Last week, Ryan Andresen was denied his Eagle Scout honor because his troop master found out he was gay.
His outed sexual orientation then led the local council and Boy Scout's National Headquarters to deny Andresen his Eagle Scout status.
More than 400,000 signatures were collected on the petition which Andresen's mother posted on Change.org's website shortly after finding out that her son would not receive his Eagle Scout Award.
Local Troop 234 Scoutmaster Wendell Baker addressed his troop with how he felt about the decision in the October 9 troop meeting:
"Last week the Boy Scout’s National Headquarters and the Local Council decided to bully Ryan Andresen of Troop 212 because they don’t approve of the young man he’s become.
They told him he couldn’t be a boy scout anymore because he’s gay. Even though he’d finished all of the requirements for his Eagle Rank they won’t give it him. When this happened I was ashamed to be a member of the boy scouts.
I thought about quitting. But then I talked to the other adults on the Troop Committee and found out they felt the same. We took immediate action and we clarified our policies and we pledged that we wouldn’t discriminate.
At that same meeting Colin suggested that the PLC [Patrol Leader's Concil] get together to discuss the situation. Even though they had less then 24 hours notice the PLC came to a meeting on a Friday evening and discussed what they should do.
There were lots of ethical and moral considerations and eventually they choose to write a letter of support to Ryan. They stayed and drafted it. I know most of you have seen it. The PLC signed a copy and gave it to Ryan when he came to our car wash on Saturday. There’s another copy for the whole troop to sign on the back table. It’s a great letter.
The spirit of scouting doesn’t belong to the national headquarters or the local council. It belongs to you and the hundreds of thousands of scouts and volunteers across the country.
Once again I’m proud to be a member of the boy scouts. I’m proud to belong to an organization that empowered you to have a voice and gave you the leadership skills to make your voice heard. I am proud to wear this uniform because of this number right here, the 234. You are an awesome group of boys.
The national headquarter and local council are wrong, Ryan Andresen is the person he’s supposed to be and he’s perfect the way he is. It’s the national headquarters and local council who have lost their way. We should all hope and pray that they find their way back."
While Baker's address is his own opinion and not representative of what the PLC have decided, he also wanted to share some excerpts from the Scoutmaster handbook which says:
Scout Oath: On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.
Scout Law: A Scout is: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, Reverent.
Scout motto: Be Prepared
Scout slogan: Do a Good Turn Daily
Baker also pointed out The Scout Oath or Promise ends with the phrase “morally straight”. The use of “straight” in this context predates the use of “straight” to mean “heterosexual.” In this context the opposite of “straight” is “crooked,” not “gay”.
An updated clarification was made to this part of the handbook as described in a letter Troop 234 sent out October 5 to all concerned parents and scouts as well as reinstating the troops' views in membership, eligibility and future goals as an organization committed to the spirit of scouting.
Although the PLC has denied Andresen his Eagle Scout badge, many scouts all over the country have shown their disdain and have offered up their own badges to give to him.
Andresen has gained national headlines and was recently on the
What do you think of the local troop master's address to his group? Tell us in the comments section below.