So much for the Boy Scouts of America.

The Bigots remain.


Well the folks at the top of the BSA are still adult bigots. Kids may be gay members but not their leadership.Who best to guide a gay scout but a gay scout leader.

Let me discuss a fellow scout and classmate of mine. His father Ray held the highest honors in Scouting, the Silver Beaver and Silver Buffalo. His son was the Senior Patrol Leader of my troop which was the oldest one in Nassau County NY. Daniel Carter Beard gave our charter to Teddy Roosevelt and he presented it to Chief Howard Covey our first scoutmaster (Chief because he was Chief of Police of Kings Point NY. 

Edward Slater, my senior patrol leader was an Eagle Scout with palms and in high school was the New York State wrestling champion in his weight class. After college he was a Physical Education teacher in the number one rated School System in the United States at the time - Great Neck NY. Ed Slater was also the wrestling coach of the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point.

Why do I mention my classmate. Very simply put, this great athlete, teacher and Scout was also gay. He came to an untimely end when his lover murdered him while he was asleep.

As for myself, I only earned four merit badges, one short of being a star scout. As a father, I had my only son join my troop where I became a multi-meritbadge councelor and a troop committeeman.

But when the natioal leadership became bigots I left the movement. Now we learn that after being forced to stop discriminating the yound that they still could not stop the bigotry. I will therefor continue my opposition to scouting until a gay scout can be led by a gay scout leader and the bigots at the top are removed.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

RONALD M GOLDWYN April 23, 2013 at 01:56 AM
John, since we agree on most things in Scouting and its Morality, why do you take exception to gay leadership. In cub scouting the leadership is female. In the older groups of scouting we have mixed genders, where girl scouts can have lesbian leadership. My daughter had similar feelings against the BSA Leadership and so encouraged her two sons to be active in The Order of Demolay instead. One is 18 and the older one is now almost 21, with both in college. I am there father figure as there actual father has been out of their lives since infancy. Do you feel that gay scouts should be deprived of gay leadership, or that gay Eagle Scouts should be dismissed from aiding scouts simply because of their adult sex life? Can they not adopt a child and be a great parent? or is that limited to straight scouts who could more likely have criminal sex on girls. I'm just angry that their must be a distinction between who may be a good leader leader after 6-8 years in the scout system with no problem. I'm still thinking of my classmate of 55 years ago.
Ken Fellenbaum April 23, 2013 at 12:58 PM
Calling people names isn't helpful. Is the Pope a "bigot"? Because someone or an organization has different views on social issues than we do does not make them a bigot.
Margaret Callahan April 23, 2013 at 02:41 PM
Ronald, I totally agree! Allowing gay scouts but not gay leaders is a cop out that feels a bit like don't-ask-don't-tell felt. Scouts do some great work, but I'd never let my son participate til the policy changes across the board. There are a host of other wholesome activities for boys. There are other ways for parents to volunteer with children in a meaningful way.
Concerned Parent April 23, 2013 at 02:54 PM
I truly believe people suffer from "Selective morality". There is a difference between being moral (which is nurtured by society) and doing what is right (which is innate and comes from the heart). Maybe that's why our children can easily cut thru this rhetoric
tlkensington April 23, 2013 at 03:31 PM
At least this pope wasn't a nazi.
John Pasnau April 23, 2013 at 06:37 PM
Ron, I don't take exception to gay leaders at all. That day will come, another step on the trail. Over 60% of the Boy Scout troops are chartered by Churches. (The Boy Scouts don't operate the troops, the charter partners do, mine is at American Legion Post 196). The largest of those charter partners is the Mormons. This change will happen slowly, and it has started. That's a good first step. The gun control law you are so fond of is not perfect, yet you still support it. Because its a good first step? Better than nothing? Same with this and the BSA. I was a Scoutmaster for 6 years, and an active adult leader for almost 20. I can tell you that sexuality was not a topic of conversation between leaders and scouts. I don't even recall once. So, if hetro boys are not discussing sexuality with hetro leaders, why is it so important for gay scouts to have gay leaders? The answer is, its not. What is important is we show scouts that inclusion and tolerance is the right way to behave. The Boy Scouts of America have taken a good first step forward.
LAM April 23, 2013 at 11:59 PM
Several months ago the LA Times printed files kept by the BSA from 1985-2001 that showed there were 1200 cases of adult scout masters sexually abusing scouts. Obviously gays have been serving as Scout Masters, Some were great Scout Masters some were lousy and some were pedophiles (I don't for a minute buy the nonsense that men sexually attracted to boys aren't gay). It is no different than when males coach young girls most are good but some are predators. So what is the big deal about the BSA changing it's policy, other than gays would not be disqualified from being leaders for merely being gay?
RONALD M GOLDWYN April 24, 2013 at 02:14 AM
Rev Ken, If bigot is the wrong word, what one would you substitute for a leader who prohibits a local person from a leadership role solely because he is gay. As for John, this is not a first step. There was no discrimination when I was a scout and a leader back in the 40's 50's and 60's. The first step was when the leadership cast out any male regardless of age who felt they had gay tendencies. I'm straight, but I will not cast the first stone against those bigots who rose to power (I still like that word)
RONALD M GOLDWYN April 24, 2013 at 02:24 AM
I also applaud those churches who don't sponsor boy scouting. I also feel the same about our Board of Education for not making their facilities available locally. Our local BSA Council may not feel the same as the National group, but it is their duty to defy them. As an active member in my local Lions Club, I remember when we voted NOT to sponsor a Sr mixed gender scout group out of respect to some members of our club. We would have been insulting them to do otherwise.
Ken Fellenbaum April 24, 2013 at 04:00 AM
Ron, my Random House Webster's Dictionary defines a bigot as "a person who is extremely intolerant of another's creed, belief or opinion." I don't see the need to use derogatory labels for anyone who has different convictions than mine. Whatever happened to freedom of speech and assembly? It can't be just for those that we agree with. The Boy Scouts, The Catholic Church, The Mormons, etc., should be able to conduct their programs according to their beliefs. I repeat my statement that calling people names, such as bigots, is not helpful.
RONALD M GOLDWYN April 24, 2013 at 10:44 AM
Ken, When an organization such as our school system, some of our churches or our Lions Club refuse to sponsor or have any dealings with the Boy Scouts of America, they must give some reason for doing so. We could say "the cat is on the roof", "The price of beef went up in India" or "the Leadership of the BSA are bigots". But we MUST give a reason.To say nothing is to let them get away with their Intolerance, so my words are helpful if they are shamed into revoking their policy that they instituted after my years as a member. Who adult Scout leaders make love to in the privacy of their homes away from their scout duties is no ones business, be they gay or straight.
Mark Lofthouse April 24, 2013 at 01:19 PM
Dear John, Great point.....this is the "first" step towards correcting this issue in Scouting. I have been in Scouting since 1969, served as Cubmaster, currently an Asst. Scoutmaster, and merit badge instructor and have never once experienced any bigotry in the Scouting program. I am sure the change in allowing gay leadership will follow soon. Although, personally, I would have much rather they made the change all at once. What many fail to understand, are the large number religious based sponsors of Scout Troops that do not have an open policy on homosexuality and, as such, the BSA walks a fine line to avoid alienating nearly 50% of their sponsorship and thus risking the BSA progam as a whole. I give Scouting leadership credit for moving in the right direction. Over time I am positive the BSA will vote to include gay leadership as well, but for now they are taking small and cautious steps. I do take great exception to Mr. Goldwyn's name calling and feel sorry that he cannot "first" applaud the BSA for announcing this change and second....encourage Scouting in a more positive way to take that last final step. Ron, I agree with you on this issue, but I choose to take the high road and work for positive changing from within.
Mark Lofthouse April 24, 2013 at 01:27 PM
Mr. Goldwyn, perhaps you need to get involved again with Scouting to help work towards the final vote to allow gay leaders and put Scouting back on the path that you seemed to enjoy in the 1940's - 1960's. For you to simply call all Scouts "bigots" is just sad. You need to be more positive.
RONALD M GOLDWYN April 24, 2013 at 02:21 PM
Dear Mark, I do not have a problem with local leaders who are in direct contact with our young boys and men. I do object to a national policy that decided that gay men could not train boys as well as straight men. I'm not positive but I have no statistics as to where we find male pedophiles are they in the gay group or the straight group.How about rapists. Do gay men rape women? Are not the older levels of scouting now of mixed gender? Daniel Carter Beard, Teddy Roosevelt, and Chief Howard Covey all played a role in the formation of the first Scout troop in Nassau County NY, my troop. The one thing that they had in common was that they were all active Freemasons. I am an active Freemason also, but I would not ask my daughter to have her two sons join scouting because I knew how she felt about the national policy of the Boy Scouts.after they invoked prejudice into the organization. Instead she sought the activities of the Order of DeMolay which is another national youth group for boys between 12 and 21 which was also founded by a Freemason but which is more of a fraternity with a ritual. Mark, I didn't leave Scouting, they left me. They have retreated only half way on their morally wrong policy, but I want the full loaf. I want the national leadership to admit that gay men can be great leaders in scouting just as my Senior Patrol Leader, fellow classmate in 1955, and a great Phy Ed teacher - Edward Slater.
Mark Lofthouse April 24, 2013 at 02:34 PM
Ron, althought you state you have no problem with local leaders, your comments "Hurt" all Scouts at all levels. Unlike you, I plan on not giving up on Scouting, rather I will stay the course and see that the Boy Scouts continue to develop and foster leadership, love of country, love of God, cherish the wide earth and friendship to all. Like you, I have good from my boyhood Scout Troop who are gay and I care about them and proud to call them my friend. Please stop portraying ALL Scouts in the fashion you are doing, as you dishonor the program that seems to have given you so much, yet your words and actions are hell bent on destroying the image of Scouting. Yes....they have, in your words, retreated only half way....but isn't this a reason to celebrate? Can't you take joy and stock in what it took to even go half way? You want the full loaf, so do I, but the difference is I am not following a scorched earth policy like you. I plan to "build" a better Scouting program, as opposed to your working to "destroy" it. My Scoutmaster taught me better....never give up....NEVER!
RONALD M GOLDWYN April 24, 2013 at 03:27 PM
Mark, I have not said one word against you and your fellow scout leaders. Nor have I said anything about who could be a Scout. My message is directed against the national policy that was instituted about 20 years ago against gay males, a policy that did not exist in Dan Beard's day, in my day, or in my son's day, but still exists today. (Let me point out that my grandfather was a close friend of Dan Beard and was the leader in charge of all Jewish Scouts in New York City before WWII. Yes scouting was divided by religion back then)
RONALD M GOLDWYN April 24, 2013 at 03:28 PM
Mark I don't know why you are happy that the National group returned to you half a loaf. I say you should have wanted the restoration of all civil rights. How do you explain to scouts that only certain types of men are good enough or allowed to be your leaders. Thus while a scout can rise to the highest leadership positions, be an Eagle scout, but upon graduation they cannot return as an Ass't Troop or Pack leaders. Why do the senior groups that include Explorers and up with mixed gender scouts permit Lesbian leaders? Mark I can't say which grandson I love best. I love them equally. Can you say that you are willing to employ a gay man as a troop leader in spite of those national bigots? My words only express what many in this country feel. It is only because the national leadership felt the heat in their pocketbook that they retreated only half way back to being "morally straight" What a loss to scouting has this ugly policy been. It has lowered the status of young scouts rather than bring it up in the minds of local residents.I don't want to destroy the Scouting progam that existed in my son's day, but to rid the National Leadership of Bigots. Did you write to Scout headquarters saying you want to allow gay men as scoutleaders or will your response be __ NEVER
Mark Lofthouse April 24, 2013 at 03:57 PM
Ro9n - your approach of throwing the baby out with the bath water does more harm than good. If you would actually take the time to go back and read that I too want the "whole loaf", but for now, I am happy with the first step towards 100% chaging this policy. If you look back to the days of Lincoln, the Emancipation Proclamation was not the "whole loaf" of civil rights...but it was the foundation for righting a wrong and a start! In my 30 years of successful salesmanship, I pride myself on Patient, Persistance, Pays.......I look forward to the last step coming true soon with patience. And YES....not only did I write National, but I called them and had a nice chat as well. My tone was positive and constructive, with BSA National being kind and understanding. I have seen folks like you before, that first seek to destroy and focus only on the negative. You bring nothing to the table in the form of ideas and solutions, but rather wallow in the darkness of doom and gloom.
John Pasnau April 24, 2013 at 04:40 PM
Well said Mark. Ron, Scouts were not divided by religion back when you were a scout, any more than they are today. You may have chosen a troop chartered by a synagogue rather than a non religious group. My Troop was chartered by Optimists International when I was a kid. Religious Groups within scouting still have scouters at the top to advise them. Today's Jewish director is a young man who I met 20 years ago when he was a scout. This prohibition was in place when you were a Scout, you just were unaware of it because so few gay men were openly gay back then. It was a non issue. I choose to stick with and remain loyal to an organization that gives so much to so many. The best way to change something is to work within the existing structure. Perhaps if you were not a quitter and had done the hard work it takes to be an Eagle Scout you would have learned to express yourself in a more positive way, would have learned to WORK for change rather than sit on the sidelines and criticize something you haven't even researched (Obviously). I too called and wrote National when they were considering their "Gay" policy (openly gay women ARE excluded as leaders of Adventure crews, by the way) . I too was positive, and expressed my self in a friendly manor. Did you? There was a link right here on the Patch to do so. You took the time to tear down with this blog, did you take a moment when the time was at hand to express yourself to those in a position to make that change?
Concerned Parent April 24, 2013 at 04:44 PM
When I was a scout, these issues never arose...Why, because we did not consider them when working on getting our badges or going camping...It amazes me how ADULTS can be so selfish in denying people their opportunity to enjoy the benefits offered to scouts. It's ironic, when I look back on my childhood years, it's clear that our parents were much more progressive than the parents today. Petty inferences and labeling never came up because they were...well petty...They knew what was important and allowed their kids to learn those values on their own. Today we live in the Information Age, which is another way of saying we love to talk and with social networking, there is definitely no shortage of it. Perhaps, people should begin by looking no further than their front door before trying to make decisions that only impact others' lives and not their own.
Ken Fellenbaum April 24, 2013 at 05:13 PM
Using epithets, for whatever reason, reduces the user to the company of other name callers. I'm tired of people calling others by names such as "bigots" and "racists" whenever they disagree on policy issues. Do something positive...
RONALD M GOLDWYN April 24, 2013 at 10:03 PM
John, Regarding my grandfather and the BSA. Back in the 20's and 30's when he was most active, as I said Scouting in NYC was divided along the major religions. I did not become a "Bobcat" until 1946 in Brooklyn NY. In 1947 my family moved to Great Neck NY where I joined a Cub Pack #304 that was sponsored by the local Bnai Brith Lodge. I earned my Webelos badge, but rather than joining the new Troop 304, I decided to join Troop 10 that met in an elementary school and was run by a group of committeemen. In my troop the only way to attain Eagle rank was by going to Scout Camp. I was never offered that opportunity so the only merit badges that I attained were Rowing, Swimming, Canoeing and Lifesaving. Then when I was 12, I had to go to Hebrew School in order to be Bar Mitsvahed at age 13, as was typical in my community.
RONALD M GOLDWYN April 24, 2013 at 10:03 PM
When I became a Boy Scout in 1948 there were three medals offered to scouts based on your religion. They were more than just a merit badge, but the division by religion was long past in NYC. To Mark, I offer my sincere apology for doubting the level of your opposition to the current policy. I wish you much success in getting the second half of the policy removed. To Rev. Ken As a Minister I fully understand your position and I again apologize to you also for my choice of words, but with my limited vocabulary I felt my words were best suited for the action they took toward gay men and boys. Discrimination has no place in Scouting let alone anywhere in our society. As far as doing something positive, I am now in poor health and of an age where I see many much younger than myself taking their last breath, so I have passed the torch of leadership on to those who can easily bear it. I just lost a good friend last week. He was only 61.
John Pasnau April 24, 2013 at 10:25 PM
There still are religious medals. My son earned the Lutheran one while a member of Pack 196. From one of the best people ever to walk this earth, Pastor John Moritz of Trinity Lutheran Church. There was NEVER any division by religion in the Boy Scouts. You may have perceived a division, but your perception and reality differed. Then and now. As for your cop out based on age and health, you did write this blog, right? So, it could have been positive and encouraging the BSA to take the next step. But its not, and you didn't.
RONALD M GOLDWYN April 25, 2013 at 12:58 PM
John, I have newspaper articles up in my attic regarding my grandfather and scouting in New York City. Please note I didn't say anything regarding scouting in other parts of New York or elsewhere. As far as Daniel Carter Beard is concerned, I know he lived for a while in Flushing, Queens, NYC where he belonged to Cornucopia Masonic Lodge on Northern Blvd. Just made contact with my old troop. they are alive and doing well as they approach almost 100 years of existence.
Mark Lofthouse April 25, 2013 at 01:31 PM
Dear Ron, I willing accept the torch that is passed. God bless.
Richard Platt April 26, 2013 at 03:14 AM
Has anyone investigated why the Girl Scouts do not have a problem with gay members or leaders? They, I believe, have never had any such restrictions. Yet, their troops have the same sponsors that the Boy Scouts do.
John Pasnau April 26, 2013 at 01:52 PM
Richard, No, they don't. The structure is not the same and they do not have Chartered Partners. It's like the difference between company owned stores and franchises. The girl scouts own and operate all their troops. They approve all leaders themselves. So, any restrictions the do (or do not) have are private. Unless you run into them. For example, in the Boy Scouts two women may be Scoutmaster and Committee Chair (the top two positions for adults in a Boy Scout Troop). However two Men may not be the 01 and 02 in a Girl Scout Troop (the top two positions for adults in a Girl Scout Troop). Each organization does have restrictions based on what they believe is best for their membership. Girl Scout Troops are not sponsored in the sense that Boy Scout Troops are. They still need relationships so they have a place to meet, and so on, but it is not the same.
Mark Lofthouse April 26, 2013 at 02:14 PM
Hi Mr. Platt, See below the GSA Volunteer Policy dated October 2012. Although I agree with you that the BSA need to remove the ban 100%, I am happy they have moved past their previous hard line stance on no gay youth or leaders. The GSA odes not all all male leadership and requires 2 female to accompany one male on any camping trip. John Pasnau's comment about overall Troop Leaders and Structure is correct: I. Adult Volunteers A positive female role model is essential for meeting the Girl Scout program goals and purposes. Each Girl Scout Troop/group must have at least one (1) female adult Girl Scout Leader who is at least 18 years of age, is a registered Girl Scout, has an appropriate volunteer security status, and agrees to meet the training requirements for the position. The attitudes, appearance and actions of volunteers have a direct impact on the lives of girls. Male adults may be part of the leadership team for a Girl Scout Troop/group of girls, including being designated as the “01” for the Girl Scout Troop/group. Male Girl Scout Leaders are expected to fulfill the same requirements as female Girl Scout Leaders.
Mark Lofthouse April 26, 2013 at 02:14 PM
GSA Policy Continued: The leadership of every Girl Scout Troop/group must include unrelated adults within the team. Specifically, men may not participate alone with girls and will not take girls on overnights, camping trips, extended trips, or events without two female adults. Adult volunteers who are taking responsibility for girls not of their family must register and complete a volunteer application and criminal background check form. Adults participating in an event as a parent with their own daughter (such as Mom & Me or Dad & Me events), and not taking responsibility of girls that are not a part of their family are not required to complete this paperwork.


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