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Redwoods Presbyterian Church, Larkspur, California Charter organization for Pack 43 of Corte Madera, CA: Does Not Accept the BSA's Policy of Exclusion

CUB SCOUT PACK #43 is chartered to Redwoods Church.

A large and lively bunch of kids meets Tuesday evenings at 7 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall lower lounge just off the patio level, under responsible adult supervision.

For details, please call Cubmaster Roger Krakow at 415-927-3127.



As a "More Light" Presbyterian faith family, Redwoods Church is committed to policies of inclusiveness modeled on the outreach and ministry of Jesus. Cubmaster Roger Krakow believes that, contrary to the public pronouncements of the national leadership of Boy Scouts of America and the June 2000 ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court, Scouting's own published principles and Handbook endorse and require an inclusive policy of membership and leadership. The following letters express the dedication of both Roger and the elders of Redwoods Church to that ideal.

May 8, 2000

Dear Redwoods Congregation,

"On my honor, I will do my best, to do my duty to God..."

These are the first words of the Cub Scout Promise, words that every Scout knows by heart. I want to thank you for once again being the charter organization for our Cub Scout Pack here in Larkspur. Scouting offers a solid path for boys at a crucial and often confusing stage in their development. I believe very strongly in the power of Scouting to build capable and moral young men.

I am aware that there is strong resentment within the church over the Boy Scouts of America policy which excludes homosexuals from the organization. I think it is important for you to know that I and many others within Scouting feel as you do, and are working to change this. I have enclosed a copy of a letter I recently sent to our national headquarters urging reversal of this policy. Your continued sanctioning of our local organization shows that, like me, you understand that the sum total of the value which Scouting has to offer to our boys should not be overshadowed by a single misguided policy.

We can only hope that this immoral policy handed down to us by the national organization will be overturned soon. I encourage others who feel as I do to write and let their opinions be known.

Roger Krakow, Jr., Cubmaster, Pack 43

April 18, 2000

Mr. Jere Ratcliffe, Executive Chief Scout
Boy Scouts of America
1325 West Walnut Hill Lane
Irving, TX 97015-2079

Dear Mr. Ratcliffe,

My name is Roger W. Krakow, Jr., and I am the cubmaster of my son's Pack here in Corte Madera. As an Eagle Scout, I value the scouting experience and the influences it has had on my personal development. Scouting helped me to place a high value on honesty and active citizenship. Now that I am once again involved in Scouting, I would be disloyal to those qualities if I failed to express my disappointment with the national organization's stand against homosexuality.

While the intent may be to shield scouts from potentially harmful behavior and influences, the result of such a policy exposes them to a far greater evil. By generalizing about a segment of the population and then making a policy to exclude them, you fail to judge people as individuals. You also give the impression to young minds that it's acceptable to behave similarly toward any group whose way of life or views may be different from our own.

Teaching that prejudice in any form is acceptable, indeed encouraged, is despicable. How can we teach our Scouts that America is the land of freedom, then turn around and say that homosexuals are not free to join in Scouting? This is a dishonest, closed-minded and fear-mongering way to deal with this issue.

The threat of sexual abuse is real and can come from any segment of our community. The view that homosexuals are all predators on a mission to molest and recruit is simply ludicrous. Modern Scouting has done an excellent job at combating child abuse with education at every level, and prevention with the "two-leader" policy. This is an honest, well-thought-out plan to deal with this problem.

We should give our kids a little credit. They know homosexuality is a real part of our society. Scouting should seek to prepare boys for life with the tools they will need to deal with the world -- tools to make themselves and their country strong. We would be far better off giving our kids the tools of understanding instead of the tools of fear.

I have found myself having to defend Scouting again this year to our Pack's chartering organization, and on a practical level, we are being cut off from millions of dollars in funding because of a closed-minded, immoral and image-damaging policy. I would appreciate a response telling me how I can further work within the system to change what I feel is very wrong.

Yours in Scouting,
Roger W. Krakow, Jr.

July 20, 2000

Dear Roger:

The Session (governing board) at Redwoods extends its deep appreciation and thanks to you, first, for your principled and courageous letter to the Executive Chief Scout of the Boy Scouts of America, and second, for your thoughtfulness in providing us with a copy.

As you know, Redwoods is a "More Light" church, having declared it to be our position of faith and conscience that all human beings are created equal by God, and are to be accorded equal status of membership, blessings and benefits of our ministry, and opportunities to share in the leadership of the church, without regard to human distinctions of race, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, economic status or other divisive characteristics.

We are aware that your expression of principle places you at odds with official policy of the Boy Scouts of America, and could jeopardize your leadership position, even at the local level. It is all the more commendable that, in the face of such risk, you have chosen to express clear personal convictions that we ourselves consider to be well-reasoned and placed firmly within the spiritual, ethical and moral traditions of the national organization, as well as reflecting the highest standards of Scouting
leadership and -- not incidentally -- Christian precept.

We can do no less than stand firmly alongside you in this expression, and we have communicated our support for your position and our own convictions in a letter to Mr. Ratcliffe, a copy of which is enclosed for your information and records.

You are living the example to which God calls all of us, and to which Scouting purports to aspire. Please let us know how we can be of further assistance to you and to Pack 43.

In God's inclusive justice-love,
Lawrence A. Reh, for the Session
of Redwoods Presbyterian Church

July 20, 2000

Dear Mr. Ratcliffe:

The Session at Redwoods Presbyterian Church is the charter-holder for Cub Scout Pack 43, an association from which we have derived great satisfaction for 37 years. We are especially pleased with the current leadership being provided Pack 43 through the able, principled, caring and conscientious efforts of Cubmaster Roger Krakow, who is himself an Eagle Scout.

The people of Redwoods Church have also officially committed themselves, as a matter of Christian faith and conscience, to policies of inclusiveness in membership, ministry and leadership opportunities without regard to human distinctions of race, gender, national origin, economic status or other artificially divisive characteristics. We specifically welcome and affirm the
worth of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people as equal sisters and brothers in the family of God's good and unconditionally beloved creation. Our congregation and its leadership conscientiously accept and encourage the full participation of LGBT people in our midst. Historically and in our present membership, they have played pivotal roles in our spiritual growth, service and understanding.

Over recent years, we have struggled with what we perceive as a disparity between our faith position and the official policies of the Boy Scouts of America, which we feel unfairly exclude, target, and denigrate one class of God's people, setting them apart as unworthy "others," exiled, branded and disparaged. Our understanding of the way of Christ forbids us to silently accept or tolerate such exclusionary and discriminatory policies, yet we are also deeply cognizant of the power for good, the influence on positive growth which the Scouting program has afforded to many of us. We continue to sponsor and support Pack 43 because we are loathe to deprive other young men in today's society of the benefits of Scouting, but we are unwilling to expose them to models of alienating, prejudicial behavior that often manifests itself in later life as violence of the heart, mind, tongue and fist against an oppressed portion of God's people.

For that reason, we are enormously gratified at the modeling and mentorship which Roger Krakow provides to Pack 43, and we believe with him that Scouting can be an effective instrument of peace and mutual understanding in the best traditions of the program, of our national heritage, and most importantly, of our spiritual commitments as followers of the Christ, whose every outreach in ministry was to the outsider, the marginalized and rejected.

This is the foundation which Scouting has traditionally built for young men and women in society. We are fully in support of Roger's communication to you of April 18, 2000, and like him, we look forward to hearing from you how we can contribute to an evolution of understanding that will build on the best of Scouting's long record and move forward into an ever more enlightened outreach, to the benefit of all God's people.

In the all-inclusive embrace of God,

The Session of Redwoods Church




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