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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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David Thomas, Eagle Scout and the 1996 program director for the Simon Kenton Council's Chief Logan Reservation Speaks Out Against the BSA's Policy of Discrimination

Discrimination by Boy Scouts is a badge of dishonor

Saturday, February 05, 2005

I was distressed to learn that the Simon Kenton Council of the Boy Scouts of America recently couched its nondiscrimination statement with the United Way of Central Ohio by promising that the organization "will
not unlawfully discriminate against anyone."

I was even more distressed when The Dispatch endorsed this end run (editorial, Jan. 23).

The United Way's prohibition of discrimination by participating agencies on the basis of race, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, veteran status or socioeconomic status is a credit to the organization's compassion and openness. The Scouts, on the other hand, continue to adhere to a discriminatory policy of exclusion of homosexuals and atheists that is inconsistent with its own organizational values and the nondiscrimination standards of the United Way of Central Ohio.

As an Eagle Scout and the 1996 program director for the Simon Kenton Council's Chief Logan Reservation, I am acutely aware of the tremendous benefit that Scouting brings to young people. Participants have the
opportunity to learn valuable skills, improve self-esteem and participate in a wide variety of activities that reward individual accomplishment and encourage self-improvement. Scouting's organizational structure, which
emphasizes individual merit and discourages distinctions based on artificial social categories like income or race, is an outstanding model for youth-based groups.

The fact that the Boy Scouts' discrimination is legal does not make it right. One week at summer camp is, for many Scouts, the best and only opportunity to interact with others in an environment that is free from the social pressures that otherwise bombard young people.

The Scouts' uniforms focus on achievement rather than brand name, while the camp's programs encourage outdoor activity and learning over television and inactivity. It is morally wrong, within this setting, to promote discrimination based on religion or sexual orientation.

The United Way of Central Ohio provided nearly $500,000 to the Simon Kenton Council of the Boy Scouts of America in 2004. Other United Way agencies around the country have reduced or halted funding to the Scouts
because of their policy of discrimination.

It is time for the United Way of Central Ohio to follow their lead and withdraw its support for a Scouting organization that, sadly, promotes discrimination and exclusion at the expense of the young men and women it
claims to serve.






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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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