Boy Scout policies need to change for the future

Gretchen Burns | managing editor

It has recently come to my attention that the Boy Scouts of America have thought about revoking its ban on openly gay people participating.
I feel that not only does this ban go against the morals that scouting teaches, but it limits the help that this scouting organization could obtain. As a lifelong Girl Scout member, I feel that the similarities in scouting still stand.
If a person were homosexual, that would not limit ability to lead a Scout troop. How would being gay stop a leader from being able to teach knots, or teach survival skills while camping, or leadership skills? If you know what you are doing, your sexual orientation shouldn’t matter.
Living in the 21st century, there are other issues that should be dealt with besides homosexuality. Leaders who are pedophiles who take advantage of their scouts are a far worse act than being an open homosexual.
For the Boy Scouts of America to maintain interest and the high numbers of participants, the traditional standards they’ve followed for 113 years need to change. The past barriers thrown up by the government and private organizations, in terms of who is allowed to do what, have fallen by the wayside.
The argument that a private group should be allowed to set admissions standards as it chooses is flawed. These are volunteer positions and the scouting world needs to accept that if they limit who teaches their Scouts, they will be passing on great teachers.
The only reason the Boy Scouts could argue that banning homosexuals is acceptable is if they can show that changing the status quo would negatively impact the organization and undermine the organization’s goals and mission.
Homosexuals will some day be accepted as Scout leaders, and the Boy Scouts of America might as well change its policy now before they looks even worse.
Not revoking this ban shows how close-minded the organization is. Scouting has long proclaimed that they help mold tomorrow’s leaders, so why would we want those leaders to be close-minded to other people’s sexual orientation?
Start letting Scouts associate with people of a different sexual orientation. That way, down the road, those same Scouts won’t be offensive or naïve when dealing with sensitive issues.
The Boy Scouts of America will argue that by keeping openly gay people from leading their scouting groups, they are retaining the history and tradition that has followed them for 113 years.
Because they are a separate organization and not funded by the government, they will still claim that they should be allowed to determine who is allowed and who isn’t.
Religious parents and concerned family members are afraid that homosexual scoutmasters will lure their children to a lifestyle that they themselves are not comfortable with. I feel that those leaders will know their boundaries. Most people have the common courtesy to keep their ideas to themselves and realize that there are appropriate times to discuss those ideas.
Parents need to get over the fact that this is not the same scouting that they grew up with. Discrimination barriers from the past have fallen from this country and this one is no different. The times change, and so should the policies and rules in scouting.Boy Scouts Gays


Questionable leadership: Earning their merit badge in trouble

Aaron Heidbrecht | guest columnist

The Boy Scouts have become accustomed to scrutiny since its formation in 1910. For one reason or another, the Scouts have been singled out but still they have gotten through by sticking to their beliefs.
Now, the Scouts are in the middle of a situation, by their own doing, that has once again brought them under fire and this time there is no right choice that they can make. Currently, various councils, along with the head districts are making the final plans to allow Scouts, both youth and leaders, to be open about their sexual orientation.
While some are happy about this progressive change, others fear for the traditions that have been in place for over 100 years. The core issue is whether or not it is a good idea to allow Scout masters to be open about their orientation, and I am reluctant to say that it will do anything but cause trouble.
The country as a whole has progressed in the direction of acceptance, but there are still many adults, youth and parents in the scouting world who will not be comfortable with the knowledge that the open leaders will be teaching and looking after the youth. There are some people who still feel that the decision to be gay is a choice, and with an openly gay leader they fear that their kids will be “lured” into that lifestyle.
Though these fears are ridiculous, they also need to be taken into consideration by the councils, who are not looking at both sides of the issue. By making this decision they are making one group happy, but they are also alienating another who may choose to remove their youth or even resign from leading positions. But the same could be said if they weren’t making it.
Parents will be worried about who is teaching their kids and what new and potentially unwanted influences are affecting their children. The Scouts have survived for over 100 years through the good and the bad, and as an Eagle Scout, I do not fully understand or condone why they are doing this to themselves. By turning this into an issue they had made it an issue.
Previously, it hasn’t been a targeted issue. Occasionally, there were people who were open about their anti-gay opinions. However, there were more people who accepted people who were gay who they worked with and befriended, and there were not issues that came from it.
I agree that some changes need to take place, but do I feel that they should allow leaders to be open about their orientation? I honestly have to say no.

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