October 22, 2014

Letters to the Editor

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Renouncing my Eagle Scout rank

Scouting was the most important institution of my childhood and young adult life. My father was our scoutmaster. My mother was a figurehead at troop fundraisers and events, and remains an important resource for developing community service opportunities for scouts. The scout law guided my development from a child into a responsible adult, and continues to represent the character qualities that I value most in myself and others.

Precisely because of the values instilled in me through scouting, I find the Boy Scouts of America’s July 2012 unanimous decision to uphold its anti-homosexual policy on “nondiscrimination” to be highly discriminatory. This policy is against the principles of scouting. To quote the Boy Scout Handbook: “Ignorance, prejudice, and indifference are enemies of our country too. Do your part to defeat those threats by… defending the rights of others,” (p.71).

The Green Mountain Council clarified its own nondiscrimination stance in the wake of the July decision, but the GMC must maintain the national policy or risk losing its charter. In other words, avowed homosexuals cannot be involved in Vermont scouting.

I was able to reconcile this issue until now because our own Troop 692 seemed invincible to the controversy. But recently a member of my own family, who has been actively involved in our troop for 19 years now, was prevented by a representative of the GMC from volunteering solely because of sexual orientation. This level of disrespect to my family and our troop after the immense support we have given scouting is inexcusable. No troop or council is immune from prejudice unless the BSA changes its national policy.

I have renounced my Eagle Scout rank in hopes that, in doing so, the organization’s policy will change in time for my future children to proudly wear their own scout uniforms.

Sean Beckett

Williston

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