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Boy Scouts Ask Open Source Community For Help 973

Lucas123 writes "The Boy Scouts of America are looking to the open-source community for help in building software to use for fundraisers, special events, and other functions, for their more than 121,000 local scout troops. Some open source advocates, who are former Boy Scouts, support the idea, despite a few reservations. According to the article, there are no plans for a scout merit badge in open source — but there has been a merit badge in computers since 1967, 'and it is possible that if the program is successful, it could eventually be used by IT-savvy scouts themselves.'"
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Boy Scouts Ask Open Source Community For Help

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  • by SeattleGameboy ( 641456 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:23PM (#23731125) Journal
    I wonder if anybody can help out or do they only want help from hetersexual and religious programmers?

    Wouldn't it be bit of a double standard if they won't allow atheists and homosexuals to join, but will gladly accept free labor from them?
  • by kfort ( 1132 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:30PM (#23731289)
    If they are serious about the values of open source, why don't they offer a bounty as incentive to write the software?
  • Re:BSA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Curien ( 267780 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:30PM (#23731293)
    I was an atheist boy scout, and I used to get into discussions with the troop leaders about religion on a regular basis. They never made me feel uncomfortable or like I didn't belong.
  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:34PM (#23731383)
    What would make sense is a track toward earning the Computing/IT merit badge that was heavy on open-source development and programming.

    BTW sorry for attempting to be on-topic; feel free to continue the ranting... (hello -1 karma!)
  • by MarcoG42 ( 1087205 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:35PM (#23731417) Homepage
    The 90's called and they want their sarcasm back

    + + error: infinite loop dedicted + +
    + + out of cheese error - redo from start + +
  • by FishAdmin ( 1288708 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:37PM (#23731471)
    Everyone has the right to withhold their help from ANY organization whose ideals or methods they don't agree with, and I'll be the first one to support that expression of your beliefs. However, all that I've found the Boy Scouts do is stand on their expressed belief system. They don't agree with homosexuality, and they believe in God, but I've yet to see them march against homosexuality or bbeat children that were found to be Athiest. Please make sure you don't label "disagreement" the same thing as "hatemongering". Everyone has a right to disagree; no one has the right to prosecute another for their beliefs, as long as those beliefs don't infringe upon the rights of another. Withhold or provide your support as you see fit, but don't think that just because someone doesn't agree with you that means they hate you. As for the MPAA...there's no real defense on that one. Sorry, LA Scout branch: that was simply stupid. Teach your kids not to steal ANYTHING; don't limit your lessons to music and movies.
  • Re:Boycott (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 1155 ( 538047 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:38PM (#23731477) Homepage
    OSS people can also be the most close minded people I know. Same with most any other generalized group
  • by samkass ( 174571 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:39PM (#23731527) Homepage Journal
    Or better yet, have their own employees and scouts develop the skeleton project themselves. There must be SOMEONE in an organization that claims to be the size they do with some computer skills.

    Perhaps they kicked those folks out for disagreeing with their religion.
  • Re:BSA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:44PM (#23731643)
    nah, he just didn't grow up in the bible belt
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:46PM (#23731693)
    I've seen more TOLERANCE in the Boy Scouts than on this thread. The Boy Scouts teach tolerance for other points of view while maintaining their membership standards. Perhaps the members of this threead could learn the lessons about tolerance and respect of other points of view while disagreeing with them. In general this is how civilized societies behave. This is also how issues get debated.

    Simply put The Boy Scouts insist that mbmbers are reverent to their idea of a supreme being. Yes your religion could be Jedi if you wanted it to be.

    As far as the homosexuality issue, this is a result of a basic moral code they ascribe to. This is their right. Efforts to discriminate aginst the Boyscouts Because of their moral beliefs sound strangly hollow when those who want their moral beliefs to be free of discrimination.

    Also, their youth protection guidelines come into play. I know of few parents that would feel comfortable knowing that young boys were in the keeping of homosexual leaders. This may be stereotyping, but that is the way most parents think.
  • Re:No (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:46PM (#23731699) Homepage
    It doesn't matter either way.

    They are a youth organization with a charter from congress. They are an acknowledged
    military youth auxilliary organization given access to government resources. They are
    like a junior version of Sea Cadets or the CAP.

    They should be held to at least the same tolerance standards as the Army.
  • Re:yes, well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) * on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:47PM (#23731717) Homepage Journal

    Using the word "homophobia" in regard to a legal choice to beleive(sic) one's religion is HATE speech... Referring to religion as mythology is also HATE speech.

    Nonsense. It's just accurate reporting. Religion is mythology. Stories. There are no facts whatsoever behind those stories in the important areas (specifically the existence of deities.) There is no more basis in reason for believing in a deity than there is for believing in the tooth fairy, unless you count peer pressure as a legitimate force for belief. Those stories remain in force because people are gullible, fearful, and uninformed in critical areas, and because there are legions of people around who prey on those who exhibit said vulnerabilities.

    You appear to only recognize free speech as speech that agrees with you.

    No, not at all. I recognize all kinds of speech, and encourage the use of it by all. That's the only way we can know which people take which positions. That in no way says I have to agree with the positions taken, and (this is the important part for you to study), it in no way obligates me to remain silent in the face of things I disagree with.

    In this case, the BSA asked for help. I'm one of those who could help, and I'm also an alumnus. I'm declining, and I'm saying why I'm declining. If that upsets you, perhaps you should re-examine your core values. Or come up with a better argument than (cough) "hate speech", which is a crock.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:48PM (#23731737)

    To BSA's critics who claim cases of "institutionalized homophobia" and other discriminations, I must ask that you show me where the "institutionalized" part of it comes in.
    It's how the BSA won the right to discriminate, by claiming it was critical to they're organization. You can't get more institutionalized than that!

    Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote for the majority. He said in part: "The Boy Scouts asserts that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the values it seeks to instill. [Requiring the Scouts to accept homosexual scoutmasters] would significantly burden the organization's right to oppose or disfavor homosexual conduct."
  • Re:BSA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fwarren ( 579763 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:49PM (#23731769) Homepage

    I take it you did go out of your way to make waves.

    I believe the problem is when you stand up and scream you are an atheist and want everyone else to change what they are doing to do it your way, is when there are problems.

    I think for the most part when you are "different" from a group of people and you elect to be involved with them. That you will be accepted as long as you try to fit in and look for common ground. As opposed to stressing how you are different and they should change who they are, what they have always done, and what they believe so as to make you happy.

  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:50PM (#23731797) Homepage
    They are not a "private" group by any means.

    Achievements in "private groups" don't get you brownie points
    on US military academy admissions.
  • Re:BSA (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gcalvin ( 325380 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:51PM (#23731825) Homepage
    Just curious... did you say the Scout Oath? Leave out the "do my duty to God" part?

    Supposing there was an organization that required its members to take an oath including "duty to the Pink Spaghetti Monster" but didn't specify what that duty was (left that to the judgment of the members), I suppose I wouldn't have a problem taking the oath if I liked the organization otherwise. I do believe in God, and I support the BSA and the oath, and I would allow self-described atheists, but I would want them to recite the same oath as everybody else.
  • How old are you? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ttfkam ( 37064 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:52PM (#23731871) Homepage Journal
    If you are over 30, your (and my) Boy Scouts is not the BSA of today.

    If you are younger, I think you just got lucky. Extremely lucky.
  • Re:yes, well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wile_e_wonka ( 934864 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:53PM (#23731879)
    Public funds may be used in the private sector. The government, for example, provides funding to churches (and yes, many of these churches also do not allow homosexuals in their chain of leadership and "pander" religion), whichout them suddenly becoming government entities.
  • by Hairy Heron ( 1296923 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:54PM (#23731899)

    As far as the homosexuality issue, this is a result of a basic moral code they ascribe to. This is their right. Efforts to discriminate aginst the Boyscouts Because of their moral beliefs sound strangly hollow when those who want their moral beliefs to be free of discrimination.
    Sure they have all the rights in the world to be as bigoted as they want. Doesn't mean that we don't also have the same right to criticize them for their views all we want. In the end the problem has to do with them demanding money and services from the government while trying to discriminate at the same time. You can't demand that the public funds your bigotry. I'm sorry, but it just doesn't work that way.
  • by cybrthng ( 22291 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:56PM (#23731969) Journal
    It wouldn't be much work for such a wealthy organization to use Drupal + Modules or Civic CRM integration and get everything they need.

    In fact, the software solution is going to be the easiest piece - its the hosting & infrastructure to connect and manage the scouts & train staff that will be the costly venture.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:56PM (#23731989)
    ...at least give them credit for that. Most members are embarrassed by the bigotry displayed by the national organization, and fully control their local orgs.
    Their request is none to aware, since most of their needs can be met by a simple CMS configuration. They really ought to try harder, but most of their effort goes into having fun, not computing. This solution does not require a lot of custom programming, if any, and the same could be said about most non-profit orgs.
  • if they donate (Score:3, Insightful)

    by batje ( 818323 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:57PM (#23732007) Homepage
    a huge amount of time, effort or money to http://civicrm.org/ [civicrm.org] i guess that would be ok. then some volunteer can make them a cute pinkish template, and whoopsa!
  • Ask The MPAA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nick_davison ( 217681 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:58PM (#23732033)
    Given they're already partnering with the MPAA [arstechnica.com] for "Respect Copyrights" patches, surely they should be their first port of call rather than those evil open source pirates?

    When literature for your merit badges contains text like, "There are peer to peer groups who offer legal downloads and those who offer illegal downloads. Make a list of both. Suggest ways to detect peer to peer software like the MPAA Parent File Scan." it would be kind of hypocritical to then advocate software that's liable to be built off the kinds of tools, by the kinds of evil people, another badge already warns about.

    A huge part of the BSA is a great and honorable institution. But when it comes to institutionalizing homophobia, forcing religious beliefs and teaming up with corporate entities that demonize whole communities, it's probably not the best time to go asking for those communities for help.
  • Re:No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hansamurai ( 907719 ) <hansamurai@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:59PM (#23732045) Homepage Journal
    Perhaps you are confusing what your GP said, even though you wrote it in your own post. Geez, why do I even bother?
  • by Bazman ( 4849 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:00PM (#23732083) Journal
    ...sense reigns:

    from the UK Scouting web site:

    Who can be a Scout?
    Scouting is open to all young people aged 6 to 25 of every faith and background.

      - so write them some software.

  • by cptdondo ( 59460 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:01PM (#23732127) Journal
    What, do married men get their dick cut off? WTF does being married or single have to do with child abuse?
  • Re:No (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Crane Style ( 1196643 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:04PM (#23732201)

    The Boy Scouts of America actively discriminate against atheists and homosexuals despite receiving government funding. They can fuck right off.

    Do you oppose all government funded groups that discriminate? There are a lot of atheist/agnostic and gay groups that receive both state and federal funding, do you oppose them as well? Or do you only oppose discrimination sometimes? If the latter is true, then I guess you'd be guilty of discrimination too, you hypocrite.
  • Re:BSA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by _KiTA_ ( 241027 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:08PM (#23732289) Homepage

    I take it you did go out of your way to make waves.

    I believe the problem is when you stand up and scream you are an atheist and want everyone else to change what they are doing to do it your way, is when there are problems.

    I think for the most part when you are "different" from a group of people and you elect to be involved with them. That you will be accepted as long as you try to fit in and look for common ground. As opposed to stressing how you are different and they should change who they are, what they have always done, and what they believe so as to make you happy.

    No, all you have to say is "I am Gay" or "I am an Athiest" and the BSA national organization will say "Hope you enjoy Hell, you're no longer allowed to be a troop leader, buh bye!"

    It's not "making waves" or "trying to enforce your beliefs on other people" (as if you could teach someone to be gay, jesus) -- the BSA's stance is that merely being gay or non-Christian means you are not fit to lead children.

    They were taken to court and, quite rightly, had their rights to discriminate as a private organization upheld. So oh well, screw the bigots.

    Pity there's no alternatives to the BSA. Maybe some enterprising geeks could start one up, dedicated to environmentalism, conservation, science, and other mildly geeky stuff in addition to the BSA. Like the "Mr. Wizard Brigade" or something.
  • Re:No (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:08PM (#23732293) Journal
    Because all hell will break loose if you discriminate against Jews, but atheists and homosexuals are still open game for Christian bigots and the organizations they control.
  • by Zorque ( 894011 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:09PM (#23732311)
    I think some of you people go a little too far in your support of F/OSS. Why shouldn't the scouts just have a "coding" merit badge, or better, just stick with the "computer" badge?
  • Re:No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:09PM (#23732313) Homepage Journal
    You sure are.
    1. and idiot,
    2. a bigot.
    3. just plain wrong.

    I have a friend that was a Pack leader and then involved with Scouts for years. He is a kinda Buddist. They often help the meetings at the LDS church. He told me he always felt welcomed there. Most troops outside of Utah/Idaho and the rest of the Mountain west are not Mormon.

    In Utah of course the majority of Scouts are Mormon if for no other reason most of the people are.

    And yes I am a Mormon and I don't hate none Mormons. Not even people like you.
  • Re:thirded... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kozz ( 7764 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:13PM (#23732445)
    I'm an Eagle Scout. I don't like the "corporate" stance that the BSA has regarding religion and homosexuality. (Disclaimer: I am a straight, white Christian, for whatever that means to you)

    When it gets down to the very small community groups where troops may consist of less than 50 scouts, the leaders are parents of scouts, and so on. This is a model where adults lead and teach children -- frequently the children who need guidance and leadership the very most. I fear that outright rejection is throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

    Just an opinion, YMMV.
  • Re:BSA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by s4m7 ( 519684 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:14PM (#23732451) Homepage

    [...]quite rightly, had their rights to discriminate as a private organization upheld.

    Point of order on "quite rightly." See, that would be true if they were a private organization that did not accept federal grants. [adn.com] The government requires grant recipients not to discriminate.

  • That concept. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:16PM (#23732509)
    I don't think it means what you think it means:

    When Boy Scouts exclusively use public land (school area is occupied and only for Boy Scouts)

    The precedent allowing Government to open schools and public land to virtually all groups and allow their possession of it is well established. Not every group that uses public land has to bow to the government's whim and impose all government regulation on its behavior.

    If the government wants to kick the Boy Scouts off, let them. But when the Boy Scouts become tenants of the land, perhaps through renting or leasing, they do have the right to exclude based on virtually any criteria they want to use, unless the landlord demands otherwise.

    The Boy Scouts maintain the right to exclude and do not have to follow the religious discrimination policy because they are not the government.

    I'm sorry, I know you would just love for every group to mirror your own desire, but the world's not like that.
  • by SendBot ( 29932 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:24PM (#23732773) Homepage Journal
    I remember a requirement for the computers merit badge was to explain why it is wrong to make copies of games and commercial software. I wasn't fooled for a moment that the argument of piracy destroying software was valid, so I said something along the lines of paying for software that makes your business operate makes more sense than gaming companies losing over casual piracy.

    My friends and I would distribute games where everyone pays for the games they individually contribute. We just end up buying more games and learning about games we wouldn't have known about while buying future games from the same publisher/developer. Our kid money didn't carry the same weight as adults with full-time jobs (and less time to play as many games as we did), so it only made sense to pool together to maximize our gaming dollar. Despite the technical occurrences of piracy, all the money that sierra, lucasarts, bullfrog, interplay, electronic arts, sega, and nintendo (to name but a few) got from us certainly didn't hurt them any.

    For my two cents, I don't think that the BSA's homosexual discrimination policy is particularly brave [usscouts.org].
  • by pla ( 258480 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:27PM (#23732859) Journal
    Please make sure you don't label "disagreement" the same thing as "hatemongering".

    Another well-known "club" has a set of beliefs (based on the same book, ironically enough) whereby they don't allow blacks and Jews to join. Would you call their stance "hatemongering" or "disagreement"?
  • Re:BSA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IllForgetMyNickSoonA ( 748496 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:28PM (#23732871)
    You're beliefs are all fine with me. You're entitled to believe whatever you like.

    One thing, however, I must point out. There is a WORLD of difference between a "Flying Spaghetti Monster" on the one side, which is an imaginary creature thought out to produce some laughs, and a "god" on the other, which is an imaginary creature in whose name bloody wars were fought (and are still being fought), which is promoted by a notoriously rich, completely un-democratic, organization practicing brain wash to small children, often enough actively hiding child molesters in their rows, and repeatedly pointing out how their way is the ONLY way and all the stupid rest of the world is going to burn in hell because... well, because they chose NOT to believe in the same imaginary "big-guy-in-the-sky". Or, what amuses me the most, does choose to believe in the same god, but in a slightly different way.

    You see, whether you like it or not, by taking an oath proscribed by that organization (church) one actually implicitly expresses ones support for that organization. No, I really don't see how commiting to "do ones duty to god" is the same as "do ones duty to FSM".

    Besides, labeling atheists as "self-described", just to put us down, is not very nice or tolerant of you. Atheists are just people who chose to think differently than you. We're not some evil-doers who should be forced to "recite the same oath as everybody else" if we don't want to, just to become boy scouts.

    It always amused me how many US citizens wholeheartedly hate the very notion of Communism as a totalitarian regime, while on the other hand openly endorsing the religion, which is per definitionem a totalitarian regime.
  • by GreyyGuy ( 91753 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:29PM (#23732941)
    You are aware that the vast majority of people that molest underage boys are men that identify as straight, don't you?

    By your logic, the scout troops would be safer camping with an out gay man.
  • What? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by znerk ( 1162519 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:30PM (#23732949)

    Actually the BSA doesnt the Mormon church that runs the hate all not mormon part of it.
    I'm sorry, could you repeat that in english? I tried, I really did, and I'm usually awesome at understanding typoese... this just doesn't compute in any way, shape, or form.

    No, really. But try typing the words in a sentence, this time. With, I don't know... grammar, and stuff.
  • by jamesoutlaw ( 87295 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:38PM (#23733179) Homepage
    As for homosexuality, I have no problem with homosexuality, but I still approve of the Boy Scouts' stance on it. Scouting is an institution that helps boys grow up to be men. It is not an institution to help boys grow up to be women

    Homosexual men are not the same as nor do they aspire to be women.
  • Re:BSA (Score:2, Insightful)

    by johnlcallaway ( 165670 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:42PM (#23733267)
    I am an atheist that has no issue with 'In God We Trust' or 'do my duty to God' or 'one nation, under god'. Just my opinion, but since there is no such thing as a god, there is no trust to be given, or duty to do, so it's no worse than knocking on wood or crossing my fingers.

    With somewhere around 1,900 different Christian sects, I have no idea which god they are pushing anyway. And neither do they. History has shown us that the balance will one day swing back the otherway, a process which I feel is already starting as the number of people that do not follow any organized religion, and specifically Christian ones, continue to increase. And the push to remove false idols, such as Jesus and Mary, continues to mount. (Jesus and Mary, if they existed, were middle eastern ... at least get your status and velvet paintings right for christ's sake.)

    I am not aware of any federal laws that define sexual orientation as something that can be discriminated against. If there were, all the atheist activists would already have used them to sue and deny the scouts the funding.

    The liberal United Way already took away their fundin, at which point I stopped donating to the United Way. If the federal government stopped giving funds to the Boy Scouts, I'm sure they would just keep on keeping on like they have for decades.

    I also support the right of ANYONE ANYWHERE at ANYTIME to stand up and say 'HOMOSEXUALITY IS MORALLY WRONG' as loudly as they want, and to not have to associate with them if they choose not to. Just as I support the right for people to claim stealing, lying, cheating, murder, nose picking, and talking too loud on cell phones are morally wrong. Of course, I also support people standing up and shouting just the opposite as loudly as they want. There is little basis for any of our moral values, other than common good. If somone finds that homosexual sex is disgusting and morally wrong, I have no issue with them teaching their children that. Just as my ex-wife tried to teach my daughter that all me are evil. My daughter rejected it with her own opinions and discovered for herself that dad was a pretty good guy (she lives with me and my current wife now.) Kids aren't as easily brainwashed as some would believe. At least not the smart ones.

    I was in the Boy Scouts for many years, and it helped me to overcome many social fears (I was a shy kid), learn how to be a leader, and learn how to mentor kids younger than me. I still donate to the Boy Scouts and will continue to until as long as I am able.
  • Re:BSA (Score:2, Insightful)

    by harrkev ( 623093 ) <[gro.ylimafnoslerrah] [ta] [dsmfk]> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:43PM (#23733279) Homepage
    Wow. They are asking for help, not forcing you. If you don't want to help, then don't. No big deal. If somebody wants to, they will.

    People who preach tolerance are pretty intolerant to those they don't agree with. News at 11.

    Yes, they are exlcusionary. But, they are exclusionary on things based on choice (not things you can't change, like race). Just like a chess club might not want members who hate to play chess. Get over it.
  • Re:BSA (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:43PM (#23733299)

    Except that BSA policy is to either have an atheist swear falsely to a belief in a deity or drop them for being honest.
    I think the trick is for an atheist to avoid knowingly joining a theistic organization in the first place. You see, im a Christian and i dont join atheistic organizations and belly-ache about them not believing in God. Its really quite simple. You DO have a choice (in case nobody told you).

  • Re:yes, well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) * on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:44PM (#23733331) Homepage Journal

    The irony is, you're declining because they aren't "inclusive", and yet using wording that is also not "inclusive". So, you're free to say those things, but you are being illogical and hypocritical.

    You're confusing irony (admittedly a difficult concept for many people) with liberty. They're free to refuse anyone they like, for any reason they like. I'm free to do the same. They are doing so. I am doing so. Nothing ironic about it at all.

    What is confusing you is the deeply mistaken idea that I am somehow obligated to remain silent in the face of a request that I find problematic. I didn't ask them if I could help. They did the asking. That's my answer.

    As for my being illogical and hypocritical, you'll have to make your case. Straight ad hominem [don-lindsay-archive.org] won't do it.

  • Re:BSA (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Chanc_Gorkon ( 94133 ) <gorkonNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:49PM (#23733453)
    And many private organizations receive federal dollars. For example, every time the Federal Government buys a product from a private company (groceries from Mejier, small business loans and more...). If we make this one of our beefs, then your asking for out and out socialism.....ie the federal government would have to OWN every thing it buys from.
  • Re:BSA (Score:5, Insightful)

    A Christian scout who steals, cheats, or fights will be given counseling, and an effort will be made to keep him in the fold provided he poses no imminent threat to others. An atheist scout who lives an exemplary life will be rejected unless he lies about his beliefs. How is this a moral example for young people?

    It shows that a lying psychopath will get a lot farther in life than an honest paragon. And that's one of the most important lessons in morality you can receive nowadays.
  • by navygeek ( 1044768 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:56PM (#23733669)
    I can't imagine why someone would actually mod this hate speech up. I don't really care if I'm 'missing the point' and the parent is trying to be 'ironic', what he's saying is just stupid.

    First of all, yes the general structure of the organization (at the troop level) has a resemblance to a military organization. Is this some how shocking considering it was founded by a British Lieutenant General. Imagine that, a guy going with what he knows. "origins with similar fascist programs in Europe prior to WWII" - name one. Funny enough, the scouting movement started not because Baden-Powell said 'hey lets form troops and do stuff', it was boys and girls gathering of their own volition and, per wiki, 'spontaneously formed Scout troops' and used the reference guides BP wrote earlier in the century.

    So, by your argument, every single man that wants to become a teacher below the collegiate level is somehow 'weird and fishy'? You obviously don't have the first damn clue as to why someone would become a Scout leader. Most volunteer because their sons are involved in scouts and it's a good way to connect and spend quality time with them. Others because, Heaven and Hell forbid, they want to pass on their knowledge of various skills. Thanks to many such leaders, by the time I was 15 I was a modest backpacker and survivalist. Not an expert, but a damn sight better than your average person. I can still start a fire without matches (3 different ways, using only what's found in the woods), track animals, navigate by the stars alone, and do the proverbial 'living off the land'. But of course, by your reasoning, everyone that taught me anything was some creepy old man trying to jingle my change purse. In short, shut the hell up about what you know precisely jackshit about.

    Does the BSA discriminate against homosexuals and atheists/agnostics? Yes, unfortunately they do and it's with a deep sense of shame that I admit that. Boy Scouts gave me some of the greatest experiences in my life and it hurts to know that there are boys and young men that will never be able to participate so long as they are true to themselves. It's even worse when potential leaders, who are nothing but good role models, are barred because they too are being true to themselves. I can't help but think of the South Park episode. Big Gay Al seemed to be doing a GREAT job as Scoutmaster, but he was booted because he was, obviously, gay. That's the kind of nonsense that's hurting the BSA more than anything. Well, that an ignorant people like you.
  • by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:01PM (#23733815)
    You know what I told my child to do? (You are wrong.) Your child is not mature enough to make such choices for himself? On the other hand, by just keeping "that private", you support and strengthen a society wide system of discrimination against those who choose reason over religious babble. I don't go out of my way to tell others my beliefs, my kid doesn't either, and, in fact I've never even had an atheist ring my doorbell and try to tell me about science, but I've had plenty of religious wackos who seem to see a need to knock on my door and tell me their religious belief, as well as some Boy Scouts asking for my support. I don't advocate aggressively spreading my belief, but I certainly consider it moral cowardice to keep one's belief quite when asked, just to keep things "convenient".
  • Re:thirded... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by stickystyle ( 799509 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:01PM (#23733835) Homepage

    turns out a huge chunk of the Boy Scouts is financed by the Mormon church.

    Thats probably because almost every stake (area of church buildings) has there own BSA troop. When you add up how many LDS churches there are, and that many of the young male members join the BSA troop for there stake - you get a large amount of membership funding.

    Don't try to turn basic statistics into a conspiracy.
  • by nuzak ( 959558 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:04PM (#23733909) Journal
    > It is not an institution to help boys grow up to be women

    Yeah, I see they taught you some real fine lessons. I think you just made our point.

    I was a scout. The BSA can go pound sand.
  • Re:thirded... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by operagost ( 62405 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:04PM (#23733917) Homepage Journal
    Obviously, your experience with lesbians is limited to adult films.
  • by radio4fan ( 304271 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:15PM (#23734231)

    I think my point was pretty plain. Scouting is a place to help boys grow up to be men. NORMAL men.
    Well, yes. Pretty plain you're a homopohobe.

  • Re:BSA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mweather ( 1089505 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:39PM (#23734971)
    You're technically right. It's not a merit badge, it's a religious emblem and/or a knot insignia. It's not required, but it does satisfy requirements to advance in rank. So it's not a merit badge, it's much flashier (being amedal/pin) and serves the same damn purpose.
  • Re:yes, well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geminidomino ( 614729 ) * on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:39PM (#23734977) Journal

    I think that not wanting a gay boy to sleep in a tent with a straight boy is a long shot from "institutionalized homophobia."
    Give a good reason why, then, other than the typical equating of gay with OMG RAPE!?!!!! panic.

    And even if it wasn't, is that really a reason why you should withhold help? Simply because of your ideals?
    More accurate to say "principles" than "ideals", and the answer is: Yes. Absolutely. With no qualifications.

    The Boy Scouts do a lot of good for young boys and to say "your views are wrong therefore I won't help you" is pretty bad.
    You have a conflicting view of "a lot of good" with many who do not agree, and see no need to support it.
  • Re:yes, well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) * on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:58PM (#23735515) Homepage Journal

    Mythology is set of stories.

    Religion is set of beliefs and practices

    "Religion is [a] set of beliefs and practices based on stories"

    There, fixed that for you. No problem, no need to thank me. :)

    Value of religion is still there even if you prove the mythology unscientific.

    Yes, and so are the threats and pathologies. Which only concern me when they crossover into my life and the political system that governs my life. Which, sadly, is fairly often.

    Also, if I believe in false stories, that never happened, and it makes me a better person, why shouldn't I?

    I have no problem with you believing whatever you want to believe. Just don't inflict it on me or those dear to me, and you'll find I'm 100% tolerant of your beliefs. Not respectful, mind you, because respect you have to earn, but tolerant. As soon as you try to get creationism into my kids schools, you're my enemy; as soon as you tell my daughter she's a "bad person" because she has sex outside of marriage, you're my enemy. As soon as you tell my friend he can't marry six wives who want to marry him, you're my enemy. As soon as you tell the liquor store it can't be open on Sunday, you're my enemy. Religion provides a constant stream of interfering zealots that have to be fought at every turn in order to keep society and life in general from regressing. Those religions that do not do so, I have no problem with. For instance, the Buddhists have not gotten in my bad books thus far. So it is possible.

  • Re:BSA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by frosty_tsm ( 933163 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:15PM (#23735895)
    I know that my former troop lost use of the school facility they met at for decades. They now meet at a nearby church.

    While the higher-up organization might make stands on certain issues, it did not reflect my experience. The previous Scout Leader was an Atheist. (No, he wasn't forced out. Leadership changes periodically, that's all.)
  • by Sax Maniac ( 88550 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:20PM (#23735993) Homepage Journal

    Open gays are excluded in scouting because inherently it becomes sexuality issue. A leader who discusses sex issues at a scouting meeting or function should be removed. Scouting is not the forum for "discovering" one's sexual identity. If I were to say in a scout meeting, "I really enjoyed banging my wife last night," I'd be thrown out.
    Wow, you have a funny definition of "openly gay". Funny in the sense of "bigoted".

    I'm openly heterosexual. My wife and kids come visit me at work. I kiss her goodbye when she leaves. It's obvious I am heterosexual. At no point do I talk to my coworkers or children about sex.

    A person who is openly gay, is not by definition talking about sex anymore than I am. It means they are not in the closet.

  • Re:BSA (Score:2, Insightful)

    by strabes ( 1075839 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:35PM (#23736281)

    They're a private organization that receives federal funding...
    That's the problem here. The problem isn't that they're discriminating (since they're a private organization). The real problem is that the government is giving a private organization money. This always causes trouble because then people have to battle over what the "private" organization can and cannot do. The best thing would be if the government would simply not use taxpayer money to fund things outside of its jurisdiction/role.
  • by meringuoid ( 568297 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:54PM (#23736667)
    I assure you, I am not afraid of gay people.

    Yet you're afraid to let them near your children, and afraid that they might make your children turn out just like them...

  • by Medievalist ( 16032 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @06:00PM (#23736819)

    Athiest, now, are generally the most adamant about making other people belive like them than the reverse (Dawkins, Brown, etc).

    Ah, yes, Charlemagne's campaigns, the Spanish Inquisition, the Reformation, all those thousands of Jews and Lutherans and Anabaptists tortured or burnt at the stake, the persecution of the Unitarians and Universalists, all that doesn't count - only the people Stalin killed count, because Stalin was an atheist!

    My ancestors came to this country to escape religious persecution. My wife's ancestors were burnt out of their homes in England by Catholic mobs. But hey, God told them to do all that stuff so it's obviously OK.

    Now, atheists, on the other hand - what's their excuse? Why, they've slaughtered nearly .00000000001 percent as many people as the servants of God have, those bastards!!!
  • Re:BSA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 2short ( 466733 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @07:11PM (#23737969)

    So imagine rather than the Scouts, it's some organization you think are a-holes. Microsoft, perhaps. Now, imagine this organization comes to a group you are part of, and says, "Hey, we'd like some free help, because we're this organization you know is so nice". Would you really be unable to believe vitriol being spent on them?

    It's not that BSA gets federal money, it's not that anyone isn't free to join them or not. It's that they are asking for free help. At which point it is perfectly reasonable for people to say, "hey, before you help them out, note: they are assholes."
  • Re:BSA (Score:2, Insightful)

    by corson87 ( 1305465 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @07:40PM (#23738363)
    I agree completely. Coming from a broken household, the only place i had a sense of stability and trust was at Boy Scouts. I'm an eagle scout, and have been an agnostic for about 90% of my life, and one of the main reasons ive chosen my path is specifically because of what i was taught in boy scouts. For all of the people out there who want to assume they know what the boy scouts are or what they do, take some time to actually talk to one instead. The boy scouts ive met in my life are as a majority accepting, helpful, conscientious, and true people. as a scout i was taught to worship. i was never taught to worship a christian or any other god, and was taught that KNOWLEDGE and learning were concepts to build a life upon. boy scouts taught me self sufficiency, the power of knowledge, and the importance of humility.
  • by SeattleGameboy ( 641456 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @08:02PM (#23738691) Journal
    All children start as atheist.

    Whether or not they turn to religion is based on what the parents and others around teach them.

  • Re:Normal. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @09:50PM (#23740497)

    I don't think you are ever going to get homosexuals teenage boys to fit into a group of paramilitary heterosexual teenage boys, regardless of my position or the position of the BSA.

    I think you're still buying into outdated stereotypes about homosexuals. Sure, some intentionally act effeminately, but certainly not all. I also know two that can kick my butt, and I'm not exactly an easy mark. There are a lot of homosexuals these days that are into weight lifting and martial arts... a lot of persecuted cultures seem to do that. From there, a lot of them become interested in guns, archery, camping, etc., just the things the the boy scouts tend to teach.

    Certainly, children tend to be cruel and pick on those different than them. In 1974 many boy scout leaders argued that black children could not be integrated into "mixed race" boy scout troops because the white kids would not accept blacks as equals. To some degree, they were and are still correct. But for the most part blacks kids are now accepted by the majority of their white peers. Until you allow kids to socialize together and overcome their prejudices, all you're doing is making the prejudice worse by promoting and exploiting ignorance.

    After considering the issue this evening, I believe the wisest course would be for the BSA to officially change its stance to allow anyone in regardless of religious affiliation (or lack thereof) or sexual orientation. The situation will sort itself out socially.

    I applaud your position. I have every confidence such a move by the scouts would eventually "sort itself out" just as it did with the issue of race.

  • Re:BSA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ttfkam ( 37064 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @10:07PM (#23740783) Homepage Journal
    Without lookup them up in Google...

    Have you heard the following names? Ida B. Wells? Frederick Douglas? A. Philip Randolph? W. E. B. DuBois? Emmett Till?

    Do you know their significance? Most people don't. They are the reason there's a Black Student Union.

    Have you heard the following names? Caesar Chavez? Gregorio Cortez? Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz?

    Do you know their significance? Most people don't. They are the reason there's a Latino Student Union.

    Have you seen the movie "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song" or "The Salt of the Earth?" Have you even heard of them?

    The reason there is no White Student Union is because we all know who George Washington was. We all know who Napolean was. We all know Descartes, Lewis & Clark, Benjamin Franklin, Robert E. Lee, and Davy Crockett. We learned of them and their significance in high school during US History and World History and Government and English etc.

    If you did not know at least half the names I listed earlier in the post, you are getting an inkling of why a Black/Latino Student Union is useful. If you know more than half of the last group, you will be getting why a White Student Union is not.

    Susan B. Anthony, Ida B. Wells, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Anne Moody, etc. Know who they are? They are all examples of why a Woman's Student Union are needed.

    Getting it now?

    You are so firmly in a privileged position, you can't even visualize what it's like for others. You think your life is rough because you can't have a club like everyone else. THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS a White Student Union isn't necessary. A Student Union usually implies you are in an assailed position. If the only reason you want a White Student Union is so you and other white kids can hang out with each other and lick each other's wounded pride, that's a problem.

    Go to the movie theater. Look at the movies listed. If the cast to a movie is more than 50% black, people usually consider it a "black movie." Ditto for latino. Ditto for east asian. However, take a movie like "Scream." Did you think that was a "white movie?" Of the movies out right now, how many have a non-white lead? One notable exception is the "Harold and Kumar" sequel: a movie all about being stereotyped based on ethnicity.

    Hell, look here: http://www.apple.com/trailers/ [apple.com]

    Start counting the number of each group, men, women, black, white, latino, east asian, indian, etc. If you can't see a bias in our society for whites -- especially white males -- you are blind.
  • Re:yes, well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) * on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @11:48PM (#23741963) Homepage Journal

    You claim the Boy Scouts are not a tolerant enough organization to be worthy of your support, yet in your post you set the bar quite low on tolerance with unnecessary denigration of their religion.

    Look. Say you have a murderer, and a cop. They are at odds by nature; the cop doesn't like the murderer's attitude, and the murderer doesn't like the cops. By your logic, they're on equal ground. Let me put to you as simply as I can: They're not.

    Likewise, religion's active crimes and polemics against people's personal, consensual choices are not on the same level with my position that liberty is far more important than what the religious person's imagination does with the idea of someone else's sexual proclivities.

    As for your "homophobia" claim, people have different standards as to what sort of sexual activities are good or bad.

    That's entirely irrelevant. Those standards are something they can, and should, apply to their own personal lives and to those with whom they have consensual, informed sexual relations. They have no right - let me repeat that - NO RIGHT - to apply those standards to other people. The word "morals" is not, and never will be, a magic key that lets one person control other's personal, informed choices. When people pretend it is, they have sunken to the lowest of the low.

    Should I be mad at vegan groups for not doing enough to make meat-eaters feel welcome?

    The vegans unquestionably have the high ground there, just as advocates for liberty do in any conflict over freedom of speech and personal choices. So while no doubt meat-eaters object to the vegan position as much as the vegans object to the meat-eater's own, it is quite clear who is right and who is wrong. Which means the answer is, meat-eaters can certainly object, but they'll never traverse the high road for doing so. No one in the discussion, however, is wrong for saying what they are thinking. There are fewer acts that are more important. Despite the contrary outlook of the present administration and the feeble-minded that support it.

  • by Veretax ( 872660 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @07:22AM (#23745169)
    I've never understood this. Here is the scout oath as I recall it from my days as a Boy Scout.

    "On my Honor,

    I will do my best;
    To do my duty;
    To God and my Country
    And to obey the Scout Law;
    To help other people at all times;
    To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight."

    Now could one of you who is a true blue Atheist or Agnostic explain to me. If you do not believe in a God or gods, or any sort of deity whatsoever, then if you profess duty to something that in effect does not truly exist, just what duty could you possibly owe to that. Assuming that you believe God does not exist, what harm is there in saying it? Its the same thing with the Pledge of Allegiance. One nation under god. (little g though, I should note) There have been secular recitation of such oaths all over the world for centuries. So if someone could please explain to me, what harm is there in professing a duty "To God" if you personally believe he/she/it doesn't exist, why is it a problem? If it doesn't exist as you believe, then what duty could you possibly owe to something you perceive to not exist? My answer is a sum total of 0, but maybe my math skills in this department are flawed. Anyone care to enlighten me, cause I am most curious on this one.
  • by Niten ( 201835 ) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @01:07AM (#23759489)

    Assuming that you believe God does not exist, what harm is there in saying it?

    You're still asking people to pledge their belief in a deity by saying the oath -- or to lie about said belief. That's dishonorable and relegates non-religious folks to the status of second-class citizens within the organization. I should also point out that the text of the Oath is only one facet of the deep problems of discrimination within the BSA.

    Its the same thing with the Pledge of Allegiance. One nation under god.

    The current Pledge of Allegiance is a another issue, but it is overdue for a change back to its pre-1950s text, wherein the offending "under god" line was originally absent before the Knights of Columbus lobbied Congress to insert religious imagery into it. Much like the Scout's Oath, the current Pledge asks children to pay lip service to the Judeo-Christian worldview. However, unlike the Scout's Oath, the Pledge is imposed on kids the country over in public schools, making the situation even worse.

    It's easy to dismiss this as inconsequential if you've never walked in the shoes of a non-religious American (or, indeed, any minority); but consider that this exclusionary wording has been used as a bullet point to argue for even greater degrees of religious discrimination [townhall.com], and I think you'll begin to see how much of a problem even the slightest crack in the wall of separation between church and state can be.

COMPASS [for the CDC-6000 series] is the sort of assembler one expects from a corporation whose president codes in octal. -- J.N. Gray