Poll: Should the BSA end the ban on gays?

It could happen. Maybe it should happen. What do you think?

Whatever your opinion, the BSA is gathering feedback. Call 972-580-2330 during business hours, or email nationalsupportcenter@scouting.org. And, as always, explain yourself in the comments.

Comments

  1. bethanyanddaniel says:

    I think yes, but voted for the local decision option, because I just don’t think some councils could handle it. Giving them a choice, at least for a few years, would help smooth the transition.
    I know that isn’t the morally defensible position, but it will keep the most temper flares down and promote peace among current leaders. Compromise is hard to actually practice.

  2. I personally would favor them making the change organization-wide, but I think any organization “should” do whatever that organization believes it should do to be consistent with its mission and the dictates of its own conscience.

  3. Jeremiah Stone says:

    Who cares about the boy scouts–where are my girl scout cookies?!?

  4. Totally different (but still very important) poll, Jeremiah. In which I will lose all faith in humanity if Thin Mint isn’t the runaway winner.

  5. With the right representatives, I think in the near future we might see a culture shift where our gay brothers and sisters can be seen even by conservatives as working with us to uphold and defend strong families, fidelity, and faith in God, rather than somehow undermining it. At least one can hope. Allowing them to shape their persona by including them and having them provide support to traditional organizations like the Boy Scouts could help.

  6. Aaron Brown says:

    This topic has me so riled up, but for now, all I’ll say is this: Any of you who disagree with my opinion on the topic will one day burn in flames.

  7. Isn’t ending the ban the same as giving local units a choice? If there is no national ban, the local units can still decide not to allow it if they choose.

  8. I view this blog as a disgusting hive of obnoxious sewer vermin.

  9. The other day at work (tech support) I was speaking with a friendly, chatty older fellow, who kept asking questions about me and my company. Then, out of nowhere, he said “I like you guys…not the Boy Scouts, though. They’re gonna have to disband. You follow the news?” I hemmed and hawed. “They’re letting ho-mo-sexuals in. A homosexual will wreck a military squad!” And with that non sequitur I wished him well and hung up the phone as quickly as I could. Anyway, working in an industry that skews toward an older customer demographic with a lot of email problems, I get a lot of glimpses of the far-right, and man, it’s a bizarre, angry world. I’m now convinced that the Tea Party could mobilize tens of thousands in hours with a concentrated email forward campaign. And that’s my story about the Boy Scouts.

  10. To be honest, I wasn’t really sure which way to vote. It sort of goes along with my general confusion of, “should a homosexual person be in the other public restroom, or in mine?” In other words, there’s something to be said about having a leader who isn’t attracted to your gender that would just mess with me a bit.

  11. Edit: isn’t to is.

  12. I support the ban.
    If the ban is ended for boys sleeping in the same tent. What funtamentaly makes that diffrent than alowing girls and boys to do the same? Not much.

    If the ban is lifted for leaders then I fail to see the diffrance between a homosexual man taking boys in to the woods camping and a hetrosexual man taking a buch of girls in to the woods. you just don’t put people in to that situation no matter how honrable they may be.

    considering this case it could be argued there are 4 genders (male, gay-male, femail, gay-femail) 2 biological and 2 psyco/behavoural, you could make gay-male only troops so as to not cross these gender lines but the complicated fact is that a person can (some more easily than others) switch between gay and strait. but none can change there genetics from one gender to another.

    Now as if the water was not muddy enugh for you, homosexuality in scouting can be even more complicated than that as the term can also be understood to include bi-sexual individuals. Is this a fith gender? If we go with this who do we put them with that sexual attaction/diffrences are a non issue? There is no existing group.

    Now we could make it the local units choice. If you are wanting strict seperation between genders now each unit has to check with every unit they are partisapating with? or could be in a leadership position at scoutcamp? That is unreasonable.

  13. Yes. Don’t punish often very confused kids because of their sexual orientation. No one should be excluded, unless they do something that they deserve to get kicked out for.

  14. No…Be Strong Scouts, DON’T BACK DOWN….Whatever happen to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell…I don’t go around telling everyone I’m HETEROSEXUAL….Sorry, but Homosexual’s are sexually disoriented at best and down right SINFUL if acted on…sorry, it’s un-natural, so is anything heterosexuals do that is perverted. I also liked TJ’s answer…Right on…and just because you know Homosexuals are sexually disoriented, doesn’t mean your mean to them, just pray for them, correct them and try and get them help through; http://www.couragerc.net/

  15. TJ, wouldn’t it be far simpler to just say “sexuality plays no part in BSA organization or activities”?

    Mixed-gender troops work just fine everywhere but the U.S. LDS scout troops. Maybe that’s an answer.

    Joyce, please be nice. And go meet some gay people.

  16. DOLLY WRIGHT says:

    If a women teaches karate or piano or in anyway nurtures a male child there should be no fear of predatory behavior. I don’t get the inequality of assuming horror from people. Gay men teaching skills to my daughter and sons. Yes! Straight teachers. Yes! I’ll take all loving and skilled teachers! Discriminatory and bully teachers. No! (That’s where my equality stops.)

  17. If the ban is ended for boys sleeping in the same tent. What funtamentaly makes that diffrent than alowing girls and boys to do the same?

    It’s a fair question.

    Please don’t interpret my comment to be anti-gay talk in anyway. It is one thing for me to be in public with a female, but a little different matter to be sleeping in the same tent as her. This doesn’t make me anti-female. Wouldn’t it be safe to say the same in alternative situations as well?

    @15: Yes, it could be an LDS issue. But, mixed-gender sleepovers (or even “single-gender” sleepovers these days) are a hot topic, and I think we would have to breach that issue before “sexuality plays no part in BSA organization or activities.”

  18. Aren’t there rules about 2-deep leadership and leaders NEVER sharing tents with scouts? What kind of freaky situations are we making up to justify a ban?

  19. Uugh. I don’t like my grammar mistake ^^ sitting up there. I suppose there should be plenty of love and equality for the illiterate found among the smarties that troll here. For anyone else, please refrain from being a hater.

  20. rameumptom says:

    I think leaving it to local areas to decide is best. I do think they need to add another concept to the Scout Law: Chaste. If they promote chastity, then it matters less whether a kid/adult is heterosexual or gay, as sexual activity within the organization would be frowned upon completely -as it should.

  21. I think either the Boy Scouts need to lift the ban, or the church needs to cut ties with the Boy Scouts.

    Let’s take the hypothetical of a 16 year old boy who is gay and is living the law of chastity. He can go on the ward temple trip to do baptisms on Saturday. He can bless the sacrament on Sunday. But he is deemed unworthy to participate in youth activities on Wednesday. As it currently stands, the policy of the Boy Scouts excludes otherwise active and qualified church members from full participation in the programs of the church.

  22. Nick Literski says:

    Several times each year, I encounter booths/tables set up by Boy Scouts for fundraising purposes. The boys dutifully ask me for a donation, or to buy their popcorn, etc. As kindly as I can, I explain that I’m unable to support an organization that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation. Interestingly enough, I’ve always found the young men understand my position and are genuinely embarassed that the ban exists. I believe the BSA has many wonderful things to offer young men, though, and I look forward to the time that I can support the organization with my donations, etc., without lending assistance to homophobic discrimination.

  23. “but Homosexual’s are sexually disoriented at best and down right SINFUL if acted on” — Joyce

    The problem with this statement is that, according the the Episcopalian church that sponsors my troop, acting on one’s homosexual activity is not sinful. Which is why leaving it up to each chartering organization to set their own policy in this matter is a wise and fair practice. It is also consistent with the BSA’s stance that sexuality is a matter to be discussed between the youth, his or her parents, and his or her religious leaders.

  24. Why are there like 4 different comments equating gay scouts/leaders to women? They are still male. The biggest problem I see comes from heterosexuals assuming that because someone is homosexual that means they are attracted to everyone of the same sex. Takes a pretty big ego to think that way. I voted for lifting the ban. It should be lifted. Not for me, because ban or no I would never support the BSA, but for those who do wish to participate and are otherwise barred because they are automatically equated with pedophiles or women. I also think The Church should cut ties with them, but I don’t really see that happening–I think they are too heavily invested in the model.

  25. The problem with this statement is that, according the the Episcopalian church that sponsors my troop, acting on one’s homosexual activity is not sinful. –

    That is why there can only be “ONE” TRUTH….and since The Episcopalians broke from the TRADITIONAL TEACHINGS and INTERPRETATIONS of the Catholic Church in the 1500’s I’ll go with the Catholic Church and their TEACHING; It is SINFUL! Corinthians 6:9-10 – “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
    Notice, it is BAD enough that HETEROSEXUAL will have a lot to answer for if we are “SEXUALLY IMMORAL in marriage too…no perverted ways, just the plain simple and loving act…God created to increase and multiply the earth!
    And it is Better to ADMONISH another, so we aren’t guilty of our own sin of OMISSION for not speaking the TRUTH.
    James 5:19–20 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. Besides, we CAN’T change what God has Ordained…
    Genesis 2:24:That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

    -joyce

  26. TRADITIONAL CATHOLIC FAMILIES says:

    Joyce, please be nice. And go meet some gay people.
    To Klye M

    First off, if gay people would stop identifying themselves as ‘GAY’, the world would be better off …I don’t go around identifying myself as “HETEROSEXUAL” do You?, if so? If someone has to SHOUT to the rooftops what they are DOING to get attention especially when it comes to perverted sex, so BE IT, but i, and MOST people don’t want to know about theirs or anyone else’s sex life. There is something wrong with this person or any person who has to talk about their perverted sex ….it’s though, if they say it out loud it somehow makes it right…don’t force your sinful actions on the rest of us to MAKE us condone them….Most people Homosexual or Heterosexual ( who are perverted)know the TRUTH, they just DON”T want to change and will make all kinds of EXCUSE to stay in their SIN…no different the rest of us who like to view pornography, frequent immoral places, watch immoral TV, dress immodestly….they DON’T want to Change, it’s not that they CAN’T, they DON”T want to…it ‘s more comfortable to stay in their SINS, but not only that, they want to DRAG everyone else DOWN with them…I was NO different…SIN loves Company! The devil prowls around like a roaring lion ready to devour everyone and anyone to the pits of HELL with him…that means YOU or Me…Pray! -joyce

  27. Well, JOYCE. Thank YOU for contributing to THIS conversation. If is comforting it is good to know that a CATHOLIC can PROOFTEXT as goofily as many of my FELLOW Mormons on this matter.

  28. just, wow

  29. You have identified yourself as HETEROSEXUAL at least twice on this very thread. May God forgive you for your many SINS against the ENGLISH language.

  30. john,

    using no upper-case letters is rather passive-aggressive…don’t you think?

  31. My goodness. There are just no words.

  32. Other than that Chris H. is brilliant.

  33. yes, I think it is.

  34. EOR, thanks!

  35. I have seen the light. “Let the worship how, where, or what they may” unless they let gays into Boy Scouts. Then raise all holy hell.

  36. thanks for your comments, Joyce. I suspect your views are shared by a large percentage of mormons as well. I think we’d find common ground in the fact that you don’t go around identifying as hetero…whether or not that’s a luxury of the majority (I kind of think it is), part of this BSA change would take sexuality off the table as a crucial identifier for participation.

    Also, again, please be nice. All-caps are considered a bit shouty and rude in these parts.

  37. @ #23 EOR:

    If a boy insisted on participating in a Girl Scout’s overnighter on grounds that he’s not really attracted to anyone in the troop (honest!), would a female troop member who expressed squeamishness about that prospect be deemed “egotistical”? What if all of the females in the troop express squeamishness, and the boy is asked to sleep in a tent by himself, or prohibited in using the communal bathroom/shower? Can he sue for having been thus singled out?

  38. Aaron Brown says:

    I used to believe in segregation — that there should be straight troops and gay troops. But then I realized that this would be a great disservice to gay scouts, since they would be surrounded by others who would tempt them beyond what they might be able to bear. So my current view is that we should have straight troops plus a large number of additional gay troops, each of which will be comprised of only one scout. This way, there is no inappropriate sexual temptation. Also, these gay units must necessarily he headed by lesbian women, do as to ensure no hanky panky between scouts and scout leaders is going on.

  39. Aaron Brown says:

    On second thought, my proposal will probably lead to much loneliness, followed by nasty bouts of self-abuse, so I withdraw it. Lets just encourage the BSA to close up shop altogether. Let the boys stay home and read their scriptures, and install surveillance cameras to ensure no one unnecessarily brushed his hand up against his own genitals.

  40. There are no words. Somebody check the web traffic stats and see which internet house of crazy has made an incoming link to us.

  41. Hm, stats show an unusual amount of traffic incoming from the Juvenile Instructor blog. I always knew there was a sketchy crowd over there!

  42. #23 EOR– In my case, I gave the woman example as an attempt to show absurdity for the limitations placed on the choice of a leader based on their sexual orientation and not their gender and other bona fide qualifications. When a straight woman teaches male children in a close and physical way, it does not mean she will be abusive or attracted to them, although it has happened. I don’t like reverse gender discrimination from women toward men. It hurts to think of the awesome gay people for whom this sentiment is often felt. It actually sucks. Maybe I would have been more clear if I had simply said, “It’s boy scouts, so boys get to participate based on being boys not their sexual orientation.” Just looking forward to the day when this is a normal, non sensitive issue.

  43. JimD (36) that is a gorgeous straw man.

    Again it goes back to the fact that gay scouts/leaders are still male. There are no separate gay restrooms, there are no separate gay quarters at boarding schools, etc… The difference between a man sleeping in a woman’s tent is that a man doesn’t share the same biological characteristics.

    The only difference between a heterosexual male and a homosexual male is who they are attracted to, so yes, for a male to seek to exclude another male on the basis that he “will be attracted to me” takes a big ego.

    I have such a hard time believing that folks will justify prejudice (malicious prejudice at that) just so they can be safe from their ideas of what gay people are like. Ego in the extreme.

  44. I don’t like making policies based on statistical extremes and margins.

  45. Of course not, Ray…you probably don’t often fall into a statistically extreme minority.

  46. EOR, are you suggesting that it is biological characteristics alone that dictates the gender we share or do not share our tents with?

  47. Capozaino says:

    #45

    It seems like some combination of biological difference and irresistiblity to those who may potentially be attracted to people of your sex. I don’t think you need to worry about the latter.

  48. Would this result in a few new merit badge offerings?

  49. Josh B (45) of course that is what I am suggesting. If a girl were in the scouts are you suggesting that she would share a tent with the boys?

  50. #44 – Kyle, I think I meant the opposite of what you think I meant.

    I was talking about homosexual men who are pedophiles and making policy regarding homosexuals as a group based on those within that group who are a statistical extreme or on the margins.

    Sorry, everyone, that I wasn’t clear.

  51. Also, fwiw, I have been within a statistically extreme minority at more than one point in my life – for a few years at a time. For one, I’ve lived in the Deep South as a Mormon. There ought to be a merit badge for that, all by itself.

  52. I’ve survived the deep south (Mississippi) as a Mormon as well. My ward wasn’t even in the phone book. (Phone books are paper google sheets for those young’uns)

  53. EOR, if they were siblings, I’d have no problem with it. Just trying to show that I don’t think people draw lines purely based on gender. I think people (should be) concerned about issues which transcend beyond this. And if there’s nothing to be concerned with, then all’s well!

  54. There is nothing to be concerned about…at least not anymore than between two random opposite sex children so I agree all is well. Now if the BSA would see that then Happy Day.

  55. #53 EOR: I agree. Are we sure that isn’t what the BSA has been seeing? I’m not terribly familiar with whatever justifications they’ve put forward.

  56. A library in Chicago came under fire recently for having a gay erotica section and there was a story with pictures of a businessman sexually assaulting a 15 year old boy. Militant gays would like to normalize this way of life so that it no longer seems deviant. Why are people more concerned about militant gays than the proper development of our young boys. Heterosexual men need to step uo to the plate.and be role models for these boys, men who are not interested in anyone other than their wives. If the Boy Scout oath is to stay morally clean, the ban should stay in place.
    You cannot make homosexuality wholesome when it is, by definition, unwholesome.

  57. “Militant gays would like to normalize this way of life so that it no longer seems deviant.”

    Hogwash.

    There might be one or two people like that in this world, since that comment was after mentioning sexual assault, but to characterize any measurable portion of the homosexual population as supporting such a conclusion is beyond ridiculous.

    Just to say it, how can heterosexual men be role models for homosexual young men, if they can’t spend time together “bonding” out of fear that homosexuality is contagious and/or predatory in nature? If the only way they can be role models is to help homosexual young men realize how deviant they are and help them “go straight” . . .

    That idea outrages me.

  58. Ah, thanks Ray. I read you wrong and I apologize.

    Henry, I’ll tell you what I told Joyce. Be nice, and go make some gay friends.

  59. Henry, I’m curious, if the militant gays who are also pedophiles have actually officially formed an organization and clearly stated that their combined purpose is to normalize sex crimes in libraries, or if you are just inferring the agenda from the militant gay pedophiles that you know well and have spoken to about their organization’s aims?

  60. So unwholesome!! I mean, just look at that one couple–they freely admit they’ve been together 42 years, and they’re only getting married now?! For shame, 42 years of living in sin before making it official!

  61. Karen:
    Pedophilia is an interest in pre-pubescent children so gays are not usually involved in this but there are men out there who molest boys only iso that to me is intrinsically so that is probably another post. But there are gays out there who are interested in smooth muscular 14 15 16 year old boys and these would be predators. I submit that it would not be proper for gay men to sleep in the same tent as young boys.

    Rayy:
    It was commonly thought that a minority of Muslims support the religious violence in suicide bombings. Let’s suppose that there are 1 billion muslims. 10 percent is a minority and that is 100 million people. 1 percent is10 million. Still alot of people. Go to any gay bar or pride parade. Just observe and you will see what the gay movement is about.

  62. is intrinsically gay.

  63. “Go to any gay bar or pride parade. Just observe and you will see what the gay movement is about.”

    Henry, how many gay bars have you been in?

  64. Kristine:
    I stand by my comments.

  65. Aaron Brown says:

    “61. Henry ….:
    …….
    is intrinsically gay.”

    Folks, I’m inclined to take Henry at his word here.

  66. Absolutely. How could we justifiably challenge his self-perception?

  67. Guys, stop picking on Henry. I’m just impressed that he is so pure and clean that he evidently has not only not looked at hetero erotica, but doesn’t even know it exists (and is chock full of rape scenes and underage scenes)! Truly impressive, Henry.

  68. Heywood Jablome says:

    “But there are gays out there who are interested in smooth muscular 14 15 16 year old boys” Did you just say that? Did you just say “smooth [and] muscular”? How do you know that? You know what, never mind. I don’t want to know how you know that. That’s a closet I’d just as soon keep closed. I assume you feel the same.

  69. I voted YES. And I also hope someday the church will go rogue and start up their own scouting program for both YM/YW (but that’s a whole other discussion…)…and it might be a pipe dream.

  70. Corrina, the BSA program actually is mixed gender above age 14. It’s called the Venture Scouts. The church opts to not participate in that program of the BSA, and is actually operating what is essentially a deprecated version of BSA. In other words, BSA has moved on to Windows 8, and we’re still running Windows’95.

  71. I think that the 2nd parent in this news clip is really on to something:

  72. I’d say we’re at least on Vista by now, Cynthia.

  73. John Taber says:

    And Temple Square gives Walnut Hill Lane what amounts to a blank check for the privilege of running 95. Meanwhile, the Great Salt Lake Council is throwing a wrench into all this: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865571975/Utah-Scout-council-urges-BSA-to-delay-vote-on-admitting-gay-Scouts-and-leaders.html

  74. 70 & 72– what you’re REALLY saying (pardon my all caps, I suck at italics) is that the BSA has moved on to iMacs and the Church is still stuck in Windows?

    I vote yes fwiw. I can’t believe how incredibly arrogant it is to ban a group of people.

  75. Anyone who thinks lifting the ban will suddenly leave boys vulnerable to pedophiles hasn’t been paying attention and is probably too clueless to have a worthwhile opinion on the matter.

  76. John Taber says:

    I voted “councils and troops”. Let them deal with things on the ground, lest Walnut Hill Lane’s blanket policy, whatever it is, not make sense there,

  77. My only hope and prayer is that boys might be spared from this insane political issue. How we have allowed our children to be used as a political football is beyond reason. Thank God my sons are all grown up.

  78. Joyce, JimD, et al … 

    Being a gay boy is not the least bit equivalent to being a straight girl.

    Trust me. As a gay man, I know.

    The dynamics between a bunch of men are simply (and profoundly) different than the dynamics of a mixed-gender group. The most basic difference is that in most all-male groups, some 95% of the men are straight. So even though a gay man might be attracted to _them_, they sure as shooting aren’t attracted to _him_. It’s not like you can catch teh gay.

    And let’s be honest, here: put a bunch boys together for an overnighter and there’s going to be hijinks — regardless of orientation. I know plenty of straight (LDS) men who experimented with their peers in the early years of adolescence. It happens. And no amount of handwringing or extra-special rules-making will stop it.

  79. Henry, how on earth is homosexuality “by its definition” unwholesome?

    Unwholesome doesn’t show up anywhere in its definition.

    Someone needs to buy you a dictionary.

  80. Silus,

    Henry lost his dictionary during the last book burning.

  81. Also, Henry … go to any cruise bar — gay or straight — and see what modern dating/sexuality has come to. It’s sad, really. And you know what? There are plenty of gay men that don’t do the bar or club scene for just that reason.

    Good golly — imagine if we judged all straight people by what we saw on Sex in the City or Game of Thrones or at any number of dive bars. Y’all would be locked up! You straights are some seriously damaged creatures.

  82. Well hells bells, somehow I’m posting as both silusgrok and D Christian Harrison. Grr.

  83. As a non-drinker, I do not frequent bars (largely because they do not have free refill on soda). However, if we are going to judge gay people based on their bar, we should also judges straight people based on their bars. In which case, I have to say….we all lose.

    I have been to the Wonderbar in Casper, WY with Silus. Does that make it a gay bar?

  84. I dunno, Chris … I couldn’t tell whether you were eyeing my onion rings or me. So the jury’s still out. ;-)

    Salt Lake City has some great pubs, though. I don’t drink a lick, but our pubs have amazing kitchens.

  85. #84 – You’re gay and don’t drink?

    Back to square one.

  86. I’m Mormon, Ray … there’s a whole list of things I don’t do.

    Can’t choose whom you love.

  87. Ooh. That reminds me … I’m teaching EQ this Sunday.

  88. Feel free to quote me in your lesson.

  89. Chris H #88,
    Will he have to wash his mouth out with soap and water before or after the lesson? Or both times?

  90. You’re gay and teaching EQ?

    Back to square zero.

  91. Nah, Rammy, he’s not terribly blue — just so very esoteric. Quoting him is just an invitation for blank stares.

    Ray: out, gay, active Latter-day Saint, who dates men and teaches EQ (and GD on occasion).

  92. … and I was a boy scout. Although the only thing I do with the youth these days is act as token male at the annual Girls Camp for my stake.

  93. Yeah, I know. I’ve read your posts for a long time in the Bloggernacle.

    In case you didn’t catch it, my tongue was planted firmly in my cheek with a wink and a nod to some commenters in other threads recently.

  94. Sorry, Ray … I’m operating on 3 hours of sleep. My cheeky-dar is off.

  95. “Be aware that you will not get much quality discussion from Christopher H. When someone disagrees with him, he reduces to ad hominem and swearing. Definitely something he thinks he is proud of, but not something a faithful LDS member should be bragging about. I know he’s used even stronger language at me on some lists, and instead of promoting discussion, it only leads people to stop the discussion and look sadly upon him in disdain.”

    –Rameumpton on the LDS-Phil email list

    So, if you do quote me…be sure to emphasize that I am surely not a faithful LDS member.

  96. Um, yeah. Let’s close on that.

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