Thursday, May 23, 2013

Morally Straight

My brother Isaac (11) crossed over from the Cub Scouts into the Boy Scouts only a few months ago. In his mind, he was crossing into the field of knights. The Boy Scouts has become an unspoken right-of-passage in our family over the years. Since we helped start the troop in 1989, four of my siblings and myself have earned the Eagle Rank: the highest in scouting. The most recent recipient is my younger brother, Zachary.

Isaac was supposed to be next in line. This was his moment. Adventure was in his eyes and thunder in his heart. He had the vivacious spirit of a boy who wanted so badly to be a man.

"Men of Tomorrow," by Norman Rockwell

Isaac is a thinker. He is a firework. Questions pour out of him endlessly. He loves to work outside; he especially enjoys mowing the lawn. He loves to run errands for his daddy and is usually found at his heels. He loves to smile. He is good at it. Bright mind, bright face.

Once, Isaac ran into the kitchen and stood pumping his arms and running in place.
"Mom, mom!" he said. "We need to go to the track!"
"Why now?" asked mom.
"I feel like running, and I need to before I stop feeling like it."

Another time, he ran to me and, with a wolfish grin, said in the tone of a challenge, "Blake, let's go find snakes and weird-looking bugs!"

Isaac is always running. He is one of the fastest in his cross-country team.

Adventure is out there!

Today, Isaac did not run. His face was not bright as it leaned over my laptop. "They voted, Blake," he said. "I won't ever become an Eagle Scout."

The decision today removed a long-standing policy that the BSA would not allow openly gay scouts to join the program. Many are praising it as a long-overdue development toward equality and inclusion. But by including some, they have excluded us. We are in a dilemma: either betray conscience by endorsing the modern mythology of gender orientation, or run the risk of suit.

My own feelings were old hopes badly bruised. But when I stepped into the kitchen, I saw future hopes dashed.

"A Guiding Hand," by Norman Rockwell
Isaac stood in the center of the room. He was sobbing quietly, bravely, in the arms of his silent older brother, Zachary. Isaac believed he was holding the last Adams to receive the Eagle award, and that the passage was closed to him. I saw his broken little world clinging to a far-off, older one - a confused boy embracing one of the last great Eagle Scouts.

Perhaps I am being melodramatic. But I want Isaac to know I would rather be in his rank than wear a hollow badge - a spotlighted badge which has come to represent the evils of idealism and absolute freedom. I do not wish to identify with an organization that preaches traditional virtues of leadership one moment, then recants at the first bully the next.

Boy Scouts of America, expect my medal in the mail.


  1. I never got to be a Scout when I was growing up. So, when my son wanted to become a Cub Scout, I was more excited than he. I became the Advancement Chair and along with my son, learned a great deal of things. When I got my uniform, I felt I didn't deserved to wear it. So, I wouldn't wear it except on special occasions. We had our Scouts graduation last night; the night I became Cubmaster; the night BSA made their decision. Now, I'm ashame to wear it.

  2. Petty article. Pathetic, small people. And you call yourself Americans.

    1. Name calling is not Love by any means.

  3. david c. You won the Boy Scouts, allow us the courtesy to grieve our loss and the loss this means for our family, which is deep. Glory in (and live with)your victory somewhere else. A scout is kind? You make yourself small with your words. Thanks for understanding, Isaac's Mom

  4. I can understand wanting to mail back your medal. I'm angry and sad at the same time. My own son wants so badly to become an Eagle Scout like his daddy. He's also autistic and gets so much out of Cub Scouts that he really needs. It's upsetting that we'll now have to look for a better alternative.

    I'm not mailing my medal back to the BSA. I worked hard for it and earned it at a time when the BSA was an organization that stood firm on its core values. Even though the BSA has corrupted itself today, I'm not letting them take away the value of my achievement.

    I'll still keep my scrapbooks full of photos, old news letters, videos of ceremonies and good times. The vote yesterday doesn't change the past. I'll always think fondly of the days when the BSA had virtue. They can't take that away from us no matter how hard they work to destroy family values. Our memories of the way things were will never change.

    1. I, too, am saddened and heartsick. This is truly a dreadful decision, but an obvious sign of the times. However, in the face of such disappointment and attack of morality, here is the wisdom of a young gun standing tall in the saddle. Though I am appauled at their impotence when facing controversy I am energized by your blog and mettle. Blake, some are born for greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them. You, my dear warrior, are blessed with both. I would gladly serve beside you.

  5. Devastating for your brother. We experienced a similar scene in our family, where we had to tearfully tell our sons that they will not make Eagle. It was heartbreaking, but we cannot support an organization that claims it is possible for one to be morally straight and do one's duty to God while being a homosexual. Ironically, in order to honor the Scout Oath and Law, we had to leave scouting. BSA has abandoned so many families.

  6. I've been involved in scouting for over 50 years and the vote a few weeks ago doesn't change the Values of scouting for me.. Scouting will be what I make it.. There is no place in Scouting for acting out sexual fantasies as for heterosexual or bisexual it's a dismissal offence.
    I am proud to be a Eagle Scout and I truly hope Scouting doesn't hurt over their decision to allow gay boys the opportunity to be Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent. These values have not changed but in the minds of some.
    I'm for your keeping that badge as no one can take away the fact that you earned it.. Give other boys.. your brother included.. that opportunity. Boys who love scouting, love it in their hearts.. Use scouting... take from it what you will.. When it's all said and done.. it's all about the boy, his ability to reach manhood all the better for what he's learned.

    1. We do our sons no favors when we do not tell them the truth. It is the truth that a lifestyle of sodomy is not morally straight - common sense, science, dreadful cause and effect consequences and every major religion in the world affirms this. If this issue were truly about the boys you would be speaking truth to them, not some politically correct, mumbo jumbo. The promises we make with our hands raised, on my honor, should not be anchored in shifting sand.