Archive for Friday, May 24, 2013

Former area Boy Scouts react to decision allowing gay scouts

May 24, 2013


Though he was not out as gay at the time, Lawrence resident and Kansas University graduate Matt Williams said the issue of sexual orientation never came up during his involvement with the Boy Scouts in Wichita, where he became an Eagle Scout in 2006.

It was just a non-issue, and that's one of the reasons he sees the vote Thursday by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to allow gay youth to particpate in the program as "a step in the right direction."

"I look back on my time in the organization fondly and hope that it continues to stay relevant and accepting of all those that wish to join," Williams said.

The Scouts' longstanding ban on gay adults remains in force, and many liberal Scout leaders — as well as gay-rights groups — plan to continue pressing for an end to that exclusion, as well, even though the BSA's top officials aren't ready for that step.

Thursday's vote was conducted by secret ballot during the National Council's annual meeting near Dallas. Of the roughly 1,400 voting members of the council who cast ballots, 61 percent supported the proposal drafted by the governing Executive Committee to overturn the ban. The policy change takes effect Jan. 1.

"This has been a challenging chapter in our history," the BSA's chief executive, Wayne Brock, said after the vote. "While people have differing opinions on this policy, kids are better off when they're in Scouting."

Mark Brayer, director of support for the BSA's Heart of America Council, which oversees Lawrence and northeast Kansas, said his office is awaiting instructions about implementing the new policy. Brayer declined comment about the vote, but said their office had five votes in the decision, but was not able to say how those votes were cast.

The vote has been mired in controversy, with numerous conservative groups and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a former scout, speaking out against the new policy.

Olathe man Terry Blastenbrei, a former Boy Scout in the 1980s and 1990s while growing up in St. Louis, said he's pleased with the vote. He said he has declined involvement in the Scouts, where he gained some of his "fondest memories from my childhood and teenage years" because of the organization's views on gays and non-Christians.

Scouting should be about inclusion, he said.

"I do not believe that excluding people such as gays and ahteists is what Scouting is all about," Blastenbrei said.

—The Associated Press contributed to this report.


oletimer 4 years, 9 months ago

just another case of an organization caving in to the pressure of a few noisy trouble makers bent on destroying the morals of what was once a great country. Look for a great number of scouts to quit because of this idiotic decision. As a father, I would pull my son out in a minute. All this politically correct crap did not start until obama "won". Now we are all paying for it. I used to be proud of America. Not so much now.

gccs14r 4 years, 9 months ago

I suppose you're still bitter because Truman integrated the troops, too.

Hooligan_016 4 years, 9 months ago

Unreal. I am an Eagle Scout and will continue supporting equal rights and opportunity for all. This exclusionary and discriminatory policy is fully against what I believe scouting encompasses. If you can't work side by side with your fellow man over something as trivial as their sexual orientation or religious beliefs, then I really do pity you. Welcome to the 21st century. May god have mercy on you.

flloyd 4 years, 9 months ago

"May god have mercy on you."

Do you mean God?

Charlie Dominguez 4 years, 9 months ago

The guy is probably going to hell for the failure to capitalize. Idiot

Terry Sexton 4 years, 9 months ago

Just how old of a timer are you exactly? Strides towards freedom & equal rights for all is what continues to make me proud of America.

Terry Sexton 4 years, 9 months ago

The only constant in this world is change. You are probably a good guy, but your intolerance belies that fact. Equal rights aren't going to harm you. Relax.

deec 4 years, 9 months ago

What tells a young boy he is gay is having a crush on another boy. When he reaches puberty, he is aroused by other males. Nobody tells you that you are gay except your own brain.

mom_of_three 4 years, 9 months ago

We are not "politcally correct." We want our fellow countrymen to have the same rights as we do. We are just for equal rights for all. you know, what this country is about - all men are created equal. so sorry you haven't figured it out.

jimmyjms 4 years, 9 months ago

As a father, you're not setting a very good example for your son.

jack22 4 years, 9 months ago

I know, right. What's next, freeing the slaves and giving women the right to vote? Damn progressives, ruining our country.

arch007bak 4 years, 9 months ago

Were you as upset when the Girl Scouts ended the same policy long before anyone had ever hear of Obama? Somehow I doubt it but now it's related to his being elected? "Political correctness" didn't start with his election and...guess certainly won't end when he leaves office regardless of who replaces him.

tomatogrower 4 years, 9 months ago

Hear, hear!!!! For Mikek, not the person who doesn't want people treading on him, but would be happy to tread on others.

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

"I think that you are too simple minded to argue"

Thinking_Out_Loud 4 years, 9 months ago

jafs makes a good point, DTOM: when you make personal attacks such as "You are in the same category..." and "you are too simple-minded," you have also surrendered "arguing the point" to ad hominem attacks. Here is another example: "I will never agree with your kind of ilk. You are the opposite of tolerance and rational." DTOM, were you "arguing the point" instead of name-calling and attacking someone personally, your argument might have been phrased "I will never agree with this thinking" or "with this idea." Your statement might have been "This position is the antithesis of tolerance and rationality."

By writing "you are intolerant, you are irrational, you are simple-minded, you are in an (undesirable) category or ilk," the focus is not on "arguing the point" but on discrediting the person making the point. Worse, in my opinion, it dismisses the person as being somehow less important, intelligent, relevant, thoughtful, valuable, respectable, or--dare I say--human than yourself. By dehumanizing them, one makes it possible to ignore their point of view without really having to try to understand it or to make a cogent argument against it.

Then again, what do I know? I am so simple-minded, I would hyphenate the term "simple-minded!" LOL!

Thinking_Out_Loud 4 years, 9 months ago

Not really, DTOM. Your question was how you have tread on others. I pointed out that your posts make personal attacks--of the kind you belittle others for making against yourself--that have little to do with their points. Instead, those posts trivialize the poster...and, if the poster is less than human, their ideas aren't dealing with...right? I was right on point. And to put together a cogent argument sometimes takes a bit of typing. Sound-bites do not advance conversation.

My last point was not being grammar police as much as it was self-deprecating humor. Check my comment history--it is replete with typos. Hence, the "LOL."

msezdsit 4 years, 9 months ago

I think maybe be the benefit of this policy change is that homophobic bigoted people will leave the organization. Out goes the bad and in come the good. win win.

orbiter 4 years, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

tomatogrower 4 years, 9 months ago

If you don't want to be involved in a same sex relationship, then don't, but it's wrong to dictate to others. What does scouting have to do with sex anyway, except for the pedophiles that were accepted as scout leaders. By the way, most pedophile are not homosexual. They are usually married with children. Pedophilia is a category of mental illness about power over, the same as rape. Well it really is rape, isn't it?

Kate Rogge 4 years, 9 months ago

Exactly, tomato. Sexual orientation is born, not made (and persists regardless of whether your Scout leader is straight or gay). Pedophilia is a mental illness that is statistically present in both homosexuals and heterosexuals, but it is evidenced by more heterosexual males because there simply ARE more heterosexual males.

Children have a far greater chance of sexual molestation from a heterosexual family member or family friend than from any homosexual family member and friend. If we really wanted to protect our children, we'd look at the statistics and keep them well away from heterosexual men.

Let's not get crazy here. I don't care much for Christian evangelicals, but I think it's right to let them join the Scouts and even be Scout leaders. This is America, right?

Linda Endicott 4 years, 9 months ago

Explain how sexual orientation ISN'T a right...and if you're straight, you probably proclaim your sexual orientation every day, and think nothing of you have a picture of your husband/wife on your desk at work? Have you ever hugged or kissed or held hands with your spouse when out in public? Have you ever talked about your spouse to someone else in public? If you have, do you think you have the right to do all those things?

Well, if straights have the right to do all those things, then so do gays...

Lisa Medsker 4 years, 9 months ago

Ever visited a spouse in the hospital, been banned from a loved one's funeral, inherited assets when one party passes away, without question? Been able to care for pets or children without being second-guessed and overly-scrutinized by the pediatrician or veterinarian, or ever had an issue with parent-teacher conferences, or parent involvement at schools? Ever been stalked, harassed, beaten, or anything else because of the relationship, and if you were, did police actually respond?

See, Mr. Lindeman, thinking that this "privilege" would be yours, exclusively, without question, and that others should not have the exact same privilege, regardless of how you may think it affects you personally, is the very definition of "bigot". A person who lies is a "liar". A person who steals is a "thief". A person who experiences a rush of happiness when they can cause others misery is a "bully", or a "sociopath", if they never grow out of it. This behavior is NOT conducive to a happy, healthy, open community, and, yes, tends to lean toward being "intolerable". Therefore, most people with compassion and social skills, as well as a little bit of self-awareness, are pretty intolerant of hurtful behavior.

kusp8 4 years, 9 months ago

There's no way oletimer isn't a troll.

George_Braziller 4 years, 9 months ago

Some crusty old farts are still holding on to the idea that someone being gay means the end of civilization as we know it. There have always been gay boy scouts and troop leaders and the world still continues to spin.

It's like the former ban on someone who is gay being in the military. Being gay wasn't "invented" yesterday. There were plenty of men who were gay who served in the military all the way back to the Revolutionary War..

Even James Buchanan, the 15th President of the United States was then, and is still by most historians, believed to have been gay. Oh gasp. How in the world did we ever survive "all those queers" all these years?

Dan Matthews 4 years, 9 months ago

Ahhhh yes, James Buchanan, the 15th President of the United States. The same guy who basically allowed the Civil War to happen. Good example there. Yes, what would we have done without Mr. Buchanan?......

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 4 years, 9 months ago

I met my best friend for life in the boy scouts. My scouting experience was one of the best decisions I and my family ever made. It doesn't bother me at all that they are admitting gay young people to the boy scouts. I hope their scouting experience is as good as mine was.

bad_dog 4 years, 9 months ago

Lynn, I don't often agree with you, but I applaud you for standing tall on this issue.

msezdsit 4 years, 9 months ago

The problem a lot of bigoted people have is they confuse gay with pedophilia. The % of gay people who are pedophiles is less than the % of hetrosexuals that are pedophiles. This should actual improve what the homophobic's mistake as a reason for exclusion of gay's. Hatred should not be taught by the BSA. Tolerance and understanding and acceptance of others should be. Next step is to allow volunteers and scout masters. At least it is step in the right direction. BSA has a long way to go to get the organization out of the 1950's and open their doors to growth and modernization.

elsicomoro 4 years, 9 months ago

What exactly is "morally straight?" I don't think that gay people are immoral. What about adulterers? I do consider that immoral, and knew several of them in Scouting.

ksgardener 4 years, 9 months ago

If you aren't sleeping with me I don't care who you sleep with. I also don't care who drove a used car before me.

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

All kids should be protected from molestation, whenever possible.

However, gay men are no more likely, in fact less likely to molest kids than straight men are.

I hope that you've gotten therapy and help - although being a victim of molestation is horrible, some healing and growth is possible, with time and help.

tomatogrower 4 years, 9 months ago

And that scout leader was probably married to a woman. Or if he was still a teenager, hopefully went on to prison.

msezdsit 4 years, 9 months ago

" You state that as a matter of fact but I say BS." Here in lies your problem. You can't tell bs from the truth. Misguided.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 9 months ago

I would be more worried that they still have this offensive image as their camp logo.

I would be more worried that they still have this offensive image as their camp logo. by Frankie8

I think we should also acknowledge that a strong, painful experience can forever alter our emotional response to something or someone. But, please, just think what would happen if every woman who was raped by a heterosexual or beat or otherwise abused refused to have anything to do with men from then on. It would be justifiable on one level. Same with a black abused by a white, or a Japanese who had ancestors in the camps. We all have reasons to hate groups of people because of what one did to us. It is hard, very hard, but there are things we all need to move on from.

rtwngr 4 years, 9 months ago

The image you refer to is an image that is revered and admired for the strength, integrity, perseverance, honor, and self reliance that the American Indian exemplified. It is not an image that is used as a "mascot" or the punch line of a joke. If you knew anything about scouting and the camping societies connected to it, you would understand.

jonnyboy 4 years, 9 months ago

As the mother of two eagle scouts, I'm thrilled with the decision. I understand the other point of view, but I think it's based in stereotyping, hysteria, misinformation...and probably a lot of bad Catholic priests.

I don't recall Mary Kay LeTourneau being a lesbian!

deec 4 years, 9 months ago

Or they could change the name to the Catholic church. Here's some actual facts about the subject.

Jay Keffer 4 years, 9 months ago

The Boy Scouts have taken a meager first step, but true equality will be achieved when girls are allowed into this exclusive, bigoted organization that has done nothing for society since its inception.

Big Money Corporate organizations have foisted their will onto groups and their Freedom of Association 'rights'. Silly groups,.you know you were going to be bullied into submission. Wise up, the Liberals have co-opted the capitalist machine of Big Money, and no one is immune to the political correctness band wagon, and the rush (formerly known as slouching) towards Gomorrah.

Now, everyone jump into a pile so we can finish off any deviation from the lowest common denominator, and all become one gray blob. Morals and personal convictions are to be reported immediately!

Kathy Gates 4 years, 9 months ago

Actually, Boy Scouts has a co-ed program for youth 14 and over. Last summer my son spent ten days hiking in the mountains of New Mexico with a co-ed crew including two young ladies and an adult female leader. He's currently working at Camp Naish alongside female staff members. Girl Scouts/Boy Scouts are single-sex organizations; Venturing is for co-ed.

Abdu Omar 4 years, 9 months ago

"The Boy Scouts have taken a meager first step, but true equality will be achieved when girls are allowed into this exclusive, bigoted organization that has done nothing for society since its inception."

The Boy Scouts are for boys as much as Girl Scouts are for girls. Why integrate them? Isn't each group taking care of its own? Do we have to make everything integrated? Why not integrate Body Botique? Or Older Women's League?

Can you imagine how those programs would change if they included members of the opposite gender? Not everything has to be integrated to be equal opportunity.

Why do we need to know a person's sexual preference? I don''t wear mine on my sleeve or tell everyone that I am this or that. What business is it of theirs? This issue is a train wreck for boy scouts and will destroy a lot of programs. And, although I don't care what you are or aren't, I think that broadcasting it is the error.

Jay Keffer 4 years, 9 months ago

Good point - 'why do we need to know a person's sexual preference'? I say WE DON'T. Yet gays continue to push their agenda into everyone's face. Keep it to yourself, we don't want/need to know., Your 'team' is the one that stirs the pot, over and over. Why? Mind your own while the rest of us mind ours.

Slow down Brokeback, and keep it in the bedroom. Otherwise, let's open all doors and knock down all barriers. Girls have to be allowed into the Boy Scouts per your arguments - think about it.....there....get it? No? Try again.

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago


Who's "we" exactly? Would that be heterosexuals in general (don't include me or the other straight folks who want gay folks to have equal rights please), the orientation that has numerous legal rights and privileges associated with it?

And, as I and others have pointed out many times, straight folks are generally open about their sexuality in numerous ways - are you willing to keep yours hidden and secret? That would mean no pictures of wife/kids/girlfriend, no telling anybody about them at work, etc.

LawrenceTownie 4 years, 9 months ago

I am a former Den Mother to a group of young boys in Cub Scouts. One of my wards was "different", and as an adult came out of the closet as gay. I had a feeling that this young boy was gay, but it never entered my mind to exclude him from our activities. Of all the boys in my group, he was the one who needed an after school activity most. Every week we worked on crafts, took walks, got treats, etc. His parents were much older, and only his mother came to our monthly group meetings. I hope he has a good memory of those days, as I along with my co-Den Mother made him feel welcome, and he was treated the same as all the other boys. Children can accept someone "different" as long as adult comments don't make them think otherwise.

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