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Eagle Scouts live up to the title

Timothy Kincaid

September 5th, 2012

As we noted earlier, the Boy Scouts of America says that five Eagle Scouts have sent back their pins and resigned their membership over the dishonorable decision by the BSA to continue its discriminatory anti-gay membership policy. However, Eagle Scouts Returning Our Badges has a growing list that is much much longer than five:

September 4 – 1; total 155
September 3 – 1; total 154
September 2 – 1; total 153
September 1 – 1; total 152
August 31 – 2; total 151
August 30 – 1; total 149
August 28 – 1; total 148
August 27 – 2; total 147
August 26 – 1; total 145
August 25 – 1; total 144
August 23 – 11; total 143
August 22 – 1; total 132
August 21 – 2; total 131
August 20 – 1; total 129
August 19 – 2; total 128
August 18 – 3; total 126
August 17 – 1; total 123
August 16 – 1; total 122
August 15 – 7; total 121
August 14 – 1; total 114
August 13 – 9; total 113
August 12 – 1; total 104
August 10 – 3; total 103
August 9 – 5; total 100
August 8 – 6; total 95
August 7 – 1; total 89
August 6 – 3; total 88
August 5 – 2; total 85
August 4 – 1; total 83
August 3 – 7; total 82
August 2 – 7; total 75
August 1 – 10; total – 68
July 31 – 10; total – 58
July 30 – 12; total – 48
July 29 – 10; total – 36
July 28 – 10; total – 26
July 27 – 4; total – 16
July 25 – 1; total – 12
July 24 – 2; total – 11
July 23 – 5; total – 9
July 22 – 2; total – 4
July 20 – 1; total – 2
July 17 – 1; total – 1

UPDATE: You have to read some of these letters. All of them (that I’ve seen) from straight men. And all of them credit their decision to disassociate from the BSA to the values they learned as Eagle Scouts.



Ben in Oakland
July 30th, 2012 | LINK

I’m glad to see this. Now, where are another 500 or so.

July 30th, 2012 | LINK

Still not a very high number. It’s like belonging to the Klan…

July 31st, 2012 | LINK

I resent that Klan remark. While I’m impressed by those who are willing to give up their eagles to support the cause of equality, and support them, i will not be giving up my Eagle, because, as selfish as this probably is, it’s MY eagle and I worked my rear end off for it. I struggled, worked hard, and put up with a lot of trouble to prove i was worthy of that honor. Yes, that honor has been tarnished by the state of the organization that gave it to me, but it’s still a symbol of all the hard work that I put in and the values that I upheld while I was with them, none of this “Anti-homo Anti-Athiest” nonsense. While those who give it back are doing a grand gesture, it’s a lot like giving back your medal of honor or your diploma because you disagree with the CURRENT stances of your goverment or your university. To me at least, it seems like an overly grand, temporary gesture, for what, hopefully, will be a short lived insanity.

July 31st, 2012 | LINK

esurience, you don’t have the first clue what you’re talking about, and you should stow it.

and ben, i’m disappointed, but i can tell you don’t have a dog in this hunt.

As an eagle scout i can tell you that being a scout was a huge part of forming my character growing up. The lessons learned, the character formed, the intense self-confidence and self-reliance, and the decades-strong friendships, probably gave me the strength to come out rather than find myself hanging from a rope. For a short, nerdy, frankly sissy boy, it gave me a group that i belonged to, and let me tell you that was a nice respite from the horrifying social environment i engaged in at school every day. You want to help gay youth and prevent gay suicides? Encourage scouting.

In scouting, it’s very rare that the politics of the national office filters its way down to local scouting. Anti-gay sentiment was NEVER something expressed in my troop. Far from it, the overall message of tolerance for all people and the absolute silence on matters of sexuality spoke for itself.

As it turned out, i had a gay scoutmaster – in 1980 no less – and everyone knew it, it just wasn’t discussed because, in fact, it’s not something that’s discussed in scouting, and because it didn’t matter – he was a great SM. I know of others in my troop – Eagles – who have since come out, and I know how important scouting was to them as well.

And i can also tell you that every friend I made 30 years ago in scouting – friendships formed literally through blood, sweat, and tears – stood by me as my friend when I came out nearly 20 years ago and remains so to this day — yes, even the Republican ones. In fact, it is through their association with me that most of them have become strong supporters of gay marriage. How do you like them apples?

There’s nothing wrong with scouting as a movement. What you have is some lamebrained individuals who happen to have the wheel at the corporate hq in Irving, TX and a microphone.

Now, for my part, that eagle badge is MINE. I earned it, and we scouts know: “once an eagle, always an eagle” – it’s not something anyone can take away from me, whether out of fear, shame, or anger. And because i know that the movement means far more than this. In that respect, that Eagle badge in my possession is critical – because it means that I represent scouting, and what scouting can accomplish, and what scouting is really about – not some dolt in a smoke-filled back room.

I find it very sad for these men who have sent their eagles in, and i suspect someday they’ll be wanting those back. Those bigoted morons will pass, but the Eagles like me, and Mike, and Dave and all the other boys who had little idea they’d grow up marrying men, will still be there. WE are scouting. We have the Eagle badge to prove it.

Timothy Kincaid
July 31st, 2012 | LINK

Andrew and Matthias,

If you don’t wish to return your badges, why not write a letter in to Bob Mazucca and let him know that the decision of the BSA board brings dishonor to the Scouts and to you as an Eagle Scout.

If they hear nothing from you then they have no reason to believe anything other than that you endorse their discriminatory policy.

Timothy (TRiG)
July 31st, 2012 | LINK

There’s nothing wrong with Scouting. The problem is with the Boy Scouts of America. The UK group (and, I believe, the USA girl scouts) are perfectly accepting of gay people.


July 31st, 2012 | LINK

For those who don’t understand:

There’s National, there’s Council, and there’s Troops.

For years troops have often operated as autonomously as possible from Council (which is regional control) and certainly from National. The difference is that Troops are staffed by adults who are volunteers from the community. Counsel and National are staffed by “career scouters” who have turned being scouting leaders into a profession.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out where the problem is.

Tim, I’ve said my piece many times over the years – I left Scouting publicly over this issue in 1996. I’ve written op-eds to papers, and I’ve even engaged with a fellow Eagle who is well placed in Scott Brown’s administration whom I’ve known since I was 10, not that BSA is going to listen to a senator from MA (or that I have much stomach for Brown, but that’s another story).

But I’ll be blunt. National operates like the Vatican. They don’t care what individuals think. It’s up to individuals to fall in line. Actually, the more I think about it, the parallels to the Catholic Church are striking (minus the child molestation, which BSA seems to have gotten a handle on a long, long time ago). National sits there and siphons money off the troops, while the volunteers at the local level do all the heavy lifting. National is out of touch with Main Street and expects everyone to obey seemingly arbitrary interpretations of Scout Law, Oath, and other principles, while local Troops worry about the boys and just do their best without getting into too much trouble if they color outside the lines.

Like I said before, the problem isn’t with the Boy Scouts of America. That’s millions of people. The problem is with National. And once those few fat old men retire into the smoke of history, we’ll see change. But don’t expect anything before then, no matter how much huff and puff – these guys don’t really care.

Ben In Oakland
July 31st, 2012 | LINK

Andrew, you’re right. i don’t have a dog in this hunt.

just a small kitten.

40 years ago, I was a district executive with the BSA. i lasted about a month before I quit, realizing that their love affair with homohatred was going to dwarf any contribution I could make.

The then-manual had a whole section devoted to child molesters, in which they repeated every single slur about gay people they could make up.

This was right after when yet another married-man-with-hetero-cred had been caught diddling the boys.

A few years later, there was another big scandal. The police chief of a bay area city, married wkith children, was found out to be a big ol’ molester. and the stories they were were all about how homosexuxals endangered the boys.

July 31st, 2012 | LINK

Ben, that’s a fascinating insight – as a Scoutmaster and ASM, I never saw that manual — just the policies that evolved from it, which were distilled as “no 1 on 1 interaction with a boy outside the line of sight” – and extremely strict rules regarding shower hours at overnight camps.

I actually had to have someone explain this to me, such was my naivitee, which they did with some significant degree of discomfort.

No discussion of homosexuality was ever made in the 16 years I spent in Scouting, not until National got involved.

I guess this really does underscore the difference between the career section and the lay section of the Scouting movement.

July 31st, 2012 | LINK

I have to ask Ben – what led you to become an executive in Scouting?

Ben In Oakland
July 31st, 2012 | LINK

I had just gotten my master’s degree. I was looking for a career for myself, and i liked working with young people. I had already been a coach, a camp counselor, a recreation leader, and a teacher. This looked like a way to make a career instead of just a job.

The other thing that horrified me was a sort of militarism that in 1973 was just not attractive.

July 31st, 2012 | LINK

Ben, thank you for sharing that. As a former Scout myself (and Eagle) I think the organization lost someone who could have done a lot of good when you left it, but I understand your reasons for leaving.

July 31st, 2012 | LINK

Ouch – Scouting can be an insider’s game, and coming into it the way you did, while entirely reasonable, probably wouldn’t have prepared you for the culture. There’s a strong tradition, as with many organizations (e.g. medical community, church communities, military, etc.) of “paying ones dues” and “coming through the ranks”… and a culture shared by 90% of staff formed through a lot of intense shared experiences from a formative age.

Yes, they definitely could have used someone with your perspective, and still could, if they could get their head out of their butt.

As to the militarism – when the movie Red Dawn came out in the 80’s the “Russians” referred to the Boy Scouts as a “Paramilitary Youth Organization”, which seemed hilariously out of tune at the time, but I can easily see where it has those attributes. It’s often a direct feeder into military service, and there’s a large veteran component in the adult leadership. The social structure of Troops often follows military models (frankly, because it works). It’s not the 4H or Sierra Club, but it can be – should be – an intensive yet safe environment for boys to get their yaya’s out, have a great time, and also to find themselves.

There are a lot of organizations that pretend or actually manage to mentor young men. Some are, frankly, very lax (scouting is demanding, and if you’re not going to contribute, it’s sometimes suggested that you do something else), and some are worse – I know someone who’s involved in the “Silver Men’s Division” and “Boys to Men” or something like that, and, frankly, the values espoused there are not ones I agree with. In the town I grew up in, it was just about the only youth group that didn’t apply either an ethnic or specific religious standard to join.

Although Scouting has a lot of, yes, nationalism, it’s also unusual in encouraging boys to investigate, through merit badges, literally dozens of possible career choices, many of which are then promoted through Explorers.

Minus the disconcerting focus on religiousness and hetero-identity, the values of community and national service, conservation, stewardship, and ultimately leadership are entirely laudable.

The rest, most times, depends on the group of men running the show.

July 31st, 2012 | LINK

@Timothy Kincaid
That is quiet simply, well, the simplest good idea i’ve heard in a while. Sometimes you get caught up in the grand gestures and forget the simple stuff. Thanks! I think i’ll get to work on my letter… as soon as i actually get my computer back from the shop. Posting is fine on phones, but a full fledge letter like this deserves some time and thought and care. Again, thanks for pointing out the obvious!

July 31st, 2012 | LINK

“esurience, you don’t have the first clue what you’re talking about, and you should stow it.”


OK, maybe it’s not like belonging to the Klan…

It’s just like belonging to a whites-only country club.

People who belong to clubs like that should be met with disdain, and it’s the same with scouting.

I don’t give a damn if scouting has benefited you, I don’t give a damn if a whites-only country club benefits the people attending the whites-only country club.

You are promoting exclusion and stigmatization and how it makes you feel about yourself is not the damn issue. Although it should make you feel ashamed.

August 1st, 2012 | LINK

esurience, you would throw the baby out with the bathwater, and truly, you really really don’t know what you’re talking about.

that’s not merely to say that you’re wrong, which you happen to be, but that you would do harm you would not willingly do if you actually understood what you were calling for.

except, actually, i think you would.

and i’ll tell you – i won’t take it from them and i sure as hell won’t take it from you. shame? i think not.

i am not an active member of BSA and have not been since i left precisely over this issue but…

as an example of what scouting can do at its best, free of the nastiness that National engages in. i AM scouting. i serve as a rebuke to National and their exclusionary policies… and i serve as a rebuke to your own form of narrowmindedness.

it’s people like you that give gays a bad name. it’s because of people like you that others to turn away from equality and even-mindedness and embrace their pigheaded bigotry. in part, you promote beatings and bashings… because when people hear people like you, all they hear is whiny, nasty people who want to take away everything they hold dear, no matter what the cost, because rather than improve it, you’d tear it all down. when they hear “gay” they think “they’re coming for us”, because of people like you. well, you don’t represent me, and i’m not going to feel shame because you have your own brand of disdain and hatefulness rooted in ignorance.

this isn’t about scouting or bigotry for you. this is about something else entirely. i recommend finding a professional in your area and getting to the root of it.

Priya Lynn
August 1st, 2012 | LINK

I’m not sure I agree with Esurience, but Andrew’s last comment is really exagerating any truth he might be telling.

August 1st, 2012 | LINK

it’s people like you that give gays a bad name. it’s because of people like you that others to turn away from equality and even-mindedness and embrace their pigheaded bigotry. in part, you promote beatings and bashings… because when people hear people like you, all they hear is whiny, nasty people who want to take away everything they hold dear, no matter what the cost, because rather than improve it, you’d tear it all down. when they hear “gay” they think “they’re coming for us”, because of people like you. well, you don’t represent me, and i’m not going to feel shame because you have your own brand of disdain and hatefulness rooted in ignorance.

Congratulations, Andrew, you just engaged in victim-blaming and defended gay-bashing.

August 1st, 2012 | LINK

I remember, several years back, hearing about two young men who had earned their Eagles. The National offices later learned that the two men were atheists and thus rescinded their awards, saying that they didn’t really complete the requirements to earn them. So I am not at all surprised that most returned awards are straight men; to the National, getting medals back from gay men would be the equivalent of the men admitting that they didn’t earn them. If I were sending my award back, I wouldn’t want it to be a meaningless gesture. However, keeping it and letting them know why seems like it might have greater impact.

Andrew and Ben have certainly shared interesting experiences. When I went through Scouting, lying about being molested had become a thing (I am thinking of the South Park episode, as well as news stories at the time). Many of the rules (I got the impression they were more guidelines) were as much to protect the volunteer leaders as it was to protect the youths. They had also since added a merit badge called Family Life. You can probably guess it had all the traditional ‘pro-family’ stuff that was really only pro-‘no sex until marriage-no divorce-two married parents and their 2.5 kids’-family that demeans every other possible family structure. I am sure I would have balked had I been less conservative-Christian and more aware of the world around me than I was at the time. However, it was through my scouting experience that my broadened awareness began. It was also there that I had experiences that would later inform my coming-out to myself.

August 1st, 2012 | LINK

Nathaniel, the issue of atheism and Scouting is one that I struggle with. Scouting is deeply ecumenical, but it requires organized faith of some kind. In part, I think it’s a cover for the fact that they really want everyone to be god-fearing Christians, but there’s also a legitimate point of perspective re: one’s place in the universe, and the value Scouting places on respect for all of “creation” that is bigger than you.

I don’t like faith-based litmus tests, and I’d prefer that they apply alternatives for atheists and agnostics reflected thoughtful exploration of those beliefs. Part of the problem is that Scouting requires input from “community leaders” to qualify Eagles and organized religion serves as a bona fide “reference” for them.

They cannot and would not withdraw an Eagle for someone who became an atheist (or who comes out) later in life, but the requirements are clear, and if those were not met at the time, then it’s arguable the badge was never legitimately earned. For example, I’m a gay agnostic humanist. When earned, I was a Catholic who didn’t understand he was gay.

I’ve posted separately about the guidelines / rules Scouting has in place to protect against molestation. I don’t know which of them are imposed from National, and which are Counsel or District or facility (camp)-based. Ours were ironclad, and my dad had the same experience 50 years ago in our area. They are ABSOLUTELY to protect adults as well – both from false accusations as well as the appearance of impropriety as much as protecting kids from predators. It’s just common sense.

I think they’ve had Family Life for a while, but I could be wrong. It carries no implicit values in it – you can see requirements here: Basically it’s “what’s a family”, “what are your responsibilities within your family”, etc. There aren’t right / wrong answers per se – it’s up to the merit badge counselor, and there are tens of thousands of those. Another example of inconsistencies in Scouting. They’ll ban gay scouts, but would probably permit gay-inclusive answers to those merit badge questions.

August 1st, 2012 | LINK

I’m a little upset – I posted a message that contextualized my flaming message earlier for what it was… a deliberate performance point… see below.

Wait! You mean were weren’t engaging in a silly re-hash of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? I’m so confused now. Actually, I was going to toss in “and I’m cancelling my policy”, but I thought of it 30 seconds too late.

No, seriously, I was being cheekily melodramatic to make a point:

When you make absolutist statements, expect absolutist reactions. When you throw out hysterical screeds, expect over the top reactions. This is precisely what we see happen every day, then scratch our heads and wonder how it happened.

Go outside, take a breath. I’ll show you how to build a campfire, they’re quite nice, really. I’ll even bring marshmallows. Then we can talk about why in tarnation you identify yourself with a mangled brandname and listen to the crickets chirp.

There are reasons people who don’t know us oppose us, and it part it’s because the shrillest voices carry farthest, and in the fog of ignorance they live in, that’s all they hear.

If you want to drive people away – or split a group or movement, esurience is really on to something. Because I’ll stand by the guys I came up with through Scouting – guys who stand by me on gay equality – long before I’ll side with a stranger like you just because of whom you bed.

I eat industrialized meat, and animals suffer. I drive a car 30 miles each way to work, and contribute to global warming. I eat at McDonald’s, knowing that they cap the health insurance of their employees at $2000 payout per year. I use paper at work, and I don’t know its recycled content. It’s very white, and there may be dioxins involved. So, there are things I’m maybe not so proud of.

Being an Eagle Scout ain’t on the list.

So, before you start tossing out accusations of “shame!”, consider your audience, because whatever you think you’re accomplishing, you’re just turning fellows and allies away. In a game that’s all about the power of persuasion, you’re leaving money on the table.

I don’t need to prove my gay bona fides to anyone (although my bitchiness speaks for itself). Being gay doesn’t come with a membership card you can dock corners from or tear in half.

Scouting as an organization has values that are deeper rooted and far better than a stupid, bigoted, and frankly temporary rule imposed by fat old men upon local Troops that don’t want it – Troops that happily keep the secret for their gay members and look forward to the retirement of the morons at National.

Failing to see those values in deference to an absolute stance doesn’t make one a better woman or man. It makes one foolish and shortsighted. And more than a bit unpleasant.

August 1st, 2012 | LINK

okay – i’ve now tried 4 times to post something that reflects on the earlier comments of today, to express that they were deliberately manufactured outrage… but these are not posting. as such, i’m concerned that comments above are not fully contextualized.

ummm… editors?

Jim Burroway
August 1st, 2012 | LINK


For some reason, several of your attempted comments got sent to our spam queue. It might be the length of the comments that may have triggered the filter, but I can’t be certain of that. Someone else’s much shorter comment in another thread also ended up in the spam queue also.

Anyway, I’ve retrieved the most recent version of your comment.

August 1st, 2012 | LINK

So, before you start tossing out accusations of “shame!”, consider your audience, because whatever you think you’re accomplishing, you’re just turning fellows and allies away.

If they can be turned away by “shrillness,” I maintain they don’t actually believe in our cause. True allies support LGBT equality because they believe that all people, including LGBT people deserve to be treated the same. Not because LGBT people are “nice enough” to them.

August 1st, 2012 | LINK

i’m concerned that comments above are not fully contextualized.

I do not believe there is a context in which parroting the notion that gay people somehow bring gay-bashing upon themselves should be seen in a good light.

August 1st, 2012 | LINK

Jim, I’m rarely short and sweet. Thanks for letting me know cause / effect – I can work with that.

August 1st, 2012 | LINK

Jarred: of course there is – parody, performance art, provocative postings, etc.

If you want to blame anyone who sees good things in Scouting as being shameful collaborators, despite knowing little but 1 policy, then, frankly, I don’t know what’s not on the table. Boy Scouts = KKK? Seriously?

If we’re going to play that fast and loose, then blaming a provocateur for inciting opponents and inviting violence upon our community is just in the same ballpark of ridiculous insanity.

But let’s be clear – it is ridiculous insanity. There’s no reasonable equation where BSA = KKK. And there’s no acceptable excuse for gaybashing. Neither of those should have to be said, but apparently, some of us are playing catch-up.

As for shrillness – of course shrill people turn others off. He’s turning me off and I’m already “on the team”. 90% of Americans don’t think about gay issues; they’re going to change the channel.

Anyone who’s ever had a militant person in their life knows exactly what I’m talking about.

Growing up, I had an uncle, whom I assumed everyone disliked because he is gay. Turns out, everyone disliked him because he was a militant asshole. They like me and my partner just fine, and they’re very gay supportive. They just didn’t want the constant crazy talk, intemperate absolutism, finger-pointing that goes on with someone who declares things in extremes and tests your moral fiber by their militant standards of right and wrong.

August 1st, 2012 | LINK

If we’re going to play that fast and loose, then blaming a provocateur for inciting opponents and inviting violence upon our community is just in the same ballpark of ridiculous insanity.

Um, no. There’s a direct correlation between stating that gay people are awful and not fully human and don’t deserve to be treated well and people actually deciding not to treat gay people well and acting as if they’re not really human. There is no direct correlation for “shrillness.”

He’s turning me off and I’m already “on the team”.

So what? Because one gay person was “shrill” and “turned you off,” you’re going to quit supporting all gay people and their fight to be treated the same as cisgender, heteronormative people? Because that’s not only what you’re arguing other people will do, but you’re saying it’s okay that they do it.

August 1st, 2012 | LINK

Jarred, I don’t think I said anything about direct correlations. My point is reasonableness and rules of conduct. When you throw the rules of reasonableness out the window, there are no limits.

As for me, I’m personally insulted – my grandfather fought the Nazi’s in WWII, and my grandmother had to contend with the KKK in the 1940’s as a Catholic in Texas.

The Boy Scouts ain’t the KKK.

How anyone is prepared to make, let alone defend, statements like that is beyond me, and reflects an ignorance that is shocking. The statements are beyond that pale. They are outside the boundaries of decency. They require a sharp response.

I gave that, and I gave a suitably outrageous, nonsensical counterpoint to that seems still lost on you.

There is no defense for gay bashing, duh. There’s also no defense for equating the KKK with Boy Scouts and telling me that I should be ‘ashamed’ for either being an Eagle Scout, or describing those attributes of the organization worth saving. These are behaviors that are not acceptable. That’s the totality of their relationship.

As for not caring who one turns off – well, then I guess one has to ask oneself what they’d rather be: successful or morally sanctimonious.

If one’s goal is to be sanctimonious, one can do their little churchlady dance all by oneself in ones living room.

The rest of us have real work to do – building bridges, changing hearts and minds, and getting things done. To do that means being someone actually capable of persuading people. I didn’t say “rewrite how the human brain works” – that’s something you either accept, or don’t.

I can’t think of a person I know who wouldn’t greet Boy Scouts = KKK with anything other than “whatever” and “please go away”. I hear the last administration has a Mission Accomplished banner they’d like to sell.

August 1st, 2012 | LINK

You might have noticed that I have not said one thing about the BSA or whether it’s fair to compare them to the KKK. I’ve been too busy questioning whether it’s in our best interests to excuse or coddle “potential allies” who think it’s okay to prioritize their own delicate sensibilities over actual justice for LGBT peole.

Or perhaps you haven’t noticed. You’ve been fairly busy excusing such “potential allies” and their priorities while calling other gay peole “shrill,” “militant,” and “sanctimonious.” Funny how the empowered group’s delicate sensibilities “are a reality tobe dealt with” while other other disadvantaged people’s sensibilities can be ign

August 1st, 2012 | LINK

Jim B. – I hope you will keep the running tally going. It looks to me like the 7/31 total reached 10 and that 8 more have been posted so far today, 8/1.

As for the running/raging debate above, I could live without a lot of the nastiness and generalizations. Over the years, I have been familiar with a number of troops and troop leaders that were affirming and supportive of their openly gay (and in one case, openly gay and outspokenly atheist) scouts. Some others, not so much. A lot seems to depend on the local sponsor and local leadership.

I believe we can deplore and effectively protest the national organization’s policies without attacking or demonizing every kid and parent who chooses to continue participating in scouting. But I recognize that changing the policy is going to be tough given the LDS and RC influence on the national level.

In any case, I applaud the ESROBs, and also the Eagle Scouts who prefer just to write letters. They all have my admiration for their accomplishment and my appreciation for taking a stand.

August 1st, 2012 | LINK

…can be ignored at will, eh?

Timothy Kincaid
August 1st, 2012 | LINK

Tristram, thanks for the reminder. I let the chicken wars distract me.

Timothy Kincaid
August 1st, 2012 | LINK

BSA needs to wake up. They are not pissing off a bunch of liberal angry dissidents who hate the Boy Scouts anyway. These guys include the lifers, the hardcore, the ones who the Scouts rely on. Like this guy:

Please receive my dress eagle medallion, my standard eagle badge and my eagle knot. I cannot in good conscience keep these badges from an organization which tarnishes their value by banning openly gay boys and leaders. I am absolutely outraged at your position and your recent reiteration of this policy. I earned my eagle in the early 1970’s and renewed my association with scouting when my sons entered Cub scouts in 2001; both are now eagle scouts. I am currently Scoutmaster for Troop 152 of Brighton, NY and have watched proudly as many young men have marched up through the ranks and achieved eagle. No two boys are alike but I am proud of every one of them for their perseverance when much of our society discourages them from involvement in an organization which requires a khaki uniform and harps on good deeds and reverence. I have helped and encouraged boys who many thought could not or should not have reached eagle. I believe for some of these boys, being a scout and reaching eagle may be the point of pride which sustains them through their most difficult tests. It angers me to no end that the national leadership of BSA would deprive the boys who need this type of security and support the most from participation in scouting. I’ve read many of the letters recently written by men who have already returned their badges. I cannot possibly match their stories and eloquence but I add my heartfelt support to their message. Most men politely requested you to reconsider. For the honor of all eagles past and future and the well being of future generations, I demand it.


William J. DeVos, AIA
Scoutmaster, Troop 152, Brighton, NY

As I’ve said before, the BSA is going to have problems with churches which not only are gay supportive but believe that the message of Christ requires that they champion the oppressed and fight for gay equality. I’m sure that it is not coincidental that the sponsor of Troop 152 is Twelve Corners Presbyterian and that a few years ago this church’s minister of music also served as interim director of the Gay Mens’ Chorus. This troop alone has produced over 75 Eagle Scouts.

August 1st, 2012 | LINK

aaagh.. Tim, my workstation not your site, but again my posting got lost due to browser failure. dang it.

And yes, I totally agree. I don’t know a fellow Eagle Scout, gay or straight (and I know both) who agrees with this policy. We collectively shake our heads and pray for early retirements.

As for the rest. I wrote a bunch and then it dawned on me that, Jarred, you
a) hadn’t read the entire thread
b) hadn’t realized that I wasn’t talking about gays being shrill (i’m gay people!), I was talking about esurience, and
c) didn’t understand that my inflammatory comments were intended NOT to be taken at face value (as I thought I’d mentioned 3-4 times by now). They were intended to be reflective of over-the-top, ridiculous, unbounded commentary and where it takes us. tit-for-tat example of outrageousness, and
d) don’t understand the the key to success isn’t whether we “prioritize” hetero or non-hetero sensibilities, its in whether we understand how people think, and how we craft our messages to be digestible under circumstances where we have to change current thinking in a disinterested majority. We aren’t going to convince a majority of heteronormative thinkers by equating Scouting with the KKK — but we will definitely split our own movement.

Next time you show up to a knife fight, try not to bring a spoon.

Tristram – THANK YOU. Although I don’t necessarily agree with the running tally part, it’s the rejection of moderation like yours (and my very initial comments) that I was protesting.

August 1st, 2012 | LINK

a) Actually, I did read the entire thread. I’ll thank you to not make assumptions about me, what I’ve done, or what I’m thinking.
b) It doesn’t matter, you’re still not holding people who refuse to support LGBT equality for their choices, but are blaming the people who give them the excuses they use. (And make no mistake, they are excuses. Decent people do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.)
c) Your inflammatory comments were inflammatory. The fact that they “weren’t supposed to be taken at face vale” doesn’t change that. And considering your big complaint is that someone else is being inflammatory, they also represent a heaping serving of “do as I say and not as I do.”
d) I disagree and I tire of people who worry more about “messaging” than what is right. I also tire of people who tend to forget that a lot of the people who have brought about progress in any justice movement were neither shrinking violets nor too afraid to break any eggs.

Quite frankly, I’ve found your attitude belligerent, bitchy (something you not only admit, but seem proud of), and full of personal attacks. Next time you want to lecture someone on catching more flies with honey than vinegar, try to refrain whipping out the napalm yourself.

August 1st, 2012 | LINK

Timothy – please excuse my jimtimdyslexia. I’ve crossed things up on a couple of different threads lately.

Timothy Kincaid
August 1st, 2012 | LINK

Tristram – no problem at all. I’m complimented by the idea that anyone would confuse my writing with Jim’s.

August 1st, 2012 | LINK

On a final irony. I find myself of a mixed opinion where the BSA is concerned. I acknowledge that the organization and individual troops do a great deal of good. Yet, i’m not sure I feel that good — no matter how great it is — redeems an organization whose policies which are actually put into practice at times to the detriment of real boys. So I’m on the fence.

By Andrew’s own argument, the fact that his inflammstory behavior – whether authentic or not – turned me off would entirely justify me in turning on the Boy Scouts completely and he’d only have himself to blame.

Ben in Oakland
August 2nd, 2012 | LINK

Anent the previous argument, my own belief?

Don’t call anyone hitler unless they actually ARE hitler.

It cheapens your argument, and It cheapens hitler.

August 2nd, 2012 | LINK

Andrew, your statement,”… I’ll be blunt. National operates like the Vatican. They don’t care what individuals think. It’s up to individuals to fall in line.” is the crucial one.

And just like the Vatican, there will be no change in the organization as long as people keep writing checks to them.

I agree also that writing letters to the national organization is fruitless unless those same letters are not also published in local, regional and national news outlets.

Timothy Kincaid
August 3rd, 2012 | LINK

Every day… every friggin day they make me tear up.

As I stated, my experience in scouting was mostly a good one, yet it was, of course, not perfect. One of my sadder memories was of me and my fellow scouts one time tying another scout to a sled and pushing him downhill into the brambles that cut up his face, all because this young man was effeminate and thought to be “gay.” I’ll never forget the tears in his face as he sauntered back up the hill and rejoined the rest of us as we happily celebrated and our adult leaders simply looked away. I understand that the BSA probably doesn’t officially condone this type of behavior – but when you do have an official policy of exclusion based on irrational fears, this type of behavior is a likely consequence.

I have stood by the BSA for many years in the hope that it will be mature enough to adapt to changing times and more compelling human needs. Your latest decision to re-affirm a century-old policy that has no place in this world has prompted me, after thirty-five years, to let go of this medal, a symbol of one of the first major achievements of my life. I return it mindful of what Rev. Martin Luther King wrote in his Letter from Birmingham City Jail: “If I have said anything in this letter that overstates the truth and indicates an unreasonable impatience, I beg you to forgive me. If I have said anything that understates the truth and indicates my having a patience that allows me to settle for anything less than brotherhood, I beg God to forgive me.”

August 6th, 2012 | LINK

TK – I totally agree that BTB’ers should read those letters. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an on-line aggegation of such thoughtful, heartfelt, articulate statements. In case you missed it, here’s an interesting article about the ESROB movement –

Timothy Kincaid
August 9th, 2012 | LINK

Oh man, I challenge you to read the letter from Stuart and David Lumb, father and son, and not tear up… there is passion there.

When asked, I lead my troop as Senior Patrol Leader at 14 despite reservations that I would not be able to follow the example of my troop’s older scouts, who had graduated. Over the years, I grew not just to tolerate but to enjoy the diversity of my troop—not just the embrace of ethnic and religious diversity written into the Boy Scout handbook, but the embrace of smaller scouts, the ones from damaged homes, the scouts teased by other kids for effeminate behavior: these scouts deserved the friendship and support that scouting provided. The policy you just reaffirmed discriminates against some of the very scouts in my adopted family and I cannot abide by the BSA’s hypocritical policy to welcome some, but not all, boys in need of character-building experiences. Shame on you for reaffirming a policy to exclude the boys who may need this life-changing opportunity most.

August 10th, 2012 | LINK

I’m fairly sure the medals are recycled, and the letters thrown in the trash unread by the leaders of BSA. They’ve made their decision, and everyone be damned.

August 10th, 2012 | LINK

I’m proud of those guys who are standing up for, ironically what the Eagle/Boy Scouts taught them to do, the respect of others.

I was never either because my parents couldn’t afford the uniform and whatever other fees came with it.

But going by those letters, obviously there’s some good going on in the troops.

Fenris Wolf
September 6th, 2012 | LINK

Esuriance – well-chosen name as your greed for attention shows. I’d suggest you consider adding “coprophiliac” to that.

Jarred – just more confused and confusing musings from your northern grove, I suppose. If you accidentally out yourself at work a few more times, you might be able to conduct your acts of blogggery full-time IRL. Meantime, your cherished anger is infectious and toxic as well as self-centered: to quote you, “But just so we’re clear, if it doesn’t, I’m too fucking pissed to fucking care.” And screw you, too.

Reed B
September 6th, 2012 | LINK

Hmmm . . . Timothy K, I DID read some of the letters per your suggestion. They DID break my heart, some of them. So I’m dusting off my “Bobcat” pin, and possibly taking my Weblo cap down from the shelf (it has a suggestion of “the pride spectrum” in the colors of its diamond designs – as well as a Harlequin association that appeals to me).
BSA National remains out of step with the rest of the world’s scouting organizations. And Scouting for All and Spiral Scouts remain as virtually-unknown alternatives.
On we slog . . .

September 6th, 2012 | LINK

Fenris Wolf: Did you have a point in addressing me beyond making personal insults?

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