Hamilton Foster Charleston SC by HamiltonFoster


									April 5, 2013

Wayne Brock
Chief Scout Executive
1325 Walnut Hill Lane
PO Box 152079
Irving, TX 75015-2079

Mr. Brock,

First of all I would like to apologize for a poorly written letter as I have not dedicated the time
deserved to fully discuss the matter at hand. However, I feel the urgency to express my concerns
and opposition to the following matter is something that outweighs common formalities. I
understand that the BSA has reaffirmed its long-standing ban against openly homosexual leaders,
youths, as well as adults. I have also recently learned of Maryland Pack 442’s brave stance
against LGBTQ discrimination, and the National Capital Area Council’s threat to rescind their
membership. Reading reports that homosexuals were banned from scouting made me ashamed
to be associated with the organization I once relished. I realize that this bigotry has been a part
of scouting since its inception, but I was just recently made aware of it (and it disgusts me). A
Scout knows how to recognize and follow good leadership. I therefore enclose with this letter
my Eagle Scout medal and badge, symbols of lifetime membership in Scouting’s brotherhood.
Receiving my Eagle Scout medal remains among the proudest accomplishments of my life (a
rank earned by only 2% of Scouts). I relinquish this award with great reluctance but also great
pride (which I will explain further in my conclusion). Scouting, for me, was a school of
leadership and confidence. I remain grateful to Scouting for its many lessons, and I value the
opportunities it provides for young people worldwide.

The Boy Scout Oath requires scouts to do our duty to god, country, and others. My god is one
of love, tolerance, forgiveness, and understanding. Your current stance and lack of leadership is
one of discrimination and intolerance. My country recognizes the rights and civil liberties of
homosexual partners and is continuing to abolish antiquated legislature discriminating the
homosexual community. Despite society’s continued advancements towards our civil rights and
united pursuit of social equality the board of the BSA still chose to characterize homosexuals as
somehow deviant. Duty to others means helping others, and doing good deeds. One’s sexual
orientation does not make a person less human or less in need of care, love, and support. I feel
horrible to have not realized the BSA’s views regarding this matter as it was not translated in my
scouting career.
      A Scout is Loyal. I do not turn my back on my fellow Scouts, friends, family, or co-
       workers because they may be tall or short, white or black, straight or gay.

      A Scout is Friendly. He is a friend to all, not just to those sharing his particular belief
       A Scout is Kind. Kindness extends a hand to all, and is blind to sexual orientation.

As an Eagle Scout, I challenge you to live up to the Scout Oath and to welcome gays into
Scouting’s ranks. Until then, I no longer believe the Eagle Scout status within the BSA to be
consistent with my own moral duty to god, country, and others. As such, I hereby return my
Eagle Scout medal and badge, enclosed in this letter.

                                 Martin Luther King, Jr. once said,
            “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

As an Eagle Scout who cares deeply about the future of the BSA I cannot, in good faith, remain
silent about the discrimination and exclusionary policies that throw into question the entire
mission of scouting. The majorities of Americans view the homosexual community as equal and
continue to grow in their numbers and support in social reform and equality. Despite the fact
that gays and lesbians serve openly in our armed forces, and that both of last year’s U.S.
presidential candidates support lifting the BSA’s ban, the Boy Scouts continue their
discrimination against gay members. This makes me question the true mission of the
organization I came to love. Does scouting seek to teach our future leaders the values of love,
compassion, and equality before god; or, does it seek to disprove Dr. King’s unquestionable
truth, that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”? I know that I
stand on the right side of history, and that someday I will see my Eagle badge when the values
and honor that the badge represents is restored in the Boy Scouts of America. It is sad that the
BSA does not recognize the embarrassment from their stance on the issue surrounding gay
leaders and members. I can assure you that the BSA will look back on their actions 10 years
from now and feel an overwhelming since of embarrassment regarding their actions. I am
ashamed that you are not embarrassed now.

In case there is any question, I have included the BSA position statements in recent years.
Unfortunately, this is the first time I have seen this and I am an Eagle Scout.

        BSA Released Position Statements Regarding Discrimination of Homosexuals

"We believe that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the requirement in the Scout Oath that a Scout be morally
straight and in the Scout Law that a Scout be clean in word and deed, and that homosexuals do not provide a
desirable role model for Scouts.” The BSA thus "believes that a known or avowed homosexual is not an appropriate
role model of the Scout Oath and Law”
"We do not allow for the registration of avowed homosexuals as members or as leaders of the BSA”
"Boy Scouting makes no effort to discover the sexual orientation of any person.”
"Youth Leadership" policy stating that: "Boy Scouts of America believes that homosexual conduct is inconsistent
with the obligations in the Scout Oath and Scout Law to be morally straight and clean in thought, word, and deed.

“we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that
would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA. “

I would ask and challenge the BSA to be more forthcoming about their strong opinions cited
above. If they truly feel that these beliefs are just and important enough to risk Eagle Scouts
disassociation with the organization, then why would they just not include these in the Scout
Law? I am a former Assistant Scout Master and Eagle Scout. This is the first time I have seen
these statements. That alone should tell you that these convictions are not representative of the
scouting population.

                                      Gandhi once said,
   “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man
changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not
                                 wait to see what others do.”

I couldn’t agree more. I know that I can only honor my own beliefs and personally uphold the
twelfth scout law by standing up against injustice to the fullest of my ability. In retribution, for
not taking action sooner, I plan to make my feelings public. Despite the growing understanding
and acceptance of my beliefs, I am prepared to stand up to any resulting opposition. This
expected backlash is nothing compared to the injustice already inflicted on the homosexual
community and others by the lack of leadership from the BSA board members which have not
represented the beliefs of the scouting population or at the very least the consensus of the Eagle

Just as jean shorts, slavery, Hitler, the KKK, and fanny packs became unpopular, I feel that it is
only a matter of time before the BSA eventually changes their stance. At that point - preferably
sooner - I would ask that any individual step down and resign within the BSA who has spoken
out in favor of the BSA’s current discriminatory membership requirements.

I vow to petition other Eagle Scouts to make a stance on this issue. I don’t care to influence their
beliefs. All I ask is that they make a stance one way or the other and not sit idly by. Also, I will
ask the same of other scouts who have just been awarded the rank of Eagle Scout.

In conclusion, I said I would explain my new since of pride despite my overwhelming feeling of
disappointment the BSA’s board and lack of leadership. In some strange way I have never been
more proud in my life to be an Eagle Scout. Like a boat, your two happiest moments are the day
you buy it and the day you sell it. I was overwhelmed with pride when I was awarded the rank
of Eagle Scout, because I really felt like I earned it and it was something that a very few number
of Scouts achieve through there Scouting career. The pride in my achievement was never greater
until today. Ironically, this is the day that I no longer believe being an Eagle Scout is consistent
with my moral duty to god (our creator not to be defined by others), country, and fellow people.
As such, I hereby return my Eagle Scout award. I feel proud to have had an opportunity to
implement and practice what I learned as a Boy Scout on a path to achieve the highest rank that
scouting has to offer - the rank of Eagle Scout – and to use those morals and values to stand my
own ground for god, country, and fellow men – even in the opposition of that same organization
which bestowed upon me these very ideals. I have not talked to other Eagle Scouts regarding
this issue; however, I have never felt a closer connection to other Eagle Scouts than I do today. I
believe there are other Eagle Scouts, such as myself, who are ignorant as to what is going on
with regards to the conduct of the BSA and their opposition to change an injustice within the
organization that should have been changed long ago. Once other Eagle Scouts become more
informed I have no doubt that they will take similar actions. In conclusion, I take pride in the
fact that I am part of this select group of individuals. I take pride in knowing that this group will
be the driving force to hold the BSA accountable for their actions before and after the BSA
decide to change their policies. The Eagle Scouts who achieved the rank through their own self
determination and drive rather than the pressures of family and others, largely consist of men that
are our true leaders in society today and represent, by large, the true ideals of the BSA even in
times of uncertainty. These are men of action. These are men who are part of the solution and
not part of the problem. These are men who will become involved in problems that are not being
solved, whether or not their involvement is welcome. Mr. Brock, I believe you are soon going to
see these individuals holding you and others accountable for your lack of action and resolve as a
BSA leader and representative. The true award of an Eagle Scout lies within the individual and
not an organization. I am thankful that I will retain this moving forward. I challenge our youth
in Scouts to achieve the ranks of Eagle Scout. My position today is not meant to discourage. In
fact, I feel that it is more important now for our youth to aspire to achieve this hurdle in life. It is
through this journey that our youth will learn what being an Eagle Scout is about. It will not be
easy and often unpopular in times like these. However, you will come to realize that leadership
is not about recognition and often not rewarded on the surface. It is a reward that is recognized
within ourselves and it is our duty as Eagle Scouts to stay vigilant as leaders moving forward
through life. Please accept my Eagle Scout medal and badge as a token not only of my pride as a
Scout, but as a token of my pride of the Scouting ideals – two things I now find to be mutually


Hamilton W. Foster
Former: Eagle Scout, Member of the Order of the Arrow, Assistant Scout Master, Chaplin Aide

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