To the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America,
Due to the Boy Scouts of America’s current discriminatory policies on faith and sexual preference, I cannot honorably remain a member of this organization. It is with a somber heart that I renounce the rank of Eagle Scout that I earned on January 14, 2008.
Scouting founder Lord Baden-Powell famously indicated in the first Scout handbook that “[n]o man is much good unless he believes in God and obeys His laws.” However, this very same text goes on to advocate the extermination of the gray wolf. My intent is not to write off everything written in the first Scout handbook, but as my example illustrates, the BSA’s inceptive values are by no means an authoritative resource on morality. We as a society must re-evaluate our beliefs, both rationally and critically, in order to continue evolving and refining our standards of moral correctness. Our society’s tendency to unquestioningly accept certain founding principles and traditions has greatly inhibited our ability to engage in constructive discussion regarding the morality or correctness of these beliefs.
As Welsh v. Boy Scouts of America (1993), Boy Scouts of America v. Dale (2000), and more recently, the July 2012 reaffirmation of LGBT exclusion have demonstrated, the BSA remains adamant in its exclusion of homosexuals, agnostics, and atheists. Under freedom of association, the BSA maintains the right to determine its membership base, but this is hardly a rational justification for alienating individuals on the bases of personal belief and sexual preference. Unfortunately, these membership policies falsely presume that heteronormativity and religiosity are required for morally correct behavior.
Instead of serving as a supportive force in the lives of adolescents who are asking themselves several of life’s biggest questions, the BSA has turned its back on the many that do not fit its exclusive membership profile.The organization that professes to foster individuals that are “courteous,” “helpful,” “kind,” and “morally straight,” propagates unrealistic and unhealthy views towards a-religious and sexual minorities. Furthermore, these membership criteria communicate to Scouts that there is something “wrong” with these groups. Sadly, the National Executive Board justifies such discrimination by way of an ad populum argument.
I urge you, the National Executive Board, to consider what I have written. Your inaction on these issues continues to harm a significant segment of today’s impressionable youth. Until your by-laws reflect an ethos befitting the overarching mission of the BSA, I cannot with a clear conscience align myself with an organization that perpetuates these exclusionary policies.
Former Eagle Scout