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Guess who likes the proposed “no gay adults” Scouts policy

Timothy Kincaid

April 26th, 2013

mormonscoutI am not a fan of the new proposed policy of the Boy Scouts of America relating to sexual orientation. The change, which would allow gay youth to participate but ban any positive gay role models, seems to me to be little better than the current policy.

But there is one group who likes the new proposal: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (The Mormons): (NBC)

“We are grateful to BSA for their careful consideration of these issues. We appreciate the positive things contained in this current proposal that will help build and strengthen the moral character and leadership skills of youth as we work together in the future,” the LDS church said Thursday in a statement posted to their website.

“The current BSA proposal constructively addresses a number of important issues that have been part of the ongoing dialogue, including consistent standards for all BSA partners, recognition that Scouting exists to serve and benefit youth rather than Scout leaders, a single standard of moral purity for youth in the program, and a renewed emphasis for Scouts to honor their duty to God.”

This welcome should not surprise us as it mirrors the most recent shift in Mormon approach to sexual orientation. The Mormon Church now welcomes and even has an outreach to gay people. With a caveat. You can be gay, but you have to behave heterosexually. The church has been trotting out examples and spokespeople who declare the joys of being married to a person of the opposite sex while also recognizing that they are homosexually oriented.

And that will be what the Scouts will be expected to teach. That ‘single standard of moral purity’ will be clear: abstinence until marriage to a woman. And there won’t be any of those complicating factors brought up by actual real gay people participating.

This, of course, will solve nothing.

Sure some boys will be able to get their Eagle Scout badges without hiding their identity (provided that they haven’t turned 18). And the policy change may even allow some sponsors the excuse they need to continue or resume giving. But the core problem will remain the same: the churches and civil organizations that serve as scout sponsors are not in agreement over the issue.

The Mormons may delight in a policy that says that you can have a same-sex attraction but never act on it, but many Methodists, Lutherans, and Presbyterians will not. In fact, those churches who have quietly set policies that banned discrimination and who have at times quietly allowed gay leaders may feel even more pressured by this change. This ‘compromise’, one that asks almost nothing of anti-gay Scout groups in the way of teaching and inclusion, may be used to force those more supportive troops to abide by this ‘single standard’.

The Scouts were considering a policy that would allow conscience and thought to guide the various troops. Much in the way that troop vary on issues such as the divinity of Christ, the nature of God, and whether or not you will be given your own planet to rule over when you die, the issue of whether God approves or disapproves of gay people would be up to the teaching of the individual sponsors.

Instead they are now opting for conformity. You may disagree over whether being “morally straight” allows alcohol, tobacco, and dancing. You can disagree over whether your troop members will wear a yarmulke. You can disagree over the Trinity, over what is acceptable language in society, even – it seems – over masturbation. But you must agree that gay men are a morally inappropriate example for gay youth.

And that is something that many scouting troops will not support.

When polled on the gay ban, half of the administrative local counsels recommended keeping the ban. But thirty-eight percent said it should change. They either believe that gay youth and men should be allowed to participate, or they are sick of the bad press.

So the leadership opted for a change that is not a change. A solution that solves nothing.

The bad press isn’t going away. Under this new policy, Tim Griffin would still be barred from working at Camp Winton. Jennifer Tyrrell would still be excluded as a den mother. And Ryan Andresen still won’t get his Eagle Badge.

And the confrontation with mainstream churches will not disappear. St. James in the City will continue to ban discrimination. And the gay and lesbian pastors in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America will continue to be offended by policies that bar them from participating in their own church’s troop. And many of the thirty-eight percent will see this move as a pittance, a pretense at inclusion.

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Priya Lynn
April 26th, 2013 | LINK

“The church has been trotting out examples and spokespeople who declare the joys of being married to a person of the opposite sex while also recognizing that they are homosexually oriented.

And that will be what the Scouts will be expected to teach.”.

Expected to teach, or the Mormon church hopes they will teach? What makes you think the Mormon church is going to dictate to the scouts what they will teach?

Jim Hlavac
April 26th, 2013 | LINK

The church, like every other heterosexual in America is “evolving” — what do you think every Democrat did since the 1970s? they Evolved. Every Republican is doing so too. Every religion has to evolve. This has been a 60 year long pursuit — from 100% of everyone against us 100%.

You know, to expect people to change from overnight is absurd — why, I saw elsewhere here some berating of a man who thinks gays can change immediately — we can’t change at all. At least heteros can change about us — they’re all doing it — welcome them, step by step, give them encouragement. It’s like their coming out of the closet for heaven’s sake. Help them see the light — don’t throw a wet blanket upon their awakening.

Ben in Oakland
April 26th, 2013 | LINK

Mormon Church Supports Gay Boy Scouts, Calls Proposal A ‘Thoughtful, Good-Faith Effort’”

Lets translate this from Mormon-speak.

Thoughtful? We really look like major bullies when we pick on kids. Besides, most kids are not going to be coming out as ‘known homosexuals’, so we really won’t have too much to deal with. We’ll just kick the problem down the road for a few more years.

Good faith? Good for our particular faith, as we still get access to the kids, and we keep telling them that to be gay is really wrong and sinful.

There is neither thought nor good faith here– just calculation and my faith is better tHan yor faith.”

TampaZeke
April 26th, 2013 | LINK

I thank goodness every day that there have always been people who never accepted the pace of advancement when it comes to civil rights. I honor those who PUSHED, and PRODDED and BITCHED and MOANED and MARCHED and SAT IN and committed acts of civil disobedience so that people today could complain about how some people are just too pushy and we should just be more satisfied with the crumbs from the table whenever they fall our way.

I suggest that ANYONE who buys into that way of thinking read a Letter from Birmingham Jail. Just last week we celebrated 50 years of this timeless and prophetic epistle and textbook to campaigns for justice, fairness and equality. The arc of the universe bends toward justice but not without the weight of countless rabble rousers and the blood, sweat and tears of pushy activists who have to fight not only their enemies but also the constant complaints and second guessing of those for whom they fight.

Keep pushing, keep demanding, keep irritating, keep annoying, keep refusing to settle for less than full justice and full equality. On issues of justice and equality ANY compromise results in injustice and inequality.

Lord_Byron
April 26th, 2013 | LINK

what do you think every Democrat did since the 1970s?

Umm many of those democrats didn’t evolve they regressed thanks to the southern strategy.

TomTallis
April 26th, 2013 | LINK

“What makes you think the Mormon church is going to dictate to the scouts what they will teach?”

Because they already do?

cowboy
April 26th, 2013 | LINK

Nothing has really changed with the relationship with the Mormons and the BSA. I think some high-paid PR people are high-5-ing this.

The BSA has not lost a major benefactor and the Mormons don’t have to redesign new uniforms for when they start their own scouting program. Whew! What a relief this is for everyone…

There have always been gay Mormons in their troops. Though they say membership is voluntary, no young cub scout (where it really begins) is going to buck the peer pressure and not join. He would be the odd duck from then on. Conformity is the word or live with the wrath of likely public ostracism.

Then all the activities he would miss out on. The socialization and then the camps. He would certainly miss what all his friends are enjoying. So, some young gay Mormon will quickly learn to conform; or pretend to conform.

And some parents will not let their boy share a cabin/tent at camp if they know there might be a gay scout in the troop; no matter the amount of supervision.

I cannot see where this will help any gay Mormon youth. It’s best, if he has no other alternative, to stay mum about his sexual orientation.

And staying mum means no rocking the boat and the Mormons and the BSA are happy.

Oh…and when I die I will have dominion over not just one planet…but a whole universe. A universe where I do away with silly rituals to honor me and only wish all my creations would love and respect each other equally.

Gene in L.A.
April 27th, 2013 | LINK

Jim Hlavac, the idea that just 60 years ago 100% were against gay people is erroneous. Magnus Hirschfeld’s Scientific Humanitarian Committee was founded in 1897. The first American defense of homosexuality was published in 1908. Our movement is more than a century old. Be that as it may, we have no obligation to put up with half-steps. There is no compromise to equality. Either we have it or we don’t, and if we’re claiming it too quickly for some people or organizations it’s their problem, not ours.

Priya Lynn
April 27th, 2013 | LINK

“What makes you think the Mormon church is going to dictate to the scouts what they will teach?”

Tom said “Because they already do?”.

What evidence do you have of that?

Robert
April 27th, 2013 | LINK

Gdene in LA-

You said: “There is no compromise to equality. Either we have it or we don’t, and if we’re claiming it too quickly for some people or organizations it’s their problem, not ours.”

And I disagree. Not with the principle of Equality being a have it or don’t thing, but with the fact that there is no compromise. If we did not accept compromise, as we have over the last 50 years, where exactly would we be? If we had said, “NO COMPROMISE” we would still be in a position that would result in jail time for all who have sexual relations with one of the same sex. We wold not have Marriage Rights in (going on) 10 States. We would be in the same place we were when we started. COMPROMISE is how we got the rights we have at this point.

In theory it’s all so lovely to say “NO, We want it ALL and we want it NOW” and expect to get it, but that ignores the realities of the world we live in. At some point we won’t have to “settle”. But when did we ever ACTUALLY settle? NEVER. We took the advancement and moed forward to get more advancements. I don’t know when we decded that if we didn’t get teh whole shebang then we didn’t want what we were getting. Everyone’s comments seem to say that this isn’t good enough (and it isn’t) so No Thank you. I’m of the mind to take the advancement and keep on with the fight to have full inclussion. Is it perfect? NO. Is it better than it was, I think it is.

I do think we are almost at a point where we will have inclussion across the baoard, but we are not ther yet. Society has moved forward with us, and soon enough it just won’t be acceptable to deny us rights.

The Boy Scouts could have stayed just the way they were, but Society and Finances have moved them forward, and in a short period of time it will move them all the way. The Supreme Court ruled that the BSA have every right under the law to discriminate against who they wish and a partial opening up on their rules is better than nothing. They don’t have to give us even that.

I think we should take what we get and keep fighting for more.

And to Priya Lynn-

The BSA is based on Christian religous beliefs, and they are generally run or sponsored by Churches. To think that they wouldn’t be advocating their religous beliefs is naive. I can’t provide you “evidence” but when I was a Scout our Troop was sponsored by my church and it’s leaders were the same as my Sunday School classes. They mirrored the same teaching they taught on Sunday to my Troop meeting during the week. Yes, that was my experience in just one troop, but the sentiment has been expressed by thousands and thousands of Boy Scouts across the Nation. Disbelieving their testimony on this subject does them a disservice.
And ignoring all the testimony of current and former Troops and asking “What “evidence” one has when there is well documented testimony on the matter is calling their testimony specious.

Lord_Byron
April 27th, 2013 | LINK

@Priya

The majority of scout groups are sponsored by the mormons, catholics, and baptists. The largest group of those to sponsor scouts is the mormons. The BSA are worried about losing a massive amount of members if they allow openly gay scout leaders and members.

What I hate is the apparent statement by the BSA and these religious groups that as soon as a gay guy turns 18 he becomes not trustworthy.

jerry
April 27th, 2013 | LINK

The churches that host troops do so for one reason. More access to brainwash kids into their cults. If this is implemented the best outcome would be the destruction of the BSA.

Timothy Kincaid
April 27th, 2013 | LINK

To clarify, 70% of scout troops are sponsored by religios organization at the local level.

The largest denomination of sponsors are Mormon churches at about 16% of all troops. The second largest is The United Methodist Church. There are about 1/4 as many Methodist trips as Mormon, but the troops are much larger. About 430 thousand boys are in Mormon troops and about 364 thousand boys are in troops sponsored by Methodists.

If we break the religious troops into denomination camps, the Mormon-Catholic-Baptist troops are about 812 thousand kids and the Methodist-Presbyterian-Episcopal-Congregational troops have about 569 thousand kids.

There are a smattering of Jewish and Muslim troops. Very few Pentecostal.

And remember that 30% are civil group sponsors.

This issue is anything but one sided. The Boy Scouts leaders are fools if they think it is.

Timothy Kincaid
April 27th, 2013 | LINK

Jerry, that statement is comically absurd.

Priya Lynn
April 27th, 2013 | LINK

“To clarify, 70% of scout troops are sponsored by religios organization at the local level”.

News to me. I’m not particularly familiar with the boy scouts.

DN
April 27th, 2013 | LINK

I don’t think jerry’s statement is absurd, since it’s just as much against BSA policy to suck dick as it is to not believe in a god.

DN
April 27th, 2013 | LINK

And as a follow-up, as long as the BSA are accessing public funds, they have absolutely no business taking taxpayer funds until they provide equal accomodation to atheists, as well as gays.

If the BSA doesn’t want to provide access to those groups, that’s 100% their right. And they can then forfeit every single one of their public subsidies.

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