Boy Scouts bail, won’t lift ban on gays for now, won’t decide until 2013

You may recall that the Boy Scouts were in the midst of deciding whether they should lift their nationwide ban on gay scouts and gay scout masters.

Though what the Boy Scouts were considering wasn’t non-discrimination, rather it was to permit local Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts to discriminate against gay troops and gay scout masters, while the national HQ wouldn’t have an official policy on the matter, and would simply watch the discrimination happen under its watch, and with its money, donated by big famous American corporations.

Well, it seems that all the religious right (and assuredly, Mormon) pressure worked.  The Boy Scouts blinked, and now won’t make a decision until May.  Such role models, they are.

Okay then, three more months to beat the bejesus out of any corporation that gives money to the Boy Scout bigots. Works for me.  Destroy them.

Here’s the Boy Scouts’ statement, just released.

For 103 years, the Boy Scouts of America has been a part of the fabric of this nation, providing it’s youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. In the past two weeks, Scouting has received an outpouring of feedback from the American public. It reinforces how deeply people care about Scouting and how passionate they are about the organization.

After careful consideration and extensive dialogue within the Scouting family, along with comments from those outside the organization, the volunteer officers of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board concluded that due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy.

To that end, the executive board directed its committees to further engage representatives of Scouting’s membership and listen to their perspectives and concerns. This will assist the officers’ work on a resolution on membership standards. The approximately 1,400 voting members of the national council will take action on the resolution at the national meeting in May 2013.

Head bigot in charge, Richard Land of the Southern Baptists, explains what a “catastrophe” it’s going to be if the Boy Scouts stop discriminating.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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  • Yep, somebody has to do it and jomicur did it well!

  • hollywoodstein

    Is anyone surprised? Churches, especially the Mormons, view the BSA as a farm team which give them access to impressionable youth. Church functions are often advertised for the scouts attendance. The threat of losing the big Church money bribes for access is what gave National pause.
    Aside from an Eagle Scout once being golden on a college application there really is nothing they offer that can’t be fostered better elsewhere. I had family who were involved who ended up having to teach the scoutmasters everything from how to tie knots, bait hooks, shoot rifles, and start fires, to model rocketry.
    And sadly yes there was a sick, religious pedophile making passes at the boys who was quietly transferred to another troop to do his thing. Sound familiar?
    We need to go on offense and pressure the corporate donors so BSA will have to choose their poison.

  • Randy

    Oh, I agree. It gives the anti-gays more time. But it cuts both ways — it gives us more time as well. IF we are organized and apply pressure, we can win it.

    But I also agree that they might still keep the ban. But in doing so in such a public way only brings more attention to their ban. Seeing how the world is moving to more inclusiveness, eventually the pressure will be to lift it, and I believe it’s only a matter of time before the ban is removed. When, I don’t know, and of course any length of time is too long. Still, either they lift the ban, or they continue to shrink and lose support. Either way is still a victory, even if it’s not the ideal outcome.

  • tedhayes

    Richard Land passing himself off as a religious leader (or even a Christian) is the real catastrophe.

  • perljammer

    I’m not implying anything. If you’re looking for a something to which to apply a ludicrous anti-gay interpretation, the Oath does include a promise to be “morally straight.”

  • perljammer

    Hey, jomicur asked a question, and I knew the answer. Now jomicur knows the answer. too, and the world is that much better off.

  • Stev84

    That their discrimination is starting to hurt their donations is really the only reason they are even considering this. And of course discrimination against atheists is still fashionable. They won’t change that part.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    So, yes, there is a phrase recited by Boy Scouts that includes a pledge to be brave.

    Unclear what you’re implying by referencing “clean,” with its ludicrous anti-gay interpretation.

  • Butch1

    Since this is 2013, how much longer did they plan on waiting?

  • FLL

    LOL. That’s what comes from no exercise. For their own good, Catholic bishops should be forced to join those neo-Druid congregations that perform all their religious ceremonies in wilderness nature reserves. At least they’d get some fresh air and exercise.

  • “I wouldn’t trust the local Catholic bishop as far as I could throw him,” Most Bishops are very heavy, plus you would need a bull-dozer.

  • “there are always non-religious alternatives in the scouting movement,” They used to say that about our military academies until the Xtians took over.

  • exquisitely nit-picked.

  • codyj

    assuredly..BSA is 77% Mormon, so. baptist, and RCC ‘controlled’ not surprised at their ‘punt’ on this ,at all

  • FLL

    Four months is not an unreasonable time. However, you are betting that this works in favor of the “pro-understanding, pro-children, pro-support folks.” You may be wrong. The additional time also gives Pat Robertson four months to mount a campaign comparing gay/bisexual scout leaders to pedophiles, which I’m sure he will. I don’t know how it will all pan out, with both sides battling during the next four months, but I’m not nearly as sanguine about the outcome as you are. Regardless of the outcome, there are always non-religious alternatives in the scouting movement, which, depending on the outcome, may become more popular with American children and teenagers.

  • FLL

    Whining about the “complexity of this issue,” as BSA is doing, is just another way of saying that justice is not doable—in other words, lying.

  • FLL

    I don’t think it’s an interest in the outdoors that declined in the 20th century; I think it’s interest in the quasi-religious mindset of the BSA that declined. There are plenty of alternatives to BSA out there, at least until BSA understands that scouting is not a religious enterprise.

  • FLL

    I’m glad to hear that the Episcopalians and Presbyterians don’t push the sexual taboos of Christian scripture (depending on the translation). I’ll have to agree with Skeptical Cicada as far as maintaining a certain wariness regarding the local Roman Catholic hierarchy. I wouldn’t trust the local Catholic bishop as far as I could throw him, and he might very well try to pressure local Boy Scout units to adopt a discriminatory, anti-gay membership policy. The Mormons, as always, cross a line that no other denominations cross, and openly recruit members for their twisted religious dogma. The BSA leadership needs to call out the Mormons for doing that.

  • Maybe if the ban were listed we could buy Boy Scout Cookies.

  • True, and they must try harder.

  • John also has an ironic sense of humor.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Agreed. It’s “complex” is some of the new, patronizing rhetoric of bigotry.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    No. You’re not reading the signs correctly. The board tried to ram through its local-option proposal before the opposition could organize. They failed. They capitulated to the bigots, and whatever emerges in May will be even less inclusive than the local-option proposal.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    The delay will not lead to a more inclusive proposal than the local-option discrimination that the board tried to quickly ram through before opposition got organized.

    I agree that we’ll get more attention to the issue, and it will help get more donors to enforce their own nondiscrimination policies.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    You can bet that if local-option discrimination passes, the local Catholic bishop will mandate discrimination.

  • Loon_c

    It’s the “good ol’ boy” network. Their “Friends of Scouting” program heavily solicites from corporations. Big BSA (male) executive contact big corporate (male) executive and hits him up for cash. I worked for a company that MADE their executives hit up their own clients for FOS monies so the CEO would look good.

  • Loona_c

    My experience with Scouting is even tho the church may “own” or the troop be chartered to the church (which ever one) in reality all they are doing is providing the facility. I’ve participated in troops held @ Catholic, Episcopal and Presbyterian churches and there was never any input or appearance made by the clergy. The Mormons are a different story since they use the BSA for/in lieu of their religious youth group.

  • caphillprof

    Actually, I’m thinking the earlier you go the more independent the scout organizations were. As scouting, Baptists, Mormons and Catholics declined socially in the 20th century, I think they found one another.

  • caphillprof

    I would prefer a nationwide Boy Scout ban on anti-gay discrimination. But . . . as long as we can get a foot inside the tent, via local option, I believe the Baptists, Catholics and Mormons will steadily retreat.

  • Don Chandler

    Brave? No, I think it’s ‘vacillate’ and ‘morally straight’ is defined according to the highest bidder.

  • caphillprof

    There is nothing whatsoever “complex” about this situation. It’s no more complex than the “peculiar” institution of slavery.

  • S1AMER

    Only for some of us. Many people in this country are still in the 1950s, and some are in the 19th century, and some haven’t had a new thought since about 1215.

    But John is most definitely a 2013 kind of guy, and I’d guess he just made a little boo-boo.

  • Thom Watson

    On the other hand, this reconsideration on their part isn’t new. They’ve been dealing with the issue for years, and even last year admitted that they’d already undertaken a secret reconsideration, and had ended up deciding affirmatively to keep the ban at that point. What really stands out to me is just how dishonest, cowardly and ineffectual the national leadership is for a group that ostensibly claims to produce honest, brave, strong leaders of the future. If this is the best leadership this organization is able to turn out, it’s already failed miserably at its intended goal, gay ban or not.

  • perljammer

    There is no “Boy Scout pledge.” If you’re referring to the Boy Scout Oath (starting, “On my honor I will do my best …”), no; nothing about being brave. If you’re referring to the Boy Scout Law (“A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful …”), yes; “brave is 10th on the list of 12 attributes, preceding “clean” and “reverant”.

  • FLL

    Thank you for your epic comment. Society been increasingly secular for years, so BSA should have seen this coming. They just weren’t prepared.

  • Indigo

    Uh-huh. It seems that this time they were not prepared. Bwa-ha-ha-ha!

  • FLL

    I’ve never been any expert on the organizational structure of the BSA, and I was frankly unaware that:

    Over 100,000 Scouting units are owned and operated by chartered organizations. Of these:

    69.4 percent of all units are chartered to faith-based organizations
    22.7 percent of all units are chartered to civic organizations
    7.9 percent of all units are chartered to educational organizations

    This information comes from the “Chartered Organizations” page of the BSA website (link here). The denomination that “owns” the highest number of Boy Scout units is the Mormon Church. (Indoctrination, anyone?) Methodist, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Baptist, United Church of Christ and others follow in descending order. This Xtian dominated state of affairs actually surprised me. Wouldn’t this be like the non-profit equivalent of a franchise organization? Very weird. Have these religious “chartered organizations” always owned and operated such a large percentage of Boy Scout units? My guess is that they have. The early 20th century was, if anything, more dominated by Bible believing Xtians.

  • Yes. And if by some chance the BSA organization adopts their recently floated ‘leave it up to the states individual local group’ policy, it’s for darned sure every single fundamentalist church-sponsored local BSA group will continue to exclude and discriminate against gay Scout members and their parents.

    I dunno… I’ve been of two minds about this. My brothers were in the Scouts so it’s not like I want them to be destroyed by their own intolerance, religious bigotry and homophobia. But on the other hand, if that’s what they want to cling to, well, they can look forward to ever decreasing membership numbers, gradually discriminating themselves out of existence and relevance.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    I agree; I think punting for four months isn’t an unreasonable amount of time, and it would seem to give the pro-understanding, pro-children, pro-support folks more time to organize and make their opinions known, and as you say, more time for the issue to be in the spotlight.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    I understand why they’re putting it off. It’ll take several months to retrofit all their camp showers with a curtain separating “Us” from “Them”.

  • UncleBucky

    I bet the RCC, Mormons, and fundies threatened to make a parallel organization, like American Boy Scouts or something like that, and take all their kids out of BSA and plunk ’em, uniform, badges, and sexless bodies (hah!) into the new organization.

    I betcha!

  • SkippyFlipjack

    That’s their official statement? They don’t know the difference between “its” and “it’s”?

  • Pricknick

    In 2010, the latest year for which figures are available, the top donors to the Scouts, listed in descending order according to amount, were Intel, Emerson, Verizon, 3M, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Pfizer, Valero, UPS, U.S. Bank, Eli Lilly and Co., GE, Monsanto, Medtronic, PNC, Nationwide, Abbott, General Mills, Alcoa, Caterpillar, Illinois Tool Works, Allstate and Dow Chemical.

  • S1AMER

    Contributions, from corporations, and also heavily from things like United Way and other workplace deductions. Also, the overwhelming majority of troops are sponsored by churches (particularly RC and LDS), so that amounts to in-kind contributions in addition to any monies involved.

    The decline in corporate contributions as a result of discrimination is mostly what prompted the management of Boy Scouts to consider dropping the national ban.

  • Naja pallida

    They have many sources, from corporate sponsorship, to grants, to product sales, to dues from members.

  • HereinDC

    .;..three more months to beat the bejesus out of any corporation that gives money to the Boy Scout bigots. Works for me. Destroy them.”

  • jomicur

    Doesn’t the Boy Scout pledge include something about a scout being brave? So much for that.

  • Quilla


  • Randy

    Actually, I think this is a good sign. I was surprised when they first said that they were suddenly going to reconsider the ban within just a week or so. Nothing happens that fast! I would have expected a committee and studies and discussion to last several months, or longer.

    The fact that they are debating this issue at all means that there are strong elements in the BSA in favor of lifting the ban. Of course, there are strong elements against as well, but it will now give them time to make their case.

    Even if the worst happens, and the uphold the ban, it has put the issue back in the spotlight, and eveyone knows that they discriminate. That will hurt them further with the younger generation, and people who didn’t know will opt to not join. Or they will send their kids to Scouting for All instead.

    IOW, I see this as only helping our side in the long run. We may not get what we want, but we’ll continue to see corporations leaving (especially when they see that they main arguments are gays = pedophiles. No corporation wants to be associated with that backward thinking, Chikfila excepted). I can also see further decline in membership as people are reminded of the discrimination.

    Whether they lift the ban now or later is the only real question. And if they lift the ban, they have to figure a graceful way to keep the haters in the fold.

  • theophrastvs

    what is the source of money to the boy scouts?

  • BlueIdaho

    It’s the only outcome I had expected. In the south, where I grew up, all of the local BSA troops were sponsored by the Baptists and holy-rollers.

  • nicho

    I’m pretty sure this is 2013.

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