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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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Mark J. LaFontaine, Eagle Scout

I am an Eagle Scout and Order of the Arrow member who achieved the rank on January 4, 1983. During my time in scouting, I served as a role model to other scouts through several leadership positions, including the Leadership Corps, Junior Assistant Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmaster. When I completed my Eagle Scout project, the Gulfstream Council used my write-up as a model for future Eagle Scout applicants.

Whether on camping trips or High Adventure, my sexuality was never discussed, because as a youth it was not important. Youth value adult guidance based upon their desire to learn and adults choose to lead because of their desire to educate. The current leadership in the Boy Scouts of America has seen fit to promote their own religious agenda without regard to the true meaning of Scouting.

When I attained the rank of Eagle, I was well known throughout the scouting community as an excellent role model. I still consider myself to be a good role model as an Accountant and Adjunct Faculty College Educator.

n my life, I have carried forward the beliefs and values instilled in me through scouting. Scouting taught me to set goals and be vigilant in obtaining them. I graduated as the valedictorian from a local college and obtained my Masters degree in Taxation.

Scouting also taught me to stand up for what I believe is right, as is stated under the Scout Law under Bravery. I have endured, as have many others, years of harassment, discrimination and outright bigotry in schools, in the US Coast Guard, in employment and housing, and now, as an Eagle Scout, from the Boy Scouts of America.

The argument that homosexual men or women cannot be good role models as troop leaders is blatantly discriminatory. This is not a principle that Scouting was meant to teach the youth of this country.

The scout oath, which has been the basis for the argument of being morally straight, also contains the phrases, physically strong and mentally awake; Does this mean that overweight and physically disabled boys and adults will be targeted next? And what about those individuals who have mental deficiencies, should they be excluded also?

In the scouting handbook, the scout oath is outlined by section. Under morally straight; the words read, and I quote, You live and act and speak in ways that mark you as a boy who will grow up to be a man of good character. You are honest, clean in speech and actions, thoughtful of the rights of others, and faithful to your religious beliefs. This does not mean the religious beliefs of others, and under the scout laws reference to reverence, it states that a scout respects the beliefs of others. How respectful is it then to tell certain religious organizations that because of their beliefs they may not sponsor troops?

Why I decided to JOIN Scouting For All

I became aware of this most appalling issue back when the James Dale case was decided by the Supreme Court. Upon hearing the decision and grappling with the issue, I decided to write to the national office and the local councils of the BSA voicing my strong objection.

Local communities began to tackle the issue of whether or not to support the Boy Scouts, amidst the strong voices of those who wished to impugn their own religious morals into Scouting by claiming that they were representative of the Scouting Movement. It was then that I could no longer be a quiet observer. I attended several local civic meetings in my Eagle Scout uniform, to send a message that as an Eagle Scout, a product of the organization, that discrimination in any form is not a Scouting value.

It was after these appearances in the local and national media that I was informed about Scouting For All. Needless to say I felt a great relief come over me, knowing that there were other individuals who agreed with me. Since I became a member of SFA in November of 2000, I have been proud of the work this organization and its group of volunteers has done in continuing the fight to end discrimination in an organization we have so admired in the past.

I challenge local troops to rethink what the scout oath and law means, and to take a stand as brave scouts and leaders against what we know is wrong with the national policy. Make the sacrifice, for the reward of making a difference is greater in the end.

Let Scouting be about BROTHERHOOD, NOT BIGOTRY!!!

Contacting Me

As the Southern Regional Director of Scouting For All, the most effective way to contact me is through my Scouting For All e-mail address, or simply by clicking on the Southern section of the MAP. I try to answer all e-mails as exigently as is possible.




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.

Any communications sent to Scouting for All or any Scouting for All representative may be published on the Scouting for All web site or in Scouting for All materials unless the communication specifically requests that it not be published.

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