Boy Scouts forced to be Bullies

A Boy Scout troop has been made by its governing regional council to remove an anti-discrimination policy published last week, which contradicts the national policy banning gay members, volunteers and staff.

The Boy Scouts of America’s 422 troop, of Cloverly in the state of Maryland, last week announced that it was to adopt a non-discrimination policy, which was in conflict with the BSA’s national anti-gay policy. In July 2012, after a two year review, the Boy Scouts of America announced it would retain its ban on gay members, volunteers and staff.

Last week the troop had ”anonymously voted and overwhelmingly approved” to adopt a non-discrimination policy, which declared that the group would not discriminate “against any individual or family based on race, religion, national origin or sexual orientation.” The pack had also posted an online poll requesting that families to vote on whether or not to publish the statement.

Then, on Saturday, another statement appeared on the troop’s website, saying they had been made to remove the policy, in order to retain their BSA charter, reports the Huffington Post. It read: “Due to pressure from the National Capital Area Council, Pack 442 is being forced to remove its Non-Discrimination statement posted below in order to keep our Charter (up at end of Jan). Please feel free to send feedback to the following NCAC Leaders at 301-530-9360: Sarah Pelter, Director of Field Services; Les Baron, Scout Executive.”

Reports last week claimed that the executive of the BSA, Les Baron, had said the 442 troop would”not be recognized as an organisation” if it upholds such a policy. GLAAD President, Herndon Graddick, released a statement commenting on the reported threats from the BSA to remove the 442 charter. He said: “To think that the Boy Scouts would rather cast out elementary school children than accept a parent-approved policy allowing gay children and parents to participate is just unconscionable,” and called the decison of the BSA a “despicable act of bullying and intimidation”.

  

26 thoughts on “Boy Scouts forced to be Bullies”

  1. Boy Scouts are heading for the same kind of irrelevance as the Catholic church. I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Maybe now is the time to found a scouting organization that doesn’t discriminate?

    1. There is a scouting organization that doesn’t discriminate. Its called Baden Powell Service Association. Boys, Girls, Adults and no requirement to to be religious either.

  2. That particular troop could disassociate themselves from the Boy Scouts of America. They could join up with the Scouting organisation here in the U.K. — That must now be feasible and practical using internet communications.

    They can then be comfortable knowing they are then closer to the origin of Scouting and would also be eligible for funding from corporations such as Intel.

    Looks like that particular troop needs the BSA as much as they need a hole in the head.

    1. Unfortunately, the rules of the World Organisation of the Scout Movement won’t allow for that. Nice idea though – I was once an adult member of the Dutch Scout association while also an American Scout leader, but that was under WOSM’s radar, and the Dutchies are pretty loose about such things. Not so in the UK.

  3. I don’t understand why gay scouting member don’t split from the BSA and create their own national scouting associations. I personally would not want to be a part of an association that discriminates against any group. They can take their eagle badges and shove them up their asses.

    1. Liam,
      Many yrs ago, the Mormons bought the majority of physical holdings in the BSA. Technically, no one entity can actually own the BSA because of the way it’s chartered, but this was the closet thing. Since then, the Mormons have tried to set moral policy for the BSA within their own faux, hypocritical ‘family values’ framework. With their intense prohibition on everything homosexual, their ban on gay scout leaders and gay scouts was to be expected..

      There are a couple of viable alternatives now in the States. But the trouble is competing with a nearly 100yr old institution that has become a household name for countless generations. Baden Powell who was almost certainly a BL himself, would be rolling over in his grave.

    1. Sounds great but it says “The proposed new policy would leave decisions on membership and leadership up to the BSA’ s 290 local governing councils and 116,000 sponsoring religious and civic groups” Local Units of the BSA are mostly sponsored by religious organizations, mostly the mormon church, so I am skeptical that the BSA will really change that much. In addition, the BSA holds a National Congressional Charter as well as being a United Way charitable organization. One of the big supporters of United Way is The National Football League. In conclusion, the BSA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. In order for real change to occur amongst its leadership is to strip its Charter and its non-profit status. That is what I would do. No money…No problem.

      1. As a gay former scout “in self-exile”, who, yes, wants to go back, this is hope.

        Its a good program. And on the ground, the ban isn’t followed. I know many gay scouts who accomplished so much, who achieved the highest ranks, and who are amazing contributing members of our society. We’d never have been in a unit of an unwelcoming church, and I will gladly restore my membership upon finding a unit with an open and affirming charter.

  4. Im in scouting in Australia and i know a number of gay leaders n scouts.

    In Australia we just get on with it i recently returned from AJ2013 in Queensland where 11 500 plp participated. Lots of lots troop badges with rainbows on em. I witnessed no bullying i did witness LOTS of FUN. WAKE UP USA,

  5. I do believe that the Mormon Church is now running the Boy Scouts, so wake up! What do you expect from them? Sadly, this is a “private” organization, so they can set the “rules” themselves, I think. It would be interesting to see one of the Boy Scout Units challenge the rules in the Supreme Court, as totally discriminatory.

    1. Just let me add the following info I copied & pasted from the Official Boy Scouts of America web-site.

      Faith-Based Chartered Organizations
      Total Youth
      The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints*
      Total Units 37,882
      Total Youth 420,977

      69.4 percent of all units are chartered to faith-based organizations

      So I was correct.

  6. Boy Scouts OF AMERICA.
    OF AMERICA.
    Don’t leave that out in the headline.

    Scouting is international. The BSA is just one local organisation. I’d be happy for American scouts to circumvent that extremist organisation and get on with real scouting.

    But don’t give a bad name to Scouting as a whole just because you can’t get one country’s local organisation under control.

  7. The world is full of wankers. The BSA HQ is run by such people. Rejoice, because at least we know where this bunch of wankers is. Far better to see them advertise who they are than trip over the by accident. One day they may grow up. We’ll all be dead, of course.

    1. I think it’s the other way around. They all will be dead, replaced by a younger, progressive generation, and you will be alive to see it.

  8. Boy Scouts OF AMERICA.
    OF AMERICA.
    Don’t leave that out in the headline.

    Scouting is international. The BSA is just one local organisation. I’d be happy for American scouts to circumvent that extremist organisation and get on with real scouting.

    But don’t give a bad name to Scouting as a whole just because we can’t seem to get one country’s local organisation under control.

  9. The Mormons walk a tightrope on their BSA policies. They are always striving for public recognition and good PR for their faux ‘family values’. They are presently in a maelstrom over their gay discrimination policies and claims that scout leaders have sexually abused scouts for generations…..and it’s also now known that the BSA National acted to cover up these incidents and allegations exactly like the Catholic Church did. Rather than let the BSA implode, my guess is that they(BSA National), will capitulate and let local chapters set their own sexual orientation/nondiscrimination policies.

    All but the most ignorant know from the research that adult male predation is about power over a youth and not about the sex or sexual orientation. Most real adult predators claim to be heterosexual.

  10. As a long-time (now retired) high level Scouting historian, here are a couple of real facts: The LDS church was one of the original founders of BSA in 1910, and has always accounted for about 1/3 of the total membership. (All BSA’s institutional founders were religious organizations, including the YMCA.)

    LDS Scouting is quite different from the rest of the BSA program. They have different badges, a different leadership structure, etc. to make it conform to their beliefs. They also don’t associate with non-LDS troops, holding their own regional camporees, etc.

    Since disasterous experiments with an urban-centric program in the 70s, LDS and a few other conservative groups have wielded much more control over all aspects of BSA. In their minds this is to protect it from any more poorly thought out changes.

    The result has been stagnation, and increasing adherence to the most restrictive and narrow religious interpretations. To be sure, BSA still wasn’t conservative or religious enough for some churches, so you will find Scout-like organizations like the Assemblies of God’s Royal Rangers out there. For that reason, BSA’s national board see themselves as pretty moderate.

    The big problem is that many denominations have been moving away from the anti-gay interpretations of the Bible, Koran, and Torah, and BSA hasn’t kept pace. The world is moving on without them, and an otherwise good program is suffering.

    Another problem is that BSA National HQ has near complete control over who the paid staff are at each local council office. Over the last few decades, these employees have been carefully managed to ensure that all have strong conservative religious credentials. These are people who have been groomed and trained by National to be their eyes and ears in the local councils. I;m curious to see how they handle any changes in the gay rules.

    My own troop never discriminated against gay kids or adults, despite our Baptist Church sponsor. We just kept it quiet so the council staff never knew. I suspect you will find many more like that.

    Girl Scouts of America made the change currently being discussed by BSA many years ago, leaving the decision up to the local unit’s sponsor.

    This is one place I have to agree with the policy. If BSA tried to force all sponsors to accept gay leaders and Scouts, they’d leave in droves. The good news is that in many areas, Scouts have a choice of troops. If it happens this week, this will be a good first step, and in time I think we’ll see more and more American churches dropping restrictions. Maybe not the Catholics and evangelicals though – they’re wierd!

    1. I am an Eagle scout, and an atheist, who was a member back in the ” disastrous urban-centric 70s.” Sexual orientation or religious preference weren’t issues that I recall even coming up back then, despite the fact that our troop met at a Catholic school.

  11. Since disasterous experiments with an urban-centric program in the 70s, LDS and a few other conservative groups have wielded much more control over all aspects of BSA. In their minds this is to protect it from any more poorly thought out changes.

    This is primarily Mormon backed on the National level, even if they don’t have a completely public face on it. You’re kidding yourself to believe the Mormons are ‘separate but equal’ in the overall BSA picture. Their inspiration is not to protect the BSA from harm, but to impose their faux values.

    Girl Scouts of America made the change currently being discussed by BSA many years ago, leaving the decision up to the local unit’s sponsor.

    Don’t let other readers confuse these two organizations as linked. They are not and the GSA has even done research surveys with girls on their opinions of all aspects of life; including alternative sexual orientations. BSA has never done anything like that. Great kudos should go to the GSA.

    This is one place I have to agree with the policy. If BSA tried to force all sponsors to accept gay leaders and Scouts, they’d leave in droves. The good news is that in many areas, Scouts have a choice of troops.

    Considering their past prohibition on gay scouts/leaders and the damage they have inflicted on the gay scout/leader image…the BSA needs a screaming death in the dirt-anything that would force restructure or end such a now homophobic organization. They can’t possibly change overnight and don’t assume for a minute that this is all over.

  12. This is funny. Back when I was in the Boy Scouts a friend of mine and I were singled out to be bullied not only by certain groups in the troop, but many of the leaders (and parents even!) *encouraged* said groups of kids to do so, and often. Not because we were being gay (we did both come out eventually, but at different times and we were never a couple or had any relationship other than platonic friendship) but it was because we always sat around and talked about video games and TV. We weren’t like the other kids, so therefore we were to be ridiculed.

  13. Now that I look back on my childhood, I understand why i never joined the boyscouts. I was uncomfortable subjecting myself to such bravado. In the end now I realize that it was me wanting to advoid being the subject of my own immoral “perversion”. I was always embarrassed to be around peers of my gender. I still have no clear idea what is going on in my life, but this might be why I advoided that part.

    1. This is a touching, candid look at your childhood fears. Bravo for being so honest and I think it’s actually quite common among some queer boys.

      While I had no trouble being around other, mostly str8 boys, it had to be on my own terms. If their leg touched mine by accident, I’d involuntarily jump….same with hand contact etc. If I made the gesture first, no problem. Even to this day I’m not comfortable with random touchy feely stuff by both sexes..

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