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Boy Scouts Of America Votes To Admit Openly Gay Members

Boy Scouts

Capping off several months of controversy and debate, the Boy Scouts of America’s governing body has voted to open membership to those who are openly gay:

GRAPEVINE, Tex. — The Boy Scouts of America on Thursday ended its longstanding policy of forbidding openly gay youths to participate in its activities, a step its chief executive called “compassionate, caring and kind.”

The decision, which followed years of resistance and wrenching internal debate, was widely seen as a milestone for the Boy Scouts, a symbol of traditional America. More than 1,400 volunteer leaders from across the country voted, with more than 60 percent approving a measure that said no youth may be denied membership “on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.”

The top national leaders of the Boy Scouts had urged the change in the face of vehement opposition from conservative parents and volunteers, some of whom said they would quit the organization. But the decision also put the scouts more in tune with the swift rise in public acceptance of homosexuality, especially among younger parents who are essential to the future of an institution that has been losing members for decades.

The decision is unlikely to bring peace to the Boy Scouts as they struggle to keep a foothold in a swirling cultural landscape, ensuring continued lobbying and debate in the months and year to come. The group put off the even more divisive question of whether to allow openly gay adults and leaders, and those on both sides of the debate predicted that, with the resolution’s passage, the Boy Scouts would soon be forced to start allowing gay adults, whether by lawsuits or embarrassment at the twisted logic of forcing an Eagle Scout who turns 18 to quit.

Gay rights advocates called the decision a breakthrough but vowed to continue pressing the scouts to allow gay members of all ages. Some conservative churches and parents said the scouts were violating their oath to be “morally straight” and said they would drop out.

Still, for gay men who were forced out of scouting and their allies, thousands of whom joined the push for change, the opening of membership was more than welcome.

“I’ve waited 13 years for this,” said Matt Comer, now 27, who was forced out of his scout troop at age 14 after he started a Gay-Straight Alliance at his school. Since the fourth grade, he said Thursday, he had dreamed of becoming an Eagle Scout and was crushed when he was denied the chance.

“Today we finally have some justice for me and others,” he said. “But gay youths will still be told they are no longer welcome when they turn 18.”

Leaders of the conservative faction predicted that the Boy Scouts will soon be forced by lawsuits to allow openly gay leaders and accused the top leaders of ignoring the beliefs of their members.

“The fallout from this is going to be tremendous,” predicted Robert Schwarzwalder, a senior vice president of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group, and a father of two scouts in Northern Virginia. “I think there will be a loss of hundreds of thousands of boys and parents.”

“This great institution is going to be vitiated by the intrusion of a political agenda,” he said.

Glaad, a gay rights group that has campaigned for change over the last year, said it would keep up pressure on the Boy Scouts over the leadership issue. “We’ll continue urging corporate donors and public officials to withhold their support,” said Richard Ferraro, the group’s vice president for communications.

The UPS Foundation, Merck, the Intel Foundation, and many local United Ways and city agencies have already ended financing for the scouts because its policies violated their own nondiscrimination guidelines.

For the last year, the organization whose motto is “God and Country” has been engulfed by the culture war.

In a closed meeting of the assembled delegates here Wednesday night, the top three leaders of the Boy Scouts — Wayne Brock, the paid chief executive, Wayne Perry, the volunteer president who is a corporate leader from Washington state, and Tico Perez, the volunteer commissioner and a consultant in Florida — made a strong plea to allow gay youths, saying the goal of scouting was to reach as many boys as possible, according to people who attended.

“This is not about what’s legal but what’s compassionate, caring and kind,” Mr. Brock reportedly said. No similar proposal to allow gay adults was on the agenda and the executives have said little about how they made the distinction. But in surveys this spring, many parents and volunteers around the country said they were against the idea of openly gay scout leaders.

The vote was a bittersweet one for David Knopp, 86, who spent much of his life in scouting as a boy, as a professional staff member and later as a volunteer with a council in Connecticut. He had tried to keep his sexual orientation a secret but one day, he said, two scout officials said, “We found out you are a homosexual” and forced him out.

“I see this as a good step but with a lot of misgivings,” he said of the limited opening to gays.

This is, I’m sure, not the end of the issue. For one thing, I am sure that the conservative blowback on this issue will be harsh and severe. We may even see efforts by some to create breakaway organizations that refuse to comply with the new rules, although they would likely be forbidden by applicable copyright and other applicable laws from even indirectly associating themselves with the Boy Scouts of America. Additionally, as the excerpted piece notes, this still leaves in place a ban on openly gay Scout leaders. However, it’s going to be hard for the BSA to credibly make the argument that a ban on gay Scout leaders should remain in place while they are openly admitting openly gay members, especially since it isn’t uncommon for former Boy Scouts to themselves become Scout Leaders when they enter adulthood.

In the end, this is a good step forward for the Boy Scouts. As a former Scout myself, although I will admit I pretty much dropped out of the program before I hit the teenage years, I’m glad to see this happen. There will undoubtedly be much vile coming from the Christian right over this decision, but honestly that’s just because they are recognizing that this is just another sign that they are losing the culture war over the issue of the cultural acceptability of homosexuality. Which, I would submit, is a good thing.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. So, what’s the inevitable Christianist splinter group going to be named?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  2. Mikey says:

    It’s about time. Most boys who are Scouts got into Scouting in the first grade. Who knows they’re gay or straight in the first grade? These boys aren’t even paying attention to girls until they’re completely done with Cub Scouts. So they do Scouting for six or seven years, realize they’re gay, and then get kicked out? After they’ve gone partway through what it takes to become an Eagle Scout? Horrendously unfair.

    My son’s a Webelos Scout, and my wife is on the pack committee, so a couple months ago we received an e-mail from Boy Scouts of America asking our opinion (well, technically, hers, but we agree on this) about the proposed change. We supported it completely. And we’re glad it’s finally been done.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 1

  3. Mikey says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    So, what’s the inevitable Christianist splinter group going to be named?

    I grew up Seventh-day Adventist and they have their “own” scouts. Too much bacon at the Boy Scout Jamborees, or something. (Adventists don’t eat pork.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  4. @Mikey:

    I try to be tolerant of people’s religious beliefs, but opposition to bacon is something I just can’t comprehend.

    Speaking of which, for breakfast tomorrow……

    (For those who don’t get it, I’m joking here)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  5. Argon says:

    Gays are now less reviled than atheists. Progress, I suppose.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  6. Argon says:

    @Mikey
    Bacon? Most of the time we had Spam because it was almost impossible to cook in such a way that the patrol ended up running to the latrines. Of course in my day Spam didn’t have a pop-top lid. It actually required skill and often pliers to open a can.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  7. Mikey says:

    @Argon: When we camp with my son’s Den, we eat like kings. Bacon, eggs, sausage, this potato and cheese thing one of the dads does in a Dutch oven…it’s amazing.

    I never had Spam growing up, because it contains pork.

    So I joined the military and went to Germany, land of pork done 1000 ways. Take that, former religion!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  8. 11B40 says:

    Greetings:

    Will they be voting on allowing Scoutmasters to perform homosexual marriages ???

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 24

  9. john personna says:

    For trivia, I am reading a book on words now, and have learned that pig is Anglo Saxon, but pork was the French word use to dress up … the cuisine. This happened in the 13th century. Before that, people ate pig.

    On topic, a good thing and sooner than expected.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  10. john personna says:

    @Mikey:

    Eggs is an Old Norse word, thank the bloody vikings.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  11. michael reynolds says:

    Whoa, is it the 21st century already?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

  12. wr says:

    “We may even see efforts by some to create breakaway organizations that refuse to comply with the new rules,”

    Maybe they can do what the craziest elements in the Anglican congregation did and find some psychotic African boy scout leader who thinks gays should be executed and sign up with him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  13. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @john personna: That is true across the board with common nouns, and happened as a result of the much of the English nobility post-1066 being of Norman extraction. If we have two words in our language for something, and one is considered vulgar, it is generally of Germanic origin vs its Latiinate counterpart. Cow vs Beef is one example that is printable here (virtually all “four-letter” words in English are of Germanic origin).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  14. Matt Bernius says:

    This is a great step forward for BSA. It’s not the finish line, but it’s a big move.

    My compliments to all of the Eagle Scouts who sent their ranks back (I believe we have a few posters here who did that). Alas, I stand on the wrong side of history — I had not for personal reasons (though I did write to BSA in support of the measure).

    The next step–even before addressing the adult issue–is to have Eagles retroactive awarded to certain Scouts who qualified (i.e. did everything including the service project) but were denied due to sexual orientation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  15. Neil Hudelson says:

    The next step–even before addressing the adult issue–is to have Eagles retroactive awarded to certain Scouts who qualified

    That was one of my first thoughts as well, but I just don’t see it happening.

    While I want to see BSA embrace full equality, and am not truly satisfied until the idiotic ban on gay leaders is ended as well, I know small steps are required. Considering the backlash BSA is going to ave, I encourage all scouts to send a donation to let them know they made the right move. If you are an Eagle Scout, send it to the nat’l Eagle Scout association. They have (rightly so) taken a beating over this the past few months.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    “The fallout from this is going to be tremendous,” predicted Robert Schwarzwalder, a senior vice president of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group, and a father of two scouts in Northern Virginia. “I think there will be a loss of hundreds of thousands of boys and parents.”

    “This great institution is going to be vitiated by the intrusion of a political agenda,” he said.

    As opposed to the FRC’s purely apolitical agenda….

    @Stormy Dragon:

    So, what’s the inevitable Christianist splinter group going to be named?

    Apostle’s of Christ?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Speaking of the Apostle’s of Christ, I wonder what the Gay Bashing Merit badge will look like? Will Jews for Jesus be allowed to join? In order to reach the top rank of Vulture, will one be required to save at least one fetus?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  18. Scott says:

    This is the right thing to do and I hope it all settles down soon. As our local BSA council said, scouting is really about the boys and I hope that the adults don’t screw it up by bring their adult prejudices and anxieties into the program. As an ex-Scout and father of a scout, it really don’t think this will effect the boys in any material way. They just want to be Scouts. Sexuality (even among the horny teenage boys) is really a very minor part of the Scouting equation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  19. Sam Malone says:

    It always amuses me how un-christion these religious groups are.
    Kind of like how un-conservative Republicans are.
    I wonder if there’s a connection?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  20. Gromitt Gunn says:

    I find that my thoughts on this run contrary to the overall consensus, in that I think that this middle ground will result in making things worse for Scouting, not better. My gut tells me that on one hand, this may cause some of the more conservative subgroups to either splinter off or reduce/eliminate funding. And in the other, the message to gay Scouts – especially the older teens approaching their Eagle projects, will be that no latter how much they love Scouting, they’ll never be good enough to help run the organization they’ve grown to love.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. Scott says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: It may go that way. But the optimistic view is that this is just an intermediate step in the evolution.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  22. john personna says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    I am reading “The Story of English in 100 Words.” It is a nice little book. It probably has more interesting factoids than I can remember. Another funny one, the word “debt” has the “b” in it to make it sound look more Latin, as scholars of an earlier age thought a Latinized English was a higher value language.

    On the main topic againn, I really do find it a good move. And I am moved by stories of people with closer experience to the story.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  23. Mikey says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    And in the other, the message to gay Scouts – especially the older teens approaching their Eagle projects, will be that no latter how much they love Scouting, they’ll never be good enough to help run the organization they’ve grown to love.

    That is a sad consequence of the “yes to Scouts/no to leaders” policy that is now in place. At the same time, though, I’ve no doubt yesterday’s change will make it far easier to include Scout leaders in the future, especially when gay Eagle Scouts begin pressuring the organization for inclusion as Scout leaders.

    Change isn’t happening nearly as fast as many of us would like, but it is happening. And while some churches or conservative groups may sever their associations with Scouting, I think yesterday’s change could result in groups previously opposed because of the gay ban being more open to becoming sponsors. (At least, I hope so.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  24. JKB says:

    @11B40: Will they be voting on allowing Scoutmasters to perform homosexual marriages ???

    Being assigned to the same tent doesn’t mean you are married but you will be living together.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  25. ptfe says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: Yep, they’ve still embraced a bigoted position. At this point, they’re saying that gay kids are ok to take on scouting trips — maybe they can be heteronormalized again? — but shouldn’t be in charge, presumably because (in the eyes of even a lot of “tolerant” Christians) they’ll gay up the kids and are actually pedophiles. This is, to me, an even worse position to take, as it goes from suggesting gays aren’t normal and therefore shouldn’t be allowed in to saying that gay adults are actively evil and should be reviled.

    Meanwhile, the BSA continues to have its “you must believe in some sort of god or you’re not worthy to learn wilderness survival!” stance, while her European brethren have largely abandoned such nonsense. I’m not holding my breath that Scouts on this side of the pond will deal with this thorny issue anytime soon, and I doubt that the kinds of organizations that dumped funding because of the gay issue would do the same over their clear religious-based discrimination.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  26. 11B40 says:

    Greetings:

    With an apology to Charles Dickens, in a “Christmas Carol” Ghost of Christmas Past kind of way, it reminds me of when, back in the last ’70s, the American Psychological Association, or some such, voted to take homosexuality out of the Diagnostic Manual.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  27. anjin-san says:

    “This great institution is going to be vitiated by the intrusion of a political agenda,”

    If equal protection under the law is a political agenda, sure.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  28. John D'Geek says:

    The Devil, as they say, is in the Details. The key words here is “soley because of …”. If it’s legitimate for, for instance, the LDS church forbid non-mormons in their troop, then everything will probably go on “as usual”. On the other hand, the LDS church has it’s own girls training/”organization” specifically because of the politics of the Girl Scouts [personal knowledge].

    If individual units cannot use their own discretion, then there will be a large number of splinter organizations. The LDS church, for instance, will have no prolem with just making their own program.

    If church based troops are truly forced to include those that are in opposition to their religous beliefs, then you will immediately lose more than two thirds of the troops (I think half are chartered by the LDS church alone, but I could be misremembering that).

    The real question: are the “do gooder activists” willing to support the BSA by chartering new units? Or will they allow it to die on the vine, now that they got their way?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  29. Matt Bernius says:

    @11B40:
    Let me go further back and remind that prior to the advent of psychiatry and psychology in the mid 19th century, Homosexuality was not actually consider a “disease.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  30. roger says:

    The BSA is getting closer to getting their Tolerance badge.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  31. Scott says:

    @John D’Geek: When I got back into Scouting because of my boys, I was surprised that there were a lot of LDS troops nearby. It seemed that they are in a “separate but equal” status with the Scoutmasters actually having to be approved by LDS.

    My church has chartered a Scout troop but its involvement seems to be limited to making facilities available.

    The troop my son belonged to was chartered by a local RC parish but we met in a local homeowner’s community center.

    Seems to be a lot of ways troops can operate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  32. LOL says:

    lol, there should be a age limit before one starts a gay life style, like with driving and getting drunk.

    R.I.P. Boy Scouts and everything you ever stood for.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 13

  33. James in Silverdale, WA says:

    Th upside of the “take my sacred marbles and go home” approach is perhaps they will then stop making that awful sound.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. Sam Malone says:

    Off topic…
    Unambiguously good news on Obamacare out of California.
    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/113289/obamacare-california-no-sticker-shock-here#
    Probably stand about as much chance of reading a post about this on OTB as we do of seeing anything about the Rogoff/Reinhart fictional austerity study.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  35. Sam Malone says:

    @ LOL…

    lol, there should be a age limit before one starts a gay life style, like with driving and getting drunk.

    So homosexuality is equivilant to alcoholism? Is that what you are saying?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  36. LOL says:

    So homosexuality is equivalent to alcoholism? Is that what you are saying?

    lol, what I was saying is how the does a kid know if he wants to be gay yet at that young of an age. And I was also asking if we should be looking out for them until they can make this life style choice for themselves as adults.Yet I do believe that homosexuality is equivalent to alcoholism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  37. Alanmt says:

    Yay! I can start buying popcorn again.

    This is a big step, and definitely in the right direction. Homosexuality is not objectively immoral and doesn’t violate any tenet of Scouting. Here’s hoping in a few years, the next step can be taken. But for now, this is huge. Congrats to Scouting in general, and especially to the boys who can now participate openly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  38. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @LOL: Q: At what age do you think heterosexual and bisexual boys start to notice girls (and vice versa)? (Hint: long before they turn 18.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  39. Sam Malone says:

    “…Yet I do believe that homosexuality is equivalent to alcoholism…”

    Well at least the flat-earth society is represented today on OTB..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  40. LOL says:

    Q: At what age do you think heterosexual and bisexual boys start to notice girls (and vice versa)? (Hint: long before they turn 18.)

    lol, when do they start teaching them to is a better question.

    Well at least the flat-earth society is represented today on OTB..

    lol, you think homosexuality is normal and should be part of the of the Boy Scouts? And you think I am stupid? lol…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7

  41. JKB says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: @LOL: Q: At what age do you think heterosexual and bisexual boys start to notice girls (and vice versa)? (Hint: long before they turn 18.)

    The rule is simple. No sexual activity at Boy Scout meetings or events. No exchange of intimate bodily fluids and no kissing.

    Then you can let girls who prefer the Boy Scout activities over the Girl Scouts join. And you can just have Scouts. Of course, you can’t justify separating male and female sleeping and showing now since that is done due to sexual attraction which would be discriminatory while permitting the cohabitation of those sexually attracted to the same sex.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  42. John D'Geek says:

    @Scott: Well, it’s …. unusual*. The chartering organization has to deal with the Troop Committee, who authorizie the leadership, and so forth. Chartering organizations may take a strong role, as the LDS church does, or a more passive role as yours apparently does. In the case of LDS, the church selects the committee members and leadership.

    In your sons case, the RC parish is likely (but not guaranteed) to recind their sponsorhip (the charter) which would leave your troop scrambling for a new sponsor at best. If another sponsor is found, then it may not even be noticed; in the LDS case they would take the membership (the boys) with it as well and the troop would wholy dissolve. Or the rule may be vague enough that it just doesn’t matter.

    * For those that came in late: While I am currently a Buddhist, and have been for quite some time, I spent 25 years as LDS (aka “Mormon”). I am also an Eagle Scout, former Assitant Scoutmaster, former Troop Committee member, and former District Committee member. And, just to brag, my Mom has more awards in the Boy Scouts than I do.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  43. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @JKB: what does that have to do with anything?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  44. PogueMahone says:

    @LOL:
    R.I.P. Boy Scouts and everything you ever stood for.

    So everything the Boy Scouts stood for was embodied in the fact that they did not allow openly gay members!?
    Wow, well then my Scout Leader had no idea what he was doing. We just went camping, learned how to start a campfire, etc. No mention of any of our sexuality was ever made.

    So if banning openly gay members represented was “everything” they stood for, then I guess I learned nothing.

    I guess that’s a good thing. Otherwise, I might be just as ignorant and hateful as you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  45. Tyrell says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: Many churches around here will in all likelyhood end their sponsorship of the scout troops that meet there. As far as splinter scout organizations I have heard of no boy scout alternatives, but I think that there is a girl scout alternative. The local boy scout district is considering withdrawing, which represents hundreds of scouts and several troops. I look for a lot of this to happen and they will link up to form an organization. It has happened in some of the various church denominations with churches leaving by the hundreds to join existing or form new organizations over the issue of gay marriage. Church organizations splitting again. One whole state district pulled out of their organization. It has happened before, it will happen again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  46. Argon says:

    I think it’s pretty much the nature of Protestant churches to split, so nothing new there.

    I’m grateful that my troop was sponsored by Quakers. They didn’t buy into exclusionary practices. If a troop sponsored by a religious group kicks them out as a result of the change I’d gladly help to get the troop supported by a Quaker or Unitarian organization instead.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  47. Matt Bernius says:

    @Tyrell:
    Just out of curiosity — because you’ve talked about your state numerous times and generally located it in the South — what State do you live in?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  48. Matt Bernius says:

    @John D’Geek & @Scott, among others:

    I think the entire church/sponsorship thing is very much a regional phenomenon. Growing up in the “secular” north, my Troop and most of the others we encountered, were all sponsored by local services organizations (Lions Club, Kwanas, etc).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  49. Rafer Janders says:

    @LOL:

    lol, what I was saying is how the does a kid know if he wants to be gay yet at that young of an age.

    How does he know he’s straight at that young of an age?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  50. LOL says:

    I guess that’s a good thing. Otherwise, I might be just as ignorant and hateful as you.

    I am not ignorant or hateful…

    The Meaning of the Boy Scout Oath

    Excerpted from page 45-46, Boy Scout Handbook, 11th ed,
    (#33105), copyright 1998 by BSA, ISBN 0-8395-3105-2

    and from page 420-421, Webelos Scout Book, 1998 edition,
    (#33108), copyright 1998 by BSA, ISBN 0-8395-3108-7

    Before you pledge yourself to any oath or promise, you must know what it means. The paragraphs that follow will help you understand the meaning of the Scout Oath.

    On my honor . . .

    By giving your word, you are promising to be guided by the ideals of the Scout Oath.

    . . . I will do my best . . .

    Try hard to live up to the points of the Scout Oath. Measure your achievements against your own high standards and don’t be influenced by peer pressure or what other people do.

    . . . To do my duty to God . . .

    Your family and religious leaders teach you about God and the ways you can serve. You do your duty to God by following the wisdom of those teachings every day and by respecting and defending the rights of others to practice their own beliefs.

    . . . and my country . . .

    Help keep the United States a strong and fair nation by learning about our system of government and your responsibilities as a citizen and future voter.

    America is made up of countless families and communities. When you work to improve your community and your home, you are serving your country. Natural resources are another important part of America’s heritage worthy of your efforts to understand, protect, and use wisely. What you do can make a real difference.

    . . . and to obey the Scout Law; . . .

    The twelve points of the Scout Law are guidelines that can lead you toward wise choices. When you obey the Scout Law, other people will respect you for the way you live, and you will respect yourself.

    . . . To help other people at all times; . . .

    There are many people who need you. Your cheerful smile and helping hand will ease the burden of many who need assistance. By helping out whenever possible, you are doing your part to make this a better world.

    . . . To keep myself physically strong, . . .

    Take care of your body so that it will serve you well for an entire lifetime. That means eating nutritious foods, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly to build strength and endurance. it also means avoiding harmful drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and anything else that can harm your health.

    . . . mentally awake, . . .

    Develop your mind both in the classroom and outside of school. Be curious about everything around you, and work hard to make the most of your abilities. With an inquiring attitude and the willingness to ask questions, you can learn much about the exciting world around you and your role in it.

    . . . and morally straight.

    To be a person of strong character, your relationships with others should be honest and open. You should respect and defend the rights of all people. Be clean in your speech and actions, and remain faithful in your religious beliefs. The values you practice as a Scout will help you shape a life of virtue and self-reliance.

    Note that the Boy Scout Oath has traditionally been considered to have three promises. Those three promises are delineated by the semicolons in the Oath, which divide it into three clauses. The three promises of the Scout Oath are, therefore:

    Duty to God and country,
    Duty to other people, and
    Duty to self
    DUTY TO GOD AND COUNTRY: Your FAMILY and religious leaders teach you to know and serve God. By following these teachings, you do your duty to God.

    Men and women of the past worked to make America great, and many gave their lives for their country. By being a good family member and a good citizen, by working for your country’s good and obeying its laws, you do your duty to your country. Obeying the Scout Law means living by its 12 points.

    DUTY TO OTHER PEOPLE: Many people need help. A cheery smile and a helping hand make life easier for others. By doing a Good Turn daily and helping when you’re needed, you prove yourself a Scout and do your part to make this a better world.

    DUTY TO SELF: Keeping yourself physically strong means taking care of your body. Eat the right foods and build your strength. Staying mentally awake means learn all you can, be curious, and ask questions. Being morally straight means to live your life with honesty, to be clean in your speech and actions, and to be a person of strong character.

    I see that you are ignorant and you sure sound you like you hate reality.

    How does he know he’s straight at that young of an age?

    lol, you are a sick fellow…

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  51. Mikey says:

    @LOL:

    lol, you are a sick fellow…

    Weak dodge. Why won’t you answer the question?

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  52. Matt Bernius says:

    @LOL:
    BTW, what rank did you make it to in the Boy Scouts?

    Because there are a bunch of Eagle Scouts ’round here, myself included, that tend to think you really don’t know what you’re talking about. And there are a few posters whose children are currently in Scouting who seem to agree as well.

    Perhaps you can specifically point out in the Scout Oath or the Law — in your own words — where you’re getting the justification to support your bigoted and hateful views.

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  53. Argon says:

    What’s God to a Hindu or Wiccan? Their concepts are very different from Western monotheism and do not fit readily in the BSA’s half-baked, philosophically naive, ideas about religion. Gads the BSA went downhill after they moved their headquarters from New Brunswick, NJ to Dumbtown, TX.

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  54. LOL says:

    Weak dodge. Why won’t you answer the question?

    lol, How do you know if your gay if your a kid? Your not and no adults should even be thinking about if you are or not. Freak.

    BTW, what rank did you make it to in the Boy Scouts?

    What would that matter?

    Because there are a bunch of Eagle Scouts ’round here, myself included, that tend to think you really don’t know what you’re talking about. And there are a few posters whose children are currently in Scouting who seem to agree as well.

    So there are a bunch of Eagle Scouts around here that don’t understand what the boy Scouts stand for? Seems correct on a blog populated by militant homosexuals and atheists and there atheist enablers.

    where you’re getting the justification to support your bigoted and hateful views.

    lol, shut the hell up with this stupidity, Please.

    You are talking yourself into a PC stupid circle.

    And if you have not figured out who you are talking to, seeing he is using a pseudonym he has used before, lol not to mention his signature lol, well, lol….

    Matt b, don’t get your panties in a bunch. You and your friends have won again!!! With intimidation and name calling and protests and bunk science and have destroyed another outstandingly moral institution. You have taken society down another peg. Be happy and enjoy your victory.

    And once again, don’t be so silly as to think that I can’t call out the wrong and still love people. It is bigoted and hateful…

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  55. Matt Bernius says:

    @LOL:

    What would [giving my rank in Boy Scouts] matter?

    Well you’re the one choosing to lecture all of us on what “scouting” is about. It’s kinda fair to ask you to provide the position that you are arguing from. What has your experience with Scouting been. All I’m saying is that a number of us here have had pretty significant experiences with Scouting and have *earned* our ability to make statements about it through time, sweat, service, and occasionally blood and tears.

    Earning my Eagle Scout was one of the great accomplishments of my life. I wouldn’t have done that if I didn’t care about scouting. And my opposition to BSA’s anti-gay stance was based very much out of my deep care for the organization and its future.

    So basically you don’t have the spine to even try to back up the crap you’re writing. Again, you’re the one who wrote that this decision was counter to the tenants of scouting — and yet you don’t want to even try and explain why.

    I’m happy to explain why it totally fits into the Scout Oath and Law if you want — it isn’t particularly hard.

    I’m glad to see that you decide to look at all of this in terms of winning/losing — if for no other reason than you have to keep waking up each morning and see your side lose. Welcome to the wrong side of history sir.

    And once again, don’t be so silly as to think that I can’t call out the wrong and still love people.

    I don’t question that, actually. As a Christian, I actually understand the concept of “hate the sin, love the sinner.” But, looking at your polemics, it really seems like you’ve decided to go above an beyond hating the sin and into a pharasee like level of moral outrage at anything that threatens your little world.

    That’s hate overtaking love my friend.

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  56. Mikey says:

    @LOL:

    lol, How do you know if your gay if your a kid? Your not and no adults should even be thinking about if you are or not. Freak.

    You don’t know if you’re gay OR straight when you’re a kid. Which is why BSA’s previous policy of banning gay Scouts was unfair. They didn’t know they were gay until well past Cub Scouts (which is five years of Scouting in and of itself). They got well on the way to Eagle and then got kicked out for something inherent that they had no choice over.

    That’s the point you seem unwilling or unable to comprehend–and based on your line of “argument” here, I’m betting it’s “unwilling.”

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  57. LOL says:

    I don’t question that, actually. As a Christian, I actually understand the concept of “hate the sin, love the sinner.” But, looking at your polemics, it really seems like you’ve decided to go above an beyond hating the sin and into a pharisee like level of moral outrage at anything that threatens your little world.

    You say you understand, you say you are a Christian yet you endorse homosexuality as normal and say because your are one, a scout and a Christian that it should be allowed into a Christian organization. Then you bash and call me names like a good little liberal with your liberal hate speech and tell me that as a Christian I am a legalistic, a pharisee ? You have know idea what love is it seems, nor hate, nor the Gospel. Once again you talk yourself into a PC stupid circle. I don’t hate the sin and love the sinner! I love everyone, that’s why I tell them the truth.

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  58. Joe S says:

    Here you go Stormy,
    Don’t know about the religious affiliation but here is a splinter group. Curious to know what the Catholic church is going to do. I believe they are a large source of funding for the scouts.

    http://www.onmyhonor.net/2013/05/24/decision-to-sexualize-scouting-forces-group-to-consider-forming-safe-alternative-program-for-boys/

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