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June 29, 2013

 Wayne Brock
Chief Scout Executive
1325 Walnut Hill Lane
PO Box 152079 
Irving, TX 75015-2079

Dear Chief Scout Executive Brock:

I am writing to inform you that I am returning my Eagle Award.  Though the BSA has made progress by lifting the ban on gay Scouts, the BSA still continues to discriminate against homosexuals with your ban on gay leaders.  I cannot support such a policy and am sadly returning my Eagle Pin and Badge.

This action is not a rushed decision.  It is the culmination of multiple years of moral questioning.  I joined Scouts four years ago at the age of 14.  I was going to join earlier but was hesitant due to your organization’s past ban on all homosexuals in Scouts.  My family and I had gay friends and it seemed contrary to my beliefs to join.  However  I did end up by joining and once I did, I realized that my troop was in no way discriminatory.  I fell in love with Scouting, from the skills like first aid and orienteering to the strong friendships I created. 

As a Scout, I learned three main skills.  Firstly, how to be a leader.  Not just giving commands but also leading by example.  I learned that leading by example inspires others to follow you.  Secondly, as a Boy Scout I learned to be accountable, especially because my troop was a boy led troop where Scouts organized meetings and outings.  If something didn’t get done or it was done incorrectly, it was our own fault.  Finally, I learned acceptance.  In my troop, nobody cared what social group you were in, who your parents were or what you looked like.  The only thing the Scouts cared about was  personality, character and friendliness.    Because of this, I learned to appreciate others for who they are rather than what they are.  And in turn I learned to love who I am.  I am forever grateful to my troop for this.  However, the BSA is not as accepting as my troop.

I think it is long overdue that the BSA accept gay leaders among their ranks.  I understand that the BSA is under a lot of external pressure to uphold the ban.  However, by doing this, you place homosexuals on par with or below convicted criminals.  People have been discriminated against in similar ways in history because of their gender, religion or race.  Looking back though, we now see those discriminatory policies as archaic and unsustainable.  Discrimination against homosexuals is no different.  I ask the BSA to realize this and use the skills that you taught me to end the discrimination now. 

As I have said, I learned to be a leader and lead compassionately by example.  I am asking the BSA to do what you teach and lead the movement for tolerance of others by ending the ban on gay leaders.   I am also asking the BSA to be accountable and accept that many people have been hurt by their ban.   And lastly, I am asking the BSA to be confident in itself and trust the twelve values it teaches.  I believe the BSA can accept, teach and love all Scouts if they focus less on factors like sexuality and more on the character and personality of the Scout and Scout leaders like my troop members do.  I have gained so much from my troop and I’m glad I can give back to my troop as a straight eighteen year old.  However, this means if I was gay I would be shunned by the BSA and cut off from my troop.  I cannot imagine losing my troop that way.  

I believe the BSA has made me a better person and has the potential to do so for future generations of young men.  However, the BSA needs to leave its discriminatory burden behind.  When you do lift your ban I ask that you please return my Eagle Pin and Badge to the address listed below.  I would like to one day show my grandchildren my Eagle Pin, an award not only representing my hard work and all the skills and friendships I discovered in the BSA but also a pin that represents an organization’s brave end to a discriminatory policy.

Sincerely,
Peter Ramaley
 

 

June 29, 2013

 Wayne Brock

Chief Scout Executive

1325 Walnut Hill Lane

PO Box 152079 

Irving, TX 75015-2079

Dear Chief Scout Executive Brock:

Sincerely,

Peter Ramaley

 

 


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                                                                                                              1220 Highway 13                                                                                                      Grangeville, ID  83530                                                                                                                   13 April, 2013

Boy Scouts of America National Council P.O. Box 152079 Irving, Texas  75015

 

Dear Sirs:

We, three brothers, return our Eagle Scout awards in protest of the Boy Scouts of America’s discrimination against gay scouts and leaders.  We feel this policy directly contradicts scouting values and hinders BSA’s ability to serve and help boys.  We are distressed that we feel we have to take this course.

We were all active in scouting in the late 60s and early 70s.  Scouting was a big part of our lives:  staff members on the local council camp staff; vigil and brotherhood members of the Order of the Arrow; treks at Philmont and Charles Sommers Canoe Base; staff member at Philmont.  Scouting was an important part of our lives and through it, we learned to interact constructively with people of diverse backgrounds.  Our career paths in environmental remediation, public health, and public land management were all influenced by our scouting experiences.

Your current policy discriminating against gays does your members no service.  One of the great traditions of scouting is helping boys learn to respect the values and differences of others.  Now, you teach scouts that people they must deal with in daily life, in school, at work, or in the military, are so deviant they can not be allowed membership in your organization.  Instead, you should be helping them learn to interact positively with all people regardless of differences.

This policy prevents you from serving boys who need the sorts of experiences you provide more than most.  Gay youngsters have a hard time.  They do not choose to be gay—anyone who pays attention to the difficulty and hardship of growing up gay must understand this.  Research shows that gay boys suffer from bullying and are at high risk of depression and suicide.  The BSA policy towards gays contributes to this.  If Scouting chose to provide a welcoming environment for these boys they would have an easier time growing into productive adults.  

We think BSA has abdicated their moral authority to instruct boys.   Instead, you have bowed to the wishes of an intolerant minority.  You are being left behind as society becomes more tolerant of differences—a trend you should embrace.  You harm your members and prevent yourselves from serving boys who need your help.  Please reconsider this wrong-headed policy and regain your ability to fulfill your mission of helping boys grow into productive, engaged, and moral adults.

 

 David C. Green                         James C. Green                            Daniel L. Green    Grangeville, Idaho                     Benicia, California                     Santa Fe, New Mexico Former Eagle Scout                 Former Eagle Scout                     Former Eagle Scout

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Dear Sirs:

 


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Dear Mr. Mazzuca,
The continued exclusion by the Boy Scouts of America of “openly or avowed gay” individuals is detrimental to a progressive society in this country and countermands the teachings in the paths required to attain the highest rank within Boy Scouts, Eagle.
During my tenure as an active Boy Scout, each Troop meeting began with a recital of the Boy Scout Oath:
 
“On my honor, I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”
Premised by “morals,” arguments from the BSA cite adherence to the exclusionary nature of their policies in what I firmly believe to be a shallow and fallacious manner. I am of the opinion the means in reaching this decision is devoid of morals. In addition, it lacks support for the context of “morally straight” in the Boy Scout Oath.
Morals find definition in the courage that ethics lack; conviction makes apparent these distinctions, true, but within the current view of the BSA they only uphold the rationalization of close-mindedness in the face of clear inequity.
For nearly two decades, I have drawn from and passed down leadership skills and knowledge gained from my wonderful experiences in the Boy Scouts. I often ask of an organization or power that deems itself “just” and “moral” how power, rights, duties, opportunity, etc., are distributed among them. If we view the dilemma of “morals” concerning open or avowed gays within the ranks of the BSA, we must also ponder and account for reasoning, as to how and why excluding a group of society is for the alleged better of the remainder (eschewing hypothetical contingencies). This is especially important when in cases such as this; evidence that homosexuality, as a causal or contagious behavior does not exist. Therefore, the continued motion to exclude potential members within a federally protected class, when within the backing churches are also convicted sex offenders (a crime determined to be contagious), is egregiously hypocritical.
I earned 63 merit badges throughout my journey to Eagle Scout, 11 of which are required to attain the Eagle rank. Of the 11 required merit badges, three are Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, and Citizenship in the World.
Citizenship is defined as, “the quality of an individual’s response to membership in a community.” The requirement of these badges place an implied importance upon the lessons gained in them, and as Scouts, we are to be active participants, gaining insight to the ever-changing society around us from past struggles within society.  
In fact, from the Citizenship in the Community merit badge is a requirement to:
With the approval of your counselor and a parent, watch a movie that shows how the actions of one individual or group of individuals can have a positive effect on a community. Discuss with your counselor what you learned from the movie about what it means to be a valuable and concerned member of the community.
  Some suggestions:
 
·         Follow Me, Boys (G)
·         It’s a Wonderful Life (G)
·         Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (G)
·         Remember the Titans (PG)
·         October Sky (PG)
·         Mr. Holland’s Opus (PG)
·         Hoosiers (PG)
·         Pay It Forward (PG13)
·         Braveheart (R)
·         The Patriot (R)
The quote below is contained in one of the suggested films above, and poignantly highlights a struggle with inequity, prejudice, and discrimination similar to the fight against the same with-in and with-out the BSA today.
From the speech delivered by Coach Herman Boone, a character portrayed by Denzel Washington in the film Remember the Titans:
Anybody know what this place is? This is Gettysburg. This is where they fought the Battle of Gettysburg. Fifty thousand men died right here on this field, fightin’ the same fight that we’re still fightin’ amongst ourselves today.
 
This green field right here was painted red, bubblin’ with the blood of young boys, smoke and hot lead pourin’ right through their bodies. Listen to their souls, men:
 
       'I killed my brother with malice in my heart. Hatred destroyed my family.'
 
You listen. And you take a lesson from the dead. If we don’t come together, right now, on this hallowed ground, we too will be destroyed — just like they were. I don’t care if you like each other or not. But you will respect each other. And maybe — I don’t know — maybe we’ll learn to play this game like men.
Having walked the battlefields of Gettysburg and Antietam as a Boy Scout, the battles fought and won (or lost) came at a terrible cost; the battles were as decisive as they were divisive. 
Perhaps the greatest and most sobering lesson taken from the Civil War is that a personal conviction, irrespective of ethical justifications, may become counter-intuitive to the inalienable rights granted to citizens so they may live freely.
With regard to the BSA decisions, Scout Law dictates a Scout is Reverent - to God and His teachings. Reverence is not the only law of a Scout, however. Other laws of Scouting include Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Trustworthy, and Brave. With the whole of the Scout Law in mind, I am reminded of the disciples Simon and Judas, who denied and betrayed Christ during His time of need. When I reflect on my path to Eagle and adulthood, when I see the proverbial ‘single set of footprints in the sand,’ I know that because of the family and friends who gave support in my times of need, I was able to overcome obstacles and hardship before reaching a point of seeking Divine counsel. If I were to choose to live in accordance with the expressed vision of the BSA and the idea of ‘reverence’ by their leadership, I would have to deny and betray the homosexual friends and family, as would a disloyal coward; this is clearly and equally against the Scout Law.
 
Still, no higher authority exists then what we accept into our hearts paralleled by our intent and evidenced by our actions.
Until the Boy Scouts of America live up to their numerous mantras, I find myself at an impasse. I respectfully divest myself from them and of them, resigning the rank of Eagle to include all privileges and claims to rights therein.
I am an Eagle no longer.
 
Shawn K. Gordon
Former Eagle w/ palms Eagle Awarded June of 1996 with Troop 415 of Pomfret, Maryland.

Dear Mr. Mazzuca,

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On my honor, I will do my best

To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law;

To help other people at all times;

To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”

In fact, from the Citizenship in the Community merit badge is a requirement to:

  Some suggestions:

 

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I am an Eagle no longer.

 

Shawn K. Gordon


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1941 Sergeant Drive
Salt Lake City, Utah  84116
801-856-9936
 
April 15, 2013
National Council, Boy Scouts of America1325 West Walnut Hill Lane, Sum 326P.O. Box 152079Irving, TX 75038 
It is my understanding is that you are considering extending your ban on homosexuals in scouting, effectively making the ban permanent. Having been an Eagle Scout since approximately 1962, when I received that award in Troop 280, Syosset, New York, with great effort and honor, I am dismayed that you are even considering this counter-productive and reactionary response.  
It is inconceivable to me that you would continue eliminating the chance for any American youth to have the opportunities for learning and growth that scouting can provide. It appears that you have in effect tossed the Scout Law out the window and lost all sense of direction and leadership yourselves, when you should be providing that very leadership and direction. 
Do you even remember the Scout Law, which I memorized and took to heart in the late fifties, like millions of other young men, and can recall to this day, more than half a century later? A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. 
Not only does this official definition of a scout have absolutely no bearing on a scout’s sexual tendencies, it flies in the face of how you, scouting’s alleged leaders, are now behaving: You are clearly NOT being helpful, friendly, courteous, or kind, particularly to some of our most needy youths. It is a small leap to conclude that you are not being at all brave in standing up for what scouting allegedly stands for: To train youth in responsible citizenship, character development, and self-reliance.
Worse yet, you are ignoring truth if not running away from it: Almost every account from someone proclaiming to be gay, along with the bulk of scientific research, concludes that homosexuality does not develop over time, but is a trait one is born with and can neither be “managed” or “cured.” Given that homosexuals have contributed as much to society as heterosexuals, any argument that homosexuality is a somehow criminal cannot be taken seriously. By wilfully running away from this readily available information, you are not just avoiding bravery, you are setting a flagship example of personal cowardice, turning the fundamental premise and promise of scouting on its head.
Perhaps worse than the above, I fear you are about to take a firm stand that homosexuality is somehow immoral, and that gays are to be shunned, avoided, and—as will be the case—further harassed, bullied, ostracized, and made fun of in every possible way, further advancing the high prevalence of suicide amongst young men. 
 
I do not think that “perverse” is too strong a word to describe whatever infiltration has occurred to scouting in recent decades, nor do I think it is too strong a measure to rest solidly on previously formed and stated goals and purposes of scouting. Seeking out and seriously enforcing penalties for violations of these reasonable and commendable ideals would surely be a boon to the image and reality of scouting, bring a screeching halt to the present hypocrisy and abuses of those who claim to “be scouts,” but who fail miserably to even attempt to live up to the Scout Law.
 
But I have said enough, if these points are to make any difference at all. I would note, for the record, that I spent twenty years successfully teaching elementary school, more than double that time doing freelance writing, appearing at public hearings on environmental and other major public issues, acquiring two patents, living off the grid for 15 years in a solar-powered home, running for Federal Senate, raising a family, and achieving the status of valedictorian at a military college. This is not to boast but to hopefully demonstrate that I am a productive member of society, who thinks and cares deeply about the direction we are all headed in. And also to state emphatically that these achievements can be traced in large measure to the character building that I was exposed to through several years of scouting experiences.
It is for these reasons that I am returning my Eagle Scout Award to you: Scouting is no longer what was meant to be, but in fact quite the opposite. In the event that the BSA decides to stand on the firm ground of the Scout Law, laid down in essence over a century ago, regarding what a scout is or at least should strive to be, and having held up well since then of its own accord, I would be proud to still consider myself an Eagle Scout, along with what this accolade truly once stood for. 
I wish you the best of luck in your upcoming decision, and courteously encourage you to ponder these points, along with the body of scouting and its stated purposes which have been developed and refined over the past century. 
Sincerely,
Daniel Geery

1941 Sergeant Drive

Salt Lake City, Utah  84116

801-856-9936

 

April 15, 2013

 

 

Sincerely,

Daniel Geery


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April 5, 2013
Wayne BrockChief Scout Executive1325 Walnut Hill LanePO Box 152079Irving, TX 75015-2079
Mr. Brock,First of all I would like to apologize for a poorly written letter as I have not dedicated the time deserved to fully discuss the matter at hand.  However, I feel the urgency to express my concerns and opposition to the following matter is something that outweighs common formalities.  I understand that the BSA has reaffirmed its long-standing ban against openly homosexual leaders, youths, as well as adults.  I have also recently learned of Maryland Pack 442’s brave stance against LGBTQ discrimination, and the National Capital Area Council’s threat to rescind their membership.  Reading reports that homosexuals were banned from scouting made me ashamed to be associated with the organization I once relished.  I realize that this bigotry has been a part of scouting since its inception, but I was just recently made aware of it (and it disgusts me).  A Scout knows how to recognize and follow good leadership.  I therefore enclose with this letter my Eagle Scout medal and badge, symbols of lifetime membership in Scouting’s brotherhood.  Receiving my Eagle Scout medal remains among the proudest accomplishments of my life (a rank earned by only 2% of Scouts).  I relinquish this award with great reluctance but also great pride (which I will explain further in my conclusion).  Scouting, for me, was a school of leadership and confidence.  I remain grateful to Scouting for its many lessons, and I value the opportunities it provides for young people worldwide. 
 
The Boy Scout Oath requires scouts to do our duty to god, country, and others.   My god is one of love, tolerance, forgiveness, and understanding.  Your current stance and lack of leadership is one of discrimination and intolerance.  My country recognizes the rights and civil liberties of homosexual partners and is continuing to abolish antiquated legislature discriminating the homosexual community.  Despite society’s continued advancements towards our civil rights and united pursuit of social equality the board of the BSA still chose to characterize homosexuals as somehow deviant.  Duty to others means helping others, and doing good deeds.  One’s sexual orientation does not make a person less human or less in need of care, love, and support.   I feel horrible to have not realized the BSA’s views regarding this matter as it was not translated in my scouting career. 
A Scout is Loyal. I do not turn my back on my fellow Scouts, friends, family, or co-workers because they may be tall or short, white or black, straight or gay.
A Scout is Friendly. He is a friend to all, not just to those sharing his particular belief systems.
A Scout is Kind. Kindness extends a hand to all, and is blind to sexual orientation.
As an Eagle Scout, I challenge you to live up to the Scout Oath and to welcome gays into Scouting’s ranks.   Until then, I no longer believe the Eagle Scout status within the BSA to be consistent with my own moral duty to god, country, and others.   As such, I hereby return my Eagle Scout medal and badge, enclosed in this letter.
Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, 
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
As an Eagle Scout who cares deeply about the future of the BSA I cannot, in good faith, remain silent about the discrimination and exclusionary policies that throw into question the entire mission of scouting.  The majorities of Americans view the homosexual community as equal and continue to grow in their numbers and support in social reform and equality.  Despite the fact that gays and lesbians serve openly in our armed forces, and that both of last year’s U.S. presidential candidates support lifting the BSA’s ban, the Boy Scouts continue their discrimination against gay members.  This makes me question the true mission of the organization I came to love.  Does scouting seek to teach our future leaders the values of love, compassion, and equality before god; or, does it seek to disprove Dr. King’s unquestionable truth, that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”?   I know that I stand on the right side of history, and that someday I will see my Eagle badge when the values and honor that the badge represents is restored in the Boy Scouts of America.  It is sad that the BSA does not recognize the embarrassment from their stance on the issue surrounding gay leaders and members.  I can assure you that the BSA will look back on their actions 10 years from now and feel an overwhelming since of embarrassment regarding their actions.  I am ashamed that you are not embarrassed now. 
In case there is any question, I have included the BSA position statements in recent years.  Unfortunately, this is the first time I have seen this and I am an Eagle Scout. 
BSA Released Position Statements Regarding Discrimination of Homosexuals
1991 "We believe that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the requirement in the Scout Oath that a Scout be morally straight and in the Scout Law that a Scout be clean in word and deed, and that homosexuals do not provide a desirable role model for Scouts.” The BSA thus “believes that a known or avowed homosexual is not an appropriate role model of the Scout Oath and Law”1993 "We do not allow for the registration of avowed homosexuals as members or as leaders of the BSA”2000 "Boy Scouting makes no effort to discover the sexual orientation of any person.”2004 "Youth Leadership" policy stating that: "Boy Scouts of America believes that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the obligations in the Scout Oath and Scout Law to be morally straight and clean in thought, word, and deed. 
Currently “we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA. “
I would ask and challenge the BSA to be more forthcoming about their strong opinions cited above.  If they truly feel that these beliefs are just and important enough to risk Eagle Scouts disassociation with the organization, then why would they just not include these in the Scout Law?  I am a former Assistant Scout Master and Eagle Scout.  This is the first time I have seen these statements.  That alone should tell you that these convictions are not representative of the scouting population. 
Gandhi once said, 
“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.”
I couldn’t agree more.  I know that I can only honor my own beliefs and personally uphold the twelfth scout law by standing up against injustice to the fullest of my ability.   In retribution, for not taking action sooner, I plan to make my feelings public.  Despite the growing understanding and acceptance of my beliefs, I am prepared to stand up to any resulting opposition.  This expected backlash is nothing compared to the injustice already inflicted on the homosexual community and others by the lack of leadership from the BSA board members which have not represented the beliefs of the scouting population or at the very least the consensus of the Eagle Scouts.  
Just as jean shorts, slavery, Hitler, the KKK, and fanny packs became unpopular, I feel that it is only a matter of time before the BSA eventually changes their stance.  At that point - preferably sooner - I would ask that any individual step down and resign within the BSA who has spoken out in favor of the BSA’s current discriminatory membership requirements.  
I vow to petition other Eagle Scouts to make a stance on this issue.  I don’t care to influence their beliefs.  All I ask is that they make a stance one way or the other and not sit idly by.  Also, I will ask the same of other scouts who have just been awarded the rank of Eagle Scout.
In conclusion, I said I would explain my new since of pride despite my overwhelming feeling of disappointment the BSA’s board and lack of leadership.  In some strange way I have never been more proud in my life to be an Eagle Scout.  Like a boat, your two happiest moments are the day you buy it and the day you sell it.  I was overwhelmed with pride when I was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout, because I really felt like I earned it and it was something that a very few number of Scouts achieve through there Scouting career.  The pride in my achievement was never greater until today.  Ironically, this is the day that I no longer believe being an Eagle Scout is consistent with my moral duty to god (our creator not to be defined by others), country, and fellow people.   As such, I hereby return my Eagle Scout award.  I feel proud to have had an opportunity to implement and practice what I learned as a Boy Scout on a path to achieve the highest rank that scouting has to offer - the rank of Eagle Scout – and to use those morals and values to stand my own ground for god, country, and fellow men – even in the opposition of that same organization which bestowed upon me these very ideals.  I have not talked to other Eagle Scouts regarding this issue; however, I have never felt a closer connection to other Eagle Scouts than I do today.  I believe there are other Eagle Scouts, such as myself, who are ignorant as to what is going on with regards to the conduct of the BSA and their opposition to change an injustice within the organization that should have been changed long ago.  Once other Eagle Scouts become more informed I have no doubt that they will take similar actions.  In conclusion, I take pride in the fact that I am part of this select group of individuals.  I take pride in knowing that this group will be the driving force to hold the BSA accountable for their actions before and after the BSA decide to change their policies.  The Eagle Scouts who achieved the rank through their own self determination and drive rather than the pressures of family and others, largely consist of men that are our true leaders in society today and represent, by large, the true ideals of the BSA even in times of uncertainty.  These are men of action.  These are men who are part of the solution and not part of the problem.  These are men who will become involved in problems that are not being solved, whether or not their involvement is welcome.  Mr. Brock, I believe you are soon going to see these individuals holding you and others accountable for your lack of action and resolve as a BSA leader and representative.  The true award of an Eagle Scout lies within the individual and not an organization.  I am thankful that I will retain this moving forward.  I challenge our youth in Scouts to achieve the ranks of Eagle Scout.  My position today is not meant to discourage.  In fact, I feel that it is more important now for our youth to aspire to achieve this hurdle in life.  It is through this journey that our youth will learn what being an Eagle Scout is about.  It will not be easy and often unpopular in times like these.  However, you will come to realize that leadership is not about recognition and often not rewarded on the surface.  It is a reward that is recognized within ourselves and it is our duty as Eagle Scouts to stay vigilant as leaders moving forward through life.  Please accept my Eagle Scout medal and badge as a token not only of my pride as a Scout, but as a token of my pride of the Scouting ideals – two things I now find to be mutually exclusive.  
 Respectfully,Hamilton W. FosterFormer: Eagle Scout, Member of the Order of the Arrow, Assistant Scout Master, Chaplin Aide

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April 5, 2013

 

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said,

Gandhi once said,



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March 15, 2013
Mr. Wayne Brock and the BSA National Executive Board
1325 Walnut Hill Lane
PO Box 152079
Irving, Texas 75015-2079
Dear Mr. Brock and Executive Board:

I achieved the rank of Eagle Scout shortly before turning 18.  I joined the Boy Scouts when many people typically decide to leave the organization, during high school. My late arrival at scouting helped me to truly appreciate what scouting provided me as well as everyone I came in contact with during my career. During career I had numerous opportunities, including: a leader in Troop 222 (Montgomery, Alabama), Camp Counselor at Camp Tukabatchee, Order of the Arrow Trail Patrol at Philmont, International Camp Staff at Gilwell Park Scout Camp, and too many others to count.  During all of these opportunities I was always amazed at the diversity of the types of people.  I meet so many people from all over the country, with different religions, backgrounds, race, political views, etc.  To me, this was the greatest strength of the organization. The biggest lesson from these opportunities was, no matter who you were, how much money your family had in the bank, you could find a place in the scouts.  Later, when I learned I about the discrimination based on sexual orientation, I was very sadden and hoped that this would change and that the BSA would see the error and hypocrisy of this policy.
I urge the Board to revisit its policy and to understand the error of this policy.  I truly hope this policy changes, but until that time I withdraw all my connections to the Boy Scouts of America.
Sincerely,
Matt 

March 15, 2013

Mr. Wayne Brock and the BSA National Executive Board

1325 Walnut Hill Lane

PO Box 152079

Irving, Texas 75015-2079

Dear Mr. Brock and Executive Board:

Sincerely,

Matt 


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Wayne Brock;Chief Scout Executive                                         March 12, 20131325 Walnut Hill LanePO Box 152079Irving, TX 75015-2079Mr. Brock,It is with a heavy heart that I return the Eagle Scout pin and badge I was awarded in August  of 1980 while I was a member of Holy Cross Troop 31, Bay Lakes Council. I do this in protest of the Boy Scouts of America’s policy to deny leadership positions to gay and lesbian adults and membership to young adults who identify as gay. 
I have struggled with this decision for many months. I even delayed action when I learned that the volunteer officers of the BSA’s National Executive Board would review the policy. I hoped they would realize the policy was discriminatory, that it hurt the organization by keeping caring, qualified and dedicated people away from Scouting and, worst of all, taught young Scouts that it is acceptable to practice prejudice and bigotry. Their decision to pass the buck was both cowardly and embarrassing. The only thing it did was convince me to renounce this honor, one that I worked very hard for, one that made my entire family proud. 
How sad that an organization that teaches leadership has chosen to relinquish the lead in one of the most important civil rights issues of our time. 
I pray that one day you will see the error of your ways and realize that the principles and ideals of scouting can be taught by men or women, gay or straight. And the knowledge, wisdom and benefits of Scouting should be available to all young men regardless of their sexual identity. 
With regret -
Jonathan Johns

With regret -

Jonathan Johns


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February 21st, 2013
Boy Scouts of AmericaNational Council1325 W. Walnut Hill LaneIrving, Texas 75015-2079 Re: Ban on Gay Membership in Scouting Dear Council Members,     Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”  As a scout who cares deeply about the future of the B.S.A., I cannot in good faith remain silent about the discrimination and exclusionary policies that throw into question the entire mission of scouting.     Looking back over my seven years in Boy Scouts, I know that scouting has shaped me into a more confident, disciplined person and has given me memories that will last a lifetime.  It seems simply wrong, therefore, for the Boy Scouts of America to deny the lessons and experiences I have enjoyed to so many boys on account of their beliefs or sexual orientation.  Throughout my life I have benefited from the guidance of gay friends, teachers, and mentors, and it pains me to think that people as good as they have been barred from participation in scouting. I have been fortunate enough to serve in a troop that does not support the Boy Scouts’ national ban on gays, but as a member of the greater organization I would be remiss to ignore the issue.                    In an age when all reasonable people agree that discrimination, whether at drinking fountains or churches or country clubs, is fundamentally wrong, the B.S.A.’s ban on gay members appears increasingly behind the times.  When a growing majority of Americans believe in gay marriage, when gays and lesbians serve openly in our armed forces, and when both of last year’s major U.S. presidential candidates support lifting the B.S.A.’s ban, the Boy Scouts’ continued discrimination against gay members makes me question the true mission of the organization I have come to love.  Does scouting seek to teach our future leaders the values of love, compassion, and equality before God, or does it seek to disprove Dr. King’s unquestionable truth, that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice?”    Since the beginning of my involvement in scouting, I have always felt uncomfortable with the admittance policy of the national organization, and so I was pleased by the announcement on January 28th that Boy Scout leaders were considering a change that would have left gay membership up to the discretion of individual troops.  This shift in policy would have meant a small step in the right direction, and so I looked forward to the announcement that was promised for the following week. I was therefore deeply disappointed when the B.S.A. opted to ignore the tenth scout law by postponing any decision until May.  Such a move places doubt on the integrity of scouting and forces me to question my own continued involvement.      Therefore, I now return my Eagle badge and medal to the Boy Scouts of America.  For all that finally earning Eagle last month meant to me, I know that I can only honor my own beliefs and personally uphold the twelfth scout law by standing up against injustice to the fullest of my ability.  I ask that someday the B.S.A. send back my awards, but only when all boys, gay and straight, can earn those honors as I have.  Until then, I urge scout leaders to lift the ban on gays in order to uphold scouting’s belief in equality among all people.  I know that I stand on the right side of history, and that someday I will see my Eagle badge and medal again.  The only question is when. With deep respect, Maxwell Ulin

February 21st, 2013


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Feb 13, 2013
Wayne Brock
Chief Scout Executive
1325 Walnut Hill Lane
PO Box 152079
Irving, TX 75015-2079
Dear Mr. Brock,
It is with a sad heart that I am renouncing my Eagle Scout award in protest of the discriminatory policies against gays in the BSA.
Like all Eagle Scouts, I worked very hard for this great distinction and scouting was a formative part of my life – from cub scouts through boy scouts. I was proud to receive my brotherhood in the Order of the Arrow and to attend the World Jamboree in South Korea as a representative of the Boy Scouts of America.  But now I am ashamed. 
One of the greatest principles that I learned in the BSA was that of brotherhood. I learned to work together as a team, even when I didn’t necessarily like the team to which I was assigned. I was constantly ostracized as a child for being overweight, for being less popular or less physically fit. But in the Boy Scouts, I was accepted, despite my being different in some regards.  And yet, the very place that I sought refuge from discrimination embodies that very discrimination that I sought to escape. Luckily for me, the thing that set me apart was not my sexuality. I was not gay, and therefore, I was accepted… unlike many others that seek the very brotherhood that I was offered.           
My mother was our troop leader. There were no men (straight or otherwise) that were willing or able to make the sacrifice of time and energy to lead our troop, but my mother was. She poured her heart and soul into this organization in order to make sure that her two boys became Eagle Scouts – and we both did. Yes, my mom was different from the other leaders, but did she love her children or her troop any less? Not a chance. And was she accepted? Completely. So why not others that don’t fit the Scouts’ idea of “normal?”
            According to the Boy Scout Handbook, a scout is Helpful and cares about other people; a scout is Friendly and is a friend to all. He offers his friendship to people of all races and nations, and respects them even if their beliefs and customs are different from his own. A Scout is Courteous and is polite to everyone regardless of age or position. A Scout is Kind and treats others as he wants to be treated. So unless the Boy Scouts are ready to change the scout laws, it seems that instead it is time for you to change your organizational policies. And if you do, I would love to resume my status as an Eagle Scout. Otherwise, I will remain devout to many of the very principles that I learned as an Eagle Scout and renounce my rank and your organization.
Sincerely,
Jordan Watson

Feb 13, 2013

Wayne Brock

Chief Scout Executive

1325 Walnut Hill Lane

PO Box 152079

Irving, TX 75015-2079

Dear Mr. Brock,

Sincerely,

Jordan Watson


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February 7, 2013

PO Box 822
Lolo, Montana 59847

Boy Scouts of America
National Council
PO Box 152079
Irving, Texas 75015-2079

Sirs:
My mother died of cancer in 1961.  The last public function she attended was a Court of Honor where my brother and I and 3 friends were awarded our Eagle Scout badges.   She was very proud and asked that when she was cremated that the little pins given to the mothers of Eagle Scouts be pinned to her dress and my father made sure this was done.    
In this letter, I now return my Eagle Scout badge to the Boy Scouts of America.  If my mother were still alive, I’m confident that she too would be returning those little pins she was so proud of at that time.    An organization that institutionalizes discrimination against minorities is not an organization in which I have any pride in once being a member.   In the 1960s we, and many others, were largely unaware of the facts about sexual orientation and, to our discredit, viewed homosexuality as a perversion.  For the last 3-4 decades, however, I and most others have become better informed and recognize that discrimination based on sexual identity is the civil rights issue it actually is.   There was no real justification for our ignorance then and there certainly is no justification now that the science on this issue has become well known.  
I also herein return my “God and Country” award from the BSA that I earned following a year of bible study with a local minister.   It is now clear that an organization that practices institutionalized discrimination has no moral authority to issue awards in the name of either “God” or “Country” where that Country is the USA and not some caliphate like Iran and where that “God” is represented by the tolerance and love Jesus taught.   It would be wrong of the BSA to allow individual troops of scouts to continue to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.   If there are some who want to continue to  discriminate in this way, then let them form their own bigoted organizations to do so.  Bigotry should have no place in the BSA.
I also attach the only award I can find from my cub scout days, my “wolf” pin.   Tolerance to all must be taught at an early age to be sure it takes root on impressionable young minds.   I didn’t allow my children (now grown) to be either cub scouts or boy scouts because I had no confidence that the lessons they would learn about tolerance with the ranks of an organization that discriminated against some were the concepts I wanted them to have as adults.    Like most young people, but not the aging patriarchs of BSA, they are now adults free of intolerance that is based on sexual orientation, disability, race, or other characteristics of various minority groups.     
The BSA needs to grow up.  I am ashamed only that it has taken me this long to return these awards.
Sterling Miller

February 7, 2013

PO Box 822

Lolo, Montana 59847

Boy Scouts of America

National Council

PO Box 152079

Irving, Texas 75015-2079

Sirs:

Sterling Miller


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Feb. 6, 2013
Boy Scouts of America
National Executive Board
1325 W. Walnut Hill Lane
Irving, Texas 75015-2079
To the Executive Board BSA,
I have been very concerned by the continuing policy of banning gay scouts and leaders by the BSA. I consider this policy discriminatory. I also believe that this issue should of been dealt with years ago. Instead the BSA has continued reaffirming its ban on gays.  It is time for bold leadership, it is time to stand up and open up membership and leadership to all.
I agree with the President in his statement: (below)
"My attitude is that gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same way everybody else does in every institution and walk of life," said Obama, who as U.S. president is the honorary president of BSA, in a Sunday interview with CBS.


Most Sincerely,
David Pearsall

Feb. 6, 2013

Boy Scouts of America

National Executive Board

1325 W. Walnut Hill Lane

Irving, Texas 75015-2079

To the Executive Board BSA,

I agree with the President in his statement: (below)

Most Sincerely,

David Pearsall


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