Hello. I am an Eagle Scout, International Scouter, and former member of the Boy Scouts of America. I have recently withdrawn my membership in reaction to the bigoted decisions of the heads of the Boy Scouts of America. At some point, enough is enough. I hold no ill will to any Scout or Scouter who is still a member. Their decisions may be different from the official stance.
Allow me to explain just how insulted I am that an organization I have worked with for nearly seventeen years of my life has decided to exclude, and dishonor fellow human beings based on their sexual orientation.
A Scout is Trustworthy the organization of The Boy Scouts of America's first point of its own law is establishing a foundation of trust. By setting a standard that some people are not qualified to be Scouts based on their own personal, uncontrollable orientation of who they love, the organization itself has desecrated the very idea. By setting this standard, some boys now must live in fear of being excluded from an organization they held dear. By setting this standard, the organization itself has deemed itself not worthy of trust, and required some boys not to be honest, and perhaps in the process feel untrustworthy.
A Scout is Loyal the organization of The Boy Scouts of America has breached this tenant of their law by abandoning their own members for simply being different in a harmless way. They exclude others based on sexual orientation. They deem fellow members, card carrying members who have dedicated their time, energy, and enthusiasm to an organization "unworthy" of the title of Scout because of who they love.
A Scout is Helpful the organization of The Boy Scouts of America has gone out of their way not to aid members of their own group from bullying by leaders and higher ups based on their sexual orientation. When informed of their leaders' misdeeds: exile, the main one among them, they do nothing but say their policy is that LGBT people are not allowed in the organization.
A Scout is Friendly the organization of The Boy Scouts of America has dishonored the idea of being a friendly organization by excluding people based on something they can't control. Homosexuality, bisexuality, and gender nonconformity are not decisions. They are not things one can just change. Exclusion of anyone for being who they are in a way that does not harm others is in no way the action of a friendly organization.
A Scout is Courteous the civility of The Boy Scouts of America is in question when they make it their official stance to exclude fellow human beings for things they cannot control. There is no courtesy or respect in an organization who will exclude based on such things.
A Scout is Kind The Boy Scouts of America directly breach the idea of kindness by being exclusionary based on any factor. By excluding individuals based on who they love, no kindness is shown. By endorsing a mindset that promotes bigotry and bullying, no kindness is shown.
A Scout is Obedient in contemporary society, acceptance of nonstraight people is commonplace. There are negative articles in response to every discriminatory action taken by the Boy Scouts of America. The obedience on the part of The Boy Scouts of America should be to hear what society has said about discrimination and abolish any policies that discriminate against harmless individuals based on who they are.
A Scout is Cheerful one cannot spread cheer through discrimination. The Boy Scouts of America does not appear cheerful when they go out of their way to exclude individuals based on their sexual orientation. They appear bigoted and even scared of those who do not fall in line with archaic notions about what is "normal."
A Scout is Thrifty it is entirely wasteful to exclude from one's organization, willing and able members of a friendly society based on sexual orientation. By eliminating willing participants, manpower is limited and time is wasted. Further, the discrimination can and will cause excluded individuals to tell others about the way they were treated, further causing people to be unwilling to aid a hateful organization.
A Scout is Brave bravery in this case would be admission of one's mistakes. The Boy Scouts of America has been cowardly, hiding in denial of the faults from within: holding fast to policies that are outdated and insulting. The stance of the greater organization of The Boy Scouts of America is one of cowardice. In fact, they detest bravery. They outcast former members of their organization for taking one of the bravest actions imaginable: being completely honest about who they are, and not compromising their integrity, in the face of judgment.
A Scout is Clean as I have been taught during my time in Scouting, cleanliness means both physical and moral cleanliness. It is entirely immoral to exclude any group of people who have done no harm to others from an organization based on things they cannot change.
A Scout is Reverent The Bible, The Book of Mormon, and the Koran all teach love of neighbors. There is no caveat that they be straight. There is no caveat at all. Love should extend beyond faith. All three books teach to love those with whom you disagree. This, however is not the stance of the Boy Scouts of America.
On My Honor, I will do my best, to do my duty, to God and my country, and to obey the Scout Law. To help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.
The fleur-de-lis in scouting also symbolizes pointing the right direction. The right direction is acceptance. The two stars symbolize truth--the truth is that LGBT people are just as good as any others--and knowledge--knowledge and understanding of LGBT members can be achieved through inclusion and interaction, tolerance and conversation. The points of the fleur-de-lis symbolize the three points of the promise: duty to one's god(s) and country, the faith part is addressed in reverence, above, and duty to country includes all citizens, from all walks of life; duty to self, expansion of self is achieved by learning, not sheltering; and duty to others, all others, of all genders, sexualities, faiths (or lack thereof,) ages, walks of life, social status, race, ethnicities, etc. Exclusion is not the right choice.
To help other people at all times, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, anything. Helping a youth become the best he can be should be the goal of Scouting in every way, no exceptions.
Mental awakeness: times are changing, and the idea of exclusion of anyone based on sexuality or gender identity are outdated ideas that society finds repulsive.
Moral straightness: discrimination of any kind is in no way moral.
I implore you, as a service and charity organization, to change your policies on behalf of the millions of people who have been hurt, excluded, or discriminated against by an organization that has not kept with the times and learned that old age ideals won't work in new age society.
I wholly understand that the decisions of the national council are not those of every Scout and Scouter out there. After all, Eric Jones, Jennifer Tyrrell and many others used to be Scouts and Scouters until they were dismissed from the organization. I have withdrawn my membership, personally, due to being unwilling to affiliate my name with an organization so bigoted in their beliefs. However, there are still Scouts and Scouters out there who are not so bigoted in their hearts as the policymakers for the organization as a whole. I support my (former) fellow Scouts and Scouters in their struggles to make the organization the best they can.
I have heard arguments that it is for the safety of the youth. However, there are females allowed in Venturing and as leaders. Their motives are not in question, nor are the straight male leaders' motives in question toward the females. Further, sexual, physical, and mental abuse can come from anyone, male or female, gay or straight or anything in between. The idea of safety being the reason is short sighted and implies that only gay males can be predators to the youths. It also does nothing to explain the banning of LGBT people who have no interest in males. The argument falls flat. Any argument for banning LGBT youth and leaders comes from a bigoted and archaic perspective which perpetuates bullying and prejudice.
I stand by my values. The same ones the Boy Scouts taught me. I, however, use them in a way that does not provide exceptions. I choose to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, reverent, to do good turns daily, be prepared, try to help all other people at all times, and keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight while adhering to the values I have. Inclusion is among those values. I refuse to see someone differently based on something harmless, or something they cannot change.
Further research had me emailing the Boy Scouts of the United Kingdom. I asked if they had a stance on LGBT members. Their stance? "In the UK we have a Policy that welcomes adults and young people irrespective of their sexual orientation. We are proud that we have had this policy in place for many, many years. We believe this position reflects the needs and wants of the communities in which we operate." I was also linked resources about the retention of LGBT members and a "Scout and Proud" event. It's not an issue in the UK at all.
It has been in multiple news articles that the Girl Scouts of America makes no such discriminatory call. They say they do not discriminate. Their actions are worth commendation.
Likewise, the 4H program, federally supported, has an anti-discrimination policy which insists that, not only can they not exclude anyone for any sort of sexuality, gender, race, and numerous other things, but they also cannot receive any sort of sponsorship based on discriminatory policies.
Religion and love:
Book of Mormon 3 Nephi 12:43-48: http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/3-ne/12?lang=eng
Bible: Mark 12:31 http://bible.cc/mark/12-31.htm
Koran 60:8 http://quran.com/60/8