Typical speeches during a ceremony to award the Eagle Scout badge contain these words;
"The wearer of the Eagle award is the epitome of Scouting's best efforts and beliefs...
An Eagle's honor is sacred. Honor is the foundation of all character....An Eagle is loyal to his ideals....
He extends a helping hand to those who still toil up the Scouting trail, just as others helped him in his achievement of the Eagle rank.....
For us today, the Eagle is a living symbol of courageous and freedom-aspiring Americans."
I am an Eagle Scout out of troop 551 in Iron Mountain. I am now 40 years old, and I have a son in Cub Scouts.
While I applaud the BSA for eliminating the outdated and bigoted practice of banning openly gay scouts, I don't feel it goes far enough. Under the current guidelines, a scout can dedicate more than a decade of his life to the organization, earn its highest awards, but not be allowed to serve as an adult leader.
It disturbs me deeply that every openly gay scout who earns an Eagle Badge will be unwelcome as an adult leader in the very organization that perhaps just the day before spoke those words about him.
This hypocrisy is more disturbing to me than the bigoted ban was for some reason. I have tried to be patient with the organization that I grew up with as it pries itself out of the grip of antiquated fear and intolerance, but this new resolution will put every openly gay scout in the position of being told, "You're the best that Scouting has to offer. Now go away."
Living a life of service to others and your country will now earn you a cold shoulder. How can we stand for this?
The people of the world will surely point to this decision and rightly proclaim us hypocrites. Our policy has gone from embarrassing to shameful.