Re: UUA [Final]
Neil Lupton (NeilLup@AOL.COM)
Thu, 10 Sep 1998 10:27:45 -0400
In a message dated 9/10/98 8:29:29 AM, ajmako@NLS.NET wrote:
<<I am suspending any further input on the UUA discussion until such time as
those claiming to hold a more tolerant view of spiritual life become more
tolerant of other's views. >>
I don't claim to be an expert on this kind of thing, but my understanding of
the position of the UUA and the other more tolerant "groups" is that they
have no real interest and claim no prerogative to govern what you do in your
unit. If you and your sponsor wish to exclude gays, mandate adherence to a
particular religion, exclude females, etc. from YOUR unit, then I understand
they would say that is exactly in line with their position of tolerance. It
is your unit and you can and should follow the principles of Scouting and of
your sponsor in the way that you find most appropriate.
Rather, I believe that what they wish is the same prerogative concerning THEIR
unit(s). They wish to be able to follow their moral code and their reasonable
interpretation of the Scout Oath and Law in selecting leaders and serving
youth in line with their principles. Understand that we are not talking about
the Pedophile Liberation Front here (there really is such an organization.)
We are talking about a mainline, long established religion and sponsor like
I guess the following summarizes what I believe is the entire debate and
discussion going on concerning membership and membership criteria of the BSA:
1) Shall we follow the more libertarian criteria for adult and youth
participation which has traditionally been used. This is the "I may disagree
with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"
philosophy. Traditionally, reasonable sponsors have been given great freedom
and local autonomy to choose and select the leaders which they believe will
best serve youth in the way that they believe youth should be served. And
large sponsors have had great freedom in modifying and amending the Scout
program to meet their organizational needs. Granted that society in 1998 is
much more inclined to push the behavioral envelope than it was in 1910,
particularly in public.
2) Or shall we follow the current trend in Scouting and in many other
political and other organizations of tightly specifying what limits to
behavior will be mandated for everyone involved in the organization and
shunning or expelling those individuals and groups who either choose or are
unable to respect the officially proclaimed limits to behavior. I think of
this as the "My way or the highway" approach.
Of course, nothing is totally black or white. I know that there is the
argument by some groups that if other groups have gay leaders and their Scouts
see these gay leaders at a camporee, their Scouts will be scandalized. But
conversely, I understand that a very major sponsor has recently published
guidelines for leaders of their faith in Scouting stating that Scout camping
activities which have both male and female leaders present are inappropriate.
And this is intended to refer to leaders of ALL units, not just units
sponsored by this particular group.
I hope I am tolerant. I try to be. Even to those individuals and
organizations who believe that tolerance has no place.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City