This is my confession. I was a Boy Scout in the '70s in Spokane, Washington, where I grew up, because I was a skinny-ass middle-class white-bread kid in suburban skinny-ass middle-class white-bread America and this is just what you did and for the most part it was fine and good and normal. What can I say. I am now fully recovered. But here's the interesting part. Growing up, there was a man named Jim West who was our troop leader at the time and West was also, if I recall which I admittedly can't with perfect clarity, a pillar of the community.
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The only reason he's being denied the rank of Eagle is because the Boy Scouts of America has a problem with Ryan being gay," said his mother, Karen Andresen, Andresen has spent a decade completing the requirements for the coveted award, and now that he is just about to turn 18 -- the cut-off date for attaining the highest honor -- his Moraga, Calif. Agreeing to do one's 'Duty to God' is a part of the scout Oath and Law and a requirement of achieving the Eagle Scout rank. Smith also said that even though the Boy Scouts does not actively ask the sexual orientation of boys, discussions with the Andresens have made Ryan "no longer eligible for membership in scouting. He said the "ideals and principles" in the Scout Oath and Law are "central to the mission of teaching young people to make better choices over their lifetimes. Ryan's project, a "tolerance wall," was inspired by the years of hazing he endured in middle school and later at Boy Scout summer camp, where his nicknames were "Tinkerbell" and "faggot. His mom was so upset by the troops' decision that she posted a petition on Change.
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We are all engaged in a conversation about whether or not to keep a policy in place at the national level that keeps gay people from active service in Scouting, as either adults or Scouts. I want to help you be an informed, active participant in deciding the future of our great organization. Scouting is, in my belief, the best program for boys. The Boy Scouts of America has an unparalleled record in producing many great, talented leaders. It is my honest opinion that all youth, regardless of race, ethnicity, faith, ability, sexual orientation or other factors beyond their control be welcomed in Scouting.
The vote by its 1, national membership came as no surprise to gay rights advocates, who hailed it as a first step to ending discriminatory practices in the year-old organization. The Boy Scouts said that it had completed its "most comprehensive listening exercise in Scouting's history" on the issue and will change its policy Jan. America's youth need Scouting, and by focusing on the goals that unite us, we can continue to accomplish incredible things for young people and the communities we serve. President of the Boy Scouts of America Wayne Perry, in a press conference following the vote, said, "This is a very difficult decision for a lot of people, but we're moving forward together. Our vision is to serve every kid.