Update: Local Scout Leader Denies Eagle Badge for Andresen

An official of the Mt. Diablo-Silverado Council denied the Eagle Board of Review's recommendation to approve the badge, according to KTVU.

The joy was short-lived in the Andresen home Tuesday as a scout official from the Mt. Diablo-Silverado Council denied a recommendation from the Eagle Board of Review to approve the Eagle Scout badge for Moraga teen Ryan Andresen, and refused to send the endorsement to national scout officials.

According to KTVU, John Fenoglio, staff executive at the Mt. Diablo-Silverado Council, said Tuesday that he would not approve the board's recommendation, or send it on to the national office.

A scout official said later that Andresen does not qualify for the badge because he rejects God, a charge Andresen's father disputes.

Andresen and his family thought they had moved one step closer to getting his Eagle Scout badge, despite the fact that it was denied in October because Andresen is gay.

That denial, first reported on Lamorinda Patch, sparked a national controversy, landing Andresen and his mother on talk shows and national news. He also received support from local and national politicians, including U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and 32 California state legislators. Nearly 500,000 people have signed a petition calling for the Boy Scouts of America to grant Andresen his Eagle Scout badge and overturn the policy prohibiting gays from belonging to the Boy Scouts.

On Dec. 31, local scout leaders agreed to submit Andresen’s request to an Eagle Board of Review. They had recommended approval of the badge to the Mt. Diablo-Silverado Council, which is headquartered in Pleasant Hill.

“I’m just so incredibly happy for Ryan,” said his mother Karen Andresen before the rejection. “He’s worked so hard for this honor, and as a mother, it means the world to me to know that our local Scouting community believes in him, too. Regardless of what the BSA’s National Advancement Team decides to do with his application, this victory makes it all worth it and gives me so much hope for the future of the organization.”

Senior A. Titude January 09, 2013 at 09:48 PM
Overwhelm them will emails to show them they do not represent the values of our community. It is a sad day when scouting stands for hatred.
Claire January 09, 2013 at 09:57 PM
I agree - it is deplorable. While not all scout leaders may apply this policy, I still hold the entire organization accountable for denying Ryan's award, even if it is only certain scout leaders. The pressure and acceptance must come from within the organization. Until this happens, I will continue to boycott the BSA locally by not supporting them financially. I also urge large BSA sponsors to discontinue their financial support until the BSA changes. Finoglio should be told what to do (or be fired) by the national organization, which I am certain he responds to. Why should we keep the pressure on the national organization, when it appears evident that these decisions like in Ryan's case are made locally? While I know that the BSA does a lot of good work, I morally cannot support such a hypocritical organization. I have the power to decide what I do locally and who I support - it won't be the BSA. Good for Ryan to stand up - keep it up!
Jim Faison January 09, 2013 at 11:43 PM
Pat wonders too much!! Oakland Unifed School Sistrict rent for Scout Troops costs $100 per boy extra for 'dues' to pay that rent. Do a little homework before adding 'extra' ideas to a discussion. Eagle is the top 'rank' not just a badge!! Woodworking would give your a 'merit badge'; obsiously no Scouter is commenting!!
Ken Briggs January 10, 2013 at 12:04 AM
I achieved my Eagle Scout award in 1955... yeah, that's a long time ago, but I am still proud of it and I think the scouting program is great for kids. But, I am also gay, and no apologizes for that... it's just the way I am and just the way Ryan is. I cannot support the BSA as their homophobia is sickening. I'm proud of you Ryan.
Jim Faison January 10, 2013 at 12:16 AM
Left Scouting in 1954, jointed 4H, did that until 1957. Got into trouble with fuzzy thinking in Junior Statesmen of America where I ran into a school teacher/sounselor who 'groomed' me in his hotel room, using my Scouting Law of being 'trustworthy' to not tell anyone 'what we did'. My mom wanted me to be 'nice to girls' and not say the word 'queer' not thinking that I would be grabbed by one!! He came out to the bus to talk to my faculty advisor at the bus as we returned to Concord. They are real slick, and the Youth Protection Program of Scouting shows examples of such 'grooming' by pedophiles. Some of you just 'feel' bad, but that is not enough; be educated and pro-active not sypathetic with 'sex offenders'
Regnad Kcin January 10, 2013 at 03:55 AM
Scouts accept boys of all religions, but regardless of the religion, the Scout must profess a belief, bot in God, necessarily, but in the tenets of the religion. What isn't clear is whether the Council is denying him his Eagle because they believe people who are gay have renounced their faith in God by being gay. It sounds like it, and that's wrong.
Aubrey Cattell January 10, 2013 at 05:10 AM
Very disappointing. As an Eagle Scout, long-time supporter of the scouting movement, and father to a six-year-old son who is currently in Cub Scouts, the BSA national policy embarrasses me and always has. I was happy to sign the Change.org petition on Ryan's behalf and I admire and applaud his courage. But for all those outraged by BSA, I'd politely suggest that you take a deeper look at the sources of this policy and then ask yourselves what else you can do to effect change in our community: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wayne-besen/the-boy-scouts-stick-to-k_b_1682820.html And Emily, just want to say I think you are doing a great job moderating this and other threads, and engaging the Lamorinda community on a difficult and multifaceted topic. Personally, my ambivalence over whether to maintain my support for Scouting is fueled by the tens of thousands of boys in inner cities for whom scouting offers not only rare access to the outdoors, but an alternative to the gangs, drugs and other forces that too often destroy their neighborhoods. We're fortunate to live in a place such as this.
Irene Theodore Heinstein January 10, 2013 at 05:46 AM
Thanks for the link to the petition. I just signed it.
Irene Theodore Heinstein January 10, 2013 at 05:48 AM
Thanks for the link. I just emailed Mr. Fenoglio
Mark Coplan January 10, 2013 at 06:22 AM
After all of this attention, the Nation has spoken and BSA obviously listened. Then "John Fenoglio, staff executive at the Mt. Diablo-Silverado Council, said Tuesday that he would not approve the board's recommendation, or send it on to the national office." Just who does he think that he is? Hopefully the National response will put this hater into his place. He could learn from the scouts.
Jon Spangler January 10, 2013 at 08:07 AM
Chris N--I DO pass on that good experience, but in other ways and other groups. I will not support or be involved with a morally corrupt and out-of-touch organization like BSA or the KKK: both discriminate and practice hate.
karen January 10, 2013 at 09:29 AM
Mr Fenoglio lied to us, Rainer Del Valle lied to us...seems to be a theme. These are people that are working with our youth and should be positive role models. They lack honesty, compassion, and courage to do the right thing. Mr Fenoglio gave us and others his word that my son's approved Board of Review application would be signed and sent. And the lies about Duty to God to cover up their homophobia is unreal. For too long the BSA has embraced a policy of ignorance and I hope it will change in order to save the BSA. This policy is contributing to loss of support of members,, access to publicly funded facilities, & loss of private and corporate donors. A change toward the International Scouting Movement would be one of acceptance and hold the beliefs of the founder, Lord Baden Powell, who believed that everyone could benefit from a scouting program and it should not exclude. I saw the Lincoln movie tonight and was reminded of how much courage he had to do the right thing for future generations. I cannot believe this is 2013. I feel like it is 1865, in a way. Judging someone because of their sexual orientation, is no different that judging them because of their color and we know it's wrong.l
karen January 10, 2013 at 09:35 AM
For anyone that is interested in a panel discussion on the BSA's membership policy, My husband will be on KQED (FM 88.5) Thursday Jan 10th at 9 am PST. Feel free to call in with your comments.
karen January 10, 2013 at 10:45 PM
Why did Mr Fenoglio, or the SM decline to be part of the panel? A scout should be accountable...It would have been nice to here from them in regards to this important issue. This is the first time that I know of, where a Scout passed his Board of Review and did not get his Eagle.
Devin January 10, 2013 at 11:03 PM
I signed the petition a while ago. Made me sick when I read about this. People are scared of anything that is just a little bit different. Cowards.
Steve Tennant January 12, 2013 at 01:58 AM
while you're at it, sign Ryan's petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/boy-scouts-don-t-let-your-anti-gay-policy-deny-my-son-his-eagle-award and join Scouts for Equality: www.scoutsforequality.org Seeking other Scouters and Councils to join the cause.
Steve Tennant January 12, 2013 at 02:03 AM
Join and donate at http://www.scoutsforequality.org. I'm a local Scouter and working with them to create change, I recommend them highly. They are a non-profit run by former Eagles across the country and could use financial support to fund the activities - speaking events, web development, grassroots campaigning, engaging with National BSA board, etc. You can hear one of their founders, Zach Wahls, on KQED's Forum with Michael Krazny this week here, the show recording is now available: http://www.kqed.org/a/forum/R201301100900
Steve Tennant January 12, 2013 at 02:17 AM
Well said, Karen! I guess he was trying to support BSA's view of being "morally straight". Let's see here...looking up the definition, the BSA defines morally straight as follows: "To be a person of strong character, your relationships with others should be honest and open. You should respect and defend the rights of all people. Be clean in your speech and actions, and remain faithful in your religious beliefs. The values you practice as a Scout will help you shape a life of virtue and self-reliance." Hmmm. So morally straight has nothing to do with sexual orientation - it has to do with standing up of people, respecting people's rights, being honest and open. Well, he certainly wasn't that in this case! I'm being somewhat facetious. I know John is trying to keep his job, at the expense of Ryan and the Scouting movement.
Cybelle January 12, 2013 at 02:28 AM
It is so sad and unbelievable that this is happening to this young man. Eagle Scout, like the Girl Scout Gold Award, is a huge accomplishment. He did everything necessary to earn that award and should have received it. This kind of bigotry sickens me.
karen January 12, 2013 at 04:41 AM
@Steve. I agree with you that Scouts for Equality, founded by Zach Wahls is a great organization. He had such a good experience in scouts, that he wants everyone to have this same opportunity. We are also working with him to end discrimination. We had another set back and my last post reflected my feelings; It has been a roller coaster ride. I just wanted to say that I believe that the scouting program can benefit many kids, especially kids that love the outdoors, and are not into sports. They learn about personal responsibility, leadership, service to community, and go on great adventures. If your son enjoys scouts, I would find a program that does not discriminate, cares about each scout, and does not tolerate bullying and hazing. Troop 234 in Moraga, is a troop that will not discriminate. There are troops in Lafayette and Orinda, as well. The whole Piedmont Council has a nondiscrimination policy, they are out there. There are gays in scouts, and there have always been. My son did not realize the policy was actually in place, until the recent news. We always taught him to be honest. I don't want the BSA to go under. I oppose treating anyone in anyway that is contrary to the scout oath and law, because of sexual orientation or any other reason, especially when they are just kids. My highlight tonight: A former SM from Concord, bringing over a beautiful 18x24 portrait that he made for us with an eagle and Eagle Pin, Ryan's name, and a saying about courage. Thank you Paul!
Josh Goldman January 13, 2013 at 01:36 AM
Homosexuals should not be allowed into the Boy Scouts. Period.
Ross Stapleton-Gray January 13, 2013 at 02:55 AM
'cause, you know, the gay cooties. The Boy Scouts certainly have a Constitutional right to be very wrong (though not with my tax dollars); they might take a look at the Girl Scouts, who are thriving, without worrying about what gender their members might find attractive, or what deities they might worship (or not).
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop January 15, 2013 at 02:56 AM
CN You are losing you grip, my friend. The two have nothing what so ever to do with one another. Your 'higher plane, 'objectivism' is just so much malarkey and those that kling to it are on the wrong bus, or the right one, destination: Nowhere.
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop January 15, 2013 at 03:03 AM
You practice exclusion, you get excluded from the use of public property, unless you pay the going rate. Even the Objectivists need a room to scratch each other's backs, or whatever it is they do for fun. As long as they pay.
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop January 15, 2013 at 03:11 AM
And what clan are you from, er, cave-dwelling sect, that is? Gosh, Josh, that's a downright manly statement. Just curious as to why you are so threatened by these kids? Think they are going to ruin the guv'ment too. Some think that such a strong aversion is, well, a sort of cry for help. Need a shoulder to lean on, Josh?
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop January 15, 2013 at 03:28 AM
Under what the BSa calls their 'Hispanic Initiative', it says, among other things, "the Boy Scouts of America has demonstrated its commitment to a progressive and innovative strategy,..." If you read between the lines, two things are apparent: they make Hispanics (not, Mexican, etc.-Americans) sound like a sub-species and they need the money and are thus willing to actually recruit these young Americans. These folks cannot get out of their own way.
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop January 16, 2013 at 03:48 PM
Gosh Josh, Me thinks you doth protest too much! And, according to the CDC, the fastest growing contributing group to new HIV/AIDS cases is Heterosexual males. And new cases, in general, have been declining. The common profile of the 'pedophile' has little in common with homosexuality. Your lack of understanding in this regard is monumental and embarrassing.
Emily Henry (Editor) January 16, 2013 at 05:19 PM
Thank you, Aubrey. There has been some inspiring and informed debate on this issue. It's unfortunate that there are those who can speak only in insults, but thankfully they are few. If you see a comment that is inappropriate, you can click "flag for removal." It doesn't remove the comment immediately, but if a few people flag it then it should disappear. In the mean time I will keep monitoring as best I can!
Nancy Rieser January 16, 2013 at 07:46 PM
Children are more likely to be raped by their own heterosexual relatives (or within their family circle in some way - like mom's boyfriend) than a gay from the community. So what gives, Josh? Just in case anyone needs to brush up on any of the anti-gay mythology, here is a nice "top ten" list from the Southern Poverty Law Center, an agency that knows all about entrenched "isms": http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2010/winter/10-myths
Claire January 17, 2013 at 05:29 PM
Some people hate Jews too!


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