Friday, October 5, 2012

I am so tired of the Boy Scouts of America not living up to the values they claim to be teaching our youth.

I achieved the Rank of Eagle Scout, worked at summer camp, and even served as the Western Region Chief of the Order of the Arrow (the Boy Scouts National Honor Society) and was a member of the Nation Committee for the Order of the Arrow.

When I was young Scouts was where you hung out with your friends and learned about camping, leadership, and how to be a better person. For me the Scout Oath and Law was a serious thing and I did my best to follow them and try to learn to live by those values. When I grew older and learned about the so-called 3 g's (Girls, God, and Gays), I was very confused about what to think about the issue. I found scouting to be a great program that I enjoyed and thought had good values but the exclusion of people due to gender, sexual orientation, and religious belief went against everything I thought I had learned in scouting.

Scouting taught me to be reverent and I thought that meant to follow your religious beliefs and respect the beliefs of others. As a Unitarian Universalist, my religion teaches me to "Respect the inherent worth and dignity of every person.” How can I do that when I am a member of an organization that discriminates against so many people, including people who are my friends?

The Scout Law teaches every Scout to be brave, which means that a Scout should have "the courage to stand for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at him or threaten him.” I very much wish when I was active in scouting I had been braver and had actively worked to change the discriminatory policies of the Boy Scouts. I still feel that scouting is a great program that teaching important things to youth. The issue I have today is that the organization itself is not living up to those values. 

Reading about Ryan is a reminder that although I earned all the awards and high positions within the Boy Scouts, I was never as good a Scout as Ryan is right now. It sounds to me like Ryan is living the Scout Oath and Law and deserves his Eagle Scout award. 

Boy Scouts: Don't let your anti-gay policy deny my son his Eagle award

Petitioning Troop 212, San Francisco Bay Area

Boy Scouts: Don't let your anti-gay policy deny my son his Eagle award