06 February 2013

Open Scouting

As I write this, I do not know if the board of the Boy Scouts of America will vote to change their policy to remove the national ban on gay Scouts and Scouters ("Scouter" is Scout talk for adult leaders.) It is my guess that they will because I doubt the measure before the board came to it un-vetted. I suspect the sponsors know they have the votes to pass it. But I do know some things.

Scouters on the facebook pages and blogs about this issue are concerned about really laughable issues. One wrote wondering how he could handle showers if there were gay scouts? Of course there are gay scouts, they are simple closeted. And there are similarly gay Scouters. So the question is why he thinks anything should change?

Another topic is how the units will handle the suddenly granted authority to make their own minds up on the issue? There are some choices here, and they apply not to the person in uniform but to the, "chartering organization." This concept is unique to BSA, and may need a bit of explaining.

In essence the idea is simple. A BSA unit is a franchised entity. That is, BSA does not own the unit, it is the property of the civic or religious institution that obtains the charter, a document creating the unit. The chartering organization agrees to implement the program as BSA delivers it, to identify the unit(s) it creates as its youth program, and this is key, to obey the membership and leadership standards of the national organization. In return BSA delivers the program, extensive camping and other opportunities, and the right to use the name and uniforms of the organization.

This means the unit chooses leaders and applies the standards for Scouts. Typically the unit uses its knowledge of the persons as reported by the uniformed and other leaders in place, the background checks which are required, and whatever internal standards it has in place to make choices. For instance, a would be den leader in Cub Scouts, if the unit is chartered to an LDS ward (Mormon church) applies the standards, but also requires that the person be a Mormon, and that the clergy in their local ward/church discern that this is an appropriate ministry for them.

So here is what will change. If the policy changes, then units chartered by LDS, Roman Catholic, Southern Baptist, Missouri Synod Lutheran, and other fundamentalist churches will apply the national standards, and their internal no-gays standard. Units chartered to TEC, LCUSA, most Methodist, Presbyterian, Unitarian, and most civic groups, will apply the national standards and ignore the personal sexuality of the leaders.

Yup, that is it.

Units, especially Boy Scout Troops more than Cub Packs, meet in camping events called Camp-o-rees, and the National and World Jamborees. They also meet at some area training and competition events. My experience is that those events do not involve joint sleeping or showering. So the paranoia about those activities is not realistic.

Similarly, paranoia about law suits is silly. No one with a brain, and most judges seem to have one, would think for a moment that the Roman Catholic Church is suddenly required or should be required to change its doctrine or dogma about human sexuality. Logic and reasonable reading of Scripture might lead one to that requirement but the church is free to preach what I consider error, and it is free to determine who its youth leaders may be.

The whole thing is rather odd to me. Why is it the conservatives who say they stand for individualism and freedom are the ones seeking to classify individuals and discriminate against those individuals as a group? In any case, BSA's new proposed policy permits them to be whom they are. It also permits less misogynist and homophobic people to be whom they are. And for some reason that upsets conservatives.

At the end of the day I hope the proposal passes. It is time and past time to let freedom ring.


Christal said...

May the Lord grant us all more tolerance for diversity.

Christal said...

May the Lord grant us all more tolerance for diversity.

St Laika's

Click to view my Personality Profile page