Jeremy Zaida called it “another level of emotional distress.”
Jeremy Zaida is an honors graduate from DP now attending San Diego State. Among his many talents, Jeremy is an actor and I had the pleasure of working with him behind the scenes when i helped with costumes at the high school. Jeremy is one of the kindest and finest young men I have met in a long time. When i read his story today, it was with mixed emotions - pride for him and his gutsy and sincere statement and disgust at the Scouting Movement in America, of which i also used to be a leader. It is unfathomable to me that anyone could consider Jeremy unworthy of the Boy Scouts - or cause him to ever wonder about his own worth and sense of belonging. I believe it is the other way around. Unless the The Boy Scouts renounce their ban on gays and APOLOGIZE to Jeremy and all the other fine young people like him who have had to abandon the scouting movement because they were honest about their sexuality, the Boys Scouts are not deserving of Jeremy.
The Boy scouts are about building character - and with Jeremy, they apparently succeeded, with no small amount of support from his parents and his own moral compass. But there seems to be irony here...It is the "gay" young man who exemplifies the outstanding character, while it is the Boy Scout Executive Leaders who fall short - exposing themselves to be ill-informed, lame, bigoted hypocrites who have sullied the fine institution that Baden Powell established. Because there is another irony; Lord Baden Powell considered himself a Christian Universalist, which is one of the two founding religions of today's Unitarian Universalism. What this means is that the US Scouting movement is supposed to be inclusive and secular as it was in Britain. Baden-Powell would have believed that God loved everyone (including LGBTQ), that everyone is equal before God, and all will be "saved". BP wrote, "I am a Universalist, passionately devoted to the cause of equality within the human family."
I wonder what the Founding Father of Scouts would say about Jeremy ever being excluded from Scouts- perhaps this quote gives us a clue: “It’s the spirit within, not the veneer without, that makes a man”.
Well done Jeremy This is your day. Be proud of yourself . I know Lord Baden Powell would.