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Eagle Scouts Returning Badges Over Anti-Gay Policies

Jim Burroway

July 30th, 2012

The Chicago Tribune reports on Rob Breymaier, an Eagle Scout and ten-year Scout leader who is returning his Eagle award in protest over the Boy Scout’s double super-secret committee which reaffirmed Scouting’s anti-gay policies:

Breymaier, who put his medal in the mail Friday, said he spent 10 years as a Scout in his native Toledo, Ohio, and another 10 years as an adult leader of the same troop. As a leader, he said he never enforced the anti-gay policy, but it was difficult to do more than quietly flout the rule in his own group.

“It was a family, and it was hard to pull away from it,” Breymaier said. “I was fully aware that it was wrong, but speaking out against that could have gotten you kicked out.”

A Boy Scouts spokesman acknowledges that they have received five medals which have been returned in protest. A Tumblr, naturally, has been created featuring letters from 37 (so far) former Scouts and Scout leaders turning in their Eagle badges.

Comments

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customartist
July 30th, 2012 | LINK

“Don’t ask, don’t tell”

Timothy Kincaid
July 30th, 2012 | LINK

Thirty seven is not such a huge number. So it makes me wonder why they lie. Obviously, as there is documentation, the “five” is entirely untruthful.

There’s something odd about the anti-gay psyche that shorts out the brain and causes otherwise truthful and decent people to leap at absurd extremes and wild exaggerations. I’m beginning to suspect that those who hold onto irrational anti-gay animus may truly have a mental illness.

TampaZeke
July 30th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy, I’ll tell you why they lie. When you find yourself trying to maintain the baseless and unjust exclusion of a community from a long respected organization within an ever increasingly inclusive world you have to lie to keep all the balls in the air. When you’ve done it for an extended period of time lying becomes second nature and you find yourself lying even when the truth sounds better. NOM, FRC and the American Family Association are but a few examples of this phenomenon.

Timothy (TRiG)
July 30th, 2012 | LINK

TampaZeke,

You remind me of Slacktivist’s perennial question: Stupid or Evil? It seems that quite often there’s a positive feedback loop between the two.

TRiG.

Jeremy
August 7th, 2012 | LINK

The Scout Oath that all scouts swear by ends with “:keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and MORALLY STRAIGHT.” The gays know this as well. It’s as old as the scouting organization and was around long before “coming out” became popular. Why must the Scouts change the status quo? If you don’t want to keep your oath, then leave. It’s unjust to expect the Scouts to change their way and, by doing so, to trample their own credibility. Leave, if you will, and leave it alone.

Priya Lynn
August 7th, 2012 | LINK

Jeremy there is nothing that isn’t morally straight about being gay. Like all social organizations its time for the scouts to stop discriminating against innocent people.

Jeremy
August 7th, 2012 | LINK

Priya,
Then why do gays call heterosexual people “straight”? By definition homosexuality is a deviant behavior. It deviates from a strict user policy issued by God when Adam and Eve were put together. I like women, but don’t have free license to have sex, even with women, outside of marriage. Simple Legality doesn’t make it right. It is a sacred thing and all of the world saying otherwise won’t make it right

Timothy Kincaid
August 7th, 2012 | LINK

Jeremy,

The Boy Scout Oath was written in 1911, long before “straight” became slang for heterosexual. The language had nothing to do with sex, other than that being morally upstanding included all matters of life.

The problem, Jeremy, is that to many people within the Boy Scouts, it is abhorrent to treat gay people with contempt. They would no more exclude gay people than they would exclude black people or left-handed people. That would be immoral.

Now it is true that moral sexuality doesn’t allow for selfishness. One cannot break vows or treat people like a sex object. We can debate about what this means to gay people, but that isn’t the point.

The Boy Scouts are not banning sexual immorality. They are banning people, including many young men who have never engaged in any single sexual experience whatsoever.

I want you to think about something for a moment. You know that I don’t assume that you are a sexually irresponsible person who is going out and having sex with whomever you can find.

Why, Jeremy… and really do think about this… why do you assume that gay people do? Why do you make assumptions about gay people that are unkind, untrue, and – frankly – mean spirited?

b
August 7th, 2012 | LINK

Jeremy,

the only thing homosexuality is “by definition” is sexual attraction to those of the same sex. Calling homosexuality deviant “by definition” is to assume that “normal” is heterosexuality, and seeing as I have yet to come across an Oxford or Webster’s Dictionary to deliberately list the word “heterosexuality” as a synonym for “normal”, YOU and the rest who think like you are the ONLY ones making homosexuality into something deviant. “Straight” as a descriptor of heterosexuality? So what? Heterosexuality is only as “straight” and narrow or normal as the amount of people calling it so.

Jaime
August 7th, 2012 | LINK

Jeremy,

There was a straight ruler who needed an heir to assure his line of succession. Alas, all women deferred when seeing him for who he really was – a flat, 12 inch object.

Jeremy
August 7th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy,
I don’t make the assumption that gay people are promiscuous. Promiscuity isn’t the issue. I was simply making the point that protesting what’s right will never make it change. God gave commandments and that was it.. Either keep them or don’t, but you can’t change his mind. My brother is gay and quite frankly, his partner has been loyal to him when most others Heterosexuals as well) would have left. He had good reasons to leave but held to his committment at great personal cost. I love him just like a brother. I admire his loyalty and wish all people would exhibit the same character. What about my post is unfair or mean spirited? I guess we just disagree on the fundamental issue that homosexuality is wrong. The gays are always on the attack to get someone or something to “change” their policy or stance. When one stands up to defend his or her position, which has been the status quo from day one, he is called homophobic, or intolerant, etc. Doesn’t that make you intolerant of us? Look at the chick-fil-a flap. He didn’t ban gays from buying a chicken sandwich, just uttered an opinion. But chik-fil-a caught a lot of negative backlash. Start a Gay Scouts of America if you will, but leave the Boy Scouts alone.

Jeremy
August 7th, 2012 | LINK

B
Since when did Websters have the authority to define what is right or wrong? They simply define meaning of the word. Thus the real problem: man does not have the authority to trump God’s commandments. One can debate the validity of the Bible, but I satnd as a witness that it is true. He gives us free choice, this is true, but we must All pay our dues at the judgment day. Me included. I don’t judge gay people, I have my own sins to repent of. But I don’t close my eyes and pretend that God won’t care if I can get a majority of people to agree with me.

Jeremy
August 7th, 2012 | LINK

If one wants to join a church, then he must change his ways to fit the doctrine (repent), not change the church to fit his behavior. If you don’t agree with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the mormons) for example, then don’t join, but where do you get off on requiring them to change their doctrine? Where do you think the Protestants came from? They protested the Catholic church. At least they left the church alone and started their own. Same goes with the Scouts. The world is full of “evolution” of this or that when I believe most of it is more correctly defined as “degradation”. If one has an attraction to his dog, then “evolving” would dictate to marry then have sex with it and all is well. Come on! It all boils down to who’s definition do you go by? Gays pushed to change the definition of marriage in California so Prop 8 came about. Pro-8 folks were forced to “define” marriage as it has always been defined from the beginng. Who was protesting in front of the LDS temple in LA and making a fuss? The LDS church, and others with them never made a fuss, just stood up and spoke out. We don’t want to fight with any of our brothers and sisters, but we will also stand up for what is right.

Timothy Kincaid
August 7th, 2012 | LINK

Jeremy,

What is mean spirited? This:

“The gays know this as well.”
“By definition homosexuality is a deviant behavior.”
“The gays are always on the attack”
“…he is called homophobic, or intolerant, etc.”
“He didn’t ban gays from buying a chicken sandwich, just uttered an opinion. [which was that gays are deviant and perverse and shaking their fist at God]”
“where do you get off on requiring them to change their doctrine”
“The world is full of “evolution” of this or that when I believe most of it is more correctly defined as “degradation””
“Pro-8 folks were forced to “define” marriage…”
” The LDS church, and others with them never made a fuss, just stood up and spoke out. [and gave over 20 million dollars to take marriage rights away from Californians]”

Here’s my advice Jeremy… if you don’t want to fight, then stop fighting. And if the only person negatively impacted by you “standing up” is someone else, that’s not morality that imposition, arrogance, and hostility. And Jesus hates it.

Jeremy
August 7th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy,
I’m not fighting to offend, only to defend. I’m sorry you feel offended by my post. “the gays know this as well>” meaning they can read the same oath I do. Murderers are in the wrong beacause of “Thou shalt not kill.” So do we just quit prosecuting them because they get together and say don’t descriminate against my behavior? I didn’t start the fight, I’m just choosing a side and laying out my evidence. Quite frankly there are a lot of Christians that are truthfully hateful and vengeful toward gays and other groups which is repugnant and shameful to me. A lot of evil is propogated in the “name of God” nowadays We can live together and get along. Don’t push us and we won’t have to take a stand. When people are told they are in the wrong, they usually get mad and offended, or they repent. That’s how the Apostles got killed in ancient times. They gave their very lives (I bet they would have rather lived) because they wouldn’t deny the truth. “…the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center”. The Son of God came to save all men if they would repent, and yet He offended tons of folks telling them the truth. He laid it out and then the people chose their actions. Christ was ridiculed and eventually gave His life to Atone for everyone’s sins IF they would repent and follow Him. It’s only been in the last few decades or so that this has even been an issue. Call it Arrogance, call it hateful, call it hostile…so did the people that crucified Jesus beacause he wouldn’t go along with their behavior and invited them to repent.

Jeremy
August 7th, 2012 | LINK

Jesus Himself used words such as “liars” and “Hypocrite” to describe the wicked when he called them to repent. Thems is fightin words! And he still loved the very people he chastened and called those names.

When the truth is told, it usually isn’t sugar coated when the people have been warned and won’t listen. You’ve heard enough from me. I’m sincere when I wish you great happiness and satisfaction from life. God bless us all.

Richard Rush
August 7th, 2012 | LINK

Jeremy,

I tend to have a lot of uncertainty about a lot of issues, but oddly, one of the things I do feel quite certain about is that your god does not exist. Therefore, I don’t care what you think your god has or has not said about anything. It has no relevance to me whatsoever.

I have been with my husband for 31 years, and if you think you are going to convince me that our relationship is immoral, you are laughably delusional.

Murderers are in the wrong beacause of “Thou shalt not kill.” So do we just quit prosecuting them because they get together and say don’t descriminate [sic] against my behavior?

If you can’t discern the moral difference between murder and homosexual relationships, then I can’t imagine you having credibility on any issue involving human nature.

Jeremy
August 7th, 2012 | LINK

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/olympics/london/story/2012-08-07/Gold-medal-swimmer-admits-to-cheating-at-Games/56854568/1?csp=25&kjnd=Bvvg3xvjgCDlmBLwbduLQFK6VALb%2BH1mdlkvDdSAV4XvXf8cYBafXtlBvYCBIL3M-2b5337c0-e149-4ee5-988a-3d91f2dd7cd0_TWVtDaWq29Z70oZN8EgIEOmuL%2FQwotqZ%2FrE1oaVGyBKsUWsg6ZTfkeugw7fa%2Fnx9

This artcle goes along with my point. Is “cheating” ok if you don’t get caught or if “others are doing it too?” How disappointing. Suddenly the rules don’t seem to matter as long as you don’t get caught or you can push it off on others doing it too.

Jeremy
August 7th, 2012 | LINK

Richard.
I’m truthfuly happy that you have been together and happy for so long. Congratulations! You’re doing better than many other couples today. But does denying God exists make it all ok? That’s just like saying some cyan ide you just took won’t harm you if you don’t believe it’s poisonous. Just because you may not believe in God doesn’t mean He isn’t there. Thankfully for all of us final judgement is left to Him who is perfect and completely just. However I stand as a witness that He lives! He has said He will come again (Jesus Christ) and will judge all. I don’t repeat it with vengeance or hate as some do, only as a warning.

cowboy
August 8th, 2012 | LINK

Jeremy said:

I don’t repeat it with vengeance or hate as some do, only as a warning.

Maybe you should look up the word: pious.

A Warning indeed.

Richard Rush
August 8th, 2012 | LINK

Jeremy, considering all the different religions throughout the world, how did you decide that yours is the correct one? Without spending many years on exhaustive research, I don’t know how anyone could legitimately make that decision. Surely, you didn’t just adopt the religion of your parents and/or one that was predominant in your community, did you? If I were you, I’d be very worried that I may have chosen the wrong one.

Jeremy
August 8th, 2012 | LINK

Richard,
You hit the nail on the head. I didn’t just decide on imperical evidence. It was revealed to me by the Holy Ghost. Sure I studied, and learned, but in the end it has to be confirmed in the soul or heart, otherwise it can be pushed aside at every wind of doctrine. That’s what a testimony is. A person can learn facts or purported facts his whole life and never come to a knowledge of the truth, just empty facts. Heck, the world thought the world was flat a few centuries ago, and even that the sun revolved around the earth, and yet the prophets knew that was untrue thousands of years ago (so did the Aztec too by the way). I know it’s a bold statement, it sounds pious but there you have it. If everyone at church stood together and told me they had been lying about the gospel, that the church was a scam, I would still know it’s true. My testimony is independent of everyone elses. They didn’t put that truth in my soul, I didn’t convice myself it was true, God told me so through the Holy Ghost. There is more to it than human understanding. I sought it out and it was given to me. The world is so confusing today beacause everyone IS so different and comes to such different conclusions on every matter. Why are there so many religions and churches if there is only one God? It’s because men lean to their own understanding and not God’s council. Society increasingly insists on leaving God out of it when he was the one who put us here. I don’t believe he put us here and leaves us to chance. He has a plan to help us through this life and return to Him. Shouldn’t we pay more attention and seek Him out, then obey?

Christopher
August 8th, 2012 | LINK

Jeremy, how do you know that Richard isn’t obeying God? Your only reason for believing that Richard isn’t doing what God wants him to do, or, for that matter, that God even exists is because it’s what you want to believe.

You may claim it was “revealed” to you, but that’s not evidence, which makes this a dead-end argument.

Priya Lynn
August 8th, 2012 | LINK

Jeremy said “Thankfully for all of us final judgement is left to Him who is perfect and completely just.”.

The god who eternally tortures people for behaving exactly as he knew they would when he created them is anything but perfect and just – that god is a sadist and a monster.

Jeremy said “You hit the nail on the head. I didn’t just decide on imperical evidence. It was revealed to me by the Holy Ghost…I didn’t convice myself it was true, God told me so through the Holy Ghost.”.

You are the holy ghost Jeremy. You convinced yourself that your own voice in your head was someone else. You believe in god because of circular logic: “I believe god exists because I told myself he does.”.

Jeremy
August 8th, 2012 | LINK

The whole thing that prompted my post is this: Why do some (not all) gay people want to impose on the Boy Scouts of America to change it’s standards? Why do they want them to change their policy when they aren’t even asking them to stop being who they are? Why is the choice to engage in homosexual behavior more important than the choice to oppose it? The Scouts are simply holding up a standard of conduct, not condemning gays. “Be gay and proud, just don’t do it here, please” is the way I would put it. Why not start a Gay Scouts of America (or call it whatever) but it isn’t right to force the Boy Scout of America into changing their long held standards. God doesn’t change his law to fit the sinner, it is required that he conform to His law, or choose not to and do his own thing. Either way there will be a reckoning. All organizations whether religious or not have and should have standards they uphold. It is something to reach for.
Are we going to make the catholic church start providing birth control when they have always apposed it? For crying out loud, leave them alone and go buy a box of condoms, they really aren’t that expensive. They are saying whoever wants it can’t have it, just don’t expect it from them.

Priya Lynn
August 8th, 2012 | LINK

Jeremy said “The whole thing that prompted my post is this: Why do some (not all) gay people want to impose on the Boy Scouts of America to change it’s standards?”.

The same reason we want all people to refrain from rape, murder, theft, and bullying. We want to encourage everyone to be good citizens and to make the world the best place it can be.

Jeremy said “Why do they want them to change their policy when they aren’t even asking them to stop being who they are? Why is the choice to engage in homosexual behavior more important than the choice to oppose it?”.

The same reason the choice to treat blacks as equals is more important than the choice to treat them as inferiors – in order for everyone to have the best possible life we need to treat everyone as equals and not punish or oppose anything that does not harm others.

Jeremy said “The Scouts are simply holding up a standard of conduct, not condemning gays.”.

As you said in your first post, the scouts are claiming gays are not morally straight and not good enough to be involved in their organization, that IS condemnation. When the standard of conduct an organization holds up is rejecting innocent and harmless people that is a standard of conduct that is unacceptable in a moral society, no different than racism or sexism.

Priya Lynn
August 8th, 2012 | LINK

Jeremy said “By definition homosexuality is a deviant behavior.”.

That’s irrelevant. Very few people have the intelligence of an einstein or a Steve Jobs, people with high IQs are deviants. That one deviates from the norm says nothing about whether such a deviation is a bad or a good thing. What determines that is harm. Gays harm no one and thus by definition their “deviation” is not a bad thing. The American Psychiatric Association says gayness is a normal, natural, and healthy variant of human sexuality. Gays are deviants in the same way left handed people are deviants.

Jeremy said “It deviates from a strict user policy issued by God when Adam and Eve were put together.”.

That was a policy put together by primmitive bigoted goat herders pretending to be a god, not by an actual god. We should all give their opinion the weight it deserves.

Jeremy said “I like women, but don’t have free license to have sex, even with women, outside of marriage.”.

There’s no equivalence there. You allow yourself a romantic and sexual relationship with a woman under some circumstances but you wish to deny gays a same sex romantic and sexual relationship under any circumstances – you are a hypocrite.

Jeremy said “If you don’t agree with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the mormons) for example, then don’t join, but where do you get off on requiring them to change their doctrine?”.

I get off telling them to change their doctrine on the basis of harm. When their doctrine advocates harming others I am morally justified in asking them to change it. Just as the Westboro Baptist Church does not deserve a right to kill gays because their doctrine says they should, your church does not deserve a right to discriminate against gays because its doctrine says they should.

Jeremy said “I’m not fighting to offend, only to defend.”.

That’s not true. You’re fighting to be able to oppress others, you’re fighting to harm them. No one is trying to harm you, you are not in any need of defense. It is not defense when you are fighting to oppress others.

Jeremy said “Don’t push us and we won’t have to take a stand.”.

That’s very convenient – “Allow us to oppress you, treat you as inferiors, and deny you the rights we have and we won’t have to take a stand against you.”. How stupid do you think we are? If someone was spitting in your face and said “Don’t push me and I won’t have to punch you.” would you go along with that?

MattNYC
August 8th, 2012 | LINK

When I read Jeremy’s first post, I was almost goaded into responding. I see the “dialogue” that has occurred since then and–while he remains civil–I don’t really see what he’s getting out of this other than to have people wasting time responding to his spouting of “god’s word” and god having “spoken” to him as his evidence.

It’s not possible to have a rational discussion with someone whose response to everything is “because god said so” or “because god told ME so”. He’s yet to respond as to why “his” god is the only right god and why his interpretation is the only right one.

Let him have his (one-sided) conversation and let’s just leave him to his sophistry.

Priya Lynn
August 8th, 2012 | LINK

Jeremy said “But does denying God exists make it all ok? That’s just like saying some cyan ide you just took won’t harm you if you don’t believe it’s poisonous.”.

Got it – God’s like poison and if you don’t believe he’s harmful he’ll kill you.

Timothy Kincaid
August 8th, 2012 | LINK

Jeremy,

No one is pushing you. Your notion that you are being imposed upon is based on the idea that you deserve to be treated better than me.

You: deserve marriage rights, deserve respect, deserve to have your legal contracts honored, deserve to have your religious beliefs treated with reverence.

Me: deserve no rights, no respect, no honor, and to have my religious beliefs described as evil.

And when I refuse to be subjugated to you, when I demand equality, then you think I’m “pushing”.

And if I refuse to back down from your insistence that I be inferior to you, you tell me that it’s okay that you want to treat me inferior because God told you that you can.

I’m sure someone told you that you can, but it wasn’t God. Jesus gave you one commandment: “Jeremy, I command you to treat homosexuals the way you want to be treated”.

How are you doing with that commandment, Jeremy?

Timothy Kincaid
August 8th, 2012 | LINK

Jeremy

Why do some (not all) gay people want to impose on the Boy Scouts of America to change it’s standards?

They don’t. No one wants to “impose” anything on the Boy Scouts. They are asking (not imposing) that the Boy Scouts stop discriminating. Because to do so is immoral.

And the people who are asking are not “the homosexuals” as you seem to believe. It is heterosexual Eagle Scouts. They find it impossible to belong to an organization that discriminates.

Even if you really really want the Boy Scouts to discriminate, many moral and good Eagle Scouts do not.

Timothy Kincaid
August 8th, 2012 | LINK

Jesus Himself used words such as “liars” and “Hypocrite” to describe the wicked when he called them to repent. Thems is fightin words! And he still loved the very people he chastened and called those names.

Every single time that He did, EVERY SINGLE TIME, Jeremy, it was when some churchy person wanted to impose the Law on some other person who just was doing their thing. Jesus never rebuked people like me, only people like you.

Richard Rush
August 8th, 2012 | LINK

Jeremy,

“Just because you may not believe in God doesn’t mean He isn’t there.”

And just because you believe in God doesn’t mean He is there.

“A person can learn facts or purported facts his whole life and never come to a knowledge of the truth, just empty facts.”

It must be very convenient to treat facts as irrelevant trivialities.

“Why are there so many religions and churches if there is only one God? It’s because men lean to their own understanding and not God’s council.”

What is the evidence that you are an exception to that?

“Society increasingly insists on leaving God out of it when he was the one who put us here.”

Isn’t it odd then that societies scoring the highest in various measures of human well-being generally are the least religious, and societies with higher levels of religiosity generally score lower on those measures. Even within the United States, this is generally the case among the states.

I assume that you would say you do NOT believe in evolution, but as I will show, you do in a sense.

I think we would all agree that humans are laughably simple beings compared to a god who must be infinitely more intelligent, skilled, and powerful to have created the universe. So, here is an old question that people seem to prefer to expend as little time as possible contemplating: Where did God come from? A common answer is essentially that God is eternal, and thus has always been there. And then they change the subject. I think all the answers I’ve heard are designed to avoid serious consideration of the question.

If you want to assert that God just suddenly appeared, then that is not nearly good enough for me. There is just not a single shred of evidence for that (and Bible verses don’t count). So, if God didn’t just suddenly appear, he must have developed by some form of evolution.

If you cannot believe that life on earth could have developed via evolution, how can you possibly believe that an infinitely more intelligent, skilled, and powerful God just came into existence by poof!, or by a form of evolution?

tristram
August 9th, 2012 | LINK

@ Timothy – your points (and those of many other posters on this thread) are cogent and constructive and, in fact, quite Christian in spirit. But there is no good faith reciprocity in the discussion. I think your time would be much better spent in updating the tally of Eagle Scouts who have returned their awards to BSA – and maybe bumping that article up the sidebar. There have been a number of new letters since your last update, some of them quite wonderful.

btw – people like Jeremy bemuse me with their arrogance in denigrating other people’s experience of belief and faith, including faith in the Bible, Christ and God. Some of my closest friends are straight men and women, devout Christians whose works and lives are exemplary by any standard, and whose personal revelation (and that of their churches) affirms the goodness of love and commitment, homo or hetero. If there is a God and if the Bible expresses his spirit and his will, I’m quite sure Christ would stand with my friends rather than with people like Jeremy.

Timothy Kincaid
August 9th, 2012 | LINK

thanks Tristram

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