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Congressional Charter


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#1 Pale Horse

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 08:55 AM

Serious question: Why do we need the Congressional Charter?

 

What purpose does it serve?

 


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#2 qwazse

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 09:50 AM

Well, in the '90s, the house judiciary committee sort of concluded that congressional charters weren't all that essential, and stopped issuing them.

 

Its purpose is (was?) to highlight organizations who do (did?) good by the USA.

 

It's part of Title 36, the same legislation that recognizes national holidays. An interesting read, compared to most legislative mumbo jumbo: https://www.law.corn.../uscode/text/36


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#3 David CO

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 10:26 AM

Serious question: Why do we need the Congressional Charter?

 

What purpose does it serve?

 

There can be only one.  A country can only have one Boy Scout organization affiliated with WOSM, so it was felt that Congress should make that decision on who gets to represent our country in WOSM.

 

If there hadn't been a Congressional Charter, we would have multiple scouting organizations in the United States.

 

What I find interesting is that so many of the scouters who will bludgeon other scouters with every nit picking rule in the book, will often ignore and disregard BSA's most important document, its Congressional Charter.  


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#4 EmberMike

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 10:52 AM

If there hadn't been a Congressional Charter, we would have multiple scouting organizations in the United States.

 

There are multiple scouting organizations in the US today. So in this regard, what the charter set out to do isn't really even in effect anymore. 


Edited by EmberMike, 27 February 2017 - 10:52 AM.

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#5 Back Pack

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 11:34 AM

There are multiple scouting organizations in the US today. So in this regard, what the charter set out to do isn't really even in effect anymore.


But only one affiliated with the world organization.
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#6 NJCubScouter

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 12:04 PM

What I find interesting is that so many of the scouters who will bludgeon other scouters with every nit picking rule in the book, will often ignore and disregard BSA's most important document, its Congressional Charter.  

 

Well, "most important" is a matter of perspective.  The BSA does not really emphasize the charter to us out here who are toiling in the fields.  We don't have the equivalent of a RichardB talking to us about the charter all the time.  But they sure do tell us when there have been changes to the Guide to Safe Scouting, as that is one of the documents that guides our everyday activities, along with the handbooks, the Guide to Advancement, etc.

 

My impression is that the main function of the Charter is in trademark infringement cases.


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#7 Stosh

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 12:08 PM

I would guess if the BSA were to abandon the wording of their protected Congressional Charter, it would open the door for others to step in and take.  Congress made it clear that there would be a Boy Scout for boys and Girl Scout program for girls.  If those organizations no longer want that designation, then another organization can step in and accept that mission under a Congressional Charter with a program just for boys. 


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#8 CalicoPenn

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 01:39 PM

The Congressional Charter was issued in 1916 - signed by Woodrow Wilson on June 15, 2016.

 

WOSM was founded in 1922.  The Boy Scouts of America was one of the founding members.

 

The Congressional Charter was issued mostly as an imprimatur of support of the BSA's goals and objectives by Congress.  Though mostly honorary, it does give monopoly protections and adds a bit more weight to the BSA's copyright and trademark claims.  It wasn't issued as a desire by Congress that the BSA be the US's representative in WOSM.

 

That Congress gave a Congressional Charter to the BSA is more a matter of the BSA got to them first than anything else.  It could just as easily have been the Boy Scouts of the USA or the Lone Scouts that got the charter first.

 

In 1992, Congress stopped granting Congressional Charters - if the BSA were to fold tomorrow, a competing Scout organization for boys could not get a Congressional Charter.

 

I would suggest that a closer reading of the Charter suggests that the BSA is not prevented from offering programming and services to constituencies that are not boys but that the BSA must provide programming to boys and that they may provide the same programming to adults and girls if they choose.  It is only a violation of the charter if they stop offering programs and services to boys.  It is not a violation of the charter to offer programs and services to girls and adults.


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#9 qwazse

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 01:45 PM

I would guess if the BSA were to abandon the wording of their protected Congressional Charter, it would open the door for others to step in and take.  Congress made it clear that there would be a Boy Scout for boys and Girl Scout program for girls.  If those organizations no longer want that designation, then another organization can step in and accept that mission under a Congressional Charter with a program just for boys. 

Except, congress isn't doling out congressional charters anymore.

Oh, here's a link for Title 36 in one complete document: https://www.gpo.gov/...-105publ225.pdf

 

@Stosh, you are wishing the tail to wag the dog here. Congress recognized BSA for what it was at the time. The charter allows for organizations to amend their by-laws to achieve their purpose. It's not a leap to imagine that going co-ed could enable more "boys to do things for themselves and others ..." in this day and age. Heck, that's why exploring came about, so that boys could work with their peers (including, and sometimes especially, girls) and do more things for themselves. Congress didn't pitch a fit then. The accept BSA's Report to the Nation from the hands of young women and men in our organization, so they aren't ignorant of our machinations.

 

Basically, it's not up to congress to tell us what to do. They will only recognize us for what we say we do.


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#10 NJCubScouter

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 05:47 PM

Does every single thread in issues and politics have to turn into a discussion about gender?


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#11 Stosh

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 05:52 PM

Does every single thread in issues and politics have to turn into a discussion about gender?

 

Considering gender exists only in the imaginations of people.... sure, why not?

 


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#12 NJCubScouter

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 08:44 PM

Considering gender exists only in the imaginations of people.... sure, why not?


Um... you seem to have quite the imagination yourself there, Stosh.
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#13 ghjim

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 12:32 AM

I would guess if the BSA were to abandon the wording of their protected Congressional Charter, it would open the door for others to step in and take.  Congress made it clear that there would be a Boy Scout for boys and Girl Scout program for girls.  If those organizations no longer want that designation, then another organization can step in and accept that mission under a Congressional Charter with a program just for boys. 

 

So therefore, is Trail Life USA in violation of the charter?   Hasn't the BSA successfully shut down other organizations using the charter as their authority?


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#14 Pale Horse

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 07:25 AM

So therefore, is Trail Life USA in violation of the charter?   Hasn't the BSA successfully shut down other organizations using the charter as their authority?

 

Trail Life isn't a "Scouting Organization."

 

"Trail Life USA is a Christian Outdoor Adventure, Character, and Leadership Program for boys and young men."  BSA sued BPSA, so now the S stands for Service instead of Scouting.


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#15 qwazse

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 07:52 AM

So therefore, is Trail Life USA in violation of the charter?   Hasn't the BSA successfully shut down other organizations using the charter as their authority?

BSA has failed (nor would it even try) to shut down any other youth organization.

Freedom of association and all that ...

As "pale horse" mentioned, they have defended their brand (http://www.scouting.... the Brand.aspx), but their right to do so is not dependent on Title 36.


Edited by qwazse, 02 March 2017 - 08:39 AM.

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#16 Stosh

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 08:19 AM

BSA is and never will be able to be in a position to shut down a church's ministry to their youth without a flagrant abuse of it's own Law.  Trail Life USA, Royal Rangers, Pioneers, etc. are not scout programs, they are church ministries.  Good luck with shutting them down.  BSA goes out of it's way to say it isn't a church program and thus one would have the BSA taking churches to court for breech of what?  :)  If one thinks BSA would lay awake nights worrying about the gender issue, try taking on the nightmare of the churches. 


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Stosh

 

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#17 qwazse

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 08:49 AM

I corrected my post to be clear that BSA would never try to shut down another youth organization.

There is a difference between defending your brand and obstructing assembly.

 

... Trail Life USA, Royal Rangers, Pioneers, etc. are not scout programs,...

 

I think we may be splitting hairs here. One or more of these groups could be for all intents and purposes, scouting, they simply are not permitted to use that word. A rose by any other name ...

 

A future where BSA erodes its base and one or more of these organizations swells in numbers is possible, but unlikely. Were that to happen, they could vie for the attention of WOSM, and us boots on the ground would have to decide if we were going to tolerate the concept of a federation of US scouting organizations.


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#18 RememberSchiff

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 08:57 AM

A few years ago, the BSA forced Hacker Scouts to change their name which is now Curiosity Hacked.

 

http://articles.lati...-scouts20130819


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#19 Peregrinator

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 09:24 AM

There can be only one.  A country can only have one Boy Scout organization affiliated with WOSM, so it was felt that Congress should make that decision on who gets to represent our country in WOSM.

 

If there hadn't been a Congressional Charter, we would have multiple scouting organizations in the United States.

 

What I find interesting is that so many of the scouters who will bludgeon other scouters with every nit picking rule in the book, will often ignore and disregard BSA's most important document, its Congressional Charter.  

 

The congressional charter predates WOSM's predecessor, the Boy Scouts International Bureau (BISB) which was founded in 1922. I think the BSA sought a charter so that they could be the officially official scouting association in the United States, and use the power of the law to prevent competitors from using the terms "scout" and "scouting".

 

And there are multiple scouting associations in the United States; they just can't have "scout" or "scouting" as part of their name. I believe a similar situation prevails in other Anglophone countries (e.g., Canada, New Zealand) but not, interestingly, in the UK, where there are several associations with "scout" in their name.


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#20 Peregrinator

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 09:26 AM

A future where BSA erodes its base and one or more of these organizations swells in numbers is possible, but unlikely. Were that to happen, they could vie for the attention of WOSM, and us boots on the ground would have to decide if we were going to tolerate the concept of a federation of US scouting organizations.

 

WOSM no longer accepts federations of scouting organizations as members. So the situation that prevails in some counties (e.g. France, Germany, Italy), where mainstream scouting is divided along religious lines, won't be duplicated in the future.


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