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I take great exception to Charles Fleming’s opinion regarding scouting ("At age 100, Boy Scouts must make changes," Jan. 3). It is ridiculous for someone to expect that any organization must change to accommodate a minority opinion clearly out of harmony with its purposes.

My six sons and I are Eagle Scouts. I cherish my scouting experiences as a boy, father and volunteer. Our country makes it possible for differences in behaviors and opinions. However, to criticize scouting for being "exclusionary" and discriminatory seriously misses an important point. Scouting doesn’t have to be for everyone; its ideals and purposes are well-articulated; it strives to build character, citizenship and fitness. Its methods support these aims.

I recently participated in boards of review for boys who had completed all their requirements for Eagle. These are the last steps a boy must take to achieve the distinguished rank of Eagle Scout. Interestingly enough, one of the reviewers addressed the topic of the "Three G’s" (God, girls and gays). He asked each candidate his opinion relative to these topics. The boys expressed their feelings that individuals are free to feel and practice behaviors according to their beliefs.

I know of many organizations that have specific requirements for membership. I see nothing wrong with organizations having rules that support their values and mission. If scouting requires a member to believe in God, it is appropriate that it so continues its practice. Further, if the organization is meant to be for boys, then let it be for boys. And if it bars homosexuals from membership, this is its right.

Fleming is seeking to require me to change my beliefs. I reject the implication that I am not modern. Rather, I think my values are well-founded and will endure.

Denny BatesHeidelberg, Germany

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