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E.J.

A scout is ...... indecisive

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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.

http://www.scouting.org/executiveboarddecision.aspx

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Note that the real reason the Boy Scouts of America is considering lifting the ban on gay scouts and scout leaders is because lots of corporations have cut back on sponsorship, and their membership is down by more than a third:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/12/ups-boy-scouts-america-donations-anti-gay-policy_n_2118878.html

Intel and UPS are just two of the huge corporations who have pulled all their donations to the Scouts, because of their anti-gay discrimination policies.

More info is on the Scouting For All website.

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Large corporation support for gay rights is fairly wide spread. I've worked for two major American corporations and both had homosexuality explicitly in their non-discrimination policy (mandatory training course for all employees). I'm currently working at a major Australian bank, and prominent on their internal website is a call for volunteers for the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras - looking for people who would like to march, or just help out as volunteers during the festival. When I was younger, that sort of support was unthinkable....

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The Boy Scouts and others with discriminatory policies are out of step with current life. You either join in or are pushed aside. If they don't come to the right decision in May, they'll quickly be relegated to one of those organizations that are no longer in the mainstream and will be kicked to the curb as the parade passes them by.

C

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Sigh. All these anal retentive adults are going to ruin scouting. No more circle jerks around a late campfire while the scoutmaster is in his tent boinking his girlfriend. Been there, done that. If they gave a merit badge for masturbation half my troop would have earned one, the other half was looking forward to puberty so we allowed them to watch. Hey, that's what being an adolescent boy was all about. Now it seems they are pure little prayerful kids with their noses in the Bible. I guess they jerk off in private.

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Any word on if the scouts are changing their policies on atheists? I'm worried that they'll make a minor change to the gay policy and since us atheists are the most distrusted minority in the US, they'll get back their public and corporate support without any blowback for the exclusion of atheists.

Not that worried mind you given the "arc of the moral universe" and all that...

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Here's a very moving, thoughtful essay by a straight former scout who still has regrets for the hurtful, negative attitude he had in condemning another boy who had been dismissed from the troop for being gay:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-kinnear/letter-to-the-boy-scouts-of-america_b_2646210.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

I have great hopes that the organization can move past this terrible unjust attitude, especially in light of experiences like this. Realistically, they just have to make a rule that nobody can participate in sexual activities while on Scouting events (period). (Though that didn't stop a few friends of mine.)

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And here's a very funny story in The Onion (which I don't find offensive at all):

Boy Scouts To Try Out Single Gay 12-Year-Old Before Making Decision

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IRVING, TX—As the organization considers lifting its national ban on gay members, the Boy Scouts of America announced today it would make its final decision following the three-month trial membership of a single 12-year-old homosexual boy, Corey Lenivan of Lakeville, MN.

“After careful consideration and extensive dialogue within the scouting family, we have concluded the best course of action is to try out Corey for a little while before making any drastic changes to our current policy,” said Boy Scouts of America spokesman Robert Pearce, noting that the admission of the gay seventh-grader was the only way for the organization to comprehend the potential impact of homosexual members. “Basically, we want to see how well Corey camps, hikes, and fishes with the rest of his troop, and then we’ll make our decision accordingly in May.”

http://www.theonion.com/articles/boy-scouts-to-try-out-single-gay-12yearold-before,31194/?ref=auto

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I see. So if he's a poor hiker, he doesn't qualify? If he can't get his campfire burning to the correct brightness, he doesn't qualify? Nor do thousands of others, because he doesn't hike well? You know, they were just prejudiced before. Now they're downright stupid.

But the worst? Who can tell with certainty that a 12-year-old is gay? At that age, he probably is like the majority of boys: he finds other boys attractive. But that often changes with age. What he is at 12 is no guarantee of what he'll be at 17, or 22.

These people are round the bend.

C

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I see. So if he's a poor hiker, he doesn't qualify? If he can't get his campfire burning to the correct brightness, he doesn't qualify? Nor do thousands of others, because he doesn't hike well? You know, they were just prejudiced before. Now they're downright stupid.

Oh, calm down, Cole! It's The Onion! It's a total goof.

You gotta read the whole story to get the effect. BTW, trust me, I knew for a fact I was gay at 12. (My joke is, I had a strong suspicion when I was about 6, but didn't have a word for it until I was 11, when I looked it up in the library.) We've all known people who were gay-squared at 12. As the flamboyant character Emmett said in Queer as Folk: "some of us have a flame that burns brighter than others."

Hey, I at least give The Onion credit for admitting (in a satiric way) that there is such a thing as a gay 12-year-old kid. I think there are an awful lot of confused kids in the world who could probably go either way at that age, and it might ultimately boil down to who they fall in love with and wind up with. The Scouts have to get hip to the fact that times are changing, and Scouting has nothing to do with sexuality or religion -- it's about honor, loyalty, and friendship, as well as developing the skills to get you through life.

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But it's the *Onion*. We're not shocked at you getting mad, we're amazed you don't know the Onion is a spoof site. It's been a mainstay of internet humor for 15 years. It's like you confused the Daily Show for Good Morning America.

[Covers ears in case Cole confesses he doesn't know the Daily Show.]

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My partner and I gave up on American Idol sometime back, right after Simon Cowell left. The show ain't good unless it has judges that actually give real criticism based on reality, not sarcastic comments or unrelenting kind remarks that don't help the contestants get any better. And some of the actual talent has been terrible lately.

I'm with Cole on disliking reality shows in general. The sad reality is that there's very little "reality" in reality shows -- a lot of it's contrived and written, especially through the magic of post-production and other tricks. They're only slightly more honest than The Onion in terms of facts.

Hey, at least the article was somewhat respectful of gay people in general, and acknowledged that there was such a thing as a gay Boy Scout. I can't remember ever seeing this in Boys Life magazine (owned by the Scouts) back in the 1960s...

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