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Listed in AMERICA’S TOP 15 Emerging College Students by Current Magazine Columnist, WorldNetDail.com, GOPUSA.com, OpinionEditorials.com, Sierra Times, The Right Report
Published in Seattle Times, San Fransisco Chronicle, Philadelphia Daily News, Baltimore Daily Sun and other newspapers
Appeared on National Public Radio, Lars Larson, Laura Ingraham Shot, Crosstalk, Point of View Spokesman, Scouting Legal Defense Fund
Sophomore at Hillsdale College
ON MY HONOR…
“On my honor I will do my best: to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law, to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.” The Boy Scout Oath. Who would think that this simple promise to live in a moral and God-fearing manner could create such a stir? But the fact is the Boy Scouts of America are coming under severe attack and 20-year-old Eagle Scout Hans Zeiger says the Oath is at the center of the controversy. Hans says the Boy Scout pledge is at the root of the problem because people who have no moral compass are offended by the Scouts who hold tightly to a defined morality. And those people who are offended are also determined to tear down a tradition and a belief system Hans holds dear. Hans has been in the scouts since he was eleven and his family has a rich heritage in the program.
FOLLOWING A NOBLE TRADITION
Hans is a bright young man who’s already published his first book, Get Off My Honor, and has his second well underway. He’s well-spoken with a serious mission to call the nation to task for attacking an institution in which he strongly believes. Maybe Hans is who he is because he comes from a long line of scouts including a granddad who’s been in scouting for nearly 60 years. Or maybe it’s because Hans is one of those young men and women that church leaders like Che Ahn and Lou Engle have been looking for; part of the formerly faceless, nameless generation being raised up to defend the morality of God in the land.
Hans’ grandfather had been the scout leader for Hans’ father and uncles. Several of Hans’ older cousins also preceded him into Troop 174 with granddad as one of the leaders. So when Hans was eleven, the official age when he could become a scout, it was no surprise that granddad invited him to the troop meetings. It took Hans three months to decide to go. That first night, his cousin Brad, also eleven, led the troop in the the Boy Scout Oath. Hans spent some time surveying the history of Troop 174 and scouting in general displayed on the walls of the meeting room. It wasn’t long before he began earning his merit badges, enjoying the outings and embracing the organization his family held dear. “Five short years after I joined Boy Scout Troop 174, I became an Eagle Scout,” Hans says. “In the process I became a man. I learned about the importance of character, friendship, survival, and honor.”
When Hans was 18 years old, he was described as one of the most opinionated teens in America. His personal passion about which he has strong opinions is the Boy Scouts of America. He believes that the tenets of scouting are guidelines that should be observed not by a few, but by everyone. Hans says the principles taught in scouting from honor to trustworthiness to preparedness are part and parcel of being self-governed. He says before you can govern a town, a state or a nation, you must learn to govern yourself. He says that self-government is fundamental to maintaining a moral nation.
In recent years, the Boy Scouts of America have been called racists, bigots and homophobes because they have not been willing to allow certain individuals to serve as leaders or change their rules to accommodate minority interests. They have been called exclusionary and discriminating. The Scouts haven’t just been spoken against. In the foreward to Hans’ book, Oliver North says the Boy Scouts of America are in the crosshairs of some of the wealthiest, most litigious and powerful opponents in America. A barrage of court cases have been brought by the ACLU and organizations like LAMBDA to try and force the Scouts to change who they are. The United Way and even local schools and churches have withdrawn their support because the Scouts would not enroll homosexuals or atheists. Other similar organizations – namely the Girl Scouts and the Big Brother, Big Sister program have caved to these demands. Hans has become a one man campaign against the accusations leveled at the Scouts. But he’s more than a disgruntled bystander. He’s become a conservative activist, a widely published columnist, and spokesman for the Scouting Defense Fund.
Hans tells in great detail of the nearly 100 year history of scouting and of the attacks against the organization in more recent times. In his book, he skillfully explains how scouting has always been acknowledged for being ecumenical in its approach. James West, an early leader, allowed churches to have troops for only the boys in their church if they chose. But West made it clear that a church that opened its scout troop to the community would not be allowed to force any boy to attend church services. This picture of scouting is the antithesis of the current news on scouting where because Boy Scouts mention God in their pledge, they are being accused of being a religious organization and threatened with denial of federal funding.
JUST HOW BAD IS IT?
In one example of how extreme the battle lines are, Hans tells how a convicted child-molesting priest led a protest outside the Toledo, Ohio, Scout office. Hans tells how this priest, claiming to be a rehabilitated molester, makes the case that any rehabilitated molester should be allowed to lead scout troops as a way of serving the community he once offended. This extreme idea shows that the desire to cater to the offender outweighs the commitment to the ideals of scouting or the overall safety of the children involved.
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