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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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Scouting For All's Rainbow Award Acceptance Speech


Friday, June 11, 2004

I am extremely honored to receive this award. I just wish that my son, Matthew was here to share my joy.

Matthew could not be here tonight because he is living in New Mexico, serving in the United States Air Force as a Defense Intelligence Agent and scientist.

Matthew is a physicist and speaks several languages. He is the also the young man that the Boy Scouts told that because he was born into a nontheist family, he could never be "the best kind of citizen."

They told him this after discovering that he was not religiously affiliated. They told him this even after he had belonged to a Boy Scout troop in New Jersey for seven years. Our nontheist life stance was discovered after we moved to Pennsylvania. Believing in God was suddenly a requirement to stay in the Boy Scouts. The year was 1991.

The insulting reference to our patriotism and the rejection of our family from what I thought was a public organization stirred a passion in me. That passion for justice and equality could not be suppressed so I went
forward with vigor to right a wrong -- not just for my son, but for all children who could be discriminated against at the hands of the Boy Scouts.

Observing an injustice and moving forward to find a solution is what most compassionate people do. I have found that thread of compassion throughout the liberal and freethinking community.

Ironically, compassion for others is what is lacking in the ultra-conservative community. Perhaps that is why they felt the need to add the word "Compassionate" to "Conservative." It is an oxymoron when so many Compassionate Conservatives fail to accept the plight of others until it hits home.

When an ultra-conservative politician's own children declare that they are gay - then and only then will that politician fight for gay rights.

When an ultra-conservative politician's own family member is afflicted with a disease that could be cured with stem cells - then and only then will that politician fight for expanded stem cell research.

There is no doubt that few people feel safe disclosing their lack of belief in a supreme being. I highly doubt many ultra-conservative politicians have been confronted with the need to advocate for Atheist civil rights because of unfair treatment a family member has received due to their declaration of an Atheist philosophy.

My collection of Atheist discrimination narratives is proof that we are the most hated and misunderstood minority in America. I don't see that changing anytime soon, but I continue exemplifying the life stance with
positive and ethical actions. In that way, I am doing my part in building a better understanding of the Atheist community.

You may be wondering why I took this opportunity to speak about the problem with ultra-conservative politicians and so-called "Compassionate Conservatives." The fact is that the Boy Scout organization was taken over by ultra-conservatives twenty years ago. We can't change the Boy Scouts' bigoted membership policy until we can convince these conservatives and their political friends to compassionately embrace the gay and Atheist community.

It has been a long and difficult battle to convince the Boy Scouts of America to change their bias membership policy. Death threats, harassment calls, and lost job opportunities have become a part of my life.

I met Scott Cozza and Lori Martin just as my enthusiasm needed a boost. After ten years of struggling with the issue, Lori and Scott entered my life to provide me with more encouragement and support. They have helped
me stay strong and committed against all adversity.

This award comes at another pivotal point. With this award I am recommitting my devotion to creating a world of acceptance for Atheists and gays. I have over thirty years of experience now as an activist so I invite anyone who needs assistance, advice, and materials, to contact me.

I must pass the torch of passion to younger people who may finally make the social changes I long to see before I die.

My husband is here tonight to show his support for my efforts throughout the years. The truth is that my principles and passion have directly impacted his career. I want to share this award with my husband. Tom.

Thank you for being here, Tom and for helping me keep up my efforts.

 

 

 

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.

Any communications sent to Scouting for All or any Scouting for All representative may be published on the Scouting for All web site or in Scouting for All materials unless the communication specifically requests that it not be published.

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