HMJC, first of all thanks for working with the BSA. As a former Scout I realize how much of an impact a man can be as a Scout Master. Having said that I also add that though the kids can be smart, and also very mature; the realty is that they still are kids, not adults. We don't let people vote until they are 18 or in most cases go in the military until they are 18, and even at that age most still have a lot of growing up to do...I know I did. A decision of this magnitude shouldn't be left up to the boys, yes gather their input, but like I said they still are kids. If input ought to be gathered, it ought to be from their parents. Whether we are Scout Masters or teachers in a school or coaches...we are still intrusted with these kids by their parents. Just like I wouldn't ask a kid if they want a condom for teen sex, or a beer for a party, I wouldn't ask them do they think the Scouts should change this long standing traditional view on reverence. If we start trusting kids decisions on issues of this magnitude, I believe we are really making a big mistake. Most kids at this age can't even remember to take all of their papers to and from schools, or remember to bring their jackets home. I respect your opinion but do disagree.
I really want to again stress you are loking at this all wrong. First, when I was involved in scouting it was very clear that we do not allow intolerance and make sure the boys understood that. Everybody is different. Secondly, I really do not believe God makes mistakes and I do not think anyone would actively choose this as a lifestyle as it is paramount to pain and harrassement throughout your life. Lastly, Someone who says he or she is gay is the last person that is going to prey on your children. It is going to be the guy who seems to be normal and the kids love him. He is going to hide his desires from adults and victimise as many kids as he feels safe in doing. He would not openly draw attention to themselves by declaring to be gay. That would be counter to their motive.
Please keep in mind that I have Scouts from 11 to 17. My point was not to teach sexual orieintation. My point is that discusssion is a parenting issue. As I previuosly stated, I would not want sexuality as part of the curriculum in school. A couple of my Scouts asked me what I thought...Scoutmasters carry an enormous amount of reverance, our Scouts hang on every word. So, with that said; this is a discussion that should be had with you parents and your spiritual advisor. However, we should not condeme someone for their personal choice. I know it sounds like a copout but, In good conscience I could not make that decision for them.
Mr. Long, I appriciate your feedback and thank you for the kind words. I will tell you though, no matter how much "great advice" I provided my children to help them aid their decisions; they still are going to make their own decision. I do concur that we have to provide input to help guide them but must be careful no to provide too much bias. I will provide an example. When I was growing up in Montana two black people lived in my town; the bias of course exisited. When I joined the Army I learned that after time skin color is just skin color. I know this is different that the current topic however, at some point we have to let our youth be part of their own decision making process. I say again, although I still do not concur with the homosexual lifestyle, I do not have a right to treat them as lessor. I also have the choice to not consort with that demographic if I so choose. I think what it comes down to is choice. Do we fill our childrens heads with intolorance? or provide honest feedback and provide them all of the perspectives to make their own choice.
I think it is more important to ask the parents how they feel about this issue. I agree with MLC. In fact - I'll go a step further and say that based on their youth and inexperience, there is little real value in how the kids feel about this issue, from the standpoint of giving their opinions any real weight in the decision-making process.
I still say: Ask the now-adults who were victims in the Penn State scandal whether they think this policy change is a good idea. Or ask the numerous now-adult males who were sexually abused by Catholic priests whether the BSA should change their policy.
I value the input of these people - along with the parents of scouts/prospective scouts - much, much more than I value the opinions of the kids.
I think we are missing the point that "devient" sexual behavior is a fact of our society that is warned about from the lowest levels. Part of a Scouts induction is learning about "bad" touch vs. good touch. Once again I iterate, not saying to let a child make an "informed" decision however, as they get older some are a little more wise than we acknowledge. My point is to let them be part of the decsion making process as thet are provided unbiased perspective. What happedened at Penn St. and the Churches is horrific. But in reality we need to address the perpatrator and not provide a blanket fix. One thing that is certain about change is this; it is going to happen no matter how you feel about the issue. The key is to mangage change and be part of the solution whatever that may be. Hard topic all, no easy answers.
Seb, you're purposely confusing pedophiles with homosexuals and that is wrong. Anyone who preys on children or is a sexual predator is not worthy of the lowest form of contempt. There is no jail sentence long enough for them. Sexual orientation of sexual abuse are two totally different issues. Please keep these issues separate.
this whole thing is being looked at with a one way view, what about the boy scouts rights to chose who they have in their organization? they are a private religious group. they have rights too.
they are kids. They don't get to make decisions. Ask they what want for breakfast and it would be Coco Pebbles and Fruit Loops everyday. Ask them if they wanted to go to school or stay home and play video games, then which one do you think they would choose? Kids are kids.
I'm not talking about the kids making the decision. the adults running it should, and shouldn't have to change any policy to make any group happy. let them go start their own group just like Baden Powell did 1908.
"Seb, you're purposely confusing pedophiles with homosexuals and that is wrong."
I'm not confusing them. From what I've seen during my lifetime - and as a parent and grandparent - the issues for me are TRUST and RISK. And I understand that what is "right" for me is not necessarily "right" for somebody else. But that's the decision that PARENTS have to make. Do I feel that it it is SAFE to entrust my child to whomever is in charge of that scout troop.
What I'm saying is that in my own particular case - and probably in the case of the Penn State/Catholic priest victims - the answer would be a resounding NO.
You can entrust your kids to whomever you want. But - as I said - my life's experiences have taught me that SAFETY trumps social experimentation. And to me, that's what we have here in the BSA policy deliberations.
If you want to say that I believe that every homosexual is a potential pedophile - then go ahead. That might be an accurate description of where I am in my life's experiences. (One additional note about those: I attended Catholic schools and I was a "server" (i.e., altar boy) while growing up. I never felt "threatened" by any of the priests I worked with, but then I probably wouldn't have REALLY understood the threat UNLESS I became a victim. Of course - then it's too late.)
For my children - there wouldn't be any "too late." That's what I mean about RISK. It wouldn't happen because I wouldn't TRUST that homosexual scout master to not be a pedophile. I've seen too many examples - not in scouting but in other walks of life. Just read the newspaper.
It may be unfair to those homosexuals who aren't/wouldn't become pedophiles, but then I voted for Romney and Obama is now President. That's life.
...and here's some history - just coming out - which tells a tale of being waaaaaaaaay "too late." And this happened many years ago, before any serious cosideration by the BSA of a change in policy.
So one can counter-argue that it happened then, when the risk was ignored or was assumed to be very slight. But we're staring the facts and the risk in the face now, as we consider the Catholic priest abuse, the Penn State scandal, any situation where non-parental "adults" are responsible for the education, safety, and welfare of children.
It's still all about trust and risk - then and now.