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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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Member of the Boy Scouts of America Offers A Solution To End Discrimination In Scouting

May 22, 2006

Thanks for keeping me on your mailing list. I am a former scouter, and still a merit badge counselor. I support full equality for gays, in marriage, scouts etc. I think the best thing that BSA could do is adopt a policy that

1. Bans discrimination on sexual orientation or religion in the professional organization.
2. Drops any discrimination in BSA membership at the level of BSA Inc. "other than child protection, background check issues.
3. Allows sponsors to limit membership in a troop according to the membership rules of the sponsor.

This would allow the Mormons to continue but also reopen scouting to those of us with liberal/progressive values. It is also similar to an unheralded agreement between the state of New York and the Catholic Hospitals "but that is another story.

As for atheism, religion as a requirement enters scouting at the eagle level. I think BSA should be very broad in its definition of religion. I see nothing wrong in denying an eagle to a boy who refuses to articulate the values or principles by which he wants to live his life. I think an atheist can do this as well as a religious boy "although the atheist might have a harder time without a prepackaged set of rules."

I am not an atheist, but two of the most principled people I know (Lonnie, a lesbian college friend and Nat Hentoff, a pro life atheist, whom I know only through his writings.) are atheists. I cannot explain why God did not give them the gift of faith in this life, and I cannot for the life of me understand why scouting considers itself better off without them.

In the Northeast "acceptance of gays is a given," at least in the public square. BSA national is at odds with many of its councils, and with most of the corporate world. Never mind boycotts or activism, I think BSA would see a 25% membership increase and a 40% financial increase if they dropped the discrimination. There are many progressive people who want to embrace at least a few old fashioned values "and BSA is just the group to do it.

Keep up the good fight

E F,New York




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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