No Eagle Scout for you!

Ryan Andresen still takes pride in his achievements (courtesy of the Andresen family)

To me, Ryan has all the qualities expected of a Boy Scout with one very important exception: he is also gay. And because he just came out to his family and friends, news which obviously got back to his scoutmaster, Ryan will not receive his Eagle Scout award. His family is protesting this decision, of course, but it doesn’t look good.

Last month, the Boy Scouts of America reaffirmed their policy of excluding gays from joining or providing leadership in their organization. This exclusion policy was challenged in 2000, but the U.S. Supreme court ruled 5-4 that it in no way violated anti-gay discrimination laws.

Of course, this is the same organization that kept detailed “perversion files” about suspected pedophiles and sex offenders for decades without sharing them with law enforcement. Thanks to a recent court order, though, they now have to release twenty years of files to the proper authorities.

Although I disagree with the BSA’s anti-gay policy, I can understand why they cling to it so. There are a lot of people who demonize gays and even some who equate homosexuality with things like child molestation and pedophilia. To my knowledge, there is no clear evidence to support these fears, aside from the actions of a few bad apples, which you will find in almost any organization.

Is it fair to judge all gays based on the actions of a few misguided or unstable people? I certainly don’t think so. That would be no different from saying that all African-Americans are criminals simply because most newscasts focus unfairly on crimes committed by blacks. It just isn’t right.

I certainly feel terrible for Ryan Andresen. Here he is on the cusp of receiving the Boy Scouts’ highest honor, Eagle Scout, only to have his hopes, dreams and hard work negated for nothing more than his sexual orientation. It truly is a shame and I hope future leaders of this important organization someday find a way to include everyone.

Lord knows that all our boys and young men could benefit from the life lessons and positive experiences the Boy Scouts provide.

Posted on October 5, 2012, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. This to me is similar to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. You joined or, in this case, came out knowing full well it violated the policy of the organization. That’s kind of on you at that point. Had he waited to come out so publicly, he would have received his Eagle Scout and no one would have been the wiser. I believe private organizations have the right to exclude whomever they choose. I can’t get up in arms because the Boy Scouts wont let girls join. We could cry gender discrimination, but it wouldn’t change anything within the organization because it THEIR organization. They run it as they see fit. I feel bad the kid wont get the badge, but at the same time, he knew the organization had a policy against gays when he came out.

    • That is true, Notes. It’s crappy, but I agree he should have gotten the award and then come out once the Boy Scouts were in his rear-view mirror. I doubt they would bother stripping him of the title once he was out of the organization. And yes, the BSA should be able to govern as they see fit because the Supreme Court allowed it. If nothing else, we have to respect their decision. I just hope things shift more towards inclusion in the future.

      Outstanding comments, Notes! Thanks for posting them!

  2. I don’t have any stats to back it up but in my opinion it doesn’t seem to be the openly gay people who commit these crimes against our children. It would be interesting to do research and compare stats of child abusers/molesters and see how many of them were open about their sexuality before they were accused. I am thinking the number is very low. Not sure how “politically correct” research such as that would be. Unfortunate after all that hard work, and yes, like NFTB commented he was probably aware of the policy but I would rather see him be true to who he is than hide due to one organization. There is too much hiding as it is.

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