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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Don't Think Twice, It's All Right*

This will be short. 

Recently, the Cradle of Liberty Council of the Boy Scouts of America (www.colbsa.org) sent out a survey for its membership regarding possible changes in its charter that would allow local chartering organizations (sponsors of Scouting troops, packs, and posts) to follow their own organization's beliefs with regard to admitting gay Scouts and adult leaders.  My opinion on the current policy and proposed changes to it is documented, so I'm not going to rehash it here.  My intent today is to discuss the survey. I'm going to tell you what the survey looked like and sounded like, and then I'll give my opinion of it.

First question--"*The current Boy Scouts of America requirements, stated above, prohibit open homosexuals from being Scouts or adult Scout leaders. To what extent do you support or oppose this requirement?"

The next six questions had to do with situations that actually happened and received much publicity. It then asked the first question again and completed the first multiple choice field with this question:

Different organizations that charter Boy Scout troops have different positions on the morality of homosexuality. Do you support or oppose allowing charter organizations to follow their own beliefs when selecting Boy Scout members and adult leaders, if that means there will be different standards from one organization to the next?

Next, two questions with opportunity to give an open-ended response,asking what the respondent's greatest concern was if the rules were changed or if the rules stayed the same.

Two more multiple choice questions:

"Do you believe the current policy prohibiting open homosexuals from being Scouts or adult Scout leaders is a core value of Scouting found in the Scout Oath and Law?"

"If the Boy Scouts of America makes a decision on this policy that disagrees with your own view, will you continue to participate in the Boy Scouts, or will you leave the organization?"

The survey concludes with some administration-related questions.

If you want to see the whole survey, follow this link. http://colbsa.doubleknot.com/form/ProcessResponse.asp?surveyID=32947.  You could even take the survey.

To say the least, the questions are flawed.  No attempt is made to determine demographic other than the respondent's relationship to Scouting. Rather than polling its membership their personal beliefs, the survey takes isolated incidents that were poorly handled locally and presents them as typical of Scouting. Worst of all, I was able to take the survey three times.  I also was able to publish the link to this survey on my blog.  I fear that this survey will have no integrity unless those who might be tempted to stuff the ballot box, don't.

I hope that the BSA gets its collective head together and comes up with a sensible solution.  This survey is not the way to get there.

*--Bob Dylan, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, 1963.
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