Oct 1, 2011 at 10:11 pm #1280060
I was about to apply for a summer job at philmont when I can across the 'Requirements for Employment" with BSA. The first requirement is a "Declaration of Religious Principles"
While scouting is specifically non-denominational and does not champion any specific religious beliefs, "Scouting does not accept atheists and agnostics as members or adult volunteer leaders."
Futhermore, "the Boy Scouts of America will not employ atheists, agnostics, known or avowed homosexuals, or others as professional Scouters.
I do know that these requirements may not be enforced in every (or even most) individual troops, but the fact that it is BSA policy to exclude (and even remove) athiests, agnostics, and homosexuals from the institution is inexcusable.
Now, should I boycott BSA
undermine their ranks and subvert them with my heathen, godless, g@y lovin', passion for the outdoors!
[the BPL profanity censure wont let me say g a y???]Oct 1, 2011 at 10:26 pm #1785692
@thefatboyLocale: St. Louis
I'm pretty sure their hiring practices has been upheald in court time and time again.
I don't get it. Why would you want to be a member of a group that, at it's core, preaches exactly opposite your view points? Why go looking for a fight?
The people who put their kids in Boy Scouts do so, at least in part, because of what it preaches. Would you really go out of your way to "undermine and subvert" their authority to raise their children as they wish simply because you disagree with their viewpoints?
To the admin: I don't mind the conversation, but can we move it to chaff? It certainly doesn't have anything with scout backpacking.Oct 1, 2011 at 10:55 pm #1785697
@cameronLocale: Midland, Texas
I think there was a court case or a lawsuit over this issue. I think it basically boiled down to the fact that the scouts are a non-public institution so they can exclude people if they want to and the government isn't going to force them to allow anyone and everyone in. BSA has a certain set of values it wants to uphold and in my opinion they should be allowed to practice what they believe whether we agree with them or not. If they want to be a semi-religious organization open only to thiest and closed to people with certain beliefs and practices thats there business in my opinion. If you find their values offensive my guess is you'll be happier somewhere else since most of the folks you'd be working with are going to hold those values to one degree or another and I imagine it would bug you over time.Oct 1, 2011 at 11:01 pm #1785698
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
Okay, I was not a boy scout. I have not had any association with the organization as an adult.
Here is their mission statement
The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.
On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.
A Scout is:
The Boy Scouts of America will prepare every eligible youth in America to become a responsible, participating citizen and leader who is guided by the Scout Oath and Law.
I found this via Google. Given their Mission and Vision, then no they would not hire an atheist or agnostic because they would be unable to teach or support "To do my duty to God."
This is a PRIVATE organization and their policies, including excluding homosexuals, has been held up by state and federal courts including the Supreme Court of the United States.
As a private organization, they have the right to "freedom of association."
Boy Scouting is not about the outdoors, it is about their vision of building character.
So to answer your question to what should you do? Move on.Oct 1, 2011 at 11:38 pm #1785708
I really dont want to offend anyone, and im totally fine if this gets moved to chaff.
Im just interested in some discussion and hoping to find that there are others that see the value in both scouting as a gateway to the outdoors and openness and tolerance for ALL people.
I grew up in scouts and in fact was just an eagle project short of getting my Eagle scout. Truly, I probably would have not become the hiker trash that I am today without boy scouts.
I have read the court cases understand the ruling that its a private institution and that no one is forcing me to participate in. Im not saying its unconstitutional or anything just unfair to lots of people who's only opportunity to explore the outdoors is through scouting.
BSA is something that I would love to be active in, but I cannot stand to see people discriminated against based on institutional requirements. I could just leave it and go about my day but what about pre-civil rights scouting? Should they have just dropped it?Oct 2, 2011 at 12:16 am #1785711
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
If you really want a fun summer job, I would suck it up and take the job. Getting to spend your time outdoors outweighs the negatives in my opinion. Yes, I mean you should lie. I'm sure there are more than a few people there who don't have any religious views. But I guess it depends on if religion is actually an integral part of their organization. I was never in scouts so I wouldn't know.Oct 2, 2011 at 12:32 am #1785712
@dirk9827Locale: Pacific Northwest
Yours is an interesting dilemma. Is participation a tacit endorsement of policies you find objectionable? Or does participation afford an opportunity to influence and facilitate change from within the organization? Where do you believe your efforts would best serve as an instrument for change?Oct 2, 2011 at 2:36 am #1785723
@oystersLocale: South Australia
I'm an Australian Scout Leader, I've been a Scout since I was eleven, and been avidly involved since, including doing a lot of international Scouting, especially very recently when another young leader and I cycled to Sweden for the World Scout Jamboree.
In regards to their discrimination policies, the BSA are pretty much outcasts in world Scouting. Sure, the religious thing is in our promise (though I've never heard of another country's national scout association having a policy against atheists/agnostics), but no one really cares what your religion is and nor should they. Interestingly, even on segregating boys and girls they are one of only a few countries left that openly do that.
I was fortunate to meet and work with quite a few great people from the BSA at the World Jamboree. The ones I worked with (Leave No Trace activity, we ran) were quite openly embarressed by these very BSA policies you mention. Not all the BSA is like that, though it will depend a lot on your troop. From what I can tell, Venturer Units, which are allowed to be co-ed, tend to be a bit more "open minded" though that is only my personal observations so far.
I wouldn't be subversive, just be a bit disappointed. Go to Philmont; I'm sure these policies will not come out to the fore in your experience there. Remember, Scouting very much is an internationally focused, open minded organisation, that promotes peace and understanding. There is nothing in that policy that says that YOU have to be a homophobe kicking out g.a.ys, etc. And if somehow something comes up and you don't agree with the conversation (this actually happened (!) with a bunch of old BSA leaders to me at the World Jam…) then politely state your opinion, maybe a few lines about how they are people too and can't help it, and then just move on away before it gets ugly. But I don't think it will come up anyway in your time at Philmont. Just be true to what you think the Scout Promise and Law means mate, that's the best thing to do.
The 2019 World Jamboree is going to be very interesting for BSA. I think a few minds in the organisation might be openened. There will be g.a.y and l.esbian scouts, scouts of all sorts of religions and none, etc. Sweden was amazing. There were large organised meetings for G.a.y/L.esbian Scouts (fantastic!), different religions, etc, etc. Scouts truly is a force for world peace.
Yours in World Scouting,
AdamOct 2, 2011 at 4:07 am #1785727
Qualifications of Employment
Do you have the background needed for a career as a Scouting professional? Our leaders are frequently called upon to multitask and combine many skills to get the job done.
The basic qualifications are:
* Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university
* United States citizenship or declared intention to become a U.S. citizen
* Adult—must have attained age 21 unless prohibited by any applicable law
* People-oriented, having the ability to work well with adult volunteers, community and business leaders, and representatives of other organizations
* Able to work varied hours when necessary to achieve positive objectives
* Believe in the BSA and subscribe to its principles and standards
* Be approved to receive a professional Scouting commission
Young people need faith. There is abundant evidence that children benefit from the moral compass provided by religious tradition. We acknowledge that faith can become an important part of a child's identity. Each of the major faiths breeds hope, optimism, compassion, and a belief in a better tomorrow. Scouting encourages each young person to begin a spiritual journey through the practice of his or her faith tradition. One of the key tenets of Scouting is "duty to God." While Scouting does not define religious belief for its members, it has been adopted by and works with youth programs of all major faiths.Oct 2, 2011 at 6:26 am #1785736
I have heard your complaint from time to time. Perhaps, you could start your own atheist, agnostic, and/or g-y scout orginization? Especially if it is a issue is one you STRONGLY believe in (pun intended)
Its an interesting dilimma because I have also read how it works the other way around, too. People of faith who feel pressured to do things against their personal belief system by a work and/or government policy.
For Instance,should someone HAVE TO fill out a prescription for a suicide drug if it is against their moral code? The answer should be obvious..???
Anyways, there are litterally hundreds,maybe thousands, of situation I could think of.
Otherwise, if something about a VOLUNTEER organisation is offensive to you then why would you even consider joining it???
Unless your objective is to change it from within? In that case, I would have to wonder why you would want to take away other's choice because its not your choice?
That would make you, not the BSA, dishonest? The BSA states upfront what and who they are. While you would have to sneak around and pretend to be something else with the intenetion of subvertion?
Kind of reminds me of people who move to the coutry from a city and try to turn it into a city. Why didn't they just stay in the city? :)
I would add if you can not be honest with others how can you be honest with yourself?
Perhaps, you could state your position upfront to those doing the hiring? Maybe they would make an exceoption if you agree not to "proselytize?" :)
Good luck.Oct 2, 2011 at 8:11 am #1785758
I'll never understand the need people feel to join an organization they disagree with, and then try to force their beliefs on them. There are a multitude of organizations you can join and work outdoors. Nick said it best, just move on.
And I know this will quickly devolve into a thread dogging Christians and their beliefs, which I always find hilarious. Funny how no one ever has the stones to say anything about Muslims, and their similar beliefs.Oct 2, 2011 at 8:18 am #1785759
"I cannot stand to see people discriminated against based on institutional requirements"
On one hand you say you "get it" and on the other you say "BUT"..I think it has more to do with wanting to make others who don't agree with your particular position to have to inforce your brand of "institutional requirements"
Should the Boy Scouts allow nudism? Why do they have age requirements in scouting? Why can't members of MAMBLA join the BSA?
A organisation sets its own perimeters.
If I started a org about eggs and only egg lovers could join..that would be discriminitory?
A handful of people want the egg org include bacon? Why not just start your own egg and bacon org?
Should g#y groups have to allow a openly bigoted homophobe as a leader? Should black organisations have to allow a professed Neo-Nazis to be a leader of their group?
Should G@y group have to allow Christians to be leaders in their group?
Its endless…Oct 2, 2011 at 9:26 am #1785771
Thanks for the great response, thats exactly the kind of discussion I am looking for.
My main issue is not my own personal beliefs, in fact if pressed i could fit my own beliefs into their "declaration of beliefs"
what i am more concerned with is the fact that a scout can be removed from scouting as a whole for being g a y or being athiest/agnostic
my whole bit about "infiltrating their ranks" was very tongue in cheek. What it really means is trying to get the job (which i am qualified for) and using it to further scouting and attempting to influence a wide acceptance for all peoples.Oct 2, 2011 at 10:01 am #1785777
@namelesswayLocale: Mid Atlantic
As was mentioned earlier in this thread, BSA is a "Minoriy" when it comes to scouting around the world. As an Eagle Scout and an adult scouter with a son who enjoys scouting, I can assure you that you are not alone in the distaste toward BSA's policy, and I'd suspect that Lord Baden Powell (founder of scouting) has been turning in his grave ever since the policies have been clarified (possibly ten to fifteen years ago.)
I decided back when my son chose to join scouting that I would support him in his endeavors, regardless of my personal opinion about the policy. And as one who practices non-Christian spirituality, I am happy to say that the troop my son is in emphasizes inclusivity to all: both kids and their parents alike.
Therefore I share with you what a mentor once said to me: "Choose the path which has the most Heart."
If your choice is to share your expertise with the boys, while holding your beliefs in a Good Way, then do it and add to the mass of other adult scouters who may one day create a tipping point in Scouting to amend their policy…. Even if it takes years. If your choice is to support youth in another good way, then do it.
Good luck, friend.
MattOct 2, 2011 at 10:20 am #1785783
What does this part mean?
"attempting to influence a wide acceptance for all peoples"Oct 2, 2011 at 11:52 am #1785803
I suggest that instead of trying to change a wonderful organization that does immense good in the world by teaching boys to be responsible and mature young men, that you start your own group/club that is guided by your own values and principles.
It's a tad narcissistic to think a 100 year old organization should change it's values and guiding principles just because you object to them.Oct 2, 2011 at 12:44 pm #1785818
Scouting is what it is, for a reason.
Many scout troops (most?) are linked to churches and religious schools, and use their facilities for troop meetings and honor courts. It is an organization with very conservative values.
Few people would allow their 10-18 yr old kids to be part of any organization which openly embraced atheists and homosexuals. Scout leaders have an impact on developing kids, they must be a role model. The beliefs are fundamental to the existence of BSA.
BSA has had more than enough trouble in the past with child abuse from closet homosexuals. They go thru great lengths with background checks on all adults to insure the safety of children.
If your beliefs arent in line with theirs, fine. But if thats the case you dont belong, and probably would not be welcome anyway.
BSA is not a backpacking/hiking/outdoor club. It is an organization that shapes young people to be model citizens, and uses the outdoors as part of that process.Oct 2, 2011 at 1:17 pm #1785824
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
I am a parent. As a parent I have a huge responsibility to raise my kids in the manner I deem appropriate and important. As for your statement, "attempting to influence a wide acceptance for all peoples," it is not your job to influence someone else's children, it is the parents responsibility.
As such, many parents in the US involve their children in organizations like the BSA to support the morals and values they wish to impart to their children. Apparently the BSA is non-denominational, but they put forth that there is a God and people need to be reverent to their God. As to homosexuality, it is up to parents to deal with the subject with their children. Right or wrong in your eyes or mine, that responsibility lies with the parent.
As noted earlier, many troops are aligned to churches and parents expect the BSA to support certain ideas.
As to your statement, "if pressed i could fit my own beliefs into their 'declaration of beliefs'." Is this the right thing to do? Would you be true to your own beliefs? Why would you want fit your beliefs into someone else's belief system. Do you have your own agenda?
I do not believe there is a God. My first wife, who is the mother of my children, is Catholic. When we had kids, she wanted them to be Catholic. So what was to be done? I agreed to allow them to be brought up in the Catholic religion. I did not go to church with them, because I am not Catholic and do not believe in most of what they teach. However there are benefits as they teach that each of us must live according to a moral and ethical code/system. What I told the kids is that I am not Catholic and would not go to church with them, but they had to follow their mother's instructions. I did encourage them to be critical thinkers and to be true to themselves. I also told them that when they were adults, they could make their own decisions about how they want to live their lives. When they started school, we put them in parochial schools until high school. Why did I agree to this, when they could go to school for "free?" Because parents have little say in what will be taught to their children in public schools. Catholicism was preferable to me than "attempting to accept a wide influence." Both kids attended public high school because we felt they need to be exposed to the good and bad of the "attempting to accept a wide influence." Both kids graduated from college and I am proud of both of them for everything they do. Their beliefs have changed and they think for themselves. They do not accept what others tell them, they make their own decisions based on reason, their moral and ethical systems.
Let the BSA parents be parents and raise them how they see fit… not how you or I see fit.Oct 2, 2011 at 5:18 pm #1785880
Can the BSA have it both ways? To be private when it comes to discrimination claims, and public (or quasi-public) when it comes to taxpayer dollars, chartering with government agencies, special/preferential access to county/city/state/federal lands and facilities, etc.?
BSA will always lag behind the times when it comes to discrimination issues, kinda like how the USA lagged behind the times when it came to the right of women to vote, black men marrying white women, homosexual marriage, etc. The courts are the vehicle to clean up the gray area (above) in which BSA would choose to operate.Oct 2, 2011 at 6:17 pm #1785904
"BSA has had more than enough trouble in the past with child abuse from closet homosexuals. "
They were not closet homosexuals, they were pedophiles. There's a difference, and a rather large one at that.Oct 2, 2011 at 8:04 pm #1785951
@oystersLocale: South Australia
No worries Tyler.
Don't stress over it too much, it probably won't affect your Scouting much, if at all.
As Matt said, add to the Mass of Adult Scouters that will one day create a tipping point. The BSA, further up the chain, is a rather old generation organisation. This very much flies against the grain of Scout Organisations around the world. Its a youth organisation, and although there is nothing wrong with very old Scouters being apart of it, and I applaud them for their dedication to young people, there does need to be some reality check and there is a need to keep-in-touch with the younger generation. That includes on ethical and moral issues and standpoints. I totally understand where some of the parents are coming from in this forum, but they have to remember the whole point of Scouting is to create young people who are both independent and team thinkers, and who stand up for what they themselves believe in.
I wouldn't be too concerned with a Scout themselves being kicked out for being g.a.y. I don't think (as I recall from conversations with pro-g.a.y BSA Scouters) it has happened that a youth member has been kicked out (well its probably happened or they've been made to feel uncomfortable and left, but who knows, its not reported). Its more targeted at Scouters.
Statistics on homosexuality are pretty high in pretty much every country on the planet. I've been told in Australia its something like 11% of people are homo/bisexual (gained from blind confidential studies). In some countries its much higher-the Swedes told me its more like 1 in 4 there. I'm sure its at least a few % in the USA. There will be a fair proportion, no doubt, of young people who are in Scouting, who come up and find themselves once they hit puberty and start thinking about their sexuality, in an organisation where their sexuality is not tolerated. In many troops that won't be a problem depending on its culture. But imagine you were in a troop, where, say, a young leader came along to start helping out. After a few weeks, they no longer come anymore. The boys ask why; he/she was a great leader and had lots of really cool ideas and taught them lots of things and they just couldn't wait to go out on that hiking trip or summer camp with them. Then they all get told that he/she was homosexual (insert derogatory comment here) and we don't want them (…) around here and they are banned from Scouts.
How does that make the young person feel? Pretty horrible I imagine.
Yep, BP will be turning in his grave.Oct 2, 2011 at 8:45 pm #1785964
"They were not closet homosexuals, they were pedophiles. There's a difference, and a rather large one at that."
+1 to that. (And Martin, I can think of at least one large organization that had/has a much larger problem with pedophiles. I'll give you one guess.)
"Scout leaders have an impact on developing kids, they must be a role model."
I was not aware that atheists and/or homosexuals are unable to be role models for youth.Oct 2, 2011 at 9:23 pm #1785981
+1 thanks for standing up against homophobia!Oct 2, 2011 at 9:37 pm #1785984
“Yours is an interesting dilemma. Is participation a tacit endorsement of policies you find objectionable? Or does participation afford an opportunity to influence and facilitate change from within the organization? Where do you believe your efforts would best serve as an instrument for change?”
Dirk, thank you that is exactly the kind of discussion I was hoping for.
Chas, your comments about racists or Nazis being allowed in such groups is a very different story, although I will concede that there are many who would put atheists and homosexuals in the same category with racists and Nazis. This is about making an instutition that I think does a lot of good open to even more people.
Thank you. Eloquent words spoken with experience.
What that means is that I believe that scouting should be open to everyone! And that includes atheists, homosexuals, aliens, and the boogeyman. Not to mention girls. But that’s a whole other thread that’s already being discussed!
I see nothing narcissistic about it! My intention is to influence scouting so that scouts will not be discriminated against.
The argument that I should start my own organization is a good one, but I don’t think we need to start over when there is a long tradition already in place that need only be updated with the times and finally incorporate a fully inclusive policy.
Thanks for all the great discussion everyone. I think I might go for it. Although I disagree with some of the policies on a human rights ground I believe I can do more good within the organization than boycotting it altogether.
All the best,
TylerOct 2, 2011 at 10:45 pm #1785997
As an Eagle Scout, I disagree strongly with the discrimination policy of the BSA. It truly flies in the face of the scout oath and law.
I learned more useful skills in scouts than I did in school, and it pains me to see a organization that I cherish, turn into a organisation that promotes bigotry and shame.
Tyler: go work at Philmont, you'll have a blast.
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