The effort by the Boy Scouts of America to examine whether it should rethink its current police of banning gays may be backfiring.
The organization sent out a survey to members asking for opinions on the issue, but the questions themselves are drawing criticism.
NBC Bay Area got a copy of the survey. One parent told us the questions are "loaded."
Others says the survey stacks the deck against any change in the groups most controversial policy.
You can see for yourself. We've published the newsletter and the questions below.
As we announced in Feb. the officers of the BSA authorized its committees, representative of Scouting's members, to further engage representatives of Scouting's membership and listen to their peing Phase," where the BSA's committees engage key stakeholders for input and develop a summary report. Part of this process is to survey a variety of key stakeholders.
Twice a year, the BSA distributes a net promoter score survey called The Voice of the Scout. The Voice of the Scout Survey is a regularly scheduled survey that goes to all leaders, parents, and youth over 14 perspectives and concerns. We are currently in the "Listen years of age. The BSA used this survey to add questions about the membership standards policy. Each survey had seven driver questions which are different for each customer segment, but the questions about the membership standards policy do not vary and have only been included in the surveys going to adults. (Youth will not be answering the membership standards questions.)
The BSA is reviewing a number of issues and how they will impact the BSA, including youth, chartered organizations, parents, and financial, fundraising, and legal concerns. The survey results, along with the committee's work, will be put into a larger report and will help inform the officers' work on a resolution regarding membership standards. The voting members of the National Council will take action on a resolution at the National Annual Meeting in May 2013.
1. 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? (Scale: Strongly
support, Somewhat support, Neutral, Somewhat oppose, Strongly oppose).
Following are some possible scenarios that could happen if the Boy
Scouts keeps or changes its policy. Please tell us the degree to which
you believe the actions taken in each scenario are acceptable or
unacceptable. (Scale: Totally acceptable, Somewhat acceptable, Neutral,
Somewhat unacceptable, Totally unacceptable)
ROTATE QUESTIONS 3-8
2. 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 that he is gay. Is it acceptable or unacceptable
for the review board to deny his Eagle Scout award based on that
3. Bob is 15 years old, and the only openly gay Scout in a Boy
Scout troop. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for the troop leader to
allow Bob to tent with a heterosexual boy on an overnight camping trip?
4. Johnny, a first grade boy, has joined Tiger Cubs with his
friends. Johnny's friends and their parents unanimously nominate
Johnny's mom, who is known by them to be lesbian, to be the den leader.
Johnny's pack is chartered to a church where the doctrine of that faith
does not teach that homosexuality is wrong. Is it acceptable or
unacceptable for his mother to serve as a den leader for his Cub Scout
5. David, a Boy Scout, believes that homosexuality is wrong. His
troop is chartered to a church where the doctrine of that faith also
teaches that homosexuality is wrong. Steve, an openly gay youth,
applies to be a member in the troop and is denied membership. Is it
acceptable or unacceptable for this troop to deny Steve membership in
6. A gay male troop leader, along with another adult leader, is
taking a group of boys on a camping trip following the youth protection
guidelines of two-deep leadership. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for
the gay adult leader to take adolescent boys on an overnight camping
7. A troop is chartered by an organization that does not believe
homosexuality is wrong and allows gays to be ministers. The youth
minister traditionally serves as the Scoutmaster for the troop. The
congregation hires a youth minister who is gay. Is it acceptable or
unacceptable for this youth minister to serve as the Scoutmaster?
8. After reading the scenarios in the previous question, please
answer one question again. The current Boy Scouts of America
requirements prohibit open homosexuals from being Scouts or adult Scout
leaders. To what extent do you support or oppose this requirement?
(Scale: Strongly support, Somewhat support, Neutral, Somewhat oppose,
9. 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. (Scale:
Strongly support, Somewhat support, Neutral, Somewhat oppose, Strongly
10. What is your greatest concern if the policy remains in place and
openly gay youth and adults are prohibited from joining Scouting? (Open
11. What is your greatest concern if the policy is changed to allow
charter organizations to make their own decisions to admit openly gay
Scouts and leaders? (Open end)
12. 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? (Yes or No)
13. 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? (I believe I can find a
way to continue, I do not believe I can find a way to continue, I have
not yet made up my mind)
1. What was the impetus for the survey? Why do it now?
2. Who received it?
The Voice of the Scout Survey is a regularly scheduled survey that goes
to all leaders, parents, and youth over 14 years of age. (Youth will
not be answering the membership standards questions.) Each survey had
seven driver questions which are different for each customer segment.
All of the questions about membership standards are the same. We
distributed approximately 1.1 million surveys to registered volunteers
and parents of Scouts of whom we have emails. We are in the process of
sending surveys to approximately 325,000 alumni (who didn't previously
receive the first email).
3. Who crafted the survey?
The survey was developed by the third party research provider North Star
Opinion Research, with input from volunteer and professionals
representing diverse viewpoints.
4. What will the responses to these surveys be used for? (i.e. will
those voting on the membership policy - the National Council -- in May
be told about the results?)
The survey results, along with the committee's work, will be put into a
larger report and along with other feedback will help inform the
officers' work on a resolution regarding membership standards.
5. Has any poll or survey of the membership in regard to their view on
homosexuality been done before? If so, what were the results?
The BSA has listened to its membership along the way but nothing like
this survey (and or its scale). For example, in 2010 the organization's
leaders convened a special committee of professional and volunteer
leaders to review this policy. Its two-year-long comprehensive review
included forthright and candid conversations and extensive research and
evaluation-both within Scouting and outside of Scouting. At that time,
the committee determined that it was in the best interest of the
organization to maintain the policy.