A Touching Letter to the Boy Scouts of America

Former Eagle Scout Douglas Woodhouse posted this picture on his Facebook page.  He sent this letter and his Eagle Scout medal back to the Boy Scouts of America in protest of their discriminatory policies.  It is really very lovely and well worth a read:

I, personally, loved this part: “No one remembers how efficient the Montgomery public transit system was in 1955.  All we remember about them now is their seating policy.”

Maggie Koerth-Baker has a compilation of even more of these letters at Boing Boing.

Has anyone else done something similar with their own club, group, or church?

About Jessica Bluemke

Jessica Bluemke grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and graduated from Ball State University in 2008 with a BA in Literature. She currently works as a writer and resides on the North side of Chicago.

  • Randomfactor

    I know a young man who exited Scouting short of Eagle rather than put up with the anti-atheist policies.

  • http://twitter.com/NontheistCentra Nontheist Central

    The stories about these “former” Eagle Scouts keep makin’ me cry!  The unbelievable conviction these men have is beyond words.  For some of them, it seems something like giving back a Medal of Honor attained in combat.  It’s very dear to them, but they give it up in favor of a kinder, more accepting world.  Love these guys so much!

  • JustMagicMaria

    My son is only a Cub Scout, but we just withdrew him from our local Pack. All parents are expected to volunteer and I couldn’t, in good conscience, continue to do so. We were not the first to drop out for this reason — what kind of a message would we be sending?

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger/featured GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    Jessica asks “Has anyone else done something similar with their own club, group, or church?”

    Yes, after yet another in the long string of Catholic Church scandals covering up for priests who rape little children, I had enough of going to church on Easter/Xmas (which was just to appease the older generation in my family, since I was already a non-believer).

    I wrote a letter to the Church telling them of my atheism and my outrage over their abuse of children, and saying Goodbye and Good Riddance. On that Easter a few years ago, I attended church with the extended family, cherishing the nostalgia of knowing I may never again attend those well-known rituals.

    I was happy to have it be my last mass/church attendance, and happy to put my letter into the collection basket for the priests/pastor to know why they would not be seeing me again.

  • ANTdrew

    I feel…sad :-(

  • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster
  • Katharine Klevinskas

    The letters are wonderful.  There’s no denying that and I don’t want to sound snarky (but … here I go)
    My son is 30.  He quit the scouts when he was 12 because of their bigoted prejudiced ways.  Primarily because they didn’t allow atheist or gay boys.   

    That was a long time ago — it’s not been a secret.   Why does this stuff always take forever?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/AT3ISDLC3EFMAYLH5H4QMPARDQ Matt L.

    Here is my letter to the BSA:  “Why I am Proud to keep my Eagle Scout award.”
    http://thoughtsofasimplecitizen.blogspot.com/2012/07/i-am-eagle-scout.html

    • BSGay

      Morally straight does not mean denying people love or freedom to be who they are. It means doing the right thing to help your fellow man when it’s rough, inconvenient, and unpopular. The BSA is going to be on the wrong side of history, and so are you. I’m a bi, atheist Eagle Scout. I worked just as hard as you did. Don’t tread on us.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/AT3ISDLC3EFMAYLH5H4QMPARDQ Matt L.

        “Morally straight does not mean denying people love or freedom to be who they are. It means doing the right thing to help your fellow man when it’s rough, inconvenient, and unpopular”

         - I completely agree

    • Baby_Raptor

      So…You’re proud to support an organization that systematically denies people basic human rights based on how they were born. Or how they choose to believe. 

      And you think this makes you moral? that’s so very sad.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/AT3ISDLC3EFMAYLH5H4QMPARDQ Matt L.

         Exactly which “basic human rights” are being denied?

    • Edmond

      I bet you were born with the moral skin color too, right?

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/AT3ISDLC3EFMAYLH5H4QMPARDQ Matt L.

        touché

    • Frank

      Well said!

  • ruth

    I grew up in a small town of petty minded people and was teased without mercy and without adult intervention  for being different.  Not a Christian.  Not saved.  Not attractive.  Just plain weird.  Years later I became a successful business woman.  A person from my old school called me and asked if I would speak at their school about my successes.  Basically I said screw you, I am never setting foot in that town again.  

  • Isilzha

    I wasn’t that eloquent, but when I was about 18 I went to the last church my parents had made me join and told them I was no longer an xian and to strike my name from the membership rolls.  I don’t know if they actually did, but I still felt a bit better taking a stand.

  • Mark W.

     “Scouting is a world wide, multi cultural movement. We
    welcome people to membership regardless of gender, race, culture, religious
    belief, sexual orientation or economic circumstances. Youth
    members are strongly influenced by the behaviour of adults. We need to be
    sensitive to the traditions and beliefs of all people and to avoid words or
    actions which “put down” anybody.” From Scouts Canada. Duty of Care, February
    2001, CODE OF CONDUCT FOR ADULTSThis is what a Scouting policy should look like.

  • Jack

    Boy Scouts of America is a Christian organization.  That doesn’t mean they openly accept the beliefs of others.  If you are athiest or gay you shouldn’t be expecting them to greet you with open arms.  They may tolerate you, but they don’t have to condone your beliefs and sexual preference.  Christians are commissioned to spread the word about Jesus Christ (that’s why it is called a CHRISTian religion) and enlighten others about the Word of God.

    • Nathaniel

      Jack, I don’t know which BSA you attended, but the BSA through which I earned my own Eagle Scout award was open to every religion (except atheism). At least on paper and in practice, they are far from a “Christian organization.” As for how they respond to different orientations, their ban on gay scouts and leaders is hardly ‘tolerant’; it is, in fact, discriminatory. At least, with the attitude you are describing, they would be OK with gay scouts, and may let troops accept gay leaders, just with a lot of complaining. However, the reality is that they reject LGBT people as leaders and scouts as unfit to even be of service.

  • http://twitter.com/joshevolved Joshua Pearson

    I tried Boy Scouts once, for an hour, up until they started the meeting with a Christian prayer. My exact words were “Fuck this shit, I’m out.” I promptly left and never went back.

    As for this whole “lets change the Boy Scouts” I say “shut the hell up.” Let them be the bigots they are, let them continue to show how vile and unnecessary religion, and Christianity, truly are.  Instead of wasting time and energy and trying to convince massive bigots to change their ways (which is folly), create a better organization for all children, be they gay, straight, male, female, pan, poly, theist, atheist, etc.

    I’m really sick of hearing people beg and plead with the BSOA to grow up and be a quality orginization. It is built upon bigotry and idiocy, with a foundation like that the only smart thing to do is tear it down and build a better one.

    • David

      I may agree with some of what you said, but do not like your tone…I am not a Christian, but rather Jewish, and what you said would offend Christians…I was in a Jewish cub scout pack at a private religious Jewish school, and later at a non-denominational cub scout pack when I went to public school, and do not recall ever saying any prayers with either pack…I did quit after a while, but only because I just was not interested, and didn’t get along with all the kids in either pack, and didn’t like the activities…sorry your experiences left you feeling like that…


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