Real Eagles

I earned the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank attainable in Scouting, almost 40 years ago. I credit to my participation in Scouting my first real experience in leadership, the origins of my confidence speaking in public, and a lifelong love of being in respectful and appreciative contact with nature. I have a confidence in the outdoors few of my city-raised peers do. I made very close friends in Scouting, some of whom I remain in contact with, now many decades later.
Generally, I have been quite proud of my Scouting experience.
Last week, however, I read news which troubled me deeply. A 17 year-old was denied the Eagle Scout award he’d duly earned for the sole reason that he is gay.
Scouting has long wrestled with issues of sexual identity and orientation, in both membership and leadership, and religious faith. The organization’s current position is that, to be eligible for affiliation, both boys and adult leaders must profess faith in God and be heterosexual. Both requirements are, I believe, anathema to managing organizations in diverse societies. Further, and more seriously, they send precisely the wrong message to the young men Scouting hopes to develop into America’s good, strong, moral men.
America is a diverse society in which everyone matters. People are of numerous religious faiths, and of no religious faith at all. Good Americans are straight and gay alike.
The same should go, I believe, for Eagle Scouts. 

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