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Still Honor in Boy Scouting

September 18, 2000

Regarding "On Their Honor, They Will Try to Bend the Scout Law" (Aug. 31), I am an Eagle Scout from a troop in Massachusetts. It is something I am truly proud of. My brother is also an Eagle Scout, and he is openly gay. I didn't realize that Boy Scouts of America was following such a ban. Scouting was such an important role in my life and my brother's life, I would not want to see this type of behavior deter anyone from joining. Yet I would never show prejudice against someone who was a Scout just because those who lead the Scouting program choose to discriminate like this.

MICHAEL LACOUTURE

Los Angeles

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Too bad the people featured forgot to tell you that those "nasty Boy Scouts who are teaching all this hatred to our youth" provided snack and beverages to the protesters at many of the locations selected by Scouting for All. They were allowed to use the restrooms and come in out of the sun if they got too hot. We recognize the rights of people who want to disagree with us. We treat those with divergent opinions with respect and dignity--just like a good Scout should.

DAVID E. TATE

Assistant Scout Executive

San Gabriel Valley Council

Boy Scouts of America, Pasadena

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I find it interesting that a 54-year Scouting member suddenly becomes aware of the long-standing policy to protect the young men the Boy Scouts of America serves. I would be interested in the specific instances in which Scouting "teaches hate." For many years, all Scout leaders have been required to take a course in youth protection, which is designed to teach youth members and leaders the signs of abuse and what do when it is discovered. I find it difficult to call this teaching hate.

As a 68-year-old Scouter who is still an active volunteer, I believe Scouting has its rights, which need to be respected. Those who choose not to follow the rules can form their own organization. The Boy Scouts has a good program and has served many young men well for almost 100 years.

WILL THACKER

Laguna Hills

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Where is the line drawn between editorializing and reporting? I was reading the story on Scouting hoping to be informed but went away feeling preached at. The opposing view was characterized in the coldest terms possible, while the pro-gay interviews (admittedly few) were given "novelesque" consideration.

Having an obvious slant seems to be the norm for The Times, but this was downright "soapboxish."

GARY VOGEL

Edgewater, Fla.

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