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Lambert making his pitch — again

Expelled Port Orchard Eagle Scout Darrell Lambert has appealed his removal from the Boy Scouts of America for being an atheist and is taking his story directly to the public.

Last week, Lambert reportedly mailed a letter to the BSA’s western Field Office in Tempe, Ariz., officially appealing the Chief Seattle Council’s decision to revoke his membership for not believing in a higher power. Soon after, Lambert was scheduled to appear on CNN’s News Night program and at two local forums to talk about his experience.

“(Lambert) believes strongly in the values of scouting, and now he is asking the BSA to practice what they preach,” said Robert Raketty, director of the Northwest Regional Office of Scouting for All, who helped organize and will be facilitating the public forums. “He sent out his appeal letter on Monday, and we expect it to arrive either (Dec. 27 or 28).”

Raketty said Lambert had 60 days to appeal the BSA’s decision to remove him, and said the letter would arrive well before Jan. 6, what he believed the official deadline was.

Raketty said the forums in Seattle and Tacoma were designed to give Lambert an opportunity to share his story personally with people in this area. Raketty said he found out Mark Noel, founder of Coalition for Inclusive Scouting, was travelling to the Puget Sound area, and asked Noel to join the discussions.

“I can’t imagine someone who is more qualified to speak on this subject,” Raketty said. “He is extremely knowledgeable in the BSA policies, and he has also gone through a similar situation.”

Raketty said Noel was also kicked out of the BSA for being both an atheist and gay, and he gave Lambert all of the materials he included in his own appeal to help Lambert prepare his letter.

Raketty said he did not invite any representatives from the BSA to attend the forums, and said he doubted anyone would have accepted an invitation if offered.

“I sincerely doubt that they would have been willing to appear,” Raketty said. “They are simply too afraid of the backlash they’ve been experiencing.”

No one at the Chief Seattle Council was available to speak about the forums or whether any representatives would have been willing or able to appear.

Raketty said in the next few months he expects the BSA will appoint a panel to review (Lambert’s) case and decide to overturn or uphold the local council’s removal.

“We are optimistic that they will reinstate him to his position of scoutmaster,” said Raketty.

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