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Den 5 Pack 27,Sebastopol, California of the Redwood Empire Council, Anti-discrimination Statement


10/5/00

Dear Scouting For All:

I'm the Den Leader of Den 5, Pack 27, Redwood Empire Council, in Sebastopol, California. We are currently second-year Webelos. Here are copies of letters we sent to both the local Council office and BSA headquarters. The second letter was sent three years ago, and signed by all 14 parents in our Den. The first letter was sent last week by me. I have asked the parents in our Den to send similar letters individually. The letters also appear on our Den web site at http://www.sonic.net/~sodakota/cubs/den5news.html

You may publish these on your web site as you see fit.

-Gary Newman



Letter to BSA

The following letter was sent to BSA in October 2000. Similar letters were sent by the other parents in Den 5.

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

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

October 4, 2000

Dear Mr. Williams:

I am the Cub Scout Den Leader of Den 5, Pack 27, Redwood Empire Council of BSA, located in Sebastopol, California. We are a very active group of second-year Webelos Cub Scouts and their parents. We all sought out and joined the Scouts for the wonderful and wholesome structure that Scouting offers our boys.

I am writing you today to ask you to please change the BSA's divisive and intolerant membership policy of exclusion based on sexual orientation.

As it happens, I agree with the Supreme Court decision in finding that the BSA is a private organization, and therefore may limit its membership in any way it chooses. What I vehemently disagree with is the BSA's current policy of choosing to bar homosexuals from membership. It might be legal, but it is not right, and violates the spirit of fair play on which the Boy Scouts was founded.

Membership in the Boy Scouts should be open to all people of good citizenship who agree with the Boy Scouts' ideals. The Scout Oath requires that a Scout be morally straight, and the Scout Law that a Scout be clean in word and deed. To interpret these concepts to exclude homosexuals is a moral travesty of its own. Collectively, gay people exhibit no more immoral behavior than heterosexuals, and most live lives, both public and private, of the highest standards.

I have no shred of doubt that the BSA will eventually change its policy. It is only a question of how much damage they will do to innocent people and the organization itself before it does. In a hundred years the BSA will look back on this era with shame.

Mr. Williams, 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, and change.

As a parent and the leader of Cub Scout Den 5 in Pack 27, Redwood Empire Council of Boy Scouts of America, I cannot sit idly by while the organization of which I am a member practices discrimination against law-abiding citizens. Therefore, I hereby assert that Den 5's membership shall remain open to all, regardless of religious belief or sexual orientation.

We should be teaching by example that discrimination is wrong.

Sincerely,

Gary Newman
Leader, Den 5


The following letter was sent to BSA when we first formed our Cub Scout Den.

Redwood Empire Council
2240 Professional Drive
Santa Rosa, CA 95403-3005

Mr. Jere B Ratcliffe
Chief Scout Executive
Boy Scouts of America
P.O. Box 152079
Irving, TX 75015-2079

April 24, 1998

Dear BSA:

We are the Den Leader and parents of Den 5, Pack 27, of the Redwood Empire Council of Boy Scouts of America. Our Den is composed of six boys who will be receiving their Wolf Cub badges in May. We are all, boys and parents, relatively new to Scouting, but have looked forward to the Scouting adventure with our boys for some time.

Thus, we find it troubling to read of the recent court decisions regarding BSA's policies barring gays and agnostics. Gregg Shields, national spokesman for BSA, has proclaimed that these people are disqualified from membership because they fail to meet the Boy Scouts' definition of role models for "traditional family values." All of the families involved with our Den are good citizens, thoughtful, and
practice the highest moral family values - in short, all of the things that the Boy Scouts should want in its members. But whether or not our family values are "traditional" seems beside the point.

Among the Worldwide Principles of Scouting, are "respect for individual beliefs" and "independence from political influence and control." These are noble principles. But it seems to us that some of the Boy Scouts' policies are in direct opposition to them. Many of us parents have friends and colleagues who are gay or agnostic, and for us to acquiesce to these policies would be an unconscionable violation of the very principles the Scouts promotes.

Our Den considered withdrawing from the Scouts, but decided instead to remain a Den for all the wonderful, wholesome and good things that Scouting represents for our boys. But we could only do so in good conscience by voicing our strong disapproval of BSA's policies regarding membership by gays and agnostics.

As a Cub Scout Den in Pack 27, Redwood Empire Council of Boy Scouts of America, we hereby state our intention to close our membership to no one, regardless of religious belief or sexual orientation.

We further wish to encourage the Boy Scouts to change its policy in this regard. We should be teaching by example that discrimination is wrong.

Sincerely,

(Signed by 14 parents of Den 5)

 

 

 

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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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