Sun, 19 Apr 1998 06:49:33 -0400
To: John Eidson
From: Ed Dunn=20
Re: Scouts-L and the 3 G's issues
After three months of total abuse, I am in complete agreement with your
position that it isn=92t a subject for Scouts-L to discuss, but I only go=
two E-mail=92s supporting the OBS position, and several saying I was
unfair. It makes me wonder if any real survey has ever been done of the
BSA membership concerning these issues, and if my views aren=92t skewed b=
a 13 year professional career. There are many of us that are concerned
about the BSA being too conservative in its views, not so far (IMO) as
to say that gays would be welcome, but I think the views of the actual
people in the program do deserve some exposure. =20
It=92s time to get an overview of where we as Scouter=92s stand on these
issues, and there is no better forum than Scouts-L to do this.
The problem is this; without some basis for stating the overall view
that Scouter=92s generally support the BSA=92s stand, his opinion is as g=
as any, and his pro-gay influence is slowly gaining acceptance, purely=20
by default. I=92ve seen it happen slowly over in rec.scouting.issues.
I would like to propose an idea.
Starting with the gay issue, give each side (Mike & ?) 200 words to
state their views, and then allow a given time (1 day, 3 days?) for each
subscriber to vote and for each side to tally votes using a short e-mail
message using a simple yes or no vote: =20
Do you support the BSA=92s ban on Gays in Scouting?
It could be checked for repeat votes easily enough, and I don=92t think i=
would cause much disruption to the flow, if done right. Just a few
posts are needed to;=20
1) Explain the survey and rules (we don=92t want the ballot box stuffed)
2) Each side to present it=92s arguments once
3) Each day to remind members of deadline (?)
4) Submit results to group once
5) Allow each side a short Thank you statement once
We would have to make it clear that this does not change the policy of
Scouts-L or of the BSA, but does utilize this unique format to get an
rough idea of the memberships views, through a relatively random sample
at no cost to the Scouting cause.
Roughly 800 members provides a significant number for testing, and could
also have some good PR value for this forum (deciding on whether you
choose to publicize it), as well as a sign to the powers that be at
National as to how well supported these views really are (or aren=92t) in
the field. I have never seen any evidence of a survey having been done,
and speaking from my former level as a SDE, I would be curious to know.
If the Gay issue samples work well, we could do the other two major
issues also at a later time.
While I fully understand your reluctance to discuss these views, I feel
something like this could be well contained, and provide a lot of useful
What do you think?
Mike Montalvo wrote on rec.scouting.issues yesterday;
I recently conducted the following activity.
I subscribed to a Discussion list (Scouts-L Discussion List
/Archives/scouts-l/default.asp ) which appears to have
about 900 Scouts/Scouters and others.
The publically posted responses (postings) appear to be of a negative
* This really is not the place to be discussing "the three G's". No one
is going to change their minds based upon a discussion over the Scout-L.
* For everybody has been upset about the poster supporting gay rights
today, don't worry, he's gone!
* Dear List Manager: Please keep the Homosexual apologist material off
the list. It is inappropriate and unwanted. Perhaps, "Political
Scouts-L" would be the place for this stuff.
* Are we now going to be subjected to a constant barrage of 3G's posts
or are you going to uphold your previous position as listowner that this
is an inappropriate topic for this list. If it is the former, I
personally will be forced to unsubscribe.
- but what is extremely revealing to me, are the number of private
emails that I received expressing support (currently 32) vs. the number
advocating banning/censorship (3) from within this group.
A few excerpts from DIFFERENT emails:
* Sorry you got such a poor reception. Fear often causes folks (to)
react with anger.
* Don't take it to heart if you get some negative mail from a couple of
hot heads. You just were unlucky enough to come in after a long very
heated thread on two of the three Gs.
* There is some unwritten rule that those three subjects are not
discussed on Scouts-L. Don't let it bother you. I found your
information very interesting and appreciate you post.
* I hope you and your friends persevere, though. Someday, people who
*don't* accept you will be in the minority.
* You've performed a valuable service, IMHO, and I thank you. I hope
you'll continue as a subscriber.
* After your posting I looked over the usage guidelines that I was sent
and was surprised to find no mention of these issues. I had thought
there was something written about this (and so, apparently, did lots of
* Some of us are in favor of changes in Scouting membership rules, some
are against (sometimes violently so) and a few might be neutral (though
I doubt it).
* There are some really bizarre people who subscribe to Scouts-L. I put
up with them to get a relatively small percentage of useful information
from good people.
* Don't sweat it. Change is a slow thing. I really do believe that one
day this policy will get a serious review.
* I know that there are some on the list who think that they make the
rules for all, but, believe me, there are plenty here who support at
least two of the three "g's" in Scouting (the God issue seems a little
more closed). In any case, good luck in Scouting.
I have consistently asked of those within the BSA, where is the ability
to exercise your rights of free speech without fear of censorship or
dismissal. Those within the BSA (private organization or not) should be
very concerned about this situation. This situation seems very
Un-American and goes against the grain of what I believe scouting stands
This gay former Boy Scout has reason to be encouraged that the Boy
Scouts of America may eventually change it's exclusionary policies based
on the email responses I received.
That change will probably come, in a great part, from within the BSA
itself by those that do not publically express their opinions currently
due to fear of being censored or dismissed. It is my opinion that these
fears have a definite basis in reality.
This change will not occur until those within scouting make their
END: Mike Montalvo=92s rec.scouting.issues entry=85
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City