Re: appropriate leaders
Jonathan Dixon (dixonj@MIMICAD.COLORADO.EDU)
Thu, 18 Nov 1993 12:57:10 -0700
> quoting From: Rick Busdiecker rfb@CMU.EDU
> > Scouting emphasizes the importance of families and encourages family
> > member participation if and only if the people involved are either
> > heterosexual or asexual. This bias with it's inherent suggestion that
> > lesbians, gay men and bisexuals are `damaged goods' because of their
> > sexuality is ridiculous.
> Actually, it's quite sound judgement as it applies to Scouting leadership.
> The BSA ideals and principles are designed to provide sound / solid family
> values to allow young men to mature in American society with the best
> possible advantage befoer they head out into the world on their own.
> Though it is true that those who choose "alternate lifestyles" are not going
> to negatively influence mature youth or adults in a negative way, they
> likely could have a detrimental effect on younger Scouts while they are
> formulating their ideas of what constitutes right/wrong behaviour in todays
> Like it or not, the alternate lifestyles espoused by some today is NOT right
> behaviour in todays society. Scouting has a longstanding tradition of
> instilling 'traditional' (conservative) values in maturing youth. Once those
> youth are older and have adult judgement available to them, they can make
> their own decisions. BSA is designed to prepare them to be able to make
> adult decisions.
The problem with this argument is that it can too easily be extended
to areas which get to be ridiculous quickly. For instance,
'traditional' values throughout large portions of the US include
treating women and minorities as 2nd class citizens, assuming
everybody has a Protestant background, etc. I don't think that anyone
on the list would propose removing women, racial minorities, and
non-Protestants from leadership positions in Scouting, however (nor do
I, just so I'm not misunderstood).
There are almost as many different positions on causes and effects of
homosexuality as there are people, ranging from purely biological
stances to people who are afraid they'll catch it if they sit too
close to one on a bus. Different religious groups have had different
things to say about it as well (my own denomination, the ELCA, has
just recently caught flak over the DRAFT of a sexuality statement
which discusses homosexuality because of the difference of opinions
within the church).
Also, if prevailing religious views on actions are what are used for
judging suitability of BSA leaders, then we should also make sure we
don't have anyone having sex outside (before or during) marriage, and
in many parts of the country we perhaps ought to make sure they don't
play cards, drink coffee (stimulants are a type of drug), dance, or
any number of other things espoused by various churches (again, to
avoid flames, I'm not trying to make judgements one way or the other
on any of these actions or beliefs!).
I personally believe that BSA would be best off if they let the
Chartering Organizations judge the suitability of their own leaders
taking all factors into consideration. If parents object strongly to
certain types of people as leaders, they can complain to the Chartering
Org. or can find another troop in the area. I also would personally
tell any scout or leader who told me they were gay that I didn't want
to "know" that in my role as an ASM; if they need to discuss it with
someone, I'd be willing to do it at other times when not in my role as
ASM. I know that may not be as per BSA's intentions, but it's my own
practical solution, since as an ASM I have to officially uphold BSA
Sorry for the length and preachiness, but I felt that these points
needed to be raised.
ASM Troop 1046, Bowie, MD, NCAC
Eagle '85 Vigil '89
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City