DENVER (AP) — A Cub Scout was kicked out of his group after he questioned a Colorado state lawmaker about gun control and previous contentious comments she made about African-Americans.
It's the latest political flashpoint for the Boy Scouts, of which the Cub Scouts is a part. The organization faced harsh blowback after President Donald Trump used his speech at the Scouts' national jamboree in July to rail against "fake news" and former President Barack Obama and boast about beating Hillary Clinton.
At a forum this month, Cub Scouts were told to come prepared to talk to Republican state Sen. Vicki Marble about issues important to them.
Lori Mayfield, the mother of 11-year-old Ames Mayfield, said a local scout leader told her after the Oct. 9 event that the topic of gun control was inappropriate because of its political nature and that the boy's questions were disrespectful.
The Boy Scouts have refused to comment on the reason the boy was asked to leave but say he will remain in the Scouts after finding a new group.
"The Boy Scouts of America is a wholly non-partisan organization and does not promote any one political position, candidate or philosophy," the organization said in a statement Friday.
In online videos recorded by Lori Mayfield, other scouts were heard asking questions about why people wanted to vote for Obama just because he was black and about Trump's proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
In the video showing Ames asking about gun control, he reads from a printed sheet, telling her that he is shocked that she had sponsored a bill that allowed domestic violence offenders to own guns, rattles off a list of survey statistics about Americans' views on the issue and speaks about the trouble Las Vegas shooting victims would have paying their bills.
"There is something wrong in our country where Republicans believe it's a right to own a gun but a privilege to have health care. None of that makes sense to me," he said.
After nearly 2½ of minutes, an adult is heard cutting him off, remarking on his thorough question. Marble responds by talking about the need for "crime control" instead and saying that the Vegas shooting and the 2012 Aurora theater shooting both happened in "gun free zones."
Marble drew national attention in 2013 after she seemed to draw a link between the health of black people and eating fried chicken and barbecue during a legislative committee hearing. The head of the state Republican Party and others criticized her words.
She then issued a statement saying she was saddened her comments were taken to be disparaging.
During the scout meeting, Ames told Marble that he was "astonished that you blamed black people" for their health problems.
She replied, "I didn't. That was made up by the media. So you want to believe it, you believe it, but that's not how it went down."
Marble went on to say Americans enjoy multicultural food but cautioned that people also need to consider whether they are predisposed to any diseases because of their genetic makeup.
In a statement Friday, Marble said she did not know about Ames' dismissal until she read about it. She said she didn't blame him because she thought there was an "element of manipulation involved" by his mother.
Mayfield denies that. She said she and her son, whom she said is gifted and likes to watch the news, researched Marble together and she typed up his questions using his words. The mother questioned why the Scouts would chose to invite such a controversial lawmaker to speak.
Associated Press writer James Anderson contributed to this report.
Associated Press 2017