Greenwich Eagle Scout Challenges Boy Scouts' Anti-Gay Policy

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Greg Edelston, an Eagle Scout from Greenwich, is challenging the Boy Scouts of America's anti-gay policy with a petition. Photo Credit: Change.org

GREENWICH, Conn. -- Greg Edelston, a 19-year-old college student and Eagle Scout from Cos Cob, has launched a petition on Change.org to call on the Greenwich Council to reject the Boy Scouts of America’s national policy that bans gay youth and leaders, according to a press release.

Edelston started the petition after the recent high-profile expulsions of gay youth and parents from several Boys Scout troops across the country.

"The Boy Scouts are increasingly isolating themselves with their discriminatory policy," part of the petition reads. "We love the Boy Scouts, but we can’t support this policy."

Edelston specifically calls on Kevin O'Shea, Scout Executive of the Greenwich Council to sign the petition.

Edelston said in the release that he thinks the Boy Scout’s anti-gay membership policy not only hurts Scouting, but also sends a dangerous message to young people.

“The Boy Scouts of America is an incredible institution, but its national anti-gay membership policy undermines all of the great work our council is doing right here at home,” Edelston said in the release. "I have gay friends who have suffered under this policy. No one should have to hide who they are in fear of being rejected.”

As of Thursday morning, 625 people had signed Edelston's petition.

One-hundred petitions, acquiring more than 1.6 million signatures, have been launched by Scouts, Scout leaders, and Scouting families on Change.org, urging local Boy Scout councils across the country to help end the ban on gay youth and parents.

See the full petition here.

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Comments (28)

Screamin Eagle:

Noticed that Greg is 19 and an Eagle Scout..Wonder if he felt that way before he was an Eagle and before he turned 18(the age limit of Boy Scout). Pretty convient that he became an activist after achieving all of what he was allowed before 18. Also, it doesen't say if he was one of the 3,000 Eagle scouts that mailed their Eagle badge back to BSA in protest( a futile gesture anyway, since any Eagle with a card or even on record at Local Scout office can get a new Eagle Scout award kit...$27 and some change for medal, patch, and pins). Greg proably needs to refresh on "Duty to God" and "Morally Straight"...I'm sure the Gay activist community could have used his support earlier before he became Eagle...probably would have packed more punch.

LIEUTENANTCRUNKSIZZLETON:

Hi there - maybe I can shed some light on this situation. I've always felt strongly about this issue. Scouts for Equality is an organization which is really making the push for change, and it was founded in 2012. It was that group which inspired me to start this petition.

I don't believe that it's particularly "convenient" that I'm standing up for this after earning my Eagle. I would not have been denied any achievements for this - it's not against any policy to fight for what you believe in. (A Scout is Brave, no?)

You're correct that I didn't mail back my Eagle badge. I still support the BSA - I've gained so much from the organization, and to denounce them would be to deny everything that I've learned for the last fourteen years. Just because I want to see change doesn't mean that I no longer consider myself a Boy Scout.

-Greg Edelston

Screamin Eagle:

Greg, Although we disagree on the issue, I'm glad your response was civil and not name calling like I've seen on many posts I've written. People who disagree with my position like to label me a bigot or a hater,which is wrong as I hate no one, and I know a few homosexual people and I have had no problems with them on non-orientation issues. I too am an Eagle Scout, so are my two sons, one of which is exactly your age and off at college. So I've been where you have been and have not only been a father to Eagles, I'm the Life to Eagle Coach of my Scout Troop. So Scouting plays and has played an important role in my life.

I do have this for you to consider. As a scout leader, we do teach standing up for our beliefs as you (Brave). Also, a scout does have a moral compass and should not be swayed by popular thinking (if it is against his moral or religious beliefs )or financial loss if he stands firm on an issue, right?

The issue before the BSA has been fought over before in the courts and the BSA won..as it should. The problem now is that BSA worries about the loss of sponsors(basically money) and that's why after seven months of loosing sponsors that are "gay friendly" this has come up. They reconfirmed the position months ago and that should have been it. So if the BSA changes policy in May...the BSA may seem more inclusive to some, however, they will also be known the organization that caved it's values over money. Sell outs. Now knowing this, how does a scout leader like myself explain this "lack of integrity" to the scouts? How do I tell my scouts that if someone is offering you drugs or pushing you to do something you don't feel right about or compromising values for financial good, if the organization I represent didn't hold on to it's values when pushed?

Another thing, do you think atheists should be allowed in? There are "good" atheist boys out there too..why should they be discriminated against? Why not let girls in Boy Scouts? Why only let them be Venturers and not be able to earn the rank of the widely known Eagle Scout?

I have my own issues with BSA and they aren't perfect...I think they are too corporate and rely on too much corporate money and influence. I also think the Board is there just for the prestige of being at the head of BSA (it really should be volunteers and professional staff instead of big money). I also think BSA need to help poor kids more. $1600 is a lot of money for a poor kid to go to Jamboree, yes he could earn it but let's face it, all the other kids have parents that pay.

So there are much more things to consider than there are gays in scouts. If things change, do you think the BSA will be as strong, and looked up to the way it is now? Or will it weaken and marginalize the values we are known to uphold....There is a reason the gay movement has targeted the BSA and it's not because a few leaders were turned away or Eagle Scouts not granted...it's a strategic goal for them. The churches will be next.

Congratulations on your Eagle Scout I hope you become successful in your other endeavors (except for this one).

Eric -Eagle Class of '87

Greg Edelston:

Eric,

I absolutely agree that the BSA deserved to win in Boy Scouts v. Dale. The BSA is a privately owned organization, and so gets to choose who they would like to include. The 14th Amendment doesn't apply here. There is nothing legally forcing them to include gay Scouts, or atheist Scouts, or in fact anyone else. That's why this issue isn't being taken care of in court - it's not a legal issue.

Financially, I wouldn't see it as a matter of integrity or "selling out" if the BSA were to change its policy in response to pulled sponsorship. If it is no longer viable to carry on as a discriminatory organization, and the companies which allow the BSA to exist through their financial donations make that clear, then perhaps it is time that they reconsider whether what they're doing is right.

I do in fact believe that atheists should also be allowed in the BSA. While religion is helpful to many in finding their moral compass through life, it shouldn't be the be-all, end-all factor in deciding if someone is "worthy" of being a Scout. As for girls, the Girl Scouts are an excellent organization equal in caliber to the Boy Scouts, and I would encourage any girl to join them.

Indeed, I believe that the BSA will be able to uphold its other values just as strongly. However, homosexuality doesn't seem to tie into them. There is no reason that a gay Scout can't be Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, and so on. Even Reverence depends on your church - while there are many churches which frown upon homosexuals, it is not an across-the-board facet of all religions, and if the BSA is not officially affiliated with any one religion as it claims, then homosexuality should have no place in a Scout's Duty to God. The BSA does many great things, and instills many great values in Scouts - but if discrimination is considered one of Scouting's core values, then that needs to change.

-Greg

Blabbermouth68:

So, Greg, you feel that parents should allow their pubescent boys to go out on overnight camping trips with homosexual scoutmasters? If you don't feel that way, tell us why.

Screamin Eagle:

Greg, The backbone of the Boy Scouts of America is it's moral integrity. The other life skills, the advancements, the fun activities, can all be duplicated in another scout-like organization. So gay scouts, females, and atheists, can model an organization very similar to BSA and define their version of values. The gay activists pushing the inclusion into the BSA cite boys and leaders can't participate in the kinds of activities done in Scouting. Instead of creating an organization for these kids, it uses them as poster kids for their cause. It is a very common tactic to put a face of a kid on an initiative that normally would be rejected. "We have to do it for the children"...I mean how can one say "no" to a kid? I've see this tactic used many times. But back to allowing atheists and a redefinition of morals...Morals originally came from God. No true world religion condones homosexual activity. Not Judaism, Islam,Christianity,Buddhism, Hinduism, has wording accepting anything more than hetero relationships. Some "modernized "religions have decided to pick and choose like the Unitarians which is a religion of a bunch of religions(I don't really understand that). Chivalry developed from Christianity and is very close to the ideals of the BSA... help the weak, fight for noble causes, pure in thought, word and deed,etc. The BSA and moral relativism can't co-exist and still be the same organization that people have looked up to for over a 100 years. And, other than cookies sales, what are really Girls Scouts know for? When you say helping little old ladies across the street who do you think of? When I say Eagle scout to a person on the street what do they think of? When I say Be Prepared...who do you think of?...Boy Scouts and no one else. Even the derogatory phrase "quit being a Boy Scout" is used to describe some one that's too "goody goody".. Again the moral reference. This all will change if BSA caves...and will be a sign of the moral decay in which our country is heading. Eric

Trainwarrior:

Thank you. However, I do respect your opinion, and I see the logic behind the withdrawal of the use of "America", I have to say that if a group wants to be separate and exclusive then it should be allowed even as part of the tenets this country was founded on. The founding fathers did not want a religion or law forced on them so they left. A group should not have to be forced to accept any group, gay, straight, etc. just because a percentage of society says so.

Civil discussion...I love it.

Do you want to discuss middle east peace?...lol

Trainwarrior:

Can someone please, rationally and intelligently explain to me and the community why our world feels the need to include everyone in everything? We have do-overs in pee wee baseball, we tell kids that everyone gets to bat until they get a hit, people who came here illegally can stay if they are here now, etc.

I applaud the young man for trying. My sons are scouts. I was a scout.

However, we can have men's clubs, Augusta. If women want a club have at it. We do not need to include everyone just because.

Trainwarrior:

Can someone please, rationally and intelligently explain to me and the community why our world feels the need to include everyone in everything? We have do-overs in pee wee baseball, we tell kids that everyone gets to bat until they get a hit, people who came here illegally can stay if they are here now, etc.

I applaud the young man for trying. My sons are scouts. I was a scout.

However, we can have men's clubs, Augusta. If women want a club have at it. We do not need to include everyone just because.

NorwalkLifer:

This 19 year old young man is aware of what equality means, which is more than I can say for those that post here, moreover, he is taking his beliefs, convictions and putting them into action; again which is more than a lot of people do. Those that are "armchair" moralists tend to shrink into themselves, and refuse to expose themselves to a more diverse community.

Convictions or rather the need to seek conviction of one's own philosphies leads to an arrestment of knowledge, development, and yes, freedom.

I've signed this petition; there is no reason to fear the road of equality; however there is a lot to fear on that slippery slope of exclusion and fear.

Screamin Eagle:

What does a 19 year old really know about life anyway? Many of us older people realize that youth, naivete', and idealism kind of go hand in hand. 19 year olds, especially college kids, are exposed to all kinds of ideas and are subseptable to "favor of the month" idealogies. Once this young man grows up, has a family and kids of his own, he may think differently than he does now...who knows what the BSA he grew up with will be by then. If it does cave to modern pressure,no telling what behavior will be accpetable by then or if BSA will even be in existence.

NorwalkLifer:

In America's past wars, (God bless her) 19 year olds were good enough to go and defend their country, they have a voice, and whether that opinion changes, is the individual's right.

Many people change their opinions, some just before they die, there's nothing like the horizon of one's own mortality in view to bring elegance, truth, and forthrightness to an individual's opinion.

I do not believe that the state of being (married with children) would change the belief that all are created equal, unless of course, some are more equal than others.

The opinion of a 19 year old, can be refreshing, and might be just the right amount of new thinking that is required in order to create a more perfect union.

Just as immigrants to this country, came and made the ideal of American exceptionalism reality.

Screamin Eagle:

Many groups exploit the naivete' of the young. I am very proud of our men and women in the armed forces...they make America safe and I am glad they are there. I also know how their youthful idealism can be channeled into doing the wrong thing. Look at the young Muslim Jihadists also as an example. Age is a double edge sword, as you get older, ideals become more jaded and I believe cynicism become more of a factor. You see gray where once there was black and white and you question the system. You are able to make decisions based on life experience rather than what someone has told you. I do admire youthful idealism at times as at one point we were all young, however, one needs to realize that they can be used as pawns in a game that they don't fully understand. I believe that to be the case here.

Trainwarrior:

Can someone please, rationally and intelligently explain to me and the community why our world feels the need to include everyone in everything? We have do-overs in pee wee baseball, we tell kids that everyone gets to bat until they get a hit, people who came here illegally can stay if they are here now, etc.

I applaud the young man for trying. My sons are scouts. I was a scout.

However, we can have men's clubs, Augusta. If women want a club have at it. We do not need to include everyone just because.

Screamin Eagle:

It's just another goal of trying to gain acceptance of a deviant lifestyle....if you get enough people saying a certain behavior is okay then it must be. If this ban is lifted, the activists will just move on to something else... probably churches that say homosexuality is wrong. BSA will have compromised it's beleifs, and it will be a skeleton left in the dust on the side of the road of political correctness.

Blabbermouth68:

AIRBORNE!

NorwalkLifer:

It's a very simple answer, this organization is referred to as "The Boy Scouts of America", to use the American brand, which denotes exceptionalism, no fear of birth right, position, orientation of any kind, just the basic tenets of equality, would be an oxymoron if anyone is excluded;

I'll point to a famous pedophile case; Sandusky and Penn State, this was an outworldly looking upright, moral, man; to equate the individuals in this country, our fellow americans who are homosexual, as on the same footing as a person such as Jerry Sandusky, is a travesty.

If the Boy Scouts wish to exclude Americans from their ranks, my suggestion is that they remove the reference to "America" from their name.

At one time, those who worshipped differently from a King, were called "insurgents" those who did not want to be bound by a monarchy were called "rebels", those who believe in the "rule of law" not the "rule of man" were called radicals.

It's just geography and time at play here. There is no reason to fear those who work, contribute, toil, play, and contribute to a society peacefully.

I see no reason to ban gays from organizations that promote a more cohesive society. The Boy Scouts have been doing that.

You are correct though, organizations who wish to exclude have every right to do, but do not use the name of this country and what that represents, while defying the very tenets of what this country was built on.

NorwalkLifer:

I have one group which you missed: "The Aryan Brotherhood" of course, they are allowed to exclude, in fact, I invite them to do so, as enjoining in such an organization in my view, diminishes the intelligence, and the position of the individual. Indeed, the individual in my view, requires reflection and self examination to root out the real motivation in joining such an organization. Self Loathing is the probably the biggest motivator.

While people may fret over the inequality seen, as in reference to those that are white; please bear in mind, that at one time, there were rulers in ancient times that were traveling the seas, setting up commerce, organizing governments, recording history, and I might add, developing the first strings of democracy in Ancient Greece.

None, not one of them were white. So in this regard, the age indeed, the middle age of European rule, of the rolling back of civilization, that was not promoted by people of color, rather, it's been the very epicenter of what has evolved into a wrong minded ideal that there are people on earth superior to others; that would be Europe.

colonialism and imperialism are bad ideas; they do not travel well across the centuries.

To think that individuals are somehow excluded due to birth right, color, creed, orientation or any other label of profound ignorance and fear, diminishes man, it does not promote him.

NorwalkLifer:

I doubt seriously Chaz Bono would sign up, however, if Mr. Bono did, I think that would be a vast improvement over your own wish to join.

Certainly as evidenced by your comments, here, no individual who lacks the maturity or self control to regulate their own speech, should be put in a position where they are considered a role model to any young person.

I would argue that most people would not repeat the words you state here in the presence of young people. But then again, one must think the words are of no value to withhold such an opinion.

Blabbermouth68:

No, I don't think "words are of no value", which is why I have a problem with you using a plural pronoun ("they") to relate to a singular noun ("individual"), as in your second paragraph. I did, however, get a laugh with your "Mr. Bono" reference.

JWade:

You go! What is it with people who think the best way to be (save) America is to pretend like we're living in the 50's?

NorwalkLifer:

Even the "50's were a staged lie, there was rampant drug abuse in our government (Joe McCarthy and his morphine addiction), Homosexuality was a crime (Roy Cohn, who was one of the Nixon lawyers who wrote briefs for McCarthy during his witch hunt) and of course, the illustrious J Edgar Hoover, a man of high moral background with a self loathing secret.

Even in the 50's you had many an idiot, the Dulles Brothers who first proposed the "Bay of Pigs" model to Eisenhower, which so infuriated him, that he threatened to shoot them in the Oval Office with his pearl handled service revolver, should they ever mention it again.

And even the Kennedys, with their love for McCarthy, anyone read about America First? and those that wished for America to stay out of WWII? why Joe Kennedy was one of them, and for his pains and ridiculous positions, got himself banished to the Court of St. James.

What about the John Birchers? and their insane agenda of what was "right in America"?

do we today, look back at the fifties and yearn? sure, there were great cars, I love Lucy, Disney just opened, a lot of nostalgia there, but the truth is, America was evolving in the fifties; young men who went to war, men whose fathers came here, went to Europe, they saw Europe, they learned, they came home and started their lives off of some stellar programs, like the GI Bill, Levittown NY is a testament to the volunteerism that shaped us in the 30's and 40's, everyone pulled together

Oppenheimer, whether you agreed or no, developed the Manhattan Project, in an attempt to defray the development of nuclear weaponry in Russia, there was real fear in this country and a dread of technology.

How was Oppenheimer paid back in the fifties? he was labeled a red, and a firewall was put up between him and those he mentored. And why? well, that's simple!, the best minds came from Universities across the country, and those Universities were also the parlours for socialistic philosphy, so by the mere fact that Oppenheimer taught at Berkeley and his wife was one who entertained socialistic conversation, got him banned from contributing further in this technology,

But then came the sixties, and the space race; the new thumb wrestling contest with Russia. And all those fighter pilots, all those newly graduated engineers, Oh! and one more thing, Operation Paperclip, that program that brought all of Hitler's wunderkinds of weaponry from Germany post the war, led to the mercury program, Werner Von Braun the daddy of the V2 rocket. Imagine what would have happened had these German scientists landed in Moscow?

There was a visionary prism in the forties, and in the fifties, the typical American basked in the "Era of good feeling".

But let's not go too extreme in our mythological view of the 1950's. Even then, there were colored toilets in the south, there was a Pole Tax, and homosexuals?

God forbid there was ever a public mention of the word.

My favorite movie from that time period? Reefer Madness, it's the best B grade horror flick ever produced.

Blabbermouth68:

A "Pole" tax? Must have cost Harry Reems a fortune!

Screamin Eagle:

How on Earth did you make it through( or were made) during such a "terrible time" as the 50's.

NorwalkLifer:

Did I say it was terrible? no, what I outlined was reality, there are too many who worship the 50's as if it were the Golden Age of Discovery in this country, it wasn't.

jlevin:

Greg Edelston is a courageous young man and social activist. I wish him luck, and I will sign the petition today. Although rarely mentioned, the Boy Scouts also discriminate against atheists. Gays and atheists -- these are the only two groups overtly rejected by the Boy Scouts. The Girl Scouts, on the other hand, have no such policy of discrimination.

little timmy:

Because pedophiles are predominantly men...

As for the atheists, well because they have no moral or ethical standards will only try to change what is an honorable organization. Heaven forbid the scoutmaster talk about any of the religious emblem awards?? The ACLU would have them changing the charter because they don't want to subject the atheist pug to any moral and ethical (high standards). God would be taken out of the organization all together....

Sorry jlevin, keep these two groups out of the BSA... let them start their own groups (yeah, like THAT will be a popular group).

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