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Boy Scouts proposing to lift gay ban for youth

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  • ClarkHerlin Provo, UT
    April 19, 2013 9:29 a.m.

    This could be agreeable by me. If those with homosexual attraction are allowed into Scouts by the BSA, the BSA must be sure to enforce their policy on gays who act out in any way on their homosexual urges. Any infraction must mean removal from scouting, so as to allow the Boy Scout Oath of being "morally straight" to ring true.

  • freedom in 2017 paradise, UT
    April 19, 2013 9:40 a.m.

    good bye bsa from the biggest two groups of participants, lds and catholic. hope gays can backfill the revenue plunge.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    April 19, 2013 9:42 a.m.

    Well, it's been a good, mutually beneficial relationship for a good long time. Scouting is what it is today, particularly in the West, largely because of its relationship with the Church. Most of its Western recreational properties were donated by the Church. Most of its Western units are Church units. Most of its revenues come from Church members.

    But now, for political reasons, Scout leaders have decided to betray, not just their oath, but their friends, as well. OK. It's their right. But they can't realistically expect to maintain a relationship with the Church.

    It'll be interesting to see what Church youth program follows scouting. It'll probably look a lot like scouting. We'll be fine.

    But Scouting? Not so much. They're already "consolidating" properties -- meaning selling off smaller, less profitable ones, directing units to larger, more distant camps. Maybe they can convert their operation into a corporate sales organization, like Girl Scouts. That may cover some of the revenue collapse, but they're clearly going to have to get by on less.

    And become comfortable with irrelevance.

  • shhhh Davis County, UT
    April 19, 2013 9:45 a.m.

    Up front I admit my ignorance on the proposal by the BSA, but my question is if they allow practicing gays into scouting, do they plan on keeping "morally straight" in the Scout Motto? Perhaps they are limiting it to those with homosexual attraction, but not practicing??

    Anyone know?

  • Spider Rico Greeley, CO
    April 19, 2013 9:52 a.m.

    Overall scouting participation has been waning in this generation, now it will lose the support of large religious groups that have sustained it this long. What a shame - such a great organization will completely change and may all but disappear. A new program will be coming from the LDS church if this in fact happens.

  • james d. morrison Boise, CA
    April 19, 2013 9:49 a.m.

    That's fine, since even though they might identify themselves as gay, many at that age aren't going to actively be gay and they would still be expected to live a chaste lifestyle like the other scouts. but no gay leaders.

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    April 19, 2013 9:54 a.m.

    @freedom and procur
    funny that you both believe that the LDS church should cut ties, how exactly is threatening to cut ties any less bullying then when those that support gay rights threatened to or cut of funding when the BSA would not allow gays in the scouts?

  • shhhh Davis County, UT
    April 19, 2013 9:51 a.m.

    Excuse me. Scout Oath.

  • Elcapitan Ivins, UT
    April 19, 2013 9:57 a.m.

    Seems agreeable with me also in as much as this has always been the way an LDS scout troop has run during my sixty plus years of leadership experience as an LDS scout leader. Most boys have not sorted out tendencies for same sex attraction at Boy Scout age and do not pose a threat to their peers and remain teachable by their families and leaders.

    Adult Gay leadership has always been a source of concern and trouble.If this becomes an accepted practice in the Boy Scouts of Americ, I knowa the progrtam will go down the drain, and what a loss that would be for all.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    April 19, 2013 10:00 a.m.

    "And become comfortable with irrelevance."

    Perhaps in Utah... but Utah isn't even 1% of the US population. I think we may be overstating things just a smidge.

    I do hope that there is some kind of common sense here. We don't ban kids from church who have same sex attraction.. How in the world do you propose to help these kids deal with the issues of this if you cast them off. Would we do the same for kids who have issues with drinking, making moral mistakes with young ladies... etc.

    I think the leadership of the church is bright enough to find the right, measured response to this. Nothing is ever forever. My grandfather brought scouting to this church... and there is no doubt the church leadership will find the next right and balanced thing for the church moving foreword. Will it make everyone happy... I doubt it. But leadership has to do the right thing for all of the church, not just the loudest critics.

    And I really doubt Boy Scouts regardless will be any more irrelevant than it is now.

  • liberate Sandy, UT
    April 19, 2013 10:04 a.m.

    It seems most on this board care very little about the individual and haven't taken even a minute to think through the issues. First, to be clear, they are only lifting their ban on gay scouts, not on gay leaders. This in fact changes very little. You ask why? Because gay scouts have been in scouting from the beginning, they just haven't told those around them. And when they have told somebody, like their bishop, they were still in scouting. The difference now is, particularly for those of you who think a gay youth has the ability to change, any gay scouts can feel comfortable in talking to counselors and bishops about their "problem" with fear of being forced out of organizations like scouting. It's a win-win for both, those who want to "cure" gays and those who support equal treatment.

    I personally don't know how in this day and age an organization can justify excluding somebody because of the way they are born (or for those who you who still insist - became through no fault of their own).

    I assume the church will continue to back scouting stronger than ever.

  • hubbardesquire Alabaster, Alabama
    April 19, 2013 10:06 a.m.

    Apparently, the Boy Scouts are more afraid of a few, or they want to placate a few, and are willing to lose a lot. Almost, all churches in the Southeast United States will no longer sponsor Scouting if they allow gays in. Also, there will almost immediately be a federal lawsuit filed if they allow gays in as members but exclude gays as leaders. So, it looks like the Boy Scouts would prefer to have the gays rather than the churches. Good luck with that brilliant strategy.

  • Ace4309 St. George, UT
    April 19, 2013 10:13 a.m.

    What LDS Church do the rest of you belong to? The Church doesn't ban gay people from being members, so why would the BSA allowing gay kids to be scouts suddenly spell the doom of the organization? The Church's current policy is more tolerant than the current BSA policy and the new BSA policy will be completely in line with the Church's policy. The change says no scout will be banned "on the basis of sexual orientation ALONE" -- that means that, without more, a scout won't be kicked out simply for being gay. Just as no Church member would ever be kicked out of the church on the basis of sexual orientation ALONE. Let's at least pretend to think these things through objectively.

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    April 19, 2013 10:14 a.m.

    @hubbardesquire
    I suppose that is one way to try to frame it the other way would be that the boy scouts are finally going to standup against the old guard that has controlled them for too long through the pocketbook and do the right thing, even if it means losing funding from the churches.

  • Chester Brough Providence, Utah
    April 19, 2013 10:20 a.m.

    I understand the political concern regarding same-sex issues, but the scout oath relates: "On my honor, I will do my best, to do my duty, to god and my country, to obey the scout law, to keep myself morally clean and morally straight".

    "Clean and morally straight" has been taught since the inception of scouting to mean clean thoughts, and not particpate in sexual activity until marriage? I am looking at a library of handbooks, letters from family members who were actual full-time profesisonal leaders, and brother who lost his life in an event to honor eagle scouts,who was a profesional scouting representative in the Old Cache Valley Council. This entire decision process is improper, even the US Supreme Court has held that private entities may have organizations that teach their own moral conduct?

  • HS Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    April 19, 2013 10:21 a.m.

    BSA membership has been in steady, large decline for years. If the BSA doesn't adapt they'll be nothing but a fringe Boy's club run by religous groups. As was the similar case of civil rights in the 60's with America's youth, today's younger generation does not hold the homophobic views of their parents. Their values are based more on reason than religous dogma.

  • Obama10 SYRACUSE, UT
    April 19, 2013 10:25 a.m.

    I think those saying the "demise" of the BSA and that the LDS church will immediately drop the BSA are being a little premature. I could see this going either way. The LDS church has become much more "gay friendly" the past couple of years, even publishing a whole website on the issue. The LDS church has supported the non-discrimination act for housing and employment in SLC. There is a gay member in a Bishopric in San Francisco. I could very well see the LDS church still supporting the BSA. My only question where I think there will be problems down the road are if you have a gay boy in Scouts and loves his experience and wants to pass that along as a leader, how do you tell him "no". That will be the next issue. This issue is not going away. If the church does drop the BSA, they will just revise the Duty to God program which I believe was already put into place if the BSA lost the Supreme Court case from a few years ago. That now looks like a waste of money.

  • Vince here San Diego, CA
    April 19, 2013 10:39 a.m.

    Please lift the ban.

    An organization of members who are inclusive is what America should be about.

  • Jumpyman Salt Lake City, UT
    April 19, 2013 10:44 a.m.

    I am good with this decision. The biggest concern was allowing homosexual leaders, that have a huge influence on the boys, to be included. This resolves that issue. What the actual boy scout members do with regards to sexual preference is not really the concern of the scouting organization. That is up to families and church affiliation. The big question now is on how the scouting program deals with individuals who are not being morally straight (doesn't matter if it is a homosexual or heterosexual relationship). Are they refused rank advancements? Are they allowed to continue to participate? In the LDS Church, does the Bishop disfellowship them from scouting and youth activities? In my experience, scouting has never really enforced the morally straight requirement anyway. That was left up to ecclesiastical leaders. I don't know if anything will change.

  • Johnny Triumph American Fork, UT
    April 19, 2013 10:57 a.m.

    Hypocritical and dangerous to allow boys but not leaders to participate in certain behaviors. BSA should worry, this won't go well for them.

  • Cool Cat Cosmo Payson, UT
    April 19, 2013 11:00 a.m.

    I think "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is an appropriate policy for the boys. As for the leaders...yeah, I think we still ought to be very cautious who becomes a boy scout leader. I honestly think a background check would be wise, heterosexual, homosexual, or whatever, and it would put parents' minds at ease (teachers have to get background checks, so I think it makes sense)

  • Jon W. Murray, UT
    April 19, 2013 11:06 a.m.

    One thing that has been overlooked is that the ban has been on "OPEN and AVOWED" homosexuals as both youth members and adult leaders. That means that boys who feel attraction to other males have always been allowed to participate in Scouting as long as they do not act on those feelings in a way that is OPEN to public view. The "morally clean" clause of the Boy Scout Oath pertains to thoughts and feelings, yes, but more so to actions. How many of us are truly 100% morally clean in our thoughts (let him who is without sin cast the first stone)? But if we are in total control of our actions, we are counted worthy, at least in the LDS Church, for callings and temple attendance.

    Boys join the Cub Scouts at 7 or 8 years old and the Boy Scouts at age 11. If they are feeling strong sexual feelings at those early ages, it is probably because they have already had some tragic and abusive experience(s) that have prematurely sexualized them. If they have been sufficiently traumatized in that way, it is somewhat likely that they will take advantage of Scouting situations to abuse others.

  • ute alumni paradise, UT
    April 19, 2013 11:09 a.m.

    utahbluedevil
    Name of Organization
    Total Units
    Total Youth
    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints*
    37,856
    430,557
    United Methodist Church*
    10,868
    363,876
    Catholic Church *
    8,397
    273,648
    Presbyterian Church *
    3,597
    125,523
    Lutheran Church *
    3,827
    116,417
    Baptist Churches
    3,981
    108,353
    Episcopal Church *
    1,179
    41,407
    United Church of Christ, Congregational Church
    1,191
    38,225
    Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
    1,165
    33,941
    Community Churches
    1,054
    32,311
    Church of Christ*
    546
    15,430
    Evangelical/independent churches
    294
    7,899
    Church of God
    237
    5,241
    Church of the Nazarene
    156
    4,181
    Reformed Church in America
    127
    4,077
    Jewish synagogues and centers*
    156
    3,738
    Church of the Brethren
    101
    2,759
    African Methodist Episcopal*
    149
    2,416
    The Salvation Army
    130
    2,233
    Islam, Muslim, Masjid*
    78
    2,222
    Assemblies of God*
    91
    2,193
    Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
    95
    1,970
    Community of Christ
    61
    1,899
    Pentecostal Churches
    107
    1,830
    Other churches

  • washcomom Beaverton, OR
    April 19, 2013 11:13 a.m.

    One careful step at a time is fine. Because this decision will be affecting people for years to come, the need to step back, breathe, analyze it, and then carry out the best possible act for those that have same-gender attraction is the right course to do.
    I am all for an open dialogue, but keeping it civil and to the direct point is the reason why many are fearful of having gay leaders involved. No leader is supposed to have any discussions regarding sexual topics. That's against the moral code.

  • Mayfair City, Ut
    April 19, 2013 11:25 a.m.

    one poster said: Most boys have not sorted out tendencies for same sex attraction at Boy Scout age and do not pose a threat to their peers and remain teachable by their families and leaders.

    Thats what I thought upon reading this headline.
    I believe the Church has always welcomed all YM and YW into any of its Youth programs, members or not, hetero or not (or not sure) who are willing to abide by the established and well-known codes of conduct for those groups, camps, conferences, programs etc.

    Now the Scouts will do the same for the boys-- and the Church will likely agree to that. I believe the Church would/will, on an individual basis, also welcome all male leader members who are chaste and honest with the other leaders and keeping the commandments.

    I believe the Church has and will continue to find a place for all boys and all men who want to be associated with Scouting and who are willing to live by the rules of chaste conduct required by the Scout oath.

  • sid 6.7 Holladay, UT
    April 19, 2013 11:27 a.m.

    Why are some people in this State so clueless? There is a lot more to morality than what one dose in the bedroom. I have known very religious people who would never think of cheating on their spouse more or less participate in non traditional sexual activity within their marriage who were very immoral. Cheating on taxes, racism, un-acceptance of others, gossiping, breaking the any law among many things other than sex are all issues of morality.

    With that being said I would think that placing a young gay male with other males in camping situations is what would bother every body. Kids at that age "experiment" weather gay or straight and they have a way of convincing their peers to "Check It Out" so to speak. If I had it my way this would not be an issue all would be allowed in Scouting. If your afraid of your child turning gay and since I have to choose I would rather an adult Gay Male in a different tent be present rather than the alternative. What goes on in that tent is of no concern to me.

  • SlopJ30 St Louis, MO
    April 19, 2013 11:28 a.m.

    I hate half-measures. Either keep things the way they are or just give up a fight that is basically over and stop discriminating altogether. Saying "well, we're kinda going to stop discriminating a little bit" is weak. Maybe we could let gay men become 2/3 of a scoutmaster!

    When did scouting become about sex in the first place? This whole discussion is the epitome of "much ado about nothing." The morality police are once again being stirred up by their own bizarre faulty assumptions about the scary scary homosexuals. There is zero rational reson to believe abuse will increase by allowing gay scouts or scoutmasters.

    Many of you are already laying blame in the BSA for committing financial suicide. If your most dire predictions come true, it won't be suicide; it'll be murder. To withdraw support from a venerable organization that's done so much good because of something so inconsequential is tragic. Thankfully, in a generation or two your kind will fade away and become relegated to the fringes where you belong.

  • RedWings CLEARFIELD, UT
    April 19, 2013 11:28 a.m.

    @Tolstoy:
    "funny that you both believe that the LDS church should cut ties, how exactly is threatening to cut ties any less bullying then when those that support gay rights threatened to or cut of funding when the BSA would not allow gays in the scouts?"

    It's one thing to "cut ties" after a decision has been made. It is quite another one to threaten to pull funding unless apolicy is changed. Corporations, etc have bullied the BSA into this policy change. It is likely that the churches will simply leave and develop their own boys programs consistent with their values (The LDS Church already has one that is used outside the USA). There is nothing wrong with them doing this - we all have free speech and freedom to worship how we choose.

    I left the Democratic Party because "tolerance" only matters for those the party agrees with. I do not hear any Democratic Party leader stressing tolerance for my views on gay marriage and homosexuality, which are wholly in line with LDS doctrine on these issues.

  • Aloha Saint George Saint George, Utah
    April 19, 2013 11:30 a.m.

    NO more BSA?? Means friends of scouting drives!!! Woohoo

    Hope LDS Church drops scouting and start doing their own thing.

  • freedom in 2017 paradise, UT
    April 19, 2013 11:32 a.m.

    Tolstoy and ace:

    Back then I could not have imagined how far and how fast the world would move away from God; it was impossible to understand that, given doctrine, principles, and commandments. And yet the standards of Christ and His Church have not moved. As He said, “The truth abideth forever and ever.”5 When we understand and accept this, we are prepared to face the social pressure, ridicule, and even discrimination that will come from the world and some who call themselves friends.

    Most of us know someone who would say, “If you want to be my friend, you’ll have to accept my values.” A true friend doesn’t ask us to choose between the gospel and his or her friendship. To borrow the words of Paul, “From such turn away.”6 A true friend strengthens us to stay on the strait and narrow path.
    Robert Hales April 2013 conference.

  • Tom in CA Vallejo, CA
    April 19, 2013 11:37 a.m.

    How does anyone know what the boy's "sexual orientation" is, if the boy hasn't had any?

  • OHBU Columbus, OH
    April 19, 2013 11:42 a.m.

    It blows my mind that people think "morally straight" means "heterosexual." The oath was written long before we started distinguishing heterosexuals as "straight." Straight merely means chaste, and has nothing to do with orientation. In other words, a gay man can be straight, so long as he's not sexually promiscuous. Likewise, a heterosexual is not straight if they're having a bunch of one-night stands. So as to clear up any confusion, it even says "morally" straight. The exact definition of that depends on one's religious beliefs. In the LDS Church, one cannot be a gay married man and be morally straight, because the LDS Church deems homosexuality a sin. In the Methodist Church, however, where scouts are also sponsored, there is no such distinction. Likewise, doing your duty to God in the LDS faith requires tithing, in other religions it doesn't.

  • Tom in CA Vallejo, CA
    April 19, 2013 11:46 a.m.

    Exactly WHEN does one become gay?? Anyone?

  • TA1 Alexandria, VA
    April 19, 2013 11:46 a.m.

    To paraphrase a previous post - "Hypocritical and dangerous" - yep - just like every other bad example the adult community sets from time to time. Remember - standards apply to ALL not just gay people.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    April 19, 2013 12:22 p.m.

    I detect a gestapo mentality in the gay community ('we will hunt you down until every last one of you admit that you are bigots.'). The very thing that caused them pain,they are doing. the naive who tolerate evil will assume that this is all just about being more accepting. Every thing that is good, every right that is God-given, is on trial here in America. The criticism (those who disagree are bigots)and the subterfuge (we just want to be accepted) will continue until conscience is eventually extinguished, and God is eliminated from every aspect of public and private life. It is no wonder the national media is fading into insignificance. Being 'politically correct' just doesn't cut it for those who want to hear both sides of an issue, including whether a private organization can exclude members of its choosing. Why would anyway want to belong to an organization that he/she believes is bigoted anyway? Go figure?

  • SlopJ30 St Louis, MO
    April 19, 2013 1:12 p.m.

    " . . whether a private organization can exclude members of its choosing."

    When did this even become a question? No-one, to my knowledge, has seriously proposed the BSA be forced by the government into accepting gay scouts or leaders. They're being pushed to do so by, basically, the free market. I am firmly on the side of lifting the foolish ban (someone's orientation shouldn't even be anyone's concern), but if the BSA were being legally forced by the government to change its policies, I would object.

    Just like a private country club should be able exclude non-whites if it chooses, the BSA can exclude who it chooses. That does not allow it to escape the resulting criticism or stinging verbal backlash.

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    April 19, 2013 1:54 p.m.

    The Gay community will not be satisfied with this policy. The push is already on for the inclusion of gay leaders. BSA has become a political lightning rod and will remain so for some time.
    I still believe it would be wise for the LDS Church to establish their own program for youth. It could then have a policy congruent with the teachings of the Church for how the youth and leaders are treated.

  • Obama10 SYRACUSE, UT
    April 19, 2013 2:32 p.m.

    Since the Boy Scouts are a worldwide organization, does anyone know what the policy is regarding gay youths and leaders in other countries?

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    April 19, 2013 2:45 p.m.

    @redwings
    You claim it is different please explain how withdrawing funding and participation after decades (the LDS church is different from pulling funding and support after months? either way you are pulling support and funding.
    @freedom
    "A true friend doesn’t ask us to choose between the gospel and his or her friendship." yet you are fine with telling the BSA either you follow you religious dictates or I will no longer be your "friend."
    The only difference in both your cases is you believe your views are right and everyone else is wrong and evil.

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    April 19, 2013 3:37 p.m.

    sorry that was suppose to read, either follow my religious dictates... not follow you religous dictates.

  • amazondoc USA, TN
    April 19, 2013 5:11 p.m.

    @Obama10 --

    From wikipedia:

    "Homosexual people are not restricted from membership or leadership positions in Scouts Canada, the Baden-Powell Service Association in the United States, Scouts Australia, and most European associations, including The Scout Association of the United Kingdom, Ring deutscher Pfadfinderverbände of Germany (German Scout Federation), and the Swedish Guide and Scout Association."

    It looks like the BSA is unique, or nearly unique, in its restrictive policy.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    April 19, 2013 11:18 p.m.

    Re: ". . . how exactly is threatening to cut ties any less bullying . . . ."

    Bullying? Liberals define bullying as pulling out of an organization that's trying to force you to violate your religious beliefs?

    That's some pretty fancy sophistry.

    Clearly disingenuous, but fancy.

  • junkgeek Agua Dulce, TX
    April 20, 2013 7:03 a.m.

    Does anyone really believe that the BSA hasn't surveyed the major money people (including the LDS Church) and knows if they have their support or not? As has been stated, the Church is much more liberal on this issue than the BSA.

  • cstott Lehi, UT
    April 20, 2013 8:08 a.m.

    I question whether a gay boy would even be interested in Scouting. A gay boy looks at other boys like they are girls. Now reverse it. Would you allow a boy to sleep with your daughter at that age?

  • amazondoc USA, TN
    April 20, 2013 10:06 a.m.

    @cstott --

    "I question whether a gay boy would even be interested in Scouting."

    Why? Gay boys and men participate in all sorts of traditionally "macho" activities. There are gay policemen, gay firefighters, gay pro-athletes, gay soldiers, you name it. Why not scouting?

    "A gay boy looks at other boys like they are girls. Now reverse it. Would you allow a boy to sleep with your daughter at that age?"

    If she were a lesbian, sure.

    The biggest issue with a boy and a girl sleeping together is that they are usually attracted **to each other**. But there isn't much danger of one boy forcibly attacking another one in a tent surrounded by a bunch of other tents in a campground, even supposing that the gay boy *wanted* to (which is very unlikely). It might be a mistake to house two gay boys together -- that's when you'd be at risk of hanky-panky -- but I wouldn't worry about the safety of a straight kid housed with a gay kid. Remember, being gay doesn't make you a predator!

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    April 23, 2013 1:17 p.m.

    @cstott
    "I question whether a gay boy would even be interested in Scouting. A gay boy looks at other boys like they are girls."

    I'm not even sure what you're trying to say... after all there's something called the Girl Scouts so if you think gay boys would be interested in activities that are popular with girls then you still end up with scouting being unsurprising.

    Or do you think gay boys wouldn't be interested in scouting because of thinking guys have cooties?

  • Matthews63 Issaquah, WA
    April 23, 2013 2:19 p.m.

    I have been a Scoutmaster for over 20 years in the LDS church. I have had numerous boys over the years who were gay. Since every young man in the church participates in scouting, I have had many gay boys go on hikes and campouts. To me, there is no change in the current program, I still include every boy regardless.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    April 24, 2013 7:53 a.m.

    A scout is morally clean.

    Sad day when people can't understand this. No excuses.

  • amazondoc USA, TN
    April 24, 2013 6:00 p.m.

    @worf --

    "A scout is morally clean.

    Sad day when people can't understand this. No excuses."

    The LDS church itself acknowledges that same-sex attraction is not a sin. Therefore, homosexuals who say "Yes, I am homosexual" have also not sinned -- as long as they are celibate. So it's very easy for someone to be an open homosexual and still not have sinned in regards to sex.

    The loss of moral cleanliness only enters the picture, according to the church's own teachings, when homosexuals act on their attractions. And since **any** extra-marital sex is a sin according to the church, then homosexuals are in the very same boat as any other unmarried men when it comes to sinning about sex.

    It's perfectly possible for an openly gay man to be chaste. If your own church says that constitutes is a sin-free life, then who are you to object?