Gays in the Boy Scouts: Texas Elected Officials Are Signing on to Say Hell No

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The Boy Scouts are figuring out where they stand.
A conservative group called "Texas Values" is taking a new approach in the battle to make sure that no Lone Star boy scout ever, ever gets cooties from being near a gay person -- the group is circulating a letter urging the Boy Scouts of America to reject gay scouts, it's getting elected officials to sign it and it's proudly trumpeting the results.

Right now, it's up to 60 elected officials, and the number is expected to grow.

President Barack Obama, who probably has more pressing problems to deal with at the moment, urged the Irving-based scouting group to accept openly gay members in a pre-Super Bowl interview on 60 Minutes. That followed the announcement that the Boy Scouts might allow the civic and religious groups that sponsor Boy Scout units to make their own decisions on the inclusion of openly gay members.

Texas Values, which advertises itself as standing for faith, freedom and family in Texas, has taken to social media to announce, one by one, the state elected officials who have signed onto an open letter that asks BSA to stand firm against a liberal agenda. To date, 60 elected Republicans have signed the letter.

"Scouts begin each meeting with an Oath, 'To do my duty, to God and my country, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight,'" according to the letter. "By caving in to pressure from the social left, the national leadership would violate each of those principles."

Last year, when the Scouts again affirmed their no gays-no atheists policy, openly gay Eagle Scouts renounced their membership in the group. Over at Change.org, a petition to reinstate a Scout mom and den leader who was removed for being a lesbian has drawn 341,000 signatures.

Texas officials who signed onto the letter include many of the right-leaning members of the two legislative chambers. Senators Dan Patrick of Houston, Glenn Hegar of Katy, Tommy Williams of The Woodlands and freshman Larry Taylor of Friendswood are all supporters of the letter. Houston-area Representatives on the letter include Cecil Bell of Magnolia, Dwayne Bohac, Dan Huberty and Gary Elkins of Houston, Greg Bonnen of Friendswood, Rick Miller of Sugar Land, Dennis Bonnen of Angleton and Allen Fletcher of Cypress.

Jonathan Saenz of Texas Values contends the Boy Scouts would be signing away their right to decide who should and should not be in the group, a position affirmed by the Supreme Court in 2000. Texas Values speculates that sponsors, left to defend themselves, would be likely to abandon scouting rather than deal with messy public protracted battles over Scout applicants, not to mention openly gay Scout leaders.

Governor Rick Perry's name is noticeably absent from the letter, but Saenz said the governor has made his support of the current policy clear. In comments to the media, Perry, an Eagle Scout, has said the teaching of sexual preferences does not fit within the longtime mission of the Boy Scouts.

The National Executive Board is expected to vote on the policy again in May, when the board gathers for its annual meeting in Grapevine.

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42 comments
tncdel
tncdel

Although it's true that not all homosexual men are pedos, the fact is that young boys are highly susceptible to mimic role models in control of them.

FriendlyTexan
FriendlyTexan

It's unfortunate that the Boy Scouts are using their position as a popular children's organization as a part of this political fight. Sure, it's their right, but why do it? What part of teaching hate and excluding people makes sense as good values to teach our kids? They're losing focus.

halfwit2k
halfwit2k

So proud of my backward, slack-jawed home statel

H_e_x
H_e_x

Too baad they won't take a page out of the girl scout's book and be inclusive.

Noelle A. Perry
Noelle A. Perry

lol @ brandon. yeah, because texas values accurately represents the beliefs of all texans. just like rick perry does. how many people voted for rick in 2010? 2 million?

Ricardo Sanchez
Ricardo Sanchez

This is all up to the Boys Scouts. For those who do not feel welcomed by them, start you own scouts. Give them some competition. Either they will continue on but with less members or they will change with the times and social norms. For those of us who are not current members, we can have opinions but let us not kid ourselves into thinking that this has some great impact in our lives.

VanityKiller23
VanityKiller23

I'm allowing my son to finish this year in the BSA. I told myself over and over again that the benefits outweighed the negatives. They did, until I received a mass email from another parent urging me to write the BSA to "stand up for traditional families and values". At the next pack meeting they passed around a petition to send off to head quarters. That was the last straw. 

I'm actually in the process of starting a chapter of Campfire USA here in Houston. They have a policy of INCLUSION! Check them out as a wonderful alternative to the BSA. http://www.campfireusa.org/

The_Bike_Guy
The_Bike_Guy

This is why the Republican Party is becoming increasingly irrelevant nationwide.

These Texas Values folks should learn a bit about American Values and Scouting Values. Gentlemen: Scouting was not created as a Christian group. Baden Powell founded the Scouts as non-sectarian.

I was a Scout in NYC in the 60s and 70s and tolerance ruled. My older brothers were the only white kids in an all black troop that my parents started with friends, something unthinkable in the South or Utah of the time. Not surprisingly these same regions remain the hotbed of resistance to gay men and gay teens. Will they ever learn? My brothers’ troop was absorbed into a larger group. We were Jews, Chinese, Protestants, Blacks – typical New York – and we didn't meet at a church. The focus was on nature and the outdoors. I never thought of the Scouts as a particularly religious group and there was no ban on anyone, including gays.

But in today’s Scouts our family was rejected because we are two dads. Scouting officially considers us ‘immoral’ thanks to the take-over by religious conservatives.

The vast majority of our friends and neighbors here in New York State disagree with the ban. But Texas has again and again threatened to force more liberal areas to toe the line, threatening revocation of charter. Sadly as a result, most folks we know will not let their sons join the Scouts and participation has plummeted. Our son is African-American and was born in Texas. We have used the BSA as another lesson on discrimination.

This crisis began in the 1990s when Christian conservatives hijacked the BSA. Mormons are 2% of the USA but today control more than a third of troops. By 1992 when the ban was put in place, Baptists and Mormons had successfully turned the Scouts from the non-sectarian group that Baden Powell envisioned, and that I knew and loved as a child, into a fundamentally religious one. Mormon and Baptist Scouts rarely form mixed groups and often meet in churches and hold religious services. No wonder they seem to have confused the troops with their churches. This approach distorts the universal and non-sectarian spirit of Scouting. Other Scouting nations (UK, France, Canada, Mexico, Australia) do not discriminate. They hold true to Scouting’s founding spirit of openness to all families.

As the BSA shrinks to the red areas of red states, it risks becoming the Boy Scouts of Mormons and Baptists rather than the Boy Scouts of America. Conservative Texas Christians might be happy with that but it would be a terrible loss for American boys and for our broader culture.

Moreover these fundamentalists Christians are hypocrites. Jesus never once mentioned homosexuality but clearly did not like divorce. I have heard of no push to expel divorced men. No rules prevent ex-cons, adulterers, alcoholics, or single men living with their girlfriends from being Scout leaders. Yet conservative Christians are silent on all. The ban is really about fear and hatred of gay people.

The ban is also not about pedophilia since this is a known red herring. Openly gay men are in fact less likely to be pedophiles than heterosexually married men (please see the APA web site among others). Most of the abusers in the BSA’s secret files were married to women, a la Sandusky.

I don’t want my son or daughter abused any more anyone else and would only feel comfortable with proper controls in place. I don’t care who the Scoutmaster is married to, I don’t want him (or her) sharing a tent alone with my 12-year-old son (or daughter). The Boy Scouts in other nations do not exclude gay men, including in the UK where they were founded, nor do other groups such as Big Brother/Big Sister. These groups have suffered less from abuse problems than the American Boy Scouts. Perhaps the gay ban led to false confidence?

Besides, if the BSA were to eject a class of men based on public prejudices it could just as easily start with Catholic priests or heterosexually married football coaches.

Most Americans realize that banning one class of people is unfair and un-American. Jews and Muslims may forbid those who eat pork from joining their synagogues or mosques, but not their Scout troops. At least not in the USA.

I am proud that a solid majority of Americans (55%) now agree that the BSA’s ban against gay men and boys should be ended. They know that what is best about our nation is that we work together despite our different beliefs.

We can each believe the other is immoral. Our two-dad family is widely respected in our rural New York town and our church, family, community, and government honor our relationship. In my own ethical system, I believe that people who drive giant gas-guzzling SUV’s are immoral. But I have no desire to keep Hummer-driving parents out of the Scouts. As Americans we respect diverse beliefs even if we do not share them. We are not Iran. I pray that the Texas Christians can learn this simple truth about our great nation.

I quote Scouting’s founder, Lord Baden Powell:

"Buddha has said: 'There is only one way of driving out Hate in the world and that is by bringing in 
Love.' Scouting's aim is to produce healthy, happy, helpful citizens, of both sexes, to eradicate the prevailing narrow self interest, personal, political, sectarian and national, and to substitute for it a broader spirit of self-sacrifice and service in the cause of humanity." 

People: Notice that Scouting's FOUNDER wanted to ERADICATE sectarian self-interest in the cause of HUMANITY. This meant we should ALL TRY TO GET ALONG, even if we hold different religious beliefs. Why is this so hard to understand?

I look forward to the ban’s end and our rejoining the Scouts. I have faith that if at the Jamboree we meet Mormons and Baptists (and Hummer drivers!) we may disagree on what is moral, but we will all somehow get along and perhaps even learn from each other. Hear us Texas: That is the American way.

Brandon Jones
Brandon Jones

If you don't* like them, then don't join or just* quit being* a* Boy* Scout.*

Brandon Jones
Brandon Jones

Also if you don't like "Texas values," then move to Vermont or wherever the hell you want. Stay out of Texas.

Brandon Jones
Brandon Jones

Eagle scout. This organization, or what you want to call it, instilled values, work ethic, and a love for life and people in both my brother (who is also an eagle scout) and me more than anything else in our lives. Let them have their own rules and ways of doing things. If you like them, then don't join or quit.

Jason McDaniel
Jason McDaniel

They can have back their medal... Scouting is about the community also... ALL of the community... Not just the mold makers

Sergio R. Garcia
Sergio R. Garcia

<~Eagle Scout who is know an atheist. The Boy Scouts still discriminates against atheists. How much longer until they fix that?

Ricky L. Carroll
Ricky L. Carroll

Scouting is a great institution that was an important part of my childhood. It is also incredibly backwards in some ways. It would be so much greater if it were inclusive. As a private entity, they have the right to set the rules. As "consumers" we have the right to go somewhere else...or form our own group. My boys were both in scouting, but dropped out after we decided the organization had more negative influence than positive.

emram3680
emram3680

Being gay does not mean that you are not "Physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight." Being gay means that you prefer men to women. Big whup. To imply that the gays aren't "morally decent" and that they hate people who are is unfounded. The implication here is that gays would corrupt our youth and teach them to be gay too. Rick Perry's comment "Teaching of sexual preference does not fit within the long-time mission of the Boy Scouts" implies that gay scout leaders are so obsessed with their gay-ness that it would infect every thing that they would teach our children. But, since that is simply not the case, I am sure that gay scout leaders would agree with Governor Perry.

tttwlam
tttwlam

This is for ScottScott below:

I'm an Eagle Scout, so I say with absolutely trustworthiness that my 1980s-90s "moral decent" troop--based in The Woodlands, no less--was full of racists, bullies, and drug dealers (who often made their own supply).  And, oh yeah, one of our members helped murder Paul Broussard.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Paul_Broussard)

And the gay guy (well, we all thought he was) in the troop was one of the only decent kids there.

Evan Clayson
Evan Clayson

Eagle Scout here who also happens to be gay. With the exception that they taught that discrimination was okay, I am grateful for everything I learned from the Scouting program. My orientation had zero effect on whether or not I could earn my Eagle, with the exception that I had to break the scout oath and be dishonest about myself in order to earn the award. We hear the same arguments from social conservatives every single time the rights of gay people are being determined, from the military to our teachers: "gay people are not safe to be around our children", "I don't want to share a locker room with gay people." Each time we denounce such bigoted statements and we end up being better off as a society for doing so. Although the BSA has the right to choose whether or not to allow gay members in, I hope they choose the right path. If not, I will be returning my Eagle award as well.

Anse
Anse

Scouts will be gay-friendly any day now. The embarrassment of discrimination will be too much. This is how it works: gay rights, is one front in the culture war that is already won. Some conservatives just haven't realized that yet. There's no way to put that cat back in the bag. We're a little bit freer. There's no going back now.

Sergio R. Garcia
Sergio R. Garcia

Private organizations get to set their rules. But it's funny how they'll be quick to change their "morals" if their funding becomes compromised.

Ognyan Tassev
Ognyan Tassev

What's Almighty God's standart 4 that behaviour? Think of it before say something wrong.

Smile Joanna
Smile Joanna

Live and let live. Life's too short to be in someone else's business.

Dudley_Dawson
Dudley_Dawson

That gay scout you don't like just might find you out in the woods with a snapped leg and will carry your gay hating ass on a home made stretcher after setting your broken leg with the available materials and know how.  I thought fellowship and citizenship were key characteristics taught. 

scottscott
scottscott

Hey homosexuals, start your own scouts. Stay the hec away from our Scouts. We don't want you around our scouts. We never will want you around our scouts. 

Take your hate of moral decent people somewhere else.


scottscott
scottscott

@The_Bike_GuyI am proud that a solid majority of Americans (55%) now agree that the BSA’s ban against gay men and boys should be ended. 

That's too bad cry baby. Get over it. 

H_e_x
H_e_x

@Brandon Jones What are Texas values? So a gay person can't be an eagle scout but they can be mayor of one of the largest cities in the U.S.? How does that work? Or is this one of those things where your values = all values of Texans? So many questions.

tttwlam
tttwlam

I'm an Eagle Scout, so I say with absolutely trustworthiness that my 1980s-90s "moral decent" troop--based in The Woodlands, no less--was full of racists, bullies, and drug dealers (who often made their own supply).  And, oh yeah, one of our members helped murder Paul Broussard.  (%s)

And the gay guy (well, we all thought he was) in the troop was one of the only decent kids there.

Evan_C
Evan_C

@scottscott Wait. Clarify.. how is a statement that the majority of Americans are against this ban make him a cry baby? Get over yourself. 

scottscott
scottscott

@DavyCrockett@scottscottThe only humor here is, some people's ability to,

comprehend "Synonyms understand - grasp - perceive - realize - apprehend"

Have a good day Sir.

scottscott
scottscott

@tttwlamLike you would be someone to believe. In your dreams you are an Eagle Scout. Some of us are able to discern.

Anse
Anse

All due respect to the good people who are/were Boy Scouts, as popular as the organization is, I don't see much of a future in learning how to wear colorful scarves while pitching tents in the woods with lots of other dudes and their dude mentors. What exactly do they do with those knot-tying skills anyway? Is there an official Boy Scout "safe" word? Is this really about keeping out gays, or keeping out gays that can't keep it on the down low? 

scottscott
scottscott

@Evan_C@scottscottLook Evan. What part of too bad get over it do you not understand? Start your oen little boys club. Contact a supplier and have little pink uniforms made for your club if you want.

Are you really that dense? Seriously



tttwlam
tttwlam

@scottscott

As I said, I take my service in the BSA so seriously, I'm bothering with the fruitless task of engaging with an Internet loudmouth.  Believe it, or don't.

You're a dinosaur.

Evan_C
Evan_C

@scottscott I love how in your other post you said "Take your hate of moral decent people somewhere else."
If your definition of "moral decent people" is one we should live by, then we live in a sad, sad world. 

Fortunately, people are waking up and not listening to hypocrites like you.

tttwlam
tttwlam

@scottscott

Justin Dunnuck.  Earned it 1991.  Troop #772.  Did my Eagle project building a nature trail at the Mercer Arboretum in 1990.

I take it my service so seriously, I'm willing to out my real name to an Internet blowhard.

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