How would you feel if you had been working for something since you were a small child, spending years of your life away from your family, working for others, getting pushed to your limits, planning a massive project to show what all the work you had done had taught you and going through an extensive process only for a chance to earn something that could help your life and future more than you could imagine, only to have it all taken away from you because of your sexuality?
This happened to Ryan Anderson, a 17-year-old who was denied his Eagle Scout Award because of the sole cause he is gay.
Anderson went through the whole process of being a Boy Scout from the beginning, which included doing the Eagle Scout project, a project where a scout leads other people into doing a service project. Anderson chose to build a monument to bullying and how it has affected his life.
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) have been very anti gay and lesbian since its inception. They believe this because of the ‘Duty to God’ principle. The BSA is known for being extremely reverent towards God, so much that of the “12 Points of the Scout Law,” the final point is reverent.
Personally, I believe that this is completely unfair to Anderson. As an Eagle Scout, I know the extreme hardships, time commitment and strain it takes to become an Eagle Scout. The fact that Ryan did all the work and then was denied his award at the final step makes me feel ashamed of my title of Eagle Scout. Even though the BSA’s ‘Duty to God’ principle was cited in this decision, it should not matter who wants to go through the process to become an Eagle Scout. My justification for this is that any religious person should know how to “love thy neighbor.”
Many people have contributed to Anderson’s cause, including his mother Karen Anderson, who started petitions to get the BSA to re-consider Ryan for the award. Ms. Anderson sent out a petition letter to urge people to sign their support for Ryan. “I’m urging leaders from Troop 212 to reject the Boy Scouts of America’s discriminatory anti-gay policy and to give Ryan Anderson the Eagle award he’s earned,” says the petition
Whether or not the BSA is justified in their decision to deny Ryan his Eagle Award because of his sexuality does not matter. What matters is that he has done all the work necessary to become an Eagle Scout and he shouldn’t be denied that honor because of which he likes.