Eagle Scouts make a Tumblr for protest letters

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34 Responses to “Eagle Scouts make a Tumblr for protest letters”

  1. armandcamera says:

    As an alternative to returning these hard earned medals, I made a FB page for photos of Eagle Scouts holding their badges in protest.:

    https://www.facebook.com/Eaglesforgayrights
    It breaks my heart that you guys are giving these things up.
    I was a Boy Scout, my dad and my sons will always be Eagle Scouts.

    • Es See says:

      That is the point, they are giving them back in act of protest to try and change things in the BSA. I’m sure it breaks theyre hearts even moreso being the medals they earned and having this organization hurt them in return by being prejudice and contradictory to morals. I think the main reason for giving them back is that they dont want to be part of an organization that represents such prejudice, or proudly display a medal of such hate mongers :) After all it is just a material thing. Youd think the experiences youve endured would be much more grateful to you than hunk of cheap metal. I think what youre doing is noble, but it wont make the same point as people returning them unfortunately.  :(

    • wysinwyg says:

      It breaks my heart that you guys are giving these things up.

      I’m pretty sure it breaks their hearts too. 

      Can we take a break from telling eagle scouts what they should or shouldn’t do with their badges?  There’s at least one of these comments in every thread.

    • EH says:

      It breaks my heart that you guys are giving these things up.

      Good. 

  2. RKTR ♫soundcloud.com/rktr says:

    So parents, have you kept the kids in the boy scouts?  Pulled them out?  Talked to them about the issue?  Curious to hear what’s going on with the members and their parents.

    • William Shortifle says:

       Earlier this year I was asked to become more involved in my Nephews activities in Boy Scouts.  I took all the required trainings, but while I was taking the trainings I realized that it was unlikely I would ever put on the uniform due to being agnostic.  I didn’t say anything to my nephew or any of the other leaders and continued to support his efforts as at this time in his life I’m the only halfway decent male role model he has and I’ve seen some personal growth in him due to the influences of some of the other adult leaders.  He is developmentally disabled due to being abused physically and sexually from birth until about age four when he was removed from his parents. 

      I volunteered to go on the summer camp trip with his troop because they needed a driver and one more adult.  I purposefully did not purchase the uniform.  I could tell that the other adult leaders wondered why I was basically the only one there who did not wear the uniform at ‘required’ times, but I was not questioned.  I struggled with this thinking “what the heck, it’s just a uniform.  You can fake it.” and “No, I won’t be a hypocrite.”

      After I witnessed some bullying, some utter lack of leadership and questionable ‘morals’ being displayed by adults and leaders at this camp, (not only our troop) I decided that I couldn’t possibly wear the uniform.

      I discussed this with my nephew and he seems to understand although I’m not sure due to his age (13) and the issues that he has regarding maturity.  I believe that he understands my objection on religious grounds but the issues regarding sexuality are still beyond him at this point.  I’ve tried to discuss sex with him and he listens, asks questions but I don’t think he’s comprehending things yet. 

      Since he was also selected for “The Order of the Arrow” this year and will be going to Ordeal in August, we feel it best for him to continue in the scouts with the good things outweighing the bad until he can make his own decisions.   Much like my parents (VERY strict Catholics) allowed me to make mine when the time came.

  3. theangriestdogintheworld says:

    The BSA has been going down the tubes as of late, even outside of the homophobia. Being an Eagle Scout doesn’t mean what it meant 50 years ago. It used to take dedication and commitment; now it’s all determined by how much parents and scoutmasters push the lazy little twerps. 

    Even if this outcry gets the BSA to change their policy, no amount of protest is going to change how these bigots feel. I wish there was a simple solution to get rid of all this hate, but I really have no idea what to do. Perhaps it will take a few generations for this irrational ire to die out, but I hope there’s a faster way. 

    On a tangental note, I don’t really understand the BSA’s position, I mean when I was in scouts, it was SUPER gay. We did all sorts of gay shit.

    • jsd says:

      “It used to take dedication and commitment; now it’s all determined by how much parents and scoutmasters push the lazy little twerps. ”

      That seems quite the insult to the kids and young men working their tails off to make Eagle Scout today. Besides, people say this about every organization that they age out of. 

      The BSA’s position on gays is not defensible in the modern world. That doesn’t mean the kids who want to be there deserve to be labelled lazy little twerps.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        The BSA’s position on gays is not defensible in the modern world. That doesn’t mean the kids who want to be there deserve to be labelled lazy little twerps.

        As an adult gay man, what the BSA does has zero impact on me.  It’s the children who need to be defended against the leadership, not those of us who are watching this from a distance.

  4. Nutrition Industry says:

    Last I knew, the Boy Scouts do not award a merit badge for hating gay people.  Lord Baden Powell did not found the Boy Scouts with the goal of hating gay people.  It is not an anti-gay organization, but it currently has anti-gay leadership.  The current (and recent) Boy Scout executive leadership has adopted this discriminatory policy.  I hope they will change their minds, and perhaps these principled Eagle Scouts will influence them.

    In fact, I think that the Boy Scouts were founded with a Christian focus.  They have shown the ability to change in that now they are simply asking for a belief in A god.  I hope they will move on to accepting atheists and people of different sexual orientations.  They showed the ability to change on one issue, I hope they will do so on these other issues.

    To characterize Boy Scouts as an anti-gay organization is equivalent to characterizing Penn State football as a pedophile organization.  Boy scouting is intended to produce quality individuals, and Penn State football has produced many outstanding football players who are not pedophiles.  The failures of leadership do not equal the failure of its members.

    I believe that boys should still join Boy Scouts, men should still volunteer for the Boy Scouts, and they all should learn the valuable lessons it teaches.  The more boys and men that join Boy Scouts and support change from within, the more likely it is to occur.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      There is no such thing as working for change from within.  It is a weak excuse for privileged people to continue doing the thing that they enjoy while other people continue to suffer discrimination.

      Please explain to me exactly what you think working for change from within would consist of.  Would it mean calling, writing letters, holding protests, organizing a national media campaign?  That’s exactly what these Eagle Scouts are doing.  And you don’t need to remain in this bigoted organization to do any of those things.

      Do you believe that anyone who remains in BSA will actually do anything to make change?  Or will they just pat themselves on the back because they have superior sentiments on the issue, all the while bolstering the discriminatory leadership by continuing to contribute to the organization.

      If the failures of the leadership do not equal the failure of its members, then let the leadership be removed.  Until such time, those people who remain members continue to stand on the side of bigotry and hatred.  If you’re an adult and you remain a member despite knowing of these discriminatory and hateful policies, you should be ashamed of yourself.

      • Flibbertigibbet says:

        I completely disagree. Isn’t the lesson of the civil rights movement that we as a people can change by deciding to do the right thing for the right reason?

        Rather than fleeing the US, I’m damn glad that dissenting citizens worked hard to help steer us as a nation onto a better course.

        I do believe that working from within works.

        Scout leaders, former scouts, scout parents, and the kids themselves all need to stand up on the right side in this.

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          Rather than fleeing the US, I’m damn glad that dissenting citizens worked hard to help steer us as a nation onto a better course.

          Comparing national citizenship, which is essentially unchangeable for many people, with membership in a voluntary organization is disingenuous and a grossly false equivalency.

          I do believe that working from within works.

          Please tell us exactly what you have done that falls under the category of working from within and why you believe that it will successfully create the desired changes.

          • Flibbertigibbet says:

            I technically didn’t compare the two.  I simply provided a single example in which working for change from within worked.  This was in direct response to your blanket statement, “There is no such thing as working for change from within.” which is demonstrably untrue.

            With regard to who I am and what I have personally done to drive change, I didn’t realize that boingboing’s boards held commenters to such high standards, but what the heck:

            My name is Will Johnson.  I earned the rank of eagle scout in 1986.  I was the 50th scout in my troop to be awarded an eagle.  I have three younger brothers, who are also eagle scouts.

            I served as the senior patrol leader of my troop for tw0 years — a troop of 75 boys.  Needless to say, it was a challenging job.  We were fortunate and had a scoutmaster who allowed the scouts to run things and restricted adult participation to driving and offering advice.  It was the job of my leadership corps to plan and implement the weekly meetings and monthly outings.

            One of the very first lessons I learned when I joined scouts was how to work for change from within.  The very first patrol leader assigned to my patrol was a bit of a bully.  Nothing he did was criminal, homophobic, or racist, but he was not at all pleasant to have as a leader. 

            Rather than quit, we learned that if we earned the rank of second class, we could replace him.  This incentive was all we needed.  He was replaced within 4 months and he switched patrols shortly afterwards, embarrassed to be taking orders from a 12 year-old.

            I have worked since then in politics and business.  I have learned that rage-quitting doesn’t solve problems.  If you do not agree with the principles or people running an organization that you love, then it is your responsibility to speak up and advocate for change.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            If you do not agree with the principles or people running an organization that you love, then it is your responsibility to speak up and advocate for change.

            Once again, please provide concrete examples of how you have spoken up and advocated for change on this heinous policy.

            Because it appears you have done nothing whatsoever to ‘work from within’ to get the BSA to end its policy of homophobic bigotry. But you have taken time out to criticize people who are actually doing something about it.

          • Nutrition Industry says:

            Antinous, I was unaware that you are a gay man.  I can better understand your strong stand on this issue.  Were you a scout as well?

            As for change from within (just two of many examples), if the head of Philmont Scout Ranch (very high profile position) was gay or very pro-gay publically, this issue would take on a whole new dimension.  If 100 or more current Scoutmasters threatened to quit over this issue (i.e. too many to replace quickly) the leadership would have to choose between crippling the national organization or changing its position on gays.  That is the power of change from within and a different effect compared to change from outside.

            Have I changed an organization from within?  Yes, yes I have.  I am a very strong supporter of breastfeeding as being best for a child, and I have done research supporting that position.  I also joined an infant formula company as a research leader.  I advocated against research that might come across as anti-breastfeeding, and I had a 100% successful record of change from within.

            Did that cover your criteria?

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            Did that cover your criteria?

            Not even dimly.

            …if the head of Philmont Scout Ranch (very high profile position) was gay or very pro-gay publically, this issue would take on a whole new dimension. If 100 or more current Scoutmasters threatened to quit over this issue (i.e. too many to replace quickly) the leadership would have to choose between crippling the national organization or changing its position on gays.

            And if the moon were made of green cheese, NASA would have a very different history. I don’t know why you think that fantasies are applicable to real life situations. Who is actually taking definable, real-world steps to eradicate institutionalized bigotry in the BSA, what are they doing and what effect has it had?

            I advocated against research that might come across as anti-breastfeeding, and I had a 100% successful record of change from within.

            Good for you. What have you done to create change from within the BSA, the actual subject of this post and thread? And while I’m on the subject, how many teenagers have committed suicide this year due to anti-breastfeeding research?

          • Nutrition Industry says:

            My apologies, Antinous.  I have shared my perspective as best as I can.  If it is different from yours, well, isn’t that the way of the world?  Perhaps one day, we will see more eye to eye.  I look forward to that day.

        • Nutrition Industry says:

          Will,

          Thank you for your comments.  It is a great tribute to your time in scouting that you learned “change from within” in your first patrol.  I look forward to a day when the Boy Scouts of America can get their act straight (intentional joke) and again focus on teaching boys to be better men.

          As always, Be Prepared!

        • Nutrition Industry says:

          Um, if all the people who think having a more inclusive policy in the BSA were to rage-quit then what open-minded person is going to be left to head up Philmot or be a Scoutmaster?  Those are the persons who can make a change from within.  You seem to equate participation in the BSA with accepting their policies.  Think of American Catholics who use birth control but still love their church.  Think of anti-nuclear activists who still vote in elections to participate for the hope of change from within.

          As for the ad hominem (sp?), I have been gifted with daughters.  I can spend time helping my daughters’ organizations, or I can be the seemingly creepy guy who volunteers at the local BSA without a kid who participates.  As an adult without children in the BSA, what I can do is exactly what I have done – send a letter and call some of my old scout friends and ask them to write too.  I hope you aren’t going to dismiss my effectiveness simply because of the gender of my children. ;) I still mantain that people within the BSA can do more than I can, and I have given examples of how they can do so.  If you can think of something else I can do, I am certainly game if it helps the process.

          As for the gay teen suicide horror, there are much better efforts to help young LGBT folks than destroying the BSA as in the “It gets better” site – I was awestruck by it.  Are there gay teen suicides where the young man blamed his disaffectation on the BSA?  That would be something to give me pause.

          I am not aware of teen suicides due to anti-brestfeeding advocacy, but I did have one woman in one of my research studies who killed her baby because the pain from her bloody and cracked nipples combined with her post-partum depression was just too much in the face of her uncompromising pro-breastfeeding friends.  Post-partum depression is not a minor complaint, and there are suicides associated with it as well.  I just thought I would share my own experience that you might find relevant.

          May I ask again, were you in the Boy Scouts?  The point is not to discredit you, but, for the purposes of conversation, it does help to know if we have a common frame of reference or not.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            You persist in not answering the question with anything but bland mumblings about working from within. You have no argument except sentiment.

          • Nutrition Industry says:

            Oops, replied to the wrong thread.  See above.

          • Nutrition Industry says:

            Oh yes, your questions.  Did I capture them properly based on your bolding?

            “Who is actually taking definable, real-world steps to eradicate institutionalized bigotry in the BSA, what are they doing and what effect has it had?”

            Only the people inside the organization can do that – short of criminal charges.  Are you suggesting that there are some to bring?

            “What have you done to create change from within the BSA, the actual subject of this post and thread?”

            I provided that answer.  Are you considering my actions inadequate because I am proud to have daughters?

            My previous (and unanswered) questions to you still stand but only in the spirit of better understanding.

            And, at the risk of being banned by you, (which you may or may not) want to evaluate solely in the service of others on the off off chance that the source of avoidance by other contributors to respectfully challenge your views may be *well you get it*), this particular issue regarding homosexuality may be a little close to your heart to be fully objective in your replies.  Just saying.

            Please consider that this topic is also close to the hearts of many Scouts who reply.  Much like your feeings. Perhaps I am not objective from that perspective, but I try not to be offensive whenever I can.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            this particular issue regarding homosexuality may be a little close to your heart to be fully objective in your replies.

            Besides the offensive paternalism of suggesting that oppressed people should simmer down, that’s a bit insulting to the many heterosexual Eagle Scouts who are passionately involved in this campaign.

  5. nunya says:

    I have never been prouder of the Eagle Scouts than I am of these men standing up for equality. 

  6. professor says:

    I’m just curious how those church groups got their grubby little hands on the BSA in the 1st place: my father was a Queen’s Scout in the UK, I was a Sea Scout in Australia but neither of us had any religious stuff foisted on us, just the practical skills, honor and duty that came with it. How did the US Scouts end up like this?

    • Flibbertigibbet says:

      I frankly don’t think the decision was based on religious grounds — at least I hope not. Instead, I imagine that the decision was made based on fear and misunderstanding. Homophobic parents most likely demanded that their children not be sent camping in the wilderness with “deviants”.

      The heart of the problem is the very real fear society has of men wishing to rape and molest every innocent they can get their hands on.

      How many men are looked at with suspicion when they say they are interested in teaching young children? How many male teachers leave that classroom door open and make sure they are always in the company of two or more people at school? How many single men would love to adopt and raise a child, but are too worried that they will be viewed as pedophiles, so never begin the process?

      So, I really do see this issue as fear-based and not founded on any sort of religious belief. This is why I do think that it is so important for everyone involved in scouting to speak up and encourage the BSA to show the bravery it instills in its boys.

    • Alan Chen says:

      Its interesting that Scouts in other nations are also generally gender integrated while in the United States the Boy and Girl scouts are basically separate organizations. Both seem to be affiliated with a World scouting organization though..

  7. Jeddy Khan says:

    Why not have an LGBT Scout Association – to avoid this controversy.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Separate but equal? That’s never worked out very well.

      • Christopher says:

        And it’s already been tried. There are numerous alternative organizations that do many of the same things as the Scouts that don’t discriminate either on the basis of sexual orientation or religious belief (or lack of it). Because there are several of those organizations, though, they’re also competing with each other, which dilutes their ability to serve, and they don’t have the same history as the Boy Scouts.

        Besides not every boy who enters the Boy Scouts, especially if he started as a Cub Scout, is going to know at the time that he’s gay, bisexual, or transgendered. Even the ones who do may not be prepared to talk to their parents about it or to explain why they don’t want to (or feel they can’t) be part of an organization that discriminates against them.

  8. Just curious… But would it be possible for an enterprising group of individuals to establish a scouting organization based on Lord Baden-Powell’s ideals, but in direct contrast, competition, and protest to the BSA?

    I imagine they would risk getting their socks sued off… But on what grounds? I’m sure that some smart-cookie lawyer could help ensure they don’t cross any lines to keep from getting into a conflict with the BSA…

    EDIT:
    Oops. Someone just beat me to the comment… (See above)…

    I wouldn’t recommend just an LGBT scout association, but certainly one that is all-inclusive….

  9. secre says:

    I’m from the UK and therefore actually have very little understanding of the way US policies etc work however something about this story touched me and I believe that more people should be alerted to the injustice that is occurring. I hope you don’t mind that I wrote a piece based off this with my opinion which has links directly back to your articles; http://socyberty.com/issues/eagle-scouts-becoming-former-eagle-scouts-over-blatant-discrimination/

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