Tag Archives: Boy Scouts

Does Staying With The Boy Scouts Undercut Obama’s Statement Against BSA Bigotry?

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image of BSA says no LGBTsIt was reported in the Washington (DC) Blade that through a White House spokesperson, President Obama said he opposes the ban on LGBT participation in the Boy Scouts of America. The ban was recently affirmed after a secret two year evaluation. The President made a point to say he would not resign as Honorary President of the BSA. Does staying as the honorary president undercut his opposition to the ban?
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Bill to stifle religious dissent moves to Senate

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Sorry this is late.

The bill I mentioned in my previous post, the so-called “Public Expression of Religion Act”, was passed by the US House on Tuesday and now moves to the Senate as S.3696 and it has a new title to further mask its true intention. It is now called Veterans’ Memorials, Boy Scouts, Public Seals, and Other Public Expressions of Religion Protection Act of 2006.

It is now to be used to “protect” crosses at Veterans’ Memorials and on local government seals as well has give the Boy Scouts an exemption from federal rules against discrimination when they get aid and comfort from federal agencies.

To show you the contempt religious and political conservatives have for real religious liberty, all one has to do is read the introduction to the bill as introduced in the Senate:

To amend the Revised Statutes of the United States to prevent the use of the legal system in a manner that extorts money from State and local governments, and the Federal Government, and inhibits such governments’ constitutional actions under the first, tenth, and fourteenth amendments.

From text of S.3696

First of all the bill claims that legal fees in church and state cases is extortion since it aims to prohibit the awarding of ANY fees. That is something that needs to be asked and decided in a court of law – not the floor of Congress.

2nd it claims that the government’s actions are constitutional – something that has to be decided in a court. That is the reason a lawsuit is brought in the first place.

Basically the law gives legal cover to illegal activities. Why else would they include that view in the introduction to the bill?

A slippery slope can be made that if asking for attorney fees in religious expression cases is extortion then who’s to refute that attorney fees in racial discrimination cases, for example, isn’t. S.3696 opens a Pandora’s box to such claims in the future.

The bill is also unfair in that exempts the Boy Scouts, and no other group, from federal discrimination laws. BSA has been deemed a private religious group that is allowed to discriminate in membership. Since it is a private religious group, the government is limited in the support it can give it. BSA brought this action on themselves by winning several cases where the courts ruled they are a private religious group – an argument BSA forwarded themselves – now they want Congress to give them a free pass so they can continue to get federal funding and donations.

The Veterans’ Memorials, Boy Scouts, Public Seals, and Other Public Expressions of Religion Protection Act of 2006 doesn’t protect religious liberty. It is yet another attempt to provide special protection to Christianity. It addresses a “problem” that doesn’t exist and attempts to give special status to a private religious group.

Again, if you support real religious liberty, I urge you to contact your Senators and ask them to vote NO on this bill.

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Atheist loses Boy Scout case but wins the battle

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In 1996, Nancy Powell’s son, who was in 1st grade at the time, was present when the Boy Scouts held a recruitment presentation in his school cafeteria during lunch time. Knowing at the time the religious discrimination that the Boy Scouts practice, Powell filed a lawsuit against the school district. She claimed that the recruitment event was an illegal mixing of church and state.

The Oregon Supreme Court disagreed last week, ruling 6-1 that the Scout recruitment drives during school hours did not discriminate. The justices claimed that since religion was not mentioned during the presentation, a violation of the church and state didn’t happen.

Is the content or the timing that important. An editorial in The Oregonian asked that as well:

After the sales pitch was delivered, hospital-style bracelets were often fastened around the wrists of any interested boys, imprinted with more information. Most first-graders no doubt wanted a bracelet, and wanted badly to belong. But the invitation wasn’t really open to all. As Justice Rives Kistler wrote in his dissent, it was really “limited at the time the Scouts made it to those schoolchildren who shared the Scouts’ religious views.” The Scouts were going to discriminate; they just hadn’t broken that news yet.

Ruling favors Scouts, but atheist has made her point

Even though the school finally won the suit, they had changed their policy and now no group is allowed to recruit children during school hours. Powell succeeded in her cause.

So what is the big fuss over what is probably the oldest youth group in America – steeped in tradition and patriotic fever?

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) actively discriminates against children and adults who are gay, non-christian, and women in their standards for membership and leadership.

The conflict comes because BSA and their local units receive many free or low cost property and services from government agencies and the military.

For example the National Jamboree has been held for many years on the grounds of Fort AP Hill in Virginia. Scout camps get free .22 rifle ammunition from the Army for their shooting ranges. Many units get to camp on government property for free. Many state and local government agencies sponsor scout groups. BSA is one of the few youth groups that has a charter from Congress as a patriotic organization.

The government agencies and state and local governments that support the BSA in this way, all have anti-discrimination policies. If those support agencies aren’t allowed to discriminate in the work they do then is it really legal for a group they support to discriminate.

Other companies, schools, and social service agencies that receive federal funding are not allowed to discriminate, so why does the BSA get a free pass?

Religion has always been a huge part of the scout experience. The Scout Promise mentions a “Duty to God” and there are many religious awards to work toward. Many churches sponsor units. There isn’t anything wrong with that. The problem is that religious conservatives who took over the BSA in the late 70’s has used religion to discriminate.

In 2002, the BSA issued the following resolution:

WHEREAS, the national officers agree with the report that “duty to God is not a mere ideal for those choosing to associate with the Boy Scouts of America; it is an obligation,” which has defined good character for youth of Scouting age throughout Scouting’s 92-year history and that the Boy Scouts of America has made a commitment “to provide faith-based values to its constituency in a respectful manner;”

and

WHEREAS the national officers further agree that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the traditional values espoused in the Scout Oath and Law and that an avowed homosexual cannot serve as a role model for the values of the Oath and Law;

BSA Board Affirms Traditional Leadership Standards

The National Council defends their view by stating the scout oath and law require their discrimination. The specific parts are:

A Scout is… CLEAN
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.

From the oath: To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

What is Boy Scouting?

BSA intends to infer that being a non-believer or a homosexual is not being “clean” when the context says to keep oneself fit, not to be slovenly or to use drugs etc….

The other inference is that one is “morally straight” if one is a believer and sexually straight.

Just like the perversion of “clean”, BSA perverts “morally straight”. In context it means to be honest in life both in action and toward others. One who is “morally straight” doesn’t steal, lie, or break the law. It has nothing to do with religious beliefs or sexual orientation unless one is a religious conservative and your bias adds that in of course.

That is why until the BSA changes its positions on atheists and homosexuals, it will never ethically be able to be supported by government agencies or funds.

For further info check out:

Scouting for All