NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – How do you feel about being posed this question? “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?” That’s one of the queries included in a survey currently being conducted by the Boy Scouts of America.
More than one million of the Irving-based organization’s registered volunteers and parents and being polled about their views on homosexuality and the current Scout ban on gay members and leaders.
The online survey asks for opinions about several possible scenarios that could happen if the Scouts were to change their policy.
One question asks if a 16 year old, who has met every requirement, should receive an Eagle Scout award if he’s gay. Another question asks if a Boy Scout troop, under the charter of a church that believes homosexuality is wrong, should accept an application for membership from an openly gay youth.
“I don’t have a problem with the gay or lesbian community being a part of scouting, “one Cub Scout leader, who doesn’t want to be identified, told CBS-11 News. “As long as you’ve got the safety of the boys in mind, and as long as you’re for the boys I’ve got no problem with it.”
A vocal gay activist group, the Resource Center in Dallas is not thrilled with the survey.
“We’re concerned that this is just another delay in seeing equality come to the Boy Scouts,” said spokesman Rafael McDonnell.
He also has problems with the way questions are structured as if nudging someone toward a specific answer.
“Some of the questions are a little on the leading side; if you structure your question a certain way you expect to get a particular result. Words matter, and in some of these questions we’re seeing that.” He also claims, “There’s a phrase about openly homosexual. Generally that’s used as a clinical term and by those enemies of the LGBT community.”
The Circle Ten Council is the BSA chartered council for north central Texas and parts of Oklahoma. Their Scout executive, Pat Currie, told KRLD NewsRadio 1080 that some 15,000 people affiliated with the group in North Texas received the questionnaire. “It was a survey simply to listen to our family; our scouting family, our constituents if you would, and to seek their opinion on this issue,” he said.
The results of the survey will not be the determining factor in any decision made by the BSA, Buy Currie admitted answers given to the questions will likely impact the future decision on allowing gays in the group. “What we’re doing is gathering information, listening, [and] trying to determine folks who have a stake in scouting, what their opinion and thoughts on this issue are.”
After news of the survey was made known the Boy Scouts released a statement that said, in part, “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.”
Last month, the BSA national executive board met in North Texas. Many had anticipated a decision would be made concerning the possible elimination of the national gay ban, but the vote was delayed. Saying, “More deliberation was need” the Scouts said action on the gay ban resolution would be addressed during the BSA national meeting, which will be held in Grapevine in May.
Earlier this month pop singer Carly Rae Jepsen cancelled a performance at the national BSA Jamboree because of the organizations exclusion of gays. Days after, the rock band Train made no public decision about performing at the Jamboree this July, but posted a statement on their website asking the Scouts to reconsider its policy.
According to one of the many emails sent out by BSA charters across the country, the next phase will be “evaluating” the content of the report complied from the “listening phase.” The last three phases for making a decision on the groups values and membership standards will be, “educating,” “deciding,” and finally “implementing.”
The complete survey is as follows, according to the BSA:
1. 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)
2. 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?
3. 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?
4. 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?
5. 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?
6. 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?
7. 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?
8. 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).
9. 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).
10. What is your greatest concern if the policy remains in place and openly gay youth and adults are prohibited from joining Scouting? (Open end)
11. 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)
12. 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)
13. 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)
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