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. raven

    Uh-oh...aaand here we go...this board is about to get ugly....

    April 24, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mr Dalloway

    Please keep the conservative rhetoric to yourself and let kids be kids.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. poppajohn818

    They have their policies & that's the way it goes. Her son can stay in she just can not be a den mother. Get over it.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. fernace

    I know of people who have another problem w/the Scouts! Money$$$! 1st is the joining fee, then the uniform! T-shirts go for $10-15, any activity costs more $! They want kids to peddle their cookies which means an adult must go w/them to ring doorbells & deliver products! It's not safe for kids to do this by themselves! The Scouts are a million$ operation that is supposed to dedicate a service to kids, but many parents feel it's an organization that uses unpaid kids to sell their wares & services! I know several families who simply can't Afford for their kids to join! That seems more disturbing than what s.e.xuality their leaders are!!

    April 24, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      GSA peddle overpriced cookies.
      BSA peddle overpriced popcorn.
      The common denominator, of course, being overpriced.

      April 24, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. hannamomma

    ***** NEWS FLASH *****
    BSA is a private organization and in 2000 the Supreme Court upheld their right to specify membership regulations. If you don't like their rules, don't join. Simple as that. That doesn't mean that LGBT people are not decent people. The Augusta National Golf Club is a private organization and still does not allow females to be members. Maybe we should string them up next.

    April 24, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Portland tony

    Scouting is probably better for kids than being in a street gang. But, neither is mandatory!

    April 24, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    Looking back from the age of 73, It seemed expensive to be a Boy Scout when I was young. I had to save to buy official BSA articles.
    I agree that a private organisation can exclude anybody. I said the same thing about Augusta and women.
    If I had young children today, I'd tell them they could join the Scouts if they wanted to, but I'd mention that people like their parents' gay and lesbian friends, whom they had known all their life, would be excluded as immoral.

    April 24, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. banasy©

    Let them do what they want; however, when scouting falls off because of personal politics, perhaps they will re-think their position about it.
    Or not.
    I do NOT see wht her son is no longer scouting, however.
    That, to me, is deliberately being cruel.
    HE doesn't deserve that.

    April 24, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      This is all about her, It has nothing to do with her son, Which is pretty sad actually, He is paying a price for his mothers choices. She new before going in that her life style conflicted with the Scouts, She decided to make this her big stand.

      April 25, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      It is cruel to her son no matter who made the descision for him to no longer participate.
      That is why I worded it the way I did.

      April 25, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ♚Mmmmm♛

    who decided scouting organizations
    need to promote h0 m0 6 xuality and the likes of planned parenthood...neither are necessary to start a fire, build a tent, to live off a land utilizing natural resources...

    April 24, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jeff Miller

    What do ya know!! So happy the law is actually protecting the BSA from all the commie pinko faxxs that would love to worm their way into it, and rot it from within. L-G-TG, whoever u r, get used to the fact that there will always be PPL like me who don't want your lifestyle in our faces.. Say what u will, u won't force us to accept your excuse for a decent and moral life. Now, remember, sticks n stones yadda yadda yadda.

    April 24, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    I'm glad that I was able to read forthright comments like those of Mmmmm and Jeff Miller on this subject, and I am grateful to CNN for giving me that opportunity.
    Private organisations are indeed private. I don't want to admit to my club any members too uneducated to understand jocular signs in Latin posted on the wall of the men's room.
    Also private are private houses and private wallets.
    It's good to know how to tie a square knot, but real moral values and education are far more important than graciously accepting bad cookies and supporting bigotry,
    We've made a family-value decision to terminate our support for these horrible, common, and very overpriced
    cookies, and to be more careful–more discriminating–about whom we invite into our home as guests..

    April 25, 2012 at 2:39 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      I agree, JIF.
      I no longer buy the cookies, but not for the reasons one would think; it has nothing to do with PP, either.
      Quite simply, my daughter is no longer a GS.
      And, they're overpriced.
      Not very tasy anymore, either.

      April 25, 2012 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
  12. Mary

    Now, we can play this game of deleting me all day long but I will still post this all day long!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 25, 2012 at 7:05 am | Report abuse |
  13. Mary

    Sarcasm intended of course.
    What other place would a r apist look to for his supply of fresh "meat". Get it?
    Anyone who withdraws their child from places like these where children congregate, inadvertently help their own avoid one less potential trauma.

    Nice to see my post get deleted.
    As I said in my previous post to the one above
    Darn! Not as much fresh meat in this supply of boys and girls for the r aypist now is their?
    And PLEASE don't delete this as I do have the right as anyone to post. Cnn or whom ever is controlling these boards get it?

    Yep keep it up

    April 25, 2012 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
    • J

      Right on, Mary!

      April 25, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Brad

    Bye Bye Mary

    April 25, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      So I can assume you condone child raype by your response to my post brad?

      April 25, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Pedro

    Why do people feel compeled to impose their views on others?

    If the Boy Scouts of America have that policy and you know....accept it or find/start your own organization with different view.

    Girl Scouts represent a different ideology, and we all know and have to make the same choice. I do not go trying to impose my views on them. I just choose not to participate.

    So leave the Boy Scouts alone and start your own organization with he ideology tha best fits your views.

    April 25, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • franklovesfl

      Or, they can put a skirt on him and send him to the girl scouts. They take anyone.

      April 25, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Norman

      ok, but gays are going to make sure everyone knows they hate millions of gays, their kids and their families-so, eventually, the scouts will die off as all bigoted organizations will

      April 25, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Because while the Boy Scouts want to discriminate, they also want free public space for their meetings. If they want gov't money (and my tax dollars), then they need to step up and accept everyone.

      April 25, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • 287reuse

      "If the Boy Scouts of America have that policy " The BSA does not have that policy in writing. How was she supposed to know what the policy was?

      April 26, 2012 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
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