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Any news on gay scouts denied Eagle ranks being reinstated?

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  • Any news on gay scouts denied Eagle ranks being reinstated?

    Now that the new policy is in effect, has anyone heard anything about the kids who were denied rank advancement? Are those ranks being honored now that the policy has changed?

    I did a search on Ryan Andresen (finished Eagle reqs but SM wouldn't sign off) but couldn't find any news updates. I remember reading about a few others, also. Just wondering what has happened with them.

  • #2
    Hopefully Ryan didn't age out in the meantime.. Even so, he may have become disillusioned and never came back.. It is sad but true that one negative scouter can derail the enthusiasm of any youth.

    Have not heard anything good coming from the change, but also nothing bad coming from the change, since the change has occurred. I had heard of a few nasty things during the time between vote and enactment, where scouters could still be nasty and get away with it.

    Comment


    • #3
      Wouldn't it depend on the age of the Scout as of 1/1/14? Anyone that aged out before that will be under the old rules.


      Comment


      • #4
        I think you're correct Huzzar. We're discussing a police that came into effect on a specific date.

        Comment


        • #5
          Ryan had all of the requirements done. Isn't there something in the rules about the Board of Review being possible after the 18th birthday if all of the other reqs are already completed prior to turning 18?

          Comment


          • moosetracker
            moosetracker commented
            Editing a comment
            There is a time limit on that also, and... All paperwork must be in.. Including the forms his SM refused to sign.

          • Hal_Crawford
            Hal_Crawford commented
            Editing a comment
            BSA can waive just about any requirement to right a wrong. I have seen a couple of articles about Eagles being awarded to elderly former scouts. In one case a scout had completed all the requirements but the paperwork was lost or overlooked in the days after Pearl Harbor. The scout enlisted and never received his award. He confessed to a nursing home worker that he always regretted not receiving his Eagle. The employee contacted the council and records were found or reconstructed and the veteran received his Eagle.

            The other story involved a former scout who had completed all the requirements except for Swimming Merit Badge. He had not been able to earn the MB because there were no pools for blacks in DC when he was a scout. BSA decided he had done everything he could and awarded this octogenarian his Eagle award.

            Point is, if BSA wants to award Ryan Andersen the Eagle award they can--irrespective of age or time limits.

        • #6
          Gay boys were Eagling long before "policy" went into effect. It varied from council to council.

          Stosh

          Comment


          • #7
            Scuttlebutt (and I think this was alluded to in one press release last year) was that sexual orientation was not the only issue for this scout. He stated that he he had become an atheist on his BOR. But the verbal report that I got was from someone far outside his council, and that may have been based on the same article I was reading. My experience is that the press can wander far from the truth on these things.

            Like Stosh said, it would be very irregular to bring up a boy's sexual orientation at all.

            Given that one result of this whole debate was to make scouters across the nation aware of how scoutmasters in general prefer to handle this situation (i.e., they prefer committees to not dig into issues that are clearly delineated as matters between a boy and his parents), I hope that retroactive reinstatement is applied -- if indeed orientation was the only barrier. But, I suspect that if it is, it will be left up to the boy to go to the press about it.

            And, I do recall that in the last proper reports, Mr. Anderson stopped taking calls from the media -- understandably so.

            Comment


            • #8
              It looks like Ryan Andresen turned 18 in 2011 or 2012 so it would be the old rules.

              Comment


              • #9
                I thought that even under the old rules Ryan would have still been eligible for a Board of Review even though he turned 18 a few years ago, but upon closer reading it would appear not. From the 2013 Guide to Advancement:

                "It is possible for those who completed the requirements for the Eagle Scout rank in their youth, but never received it, to obtain credentials necessary for acquiring it. If a board of review was not held, and the individual met the BSA membership eligibility rules in effect at the time, then a board of review may be requested. In any case, all requirements must have been completed before age 18."

                So even though he did complete the requirements and could still have been eligible for a Board of Review even years later, the fact that he did not meet the membership eligibility rules in place at the time would prevent him from ever getting the Eagle rank.

                Guess I could have answered my own question, but thanks everyone for the comments anyway.

                Comment


                • Basementdweller
                  Basementdweller commented
                  Editing a comment
                  He did not meet the membership requirements at the time.

                  So no he should not receive it.

              • #10
                If he did would he have to return that Money that Ellen gave him.


                The only reason MR. Andersen made such a splash was he was from a Rich White home, he was also well spoken, and good looking. Makes great media. Had he been from a poor home and an awkward boy would it have been news probably not. But MOM drove the media bus.

                There is a thread on here somewhere about it....too lazy or disinterested to look it up.

                There are plenty of failures on this one. The SM and BOR for continuing to pass him on his BOR and scout spirit requirements. Sorry guys grow a back bone and say no if a lad tells you he is an atheist or, at the time, he is gay.

                Mr. Andersen, because, he was taking an oath he did not believe in. That is really screwed up.

                Comment


                • qwazse
                  qwazse commented
                  Editing a comment
                  BD, you really stink at post-modernism. Oaths aren't to be believed. They are only there for dramatic effect.

                  A boy usually does not become outspoken about his identity (that includes preference in religion, mates, vehicles, and beverages ... among other things) until late adolescence. That's about the time he already has Life and is starting to think about his service project. So, no surprise any of this was missed at earlier ranks.

                  Than again, there may be a cadre of Star scouts who've been denied advancement but never made the papers. They would not be as attractive to the media or Momma's indignation.

                • Basementdweller
                  Basementdweller commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I have been accused of being old school.

                  I am and forever will be a man of my word

                • EmberMike
                  EmberMike commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Regardless of how anyone feels about the core issue of gays in scouting, I think we can all agree that it's pretty messed up that he was allowed to finish all of the requirements before finally being denied at the end. As I understand it, he came out before he was done. So this SM watched him go through the rest of the process, the service project, etc., and then refused to sign off.

                  I agree with Basementdweller, the SM should have grown a back bone and stopped this earlier, if they were so opposed to him reaching Eagle. Not sure what they were thinking, maybe that he'd fail on his own or just quit or something.

              • #11
                With that said.......

                I understand giving a lad latitude for self expression or exploration.

                But at what point does the troop Atheist or Pagan become an issue and you need to have him removed or stop advancing them on the grounds of scout spirit.??????

                Most scouters have experience with a boy that says he doesn't believe in god or the self proclaimed Pagan.

                My experience has been most of the time it is for shock effect and to get a reaction.

                Comment


                • EmberMike
                  EmberMike commented
                  Editing a comment
                  What always perplexes me about the religion component is that the BSA actually makes it really easy to pass this requirement even if you don't believe in God. "God" in the BSA is a pretty loose term, and it encompasses all sorts of spiritual entities and belief systems, including some that don't recognize a particular god.

                  Sadly I don't think a lot of kids fully believe what they say when they renounce God or religion, or likewise there are plenty of leaders who will not explore such a statement to determine exactly what it is that a kid believes. There are a lot of options between believing in God and believing in nothing that still meet the BSA requirements. Over 38 different faiths are included in the religious awards, and I'm sure far more belief systems would at least qualify for the religious/spiritual requirements of membership and advancement.

                • Rick_in_CA
                  Rick_in_CA commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Part of the problem is that the BSA is contradictory about the religious requirement. On the one hand, there is the DRP which is written from a Judeo-Christian point of view (I understand that several of the faiths represented by those recognized religious awards when shown the complete text of the DRP are unable to agree to it - I don’t know how many). On the other we have the statement that the BSA is “absolutely non-sectarian” and that the BSA “does not define what constitutes belief in God or the practice of religion” and “does not require membership in a religious organization or association for enrollment in the movement...”.

                  So the BSA doesn’t define “faith” (I can’t find the phrase “belief in a higher power” anywhere - anyone know what BSA publication introduced that?), that is up to the scout and his family. So I can easily see how a scout that is an agnostic or atheist can easily assume that he is doing his “duty to god” in his own way. And I believe if the BSA is really honest about “absolutely non-sectarian”, we should take him at his word. So I will never boot a scout for simply saying that he is an atheist. But I will boot a Baptist (or Hindu or atheist, etc.) that is unwilling to show respect for people of other faiths.

                  Unfortunately I have met many scouters that are unable to show respect for other faiths. I had one tell me to may face that my religion (I am Unitarian) wasn’t a real faith and I shouldn’t be allowed in scouting.

                • Huzzar
                  Huzzar commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Perhaps your leader met the dude at the Unitarian booth at Jambo that was telling the yoots he was an atheist but liked being a Scouter so he joined the Unitarians because they don't care if you believe in anything.

              • #12
                Pagan doesn't bother me (as a Scouter), because that is still faith. It might bother me as a Reformed Church Christian, but so should Islam and Judaism and Mormonism and Catholicism - since all of those are seen as deviating from the message of Christ if you listen to some of the scholars. Reverent says I should respect the faith of others - and I do.

                A boy who questions at that age does not surprise me. Often they are ahead of the curve - many start questioning in college when they start interacting with people who do not fit the stereotypes that they were raised with. Add in a few college philosophy courses as part of the general education requirements (along with assigned reading of the Bible - which many have never actually read), and you get an 18-22 year old wondering if what they were raised with is the Truth.

                I accept questioning boys, and I encourage them to question. I have yet to have boy tell me directly that he does not believe in any higher power. I have had many who tell me that they question some of the tenets of various faiths - and I tell them that a year doesn't go by without me having my own faith questioning moment.

                Comment


                • skeptic
                  skeptic commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Yep; I still have days when I simply wonder how or why? But, acknowledging that even the most gifted thinkers and philosophers use a very small percentage of possible brain power, I realize there may be a time I "do" get it; just not in this incarnation or whatever. Still, do consider Christianity as my base; though with my broad acceptance, I often am looked at askance by some and told by others I am not a Christian. Not their decision to make. Reverence is still important.

                  Too many leaders either do not understand their duty to actually counsel kids sometimes, especially in Spirit and such if the need arises. Or, they simply are afraid or lazy. JMPO.

              • #13
                I have over-heard the boys discuss this issue. I heard a agnostic/atheist say he would never admit it because he wants his Eagle. When I talk to the boys I always urge them to work their faith in everyday life and keeping searching. Leads to some good discussion which is the point.

                Comment


                • Huzzar
                  Huzzar commented
                  Editing a comment
                  "The entire requirement is idiotic and ridiculously badly defined."

                  I agree with this one. Quite frankly, with the change for sexuality for Scouts I can't see the point in excluding a tiny number of boys because they won't wordsmith their lack of faith to meet BSA's wishy-washy requirement.

                • Rick_in_CA
                  Rick_in_CA commented
                  Editing a comment
                  As someone from BSA national explained it to me, the problem with atheists is not the underlying beliefs, it the word "atheist". For to many people "atheist" means "evil", so it's the label that is the problem. If a scout or scouter labels himself as an atheist, he isn't eligible. If another scout or scouter has identical beliefs to the first, but doesn't label himself as an atheist, they are welcome.

                • SSScout
                  SSScout commented
                  Editing a comment
                  "Reverence to God and reverence for one's neighbour and reverence for oneself as a servant of God, is the basis of every form of religion. The method of expression of reverence to God varies with every sect and denomination. What sect or denomination a boy belongs to depends, as a rule, on his parents' wishes. It is they who decide. It is our business to respect their wishes and to second their efforts to inculcate reverence, whatever form of religion the boy professes."
                  =Robert Baden-Powell, “Aids to Scoutmastership”

              • #14
                Why should they?
                In the case of Ryan, if he's mature enough to go on national media and become a spokesperson for gay rights, then he's mature enough to know what "on my honor" means and that when he said that oath it meant nothing because he does not believe in God and he was ineligible to be a member.
                If you're one of the people of the mindset that Eagles are a special class of moral giants, then Ryan is a liar.
                If you're of the mindset that Eagles are just guys who met a list of requirements, then Ryan was not eligible to be in scouting to begin with.
                It's a shame that he lied to himself and it's a shame that the adults around him lied to him, but he picked his moment to come out as an atheist homosexual and he has to live in the real world like the rest of us.

                If there are younger boys who've left or been dismissed in the past because they were gay, and they want to continue with scouting, then they should find a unit and pick up where they left off. But, no, I see no reason to start backdating Eagle awards to homosexuals.
                Last edited by Scouter99; 01-21-2014, 06:56 PM.

                Comment


                • EmberMike
                  EmberMike commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Ryan has said in the media that he believes in God. Where did you get the idea that he's doesn't?

                  And even if he did say that he didn't "believe in God", that's not grounds for dismissal from the BSA. There are a lot of accepted beliefs that qualify for scouting membership, some of which don't include the belief in God. The word "God" in the oath is used to represent spirituality and faith of many kinds.

                • Scouter99
                  Scouter99 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  The earliest reports (the only ones I read) said he was dismissed because he proactively said he did not believe he had a duty to God and that he is gay.

                • Basementdweller
                  Basementdweller commented
                  Editing a comment
                  A fine post, a very fine post indeed.

                  A shame his adult leadership failed him. One of the articles said his SM knew he was gay and said it wouldn't be a problem.

                  I also read the reports as 99 did he said he did not believe in god.

              • #15
                Regarding Ryan Andresen I think I can clear some things up. Some of you will recall that I wrote posts when that whole thing blew up a year and a half ago. I met Ryan and his father in August 2012 when I reviewed and approved his project on behalf of the district. He completed his project and it was late in September when a former trooop committee member blew the whistle on Ryan which led to the national office removing Ryan from BSA altogether prior to Ryan's 18th birthday which fell in October of 2012. Subsequently a great many people, self included, suggested that Ryan should at least get his BOR even without the unit signatures on his eagle application. This was done and his eagle was approved at the council level and the paperwork forwarded to national, all within the 90 day window following his 18th birthday. This at least had the effect of putting the local council on the right side of fair treatment of Ryan regardless of the membership decision made at the national level.

                As far as I know Ryan's beliefs regarding god were never an issue.

                To me it was a simple matter of fairness. Ryan had done everything required of him in good faith and kicking him out days before his 18th birthday never made sense.

                I think the current membership policy is wise and fair. It is all about the youth, not the attitudes of some adult, gay or straight.

                Comment


                • qwazse
                  qwazse commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Thanks for the details. All of the press releases made things a little fuzzy, and I'm sorry I brought up the religion issue because clearly it has allowed tangents that may not apply to scouts affected by this issue.
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