Could the secrecy of that meeting be a result of social pressure from, for example, the January 2009 letter from the American Humanist Association and 18 other nontheistic organizations, which pleaded with Obama to be the first president in 100 years not to serve as the BSA's honorary president? He's a progressive, so you can imagine the pickle Obama was in. But he is no political fool and was unwilling to deal with the collateral damage that would have happened had he denied the honorary post of one of the largest and oldest youth organizations in the U.S.
Interestingly, though the White House cloaked Obama's acceptance of the post in mystery, on that single day of March 3, 2009, the White House considered a host of other events as newsworthy enough to post on its official website, e.g., "President Obama Announces More Key Appointments," "Message to Congress from the President Regarding Export Certification," "Remarks by the President and Vice President on transportation infrastructure," "Remarks of President Obama to AFL-CIO Executive Council" and the "Remarks of the President to Commemorate the 160th Anniversary of the Department of Interior."
Yet not a peep mentioned about the president's acceptance of BSA's honorary presidency. Could it be that the 160th anniversary of the Department of the Interior ranked of higher importance than Obama's acceptance of the BSA's position in its 100th year?
I suppose it's also coincidental that Obama was unable to attend the 100th anniversary gala of the Boy Scouts of America in his own backyard (Washington, D.C.) Feb. 9, 2010. Why? Because that evening he had his first national news conference. Is it just me, or would you have delayed the news conference to any other evening in February to attend this unique centennial celebration of one of the oldest and most influential boys organizations in U.S. history? How about at least a quick shout-out at the news conference for the BSA's 100th anniversary? No such luck.
The president did, however, send a semi-congratulatory letter to the BSA on its centennial -- though at the same time, he subtly distanced himself from being a celebratory participant: "I send greetings to all those celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America. ... I wish you all the best." Seems like a rather flat centennial note for the honorary president of the BSA, wouldn't you say? Actually, he never even thanked the organization or mentioned that he's its honorary president in the body of his letter. But I'm sure that's just a minimalist coincidence, too!
To be frank, I think Obama's delay in signing Eagle Scout certificates has more to do with White House political correctness and establishing an arm's-length relationship with the BSA than it has to do with any simple "administrative delay," especially when lawsuits have been levied against the BSA because of its stand against atheists, agnostics and homosexuals.
For years, I've signed and sent out hundreds of Eagle Scout recognition letters. And I know a host of Boy Scouts, Eagle Scouts and Boy Scout leaders personally. These individuals epitomize the best of America. Indeed, the BSA is as integral a part of American life and culture as hot dogs, baseball and Grandma's apple pie.
I couldn't agree more with Bob Gates, former director of the CIA, when he explained: "I think that American leadership is vital to peace and prosperity and the advancement of democracy in the world, and that requires having strong leaders. And I don't think there's any organization in the world, certainly not in the United States, that better prepares young men for leadership in this country than the Boy Scouts of America -- in teaching leadership skills, in teaching values, in teaching importance of standing up for what's right."
Mr. President, do you agree?