Imagine – one kid in California has put the Boy Scouts of America in the position of deciding whether to change a core belief of the organization for more than 100 years.
The angry left has pulled out all the stops against the Scouts and won’t stop until they get what they want: homosexuals allowed in membership and leadership.
The story of a Moraga, Calif., teenager presents a twisted picture of morality, self-righteousness, ego and massive political correctness.
It all has to do with 18-year-old Ryan Andresen, who was on the verge of gaining Eagle Scout status last October.
That’s the highest level of scouting. It takes years to accomplish and involves hours of work and dedication to complete. Andresen started in Scouting when he was six.
He’s the individual responsible for all the challenges of Scout policy, and for reasons not clear – but not hard to figure out – his words and actions have caused a national crisis for the Scouts, which will come to a head during a meeting of the Scouts National Council in May.
A decision will be made then whether to remain an independent organization with the legal right to have membership standards and requirements or whether they’ll give in to outside political pressure.
It should be noted that in 2000, the Supreme Court ruled the BSA, as a private organization, has the right to freedom of association. In other words, they can set their own membership rules.
It doesn’t take much of a cynical eye to regard this whole challenge to the Scouts as being a setup.
I know, I’ll be accused of everything from homophobia (no, I’m not afraid of gays) to conservative “red-neck-ism,” but I don’t care.
I look at this with the cold eye of a reporter.
Ryan joined the Scouts – worked many years, earning varied badges and completed a myriad of projects, his last being a tile “Wall of Tolerance” (anti-bullying), which he installed at the Joaquin Moraga Middle School.
(Yes, the same school currently roiled by the teacher sex abuse scandals I’ve written about.)
Ryan took the Scout oath, repeated it innumerable times during those years and eventually at age 17, as he was about to move into Eagle Scout status, he suddenly goes public, telling his leaders that he objects to the Scouts “Duty to God” and that he is gay.
In other words, he “outs” himself.
In other words, that decision and those actions mean he cannot move up to Eagle Scout status. It also meant he was expelled from the Scouts because the organization does not knowingly allow gays in its leadership or membership.
Are we supposed to believe that he had no idea of the consequences of his actions?
Are we supposed to believe that he was just an innocent little kid who played by (almost) all the rules and now he’s being discriminated against?
Are we supposed to believe the timing of his “decision” was his alone?
Well, I’ll tell you, if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, that is exactly what we’re supposed to believe and thousands of people, as well as the media, bought it hook, line and sinker.
Ryan’s story hit the local headlines, was picked up by radio and television and went national.
Ryan posted a national online petition garnering thousands of signatures supporting him and his desire to be an Eagle Scout.
Ryan became a media star, interviewed for news and talk programs. He was a headliner guest on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and was given a $20,000 check from DeGeneres for his schooling.
Even his town got on the bandwagon in November as the Moraga Town Council devoted part of a regular meeting to praising Ryan, honoring his anti-bullying gift to the school and presented him with a special proclamation of support – honoring him for … I’m not sure what.
We don’t know whether the residents of Moraga believe the kid should be honored for telling the world he’s gay and doesn’t agree with the Scouts’ “Duty to God” after perpetuating a false front in his Scout troops for years.
But town residents had no say. PC runs the place and PC won out, regardless of the merits of the situation, to say nothing of the honesty of Ryan Andresen.
Politicians from every level jumped on the issue with threats from Sacramento to remove the Scouts’ tax-exempt status.
But now that Ryan and his family have milked the media for all they could get, his father, Eric, was quoted in the Contra Costa Times last week as saying he’s keeping his son out of the spotlight because “the whole experience has been too much for him.”
All together now, Awwwwwwwww.
Does anyone think Ryan and his parents, who got their own share of publicity and interviews, regret any minute of the turmoil they have wrought?
The first words of the Boy Scout Oath are “On my honor” – words that carry the burden of all the others that follow and all the challenges facing those boys as they progress toward the levels of accomplishment leading to Eagle Scout.
It’s not an easy route and most don’t, or can’t, stay with the program, which gradually gets more rigorous.
No matter how far the boys advance in the scouting program or what level of accomplishment they reach before ending their own scouting experience, each of those young men gain a discipline that will serve them well in life, for their families and indeed, for our society.
Unfortunately, in the case of Ryan Andresen, the discipline he learned led him to deception and lies and a means to build his self-importance and ego.
Ryan Andresen and his family should be ashamed.