Parents and alumni were furious about Trump's speech to the Boy Scouts.

The Boy Scouts of America forbids its chapters from pursuing "any objectives related to political or social advocacy, including partisan politics."

As a result, many parents, volunteers, and former scouts were outraged when President Donald Trump took the stage at the organization's annual jamboree on July 24 and turned the nationwide gathering into a campaign rally.

In a characteristically free-form address, the president cursed, encouraged attendees to boo former President Barack Obama, and alluded to sexual activity that took place at a cocktail party he attended in the 1980s.

Photo by Saul Loeb/Getty Images.


Not long after video of the event went viral, hundreds of alumni and relatives of current scouts posted their reactions to the organization's Facebook page.

The responses were overwhelmingly frustrated, angry, and mournful.

Some noted that by condoning Trump's furiously partisan speech, the Scouts were implicitly supporting the goals of the Republican party, in a violation of the organization's charter.  

All comment images from Boy Scouts of America/Facebook.

Others argued that the speech — and its speaker — conflicted with the stated values of the organization...

...while many were simply saddened that the organization's leaders would permit such a violation of what they believe to be the core Scout ethos.

The Boy Scouts of America released a statement the following morning that reaffirmed the group's nonpartisan character, though it remained quiet on Trump's conduct.

"The invitation for the sitting U.S. president to address the national jamboree is a long-standing tradition and is in no way an endorsement of any political party or specific policies," the statement read.

This is not the first time the Boy Scouts have found themselves at the center of a political struggle.

For decades, the Scout bylaws held that, "homosexual conduct," is "inconsistent with the obligations in the Scout Oath," and openly gay children were banned from participating. The ban was ultimately removed in 2013 after years of mounting public backlash, though openly gay adults can still be prohibited from being scout leaders.

Photo by George Frey/Getty Images.

The controversy flared again when a transgender scout was kicked out of a Cub Scout pack in New Jersey in December 2016.

Transgender scouts were officially permitted the following January.

But a sitting president involving the 117-year-old organization with party politics is new — and unsettling.

Trump's speech broke with eight decades of precedent, upheld by presidents from both parties, of using the speech to speak broadly about citizenship and service in a nonpartisan fashion.

In response, alumni, parents, and commentators from across the political spectrum are taking notice — and asking the Boy Scouts of America to stand up for their stated values.

Whether they find the loyalty, courtesy, and bravery to do so remains to be seen.

Clarification 7/25/2017: This post was updated to clarify that while the Boy Scouts of America does not prohibit openly gay troop leaders, it does allow for individual charters to do so.
Updated 7/27/2017: This post was updated to clarify that groups of Cub Scouts are "packs," not "troops."

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

Keep Reading Show less

On February 19, 2020, a group of outdoor adventurists took a 25-day rafting trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. During the trip, they had no cell service and no contact with the outside world. When they ended they ended their journey on March 14, the man who pulled them ashore asked if they had been in touch with anyone else. When the rafters said no, the man sighed, then launched into an explanation of how the globe had been gripped by the coronavirus pandemic and everything had come to a screeching halt.

The rafters listened with bewilderment as they were told about toilet paper shortages and the NBA season being canceled and everyone being asked to stay at home. One of the river guides, who had done these kinds of off-grid excursions multiple times, said that they'd often joke about coming back to a completely different world—it had just never actually happened before.

The rafters' story was shared in the New York Times last spring, but they're not the only ones to have had such an experience.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

Keep Reading Show less