scouts-l Mail Archive for August of 2000: Clinton's signature dropped from Eagle Scout Certificate
Steve Burinsky (burinsky@EARTHLING.NET
Fri Aug 25 2000 - 20:05:08 CDT
Thursday, August 24, 2000
Eagle Scouts drop Clinton signature
After 'about a zillion complaints,' president removed from certificate
by David M. Bresnahan
To view the entire article, visit:
Following complaints from "thousands of parents" nationwide, Boy
Scouts of America has quietly removed the signature of
President Bill Clinton -- the honorary president of BSA -- from
the certificate presented to Eagle Scouts.
"We had about a zillion complaints about Clinton, so I think
they just took him off. I don't know if they'll put a president
back on or not when there's a new one," said Chris who works in
the Great Salt Lake Council office in Salt Lake City, Utah. She
said the change came from the national office.
Not only were there many complaints, but a large number of Eagle
Scouts actually returned their certificates and asked for a
replacement without Clinton's signature.
"I don't really know. I know that there were a lot of people
that asked that the president's signature not be on them. I
think they reprinted them without it. I don't know," said
Sandra at the national BSA office.
"When they reprinted the Eagle Scout certificates they left off
the president's signature because we're in the process of a
change of presidents. And, we've had so many problems with the
president's name on the certificate -- so many people objecting
-- that they just decided to put just the board president on
the certificate from now on. It just created a lot less
controversy," she explained.
No special announcement was made when the Boy Scouts of America
changed the award certificate earlier this year. The
certificate is presented to boys who earn the rank of Eagle
Scout, the highest rank a Boy Scout can attain. There have been
no complaints now that Clinton's signature is absent from the
"They're printed documents. It's not like President Clinton
actually signed them," explained Greg Shields, national
spokesman for the BSA. "When we exhausted our supply we gave it
a little thought and we decided to just put the signature of
the actual president of the Boy Scouts. He represents a
volunteer who's personally involved in the administration and
direction of the Boy Scouts of America."
Shields confirmed that BSA council offices all over the country
received thousands of complaints following the Monica Lewinsky
scandal and the impeachment of Clinton. He said those
complaints had nothing to do with the change. He insisted the
change was simply to have focus on the signature of the "real"
president of Scouting on the certificate instead of the
"That's all it reflected. Nothing more," said Shields.
Past certificates included both the BSA president's signature
and that of the president of the United States. The new
certificates, however, have eliminated Clinton's signature.
Congress may take the issue one step further. A bill has been
filed to strip BSA of the national charter Congress gave it in
1916. A group of homosexual rights activists has been fighting
the popular organization -- despite the recent Supreme Court
ruling in BSA's favor -- to change its policy of excluding
homosexuals from youth membership and adult leadership, and
they want the charter revoked.
Scouting for All has organized a national campaign against the
BSA and has rallied many homosexual organizations to its cause.
Democratic Rep. Lynn Woolsey, District 6 Calif., filed H.R.
4892 entitled "The Scouting for All Act: To repeal the Federal
charter of the Boy Scouts of America."
"It's not in response to that either," said Shields of the
proposed legislation, noting that the change on the
certificates took place many months before the bill was filed
Local Scout leaders in Utah claim Clinton is the first U.S.
president not to make a speech at the Boy Scout National
Jamboree, and that he is the first to have his signature
eliminated from the prestigious Eagle Scout award certificate.
Shields said he hasn't been around long enough to confirm or
deny those reports.
Shortly after Clinton took office in 1993, he failed to show up
at the National Jamboree, located only 70 miles from the White
House. The press at the time blamed the snub on Clinton's
effort to please the homosexual lobby -- a major source of
The next jamboree was held in 1997, and this time Clinton
"We are grateful. Please recognize that he did come. That's
significant," said Shields.
Shields did not know if press reports in 1993 stating that
Clinton was the first U.S. president to turn down an invitation
to speak at the National Jamboree were accurate. He pointed out
that jamborees began at the time of the Roosevelt
Calls to the White House press office for clarification of
Clinton's position regarding the Boy Scouts and the complaints
of the homosexual groups were not returned.
"We made the change to reflect the current leadership,
personally and deeply involved in the Boy Scouts of America.
While President Clinton is involved in the Boy Scouts of
America -- and we deeply appreciate that he came to our last
National Jamboree -- no one would say that he's personally and
deeply involved," said Shields.
Regardless of the real reason the signature was removed from the
Eagle Scout certificates, the complaints have stopped and no
one complains that Clinton's signature is missing.
Scouting for All announced it would conduct protests at 36 BSA
offices across the country on Monday. Six of the locations
produced no protesters, many had only a handful, and just a few
had a dozen or more. The largest turnout was in New York City
where about 30 came to demand that the Boy Scouts admit
homosexual adults as leaders.
"Everybody has a right to their opinion. We simply ask everyone
to respect our values and our beliefs and our right to hold
those, and tolerate -- to use their parlance," said Shields. "I
really mean that from my heart," he added.
He questioned the size and strength of the Scouting for All
coalition, and said the numbers manifested at the protest
locations did not reflect the degree of concern from the
general population suggested by the activists.
"The thing is, we're not asking everyone to join us. We're just
saying that we have a place in this world, in this country.
Give us a little space. We're not asking for government
support. We're not asking for anything other than our little
space," said Shields.
Despite the efforts of Scouting for All and other homosexual
activists, the Boy Scouts of America is growing as an
organization and prospering. Although activists have attempted
to convince United Way officials to stop providing donations to
BSA, they have succeeded in only a few locations. Activists
have also asked boys and adults to resign in protest of the
policy on homosexuals.
"All across the country, Scouting is prospering and growing.
Virtually every council has had healthy growth in both youth
members and adult volunteers. Every council is enjoying
improved financial support, to the extent that many are making
capital improvements in their camps and council service centers
for the first time in years. Many councils are now able to
begin building endowments or add to existing ones that will
enhance programs for years to come," explained Robert M. Gates,
president of the National Eagle Scout Association.
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