “morally straight.” A house divided against itself will not stand.”

“Kyle I have never understood this argument. This seems to me to be in the best tradition of America. If a local sponsor is a Catholic church, and they feel strongly about this topic, keep the current ban. If another group feels that there is no problem with gay members, let them admit them.”

This is actually a pretty Methodist concept, since Kyle mentions them. There are a lot of things Methodists leave to the local congregation. There are very liberal Methodist congregations, congregations as fundamentalist as any Baptist church, congregations that are all or almost all white, congregations that are all or almost all African-American, congregations that cater to gays. The tolerance to local differences, IMO, is why the Methodist church hasn’t splintered or shrunk as quickly as the other mainline protestant groups.

Aquagirl

February 11th, 2013
9:23 am

but I tend to disagree with the views of the northeastern big government flip flopping aisle reachers in the Republican party.

You have confused common decency and sanity with a political stance. Wow, those darned NE flip-floppers are so reluctant to howl “CHILD MOLESTER” at the drop of a hat. I can see why they irritate you. Not nearly enough screaming and nastiness for your tastes.

Just Saying..

February 11th, 2013
9:24 am

“Now let’s think long and hard why homosexuals would want to be troop leaders.”

For a first post, that’s very good, Aesop…

SBinF

February 11th, 2013
9:25 am

Aesop is brilliant. You know, because homosexual is synonymous with child predator.

Jefferson

February 11th, 2013
9:27 am

The times they are a changing.

DebbieDoRight - A Do Right Woman

February 11th, 2013
9:27 am

Kyle concerning your comment on the United Methodist churches – as you know the church is SPLIT over its decisions about “gays” (whether to ordain them or not, etc); and have NOT reached a conclusion on the subject.

Some parishes are for the rights of gays and some aren’t. Some want the church to move on from this conflict and some want allowing the denomination to separate as it did over slavery in the 1840s.

So in essence, what i’m saying your opening statement — why not saying specifically that UMC would be adverse to having gay men over boy scouts troops, it did infer that they did.

You, in essence, wrote a misleading intro into your commentary; and it stands to reason that if you’ve deliberately misled about the UMC then you’ve probably deliberately misled with your whole commentary.