When I was a kid there were no boy scouts. Well, there were, but not exactly where I lived. There were cub scouts and I was a member, and older kids in my neighborhood were boy scouts, but then somehow when it came time for me to leave the Cub Scouts and join Boy Scouts, they had mysteriously disappeared, so instead, I joined a different group, the Young Marines. We Young Marines ate boy scouts for snacks.
[ADDED: I've noticed that this petition is getting signatures at a rate of hundreds per minute.]
But anyway…I actually have very little sympathy for people who join the Scouts and then after a few years of doing their bidding find out that the organization is intolerant and evil. That’s what happened to Ryan, this kid who was a member of Troop 212, and then was ready to become an Eagle Scout because he had killed a deer with his teeth or whatever, but just before that he had come out as gay, and so he can’t be an Eagle Scout because the Boy Scouts are, as is widely known to everyone on the planet, anti-gay. Ryan’s parents should have steered him away from the Scouts when he was younger, not because of his potential sexual orientation but simply because every parent in this country that doesn’t is ether supporting a right wing cause on purpose or is ignorant. But instead, Ryan’s family supported his membership in the Boy Scouts, and now that they can’t get what they want, they have initiated a petition on Change.org to force the Scouts to do the right thing.
OK, I’m talking tough here… the truth is, I feel badly for Ryan, and I hope he gets is Eagle Scout Hat or whatever. But really, let’s keep this very clear: The real message is not that Ryan should become an Eagle Scout; The real message is that the Scouts have to dry up and blow away because they represent a deeply entrenched and 19th century organization providing negative social conditioning that is totally out of step. Or, they could totally reform. Perhaps they can get sliced to ribbons with a series of killer court decisions and law suits, so they spend so much money defending their intolerant ways that they nearly go out of business and then reform. (Though so far that hasn’t worked.) Or perhaps we should send in the Young Marines. Whatever. The point is, this is not about Ryan or Troop 212. It is about society.
I did sign the petition. They are almost to 200,000 signatures as of this writing. I’ve pasted the petition and a link to it below. It would be fun to watch this petition reach a million or so signatures. But what would probably be better is to watch thinking parents who don’t want to indoctrinate their children into intolerance stop sending their kids to the Boy Scouts. The Boy Scouts suck.
Here is the petition:
I’m urging leaders from Troop 212 to reject the Boy Scouts of America’s discriminatory anti-gay policy and to give Ryan Andresen the Eagle award he’s earned.
Ryan joined the Boy Scouts when he was just six years old, and since then, he’s dreamed of earning his Eagle award — the highest rank in the Boy Scouts.
Ryan is now a senior in high school, and just completed the final requirements to earn his Eagle Award. He’s an honor student with great SAT scores, who’s hoping to attend the University of San Francisco. But because he recently came out to his friends and family as gay, leaders from your troop say they won’t approve his Eagle award.
This is unfair and wrong.
A Scout earns his Eagle by earning many badges, completing all lower Scout rank requirements, and carrying out an approved final project. So Ryan decided to build a “Tolerance Wall” for his school, to show bully victims — like Ryan — that they are not alone. Ryan worked countless hours with elementary students to amass a wall of 288 unique tiles, all illustrating acts of kindness.
Many troops around the country are standing up, choosing to reject the Boy Scouts’ discriminatory policy. I sincerely hope that Ryan’s troop — Troop 212 — will become one of them.
“Citizenship in the Community,” a merit badge earned, means standing up for what is right, and I am proud of Ryan for doing just that. Will you stand with him, too?