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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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Members of the Boy Scouts of America Speak Out Against the BSA Policy of Discrimination

To the Editor:

Boy Scouts of America (B.S.A.) is at a cross roads and the very existence of the program is threatened with major schism and/or total disintegration. The threat is not from outside, rather, it is from within, and incredibly enough, from its top leadership corps at the national office.

The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing the B.S.A to set its own policy on membership was correct. Now the responsibility is on us to define what that policy shall be. Will it be one of exclusion, as the current national leadership now defines it, or will it be of Scouting's long spirit of inclusion, recognizing that all human beings are of fundamental dignity, worth, value and wholesomeness as have our kindred organizations in Scouting of Canada, England, Australia, New Zealand and Sweden,... and they, for some time now.

The notable recent history is: the expulsion of the Randall twins almost making their Eagles before the legal issues were resolved, over their claim to believe in no God, and the kindred issue with the Unitarian Universalist Church of quite a similar nature over their religious award for Scouting, 'Religion in Life.' Then it was the James Dale case, the expulsion of an outstanding Eagle Scout, Vigil level Order of the Arrow, Assistant Scout Master, a person who claims to be of homosexual orientation in his sexuality, and the attendant expulsion of Scott Cossa and David Rice two male Scouters of heterosexual orientation who support inclusion and dare to say so. Scott is the father of Stephen Cossa, the 12 year old founder of 'Scouting for All,' opposing these decisions, now 15 and having attained his Eagle. And now, right here in the Santa Barbara/Goleta area, the withdrawing of membership, effectively firing him as he can not hold any position of employment in Scouting without it, of Len Lanzi *, 39, Eagle Scout and outstanding Scout Executive of our Los Padres Council, for 'coming out' as a person of homosexual orientation, among many, many others.

All of these based on principle, none of these based on behavioral misconduct of any sort.

Now look at the response. Never in the history of Scouting has there been such a rending and savaging of the program. Individual scouts and scouters speaking out, Eagle Scouts currently and not currently involved in Scouting voluntarily returning their Eagle awards and disavowing their support and association with B.S.A., and castigating it for these policies. Whole troops and now whole councils rising up in opposition to this narrow and selective, exclusivist interpretation of the fundamental values of Scouting, the Scout Law and Promise. This in the face of a long history of teaching and working for inclusivism regarding race, religion, national origin, economic strata and/or family back ground. School districts, whole communities, the range of governmental organizations and agencies, charitable organizations pulling their support of Scouting, or in process of deciding to do so, because of this same unwritten policy and following actions of exclusion. **

If we have not done so already, each of us within scouting needs to take a serious moment and consider what is happening here, and in what direction do we want scouting to go. WE are an integral part of this issue. Why did we get into Scouting, and what is there about this program we find so good for our youth that we can easily commit so much heart, energy and time?

For us, it is the fact that Scouting is the only youth program that actually performs as it sets out to do in building strong character, a solid sense of citizenship and participation, and whole over all personal fitness. It is this comprehensiveness that makes Scouting the best over all youth program bringing a youth of eleven to adulthood, by far. No other program has the breadth and scope of life skills, experience, nurture, encouragement and values of the Scouting program. None!!

The overt issue is, quite obviously, the national office's interpretation of two of the Scout Laws in such a way to exclude those folks of same gender sexual orientation, and those who see their spirituality in such a way that no God is included. Then, still to a large extent, disallowing girls to be a part of its main program, based upon what fundamental basis, other than tradition and the word 'boy' in its name?

BUT, ... the underlying fundamental issue here is the perception and understanding we all have of ourselves as human beings, ... AND how this is carried over into Scouting.

And this, ...centers on our over all perception and understanding of Love. Let us look at love again.

Love is the taking on in comprehensive attitudinal form, through the most fundamental level of the core Spirit of our person ~ the very marrow of our soul, ~ the realization of the fundamental recognition and understanding of the inherent, intrinsic dignity, worth, value and wholesomeness of one's own person, another, the entire creation, and God. It is simply there, known and understood, whole and comprehensively unconditional.

In Short, ~ Love, is an attitude, ... yes, an attitude, of the inherently known intrinsic dignity, worth, value and wholesomeness of, oneself, another, all people, all life, the earth, the cosmos, all else, ...God, ...wholly unconditional.

The recognition is, that each of us and all of us are of inherent wholesomeness and dignity, built in by the Creator. It is out of this knowledge and understanding that Thomas Jefferson wrote so eloquently of the same fundamental principles in our Declaration of Independence.

How does THIS, ... carry over into Scouting?? ... hence, ...

In what direction do we, as current and/or past Scouters, Scouts or Scouting Families want to take Scouting? How do we serve OUR youngsters, and the young people IN OUR CHARGE, best?

In a harsh, judgmental, discriminatory perspective and direction ?? OR ...,

In an open, nurturing, encouraging direction ??

It is, quite, this simple.

The choice for US is obvious. Scouting's fundamental principles, specifically set in the whole of the Scout Law and Promise are on the path of Love and inclusion. It is NOT, ... the path of condemnation and exclusion, where we selectively extrapolate one or two parts of the Scout Law to support some rational as support for the importation of some selective outside religious interpretation and impose it on all of B.S.A.

To exclude is fear based, ... to include is open and nurture based. In Scouting, what is there to fear?

The fundamental principles of Scouting are on a strong and firm foundation. It can weather this storm, right itself, begin again to sail forth with its solid, inclusive wholesomeness, and integrity.

On my honor, I will do my best, ...

... Good morning Scouters. It is 5:00 AM, dawn is just breaking. Time to rise and shine, prepare to hit the trail. We have a long climb ahead of us. We need to make the ridge by midday before the trail gets hot and we are running low on water. Gather your spirits, gear, sunscreen, hat and two quarts of water, have a good breakfast, keep together, enjoy the views mother nature provides and we will do just fine.

In the fine Spirit of Scouting we were all taught, have come to believe, revere and teach,

Ken Tatro, Eagle Scout, ( 22 years )
Brad Currey, King Scout (Canada), ( 17 years )
Bob Zeman, Eagle Scout, ( 20 years)
Assistant Scoutmasters, Troop 36,
Donna Bowrin-Marsh, ( 10 years)
Member of the Committee, Troop 36
South Coast District, Los Padres Council,
Boy Scouts of America, World Organization of the Scouting Movement.

PLEASE NOTE: While we are adult leaders and heavily involved with Troop 36, et al, the identifiers of us as such is just that, identifiers. The views of this letter are the views of the four of us and does not necessarily reflect the current official position of Troop 36, nor that of the latter named associative organizations.

*See pg A1 articles in the Santa Barbara News Press for October 18, 19, and 28.
** See for major archive and ongoing dialogue on this issue.




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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