Ryan Andresen on Ellen DeGeneres Show Thursday

National NBC show to air the story of gay, now 18-year-old Boy Scout running afoul of Scout policy as he pursues his dream of being an Eagle Scout.

First: Happy birthday to Ryan Andresen, 18 years old today (Monday).

Now the news: On Thursday, the Ellen DeGeneres Show wraps up Cat Week, actress Octavia Spencer drops by and then Ellen turns her attention to Ryan Andresen of Moraga.

The Ellen listing states: "Ryan Andresen was on his way to receiving the top honors as an Eagle Scout, but when he came out to his friends and family as gay, the Boy Scouts refused to approve his award. Since then, a petition for Ryan to receive his award has amassed over 165,000 signatures. He's here to tell Ellen his story."

The family announced last week that family members would appear on an unspecified national television show. Patch first reported on Oct. 4 about the Andresen family and its petition drawing international attention on Change.org. On Monday morning, the petition was within a few hundred of 350,000.

The petition urges leaders of a Moraga 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. Andresen's Eagle Scout project is a 288-tile wall of tolerance now displayed on an outdoor wall at Joaquin Moraga Middle School in Moraga.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show is on from 4 to 5 p.m. weekdays on NBC channels.

Nathan Bell October 11, 2012 at 03:29 AM
Daphne: The issue is not what you or I may conclude, but what Mr. De La Val (sp?) concludes. Many on this board are accusing him and those that adhere to the BSA policy of "sowing hate" as though there is no other option to interpret his actions and motives. It seems wholly incongruent that a man of otherwise good repute who dedicates his time, resources and energy to a program intended to develop young men would simultaneously desire to sow the seeds of hate. This is especially appro po when one considers that Mr. Da La Vall's troop sponsor is the MVPC which, as best I can tell, has no agenda whatsoever of "hate" in any other context, and, to the contrary preaches a gospel of love. I acknowledge that many men have used positions of trust and respect for their own devious purposes (is there a better place to hide out?). But I would think one would want to exhaust all other possible interpretations of the scout master's motives before accusing the scout master of an agenda of hate and I don't see that occurring here. Regardless of my personal position on the policy, I can certainly understand how many people hold to the BSA policy without having an agenda of hate and accusing them of such seems to only polarize the discussion.
Daphne Laurel October 11, 2012 at 03:40 AM
Maybe they could allow gay scouts but not let them wear uniforms, like they did with many of the segregated black troops. The BSA supported segregation. It's excuse: We didn't create the color barrier, we were just following social mores. Some morality.
Daphne Laurel October 11, 2012 at 03:44 AM
Nathan, And all them fine white people who wouldn't let "coloreds" in their troops weren't sowing hate. They were just following social mores. When the BSA wouldn't let black troops wear a uniform, they weren't being hateful. They were just following the customs of the day. How charming. How respectable.
Nathan Bell October 11, 2012 at 03:50 AM
Daphne, your argument makes total sense if you assume race and homosexual activity are synonymous or of like character. Many blacks do not appreciate that comparison. In fact, the black community voted for Prop 8 in greater proportions than the general population. I think you need to first succeed in making the argument that race is a perfect corollary to homosexual activity before you will win over MVPC, its sponsored troop leaders, the BSA in general and some of the largest religious groups in the world. Until you do that and insist on making the leap of logic for them, the argument will be never ending, because it is clear they don't make that leap of logic as you do.
Daphne Laurel October 11, 2012 at 03:58 AM
You don't need to make any connection between race and sexual orientation. You're being silly. The point is that the scouts have historically been intolerant. It's never stood up for any sense of equality. It only integrated after being forced to. How courageous.
Chris Nicholson October 11, 2012 at 04:13 AM
There is no rational basis to conclude that homosexuality (or at least "propensity to be gay") is anything other than an innate, effectively immutable attribute--- certainly less malleable and more congenital than, for example, religious beliefs. People who claim otherwise (religious or not) are either not thoughtful/critical thinkers, delusional or intellectually dishonest. That said, I do not think the government should limit the freedom of people to hold irrational thoughts/opinions and to act upon them-- unless in so doing they directly injure others (IMHO, feelings/civility don't count here). So, even though the BSA is dead wrong in their policy, no outsiders (especially not the government) should be able to force them to change.
Nathan Bell October 11, 2012 at 04:16 AM
Daphne, you can ignore the issue all you like, but it will only cause the two sides to talk past one another. The Christian right clearly see the issue of homosexuality as incongruent with Biblical teachings and not akin to skin color. I don't think any protestations to the contrary and calling them haters will change their mind. I believe the policy of the BSA is not to even ask about sexual orientation, but to not approve of homosexual activity. Had Ryan not mentioned his being gay (which I presume the BSA takes his statement of him being gay as an affirmation of his belief or support of homosexual activity) he would be getting his Eagle. I assume the scout master and others involved with Troop 212 would say they "hate the sin but love the sinner". If you see homosexual activity as a sin, then their position makes sense. If you see homosexuality as being akin to skin color, then your position makes sense. But failing to acknowledge that central controversy isn't going to advance the discussion. As to the history of BSA wrongs. Yes, I'm sure there have been many. As best I can tell they have owned up to them and made significant efforts to right their wrongs. Have the scouts been more intolerant than society in general over the years? Religion has been very intolerant too..........therefore...........what? do away with religion?
Nathan Bell October 11, 2012 at 04:22 AM
Chris: you say "People who claim otherwise (religious or not) are either not thoughtful/critical thinkers, delusional or intellectually dishonest." 1 in 6 people in the world are Catholic. That number is 1 in 5 if you include the Eastern Orthodox Catholics. Clearly numbers don't make right, but it seems a whole lot of people disagree with your conclusion, and hence the Troop 212 firestorm.
Daphne Laurel October 11, 2012 at 07:22 AM
Bigotry based on the Bible is still bigotry, so I fail to see your point. The BSA has a long history of discrimination. They ought to just be honest and own it.
Daphne Laurel October 11, 2012 at 07:24 AM
The BSA could take a lesson from Chik-Fil-A. Chik-Fil-A is biblical based and donates money to questionable groups. But, and here's the key, Chic-Fil-A doesn't discriminate against customers. Anyone is welcome in its stores. Chic-Fil-A operates in numerous states where it would be perfectly legal to refuse to serve homosexuals. But, it doesn't do that. That's tolerance. A lesson the BSA could learn.
Daphne Laurel October 11, 2012 at 07:26 AM
They don't have majority support. Try again or you can keep making crap up I guess.
Daphne Laurel October 11, 2012 at 07:35 AM
Moraga Man wrote, "While no one would admit it openly lest they be hung at high noon by the PC police, many a parent is hesitant to send their 12 yr old son off to scout camp for a week with openly gay leaders or scouts." Of course people wouldn't say that publicly. Because anyone stupid enough to think that way doesn't have enough IQ points to string together a coherent sentence. Plus, those kinds of people are cowards. Real pussywillows.
Nathan Bell October 11, 2012 at 07:41 AM
Daphne: Dictionary.com gives this definition of bigotry: "stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own." By that definition, it seems bigotry is a two way street. It's not my point I'm making, it's the point of the Christian right. They don't see discrimination based on activity or behavior as being at the same level as discrimination for skin color. You clearly don't want to hear this point so we are simply talking in circles. The Chick-Fil-A comparison is very weak. The mission of the BSA is to build character in young men, not to sell sandwiches. If one believes, as the Christian right does, that homosexual activity is a sin, then I can see how they come to the conclusion that homosexual activity is not compatible with the mission of the BSA. You are welcome to disagree that it is a sin, but you are not free to make the Christian right believe or accept the notion that it is not a sin. That is what they believe. Please note, however, that if a boy does not act on his inclinations (be he gay or straight) then I presume the BSA would be ok with that, so it seems they tolerate gays, they just don't tolerate homosexual activity. Calling them haters or bigots strikes me as ignoring the very basis of their argument. And like any religious argument, there is no winning or losing. It is a matter of opinion.
Daphne Laurel October 11, 2012 at 08:48 AM
Nathan, Was the BSA building character when it practiced segregation for decades & only stopped when forced to by civil rights legislation? The BSA has never been about building character. It's about young boys and teens having fun completing fun, interesting, and educational activities and earning badges along the way as a demonstration of their skill & commitment. Building character is PC nonsense. It's a concept to make people "feel" good. Silly. If Scouting was about building character the organization wouldn't have a long history of bigotry and discrimination. I really don't care if the Scouts ban blacks, or practice segregation, or don't allow homosexuals but to act as if the Scouts are some noble group cranking out honorable men then I have to ask how honorable it is to sit atop a tower on a college campus and shoot people to death. Charles Whitman was an Eagle Scout. Did Scouting teach him that? The Scouts are a club. It attracts evil kids and great kids. But, the organization is no better and no worse than any other club that's aimed at boys and teens. People need to be honest about that.
Daphne Laurel October 11, 2012 at 08:53 AM
Nathan - Your comment about the number of Catholics proves nothing. Science & research on this issue is clear. And when confronted with science & logic or the Catholic Church, I'll choose science & logic because at least it's ground in reality and facts, whereas Catholic doctrine isn't it.
lovelafayette October 11, 2012 at 08:53 AM
@Nathan: Here is my very sincere answer and you will hate it! Ranier's actions and his support from BSA ARE INCOMPREHENSIBLE to me. More harm has been done in the name of religion than any other motive I can think of. A 14 year old girl was the victim of an attempted assasination Tuesday in Pakistan, targeted with a bullet to her head on her school bus. Over the last 3 years she had become famous for her crusade for tolerance, equality and education for girls, a choice religious leaders called obscene. In the name of Islam, to protect other girls from her wrong thinking, they eliminated her voice, probably forever. Religious zealots concluded that her beliefs were not compatible with the Taliban's interpretation of the Koran. Nathan, did the assassin mean to spread hate or was he justified as he was practicing his religion, like Ranier? Are the polygamous zombie women and girls I saw in Arizona City, Warren Jeffs Mormons, being victimized or are males justifiably expressing their religious beliefs when they rape and marry 12 year olds? Nathan, do you support incest, rape, and child molestation as duties spelled out in the fundamental Mormon religion? Where does one draw the line between religion and hate? I see a very clear line, you see a fuzzy line.
Daphne Laurel October 11, 2012 at 08:55 AM
Chik-Fil-A is spot on. Tolerance is serving those customers. Intolerant behavior would be to ban them. The BSA are intolerant. That's their choice. But they shouldn't lie and say they are a tolerant bunch. They're not. Nothing in Christianity says that homosexuals should be shunned. In fact, it says quite the opposite.
Nathan Bell October 11, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Daphne: In your mind you win the argument because you refuse to give any credence to the basis for their argument. Or said differently, you are "stubborn and [have] complete intolerance [for their] creed, belief, or opinion that differs from [your] own." But the victory in your mind will not change the debate one iota because they believe what they believe and you only offer up weak attempts to discredit their argument on their grounds of the Bible. So you will forever be as ships passing in the night. That's why so few defenders of the position get on a board such as this. Because they understand that you will not acknowledge (as opposed to accept) the basis of their argument. It is futile.
Chris Nicholson October 11, 2012 at 03:45 PM
@Nathan: I am not sure what kind of validation you are seeking (for yourself or others). Belief in something without (or despite) evidence is not an argument. It is a assertion/position. I accept that many many people hold positions based on faith and not reason. Many groups hold positions are mutually exclusive and, therefore, most must be false. I favor a system,however, where such people are free to hold and express such beliefs-- including the right to associate with like-minded people (and exclude others). Embracing freedom and tolerance does not require a rejection of reason, does it? Although I accept the reality of the heartfelt and well intentioned beliefs of others, it would be silly to respect the logical underpinnings of their arguments when none exist.
Nathan Bell October 11, 2012 at 03:48 PM
@Lovelaffayette: You're not answering the question, but avoiding it wholly with the dramatic anecdote of the tragic and horrible situation of the 14 yr old girl in Pakistan. One more try, then I'll go crawl back into my cubby hole. I don't know for sure, as I cannot speak for them, but it is my fairly educated guess on the matter that those individuals involved with MVPC that sponsor the BSA troop are: a. Very willing to have a heterosexual or homosexual in their troop, with no discrimination short of one promoting a gay agenda. b. They come from a religious belief and context that has them conclude that homosexual activity (not the state of being gay) is sinful. c. A scout or leader openly professing they are gay, is the only method they have, without prying into peoples lives needlessly, to indicate whether or not they are supportive of homosexual activity, i.e. a sin in their minds (and possibly a threat to their male youth activities, I'm less sure on this point). d. They desire to be supportive of the national organization that gives them support, structure, branding, facilities etc. e. They would say they do not accept the sin, but love the sinner.
Nathan Bell October 11, 2012 at 03:48 PM
@LL continued: Your attributing the above to being akin to "incest, rape and child molestation" would be highly offensive to them. So much so, that they would prefer to not engage in any public discourse such as this blog, as they see it being futile. In my mind, people that take your position that BSA supporters are first and foremost bigots or haters, simply cuts off the discussion. It is clear you do not have reverence for religion and hence your animosity toward a religious based policy such as the BSA and its policy on gays. And round and round we go.....
Nathan Bell October 11, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Chris, my real driver in commenting here is an attempt to bring some balance to this discussion. I think we can all agree that the Troop 212 folks are not commenting b/c they don't want to participate in a public flogging or duke it out publicly. I have worked in scouts for many years. I've rubbed shoulders with many scout leaders of many troops, including those of Troop 212. I have never once found anyone of Troop 212 to be anything other than very civil, polite, considerate gentlemen. The claims that these people are monsters simply has no credibility with me. You make many good points. But religion is, at its core, irrational. Were it rational, i.e. subject to scientific scrutiny, there would be no need for religion, faith etc. So a religious person has to deal with the uncertainty of where science ends and religion continues. The answer to your question about embracing freedom and tolerance requiring a rejection of reason is, to some extent, yes. Abraham offering up Issac was just that - a suspension of reason in favor of a religious tenet, namely faith. I can't speak for MVPC/Troop 212, but my guess is they are torn over their genuine desire to help Ryan in scouting and as a person vs. their religious beliefs that homosexuality is not appropriate. The individual vs. the principle. Nothing new here. But to simply conclude they are monsters is unfair and, dare I say it? Intolerant.
Nathan Bell October 11, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Daphne, it is perfectly fine for you to chose science over religion. It is not perfectly fine for you to deny others, i.e. Catholics, the right to chose science over religion. I have no argument with your assertion that religion is not grounded in fact. But religious people would retort that science does not have all the answers, either. There is a place for fact and a place for faith. This whole debate arises simply b/c you refuse to give the religious folk any ground on their belief that homosexual activity is not acceptable religiously. Until you are willing to simply acknowledge why they believe what they do, there will be no progress in this discussion.
Tai Mai Shu October 11, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Boring. Who care? I don't believe most gay kids want to spend time running around in the wilderness. Probably less than 10 kids a year are affected by this rule. Lets worry about important things.
lovelafayette October 11, 2012 at 05:19 PM
@Nathan. I like the Quakers. No "head" of the church, open to all, dedicated to world peace. I have never joined any organization that is exclusive, did not allow my kids to either. Core value of mine is inclusiveness. I also hate uniforms unless they serve the public interest, it IS important to be able to easily recognize police, fire,etc. I believe the real issue here is the fundamental dishonesty of BSA, they claim to want to make leaders when their actual goal is to create followers. The uniform is part of that grooming of followers. Count the plethora of comments on how Ryan and his parents "did not follow the rules." Records dating back to 1919 reveal BSA Leader pedophiles have been protected by the followers in the pack. Believe in god,be heterosexual,follow the leader, "got your back" attitude toward other members = good scout. The terms PACK, Wolves, Den are not just semantics they describe BSA values as well. This lemming mentality is so engrained that BSA just does not know what to do when child followers like Ryan undergo metamorphosis into adulthood and become real leaders. The Pack member Ranier woke up one day and said OMG if I don't follow, BSA will not let me lead. So he ate his young to protect his position in BSA. Shameful.
Nathan Bell October 11, 2012 at 05:25 PM
@LL, you are certainly welcome to your opinions about BSA operating philosophies (I disagree wholeheartedly), but your comments about Ranier without better understanding the situation and the facts on the ground, as it were, are speculative and very unfair, if not down right cruel.
lovelafayette October 11, 2012 at 05:40 PM
BSA also has no respect for the first amendment right to free speech, somewhere in these blogs is a reference to a BSA GAG ORDER! Ranier is apparently gagging, not returning media phone calls so we have no way to "better understand the situation and facts on the ground" that you refer to Nathan.
lovelafayette October 11, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Children are "important thlngs" and must be "worried about." We must recognize the value of every child or we fail as a nation.Other nations do not feel this way: conscription of children into crack pot dictator's armies in Africa, children weaving rugs instead of being in school in many countries, child sex slaves in Thailand, orphanages in China filled with unwanted girls (my neighbor has saved 3), the Taliban trying to execute a 14 year old girl because she demanded education for girls. Children are our future, including the ten gay children you dismiss as unimportant.
Nathan Bell October 11, 2012 at 06:12 PM
@LL, the BSA and Ranier have a right, due to the first amendment, to speak or not speak as they please. The gag order comment was shorthand to convey that they have chosen to not debate this issue publicly and not to suggest they are denying anyone their first amendment rights. Your argument is contorted and your determination to interpret any action on the part of the BSA or its volunteers in the most negative light possible is fully established.
Mary Smith October 11, 2012 at 09:03 PM


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something