Something Rotten in the Boy Scouts

There’s deception going on in the front office of the Boy Scouts. It includes deliberate misrepresentation of polling data, and threats to pack an upcoming meeting with anonymous and unqualified voters so that the Boy Scout policy on homosexuality gets forced on the majority of Scouts and parents who don’t want it.

The Boy Scouts are considering changing their policy of not allowing open homosexuality in either their Scout or leadership ranks. The policy has placed the Boy Scouts in the buzz saw of the zeitgeist and up until recently they have resisted. There are some weak-kneed leaders who want to throw over the policy and appear willing to violate the Scout Law to do it.

The Scout front office released the result of a national survey and “listening” process that purported to show that the Scouts—boys, parents, leaders and donors—favor a change in the policy. The Boy Scouts say the process reveals great changes in attitudes and that a majority of those at all levels of Scouting “tend to agree that youth should not be denied the benefits of Scouting.”

This was dutifully and even triumphantly reported in the mainstream press.  The only problem is the news reports were wrong. And the news reports were wrong because the Boy Scouts misrepresented the results. One close observer of the Boy Scouts calls the poll “a pack of lies.”

 

Do Scouting parents want to overhaul the policy and allow open homosexuality in the Scouts? The Executive Summary of the Poll says, “yes”, but the numbers say “no.” Fifty percent of Cub Scout parents support the current restrictive policy while 45% oppose it. A whopping 61% of Boy Scout parents support the current policy.

How did Boy Scout leadership get anywhere near the assertion that a majority of those in Scouting support homosexuality in Scouting? Part of what they did was what is known as a push-poll, a questionnaire designed not to elicit an accurate opinion but one designed to change opinions.

Here’s the most sympathetic scenario presented to the respondents: “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 he is gay. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for the review board to deny his Eagle Scout award based on that admission?”

Read this way, you may conclude that it is not right or just to deny Tom his award. Even so, the numbers show that a majority of parents still continue to support the current policy.

What is going on here? Deception, that’s what. There is a small group on the Executive Committee of the Boy Scouts who want this policy to change. What they face is a membership that largely opposes the measure. So, they try to get their way by lying about a poll. But there is more deception than that.

The Executive Board took up the issue a few months ago and after a tsunami of protest punted the issue to a vote of their National Council set to take place on May 20th. There are usually 1400 voting members of this body who qualify through strict criteria. Insiders have been told there may be an additional 2,000 voting members at the upcoming meeting. Who are they? The Boy Scouts leaders aren’t telling. Are they trying to pack the meeting? It sure looks that way.

A group of Scouting parents have grown alarmed over these deceptive practices and have hired not one but two lawyers to represent their interests and not just their interests but the interest of fairness and making sure the Boy Scout Executive Committee sticks to their own by-laws that are very clear about who can vote. There are legal issues here and this whole process could end up on court.

On the eve of the vote the Executive Committee will make a presentation on this issue to the National Council. The Executive Committee is the group driving this change and is the group presenting these deceptive numbers. You can be sure in that meeting there will be no presentation from supporters of the current policy, and you can be sure the Executive committee will continue to spin their deceptive tale about how most of Scouting is fine with open homosexuality in the program.

All this goes to show once more the lengths of deception that some will go to advance an agenda that is offensive to most Americans. They cannot win an up or down vote so they lie about a poll. They cannot convince regular people so they have to pack the meeting.

The number one item in the Boy Scout law is to be trustworthy. The process ought to be stopped and there ought to be a housecleaning and all these untrustworthy guys should get the boot.

Austin Ruse

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Austin Ruse is a Crisis contributing editor and president of the Center for Family & Human Rights (C-FAM). He is the author of Fake Science: Exposing the Left’s Skewed Statistics, Fuzzy Facts, and Dodgy Data, published by Regnery; and Little Suffering Souls: Children Whose Short Lives Point Us to Christ, published by Tan Books. The views expressed here are solely his own.

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