Gay Adults In Scouting?

May 28, 2015

 

Warning:  I have never been known for sugar-coating my opinions.  I have warned people inside of the upper leadership in Scouting that I do not care about fitting into the political landscape of the Council.  My focus is the youth.  This program is supposed to be focused on the youth.  So, if you are easily offended by people speaking their mind, you may want to stop reading now

Robert M. Gates, the president of the Boy Scouts of America and former secretary of defense, called for an end to the Scouts’ ban on gay adult leaders, warning the group’s executives that “we must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be.”

Speaking at the Boy Scouts’ annual national meeting in Atlanta, Mr. Gates said cascading events — including potential employment discrimination lawsuits and the impending Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage, as well as mounting internal dissent over the exclusionary policy — had led him to conclude that the current rules “cannot be sustained.”

If the Boy Scouts do not change on their own, he said, the courts are likely to force them to, and “we must all understand that this will probably happen sooner rather than later.” – NY Times

Be prepared.  The last time the issue of a policy change regarding Gays in Scouting, it was just the policy regarding the Youth.  The number of adult leaders who claimed that it would be the downfall of Scouting and said that they would leave the program, taking their sons with them, was highly verbal.  I had people tell me to my face that they would leave Scouting.  I have yet to see any of them resign their membership in Scouting.  All in all, I have yet to see a change in the landscape of Scouting.  The two youth that I knew who were claiming to be Gay, were already open about it, and I told them when it came up that it was “not my business and not a proper discussion between a Scout and a Leader.”  I did not lose any Scouts or any adults from the Units I was involved in because of the policy change.

Be grateful that this announcement by the President of the Boy Scouts of America came in Mid-May.  In my District, the monthly Roundtables take June and July off.  I will not have to deal with the issue until at least August at a District Level.  The discussion has already reached the units I’m involved in the adults seem pretty disinterested in the issue at this time … mainly because its not an announcement that a vote is coming, just that the Boy Scouts need to look into the matter, and a call to suspend any enforcement of the Policy until the matter can be further discussed.

“I support a policy that accepts and respects our different perspectives and beliefs.  I truly fear that any other alternative will be the end of us as a national movement.”

“Such an approach would allow all churches, which sponsor some 70 percent of our Scout units, to establish leadership standards consistent with their faith.”  “We must, at all costs, preserve the religious freedom of our church partners to do this.”

“If we wait for the courts to act, we could end up with a broad ruling that could forbid any kind of membership standard,”

It is clearly a concern that if the Boy Scouts of America fail to act in a timely matter, the courts, who have been extremely liberal over the past decade, could reach as far as striping away the standards regarding Faith.

Where do I stand on the issue?  I couldn’t care less about the sexual identity or preferences of a Scout or Scouter so long as their actions do not present a danger to one of the Scouts in the Unit.  We are strict about our adherence to the Youth Protection program.  Out leaders are drawn from the Parents of the Scouts involved in the Units, or those who have a history of Scouting.  We check the names of our adults against the Sex Offender’s List for our area.  I do not believe that any change in the policy regarding Gays in Scouting is going to have a major affect on the program itself or the future of Scouting.  As I have told countless people regarding the issue of homosexuality.  Its not my Karma, I am not the one living the lifestyle.  Other than the lifestyle being too much in my face in television, movies and other media, it has no real affect on how I live my life.

So, how about we worry about things that are more pressing within Scouting?  Let’s look at improving our programs.  Let’s look at the issues affecting recruiting of new Scouts, advancement, training, and retention of Scouts.  The recruiting, training and retention of adult Scouters.  These are issues that will have a greater impact on the future of Scouting.

For those who told me once before that you’d leave if Gay Youth were allowed in Scouting, when you come to me complaining about the suspension of enforcement of the policy regarding Gay Adults, I have only one thing to say …  “you’re still here?”