Eagle Scout Steven Colella rescinds status over gay members policy


Becoming an Eagle Scout is no easy task, and a rare one at that. Only about 4 percent of Boy Scouts achieve the high status.

In response the organization’s controversial stance on allowing gay people to serve as leaders or join the group, though, some of these high-ranking members are giving up their status.

Becoming an Eagle Scout was one of the happiest days of Steven Colella’s life. Since he was 5 years old, he wanted to be one. Now, though, as a gay man, he made the difficult decision to give back a medal he worked most of his life for.

In response to the Boy Scouts’ reaffirmation to ban openly gay members, the 23-year-old Frederick resident decided to relinquish his status.


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Written By: Suzanne Kennedy
continue to source article at wjla.com


  1. In a statement, the Boy Scouts say that “no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society” and that the majority of their membership agrees with the policy.

    So, the majority of the membership are bigots, nice point. And if the majority don’t like African Americans? Ban them too I guess. The Girl Scouts don’t seem to have this problem, it’s specific to the Boy Scouts. Most troops are affiliated with the mormon church, or other churches….that’s the problem. And of course, no atheists either.

  2. ‘Boy’ Scouts? At 23 yo, surely it’s time to grow up and leave…

  3. Yes, and isn’t that statement about the most long-winded way of saying we don’t give a f^*k?

  4. Tsk. How would the organization work if there were no leaders? 

    Perhaps you don’t like scouting and similar (I don’t much myself) but a lot of kids get a lot out of it. It’s a real problem that it’s been hijacked by the Mormon church. Apart from the anti-gay bigotry, it will be used for proselytising because the Mormon leaders will not allow that to be challenged, even if it’s unofficial.  It either needs to be taken back, or a single organisation/federation of organisations needs to be set up as an alternative.

  5. Several years ago there was an atheist young man, an eagle scout, who had some things to say about the boy scouts. It got a little play but not much. IIRC he did an interview with Point of Inquiry. If you are interested search the CFI site. 

  6. The guy is probably a scout leader, or else there’s really something wrong. But the problem with the church taking over the scout movement is complex. Here in Holland a lot of scout groups actually started as a spin of of church organizations. Several groups I was in were actually catholic. I managed to have them to quit the mandatory praying before the meeting. I was quite proud of my self for having accomplished that.
    Still, it seems the churches are trying to regain lost ground. Chilling if you ask me.

  7. Renounces, not rescinds. 

    Rescinding is what the SCOUTS would have done, if they took his status because he’s gay.  Renouncing is what he did by voluntarily giving up his own status.

    Reminds me of an old sit-com scene in which a bully and a nerd argue over the meaning of ‘imply’ and ‘infer’. 
    Bully:  Are you inferring I’m stupid?
    Nerd: No, I’m Implying you’re stupid.  Imply means to give meaning to something, and infer means to take meaning from something.
    Bully: (clearly confused, but thinking….)  Well here then… infer this. (punches nerd in face.)

  8. I’m glad he has decided not to take shit as well as grow up a bit. Scout at 23?

  9. A couple of points:
    1) Boys may no longer be active scouts after the age of 18. It’s possible that this young man was involved as a Scoutmaster or some other leader, but that is not necessary for him to take the action described in this story. Once a boy has achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, it is considered to be a lifelong title. You will typically hear adult men say “I am” an Eagle Scout, as opposed to “I was”. For example, I (BanJoIvie) am a 40 year old Eagle Scout, though I now repudiate the positions of BSA and have no involvement at all in Scouting for more than 2 decades. 

    2) I’m not aware of any formally defined method for “giving back” your Eagle status. Basically I guess you would just announce it. Maybe send a letter, and perhaps in this case, a press release.

    3) In America at least, I believe all Boy Scout troops must be sponsored by a church or religious organization. the Mormon Church has become by far the most active denomination in sponsoring troops, but any other church may do so. I’m pretty sure It’s impossible to form a secular or independent BSA troop. I don’t know if this is true for international Boy Scouting organizations, but far from being “taken over” by any church, BSA has always been a quasi-religious organization.

    4) Boy Scouts of America’s official stance on atheists is the same as its stance on gays: not allowed. Both atheism and homosexuality are considered incompatible with the Scout Oath which all members must take. Open atheism is grounds for expulsion of any Scout or leader. My guess is that this is a worldwide policy, but I can’t be sure. To the extent that any local troop chooses not to enforce either of these bans, they are breaking the rules.


    [from the OP] “…no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society…”


    Bull! How about, “Our policy is to accommocate all diverse views.” Done.

    Reasonable people may disagree. The only “view” that cannot play well with others in this scenario, is the view that “only my view may be tolerated.” Surely “tolerance” may be reasonably limited to only tolerant points of view.

  10. Scary stuff, if you ask me. I have been a boy scout in the Netherlands and even in the catholic groups I have been in there was nothing in the scouts oath about God. still, that was when I was part of it and only in my region. I can’t speak for others.
    How can it be mandatory that a religious organization forms the basis of all BSA troops? Who managed to get that rule in

  11. What’s this have to do with science? I must be in the wrong place … I thought this website was about science …

  12. This website is concerns itself with reason, secularism, and science. Reason and Science are in the subheading for the website! Have a look at the top of the page! Also, reason is placed before science!!!

  13. The mission of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science is
    to support scientific education, critical thinking and evidence-based
    understanding of the natural world in the quest to overcome religious
    fundamentalism, superstition, intolerance and suffering. 

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