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Boy Scouts of America
When I was a child, being a wheelchair user, I was excluded from scouting. At that time most of the world wasn't very accessible and my local scout troop encouraged my parents to keep me away.
Scouting was a big part of childhood when I was growing up, and I felt slighted and excluded.
Scouting is less prominent, but more important today than ever.
Unfortunately, I chose to keep my son out of scouting for only one reason. I'm appalled that Boy Scouts of America does not allow fathers who are gay to participate.
It makes it clear to young men that being gay is not acceptable to the Boy Scouts, and it discourages kids from scouting even if they aren't sure about their own sexuality.
This exclusionary attitude should have died decades ago, and I'm glad to see that Boy Scouts are feeling pressure, albeit too late, to change policy.
Groups that exclude anyone would not be an acceptable group to get my support. Your treatment of gay men, and ultimately of children by extension, was the single reason why I've chosen not to continue the legacy of scouting in my family.
I'm not gay. I'm married with two young children. I'm a Christian, but don't let my faith disrupt the lives of other people. I recognize that not everyone supports homosexual people, but that in no way implies that we have the right to impinge on their freedoms or opportunities.
Boy Scouts should be open to all boys and young men equally. Scout leadership should be open to all fathers and men of integrity, regardless of sexuality.
I'm glad you are considering a change.
Unfortunately, I won't be encouraging my son to join scouts anytime soon. As a matter of fact, when he asked me about scouting, I used BSA as a lesson. I told my son, point blank, that scouts aren't friendly to gay men or their families and I thought that was wrong.
Scouting taught my son an important lesson. BSA taught my son how not to act. BSA taught my son to reject bigotry, rather than endorse it.
I hope you do the right thing. I wish you had done it 25 years ago. I wish you had more programming for wheelchair users and better outreach for minority children.
The tradition of scouting was important to the development of America in the 40's and 50's. It still would be had they stayed in touch with the values of today's families rather than being stuck in the value system of the 50's.
The 50's emphasized work ethic. It emphasized family. It emphasized community. We need those things today.
The 50's also endorsed segregation and bigotry. Americans abolished them, and BSA should have as well.
Please don't fall trap to "Christian values". Real Christians love others in spite of whether we agree or disagree with their decisions or actions. Christ was the best example of this in world history. So called "Christian values" today often mask bigotry and Christ would be ashamed.
Son of Boy Scout, Stephen Tweed
Grandson of Eagle Scout, Glen Tweed
Father of Jason
Today I send this email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll publish their response if any.
I don't expect all my readers to agree. Feel free to comment but please offer opinions and support your point of view. Hateful remarks toward any individual or group will be removed. Express agreement or disagreement with dignity.