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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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Detroit Scout Leader Takes A Stand, STOPS Donating To The Boy Scouts of America

John Primrose
Council Executive
Detroit Area Council
Boy Scouts of America
1776 West Warren Avenue
Detroit, MI 48208

June 25, 2001

Dear Mr. Primrose,

I return the enclosed Friends of Scouting mailing to you. I will not be making a donation to the BSA or the the Detroit Area Council.

Up until a few years ago, I was an active member of at Detroit Area Council. I was, and am, proud of my volunteer efforts. So it is not without a lot of soul searching that this Woodbadger and District Award of Merit recipient left the Scouts.

Unfortunately, I could no longer respect the Boy Scouts of America's position on gays in the organization. The official policy is hypocritical and based upon unfounded opinions on the morality of gays. I have several gay friends and I could no longer listen to voices within the BSA condemning them as pedophiles or people of bad moral character, and remain a member of this organization. I could not escape the fact that my continued membership was a tacit endorsement of these repugnant views.

In my years of Scouting, I saw many Scouters who smoked. Though official gentle methods were employed (general announcements, etc.) to keep adult leaders from smoking in front of the Scouts, there was never any sanction taken against those who who ignored these requests. Apparently, in the Scouting world, the problem of smoking addiction in young people and the health problems it causes, are not an issue worth losing leaders over.

I've also known of more than one Scout leader who was living and having a sexual relationship with someone other than a duly married spouse. These relationships, though they certainly fail the "morality" issues of the BSA, are ignored entirely. I suspect that this means that what they do in their bedrooms is their business, while what gay Scouts and leaders do must be the subject of public debate and opposition.

I also know a Scouter and his wife that ran a business out of his home in violation of city law. Not only did the troop know this fact, we were customers of the aforementioned business. In time, the city found out about their business and ordered them to close up shop, but this man (a Silver Beaver Recipient) will never be chastised for his acts.

The point is...I don't think he should either. Nor should we be in the position of lecturing Scouters, who live in an unmarried state, nor smoking...nor those of a different sexual orientation. We want our boys to be able to come into the world of all different options and to make selections. We cannot promise them a world where they will not find different issues, but we can hope they can deal with them. Throwing out the smokers, and the cohabitors and those engaged in proscribed conducts...along with the gays, would be at least a consistent level of expectation. But to retain the smokers, the cohabitors and those in proscribed situations, all of which are instances of choice, but to exclude the gays, who are almost certainly born the way they are, is the worst of hypocrisy.

Right now, armed with a faulty Supreme Court verdict, the Boy Scouts feel smugly content that they have the high ground on this. I want want you to look back fifty or more years to the American South and see that in that arena there was an identical posture regarding basic rights for citizens of African descent. In those days, people like Sen. Theodore Bilbo were honored representatives of a society that felt it could marginalize a portion of the society and be in the moral right to do so. Today we look back on him and those that who supported him, with incredulity at their position. Know now that I believe people in the next fifty years will look back on the BSA's position with much the same opinion.

And so, Mr. Primrose, I have left the movement and will not be making a donation to your annual appeal. Instead, I will make an annual gift to Scouting for All. Someday, I hope their efforts will succeed and I can rejoin a new Scouting, where all boys...including gay ones......can find acceptance.


Don Foshey




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