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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What You Can Do
Scouting For All's National Campaign
Scouting for All's historic “National Day of Protest” on
August 21, 2000, marked the beginning of a new era in
our national campaign to end the discrimination by the Boy
Scouts of America against gay and atheist* youth and adults.
When he was a 12-year-old Life Scout, Steven Cozza, who
is now an Eagle Scout, wrote a letter to the editor of his local
newspaper in which he stated that the BSA does not practice
its own Scout Law when they discriminate against gay youth
and adults. On January 22, 1998, Steven called a press
conference and launched his national campaign in the form
of a petition drive to place pressure on the BSA to rescind its
discriminatory policy of exclusion.
This courageous action by Steven has been the inspiration for
the current Scouting for All movement. Steven has dedicated his
efforts to the memory of Robin Reed a gay, 15-year-old Petaluma
High School student who killed himself because he felt rejected,
and to the memory of all gay youth who have taken their own
lives because they felt like they didn't belong. We will no longer
tolerate our gay youth having to remain “invisible” out of fear.
We will continue to work toward the creation of a society in
which our gay youth feel safe and in which they live their lives
as the blessed individuals they are meant to be.
Steven and others who stand with him against the social
injustices of a program he loved, namely the Boy Scouts of
America, have allowed themselves to feel the pain of the
Robin Reeds in this life, and decided to take a stand. The real
tragedy to date is that the national leaders of the Boy Scouts of
America have not allowed themselves, as an organization, to
feel the real pain which they are causing our gay youth, their
families and friends, and to all individuals who believe in
justice. The BSA's immoral, discriminatory, and exclusionary
policy should offend all people who truly value social justice
and human rights. Their discriminatory policy of exclusion
is extremely harmful to the Scouting movement in the United
States and internationally, and to both gay and straight youth
alike, as well as being fundamentally contrary to the precepts
and principles upon which the worldwide Scouting movement
was originally founded.
We are dedicating Scouting for All's “National Day of
Protest” as a new beginning in our continued effort to get
the BSA to end their discrimination. The light of hope will
shine brighter than ever in the name of human rights. We are
launching a heightened national and international campaign,
calling upon individuals and groups to take positive action
on the side of social justice and human rights. Therefore,
Scouting for All has renamed our “National Day of Protest”
to be our “Annual National Rally and Recognition of Gay
(GLBT) Youth and Gay and Atheist Scout Month.” It is
held each year the month of October.
*Includes Nontheists and other Free thinkers
1. Individuals who believe in justice for all It is everyone's responsibility to speak out against social
injustice: in this case, the social injustice of the Boy Scouts
of America. We must not turn our backs on those who are
being discriminated against. We encourage parents and
guardians to have their children participate only in those
youth organizations which value the diversity of the human
family, which have inclusive policies, and which abide by
those policies. In fact, the BSA is the only youth organization
in America that discriminates against gay and atheist youth
We suggest you send a letter to your local BSA council
and to the BSA's national headquarters in Irving, Texas
to inform them that you will not allow your child to
join the BSA until it rescinds its discriminatory policy
of exclusion. Alternative, nondiscriminatory youth
programs include the following: Boys and Girls
Club, 4-H, Campfire USA, and Girl Scouts USA.
2. BSA members, scout units, sponsors, councils Through the Scout Oath and Scout Law, the Boy Scout
Handbook, and the various merit badge booklets on
citizenship, we can see that scouting teaches its members
to help make the world a better place. Discrimination and
bigotry have never been a part of Scouting. Those in Scouting
have an ethical and moral obligation to stand against the
discrimination and bigotry of its current national leaders.
If you are an individual BSA member (adult leader,
scout), a BSA scout unit, or a scout sponsor (i.e., charting
organization, e.g., religious groups, service clubs, etc.),
insist that your BSA scout unit adopt an anti-discrimination
statement and send it to the BSA's national headquarters
in Irving, Texas, and also to your local BSA council.
3. Financial Contributors, e.g., United Way & Businesses We call upon all businesses and organizations, such as some
United Ways who fund BSA councils and programs such as
the BSA Learning for Life, to follow their own businesses'
and organizations' anti-discrimination policies. Donate or
contribute funds only to those youth organizations that do not
practice discrimination. Inform the Boy Scouts of America
that it must end its discriminatory policies which exclude
gay and atheist youth and adults, or else be terminated as a
beneficiary of your business' or organization's funding.
4. Schools & government agencies This includes the military; municipalities; schools; police
and fire departments; PTA's; and city, county, state, or federal
government agencies; etc. We ask that these organizations reexamine their relationship with the Boy Scouts of America
in light of their own anti-discrimination policies, and insist
that discrimination be prohibited by any group that uses their
services or facilities. We ask all local school districts to think
about the harmful message that they are sending to both their
gay and straight students if you allow organizations, such as
the BSA, which discriminate against gay and atheist youth,
to use their school facilities and allow adult BSA leaders to
recruit in their schools. Just think about the harmful message
that you would be giving to both gay and straight students in
your schools if you allow this discrimination to be practiced
in your district.
For helpful aids on working with schools in helping
your local school district or school to deal with the
BSA's discriminatory policy of excluding gay and atheist
students, please check out GLSEN, the Gay Lesbian Straight
Education Network, at their web site: www.glsen.org or
www.glsen.org/pages/sections/bsa/. You can also contact
Scouting for All at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Scouting for All asks all local school districts throughout
the United States to support GSA (Gay Straight Alliance)
clubs by granting permission for their students to
establish such clubs in their districts' high schools.
Gay Youth often experience deep feelings of rejection and
loneliness. GSAs offer gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered/
questioning youth the support that they need, and straight
youth a way to develop their own understanding and
acceptance of their GLBTQ friends. Scouting for All has
dedicated its efforts to the memory of Robin Reed and to
all gay youth who have taken their lives because they felt
rejected, like they didn't belong. In the year 2000, Eagle
Scout Steven Cozza, along with his sister Anne, established
a GSA at Petaluma High School, where they were students
at the time. This is the same high school Robin Reed had
attended. If Petaluma High School had a GSA in 1995, the
year in which Robin Reed took his own life, Robin might still
be alive today. GSAs are saving lives! Lets embrace all of our
youth by establishing GSAs in every high school in America.
The power for healing change is in our hands; together let's
make it happen!
For information on how to start a GSA at your
local high school, go to www.glsen.org
5. Religious congregations and organizations Scouting for All advises, as a minimum, that all chartering
(i.e., sponsoring) organizations within your faith communities
adopt nondiscrimination policies. Also insist that any group
or BSA scout unit that uses your facilities, sign a similar
nondiscrimination statement. Your heritage of strong faith
and belief that all human beings have inherent worth asks
this of you: that you be lights of hope, beacons of courage and
love, and defenders of the disenfranchised.
|Scouting for All has initiated the
following strategies to implement
this new era of our National
Campaign to End Discrimination
by the Boy Scouts of America
1. We will continue to use the www.scoutingforall.org
web site to rally support, educate, advocate, and to
help mobilize our volunteers and members across the
country and internationally. We will also continue using
“Steven's Petition” to help educate and rally support.
2. Scouting for All's Alliance for Human Rights
The “Alliance” consists of individual grassroots
organizers, community based organizations and national
organizations which are committed to getting the Boy
Scouts of America to end its discriminatory policy of
exclusion that is harmful to both gay and straight youth.
The Alliance's members are joined by a common bond
and spirit that social justice and human rights should be
for all to experience. The Alliance was established to
create a network for mobilizing and supporting efforts
across the country and internationally. The Alliance is a
bright light of hope for both gay and straight youth, that
they may someday live in a society that values social
justice, acceptance, and cherishes the diversity of the
For further details on the Alliance click
on “Join the Alliance" on the menu to the left.
3. Scouting for All's regional and state directors
We ask that you contact the regional director
They will continue to help mobilize and network to support
the implementation of our national campaign throughout the
United States. We have divided the country into the following
five regions: Midwestern, Northeastern, Northwestern,
Southern, and Southwestern, with each region having a
regional director. The national headquarters of Scouting for
All is responsible for generating international advocacy and
support as well as coordinating and supporting our regional
and state directors.
for your region by going to the Scouting for
All web site's home page to the Contact Us
menu and click your region on the map.
Approved by the Scouting for All Board of Directors on
8/26/00, amended 3/30/01, updated 7/04/04