Northampton man explains why he returns his Eagle Scout award
To the editor:
My Eagle Scout award was a community accomplishment. Teachers, neighbors, scout leaders and my parents helped me to earn merit badges, make possible the myriad details surrounding my Eagle project, organize all the things that a 15-year-old could not, and act as cheerleaders. On a December evening in 1979 they all came together — along with other Eagle Scouts, dignitaries and relatives — at St. Andrews Church in New London, N.H., to celebrate a wonderful accomplishment.
The news made the front page of the local paper and my Eagle Scout status still yields congratulations.
This week, I mailed my Eagle Scout award back to the Boy Scout headquarters in Texas in protest against their open intolerance of gays. I love my present community in western Massachusetts as I loved my community growing up in New Hampshire. I have more gay and lesbian friends than I can count. Like all my friends and family, they have supported me in good times and bad. They have helped my wife Kris and I raise our boys.
The fact that they would be treated as anything but equal goes against my heart, and what I was taught by the high moral code of the Boy Scouts. So I returned my award to let the Scouts know that I value the Scout teachings of loyalty, kindness and moral strength so much that I’m willing to give up their greatest recognition to remind them of what is right.
I don’t believe this is a matter of conservative versus liberal leanings. I believe that all people are progressive (how would anything change and improve otherwise?), but sometimes change is slow. I know the Boy Scouts will come around, but they can save a lot of pain and repair their status as moral leaders the sooner they do.