Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Why Did 16 Eagle Scouts Return Their Pins?

This is via BuzzFeed, and it was posted a couple of weeks ago. One might easily assume these letters are in response to the recent release of documents showing the Boy Scouts had known about and not reported child molesters in their ranks (they did however ban them from any involvement and kept a list of names so that they could not go to another town and perpetrate).  But they aren't - they are in protest of the decision by the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts recently to reaffirm its ban on gay scouts and scoutmasters.

As one of the young men below states:
Being “mentally awake and morally straight” means thinking for yourself and standing up for others in times of inequality. Every boy in this country deserves to have the opportunity to take part in scouting regardless of sexual orientation.
The young and not-so-young men represent the values I would hope our sons be taught - discrimination of any kind is wrong and should not be tolerated.

16 Eagle Scouts Returning Their Pins

These Scouts penned open letters to the Boy Scouts of America to explain why they can no longer be affiliated with an organization they dedicated years of their childhood to be a part of.  

Reported by Stacy Lambe 

1. James S. Kleven, Troop 18

James S. Kleven, Troop 18
I left the Boy Scouts when I was sixteen, grappling with the conflict between my sexuality and the BSA’s ban on openly gay members. Though I regret that I was not brave enough then to be honest about my reasons for leaving, I realize now that no young man should be forced to make that awful decision.

2. Michael A. Weber, Troop 179

Michael A. Weber, Troop 179
[T]he day I obtained the Eagle rank was a very proud moment, but not only for the same reason it is for most. For nearly a decade now, I have felt a great sense of accomplishment at having earned the Eagle rank as such an unlikely candidate. But this pride doesn’t outweigh the burden on my conscience.

3. Britton Lense, Troop N/A

Britton Lense, Troop N/A
I looked at the Boy Scout Handbook in relation to someone who is gay and only saw disappointment on numerous occasions. I took a promise as a Boy Scout to live by the Scout Oath and Law and as my values are no longer aligned with those of the BSA through defending those who are gay. I am being reverent and faithful in my religious beliefs and that is why I am returning my Eagle Scout Badge and certificates received from many including the President of the United States, New York Governor and Senator, my high school, Boy Scout Troop and others.

4. Christopher Clawson, Troop 11

Christopher Clawson, Troop 11
Being a leader of men does not come with a ‘straight’ prerequisite. That the National Executive Board recently reaffirmed a ban on gay scouts and scoutmasters is deeply troubling. In the course of my career as an entertainer, I have met and worked with numerous members of the LGBT community – many of whom have told me it wasn’t so much a choice that they made as it was an affirmation of who they were. After all, no rational adult would choose a life of constant ridicule, harassment and rejection.

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