Wednesday, August 8, 2012

on my honor

In my youth I was a Boy Scout. I earned the rank of Eagle Scout and was elected a member of the Order of the Arrow.

I had long felt Scouting was an excellent program, I learned much which benefitted me in life.

Last month the Boy Scouts reaffirmed a policy which I deem unacceptably out-of-date and prejudicial: a ban on any members, child or parent, who are gay.

I am fortunate to know very many excellent, honorable human beings. Some just happen to be gay. The idea of any of my good friends being excluded from a thing merely because of whom they may fall in love with is appalling to me and at the same time really silly too.

As if we have an excess of love in the world.

Sure, the Scouts are entitled to whatever policy they choose. They are and have always been a private organization, with a long connection to a religious belief system. 

Yet for me, so long as they continue to function with what I feel is a dark-ages mentality, so long as their policies are based on mistaken morals, I am compelled to distance myself from the group.

Therefore, I am returning my Eagle Scout medal as a small way of protest. It is in the mail to them, a faded, tarnished symbol of outdated thinking, prejudice and intolerance. It is no longer the badge I earned.

Paul Schmid


Elizabeth Rose Stanton said...

I agree wholeheartedly with what you have written here. It's about fundamental human rights. Period.
Kudos to you for your symbolic gesture in returning the medal.

kevan atteberry said...

You're a good man, sir.

Diane Mayr said...

As if we have an excess of love in the world.

That's why children's writers and illustrators do what they do--to inch the world toward the love.

Thanks, Paul.

Virginia Allyn said...

I salute you.

Craig Orback said...

I have an Eagle badge myself and am also disgusted by their decision. I commend you. In truth I earned the badge mainly to please my family so it should be even easier to part with it but I still find it hard. I guess my thinking is that badge represents the scouts I experienced over 20 years ago not the current incarnation. But I really respect what you have done.

Unknown said...

if i'd made eagle (i was two merit badges away!) i would have sent mine back as well. sadly, i do not think they will change...

Paul Schmid said...

Thanks for the support everyone!

I agree David, it's unlikely we'll see a change anytime soon. It certainly seems that people who are frightened by new ideas retreat further into casuistry and old, comforting rules.

Progress marches on regardless.

Annalisa said...

freedom to choose. its honorable to stand for conviction and what you believe is right. go BSA! go Paul! many great warriors have assessed and fought for their beliefs and some even come the conclusion they agree to disagree.

i like that both sides of the coin have a voice in making the whole debate. without one, the coin ceases to exist entirely.

admirable on both accounts to not be swayed by every wind of doctrine fluttering around with pros / cons to both sides.

so i think the topic is mute, but standing for what you believe is the real winner here! go Paul!

and with a flip of the coin, i'm done!