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Activist Groups Urge Obama to Reject Boy Scout Honor

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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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Venture Crew 488, Sebastopol, CA Antidiscrimination Letter to BSA National



Mr. Roy L. Williams
Chief Scout Executive
Boy Scouts of America
P.O. Box 152079
Irving, TX 75015-2079

December 18, 2000

Dear Mr. Williams:

Mr. Roy L. Williams
Chief Scout Executive
Boy Scouts of America


I am the Advisor of Venture Crew 488 in Sebastopol, California. I have also been involved in my son's scout troop for 11 years, as assistant scoutmaster, merit badge counselor, den leader, activity chair, high adventure chair, etc. My father was the Assistant Scoutmaster of my brother's troop and my parents were the advisors for one of the 2 explorer posts I was a member of. But I am most proud to say my son achieved his Eagle Rank in 1999.

I believe Scouting has been the #2 influence (family 1st) that has guided my son into being the fine young man he is today. It is also a major part of who I am. I am certainly grateful for Explorers and Venture Crews so that girls can have a great deal of those experiences while boys can still be part of a boys-only clan, a necessary source of learning how to be a fine man. I wish that ALL kids could have scouting in their lives. But BSA doesn't allow that. Saying that boys who discover they are gay must not be in BSA is pure prejudice. Many are bewildered and embarrassed when they discover their affinity for the same sex. To be told they don't fit in to what should be a supportive, open and accepting organization guiding youth onto a clear path to adulthood, is taking away valuable tools for them to live good moral lives. Ousting adult leaders who are gay is a big slap in the face to these different youngsters. Gay youth probably also feel rejected. The leading cause of death for gay teens is suicide.

Being open to new information is a sign of an educated person and an example to youngsters that one can have strong beliefs, but if they are unwilling to re-examine those beliefs intelligently then they cannot continue to grow in this life. I believe there is no more of a threat from a homosexual than a heterosexual, especially for our Venture Crew, a co-ed group. It is well known the frequency with which men prey on girls. We must judge on the strength of the character of the applicant. Judging that someone who is homosexual has more of a chance of preying on youngsters is unfounded. We had an assistant scoutmaster in our troop who had to leave the meeting about 5 times for a cigarette, reeked of smoke, carried the same stained never-cleaned coffee cup for years. Apparently, he was morally straight, though, and many felt it wouldn't be right to remove him for exemplifying such behaviors. Yet many fine men who exemplify how boys ought to carry themselves and act in society would be discriminated against in BSA, because of their personal lives that will never ever affect these kids, by what they do in their own private bedroom. BSA is perpetuating a great injustice and I cannot sit idly by while good people, really high quality leaders of great
integrity, are ousted from BSA because of a discriminatory policy. Most recently, I strongly protest the removal of the executive director of the Los Padres Council of the Boy Scouts of America who was stripped of his Eagle Scout status and terminated due to his sexual orientation. God cannot be pleased at such an injustice you have carried out on this fine man who is respected by so many as exemplifying the very ethics and spirit of scouting that YOU have violated by such a hurtful act.

I live in Northwestern California. Just as different countries, cultures, and religions have different predominating beliefs, so do areas of our own country. I have received calls from parents of prospective Venturers with great concern over being part of an organization that discriminates. My strongest recommendation is simply that the membership criteria be changed on a National level to take sexual orientation out of consideration in membership criteria. But if that is not acceptable to your governing office,
I request that the BSA uphold the right of each unit to decide this issue for their own Scouting program according to the beliefs of the community they serve. I ask you to allow a return to the historic principle that chartered organizations (60% churches?) and their Scout unit committees, should choose the best possible Scout leaders, according to their own standards and beliefs. The BSA should not put itself in the place of choosing among the varying views on ethics and morality of different religions. Any one group in Scouting should not be forced to follow the beliefs of any other groups.

You have only recently taken on the duties of Chief Scout Executive. This is a perfect time for the BSA to reassess its position on this matter. The divisiveness of this issue is causing damage to an organization that the boys of this country need. If BSA doesn't respond to the national cries for change, as the younger generation of parents move up, less and less average Americans will feel that this is an organization to support. Eventually it will become only a Mormon and right wing Christian fundamentalist group if you do not act. Be a leader.

I am writing you today to express that Venture Crew 488 will not discriminate based on race, creed, gender, color, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, physical handicap, income, ancestry, or national origin. We will instead judge on the integrity and character of each applicant. For adults, we will conduct careful screening by those of us who know them or by thorough
referral checks and more, only choosing good role models displaying traits such as honor, truth, courage, strength, and respect for safety, environment and people. I am familiar with and will uphold the good ethics of scouting, the very ethics I believe your office, in its interpretation of the membership criteria, is going against.

Sincerely,


Bev Buswell


Scott Oldenburg
Executive Officer
Redwood Empire Council
Boy Scouts of America
2240 Professional Drive
Santa Rosa, CA 95403-3005

December 18, 2000

Dear Mr. Oldenburg,

It was nice meeting you at the Eagle Ceremony last June. We discussed the non-renewal of my Venture Crew in 2000 in the light of the difficulty I was having getting older teens to commit. What I did not bring up was that there was also hesitation on the part of some people, including myself, to subscribe to the discrimination that BSA endorses. A couple of months ago, some siblings of the old members wanted to start the crew back up, gathered 34 of their friends, and we had a few meetings, producing 30 applications so far. They are enthusiastic kids with fabulous parents. I immediately got a call with concern about the discrimination policies. I am including this letter with our re-charter to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Boy Scouts of America is perpetuating a great injustice and I cannot sit idly by while good people, really high quality leaders of great integrity, are ousted from BSA because of a discriminatory policy. I believe there is no more of a threat from a homosexual than a heterosexual, as we have a co-ed group. Judging that someone who is homosexual has more of a chance of preying on youngsters is pure prejudice. It is well known the frequency with which men prey on girls. We not only are trained in "Youth Protection", but use much common sense and always err on the side of safety. It's unlikely we will ever have the opportunity to have a gay leader, but sexual orientation of all leaders will stay private, and 'flaunting' - in either direction - will not be allowed.

I am writing you today to express that Venture Crew 488 will not discriminate based on race, creed, gender, color, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, physical handicap, income, ancestry, or national origin. We will instead judge on the integrity and character of each applicant. For adults, we will conduct careful screening by those of us who know them or by thorough
referral checks and more, only choosing good role models displaying traits such as honor, truth, courage, strength, and respect for safety, environment and people.

Having been involved with scouting since I was a teen explorer and before tagging along with my brother's troop my father was a scoutmaster in, as well as holding some position in Pack or Troop 27 throughout my son's cub to Eagle scouting years, I am familiar with and will uphold the good ethics of scouting. Please do what you can to urge BSA headquarters to change their
discriminatory membership criteria that goes against these very ethics.


Thank you.

Sincerely,


Bev Buswell
Advisor, Venture Crew 488

 

 

 

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