Dozens of heartfelt letters and silver eagles have arrived in Irving, Texas in protest of the Boy Scouts of America policy of exclusion.
Earlier this week we told you about Martin Cizmar, the Eagle Scout who sent his medal back to Boy Scout HQ in Irving Texas in protest of the group's recently reaffirmed ban on gay members. At that point, several other men who had achieved the highest honor in scouting had followed suit, sending back their own hard earned silver eagles.
The medals continue to pile up in Irving Texas, as Maggie Koerth-Baker of Boing Boing has chronicled. Here are some excerpts from the letters she has collected. From Dr. Zachary Maichuk:
I swore, on my honor, to do my best to do my duty to God and my country. My duty to God dictates I act towards all people in the name of Love and Justice. My duty to my country demands I fight for the freedoms and rights of all my countrymen despite race, creed, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.\n
And Dustin Lee:
While others spent their summers indoors playing video games and hardly leaving their neighborhoods, I was white water rafting, spelunking, hiking, laughing, and, most importantly, learning the values of friendship, dependability, and a respect for the diversity of people on whom I needed to rely to accomplish all of these activities.\n
How could this organization from which I have profited so much turn out to be the shining, happy face of bigotry?\n
The BSA’s policy of “not granting membership to open or avowed homosexuals” is not a practice in line with the teachings of the Boy Scouts. Instead, this is the practice of bigots. Scouting taught me to stand up against the unethical and that it is wrong to exclude someone for any reason, whether it be race, religion, gender, sex, physical ability or sexual orientation. I was taught to stand up for those who need my help.\n
I want you to think about the boys you are casting out of your organization, and I want you to wonder how many of them need support while their families, their schools, and their churches turn their backs on them. I want you to think about the pain you are causing, the depression you are enabling, and the suicides that you are contributing to.\n
For myself and my inclusive family, Boy Scouts of America now serve to represent the sick and ailing shadow of American society rather that the optimistic shine I was sold on as a Tenderfoot, honored for as an Eagle, and expected to uphold as the contributing member of society I have since become.\n
These letters can be read in their entirety here. Want to send your Eagle Scout medal back to Irving, Texas? Here's the adress. Steven Spielberg, the most famous Eagle Scout around, resigned from the advisory board of the BSA back in 2001 in response to the organization's less than inclusive policies. Spielberg, it's time to take an even firmer stance. Send that medal back to Texas.