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.
Scouting for All is a 100% Volunteer 501-(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization. Every dollar donated goes toward our education and advocacy programs, and is tax deductible.
Scout Tale - A True Story: Gay Scout Mother's Lament
September 6, 2006
When my son, Daniel, was three years old I took him to his godbrother's Eagle Court of Honor. He sat, riveted through
the ceremony and, toward the end, turned to me and said, "I want to be an Eagle Scout, like Robert."
I answered him with patronizing enthusiasm, thinking of the many years of hard work and dedication the Eagle Rank
required. I mistook it as a childish whim, thinking that he expected to achieve this goal rather sooner than later,
and wondering if he would still follow his three year old's dream through his entire childhood.
When Daniel was four and a half, he started showing symptom's of psychological problems. Although very bright,
emotionally he was immature for his age, and he was extremely oppositional and anxious. The only time he was able
to relax his little body was when he was asleep. We took him to the pediatrician, who referred us to a therapist
that specialized in biofeedback, a technique that has been used successfully to help people learn to relax. Daniel
continued to idolize Robert, who often babysat him. After church every Sunday, we went to Robert's family's house
for coffee and there Daniel heard more stories of Scouting and of a new Eagle candidate, Robert's younger brother
David.Daniel went to Kindergarten, doing very well academically but not so well socially or with personal organization
and time management. He intensely disliked the rough and tumble play of the boys, exploding in anger as a result
of the normal jostles and bumps of a soccer game. I signed him up for T-ball, thinking that he might be able to
make friends with some of the boys in his class in this non-contact sport. Baseball may not be a contact sport,
but, until the coaches taught them the right way to play the game, T-ball most certainly is, with it's mob, pig
pile style of fielding. By the end of the first practice, he was sporting a split lip. Still, he stuck out the
season, even playing one more year of rookie league before giving up baseball for good. And though he got along
well enough with all the students in his class, when recess time came the boys all went off to play sports and
he was left with the girls. All well and good during Kindergarten through second grade, when boys and girls still
think of each other as human beings, but by third grade he was left alone...except for Scouts.
At the end of Kindergarten Daniel brought home the information about Tiger Cubs. He asked me if this was Boy Scouts
and when I said, "yes," he said he wanted to do it so that he could be an "Eagle Scout like Robert."
We signed up together as parent/Tiger teammates and had a wonderful time. He made friends with all the boys in
our den, especially with one, Sean. He loved the activities, was good at them, and was accepted as an equal by
the other boys. At the end of the year I decided to be a den leader. Through his Cub Scout years, while he continued
to struggle at school with organization, time management, and emotional issues, (though his grades continued to
be good), when his behavior at home deteriorated to the point where we had to start individual and family therapy
to help him with his violent emotions and to learn how to manage him, Scouts was the one place that he was 100%
successful. Scouts in our den came and went, but Sean and Daniel stayed the course. Sean's mother and I became
co-den leaders when our assistant den leader moved away, and Daniel and Sean became close friends, earned their
Arrow of Light, and, with the three other boys in our den, crossed over into Boy Scouts together.
Throughout his Boy Scout years, Daniel has never taken his eye off of that Eagle. In seventh grade he went from
being an honor roll student to failing every academic course. His psychological problems became worse, now including
thoughts of suicide, and he went back into therapy. My husband and I were frantic and so began two agonizing years
of testing. We had him evaluated by the most highly recommended child psychiatrist in the city, and had the middle
school evaluate him for learning disabilities. In the meantime, he continued to fail everything except his arts
courses (he's a very gifted artist and musician) and Phys. Ed. He became more and more depressed and the only thing
that kept him from complete despair was Scouts. He continued to rise through the Scouting ranks successfully, completing,
and enjoying the merit badges and holding his first position of responsibility, as Assistant Patrol Leader (to
Sean's Patrol Leader). Near the end of eighth grade all the tests were finally finished. The school found a learning
disability which had been masked until middle school by Daniel's extremely high IQ, and although the psychiatrist
could make no firm diagnosis because of his age, (except for saying that he was "the most complicated kid
he'd ever seen) he felt sure that something was amiss, and would develop as Daniel became an adult. The school
set up a 504 plan for him to help him with his academics and off he went to high school.
High School was four stressful years of struggle for Daniel. The Assistant Principal, who was also the 504 officer,
told us that "504's were bullsh--- and he didn't have time to deal with them." (The Special Ed. Administrator
in the district where I teach almost croaked when I told her that. In our district you'd be fired immediately for
such a statement.) It took a letter from us, implying the threat of legal action just to get a meeting. Daniel
never really got the appropriate assistance and he barely graduated from High School. His only consistant successes
were drafting classes at the vocational school, band (until he was told by the new band director that he could
not participate because band period conflicted with drafting - the old band director always worked it out), and,
oddly enough, three years of Latin and Greek.In Scouts, he earned his Star and Life ranks, and became a leader
in the Troop. He was elected to the Order of the Arrow. He served in more Positions of Responsibility, as Chaplain's
Assistant and Assistant Senior Patrol Leader. He planned and submitted his Eagle Project for approval and successfully
completed the project, a huge accomplishment
for someone with his particular learning disability. He asked several people forrecommendations, was finishing
up his last three merit badges, and was completing the final paperwork. Then the Troop Leaders found that he was
Daniel started realizing that he was gay around the age of fifteen. At sixteen, he came out to us. We told our
extended family and he told a few close friends, including Sean, who was then Senior Patrol leader, with Daniel
as his Assistant. All his family and friends were completely supportive. No one rejected him, for which I was extremely
grateful. No mother wants to see her child in the pain of being rejected by someone he thought loved him. His younger
brother's reaction was my favorite. When told that Daniel was gay he replied, "So what?" We met with
the top adult leaders of the troop. We are so grateful to them. They were completely supportive. They wanted Daniel
to stay in the troop and finish his Eagle. Daniel, however, decided to withdraw. We had been doing some recent
research and had found incidences of troops being dechartered and leaders banned from scouting for supporting homosexuals.
Since national BSA won their Supreme Court case, they've been pretty ruthless. We were grateful to our leaders,
as I've said, but I don't think they realized the danger in which they were putting themselves and the troop. There
was one adult leader in our troop whom we knew would not hesitate to alert national, as this person had recently
distributed anti-gay pamphlets on car windshields all over town. So, about two hours of paperwork away, Daniel
lost his Eagle, his dream since he was three years old. Not only that, he lost Boy Scouts, the only consistantly
positive part of his entire childhood. For about two weeks he was very stoic, then one night he burst into tears
in my arms. He has, once since then, said he wished he weren't gay. With all that, he still loves the Boy Scouts.
He just hates the policy and the men at national who continue to stand by it. He wants his younger brother to continue
in Scouts and hopes to someday attend his Eagle Court of Honor.Daniel has recently been diagnosed with mental illness.
He is doing his best to make his way in life as a new adult. During a discussion with him shortly after he withdrew
from Boy Scouts, he said the following. I can't remember his exact words, but the gist of it went like this. "I
could stay in the closet, but I won't be ashamed or afraid of what I am, because â€˜a Scout is Brave.' I
could lie about being gay if someone asked me, but I won't because â€˜a Scout is Trustworthy.' And I could
stay in the troop, get my Eagle, and put the troop and the leaders in danger, but I won't because â€˜a Scout
is Loyal.'In other words, if he weren't such a good Boy Scout, he still would be a Boy Scout.
To whom it may concern at BSA national,
You are forbidden to use any part of this document in any scouting publication unless you also print the last four
paragraphs in full.