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.
Scouting for All is a 100% Volunteer 501-(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization. Every dollar donated goes toward our education and advocacy programs, and is tax deductible.
Howard's Campfire Talk
January 31, 2007
Dear Mr. Menzer:
Hello, my name is Mike, and I came across the website, "Scouting for
all" while trying to find the origins of a small paperweight type statue
"R. Tait McKenzie's sculpture of The Ideal Scout" with the following
dedication.. "Stanford Area Council Boy Scouts of America Century Club
Member" on the plaque at it's base. As I received this item from my
deceased brother, an eagle scout sense the mid 60's, who loved
collecting scouting knives and memorabilia the last couple of years of
his life, I thought you might like this short story.
My brother, 9 years my senior and 1/2 of the only set of twins my mother
bore, was born in 1948, was not gay, nor was any member of our family.
We all were educated in a central Minnesota Catholic school by Nuns and
Priests. Or were we? As I was never in the Boy Scouts, I will have to
argue that we were educated by our Parents, or you may include The B. S.
of A. The reason for this argument of ed ucation is because of the
conflict in outcome.
My oldest brothers, twins.. Bob and John, John now deceased, were in
catholic schools from grades 1 through 12. They were sharp and the
absolute epitome and pride of the local Catholic Parish in a community
of over 80% German Catholics. There were 2 requests made of my brother
John the day that he found he had 2 months to live (news he received on
his 53rd birthday). One was that he receive his burial service at the
Church where he had spent worship as a boy scout youth, the other that
he be properly medicated to not have to suffer pain. My brother Loved
God, Loved Scouting! He didn't love Church, but he associated Church
with those years of scouting I suppose.
Anyway, many years after the fact I learned of a letter my brothers, Bob
and John had both received from a former high school classmate. In this
letter, this former classmate of theirs revealed the fact that he was
gay. H ad always been gay, and did not understand how my brothers could
not know as everyone else certainly seemed to. It seems he had concluded
that my brothers could not have known because of the way they welcomed
and continued to include him (as well as all of their long established
friends) when he first moved to our community during the beginning of
their high school years. But regardless of weather they knew or not he
felt compelled to write them this letter. Thanking them for always
making him feel good about himself and including that they were
completely exclusive in that regard. The fact is that my brothers did
not know, neither did they care! They were NOT naive! They were both
very bright guys! Very Bright! Somehow the fact never occurred to them.
My guess is that even their distant friends knew them well enough to
keep any targeted talk of this matter (as a means of popular empty
speech from spewing out of their mouths) when in my brother's presence.
At any rate, John looked upon this letter as a complement to his
upbringing. I agree!
As I go through all of John's scouting stuff he collected, I am
astounded at how much he has. At his request he was buried with his
favorite Official Boy Scouts of America pocket knives along with a
couple of shotgun shells and fishing lures. And I will tell you this.. I
have watched too many people die. I mean WATCHED too many people die.
All of them with stellar courage. But nothing compared to the courage
this man displayed. Never did he once fear. Not once did he despair. He
had many people around him and all he spoke of was how wonderful
everyone was being in caring for him. Where does that kind of
thoughtfulness of others come from. I believe he was prepared. And now
that I'm looking through all of his scout stuff I am surrounded in
thought by the scouting motto and oath. These are the kinds of messages
I start my day with now. Mainly to Be Prepared! I am very fortunate to
have had parents that instilled in us all to treat all people equally
and to have siblings who have supported that.
My brother John was the kind of guy that would walk into a room and say
what would have been the most inappropriate and borderline disgusting
things had they come out of my mouth. But he had a delivery that not
only resulted in acceptance but inspired an occasional copy cat. Their
mistake in trying! John was John and leave him that exclusive for if he
were anything it was honest. Not only to others but to himself. Another
scout trait. I will always keep myself on guard to watch myself. Watch
myself for behavior or actions that would display or lead to bigotry or
prejudice. And try to include myself in the struggle of others in
speaking up against injustice. Anyone who thinks that scouting should
include exclusion needs to read the scout oath and motto more seriously.
And take reference of a great man and scout who I know without a shadow
of a doubt would have spoken up and defended his right to associate with
his high school friend, and his friends right to be treated with
enthusiastic inclusion, had he known, (even at that young age not to
mention time frame) he was gay.
Well, not so short of story I guess. Thanks for reading.
Oh ya, any idea on the origins of the miniature statue mentioned?
Needless to say your story left me in tears. I would have been proud to know your brother and call him my friend and brother. I too love scouting but unfortunately these days they teach hate. It is the kind of hate that will effect us all for generations to come. Discrimination, wherever it is needs to be addressed and stopped.
we do have a branch of Scouting For All in the mid west and I would be most happy to invited you, in memory of your brother and his and your ideals to join us and make a difference in the lives of so many youth tossed aside for what they are or believe.
As for the statue, I do not remember that and I was in Scouting for 54 years but maybe some other of my associates will. To that end I am going to circulate this letter among them and ask them to respond to you if they have the information you seek. I also welcome you to write again in you want to. I will welcome your letters.
Thank you for writing
Howard Menzer Eagle Scout 1951
Southwest Regional Director
Scoutin For All