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June 05, 2005

Comments

David Atchley

I'd like to leave a comment for you and other com erred looking for an alternative to the BSA here in the US. I'm the current National Commissioner for the Baden-Powell Service Association. http://bpsa-us.org

The BPSA program is based on the traditional scouting program laid out by Baden-Powell (scoutings founder) and we are also ALL inclusive and co-ed. I'm also the Group Scoutmaster for one of our first groups here in Missouri, http://10thdanielboone.org

I'd be happy to pass along information about BPSA, the program and starting a group. Feel free to contact me via email and I can give you my cell phone number or just point you in the right direction.

Scouting should be available to every youth in the US and I and the BPSA stand by that policy. I hope things ere going well for you and your children in regards to scouting. Your stance on doing the right thing and standing up for that belief are shared and admired.

Tammy

Its the straight men, married with children that I'm concerned about I never put my son into the Boy Scots because I was concerned about having a child molesters. I would be interested in seeing the stats on just how many boys were molested after this policy was put in place I bet they won't see a change if anything they might see an increase since the molesters feel they are not being watched.

Mitch Castleberry

I just wanted to point out something that I didn't see addressed by anyone here; if I missed something, sorry.
Firstly, I'm not convinced that the B.S.A. completely accepts or bans homosexuals. I've heard evidence of both throughout this thread and elsewhere. Apparently there is some flexibility in this matter that varies from troop to troop. Regardless, this is my point; I see a perfectly good reason for the Boy Scout's discrimination against having homosexual members. (again, when/where they do). That reason is this: it would be a far different experience for a boyscout should females be allowed into their troop for what should be obvious reasons. These same reasons exist should homosexual boys be allowed. Most of these reasons stem from the presence of sexuall attraction and frustration within the troop experience. Any parent on the face of the earth, right or wrong, should have the choice to put their child in such an organization that allows or disallows any kind of discrimination. As should any group or organization be allowed to discriminate. That is freedom.
Now, with that said, I am heterosexual, not discriminatory, not religious, enjoy several gay and multi racial friendships. I have a son that I am convinced is heterosexual. Should this change in the future, so be it; I will support my son no matter what his decision is in that arena. Personally, I don't know what the he%% to do regarding him and where to put him. Thats how I ended up here. : )
On the one hand, I would like him to have a similar experience to mine; one where the focus is not on religion, or in a co-ed experience, hooking up with girls, but rather learning about nature, human interaction and enviornmental impact with the earth and with one another. On the other hand, I want him to be conscious of, understand, and appreciate the presence of other people who are different than him; be it racial, religious, sexuall or otherwise. Thoughts? Comments?.... thanks.

Ana

Thanks. I had to explain discrimination to my 6 year old and told him we would look for something else for him... Allot of ocmmentary here but any other organizations. Indian guides, pal league...?

Rain

Scouts Train to Fight Terrorists, and More

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/14/us/14explorers.html?_r=1

wiggles

I'm a Canadian. In Canada, we have Girl Guides (the girl scout equivalent) and Scouts (the boy scout equivalent). I am proud to say that I am a female Scout. Scouts have been co-ed for at least 10 years in my country and have been co-ed by troop discretion for much longer.

I am a cub-scout leader. I lead 12 little boys every week. I would NEVER do anything to harm my boys.

In America, you allow straight females to be cubscout leaders. Are they not every bit as dangerous to your children as homosexual men? They're attracted to males. Clearly, your sons are at risk.

Except, you don't think that they are. Why? Because straight women are never paedophiles? That is a misconception and is WRONG. Statistics have shown that openly gay men are many times LESS likely to molest a child--same sex or not--than an openly straight man is to molest a child--same sex or not. Child molestation is not about the gender or sex of the child, it is about a feeling of power. Psychological studies have proven this.

For those of you saying "would you let a man take your 16 year old daughter camping?" My parents did just that. Of course, Scouts Canada has a policy where I wasn't allowed to go camping with *only* men--there had to be a female leader there at all times when a female youth was present. I turned out fine. I was never abused by a Scouter, male or female. I was never harmed in any way by a Scouter. I started Scouts at 14 because my parents weren't sure that it was "appropriate" for their daughter. They forced me to go to Girl Guides for four long years. I hated every activity, every craft, every cookie I had to sell. I went to Scouts and was in love with the program. Co-ed scouting taught me to see people beyond gender roles--male and female youth being treated like active, physically able persons alongside one another. Absolute equality. In Scouts, we were not boys or girls. We were not different religions. We were not different skin colours or cultural backgrounds. We were not homosexuals, bisexuals and heterosexuals (and by 16 or 17 or 18 or 19, we knew our sexualities. We were Scouts. We were taught that from day one. Every Scout is a valuable, valued individual with their own talents and abilities and those are separate from faith, sex, colour, sexuality, culture or anything else. We are Scouts and we are all the same. We are Scouts and we are all different. We learned that and it made us better people.

I am proud to say that I am 22 years old and a Rover Scout as well as a Cub leader. I enjoy my time with my fellow Rovers and I enjoy my time with my boys. I love Scouting and think it is one of the best experiences children can have to encourage them to grow up to be well-rounded human beings.

I am moving to the US later this year to be married. It is with a heavy heart, but my head held high, that I say that if I have sons, they will not be members of the Boy Scouts of America. I will not allow my children to be members of an organisation that teaches discrimination against others. Especially when many of my best friends are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and my fiancé is bisexual.

Discrimination is WRONG. That's all there is to it. There is, statistically and realistically speaking, no reason to ban homosexuals from Scouting. Especially not when you allow female leaders. Don't justify it by claiming gays are more likely to molest your children. They aren't. Your children are more likely to be molested by an aunt, uncle or parent than they are to be molested by a Scouter. We undergo extensive criminal background checks and interview processes (at least in Canada) before we are permitted in contact with the youth. Have people trained in picking out dangerous behaviours and responses interviewed everyone in your family or neighbourhood? Your children are safer from child molesters in scouting than they are playing in your own neighbourhood. Even if their Scouters are gay.

kevin

I don't understand, a man who molests young boys is a straight man? That just doesn't make sense to me. The Girl Scouts exclude men from participating with the girls. They don't ask if you are gay or not. Boys are not banned from Boy Scouts if they are gay, just adult leaders.

Jason

Strange, I rarely hear about homosexual pedophiles. I don't have statistics but it seems like it is usually a married guy. Maybe only gay men should be allowed to be in scout leadership.
Also "under God" was not in the origional pledge of allegiance. It was added in during the cold war.

Ann

I happened upon this site by chance, looking up info on pedophiles within Scouting. This is wherein the discrimination lays; not because the child or leader is gay, but to protect others from possible abuse. I, myself, am a mother of four boys and a Webelos leader. We had an issue within our own extended family many years ago. This family member is hugely involved in volunteer opportunities that afford him the ability to be around children. That is what these aweful people look for. Boy Scouts does not want to allow anything like that to happen to a scout. Gay boys are attracted to other boys. It would be like letting a 16 year old girl join a troop. Would you want your daughter camping with a bunch of sexually charged 16 year old boys, where there are many hidden oportunities for encounters? That's how boys are, straight or gay. Exposure to those kind of opportunities must be restricted, hence the homosexual ban. Scouts has had too many of these abuses in the past and will not tolerate any more. They need to do whatever they can to stop it, even if it has to be at the cost of a potential scouter that is homosexual. Scouts must be protected, boys, leaders and the name alike.

As for the religious ban...Yes, Scouts is "God" based (not Christian, Muslim, Jewish, etc) and always has been. Just like our Pledge Of Allegiance (...UNDER GOD) and our money (IN GOD WE TRUST), that's just the way it is. We aren't focusing on converting anyone to a different religion or bringing them into religion. We focus on making a scout moral and honorable, to make an impact on this world and take care of it. "A scout is reverent" is for the scout himself. In our pack we don't ask potential scouters if they believe in God and then turn them away. We have never had, to my knowledge, anyone quit because of it. I assume the scouts that do not believe just deal with it like they would in their every day life.

Boy Scouts is an amazing organization. Our world is a better place because of it.

Diana

Thank you for starting this discussion. I am also looking for an alternative for the boys at my daughters' school, a predominantly Muslim school. And while I am willing to be a girl scout liaison (this is my third year as a leader), I do not feel comfortable recommending boy scouts to the boys for the above reasons.

And to the commenter who had the question about the Girl Scout Promise. In the GSA, we can change the Promise, and my troop has (I'm a Buddhist, as are several members of the troop, we also include pagans and atheists), and so we removed "God" from the Promise. We instead vow to serve our community and country.

The GS mission statement is to create girls of character, courage, and confidence, and to make the world a better place. I hope to find something similar for the boys as well, I'll look into spiral scouts and see if there are any in Michigan.

Thanks again for your post.

Ash

Here's an idea:

SpiralScouts

The definitive all-inclusive alternative to Boy Scouts :D

It was formed with minority religions and equal tolerance for all in mind.

Homosexuals aren't just tolerated- they're accepted as the true equals they are.

Erika Jurney

Well here we are, three years later, and I've just written a post very similar to yours. Nothing has changed, and I'm looking for a decent Cub Scout / Boy Scout alternative.

http://plainjanemom.com/2008/08/25/trustworthy-loyal-helpful-friendly-courteous-kind/

Sigh.

Sabina

Thanks for a great post. I feel like I could have written this myself. I have the exact same problem. I have been a Girl Scout Leader for 5 years and my two girls have loved being a part of this as I did when I was their age but my sweet son - who is now 7 just cannot understand why he can't have the same experience. I have looked for alternatives even out here in liberal Northern California but have found none. Maybe someday the Boy Scouts will come around but in the mean time my answer is the same as yours - a resounding "No".

John

Don't overlook that not only do the Boy Scouts bar gays, they also bar nonbelievers. Atheists/agnostics may not join. They discriminate on the basis of religion but then still expect government handouts.

Jessica

I think all of you are nuts.

(Let me start off by letting you all know that I'm bi-sexual...so this is SO don't go thinking it's because I'm against homosexuality.)

I worked at a boyscout camp for four years, and my family has been big into scouting my whole life.

Now, I don't know about everyone else, but in J-ville, boys that are homosexual ARE allowed into the scouting program and would NOT be banned from scouting because they are gay.

Now, on the other hand, it is difficult for us to be so accepting of the male adults to be leaders. We've had some previous issues with homosexuals being leaders and violating that privilige by sexually abusing their scouts. You have to realize that some places ARE different....and we have our reasons for doing things the way we do them.

Russ

It looks like I'm a late commer to this string of posts, but my son is about to reach scouting age. I was a Boy Scout myself, long, long ago. It seems to me that the two running complaints about Boy Scouts are the required "Declaration of Religious Principles" banning athiests, pagans, etc, and the ban on homosexuals. I can side-step the "god"-thing by substituting "spirituality" or some such thing. But I can't seem to get around the gay-thing.

While homosexuality isn't my thing, I don't see how it's possible to participate in an organisation that has a written policy of discrimination. When the Boy Scouts passed their resolution in February 2002 codifying discrimination against gays and athiests, it tainted any good that the organisation, and individuals associated with the organization, may do.

We can start to make a change by not supporting the Boy Scouts, but there are any number of other organisations we can support which are inclusive, and many predate the Boy Scouts. Of course, my youth experience was with the boy scouts, I'm not terribly familiar with the others, so my quest begins...

kelly

We pulled my son out of Boy Scouts for this reason. It's such a sad state of affairs, but we've found many wonderful ways to fill the needs the scouts tried to meet.

JENNIFER

I couldn't possibly disagree with you more regarding the Boy Scouts issue. The things that young boys learn from the Boy Scouts far out weigh the issue of homosexuals being allowed into the group. I personally think that gay people are wonderful individuals who should be loved too. My brother is gay and I'd give my very life for him. However I DO NOT support the lifestyle. I do not want to expose my children to it. I want them to know what homosexuality is and I don't EVER want them to mistreat anyone because of their lifestyle. As contrary as it is in our overly accepting society there are some things that I must always draw the line about. I believe homosexuality is a choice, a wrong choice.

Christina

Nicely said, Karen. I think we all need to get past all of this B.S. and move on. We SHOULD be making our children better people. After all, THEY will be the ones running OUR future. If we raise them with an open mind and an open heart, then perhaps they won't be a cynical as our generations.

Again, Gina, I applaud you for stepping into this minefield. Without an opposing view point, however, a discussion on a topic as serious as this is totally boring and senseless...it's just commentary. I know MANY people who would absolutely agree with your opinion, but that's life.

We all accept the differences of opinion, so why can't society accept the differences of lifestyle?

karen

i have such a problem with homophobic segment that decries the entire gay community as pedophiles. it is unfortunate that they make public their own lack of intelligence as well as their lack of humanity. homosexuals are by definition not pedophiles. they aren't sexually attracted to children~of either sex. if homosexuals are attracted to children of their own sex, then conversely that would make heterosexuals attracted to children of the opposite sex. pedophiles are attracted sexually to children, and i venture to say that none of us would willingly allow them access to our kids or anyone else's.
my own children have been exposed to all kinds of people: straight, gay, conservative, liberal, hippie, goth, 'nerds', rich and poor. i have taught them that people are people, and that there are good people and not-so-good people in every category, and that the only way to determine which is which is to get to know them despite their labels. one would think that an organization that prides itself on making better citizens of the world would understand that view.

Nicola

Wonderful. I was a long time Girl Scout and have so many happy memories of my scouting years. My son will not be a Boy Scout because of the organisation's pervasive attitude of exclusion, homophobia, and bigotry. I hope to teach my son to be a better man, whether straight or gay.

And, as mentioned by others, gay men are not pedophiles. Pedophiles are pedophiles. And most of them are straight.

chris

"I know what a handful of you will say -- you are all poised to attack me with every word in the dictionary that we reserve for people who disagree."

The words I reserve in this situation are reasonable, thoughtful, well-intentioned, intelligent...or crank if they seem to be spoiling for a fight. Do you use different ones?

"What else can you do when you are losing the argument but to attack anyone who has the courage to disagree with you?"
I don't think anyone here is losing, or winning, an argument. I see a lot of thoughtful people respecting opinions that differ from theirs. I appreciate that.

Dee

The Girl Scouts say that they are open to all girls, however, the pledge is to God and their country. Pledging to the country you live in is OK but the God thing automatically eliminates many, does it not?

Christina

Gina - Kudos to you for speaking up about your opinion. If more people actually spoke out, perhaps it would be easier for our society to communicate. Perhaps then it would be easier for people to sit down and say, "Hey, listen, just because I believe that the Boy Scouts of America are wrong and you believe that they are right doesn't mean that one of us is a bad person and that we both respect the opinion of the other."

I come from a liberal background, but as a parent, I find myself leaning towards conservatism in some things, but not in this matter. It really is a shame that the bad apples out there, be they gay, straight, priest, lay person, male, female, whomever...have put us all into this state of disagreement. It is a shame that now we all are in a heightened mindset that we DO worry about these things. It is a shame that our children, and all of the rest of the adults who are not, by any means, pedophiles, have to miss out because a few bad people.

My oldest son was in scouts for a few years until it was no longer "cool". My youngest is not in scouts simply because there aren't enough hours in the day as it is, not because I come from a very liberal Catholic parish in a very liberal community. I am married, straight, and a Catholic. Wait, let me rephrase that...I am a remarried, unanulled liberal Catholic. I hold no views towards homosexual men and women that I wouldn't hold towards straight men and women. Your preference of lifestyle does not deem you a predator or a "safe" person.

I hope that somewhere down the road, the scouts see that vision and come to terms with that. The Girl Scouts seem to be fine with it.

Janet

My son will not be joining Boy Scouts for all the same reasons Terry so eloquently stated. I don't have the energy or interest to tackle changing Boy Scouts from within--it strikes me as a behemoth of an organization run by people as diametrically opposed to my values as it's possible to be. My husband is investigating the option of creating an Earth Scouts troup as an alternative to Boy Scouts. This is a form of protest that I feel able to handle, and can fully support. Earth Scouts are not a terribly well established organization, and it strikes me that there is the potential to shape the growth of the group nationwide as a protest to and as an appealing alternative to Boy Scouts. I love the idea of scouting. I hate the idea of discrimination. Frankly, I feel my child is more likely threatened by the wolves in sheep's clothing in this world than by a gay scout leader. And, if I truly wanted to protect my son from them, I would have to never let him leave the house.

For more info on Earth Scouts: http://www.earthscouts.org/

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