Sara Whitman

Wake Up Boy Scouts- Hate Costs Money

Filed By Sara Whitman | October 21, 2007 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Living
Tags: Boy Scouts, LGBT, Philadelphia

In Philadelphia, the city got serious about what they will and will not support. The Boy Scouts of America, always getting a free ride for their program, will now have to pay going rates for the space.

The organization's Cradle of Liberty Council, which currently pays $1 a year in rent, must pay the increased amount to remain in its downtown building past May 31, Fairmount Park Commission president Robert N.C. Nix said Wednesday.

City officials say they cannot legally rent taxpayer-owned property for a nominal sum to a private organization that discriminates.

Mark that increase from $1 to $200,000.

On one hand, it’s almost archaic to think of an organization that bans certain members of our society. Makes you think of fat necked relics like Hootie Johnson of August National Golf Club, boasting his right to exclude Blacks, Jews and Women.

And, of course, the queers. In fact, I don’t think that’s even on the charter. Why bother saying what goes without question?

You can’t do that in Philadelphia anymore. No a free rides from the city and have a written, directed policy to ban gays.

And while the organization can cry the children will suffer, claiming the additional dollars "would have to come from programs. That's 30 new Cub Scout packs, or 800 needy kids going to our summer camp," it seems to me there is a very quick way to deal with the situation that won’t cost a penny.

Change the policy of banning gay scouts.

It’s time to take on the National Organization’s decision to ban gays. Here in Massachusetts, I’ve been approached about having my sons join the scouts. With a wink and a promise, I’m told that no one around here would ever entertain banning a gay scout.

Yet, technically, as a lesbian mom, I would not be allowed to participate in any of the activities. Sorry, the boys’ dads are gay, too. And none of us are too keen on having our kids join a group that has fought legally for the right to exclude their parents.

Not to mention I find the oath a little creepy- obey the Scout Law? On my honor? Duty to country? Sounds like a military recruitment poster. I do like the part of the Scout law that requires being clean. After cutting my son Jake’s nails last night, I think clean is a good thing to have emphasized from every direction.

A word of advice to the Boy Scouts of America: laws are changing. Your history is of a group grown from the roots of a progressive movement of the early 1900s, concerned with the social welfare of boys.

Pointing to the poor children who will be denied services is a poorly thought out choice. Instead of welcoming all boys, you will punish needy members. The irony is you have thousands of gay scouts participating right now. Local groups ignore the policy left and right, not just in Massachusetts but also all over the country.

Wake up, Boy Scouts- Hate Costs Money.

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I think it's silly for them to point out how many boys won't be able to participate, at least without the qualifier that the boys will have to be straight, closeted, or just too young to really care about sexuality yet. But the 800 campers that they talk about should at least read "800 needy straight kids".

I just can't believe that they're playing the needy card while excluding people based on a social status, as if the two don't overlap. I don't think the message is so much "hate costs money" as "we can see where the BSA's values really lie."

At least the city of Philly will have $200K to spend on another program. Here's to hoping they use it to benefit needy kids/young adults of all sexualities who come from all sorts of families.

Oh, yeah, and all religions. The BSA is still excluding atheists, right?

Very few things piss me off as much as the fact that the Supreme Court ruled it's legally okay for a venerable institution like the BSA to discriminate...

Yes, Bil and Yes, Alex!

Bil: Not only did the US Supreme Court rule that the BSA could discriminate on the basis of religion and sexual orientation, they did so despite the fact that the Boy Scouts of America was originally chartered by an act of the US Congress! --- therefore, it has always been my tactic on this issue that the GLBT community should lobby our Congressional representatives to rescind the chartering Act. Of course, voting to uncharter the BSA would be political suicide in most parts of the country, but this would be a good way for the GLBT community to press the point that the BSA is not the purely "private" organization that the US Supreme Court regarded the BSA to be in their infamous decision.

Alex: Yes, technically, the Boy Scouts of America discriminates against atheists, asserting that atheism is an intrinsic character flaw, regardless of whatever philosophical or intellectual positions might compel one to become atheist.

Imagine all the brilliant, talented and highly educated scientists and researchers that such a stance places outside the sanctioned domain of the Boy Scouts! Sigmund Freud, most of the French existentialist philosophers, astronomer Carl Sagan ... not to mention many of the professors these Scouts will study under if they are successful at making it into graduate and/or Ph.D. programs!

In contrast, the Girl Scouts of America wage no such similar war against lesbianism or atheism. The "God and hetero-only" stance of the BSA is clearly some type of statement about who can be allowed to be admired as macho and who can't.

I second your comment, Alex --- hopefully, the City of Philadelphia will use the new $200,000 to expand the Big Brothers / Big Sisters program.

I forgot to add: Thank you, Sara, for posting on this subject.