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Gays in the Scouts: What's Your Opinion?

Does the Novato Boy Scouting community have anything to say about Moraga boy's Eagle Scout project, a 'wall of tolerance' at junior high school?

When Ryan Andresen completed a 288-tile wall of tolerance at Joaquin Moraga Middle School in Moraga last month, he thought he had met the requirements to become an Eagle Scout.

But, according to his mother, the scoutmaster of Ryan's Moraga Boy Scout troop is refusing to sign off on the project because Ryan is gay.

"We are all just in shock," said Ryan's mother, Karen Andresen.

How is the Novato Scouting community reacting to this? In a more general sense, have decisions by the national Scouts leadership done anything to hurt scouting on a local level? Are local scout troops thriving or dwindling?

The Moraga family has a petition drawing international attention on Change.org urging the leaders of the local troop to reject the Boy Scouts of America's "discriminatory anti-gay policy" and give Ryan Andresen the Eagle award. Ryan is a senior at Maybeck High School in Berkeley.

"It hurts me so much to watch Ryan suffer for being who he is, because to me, he's perfect," Karen Andresen said.

Ryan's father, Eric Andresen, used to do the bookkeeping for Troop 212. He resigned on Tuesday, Karen Andresen said, after Scoutmaster Rainer del Valle reaffirmed his refusal to sign off on Ryan's project.

Ryan's 18th birthday is Oct. 8. The Boy Scouts have a rule that the Eagle Scout project must be approved by the 18th birthday, Karen Andresen said.

She said that Ryan came out to his family two years ago. The idea for the wall of tolerance was a result of the bullying he experienced at school and in the Boy Scouts.

Ryan Andresen hopes to attend the University of San Francisco.

"Many troops around the country are standing up, choosing to reject the Boy Scouts' discriminatory policy," the petition statement by Karen Andresen reads. "I sincerely hope that Ryan's troop — Troop 212 — will become one of them."

The Boy Scouts of America has policies that prohibit "open or avowed" homosexual people from membership
in its Scouting program, as well as atheists and agnostics, according to Wikipedia.

One petition signer from overseas wrote on Change.org said he signed "because I am a member of the Boy Scouts in the UK and discrimination is the very thing we are taught against! Scouts are supposed to HONOUR people with ALL their differences. Not treat them like filth."

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Sara October 15, 2012 at 10:43 PM
This same argument is used to attempt to prohibit two legal adults from entering into a civil marriage contract based on their not being considered qualified for a religious sacrament that happens to go by the same name. Do you truly not see the irony?
Sara October 15, 2012 at 10:47 PM
I know this one! Pick me! Pick me! A: They train the child since birth to be so ashamed that it isn't until some point in adulthood that biology and truth are able, through much pain, to break through and allow the person to live an honest life of love and happiness. Biology is so...inconvenient that they choose to instead describe it as a, "lifestyle choice", and a very shameful one at that. The entire system rewards belief in things which can not be substantiated with fact; so much so that the more outrageous the claim, the higher the piousness of the believer.
Sara October 15, 2012 at 10:50 PM
"Just following orders", eh? But is *is* her decision to stand out there and appear to fully support the BSA and all that it stands for...
Sara October 15, 2012 at 11:02 PM
I'm guessing you also don't want them mentioning that George Carver Washington was black...What about Harriet Tubman? Can they include her in the history classes? What is so wrong about teaching kids the entire story, such as when the US put California citizens in internment camps because their ancestors came from Japan, or that the father of modern computing and the breaker of the Nazi Enigma machine after the war was prosecuted for being gay and had the very sanctity of his body violated by the state until he committed suicide? Not all history is white, male, euro-christian history here in America. But all of it needs to be told, in addition to the white male european Christian history. Including the stories of people in the old west like Charley Parker, or how the Nazis burned the Hirschfeld Institute in Berlin because it dared to record LGBT history.
Carol October 19, 2012 at 06:45 PM
WOW - so let me get this straight. One ignorant adult makes a really stupid decision in his scout troop - by forcing his EGO into a process wrongly, and everyone in Novato wants to tell little kids that they WILL NOT buy popcorn or support their fundraising efforts to run a program that promotes citizenship, leadership, community service (just to name a few of the many positive attributes to the program). IMHO the discussion of sexual preference does not belong ANYWHERE in the program. The program should always continue to focus on strong youth development. I'd rather these boys are in organized positive community focused programs than home playing video games or running around town unsupervised - we all see those stories in the patch police logs... Let's put this into prospective, folks. National BSA is the rule maker and they are out in Texas. That's where to focus your political agendas - not outside stores with little kids learning to communication skills by asking for support by selling their pop corn. Supporting our local youth does not mean you support that jerk in Moraga. Pulling funding from our kids selling popcorn just hurts us locally...if that's your intent, than by all means, go bully those little kids. I do not condone what that man did - I can't even call him a leader - his behavior is so disappointing to me...but please, do not take it out on our kids here in Novato. They have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with what that jerk did.

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