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The Boy Scouts of America Still Hates Gays

Back in the fall, Ryan Andresen completed all of the requirements for his Eagle Scout award. He earned all the merit badges, made his way through the ranks, and completed his service project, a tolerance wall at a local school. But when he attempted to receive the award – an award he’d earned, thoroughly – the Irving-based Boy Scouts of America refused, claiming “membership standards” weren’t met by Andresen. The reason? He’s gay.

The Mount Diablo-Silverado Boy Scout Council in California reiterated that decision to CNN yesterday, stating that Andresen’s faults were “duty to God, avowed homosexuality, and the fact that he is now over 18 years of age.” First off: the last one’s crap. I received my Eagle Scout award seven months after my 18th birthday, but because I had completed all the requirements before my 18th birthday, it was cool. The council threw that one in to have a safety net when people like me – mostly people without Eagle Scout awards — came to criticize. Rightfully.

I’ve written about my Boy Scout experience on here before, and it’s an experience that’s guided my entire life. I was taught to be, among other things, trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. Virtually none of the tenets the Boy Scouts of America embedded within me and millions of other young men are being upheld and honored in this case. The Boy Scouts of America should be an inclusive group, a united front that does good for the world and community. Instead it’s become a group of cowards, bigots, and backwater traditionalists hellbent on preserving a way of life that harms the young men it claims to aid.

Andresen is a man who’s done everything right except, apparently, loving the wrong gender.

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  • texan

    And this come as a surprise to him? Don’t tell me he didn’t know the rules. If you don’t like the rules of a club, leave it and start your own.

  • BradfordPearson

    Leave it and start a new, internationally recognized, 100+ year old organization?

    And why should it be a rule that gay Scouts aren’t allowed? Does it compromise the integrity of the organization? Are other Scouts being distracted by all the gays running around the troop? It’s ridiculous.

  • downtownworker

    He’s a kid for god sakes. He followed the rules. What a load of bulls#!t

  • Alexander Muse

    Without taking a position on whether or not it is a good idea for the BSA to admit homosexual boys into their organization I have a couple of thoughts. First, Ryan made an affirmative decision to make his Eagle award about his sexuality. He worked closely with GLADD on his ‘coming out’ strategy, issued press releases and specifically sought to force the BSA to react. Had he simply been interested in getting his Eagle award he would have received it regardless of his sexual orientation. His true ‘Eagle’ project was to get the BSA to change their position – obviously that was his right. Second, while it is correct that you can receive an Eagle Scout Board of review three months after your 18th birthday without special approval – after three months you need to get the local council to approve a board of review. There needs to be a good reason – a reason detailed in writing – why the scout failed to complete his board of review within the prescribed time period. At the end of the day, I wouldn’t spend any time feeling sorry for this young man – he made the decision to fight the BSA.

  • cfd

    Bradford, who should the Boy Scouts be capable of excluding without becoming a group of “cowards, bigots, and backwater traditionalists”? Once you can answer that, your post might become more than a dismissible emotional rant.

    For example, should the Boy Scouts be able to exclude boys who kill feral neighborhood cats in order to preserve endangered songbirds? What kind of moral character would they be said to possess?

    What about “tomboys” who want to do exactly the same things the male Boy Scouts do without being shunned into a “separate but equal” organization ? The Boy Scouts isn’t a sexual organization, so what a Scout has between their legs shouldn’t matter in the slightest.

    What about undocumented immigrant boys, male or female? Should they be allowed to become victims of discrimination merely because their parents wanted a better life for them, including Scouting?

    When the Boy Scouts do admit gays, how should they handle Scouts engaged in anal sex on camp outs? A few gay boys just may not be as content to love their gender platonically from a long distance as all the others apparently do, you know. Should it be encouraged? Treated as no big deal? Be cause for immediate dismissal? Should parents of other scouts be notified What, Bradford?

  • BradfordPearson

    If the goal of the Boy Scouts of America is to create a greater citizenry and do good, though, why would they purposefully exclude young men willing to do just that?

  • Daniel

    Yep, it’s a real slippery slope, all right, cfd. I hope you don’t mind that I’ve marshaled my editing skills on your behalf — I think you’ll agree that the revised version is much crisper and more concise:

    “If they gave Ryan Andersen his Eagle Scout award, it would only be a matter of time before men would demand to marry their pet dogs.”

  • blue pencil

    But can we feel sorry for him because he tried to open a closed-minded organization — and lost? Would that be OK?

  • Alexander Muse

    Not sure he lost his battle against the BSA – it has only started. Don’t feel sorry for him because it was a battle he CHOSE. Had he simply been homosexual and they denied him his Eagle award – that would be something to be sad/mad about. But that wasn’t what happened. He forced the issue. Made the BSA recognize they were going to violate their own rules by giving him an Eagle award. Hundreds of Eagle scouts earn their rank each year, but they don’t make it about their sexuality. Sexuality really has no place in the BSA – straight or gay…

  • cfd

    But Bradford, that was the basic question I asked at the outset which has proved too difficult for you, if the goal of the Boy Scouts of America is no more definite at all than your “to create a greater citizenry and do good”, why would they purposefully exclude any persons or things whatsoever?

    So let’s just agree for the moment that your grasp of real world organizations is limited to producing blog posts, and I’ll answer your question instead.

    The BSA is a private organization steeped in the Christian tradition of most of its 100 years that homosexuality is morally illicit, thus their private definition of morality, which defines goals more complex than you have exhibited being able to grasp logically, excludes those who engage in their private definition of morally illicit behavior.

    Instead of using the BSA as a stealth platform to surreptitiously describe Christians who find homosexuality morally illicit as “cowards, bigots, and backwater traditionalists”, why not just say so directly? If you were the Scout you claim to be, you should be man enough to do so outright.

    Unfortunately, that still leaves you unable to say on any basis more sophisticated than Kermit the Frog why the BSA should be able to exclude any person or thing with any discernible constituency at all.

  • cfd

    Don’t mind at all, Daniel. From the evidence of your editing skills, I’m probably doing the taxpayers who pay you for them a favor by distracting you.

  • Brett Moore

    Don’t be naive, Bradford.

    Because the single largest sponsor of scout units is the LDS church. The Mormon’s youth group for boys is the BSA.

  • Mike

    So, your reasoning is that it’s too hard to start an organization so you have the right to tell them how they should run theirs? Well, it’s too hard for me to start a magazine so i’m pleased to find out i now have the right to tell D how to run it’s publication. First order of business, firing anyone who calls others bigots and cowards in an attempt to force their way of life onto them, have fun in the unemployment line.

  • Michael J. Mooney

    Wait, cfd, are you suggesting that because it is against the current rules, there are NO gay people in BSA? And that there is never any sexual activity at camp outs? Or do you just think that if the rules changed, there would MORE of these things?

  • ket

    I’m glad this young man stood up to the BSA on this issue. The BSA used to have much more reasonable membership rules and this turn to the right is misguided.

    And no, texan, it wasn’t a surprise, just as it wasn’t a surprise when Rosa Parks was arrested, does that mean it was her fault? His actions will bring more attention to the issue and make it harder for open minded people to ignore their bigotry. Has he suffered, yes, but most eagles I know would call him a better man than those who denied his application.

  • cfd

    Lol, Mike, you sound like a cat startled bug-eyed from a deep sleep suddenly trying to get traction on a polished marble floor here.

  • Avid Reader

    Why even have rules? That would be awesome. Everyone should be able to join any organization they want; bylaws and what the organization stands for be damned.

  • Kk.

    My son joined the cub scouts in kindergarten -5 or 6 years old – as all the scouts do. How many people know they are gay in first grade? Are they asking all the 5 year olds if they are gay when they join? Do they have a policy that if boys realize they are gay sometime between 5 and 18 years old they have to resign? Are their badges to be turned in? Or is the policy more don’t ask don’t tell? That’s what is so egregious, they are little kids growing up, and they have hanging over their heads that something they’ve worked so hard on as far back as they have memories, which means their whole lives so far, will be yanked away if they are honest. It is absolute BS, this policy must contribute to the already horrible problem of gay teenagers killing themselves. BSA is a bigoted hate group, we need to call them what they are for the sake of the boys that are their victims.

  • Logan Turner

    If gays are allowed I should be allowed to hang in a fucking girl scout camp ohh sexual orientation doesn’t matter does it he is gay this is the boy scouts with boys he will hit on him if he hit on me I would punch the shit out of him

  • ernest t bass

    Admittedly, my exposure to Scouts is limited.

    First there was the neighbor 15-year-old son of a Scout Master who fondled me at age six.

    The other was when I dated the daughter of the head of the BSA in Irving. That man, according to my girlfriend, routinely slipped into her sister’s bedroom during the night, The whole family knew about it.

    Until then, I just figured they were all gay.

  • guest

    This Title is untrue. It is the other way around. Gays hate The Boys Scouts of America. If gays do not like the concept of the Boy Scouts and how they started, they don’t have to. Gays don’t want to be change, why are they demanding the Boy Scouts of America to be changed. I respect all no matter if they are gay or not, what I don’t understand is when someone is a hypocrite. The Boy Scouts have rights too, please respect that. Someone who respects another organization ideals and beliefs earns my respect; someone gay or not, who choose to create an organization to better an individual and still respect others belief earns my respect. This kind of article does not. Why do we think putting others down will lift them up. Where’s your respect of their standards. Why force anyone to believe just like you. You only change someone’s opinion when done respectfully.

  • Anonymous

    First of all, boys do not just “realize” that they are gay. They decide to be. Should someone be allowed to throw a tantrum because they are angry? Of course not. Just because anger is a “natural feeling”, it does not mean that they shouldn’t exercise self-control. The same thing goes for men. Yes, some people have homosexual feelings, but they have to be able to control them.

    And second of all, I do not see how the BSA is a “bigoted hate group”. Having been a Boy Scout, I can personally say that nowhere in any of the meetings does homosexuality ever come up as an official topic of discussion. Surprise! There is no “homophobia merit badge.” Plus, you don’t see the BSA out on the streets with “God hates fags” signs. They don’t go around screaming “Hey everyone, we don’t accept gays in our program!” They just set the bar and say “These are the requirements.” Heterosexuals wouldn’t protest about not being allowed to join an all-gays group, so why should homosexuals protest about not being allowed to join an all-straight group? It’s their group, so they get to make the rules.

  • anon

    thumbs up

  • anon

    I agree with you, Anonymous. Plus, Kk says that the kids that:

    “[kids that discover that they’re gay will realize] that something they’ve worked so hard on as far back as they have memories […] will be yanked away if they are honest.”

    These kids need to choose what is most important to them. Is it all their hard work in the Boy Scout program? Or is it being gay? It’s up to them, whatever they choose.