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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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Epworth United Methodist Church, BSA Chartering Organization, Officers of Crew 24, BSA, and the Parents Committee Pack 30, Boy Scouts of America, Berkeley

Being chartered by Epworth United Methodist Church, Pack 30 and Crew 24 must align their mission statement with the church. Epworth is a Reconciling Ministry within the Methodist Denomination. We welcome all who wish to join our church and do not discriminate against any desiring membership. We are a vocal minority within Methodism, but have active gay and lesbian members who along with our Reconciling Committee are teaching our community that all people are of sacred worth. Epworth Church teaches that all who wish to serve should be included.

Crew 24 in accordance with National boy Scout of America Policy established their Crew by-laws using the exact wording that was recommended in the Venturing guidelines. The By-laws from BSA, however had a glaring omission in that they opened Venturing to to everyone, with no limitations on race, creed or color, but did not mention sexual orientation. As with the wording of every government, educational, or business document that the Venture Crew had ever seen, this omission was startling, especially when placed in conjunction with the Venture Scout code. The very words of that code, As a Venturer I believe that America's strength lies in our trust in God (or a higher power) and in the courage, strength, and traditions of our people. -I will, therefore, be faithful in my religious duties and will maintain a personal sense of honor in my own life. -I will treasure my American heritage and will do all I can to preserve and enrich it. -I will recognize my American heritage and will do all I can to preserve and enrich it. -I will recognize the dignity and worth of all humanity and use fair play and goodwill in my
daily life. -I will acquire the Venturing attitude that seeks the truth in all things and adventure on the frontiers of our changing world. led the Crew members to decide that their personal sense of honor, the dignity and worth of all humanity, and seeking the truth in all things, led them to include a complete inclusion of all interested Venturers. They weren't sure if that would lead them to an adventure on the frontier of our changing world, but they were ready for one if it came their way.

Crew 24 sent the first all female contingent to the local Mount Diablo Silverado Council's Camp Wolfeboro last summer, where they participated in all camp activities and were rewarded for their excellent achievement. The Crew President, Brianna Georgi served on Wolfeboro staff, and is also the first female in Mount Diablo Silverado Council to receive Venturing's highest award, the Silver Award. She also led as patrol leader, the first coed Scout contingent from the United States to attend a Central American Camporee.

Pack 30 's Committee felt that we needed to engage the Berkeley Community in dialogue about Pack 30's stance according the the national BSA policy excluding homosexuals from Scout leadership, calling them non-moral leaders. After reviewing the Supreme Court decision in the Dale Case and the dissenting opinions, the Pack 30 statement that appears on the Pack 30 website and the Scouting for All website was written. It was made clear that the Boy Scout Council in Irving, Texas allowed for discussion of this issue, and so we made our opinion clear.We have written many letters to Irving Texas and received curt replies. We have passed out our Position paper at the Solano Stroll for three years and at the Fourth of July Marina Festival in Berkeley. For the past three years parents of Pack 30 have marched in the Solano stroll, the biggest street fair in the East Bay. with their "Scout Parents Against Homophobia" sign. That sign was reported back to National headquarters, and we were questioned about it by our local council.

We have testified to the Berkeley Commission on Human rights about our position, as well as the mayor, the City Council and the Schoolboard. We have contacted the local press and told our neighbors and friends. We want our community to understand that although we belong to a National Organization that discriminates, we believe that by our participation in the dialogue we can save the noble institution of Scouting from the Christian Right wing that has imposed their morality on Boy Scouts of America. Once we abandon Scouting to its own unfettered position it might regain its moral direction and include
all people, but more likely we must continue to nudge Scouting back to the moral mainstream of America.

March 2003

Dear Scouting for All,

Thank you so much for the honor you bestowed upon Berkeley's Pack 30 CubScout Parents' Committee and Crew 24's Officers and their chartered organization, Epworth United Methodist Church. We are hopeful that more Scouting units will voice their opposition to discrimination. We firmly believe from our moral teachings, one cannot equate homosexuality with
moral deviation. Epworth's mission statement guides the units it sponsors just as the Mormon stakes guide the units they sponsor. In a Reconciling Congregation such as Epworth UMC, "morally straight" does not mean heterosexual. We will be working every day to make the honor you bestowed on our units something we re-earn. I will scan in the photos that we took and send you copies as soon as possible.

Ellen Georgi




Scouting For All is not an alternative scouting program.
We are an education and advocacy organization reaching out to gay and nontheist youth and adults in our effort to get the Boy Scouts of America to rescind its exlusionary policy.

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