I was a Boy Scout. An Eagle Scout actually. Which, if you know anything about scouting, is a fairly big challenge and kind of a big deal.

I spent the formative years of my life involved in scouting. I can still recite the Scout Law, the Scout Oath and even the Outdoor Code!

And I hope someday my kids will be involved in scouting too.

And yet- when I read this article in the NY Times last week about the city of Philadelphia evicting the Boy Scouts from city-owned land I actually cheered the decision.

That’s because:

For three years the Philadelphia council of the Boy Scouts of America held its ground. It resisted the city?s request to change its discriminatory policy toward gay people despite threats that if it did not do so, the city would evict the group from a municipal building where the Scouts have resided practically rent free since 1928.

Exclusion and discrimination are NOT part of the values I learned in Scouting- and they shouldn’t be part of the groups’ national agenda.

It’s really time for the BSA to grow up.

  • The Boy Scouts have every right to refuse leadership positions to homosexuals. Exclusion and discrimination are not always immoral.

  • Legally the BSA can set its own membership standards (no girls, no athiests/agnostics, no homosexuals) because it’s a private organization.

    But our tax dollars should not go to support groups with this type of policy – any more than they should be spent to support whites-only or men-only organizations.

  • I’ll tell ya what. I’ll back your opposition to tax dollars going to BSA when you support my opposition to tax dollars going to Planned Parenthood.

  • Planned Parenthood helps prevent MORE tax dollars being spent in the future on healthcare for poor, unwed, teenage moms and their children.

    It’s a great investment.

    What does the boy scout investment get us?

  • clo101

    What do you think about having your son spend the night/weekend in the woods with a homosexual? an athiests? an agnostics?

    I believe the BSA policy is in the best interest of the boys and protects them and BSA from leaders who prey on the young.

    Yes, I am an ASM and will not allow my son to attend a troop outing with a potential sexual abuser. Also, since I don’t know the habits/sexual preferences of all the leaders in our troop, I attend all of the outings/campouts my son attends.

  • #1: You are correct, sir. I exclude wingnuts and Christofascists here all the time. Gotta do what you gotta do. Discriminate with extreme prejudice, even. I don’t get tax dollars, though. When you begin doing that, you agree to do the work of the public – the entire public.

    #5: What an ignorant bunch of hogwash you dirty up this purty blog with. I really hope I’ve misunderstood you to say that homosexuals, atheists, and agnostics are all child molesters. I really do. Otherwise we’re not gonna get along very well.

    You might should add Catholic Priest to your list. I think they’ve actually EARNED it. I’m not sure if they’re quite there yet, but Republican might be on an upward trend toward earning a spot on your list.

  • Well, I’ll grant that the BSA can’t hold a candle to PP when it comes to creating corpses, but they do a good job of preparing young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.

  • If I have no gays on my softball team, am I discriminating? If a Gay Lesbian Alliance won’t permit me in their group, is that discriminating? They get to use public facilities for their meetings so why shouldn’t the Boy Scouts.

    Maybe somebody needs to read that 1st amendment again about the “right to assemble”.

  • #7: I’ll discount for now the cheap shot at PP. I do have to agree on Scouts (though never one). I think the Oath is fine. We surely may define “God” differently – and even it’s usage within the laws, but then again a scout is to respect the beliefs of others. This would seem to include tolerance. I would argue that excluding someone from scouting for being gay violates both the this ideal of respecting the beliefs of others as does it violate many other tenants of what being a scout is supposed to mean.

    I don’t read anything in the scout oath or law that would promote intolerance and discrimination. Quite the opposite. A boy scout would have to ask himself “how would i want to be treated if i were the one who were different?”. Or maybe “how is our exclusion of those who are gay helpful to others?”. “Is discrimination based on sexual orientation and excluding gays from our wonderful scouting experience an example of our being nice?”.

    These are some of the questions a good scout would have to ponder and I’d argue if they were asked of oneself honestly, the answers would support being more inclusive and not less. This would also be a moral way to act toward others who don’t believe what we do or live their lives the way we do.

    #8: You want a debate with lefties and this is what you bring? You better step it up a notch or two before hitting us up. This is weak.

    You having no gays on your softball team is what we might call a happy accident – coincidence. It’s a stupid question, really. Now, had a gay man asked to join and you denied him – that’s discriminatory. If a gay man were already on your team and came out as gay and you kicked him off? – discriminatory.

    If you wanted to join a gay-lesbian alliance (anything you wanna tell us? we’re here for you buddy)…but if you wanted to join out of a desire to support their goals as an organization they’d surely let you. If you were wanting to join solely to disrupt their goals as a group, then you’d get kicked out – and rightly so.

    I would have to agree with the dissenting opinion in BSA v. Dale, especially that of Justice Stevens that “the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay members hardly followed from its founding principles”. I would also argue that the right of assembly and association should not be a free pass to discriminate.

    The reason I’d be more willing to let the Gay-Lesbian Alliance use a space before the Boy Scouts is that one discriminates and one does not. In fact, one fights against it. This much is objectively true and can be plainly seen. It is also a deal-breaker. Now if the Alliance would not allow straight members, then I’d put the kibosh on them as well.

  • #8 – if your softball team/le won’t let gay people join then they shouldn’t get any funding from the state. period.

    I’m pretty sure teh gays don’t want to play softball with a bunch of CPAs anyway.


    But seriously- I think you missed the point. It isn’t that the BSA was just having meetings in some municipal building: they had EXCLUSIVE use of the building- rent free.

    Since the market value for renting the building is about $200,000 a year- the state was effectively giving the BSA hundreds of thousands of bucks a year. and that is unacceptable.

  • Eric’s right: there is PLENTY in the Scout Law to prove make an argument against the policy…

    A Scout tells the truth. He keeps his promises. Honesty is part of his code of conduct. People can depend on him.

    A Scout is true to his family, Scout leaders, friends, school, and nation.

    A Scout is concerned about other people. He does things willingly for others without pay or reward.

    A Scout is a friend to all. He is a brother to other Scouts. He seeks to understand others. He respects those with ideas and customs other than his own.

    A Scout is polite to everyone regardless of age or position. He knows good manners make it easier for people to get along together.

    A Scout understands there is strength in being gentle. He treats others as he wants to be treated. He does not hurt or kill harmless things without reason.

    A Scout follows the rules of his family, school, and troop. He obeys the laws of his community and country. If he thinks these rules and laws are unfair, he tries to have them changed in an orderly manner rather than disobey them.

    A Scout looks for the bright side of things. He cheerfully does tasks that come his way. He tries to make others happy.

    A Scout works to pay his way and to help others. He saves for unforeseen needs. He protects and conserves natural resources. He carefully uses time and property.

    A Scout can face danger even if he is afraid. He has the courage to stand for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at or threaten him.

    A Scout keeps his body and mind fit and clean. He goes around with those who believe in living by these same ideals. He helps keep his home and community clean.

    A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.

  • DW

    So Joseph’s point (#10) is that it’s about the large amount of free rent the Scouts get…not the fact that they get free rent in the first place. I see. If they were “just having some meetings” there presumably it would be OK with Joseph, right? Sure.

    And not to nitpick (much)…if the city had a paying tenant for the building you can bet the BSA would be out on their ear, so they are not costing taxpayers much money…much less being “given” hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. They would (and I’m sure will) find someone willing to sponsor them.

    But my reason for commenting was simply to observe that the reason the Boy Scouts seek to exclude homosexuals from leadership positions is the same reason that the Girl Scouts do not allow adult heterosexual men to supervise teen and pre-teen girls in environments where the girls will be sleeping, bathing and dressing. It’s not because they think the men are pedophiles. It’s because it would be inappropriate to put either the girls or the men into an awkward situation like that. And it would be equally inappropriate to put homosexual men and pre-teen boys in a similarly awkward situation.

    Making this common sense (and yes, conservative) judgment doesn’t in itself indicate the presence of any hate, fear or political comment. It is more of an example of the accumulated wisdom of the human condition being demonstrated in the ways we care for our children.

  • #12: Sleeping, bathing, and dressing with kids is a part of leading a scout troop? I never knew that. What a very novel and creative way to discriminate. Adult men don’t lead Girl Scout troops because it is called GIRL Scouts. Would you support an adult homosexual male leading a Girl Scout troop? I mean, no harm there right?

    Interesting that the BSA, in all it’s court cases, never quite framed it that way. They frame it as a “value”, not child safety issue.

    I wonder if white diner owners said: “we don’t discriminate against blacks, but in order to protect our patrons from crime we seek to not put blacks and our white customers in that awkward situation.”

    I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say adults sleeping or bathing with children is awkward no matter the sexual orientation. But hey, thanks for playing!

  • DW

    Scouts go camping. They have overnight and weekend events. So yes, supervising kids in environments where they are sleeping, bathing and dressing can be a part of leadership in scouting. If you had ever been in scouting I think you would get this rather obvious point. And I never said the adults would be bathing or dressing WITH the children.

    Your “white diner” analogy is inapt. Boy Scouts don’t claim not to be discriminating against homosexuals and concocting a pretext for it. They admit to that discrimination, and defend it as appropriate.

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