My Tarnished Eagle Rank
Christopher W. R. Thurman
I was an Eagle Scout. The normal response to that statement by any Scouter is, “Once an Eagle Scout, always an Eagle Scout.” The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has officially changed that mindset for me. Or should I say, my mindset has evolved as the BSA has changed its program and membership standards from those of traditional Judeo-Christian values to those of an aberrant worldly one.
The BSA was not just a part of my life, but a huge part, as I was involved in some aspect of Scouting from 1982 till 2015. I completed Cub Scouts, moved into Boy Scouts, earned Eagle Rank, worked three summers at a canoe base in Minnesota, and my first job out of college was that of a professional BSA District Executive. I have been a Cub Scout leader and a merit badge counselor. Now I feel my Eagle is tarnished as the BSA has in the past 2-3 years turned itself in to an all-inclusive organization totally ignoring the reasons of its founding and principles.
With mixed emotions I cut my ties with the Scouts when my two sons lost interest in the program (which did sadden me). However, that was about the same time the BSA changed its membership restrictions to allow openly gay members and leaders. Several adult leaders with ties to Scouting similar to mine left as well. Scouting used to be a safe place for boys to grow into men, become leaders, and learn how to accept people of different lifestyles without the lifestyle being put right in their faces. This change in policy violated the traditional meaning of the “morally straight” part of the Scout Oath. Now the BSA is going to allow female members in the Cub and Boy Scout programs, a move which I am against since the BSA has a co-ed program already. It should be understood that boys do act differently when they are together from the way they behave when girls are around.
This war on traditional masculinity in our culture must stop, as it is destroying our culture. It is perfectly fine for an organization in this country to be exclusive and not be forced to be all-inclusive from social pressure. America today does little to define, illustrate, or celebrate, for good, what a man is. Fatherless homes are on the rise. Television shows, movies, and popular music are crammed with violence, foul language, and situations that cannot or should not be understood until a boy is more mature. Our children are just a few clicks away from a number of websites that wish to steal their youth and take them down a dark path.
The “politically correct” culture of today champions extreme individual expression without the slightest notion of moral responsibilities. The growing feminist movement insists that men are really not needed—and that if they are around, they should be passive. The mainstream images and sounds of our culture that plant themselves in a young boy’s mind help lead to aggressively lewd behavior, social upheaval, mental illness, and suicide. The BSA and our culture need to realize that adolescent boys need to have an organization where they are able be themselves, to learn about themselves and the world, to grow into productive, morally straight men, and freely discuss different ways of life without the “in your face” distractions of “alternate lifestyles” and girls. I was once an Eagle Scout, but the significance of that achievement has been tarnished.