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What Standards Should We Hold our Kids to?

What do you say to your kids when the adults they look up to display hurtful and malicious behavior toward them, and the people they love?

Recently my husband, after volunteering with the Boy Scouts for eight years, was unceremoniously kicked out as an assistant scoutmaster from my son’s Los Gatos troop.

When my husband asked why, he was told that they (the two other dads) were not obligated to give him a reason.

Rumor has it that their actions were the result of our open-minded views on religion and gay rights.

Even though the Boy Scouts of America is a very conservative organization, I was surprised and very hurt that here, in the town in which I grew up, the views of two ultra-conservative volunteer dads were enough to keep my kids from going on Boy Scout campouts with their own father, forever.

My sons were heartbroken and confused.

They have grown up schooled in the teachings of the , whose goal is to build a community-wide supportive network for all our young people.

They have grown up with tolerance.

They have straight friends, gay friends, Jewish friends, Baha’i friends, Catholic friends, and none-of-the-above friends.

How do I explain to my children that even in our town, adults that they looked up to sometimes exhibit the kind of mean, exclusive, bullying behavior that we trying to steer our children away from?

Read more about Project Cornerstone.

Darcy Kendall June 09, 2011 at 12:55 AM
Last one: Why can't you go on Boy Scout campouts with your sons even if you're not an ASM? Parents are always allowed at all our troop activities, whether or not they're an ASM. Not in your troop? Really? Think about joining another troop.
Paree Sobhani June 09, 2011 at 12:59 AM
I Think your article opens up to the greater community the errors of the BSA in Los Gatos. The local troop should get honest or get new leadership. These two individuals can't be the only leaders in Los Gatos that can tell you why he was summarily dismissed....someone speak up.
Nancy Jochims June 09, 2011 at 01:22 AM
Rich, that's so sad. Every troop needs the kind of role model you offer and the kind of boys you bring to the troop. I spoke to Ken about your situation (he was an ASM for many years while Evan was earning his Eagle) and he and the leaders in our son's troop would NEVER have asked another ASM to resign. NEVER. All the volunteers, men and women, were welcomed with open arms regardless of their personal proclivities. I have to believe that there is an awesome troop out there that would love to have you and the boys as scouts and volunteer.
Skip Johnson June 09, 2011 at 01:32 AM
If we dont agree with your homosexual views, we are the intolerant ones? We don't agree with your multi religious views, we are the intolerant ones? Try looking in the mirror, now who is being intolerant? I am not trying to be rude, but homosexuality and the "I can do what I feel attitude" has ruined this country. If your sons are heartbroken and confused maybe you shouldn't indoctrinate them with homosexual teachings. May Jesus bless you all.
Chigiy Binell June 09, 2011 at 01:45 AM
Hi Janet, Thank you for your comment. The Civil Air Patrol Unit sounds very interesting. I looked them up. Are they in California also?
Chigiy Binell June 09, 2011 at 01:51 AM
Gene, Thank you for our comment. Rich is a Harvard Grad. He was a member of the Harvard Rifle Team. He can fix anything. He is the kind of volunteer that the BSA should be begging for.
Chigiy Binell June 09, 2011 at 01:53 AM
Karen, Thank you for your comment. You are correct.
Chigiy Binell June 09, 2011 at 04:36 AM
Hi Skip, First of all, whom are you talking about when you say “we”? Second, you have the right to disagree with my “homosexual views.” You have a right to disagree with my “multi-religious views.” You have a right to your own opinions. Not only do you have a right to your opinions, you have a right to express them publicly. This is America. This is what this country was founded for. I’m glad you left a comment because you remind me of something that I wanted to bring up. Something that I believe to be the worst consequence for children when exposed to intolerant views like yours, and yes, I believe your views are not only intolerant, but uneducated and dangerous. There are some people like yourself and who ever else you are including in your “we,” who may have children, children that turn out to be gay. While being gay is hard enough, having a family, friends, or a community that does not accept a child who is gay, can be so devastating to these children that they end up with low self-esteem, depression, and yes, some commit suicide. BTW Skip, how exactly has homosexuality ruined our country? I didn’t know it was ruined but if it is, I would probably blame the Wall Street bankers. May Buddha smile on you. Namaste
Chigiy Binell June 09, 2011 at 04:46 AM
Patti, I'm pretty sure that the BSA pays for the use of the facilities. What I find fascinating is the BSA is listed at a Project Cornerstone Partner.
Skip Johnson June 09, 2011 at 05:33 AM
Hi Mrs Binell, You mean people that choose to be homosexual, or taught to be homosexual like in our public schools? What's more uneducated and dangerous, my "intolerance" as you call it, or a homosexual trying to get AIDS? Would you want your sons to be homosexual and you not have grandchildren someday? I think not! Since you pointed it out, we have seen how homosexuals and children in the boy scouts work out. And yes, the wall street bankers definitely have something to do with it as we have all profited from them here in the Valley.
Heidi June 09, 2011 at 05:48 AM
The two men who told Rich his services were no longer needed are cowards. No loyalty here towards a dad that has spent countless hours over the past 8 years helping, guiding, and teaching not only his own two sons, but countless other boys. It's too bad. I have always said in the past that I've never met an Eagle Scout I didn't like. I wonder what these two dad's credentials are... totally makes me re-think my opinion... From the BSA website: Scout Oath (or Promise) 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. Scout Law A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. ... 'hurt people hurt people'...
Chigiy Binell June 09, 2011 at 06:16 AM
Hi Skip, Is that what they taught you in public school Skip? I looked at my kid’s elective wheel and I guess I missed the homosexual class. Or are you saying that it was one of the core classes? I am no longer finding you intolerance dangerous. I am finding it quite entertaining. I don’t think I have ever met a homosexual or anyone. for that matter, who tried to get AIDS. Have you Skip? If my sons turn out to be gay, I would love them no matter what. It is not the life I would choose for them because they would have to deal with people like you. BTW, homosexuals have kids too. Haven’t you seen “The Kids Are All Right” or “Modern Family”, Skip? I’m not sure what you mean by “we have seen how homosexuals and children in the boy scouts work out,” maybe that was just Skip-speak. I haven’t profited from the Wall Street bankers, but I find it interesting that you have, Skip. Shalom
Andrew June 09, 2011 at 08:24 PM
I am an Eagle Scout, 1979. The reason Eric's statement is not Trustworthy has nothing to do with Eric. It is because I have heard many Scout leaders state there is local control over the core teaching of Boy Scouts of America when it simply is not true. BSA is quite clear that on matters of the Scout Oath, including the standing of atheists and homosexuals, there is absolutely no "local option". If you don't agree with BSA on these core issues, you won't find different beliefs at the "troop next door".
Diane June 09, 2011 at 10:20 PM
The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Taken from The Boy Scouts web site. Seems someone forgot about the mission of the organization. How can one make more and ethical choices without being aware and accepting of others? The one thing the Boy Scouts taught your son's is, if you have a different view you’re punished.
KMD June 10, 2011 at 12:20 AM
Well said Eric.
Chigiy Binell June 10, 2011 at 02:12 AM
Curtis, Why did I not remember you were an Eagle Scout? I should have know you were. Like Dennis said when you know a man is an Eagle Scout you trust him. Not that I didn't trust you already.
Chigiy Binell June 10, 2011 at 02:26 AM
Hi Nancy, We were all in shock when Rich was basically fired. He is and has been a scout volunteer for eight years.
Chigiy Binell June 10, 2011 at 02:32 AM
Peter, I am still amazed by that "Supreme" Court decision. It makes me so sad. I too hold little hope for an appeal. Maybe some day, little opinion articles, in little online papers, will make a difference. Cheers.
Steve June 10, 2011 at 04:00 AM
Check out this scout video.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbVifPkbYsk&feature=related
Skip Johnson June 11, 2011 at 03:08 AM
Hi Mrs Binnel, Its me again! I guess you are so far left you dont see what happening in the public schools, but that is expected. And yes I have someone in my family who I love dearly, that is homosexual. He about wrecked our family, but I love him still anyways. The Bible teaches us to love the sinner, but hate the sin. No I havent seen those juvenile shows you mention, and why would I want to watch media propaganda anyways... "to open my mind"? Its the same reason I dont watch fox news, CNN, or the alphabet media - it is all to steer us away from what is really important. And as far as you not profiting off the wall street bankers, that is a complete lie. Hasn't your husband worked for a few tech companies? Anyone who has profited from tech has profited from those evil wall street bankers. Cheers! Skip
Gina June 11, 2011 at 11:03 PM
Seems like the BSA of Los GAtos has some "difficulties" with "TRANSPARENCY" regarding this issue. Hard not to speculate...
Thom Marchionna June 12, 2011 at 03:37 PM
I have known Mr. Binell for 25 years as both a friend and colleague. When he informed me of what has transpired and I was directed to the article, I was surprised. What I find most troubling about this story is what I don't know. I simply don't know why Richard was suddenly dismissed. Hence, I can't confidently express an informed opinion. That is the problem. As a former Scout, I wonder what the "A" in BSA means. If this organization is "...of America," how can it create amendments to the principles that govern our code of conduct? Is this a country club that can rewrite inalienable rights? And how do these and other issues conform to the professed mission of the organization? Which brings me to my biggest concern: two Boy Scouts. By taking the action to dismiss Rich, aren't these troop "leaders" also dismissing the Binell boys? I cannot imagine the discomfort the boys would encounter amongst their fellow scouts given this vacuum of information and reason. How can they be expected to continue participating normally in the troop?  Given the lack of explanation for dismissal, it will fall, as it ultimately should, upon Rich and Chigiy to fulfill the responsibility abdicated by their Scout troop: I'm sure they will teach their children well.
Joe Madden June 13, 2011 at 04:32 PM
Hey folks, as a local BSA leader I feel the need to weigh in here. First, let me say that I was the Cubmaster of the Los Gatos Cub Scout Pack for a few years, and Rich Binell volunteered in that organization with no issues. No problem. Now, I'm Assistant Scoutmaster of BSA Troop 539, which is one of several Troops in the Los Gatos area. There are a lot of comments on this website about BSA policy, but let me be clear. In my 8 years as an active leader, I have never seen any BSA policies that instruct me to exclude anybody for any reason. Nobody has ever mentioned any such policy. And there has never been any reason to exclude any child from our organization...on the contrary, we sometimes give marginalized kids "scholarships" to draw them in. The simple fact is that the national BSA organization does not control anything beyond criminal background checks. The local volunteers control the agenda and set the tone for the boys. As a result, each Troop has its own culture and its own strengths. If anyone is not happy with their Troop, they can simply change to another Troop. I'm amazed at the level of speculation going on here. As far as I can see, there's no evidence that Rich Binell has done anything wrong, and there is also no evidence that there was any bigotry or policy reason for his dismissal. There's simply no information available here.
Nicki June 14, 2011 at 06:18 AM
NO. Not Rich. Scout people, please apologize to Rich and open your arms to welcome Rich and his boys back to the troop they love.
Brad Hayden June 18, 2011 at 02:01 AM
Wow, I almost feel like I don't have to comment, but I will. Sherman, set the Way-back Machine to 25 years ago. The Supreme Court of the Unites States of America, concluded that the Boy Scouts of America is an independent organization, not supported by the Federal or Local governments in any way, therefore they can make up the rules anyway they see fit and can discriminate against Gays (or any other group)if they so choose. Hence Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. I can save you the legal fees and tell you that you cannot win a court battle over this Skip - While homosexuality is in fact frowned upon by God and by scripture, Christ would still accept them. I find it repulsive that people like you spew hate in Christ's name and believe it to be completely acceptable. I suggest that you sit down and actually read the Bible, read what it says and then practice what you've learned. Chigiy Binell - I suggest you find another scout troop and use a little common sense and keep your views to yourself if you want your kids to have the boyscout experience. As for your views, Did your know that homosexual behavior comes down to a lack of serratonin (not sure of the spelling). Two scientists in China, within the last two months, discovered that those males tested with too little or too much serratonin in their system were attracted to the same sex while those with a normal amount were decidedly heterosexual. While they are continuing their research, I think the Gay issue is about over.
Chigiy Binell June 23, 2011 at 06:38 AM
Hi Brad, Ummm, I hate to burst your serotonin bubble but the Chinese scientists you speak of were running tests on mice. The study showed that male mice with low levels of serotonin were less picky about which sex mouse they mounted. The male mice with normal levels of serotonin still mounted the same sex mouse 20% of the time. So I guess the "gay issue" is still with us.
Brad Hayden June 23, 2011 at 08:18 AM
I guess science isn't your strong suit. Research of this kind almost always starts with mice. Soon they'll be using primates and then we'll see what's up. Your right that the mouse still mounted the same sex 20% but this research suggests that homosexuality is in fact caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain and not a matter of being born gay. Staying out of the religious aspect of being gay, let's look at the basic construction of all creatures and natural selection. Nature creates animals, including humans in two distinct sexes, why? If it were truly the intent of nature for same sex couples to exist, there would be some sort of natural way for these couples to pass on their genetics to the next generation. But because nature never intended to have same sex couples, the only way these couples can have offspring is for science to get involved. So in the wild, yes there are homosexual animals, but they never pass on their DNA and their line dies off. This research shows how our behavior can be and is controlled in part by brain chemistry. Doctors treat people with mental disorders with drugs that alters the brain chemistry. So yes, The gay issue is still with us, but for how long. If they discover that homosexuality can actually be treated and corrected, then gay rights, gay marriage and gay pride all fade into the pages of history.
Jacqueline June 23, 2011 at 10:12 PM
And yet, Nature keeps producing gay creatures, all by itself (which continue to exhibit homosexual tendencies regardless of serotonin tweaks). Homosexuality exists in the human and the animal worlds as a normal variation - approx. 10%. Interestingly, is similar to the percentage of folks who are born left-handed. (And everyone used to think those folks needed fixing, too). Anyway, it has been noted above that the Girl Scouts are more inclusive and less discriminatory than the BSA, so please let's not lump them together.
dennis gobets June 24, 2011 at 04:56 AM
Unless neural transmitter "adjustment" works (without unwanted side effects) and is made mandatory by some world-wide force that doesn't yet exist, I guess we'll have the "gay issue" to bandy about for the foreseeable future. That point is moot. The subject of the article is what standards we should hold our kids to. The issue is whether an Assistant Scoutmaster, a dad with two boys in the troop, should be dismissed after 8 years of giving his time and support to the Scouts, for reasons that two men refuse to explain. A Scout is brave enough to stand up for what he believes, in public, in full daylight. To do otherwise, UNLESS this ASM did something really harmful to the boys, is dishonorable. If the man harmed the boys, let's have him arrested. If he didn't harm the boys and his crime was not agreeing politically with the secret troop committee members, then the shame is on the committee members for punishing a man (and his sons) in such a chicken sh_t way.
Amie Sue July 18, 2011 at 10:02 PM
What's the latest in the BSA investigation? Any updates?

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