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BSA Policy Response to Pack 1928 Parents

posted Jul 31, 2012, 1:35 PM by Pack 1928 Cubmaster   [ updated May 4, 2014, 3:56 PM ]

Many families have questioned what our Pack's response is to recent press releases regarding National BSA policy changes.  The following is an attempt to educate as well as inform you of our plans going forward:

Dear fellow Cub Scouting parents,   
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

You are probably aware of the decision made a few weeks ago by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) National leaders and the subsequent flood of media coverage on TV, radio, and the internet.  Many are concerned and are looking for answers.  We, the pack leaders, are writing this to ensure that you have the facts and to explain to you what this means for Pack 1928, Troop 928, Crew 928, and our relationship with American Heritage Girls (AHG).

 

Here is a brief overview of events for those who may not be informed about the recent history of BSA.  The fight over allowing openly homosexual leaders, atheists, and girls as members of the Boy Scout program is not new – BSA has been involved in many court cases over the past decade defending their right to define enrollment requirements for their private organization.   In 2000, the Supreme Court ruled in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale that Boy Scouts, and all private organizations, have the constitutionally protected right under the First Amendment of freedom of association to set their membership standards.  This decision enforced BSA policy restricting openly avowed homosexuals leadership positions within BSA.  The BSA reaffirmed its position in a press release on June 7, 2012 stating:

             “While the BSA does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA. Scouting believes same-sex attraction should be introduced and discussed outside of its program with parents, caregivers, or spiritual advisers, at the appropriate time and in the right setting. The vast majority of parents we serve value this right and do not sign their children up for Scouting for it to introduce or discuss, in any way, these topics. The BSA is a voluntary, private organization that sets policies that are best for the organization. The BSA welcomes all who share its beliefs but does not criticize or condemn those who wish to follow a different path.”

 

Sadly, last month BSA National leaders, under much pressure from donors and discrimination lawsuits, passed this resolution and defined a new BSA membership standard for youth:

 

            “Youth membership in the Boy Scouts of America is open to all youth who meet the specific membership requirements to join the Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, Sea Scout and Venturing programs. Membership in any program of the Boy Scouts of America requires the youth member to (a) subscribe to and abide by the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Law, (b) subscribe to and abide by the precepts of the Declaration of Religious Principles (duty to God), and (c) demonstrate behavior that exemplifies the highest level of good conduct and respect for others and is consistent at all times with the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Law. No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.”

 

This new standard, effective 1 January 2014, was approved by 60% of the voters representing councils throughout the nation. The ban on adult leadership positions being held by homosexuals and discussion of anything related to sexuality within the program from the 2000 court ruling is still in effect.  Although a majority of the voting Scouters surveyed nationally objected to changing the policy, members at the national convention voted differently.  The wording has been seen by some as fertile ground for continued litigation in the court system and possible wide-sweeping changes to BSA membership standards.  This decision has enraged many and bolstered agenda-driven groups to boast through sensationalized headlines across the media spectrum.  Many in media are attempting to define what the BSA is implying in the new statement and, until BSA clarifies how they will incorporate this decision on January 1st, we will continue to be uncertain.  As of now, we are praying and looking to the Church for guidance.

 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) states that individuals who disclose a homosexual inclination, a tendency objectively disordered, are to be accepted with the same dignity due all human beings created by God (CCC 2358). This teaching is followed in enrollment policies for Catholic schools and for all programs of Catholic youth ministry.  The Catechism also teaches that same-sex attraction is disordered, and engaging in homosexual behavior is not in keeping with the teachings of the Church  (CCC 2357).  The National Catholic Committee on Scouting (NCCS), upon review of the new wording, finds nothing at this time in conflict with the teachings of the Catholic Church.  The key points noted in their findings are:

 

·       A youth will not be prevented from receiving a rank award or religious emblem simply for having a same sex attraction.      

·      A youth will not need to hide the fact that he has or experiences this attraction, but a youth also will not be encouraged or pressured to disclose publicly the experience of such attraction.

·      A youth thinking or knowing he has a homosexual inclination should not be afraid that he would be bullied or expelled by the Scouting community by disclosing his sexual orientation.

 

What does this mean today for parents in Pack 1928?   The Pack leaders want to assure you that we are truly saddened by this decision, are sensitive to, and share the concerns many parents have expressed since the ruling by National.  Our Charter Organizational Representative, Gary Thome, top leaders from Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and AHG met recently and prayerfully discerned the current situation under guidance from Deacon Tim, our Scout Chaplain.  We believe that currently, the BSA Scouting program is unparalleled in providing leadership opportunities for our youth to become strong, productive citizens.  We have seen the positive influence this program has had on youth that have gone through the program at Prince of Peace (POP) over the years and, as a team of leaders, have determined that the BSA program at POP can continue under this new standard.  POP has pledged to continue chartering our Scouting programs led by volunteers from within our community that are properly trained and dedicated to providing solid leadership.  Any new policy changes or guidelines announced by BSA National will be carefully reassessed by POP Scout leaders.

 

Although AHG National has discontinued its relationship with the BSA, AHG TX 2928 will continue to preserve its original agreement with our Pack and will participate in several joint events during the scout year.   It is our sincerest desire to always provide a safe and welcoming learning environment for children.  We pledge to continue to make improvements in our Pack to ensure our boys’ safety.  Please understand that we must emphasize the required YPT and VIRTUS training for all adults in our Pack.  One committee position we will require to be filled this year is a Health and Safety Coordinator.  The responsibilities for this volunteer position include:

 

·    Insure that each adult leader be trained in "Scouting Safety... Begins With Leadership".

·    Verify that each adult leader has the proper health and safety trainings required for each activity being conducted.

·    Arrange for qualified supervision at every Pack activity.

·    Develop and exercise Pack discipline based on respect, understanding, and leadership.   

 

As mentioned previously, the new policy will not become effective until January.  This summer and fall, we will continue to run Pack 1928 as we have.  Moving forward, we will continue to closely monitor future developments, their impact on our Pack, and its faithfulness to Church teachings. 

 

In light of Father’s Day, a fellow Scouting mom in our Troop who is also a schoolteacher recently captured the true spirit of Scouting at POP:  

 

To all of our fathers and grandfathers,

 

            
I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your time and effort you give to our troop. When I look back at all the fine young men that have come from our troop it is amazing to see the impact you have made on their lives. Each day through my work I see young men that do not have this opportunity and how they struggle and starve for the type of program that we have here at Prince of Peace. I can pick out the Boy Scouts at school. If you could see them in our schools you would be proud to see how they shine above the rest. Our family connection to the church has become stronger with this ministry. You are accepting of all boys. You find their strength and help turn them into leaders. It is a blessing to go to 5 PM Mass and see all the scouts scattered throughout the service. Because you stand strong and lead by example you have given these boys so much. You turn the Scout law and motto into reality for them. They see you live it. Thank you for being the example for these boys. You make our troop what it is.

 


Karen Wilfong

 

During this Year of Faith, we encourage you to take time this summer to reflect on our faith in Christ and His teachings.  Pray about what is best for our boys and please pray for us, that we may lead this Pack well.  Also, discern how you can use your gifts and strengths to help us in this awesome responsibility of guiding our boys as they grow to become the young men that God created them to be.

  
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