Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Scouting’s Culture War

Recently, in both the national news, and among those active in Boy Scouting, the following announcement has fermented waves of discussion and dissention.

For more than 100 years, Scouting’s focus has been on working together to deliver the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. Scouting has always been in an ongoing dialogue with the Scouting family to determine what is in the best interest of the organization and the young people we serve.

Currently, the BSA is discussing potentially removing the national membership restriction regarding sexual orientation. This would mean there would no longer be any national policy regarding sexual orientation, and the chartered organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with each organization’s mission, principles, or religious beliefs. BSA members and parents would be able to choose a local unit that best meets the needs of their families.

The policy change under discussion would allow the religious, civic, or educational organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting to determine how to address this issue. The Boy Scouts would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units, members, or parents. Under this proposed policy, the BSA would not require any chartered organization to act in ways inconsistent with that organization’s mission, principles, or religious beliefs.

The BSA National Executive Board is meeting this week at the national headquarters in Irving, Texas (located between Dallas and Fort Worth). A decision regarding the aforementioned is expected by Wednesday or Thursday. This writer most certainly has an opinion on the subject, one that is borne not only out of an awareness of this aspect of the "culture wars," but based on years of experience in the Scouting program, both as a youth and as an adult. This includes extensive awareness of the issues at hand, their critical background, and recent history. Research is already in progress, and an opinion piece is coming very soon.

Stay tuned ...

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