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As children many of us participated in countless youth organizations that helped us become who we are today. One of the most popular of these organizations is the Boy Scouts of America, an organization that has the stated goal of providing young people a program, according to its website, “that builds character, trains them in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and develops personal fitness.” Millions every year participate in an organization that has brought so much good to this country that it has Title 36 Status of the United States Code, which is simply a congressional charter that gives certain organizations recognition for being truly patriotic and American.
However, the story of Ryan Andresen forces me to ask just how patriotic the Boy Scouts of America are if they refuse to allow homosexuals into their organization. Andresen, 17, recently completed his Eagle Scout project, a Tolerance Wall designed to fight bullying, and officially applied to become an Eagle Scout, the Boy Scout’s highest honor. His application was however rejected due to his being homosexual and failing to agree to the scouting principle “Duty to God.” This is a travesty and definitely not the patriotic actions of an organization that receives Title 36 status or his technically led by the President of the United States.
I understand the point that the Boy Scouts are a private organization and private organizations should have the ability to run themselves as they choose, and I support the idea private organizations and clubs can do as they wish in all reasonability. However, this private organization receives special treatment from a government that does not condone or allow discrimination due to sexual preference. To openly refuse gay members simply says discrimination is okay, that bullying is okay, and that the hard fought progress this country has made in the name of equal rights for was bologna. I do not feel this is American for discrimination and hate and bigotry are as un-American as something can be.
Andresen to me is an Eagle Scout. He accomplished an impressive feet for to achieve the status of Eagle Scout one must succeed through five lower ranks in the Boy Scouts, hold a leadership position for six months, collect 21 merit badges, and still complete the final service project. He did this, all of it and he did it exceptionally well. To refuse his application is to lower the prestige of the honor for it is forever stained with hatred and what is wrong in today’s society. I applaud the hundreds of other Eagle Scouts whom have returned their badges, membership cards, etc. to the Boy Scouts in protest of this grievous action against this young man.
The Boy Scouts of America need to realize that 2012 is not the same as 1910 when the organization was first founded. Being prejudice towards LGBT Americans is not okay in today’s society and should of never been okay. I still however feel the Boy Scouts have the potential of doing great good in modern day America if the organization evolves to meet the needs of the country it loves. For example I currently attend a university that in its founding charter from 1909 was a school designed to train “white women.” But as America grew and faced the demons that was segregation and the bigotry that caused segregation Radford did as well. Today Radford University is a vibrant campus that welcomes all groups of people and it is by time the Boy Scouts of America do so as well.