About 10 years ago, I was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout as a member of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). In the recently created census of Eagle scouts, you can find my name in there, should you choose. To earn this, I had to have a leadership position in the troop (I was quartermaster for some time and the troop leader for a year), get plenty of merit badges, and do a community project. Go through an interview, dot all the ‘i’s, and the rank is earned. Last I remember, about 2% of scouts earn the Eagle rank.
I was obviously proud of myself when I got that, along with several of my friends, and we had a large, joint ceremony for our awarding. But now that I am older, I can see some of the problems that have been in the program, though I don’t know how much it affected my troop in my day. As has been known for a while. the BSA has banned homosexual scouts and leaders, somehow thinking it goes against the law of scouts (that it’s not clean). The group also bans atheists, as one of the laws is about reverence; you can be a deist, but you have to believe at least that much (and more considering the biggest organizations supporting the BSA are the Mormon and Catholic churches). Amazingly, these discriminatory policies have not forfeited public funding of the organization or the use of public property, as was decided by the Supreme Court back in 2000.
However, there may be the winds of change going through. As has been reported, there are rumors that the BSA may reverse its decision about excluding gays from scouting. But they may be persuaded the other way, and you have the ability to choose that. If you call the BSA hotline at (972) 580-2330 (or email NationalSupportCenter@Scouting.org) which you can call and support gays in scouting. There hasn’t been talk about not excluding atheists, but it may be worth putting that in as well. And if you feel as I do, you really should call because those that want to keep the BSA as discriminating against gays are pushing for callers as well (as well as being straight-out (pun-intended) homophobic).