Eagle Scout Assemblyman Hagman discusses the Assembly’s decision to reject a State Resolution that would have honored the Boy Scouts of America.
One hundred years ago, the Boy Scouts of America was founded, inspiring generations of young men to become outstanding citizens and community leaders. Why did the Assembly Democrats adopt a resolution recognizing the Girl Scouts, yet at the same time reject the proposal to honor the 100th Anniversary of the Boy Scouts? It is disappointing that in today’s California political climate, equality for atheists, gays and lesbians is now brought into the arena of Scouting. The State Capitol’s political agenda has gotten in the way of recognizing a great institution. As an Eagle Scout, and co-author of the Boy Scout resolution, I am one of the millions of young men who proudly served as a Scout.
This is yet another instance of just how out-of-sync some politicians are with the values of California families. Assembly Democrats decided to defeat the resolution. Analysis of the bill, written by Democrat staff, even attacked the young men for saying the Scout Oath and Law. According to them, this bill suddenly became “a controversial resolution” because the Boy Scouts do not adhere to the same political views as the Democratic party. It is truly ridiculous that a resolution to honor young men who volunteer in the community, learn to be good citizens and safeguard our natural resources be chastised for their beliefs.
Mainstream America knows that Scouting has contributed to the positive development of Presidents, astronauts, current members of Congress and even today’s Legislature. But the Democratic Staff Report listed the Boy Scouts as “an organization that has long discriminated against individuals.” Even worse, Democrats congratulate themselves for killing similar resolutions to honor the Boy Scouts, which they have done eight times in the past decade. In reality, Scouts do not discriminate against any religious faith. Scout troops are chartered by churches and groups of many religious faiths, including numerous Christian denominations, the Jewish faith, Buddhism, and Islam, among others. They do not discriminate against any one religion. Atheists and others are free to join or form any group they wish. When you look at the overall record of Scouting, I am certain sensible people will agree that this is hardly an organization deserving of such scorn.
So why would the Democrats proudly lead the charge to condemn an organization that has done so much good for so many young people? Is sexual orientation and atheistic recognition so vital that they would refuse to honor and recognize one of our nation’s largest organizations? The truth is in what happened to each resolution. For the Girl Scout’s, language was added to recognize them for “inclusion of all sexual orientations”, so the resolution passed. Assembly Republicans refused to include such language to the Boy Scout resolution, so it failed. Comments were made that the Boy Scouts “steadfastly continue to discriminate against individuals because of their sexual orientation or religious views. Not allowing atheists into Scouts defies both American and Scouting values.” It was improper to introduce sexuality and religion into what should have been innocent proclamations of support for two iconic youth groups.
I value everything I learned from my Scoutmasters; especially their lessons on patriotism, citizenship, service and respect. California’s Boy Scouts should be recognized for their commitment to our state and communities. Scouts have over 2.8 million participants, 35 million hours of community service in 2008 alone, and those countless volunteer hours from parents. They deserve the praise and congratulations from the California Legislature for their legacy of work and service to our nation. It is unfortunate that sexual orientation and religion has entered into this well-deserved recognition. As for me, I am sending a 100th Anniversary Certificate to every Boy Scout Troop in the 60th Assembly district as an expression of my appreciation for their service.