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I would return my Eagle Scout medal too

My office recently played a game of “Two Truths, One Lie” during a team-building day. My truths were that 1) I tap danced for three years and 2) I’m an Eagle Scout. My lie was that I’m a brown belt in Jiu-Jitsu. Everyone guessed I wasn’t an Eagle Scout. Tap dancing they believed, but Phil as an Eagle Scout? No way.

I guess I’m not the typical Eagle Scout. I’m a city dweller in San Francisco. I’m not religious. I’m a registered Democrat. I prefer hotels to camping. I’m the world’s worst tier of knots – turns out my brain has difficulty comprehending three dimensional objects – and my brain has difficulty giving a shit about knots.

Our motto is that scouts are trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, reverent – and homophobic. They apparently added that last one after I earned my Eagle Scout rank in 1997.

The Boy Scouts of America are actively denying boys Eagle Scout honors due to their sexual orientation. California scout Ryan Andresen was denied his award because he came out months earlier. Why didn’t he declare his sexuality when joining Scouts at age 6?? Couldn’t he have just fingerbanged a few high school girls before his eighteenth birthday??

Hundreds of Eagle Scouts are returning their awards and sharing their thoughts on a dedicated Tumblr blog. I would return my medal too, if I could find it. My mother probably tucked it away in a closet. Earning that award was one of my proudest moments, according to my parents. But I can’t be proud to be part of an organization who promotes such intolerance. It’s one of the same reasons I left the Catholic church years ago. Maybe my award is best suited trapped in the closet.

I recently learned a couple of my old scouting buddies are gay (pictured above). Other friends said, “Everyone knew this growing up!” Really? I always thought those two were just ADD obnoxious and annoying. Turns out they’re just gay. I guess I have bad gay-dar. Or maybe sexual orientation made no difference whatsoever.

I can’t understand why the BSA would want to deny those boys their Eagle rank. The scout law, motto, oath, and slogan say nothing about sexual orientation – unless you think “Duty to God” or “morally straight” have something to with being gay, which is ridiculous. In fact, everything taught in scouting teaches you to be tolerant of the differences in others. Expelling homosexuals is about as un-scoutly as possible.

What are they afraid of? Gay scouts would convert other boys? I spent countless nights with my two gay scouting friends and they never tried to touch me once. Disappointing! Maybe it was because I never took showers on camping trips.

Religious organizations host/sponsor over 60% of the approximately 123,000 Scouting units in the United States and use the Scouting program as part of their youth ministration

Maybe if the BSA accepted the LGBT community, they’d lose over 60% of their sponsorship, effectively destroying Boy Scouts?

“While many Eagle Scouts supported the policy, others balked, saying Mazzuca’s statements created the false impression that allowing gay Scouts would force sexual conversations around the campfire.

Talk about scary ghost stories! Did you hear the one about the ghost of a gay college freshman who haunts those who bullied him which led him to suicide? Boooo! We scouts already spent half our camping trips talking about girls. Why not talk about tolerance too? It would be way more useful than my “Pulp and paper” merit badge.

Scouting has nothing to do with religion or sexual orientation. Take this from Troop 92’s Chaplain who only took the position because he could prepare religious ceremonies instead of cleaning up campgrounds on Sunday mornings. Scouting is first and foremost about fun. It’s about hanging out with friends, weekends in the woods, setting off stink bombs and blaming it on the smelly kid, hitting each other with “Homey the Clown” socks, giving unsuspecting scouts a flag pole “pony ride”, learning how to smoke dried up leaves, and uncontrollable laughter. Lots and lots of laughter.


Author Description

Phil Schwarzmann

I'm a writer, stand-up comic, and author of “How to Marry a Finnish Girl” (Gummerus Publishers, 2011). Better! Funner! is where I write. Poorly. More of my jibber-jabber at:

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Phil’s debut humor book, “How to Marry a Finnish Girl” is out now on Gummerus Publishers.

About Better! Funner!


Better! Funner! is a blog written and curated by Phil Schwarzmann. You’ll find funny original pieces, some not-so-funny pieces, plus stuff that made Phil laugh from around them internets. Enjoy!