The Boy Scouts has been an institution in American life for decades. Many boys have worked through the ranks of Scouts, earning badges, taking oaths and gaining life skills. The group, which strives to produce responsible, morally upstanding young men, also has an anti-gay policy.
It is absurd to think that a group dedicated to teaching integrity, teamwork and leadership, would choose to be so closed minded and exclusive.
Recently, a group of adult Eagle Scouts, the highest and most prestigious rank in Scouting, has renounced the organization by returning their much-coveted award.
On the Tumblr site appropriately named “ Eagle Scouts Returning Our Badges”, letters to the Boy Scouts of America are featured in protest of their discriminatory policies.
One former Eagle Scout so eloquently refers to his hard earned medal as “…a faded, tarnished symbol of outdated thinking, prejudice and intolerance.”
I have proudly attended the Eagle Scout ceremonies of my nephews, and celebrated their accomplishments in achieving a rank that only a small percentage has the tenacity and drive to reach. While I commend their achievements, it hard to support an organization whose values are so misguided.
The Scouts speak of being reverent, loyal and brave.
To be reverent, is to show respect. We should be teaching our children to respect others, regardless of their religion or sexual orientation. To be loyal, is to be supportive of your friends, regardless of your differences. To be brave is to stand up for your beliefs, even if they challenge the status quo. Sadly, The Boy Scouts of America are not teaching the values they stand for, when there are caveats attached.
Someday, our grandchildren will look back at this period of establishing gay rights with the shame we feel when we think about our ancestors forcing blacks to sit in the back of the bus, or prohibiting women from voting.
Our country was founded on the principles of freedom and equality. It is a shame that one of the groups synonymous with American family values would hold onto outdated notions of discrimination.
photo: Glasshouse Images