Black Lives Matter Boy Scouts Eagle Scout Intelwars Racism

BSA says it supports ‘Black Lives Matter,’ will require diversity merit badge for Eagle Scouts

The Boy Scouts of America announced late Monday that scouts will now be required to earn a “specific diversity and inclusion” merit badge to become an Eagle Scout.

The announcement comes amid a national discussion about racism and systemic oppression. The BSA national executive council said in a letter that the organization stands with the Black Lives Matter movement.

“The Boy Scouts of America stands with Black families and the Black community because we believe that Black Lives Matter,” the letter stated. “This is not a political issue; it is a human rights issue and one we all have a duty to address.”

Al Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

In addition to the inclusion merit badge, BSA also announced several diversity-related changes, including:

  • Ensuring the scouting program “promotes racial equality and denounces racism, discrimination, inequality and injustice”
  • “Diversity and inclusion” training for all BSA employees and volunteers
  • A review of all BSA properties, events, and insignia to “ensure that symbols of oppression are not in use today or in the future,” including the Confederate flag

“There is no place for racism — not in Scouting and not in our communities. Racism will not be tolerated,” the national executive council said.

The BSA has made several high-profile and controversial decisions over the last decade.

In 2013, the organization voted to allow openly gay scouts — youths under age 18 — into scout troops. Two years later, the BSA reversed its blanket ban on openly gay scout leaders, though it permitted charter organizations, most of which are churches, to prohibit gay leaders.

Then, in 2017, the BSA began allowing “transgender boys” — biological females who choose to live as males — to join the scouting ranks.

Finally, just last year, female youths were permitted to join their male counterparts in official BSA scout troops; the organization also updated its name to “Scouts BSA” to reflect the monumental change.

Boy Scouts Coronavirus COVID-19 Intelwars Memorial Day

Boy Scouts not permitted to place American flags on veterans’ graves for Memorial Day

The Boy Scouts of America will not be planting American flags on veterans’ graves to honor Memorial Day this year because of COVID-19, a Fox News report said Wednesday.

Memorial Day falls on Monday, May 25.

What are the details?

The Department of Veterans Affairs has prohibited all public events at military cemeteries because of the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Fox News reported that some residents of Long Island, New York — home to more than 500,000 buried veterans — are particularly disturbed by this year’s ban.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said that Americans and American organizations need to get their priorities straight.

“If we can’t figure out a way to make sure we are placing flags at their graves to honor them, then something is seriously wrong,” he told Fox News. “What we’re asking the VA to do is, rather than have a blanket policy across the country, allow the national cemeteries at the local level, to make this determination in conjunction with the local health department. We will take the responsibility to say that this flag placement plan meets the state and national guidelines but give us that opportunity to do it, allow us to honor our fallen heroes.”

Bellone added that it would be a stain on his generation if it were unable to “figure out a way” to “honor the greatest generation” because of the pandemic.

“We just commemorated VE Day, this is the generation that lived through the adversity of the great depression, they won World War Two. What is it going to say about our generation if we can’t figure out a way to honor the greatest generation by placing flags at their graves on Memorial Day?” Bellone asked.

Fox also reported that Boy Scout troops from California, Maryland, Missouri, and Wisconsin have also nixed plans to visit gravesites this Memorial Day holiday.

What else?

In a statement, the National Cemetery Administration — a subsidiary of the VA — says that the pandemic has spurred the decision to cancel all Memorial Day events.

“VA national cemeteries will not be hosting public Memorial Day events,” the statement read, which includes the “mass placement of gravesite flags.”

The statement continued that “Long Island has not yet met the state criteria for reopening, which is why limits on social gatherings on Long Island are still in place.”

While families and community members remain permitted to visit gravesites through the holiday week and weekend, the organization continues to ask that “all visitors adhere to CDC, state, and local health, safety, and travel guidelines.”