(Memphis) Boy Scouts are supposed to be trustworthy, loyal and helpful.
The question a million of its members are being asked is, can they also be gay.
Surveys are going out to members.
First Congregational Church prides itself on being inclusive.
That’s one reason they’ve never wanted a Boy Scout troop at the church.
“We don't support the discriminatory policy that they've been associated with over the last couple of decades,” said Cheryl Cornish, First Congregational Church.
That’s the policy at the Memphis based Chickasaw Council and for scouts everywhere.
They don’t allow openly gay leaders or members.
Thirteen questions are being asked to members 14 years and older to see if they should change the policy.
Here are some examples:
- Tom started in the program as a Tiger Cub, and finished every requirement for the Eagle Scout Award as a 16-year-old. At his board of review Tom revealed he's gay. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for the review board to deny his Eagle Scout award based on that admission?
- Is it acceptable or unacceptable for a troop leader to allow a gay boy to tent with a heterosexual boy on an overnight camping trip?
- Is it acceptable or unacceptable for a gay adult leader to take adolescent boys on an overnight camping trip?
Cheryl Cornish doesn’t like the line of questioning.
“To set up a separate set of rules and scenarios that would only apply to gay people isn't really dealing with the heart of how human beings function,” said Cornish.
Taylor Lies became an Eagle Scout 20 years ago.
He believes it’s time to change, “I think the ideals of scouting seemed to be inclusive. It seemed inclusive to me so it would just be befitting to be inclusive."
By way of background, as we announced in Feb. the officers of the BSA authorized its committees, representative of Scouting’s members, to further engage representatives of Scouting’s membership and listen to their perspectives and concerns.
We are currently in the “Listening Phase,” where the BSA’s committees engage key stakeholders for input and develop a summary report. Part of this process is to survey a variety of key stakeholders.
Twice a year, the BSA distributes a net promoter score survey called The Voice of the Scout. The Voice of the Scout Survey is a regularly scheduled survey that goes to all leaders, parents, and youth over 14 years of age.
The BSA used this survey to add questions about the membership standards policy. Each survey had seven driver questions which are different for each customer segment, but the questions about the membership standards policy do not vary and have only been included in the surveys going to adults. (Youth will not be answering the membership standards questions.)
The BSA is reviewing a number of issues and how they will impact the BSA, including youth, chartered organizations, parents, and financial, fundraising, and legal concerns. The survey results, along with the committee’s work, will be put into a larger report and will help inform the officers’ work on a resolution regarding membership standards. The voting members of the National Council will take action on a resolution at the National Annual Meeting in May 2013.
Also, we created a web site to provide media and the public the most current updates of the process. Please take a look at www.bsamembershipstandards.org. Thank you and please let me know if you have any additional questions.
- The current Boy Scouts of America requirements, stated above, prohibit open homosexuals from being Scouts or adult Scout leaders. To what extent do you support or oppose this requirement? (Scale: Strongly support, Somewhat support, Neutral, Somewhat oppose, Strongly oppose).
Following are some possible scenarios that could happen if the Boy Scouts keeps or changes its policy. Please tell us the degree to which you believe the actions taken in each scenario are acceptable or unacceptable. (Scale: Totally acceptable, Somewhat acceptable, Neutral, Somewhat unacceptable, Totally unacceptable)
ROTATE QUESTIONS 3-8
- Tom started in the program as a Tiger Cub, and finished every requirement for the Eagle Scout Award at 16 years of age. At his board of review Tom reveals that he is gay. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for the review board to deny his Eagle Scout award based on that admission?
- Bob is 15 years old, and the only openly gay Scout in a Boy Scout troop. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for the troop leader to allow Bob to tent with a heterosexual boy on an overnight camping trip?
- Johnny, a first grade boy, has joined Tiger Cubs with his friends. Johnny’s friends and their parents unanimously nominate Johnny’s mom, who is known by them to be lesbian, to be the den leader. Johnny’s pack is chartered to a church where the doctrine of that faith does not teach that homosexuality is wrong. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for his mother to serve as a den leader for his Cub Scout den?
- David, a Boy Scout, believes that homosexuality is wrong. His troop is chartered to a church where the doctrine of that faith also teaches that homosexuality is wrong. Steve, an openly gay youth, applies to be a member in the troop and is denied membership. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for this troop to deny Steve membership in their troop?
- A gay male troop leader, along with another adult leader, is taking a group of boys on a camping trip following the youth protection guidelines of two-deep leadership. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for the gay adult leader to take adolescent boys on an overnight camping trip?
- A troop is chartered by an organization that does not believe homosexuality is wrong and allows gays to be ministers. The youth minister traditionally serves as the Scoutmaster for the troop. The congregation hires a youth minister who is gay. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for this youth minister to serve as the Scoutmaster?
- After reading the scenarios in the previous question, please answer one question again. The current Boy Scouts of America requirements prohibit open homosexuals from being Scouts or adult Scout leaders. To what extent do you support or oppose this requirement? (Scale: Strongly support, Somewhat support, Neutral, Somewhat oppose, Strongly oppose).
- Different organizations that charter Boy Scout troops have different positions on the morality of homosexuality. Do you support or oppose allowing charter organizations to follow their own beliefs when selecting Boy Scout members and adult leaders, if that means there will be different standards from one organization to the next. (Scale: Strongly support, Somewhat support, Neutral, Somewhat oppose, Strongly oppose).
What is your greatest concern if the policy remains in place and openly gay youth and adults are prohibited from joining Scouting? (Open end)
- What is your greatest concern if the policy is changed to allow charter organizations to make their own decisions to admit openly gay Scouts and leaders? (Open end)
- Do you believe the current policy prohibiting open homosexuals from being scouts or adult scout leaders is a core value of Scouting found in the Scout Oath and Law? (Yes or No)
- If the Boy Scouts of America makes a decision on this policy that disagrees with your own view, will you continue to participate in the Boy Scouts, or will you leave the organization? (I believe I can find a way to continue, I do not believe I can find a way to continue, I have not yet made up my mind)