Guest Author - Erik Moeller
At most Eagle Boards of Review, in fact in almost all Boards of Review, we ask Scouts to repeat the Scout Oath and Law. We stress “…duty to God…” When Scouts are asked the most important point of the Scout Law, one of the most often responses given is A Scout is reverent. It now appears that some of the powers in Washington think that it is inappropriate to present a certificate to a 17 year old Eagle because he requested wording that contained the word “God.”
On October 8, 2007 the Midland Daily News reported, “A 17-year-old Eagle Scout from Ohio reportedly was denied the request to have a certificate read, "This flag was flown in honor of Marcel Larochelle, my grandfather, for his dedication and love of God, country and family."
The article goes on to report that Congress passed a resolution this week that recognizes Ramadan as an official holiday but refuses the family’s request for a certificate to accompany a flag flown over the capital in the boy’s grandfather’s honor because it contained the word “God.” The House leadership aides apparently thought this was a political message and should not be permitted.
I have received emails about this and looked at the original article. The paper references a contribution to the article by the Associated Press. I also searched the issue on the Web and found stories confirming the item in the Midland paper. One pointed out that the family has to pay for the flag and can ask for a certificate with specific wording up to a pre-established limit.
Some will say this is an issue of freedom of speech. Some will say it has to do with the separation of Church and State. Some will say that folks inside the beltway around DC have lost touch with reality. And maybe this is simply an individual who has an opinion and a position of limited power who wishes to demonstrate that power.
If you read the article (a link is attached below) Midland Representative Dave Camp has started a petition drive to take action to get this corrected. It must have been successful. Before I got this article published, I received another email stating that according to a Fox News release on October 11, the Architect of the Capitol restated the procedures to allow “God” to be used in the certificates presented with flags flown over the Capitol.
So the article that started out being a discussion about freedom of speech turns out to also be about the power of the press. Getting people aware of a problem and unifying them to action can be a powerful tool.