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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 4/15/13

Why I'm Returning My Eagle Scout Badge

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National Council, Boy Scouts of America
1325 West Walnut Hill Lane, Sum 326
P.O. Box 152079
Irving, 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 willfully 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.


Daniel Geery

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In my run for U.S. Senate against Utah's Orrin Hatch, I posted many progressive ideas and principles that I internalized over the years. I'm leaving that site up indefinitely, since it describes what I believe most members of our species truly (more...)

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