scouts-l Mail Archive for July of 2000: Re: Dale vs. BSA
Bruce E. Cobern (bec@PIPELINE.COM
Mon Jul 03 2000 - 17:26:29 CDT
> I am in much agreement with many of your arguments, but you have one
> potential weakness and that is found in paragraph 5, regarding "private
> practices". Yes, I may be a scoutmaster with a style of life or practice
> that someone may not agree with, but if I keep it to myself
> (away from the boys), there should be no issue. It is unfortunate, in the
> Dale case, that the issue was brought to the public forum, by his public
> announcement of his private practices. Of course we all know this was
> done to push the envelope.
> My point is, that it becomes an issue when you wear your
> "private practices" on your public sleeve.
Well, first of all, with respect to Dale. HE never did anything to go
public about his sexual orientation. He joined, and then became president
of, a club on campus, which happened to be a gay club. He happened to
appear in a newspaper article and that is where the trouble began. There
was no parading and flaunting of his sexuality, most certainly NOT when it
came to the Scouts. His comments, during the course of the case, that he
wished to set an example had to do with pursuing the court action, not
pressing a gay agenda on the Scouts. I am certainly not sure "we all know"
he was trying to push the envelope. I think there was no such pushing
going on here. This was NOT a case (like many of the old female SM cases)
of a person knowingly trying to get into an organization where he knew he
was not welcome.
As to wearing your private practices on your sleeve, effectively he did no
more than say "I'm gay." Have you made an "I'm straight" statement, either
directly, or by telling people you are married, by inviting people to your
wedding, etc.? What constitutes taking ones private practices public?
People have said the same applies to other things as well, like political
views, etc. So, if I become the president of my Democratic Club and my
Scouts find out, am I no longer fit to be a Scouter because I am wearing my
political views on my sleeve? What if I am the president of a Pro-Life
group, or my synagogue, or my church, or an no-nukes group? Every one of
those involve opinions which are not shared by others in the Scouts. Would
I be wearing those on my sleeve by being actively involved?
I am not picking on you, just pointing out that each and every one of us,
almost every day, does SOMETHING that could be construed as wearing our
views on our sleeves. We are who we are. Yet, it is only with homosexuals
that the mere knowledge creates an automatic national ban on membership.
To be fair, should NATIONAL automatically expel an adulterer? Or someone
engaging in premarital sex? Or coming home from school and talking about
exploits? But they don't. Those decisions, rightly, are left to the
Chartered Organization. So should this decision.
> As a scoutmaster, I do not care what an assistant
> scoutmaster's private life style includes, as long as they do
> not bring it to our meetings. Their duty is to focus on the SO&L as it
pertains to the
> greater good, not specific lifestyle issues (theirs or others).
And what evidence is there that Dale did anything other than that? What
about a chairman of the National OA Committee who runs for and gets elected
to Congress? Has he brought his political views into Scouting? Should
that have disqualified him? Or the more recent national chief who ran for
Congress (and lost)? Same question. I think you hit it on the head when
you talked about bringing it INTO the troop. What they do outside is
> AS I pointed out to him I and many other scout volunteers have
> no beef with gay leaders (or for that matter a porn star) as long as
> they do not bring that agenda to the troop in any form.
But where did he do that?
Bruce E. Cobern