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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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Eagle Scout Turns In His Eagle Badge

August 28, 2006

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

Mr. Williams:

I believe it was 1970 when I received the Eagle Scout award in Overland Park, Kansas. I doubt any fourteen-year-old has ever been more proud than I was that day. For the last several years, however, I have been deeply ashamed by the decision of the Boy Scouts of America to discriminate against people who are homosexual.

You prohibit any “avowed homosexual” from belonging to the organization. You say in your Resolution of February 6, 2006 that you take this stand because homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the values espoused in the Scout Oath and Law. You say it is immoral to be homosexual. I disagree.

What does it mean to be immoral? Webster’s primary definition of the word “moral” is: “of or relating to principles of right behavior.” Therefore, to be immoral one must choose to behave in a way that is not right. Perhaps one can argue about what behavior is right or not, but some issues are quite clear. For instance it is not right to steal, lie, cheat, or murder. It is not right to hate others who are different. It seems that one of the central components of right behavior is to not harm others.

Do people choose to be homosexual? Although I am not homosexual myself, my friends who are tell me very clearly that they did not choose to be homosexual. Rather, they recognized and accepted a part of their true, innate nature. Often, this acceptance of who they are has come at the cost of relationships, opportunities and status in our society. They no more chose to be homosexual than they chose their gender, race or the color of their skin. If their homosexuality is not a choice, how can you judge them as being immoral?

Is homosexual behavior “not right”? Well, I certainly can’t see how it harms me or anyone else if two people physically express loving feelings for one another. I know many homosexual couples with beautiful relationships that provide loving families to each other and to their children. This seems like a good thing, not a bad thing. In fact, it seems to me that there is little enough love in the world as it is, without us deciding that love between certain people is not acceptable. However, we don’t have to only depend on what I think. Most reputable authorities have stated that homosexuality is neither unnatural nor harmful. For instance, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association state that homosexuality is not a disease or aberration, that people do not make a choice to be homosexual and that homosexuality is a normal expression of sexuality for some people. The only authorities with any credibility that condemn homosexuality are religious ones. They are acting on a belief system that is based in something other than reason. However, not all religious authorities agree, and there are others that accept homosexuality. You take a great leap to decide that homosexual behavior is immoral.

I know that the Boy Scouts depend on local institutions---often churches---to sponsor local Scout groups. Your dependence on these institutions may make it difficult to differ with their views. You may risk losing resources or potential members if you don’t go along. You face an ethical dilemma.

I realize that several years ago the Supreme Court upheld your right to discriminate against people who are homosexual. But just because you have the right to do a thing doesn’t make it the right thing to do.

I have spoken with many individual Scouters about this issue. Very few understand the official reason that you deny membership to people who are homosexual. Many believe that your policy is intended to protect the boys from harm. They either think that being homosexual is the same as being a sexual predator, or that homosexual men want to use the BSA as a recruiting ground were they will try to convince young men to become homosexual. Both concerns are obviously ridiculous, but they are widely held. Your policy and your actions do nothing to correct these views and therefore support them. In other words, your actions encourage your members to believe mistaken ideas about a group of people that will lead them to view this group with disgust and hatred. This is an evil dynamic we have seen used throughout history, for instance against Jews and African-America ns.

As I consider what it is to be moral or not, I find that the policy of the Boy Scouts of America to discriminate against people who are openly homosexual perfectly fits the definition of immorality. The policy is certainly a choice, and it harms people who are homosexual. Worst of all, the policy harms countless boys who you claim to teach to be good American men but who you really teach to hate and be afraid of people who are different.

I have enclosed my Eagle Scout award medal, as I can no longer in good conscience associate myself with the Boy Scouts of America. This decision makes me sadder than I can describe, but I to do otherwise would require that I sacrifice my personal integrity. I hope that one day you will see that you sacrifice the integrity of the Boy Scouts of America every day you discriminate against people who are homosexual.


Tim M, Eagle Scout




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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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