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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Philadelphia Punishes Boy Scouts of America

I was a Boy Scout. When my son entered Cub Scouts, I took on the mantle of Cub master, and later held other positions with Scouting while he was involved with the organization. According to the Supreme Court of the United States, Scouting, as a private organization, is protected by the Constitution of the United States to screen it's membership, i.e. leadership, and bar membership to whomever they see the need to bar.

Obviously, the "City of Brotherly Love" has taken on a new meaning in Philadelphia, where the city has taken punitive action against Scouting for their stand on not allowing homosexuals into their ranks. Hat tip to Miss Beth's Victory Dance for this one:

Boy Scouts' Rent Skyrockets in Philadelphia to $200K Over Gay Ban

Friday, October 19, 2007

By Catherine Donaldson-Evans

The Boy Scouts' anti-gay policy is turning out to be a pricey proposition for its Philadelphia chapter — one that will cost about $200,000 a year, to be exact.

The city has ordered the organization to pay a fair-market rent of $200,000 — $199,999 more than its current $1 annual rate — to maintain its longtime offices in a landmark Philadelphia building because of its refusal to allow openly gay Scouts and Scout leaders.

City Solicitor says Romulo L. Diaz Jr. contends that Mayor John Street, City Council and the Fairmount Park Commission (which oversees historic properties) have been asking the Scouts for the past year to submit a clear-cut anti-discrimination policy, and they haven't done so. In order to comply with Philadelphia laws, he said, he has given the Scouts a choice: agree definitively in writing to stop discriminating, or pay a new rent at market value.

"They had been put on notice over the last year by the mayor, the City Council and the Fairmount Park Commission that they had a choice to make," Diaz said in a phone interview. "They need to provide evidence that they would not engage in discriminatory practices against gays as either Scout masters or Boy Scouts. .... They have either not responded or essentially played the victim."

The Boy Scouts' Philadelphia branch, called the Cradle of Liberty Council, argues that its hands are tied because of the national chapter's refusal to reverse its anti-gay policy — even though, it says, it tried to fight it a few years ago.

The city Scouts say they agreed on a compromise with the prior solicitor — which involved the adoption of a promise not to engage in "unlawful discrimination" similar to one the New York chapter has — and claims the current solicitor has an ulterior motive because he himself is openly gay.

"We adopted a non-discrimination policy in 2005 with the city's help, which is ironic now," said Cradle of Liberty spokesman Jeff Jubelirer. "Since that time, there's been no one challenging the policy, no reports of discrimination. Nothing has come to the public's attention. And yet the current solicitor thinks this language is not clear enough.

"It's been reported that the solicitor is openly homosexual — and who cares — but I wonder if it's something that he and members of the activist gay community want: to kick the Boy Scouts out of their building."

Diaz declined to answer questions about his sexual orientation, but said it was irrelevant because his job was to enforce what the city has voted and agreed on.

"I'm doing my job," he said. "I'm taking it on because I was directed by the mayor, City Council and the Fairmount Park Commission..."

Methinks some people take great pleasure in doing their jobs. I doubt very seriously Mr. Diaz ever uttered THESE words that I will now post because I know them so well by heart, having learned them long ago: "On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the scout law; to help other people at all times, and to keep my self physically straight, mentally awake, and morally straight." For those of you unfamiliar with that oath, that's the Scout's oath. Those who know me best will tell you I'm still a Boy Scout to this day. I don't take that as an insult, nor do I find that oath in conflict with the oath I took when I became a soldier.

Run over to Miss Beth's site and click on the link to contact the City of Philadelphia.

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Once and Always, an American Fighting Man