America Elects the Next Honorary President of the Boy Scouts of America?

As you are well aware, Barack Obama is now the President Elect of the United States of America. No matter how you looked at the election, it was going to be historic. If the Republican candidates won the election, America would have its first female Vice President. If the Democrat candidates won the election, America would have its first African-American President.

Now that we know who the next President of the United States will be, we can ponder other questions, like whether or not Barack Obama will become the next Honorary President of the Boy Scouts of America. While some Scouts and Scouters assume this is an automatic designation, it is not. According to Section 9 “Honorary Officers” of Article IV of the Boy Scouts of America By Laws:

Honorary President and Vice-Presidents

Clause 1. The President of the United States may, during term of office, be elected to be the Honorary President of the Boy Scouts of America. In addition, living former Presidents of the United States and other citizens who have rendered distinguished service to our country through work for young people may be elected to be honorary vice-presidents. Such election shall be by the Executive Board upon the recommendation of the Nominating Committee for such terms as the Executive Board shall specify.

Taking a look at the past, every President since William Taft has taken on the title of Honorary President. President Taft accepted the position to “thus sustain a similar relation to the movement as does King George V to a similar movement in England.” President Taft was quoted:

“I am very glad to give my sympathy and support to such a movement as this. Anything that directs the boy’s spirit in the right channel for usefulness and for the making of manly men should be encouraged.”

Assuming the BSA Executive Board elects Barack Obama to be the Honorary President of the Boy Scouts of America after he takes office, it is up to Mr. Obama to accept the position. While there were reports that Mr. Obama was involved with Scouting as a youth, it wasn’t with the Boy Scouts of America, but rather with the Gerakan Pramuka (the national Scouting organization of Indonesia).

If President-Elect Obama follows tradition he will be part of the largest celebration the Boy Scouts of America has ever seen. He will help the organization celebrate its 100th Anniversary and address the crowd at the 2010 National Boy Scout Jamboree.

We know that his Vice President, Joe Biden, is Cub Scout friendly, but Mr. Obama hasn’t really mentioned his thoughts on the Boy Scouts and their role in this great country.

Do you think President-Elect Obama will be the next Honorary President of the Boy Scouts of America?

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I hope that if President Obama does decide to take this role in the BSA, he does so in an effort to fix the organization. Since the early 80’s, scouting has changed to a group that discriminates against homosexuals and atheists. Now, if the BSA wants to be a private organization, fine, no problem. But when they involve our President – not to mention getting Congressional moneys due to their charter as a “patriotic organization” – while promoting discrimination, I do have a problem.

I was a scout when I was young, my Dad was an Eagle Scout, and in fact was a Scout Leader for my troop when I was younger. This wasn’t what it was about – in fact, his manual said that rule #1 was not to talk or discuss sex or family issues.

The Scouts have been hijacked, and if Obama joins as their Honorary President, I hope he can promote the same kind of change that brought him to the White House.

By Jonathan Myers on January 9th, 2009 at 1:45 am

I believe that Obama will be offered the position and will accept. I hope he does. I see a more Divided United States of America nowadays and that bothers me. Both extremes are trying to rip this nation apart at a most difficult time in our history. Boy Scouts has always been about belief in God and moral principles. Openly gays and atheist really weren’t heard of 30 years ago, so to say that BSA just started discriminating is wrong. It was assumed that those who joined beleived in these(moral) things already.If gays and atheists really want to help out their youth, let them form their own scouting organization. I have no problem with that, more power to them. But to continually attack the BSA and legally challenge them at every turn only empowers these “conservative types” that they hate so much. Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’ Reilly have jobs because of these “left leaning” extremists and their constantly stirring the pot. I think the Constitution ensures my freedom of assembly as long as I’m not planning illegal acts. So, I should be able to meet with anyone I please and exclude anyone we don’t want there. The government has no right to tell me otherwise. Government faccilities should allow all ligitamite groups to meet as long as they give equal access to all groups whether it be BSA, the NAACP, ACLU, or GLADD. They shouldn’t dictate who can join the group however. Somehow, those that have values and religious beliefs are now considered “conservative wackos” who are bigots because they don’t beleive what the “progressives” believe. That position it’self is hypocritical because don’t they preach accptance for diverse thought? What about live and let live. True tolerance means tolerating the intolerant.

By Eric the Moderate on January 11th, 2009 at 5:08 pm

As to those who worry about the Congress making new laws against the BSA, there are just a handfull of these anti-BSA legistlators who represent gay freindly districts. As for most of America, being anti-BSA would be political suicide so no worries here.

By Eric the Moderate on January 11th, 2009 at 5:25 pm

I hope not. The Boy Scouts to not welcome naturally born homosexuals boys or boys who are not able to or choose not to be theists. This policy is not inclusive or even American in the best sense of being inclusive, fair, and just. Until the Boy Scouts change their exclusionary and discriminatory policies on these two issue, the US Government should have nothing to do with them. I hope President Obama declines this dubious honor.

By S C LOWE on January 14th, 2009 at 7:34 am

As a gay and atheist Eagle Scout who worked for many years as a camp counselor, I must say that Scout camp was and still is my true home. I never felt more appreciated, more accomplished, or more at peace than when I was participating in Scouting. I chose to leave Scouting in order to prevent being forcibly removed. That I had to leave behind the program that defined my childhood and made me into the person I am today is one of my greatest regrets.

I recognize all of the benefits of Scouting; I was part of them. I know just how much they can make a boy’s life better. I cannot, however, approve of the hatred–and I use a word of that strength intentionally–that the BSA encourages and accepts from its youth. I watched for years how boys were cruel to their peers who expressed feelings of religious doubt or possible alternative sexuality, all because they knew the organization supported such cruelty. I’ve heard it argued that the boys in Scouting don’t know what the policies are or mean, but that is, in my experience, very wrong. The boys who are of the age to understand sexuality and conscious religious choice are aware of what the BSA preaches, and they exploit those policies.

I fully acknowledge the awesome benefit that Scouting provides to the youth of our country, but I hope Obama declines this position, and I pray that the new Congress revokes the BSA’s charter, not because I do not support Scouts, but because the BSA must be shown that all boys need their help, that all individuals have something to offer to the program, and that ridiculous policies cannot be sustained any longer.

By Mike on January 15th, 2009 at 12:51 am

As a Humanist, who believes in the intrinsic worth of all people; aspires to draw out the best in all people thus bringing the best out of me; I would urge President-elect Obamaa to consider two courses.
1 – Do not accept this title if offered.

2 – Accept this title on the condition that the BSA eliminate it’s discriminatory policies by changing the word God to Goodness.

By George Oertel on January 15th, 2009 at 2:11 pm

Gay, atheist, and an Eagle Scout? Did you lie about these things when you were a scout? Because that would violate the first point of the Scout law Trustworthy. Listen, why is it that you gays want the world to accept you so much? It’s almost a requirement that the rest of us have to change to accomodate your agenda for you to be able to accept yourselves. Instead of creating your own atheist or gay scout groups to benefit your youth, you insist that we have to compromise our beliefs to satisfy you. Instead of fighting for civil unions (which would have a better chance of being passed, not that I agree with them) you have to have the term “marriage”. It’s as if your fighting a war of principals instead of realistic remedys. It’s this “in your face attitude” that most mainstream people disagree with. Also,the BSA doesn’t teach anyone to “hate”.It would be dishonest to say that they do. They believe in a duty to God and to be morally straight. I don’t see how this equates to hate.The KKK, the Neonazis, Hamas, they hate. Don’t put the Boy Scouts in the same catagory.

By Eric the Moderate on January 16th, 2009 at 5:52 pm

I am an Eagle Scout, was one of the youngest ever to attain that rank, and I urge President Obama NOT to accept the Honorary Presidency of the BSA until the organization rejects all forms of discrimination. The BSA has the potential to be a significant force for a generation that will accept the responsibilities to rebuild our nation, as the President outlined in his Inaugural Address, but only if it is prepared to guide ALL who seek its many outstanding benefits.

By Doug from TN on January 22nd, 2009 at 4:19 pm

Has the BSA really been taken over by the Religiosu Right?? oh no Mr Bill!!!

Like my older brother, I am an Eagle Scout, (Algonquin Council, 1970) also earned the Ad Altare Dei Medal and OA (B). I have been a minor elected official( school board), have done overseas medical Christian missionary work, and I attend Catholic church on a regular basis. Yes I am a fervent Democrat. I have two daughters; this got me off the hook from being a Scout volunteer as a grownup but I taught my wife and both girls just about all the scout skills ( and is a lot more fun to camp with girls IMHO!)

Be that as it may: I *want* Barack Hussein Obama to be the honorary President, and those of you who don’t should quit the organization. When he does, I want BSA to clean house and prevent the Religious Right from this strangelhold on dictating the qualifications of adult leaders, so that atheists and Jews and Muslims and Hindus and whatever, can be leaders. Dobson should not be telling the BSA how to conduct business. Like Colin Powell said, our republic is one based on separation of church & state as well as tolerance; to the extent that BSA promotes Christianity over other religions or noreligions, this is plain ol’ wrong.

My younger brother was gay and died of AIDS in 1992. Not all homosexuals are pedophiles, and a good number of boys are born gay ( it is not a choice for those who are gay!) Sure, BSA has a valid reason to sort out pedophiles form its ranks of adult leaders, but BSA needs to stop discriminating against gays.

Have to admit I haven’t really paid attention to this issue, but ehre’s my two cents. ( and GWB was a *terrible* role model for boys!)

By Joe NIemczura on January 22nd, 2009 at 5:58 pm

I hope he choose not to support intolerance. The BSA has had it’s share of legal issues related to it’s private discrimination practices. In some states, they claim to be a religious organization to avoid penalties and in others, they claim to be a business. It depends on the prevailing laws.
I found this post because I was told today that I could not continue to be a Scout leader because I am Agnostic. My committee, district, council and chartered organization are all ok with me but after all these defeats, two intolerant individuals in our pack went to the National council for a review. The result was that both my son and I are unwelcome in an organization that we care deeply about. I know, how can you care for an organization that is so warped? If you can show me the perfect person or organization, I’ll join them. In the mean time, the core of the BSA program is solid.
What now? Join the fight started at All you displaced Scouters out there can help change the practices of the BSA and help it become what it was when we were boys.

By JayRo on February 4th, 2009 at 3:46 pm

The postings on this blogsite never cease to amaze in their illogical arguements. According to their logic, a K.K.K. member should have the legal right to become a member of the NAACP because it is “immoral” to think otherwise. This country is really becoming a twisted mess when people cannot understand why a moral and values promoting organization like the BSA won’t allow those who don’t believe in God(or in the case of this last religious “fence sitter” Agnostic) or homosexuals into their ranks.Disagreement with the gay lifestyle or athesist life is not “hatred”, it’s a difference in values. To think otherwise is truly “warped”. The core of the BSA is it’s values, not merit badges,ranks,camping, or other activities. Their main goal is to mold young men into moral,involved, citizens, who are prepared in this life and in the next. If you compromise on these requirments for membership then you will be destroying the things BSA stands for thus the purpose of the organization. There is no such thing as moral relativism in these cases. If you change the BSA policies to accept these people, then expect a large Exodus of people out of the organization for one of the last examples of Americana will cease to exist.

By Eric the Moderate on February 5th, 2009 at 9:12 pm

Obama should have been a Boy Scout. I watch news broadcast on CBS Evening News (05/06/09) and notice the American Flag was displayed to the left of the president and the other countries flag was to his right. Exactly when did the regulations change? The American flag has always been to the speaker’s right – as (s)he faces the audience from a stage or podium.

By Jack Berdeaux on May 6th, 2009 at 7:32 pm

In a previous post: “It makes me sick that a group that discriminates against people because of religious affiliation would even think that there should be a link [to] the government, as the government believes in the equality of all people….”

Yeah, right.

By still scouting on August 3rd, 2009 at 11:38 pm

I’m an Eagle Scout and active in the movement at the local, regional and national level. I find this whole discussion perplexing. Obama will be the honorary President. US Presidents have roles as policy makers (like prime ministers) and separate roles as heads of state (like kings). This is a head of state role. He has a duty to accept it and we have a duty to accept him. This is part of being an American and the Boy Scouts have no business playing in politics.

On the contentious issues of atheism and homosexuality – the professional staff has tried to change and soften their rhetoric and they have been yanked back in line by conservative religious ideologues within the movement. This is a shame in my opinion. The BSA knows that homosexual does not equal pedophile, but there seem to be some powerful religious groups (mainly the Morman (LDS) Church to my understanding) that do not.

On the point of atheism and agnosticism – the scouts require the acknowledgment of a higher being/spirit/calling. They do not require that you belong to any organized faith group. I’ve had many scouting friends who were not religious or even believers in any particular faith. Indeed Buddhism does not believe in a higher being necessarily, and there are thousands of Buddhist Boy Scouts.

This leads to an interesting point on the tenants of scouting. We pledge to do our duty to God. Does one necessarily have to believe in God to do his duty to God? Can you do your duty to the ideals that you picture in God? And if so aren’t you still doing your duty to God?

By Nathan on August 4th, 2009 at 9:56 pm

As an Eagle Scout, I’ve long thought, that perhaps the highest elected Eagle Scout in the land (i.e. Speaker of the House, Senate Pro tem, or, in President Gerald Ford’s case, President of the United States, etc.), should be offered the position as “Honorary President” – that way, it’s STILL non-partisan, and our Honorary President actually has a DEEPLY vested interest in the movement, and commitment to Scouts, Scouters, & Scouting.

By Bob M. on August 7th, 2009 at 11:05 pm

To Dave M, who thinks the signature of the Office of President is a political thing:
I’m proud of the presidential signatures on my various certificates, from Eisenhower and Nixon to Bush.
I disagree with the corrupt politics and greed of the rich and powerful who supported the downfall of the country under Bush.
If you feel strongly about Obama, you should burn your son’s Eagle Certificate in public.
Otherwise, join me, your political enemy, in supporting Scouting, God and Country, even with their institutional faults.

By George Fosselius on August 9th, 2009 at 9:30 pm

Folks, it would be nice to educate yourself before opening your mouth concerning religion and homosexuals and the Boy Scouts of America (see questions and answers below).

As far as Mr. Obama being and accepting the next Honorary President position in the Boy Scouts of America, it would be unethical and immoral considering his bigotry against whites as evident from attending the extremely racist church in South Chicago Church with his wife for 20 years and his claim that he never heard his pastor Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. preach hatred of America. Obama was in the pews last July 22 when the minister blamed the “white arrogance” of America’s Caucasian majority for the world’s suffering, especially the oppression of blacks. His morals and ethics therefore are extremely contrary to the Scout Law and Promise and the basic tenancies of Scouting and their original Congressional Charter.

Please read and learn:

Q. How does the Boy Scouts of America define religion?

A. Boy Scouts of America is not a religion; it is a nonsectarian association of persons who believe in God. The Declaration of Religious Principle describes God in a broadly interfaith way as “the ruling and leading power in the universe” to whom we are grateful for “favors and blessings.”

Q. What religions are involved with Scouting?

A. Virtually every religion is represented in the Boy Scouts of America, from Catholics and Protestants, to the Armenian Church of America and Zoroastrians. The Religious Relationships Committee, which includes over 30 religious groups represented in Scouting, determines whether a religion is an appropriate partner for Scouting, and reviews any “duty to God” material which is to be used in Scouting for consistency with Boy Scout policies.

Q. What allows the Boy Scouts of America to exclude atheists and agnostics from membership?

A. The Boy Scouts of America is a private membership group. As with any private organization, Boy Scouts’ retains the constitutional right to establish and maintain standards for membership. Anyone who supports the values of Scouting and meets these standards is welcome to join the organization.

Q. Don’t Boy Scouts discriminate against gays and atheists?

A. Boy Scouts of America is one of the most diverse youth groups in the country, serving boys of every ethnicity, religion, and economic circumstance and having programs for older teens of both sexes. That Boy Scouts also has traditional values, like requiring youth to do their “duty to God” and be “morally straight” is nothing to be ashamed of and should not be controversial. No court case has ever held that Boy Scouts discriminates unlawfully, and it is unfortunate here that anyone would characterized Boy Scouts’ constitutionally protected right to hold traditional values as “discriminatory.” That is just name-calling.

By Mike on September 5th, 2009 at 2:45 pm

I for one disagree with the many previous posted comments about the Boy Scouts being a discrimating organization. The Boy Scouts have a very high moral standard to uphold and set the example for the youth of America of the highest standard.

If the previous posted coments want to bash the standards of some of the worst examples that our youth could follow you would be better to tell the youth to not copy the many politicians in government that have been convited or should be convicted of froud, tax evasion, and down wright lieing to the general public about there position and ways they run their jobs and campagins to get elected.

I personaly hope that our current President turns down the Honary job of President of the Boy Scouts of America. His track record as President for the first few months has been nothing more than takeing America down the tubes to runiation. We are now so deep in debt that our childrens grand children will never be able to pay off the debt he has generated. He has exercised powers to control public affairs through Government controld that the Constitution in no way allowes a President to do. Your and my freedoms are in great danger of being lost to this President if he is allowed to continued doing thing that he is doing now.

He will first tax you till you squeek and then mess with your health care benifits and end up takeing your guns so you have no defense aginst the crooks walking the streets. This is not the leader that the Boy Scouts need as an Honary President for a Roll model for our youth to look up to.

Yours in Scouting,
In God We Trust,
English Only

By Paul V. Cox on October 19th, 2009 at 11:37 pm


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