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Activist Groups Urge Obama to Reject Boy Scout Honor

From Fox News:

Activist groups, including Scouting for All, urge President Obama not to accept the honorary Presidency of the Boy Scouts of America until they stop discriminating.

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September 22, 2002

(A reflection essay)
If hate is not a family value, then why do people choose to hate? I was walking down the hallway at school and was hearing nothing but hateful words come out of the mouths of my peers around me. It amazes me at times how mean people can be to each other. Bitch, slut, fag, pussy, Jew bagel are just a small percentage of some of the hateful words kids say to each other.

Hearing words of anger only reminds me of when I was a kid and was called quite a few of these words myself. As far back into my childhood as I can remember, it was in third grade when I first started experiencing being bullied and made fun of. I was very fortunate to have an older sister in the same school to stick up for me but on the other hand, I was very unfortunate because I was picked on and made fun of by the other kids because I had a speech impediment and I couldn't read or write until around the sixth grade.

I can remember my teacher calling on me one time and saying, " Steven can you please read the next passage on this page for the class?" I began to shake and I almost peed my pants and had a heart attack because first of all, I could barely read and second of all, I could not even speak correctly. As I was reading, I came to the word wolves and accidentally said, "woofs". The kids broke out into a stomach jarring laugh and I laughed with the kids acting like I meant to say it that way so I could be funny. Noticing that I looked a little embarrassed, my teacher said, " I would like to speak with you after class." Deep down inside, I felt the hurt because I knew that I had a learning disability and that I was different compared to other kids. After speaking with my teacher, she finally recommended that I be tested. I pretty much earned the right to be in R. S. P. Being in R. S. P. didn't really help me at all. It just gave kids another thing to make fun of me about.

One day, I remember during recess time, a friend of mine and I decided we wanted to play basketball with the sixth graders. Well, that didn't end up being such a good idea. These mean kids said to my friend, "Well you can play, but your friend, who is in the Retarded Special People's class, can't. He is too dumb to hold the ball." This was when I knew I had made a bad decision. My dad would always say, "Stick up for yourself and others in need." Well, that's exactly what I did and I ended up being picked up by my shirt and pinned up against the fence by a kid about twice my size at the time. I can remember the bully saying, " I hate stupid retards like you and I am going to beat your ass if you come near our game again." The big kid dropped me to the hard black-top ground and kicked me once in the ribs. I picked myself up and decided it wasn't worth the fight and walked away. So why do people choose to hate? I never had hurt anyone else and I still was stepped on for whom I was. After many years of being made fun of and called names, I finally realized it wasn't me who was the problem it was the bullies who made my childhood a living hell. As I look back at when I was a kid, I realize the bullies at my school, where just insecure about themselves.

They needed to make themselves feel good by picking on someone that seemed less than them.

I believe hate was never meant to be a family value. Bigotry, Discrimination, and Homophobia are also not family values. They are the values of those who are ignorant and who are guided by the darkness of their own fear and insecurities. The Boy Scouts of America clearly now champions the fear many have and uses that fear to support their own discriminatory and bigoted policy. Boy Scouts of American you no longer help kids. You hurt kids. You are hurting many of my gay friends. And you don't seem to care. You told me in a recent letter from your national office, " Now we just want to put this issue behind us..." How
can you make such a statement and pretend that you are a program for youth? My gay friends and nontheist friends are people just like you.

Who gave you the moral right to judge them and then kick them out of scouting or deny them membership? You (BSA National leadership) remind me of that bully I faced in the school yard when I was young.

Steven Cozza, Eagle Scout




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