Overheard on CNN.com: Joining Boy Scouts? Be prepared for rules on sexuality, religion
Jennifer Tyrrell, center, and Alicia Burns, left, with children speak onstage at the 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards.
April 24th, 2012
05:19 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Joining Boy Scouts? Be prepared for rules on sexuality, religion

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

LZ Granderson wrote today about a woman named Jennifer Tyrrell who was forced to resign as den leader of the Tiger Cubs for Pack 109 in Bridgeport, Ohio, because the national office learned she is a lesbian. Granderson argues that the Girl Scouts of America, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the 4-H Club allow gay kids and leaders, so why not the Boy Scouts? Readers shared varied opinions.

Boy Scouts feel a mother's wrath

Several readers said the woman should not join the group if she does not like its policies.

LeviFreck21: "Don't be a part of Boy Scouts then if you disagree with their rules/bylaws. Plain and simple. Don't join a group or an organization on your own free will and then protest the rules that that group/organization has in place. If you disagree, don't join. No one forced her to be in Boy Scouts. She chose to. It's her own d**n fault. No sympathy here. This is just another example of LZ writing a lousy article and focusing on small, isolated incidents that matter to few rather than something that is worth writing about. His CNN articles are the only things worse than his ESPN articles."

Another reader said they thought the active choice of removal didn't make much sense.

Karl Blessing: "I fail to see why they removed her. She wasn't teaching sex to her pack, and unless she was flaunting around a lesbian pride tshirt or preaching about it, then there would have been no way within the institution to know the sexual orientation of the pack leaders straight or gay. It's just messed up that if they find out you're gay outside of the organization you're canned, but as a straight person you have to actually go as far as doing something lewd inside of the organization to get fired."

Some former Scouts said that regardless of their own personal views, the organization should not be restricted from making its own decisions.

Nikore: "As a former Boy Scout myself, I'm pretty certain that letting gays into Scouts wouldn't hurt the program in the slightest. However, I respect the rights of the Scouts to ban anyone from their private organization. Part of the scout oath requires a pledge to be 'morally straight,' and while I don't think sexuality has anything to do with morality, people have the right to disagree with me. The leaders of the Boy Scouts of America set their own rules and standards and should be able to turn away members as they see fit. If you don't like that mentality, then don't join up. It's that simple. Think of it like religion. If you don't believe in the New Testament, then Christianity probably isn't right for you. It doesn't mean that you should go to every church in town and force everyone to stop believing in Jesus. Just find an organization that's more accepting of who you are, and respect everyone's right to believe what they will. Never forget that tolerance is a two-way street."

We heard from some Eagle Scouts like this one who said they are thankful for the experience they had, but they also have had misgivings about the Boy Scouts because of religious rules in particular.

cavalier1138: "I'm an Eagle Scout. I'm an atheist. I love scouting for the skills it taught me during my formative years, and I loathe scouting for allowing its national policy to be dictated by a bunch of bigots in Texas. The BSA is not a Christian organization. They cannot claim that they have any reasoning for their position against gays and atheists that isn't based in pure, old-fashioned Christian bigotry. It's morally reprehensible to me (one might even say that it isn't 'morally straight') that the national leaders make discrimination and hate-mongering more of a priority than recruiting boys and teaching them."

A couple of other scouts chimed in to that comment.

OldRightRep: "As a long time scouter, Eagle Scout, and yes atheist, I've had much the same experience as cavalier. You reach an age where you begin to realize just how ugly bigotry is, and how the BSA accepts and perpetuates it. It saddens me a great deal because scouting gave me so much as a youth. As an Eagle Scout I've pledged to 'give more back to scouting than it has given to me.' However, if I were to say I was an atheist they would kick me out. It teaches children intolerance, which is contrary to the scout law."

Dr. Doc: "I am a Life scout and was close to becoming an Eagle Scout. I left BSA when I had a moral issue with being in an organization that would not allow people who did not believe in God. Even churches allow non-believers in. I left before the whole gay issue became a battlefront for BSA. Even though I believe in God and I am straight, I wholeheartedly disagree with the positions of the BSA. However, they have the right to hold these positions and everyone else has the right to either reject them or support them. As scouting fades into history, it will not be hard to figure out whose position is more popular."

Another said they think the group should impose restrictions.

Kbux: "There are plenty of fantastic people that are homosexuals that I would allow around my son. However, there is a huge proportion of LGBT people whose No. 1 priority is to make sure you know they're gay, and insist that you accept it. These sexual-orientation-obsessed people are exactly the type I wouldn't want around my boy. I want him to learn scouting and come to me for the sex education. The Boy Scouts have to make a blanket statement to avoid these situations."

lvanhelsing: "Totally agree ... some (not all) don't just ask you to accept them, they demand that you celebrate them."

Don't bother joining, says this reader.

Thinking7: "If she doesn't like it, put her son in another group. No one is forcing her to be there."

This person does not want to be part of the Boy Scouts.

Raevyn: "I'm glad Mr. Granderson wrote this article. I, for one, do not want my child to be part of an organization that promotes discrimination, bigotry, and hatred. Whether or not we agree with this woman's fight, we do need to know how ugly the underside of this organization is so we can withhold our support."

And for those who oppose the organization's values, what's the point in joining?

TheBieb: "The problem here is people patronizing an obvious church group when they dont believe in their values. Want to know whats more effective than trying to force your way into the Boy Scouts? Not going. Give your money to a secular organization that doesn't have kids pray and meet at churches to talk about camping. Its so ridiculous that these people who dont believe in the scout code of conduct are paying them a lot of money and keeping them alive."

What's your take on this issue? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Erin

    This policy is the reason that my sons are not in boy scouts. As a parent, I am responsible for teaching my children right from wrong. While I applaud the many wonderful things that the boy scouts do in the community and the strong sense of morals that they instill in boys, I will not allow them to teach my children that discrimination, bigotry and hate is right. I might as well ask the KKK or Nazi/Skinheads to teach my children as well. It is time for this policy to be ammended, and once this policy changes I will sign my boys up, buy their overpriced popcorn, and participate in their other fundraisers.

    April 25, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • bwhitten

      You really should go to a meeting. I can guarentee you that you will not find ANY teaching of bigotry, hate or discrimination going on. It is hypocritical of you to like the morals and things they do but not allow your children to go there. It is clueless ramblings like yours that cloud this debate. Those things you say you don't like are at the council, committee, headquarter level, not in Den, pack or troop meetings.

      April 26, 2012 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Madame Royale

      It is hypocritical to lambast someone for speaking an opinion directed at why this woman was dismissed.
      This woman didn't teach any of that, and yet she's gone.

      April 26, 2012 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  2. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    @ Mary:
    Why are you so concerned with others' romantic adventures?
    Have you ever read AUNTIE MAME by Patrick Dennis?
    "Life is a banquet..."
    Life is also short.

    April 25, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ryan

    Overheard on CNN: Joining Life? Be prepared that not everyone will agree with you.....and you should get over it and move on.

    April 25, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mary

    @ Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    I didn't know that raype was a *romantic* adventure!
    These kind of organizations are a raypists paradise of endless lust.
    Unless the a for mentioned start informing when a raype does occur, they are nothing more than bath houses for unsuspecting victims that call themselves *silent lambs*...Youtube it sometime.

    April 25, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. raven

    Yeah, cuz youtube is so reliable.get it????

    April 25, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. fpstudio123

    This article is a biased and watered down sampling of what people were actually writing in response to the article. Most were in agreement that BSA, a private organization, is protecting the boys and that parents of these boys don't want their sons exposed to gay lifestyles.

    April 26, 2012 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  7. fpstudio123

    The US Supreme Court has ruled that the Boy Scouts of America, a private organization, has every right to include or exclude members and leaders based on certain criteria. Every private organization has that right.

    April 26, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  8. dsumusicman

    As an Eagle Scout, I feel that the Boy Scouts need to step up and allow everyone into their organization. I know many Eagle Scouts that are gay, and I feel that it is time that the Boy Scouts support them and everyone else. My experiences with the Scouts have been nothing but positive, yet there are a lot of things that go on that they themselves do not know. I have worked at multiple Scout Camps and attended numerous scouting activities including ones that are put on by the national level and I feel that everyone needs to step up. In the Scout Oath it says "To Help other people at all times," with the discrimination that they are doing and teaching the children by the public media, how are they helping other people? They are just discriminating against them, and teaching others about discrimination for either positive or negative ways. I feel that the Boy Scouts of America need to step up and show how they will help other people. What are they afraid of anyway?

    April 29, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  9. Ken Frasard

    Regarding politicians expressing their opinions about Gays in the Boy Scouts, It was less than a month ago when the President was shown being sworn in to office with his right hand on a "Holy Bible". What a hipocrite. If he would only OPEN the Bible for its council and guidance on the issue to help in his decision making. He could plainly read the creators feelings on the subject at 1 corinthians 6:9,10 / Romans 1:24-27 / Leviticus 18:22,23. 1 John 5:19 tells us why they don't open the Bible and only use it for show! See also (2 Corinthians 11:13-15) For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself keeps transforming himself into an angel of light. 15 It is therefore nothing great if his ministers also keep transforming themselves into ministers of righteousness. But their end shall be according to their works.

    February 4, 2013 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
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