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About the Boy Scouts of America (BSA)

News items in the media, 2004 to 2010

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Our main menu on the Boy Scouts is elsewhere on this web site.

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Year 2004 news items:

  • 2004-JAN-26: CA: Scouts may lose campsite: The local boy scouts in San Diego have held a long-term lease for a campsite and park area located in the city's Balboa Park. The lease was extended in 2001 for 25 years. However, the American Civil Liberties Union sued the city because it gave preferential access to the boy scouts in spite of that groups discrimination against homosexuals and Atheists. A settlement was reached. The city will pay almost $1 million in legal fees and court costs. The city will evict the scouts. Matt Coles, director of the ACLU's National Lesbian and Gay Rights Project said that the BSA has: "...aligned themselves with a set of values not shared with most Americans any more. The longer and harder they hold to them the more irrelevant they become." 1

  • 2004-FEB-25: NY: United Way to terminate funding of BSA council: The United Way of Ulster County will end a four-decade partnership with the Rip Van Winkle Council of the BSA at the end of 2004. For six months, the two groups had tried to negotiate a non-discrimination agreement. They failed. The Council serves Ulster and Greene Counties has its head office in Kingston, NY. 2

  • 2004-FEB: VA: State approves Boy Scouts' license plate: The Virginia house passed bill HB923 by a vote of 94 to 3 on 2004-FEB-03. It later passed the Senate 15 to 0. Scouting for All lodged a complaint with the governor, Mark Warner. It said, in part:

    "Scouting for All and those Americans who believe in social justice ask that you rescind this decision. We ask this of you because the state of Virginia should not be using tax payer money to honor an organization that discriminates against any segment of our society. The Boy Scouts of America currently discriminates against many of those Virginians who voted for you, those of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and nontheist communities. The Boy Scouts of America discriminates against gay and nontheist youth and adults. Governor Warner, ask yourself if the Boy Scouts of America discriminated against African American youth and adults would you support the state of Virginia honoring the BSA through its commemorative license plate program?"

  • 2004-JUL-07: PA: United Way cuts funding for BSA: The United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania had held about $200,000 in escrow for the Cradle of Liberty Council of the BSA, pending a conflict resolution. The United Way will not distribute funds to any group that discriminates on the basis of age, race, religion, or sexual orientation. The local BSA organization is bound by their headquarter's policy of discriminating on the basis of religion and sexual orientation. The United Way decided to release the funds and distribute them to two other youth groups in the greater Philadelphia area -- groups that did not discriminate. 4

  • 2004-JUL-8: WA: City rejects aid to Boy Scouts: The city council of Port Townsend, WA, decided to not contribute to the purchase of Boy Scout House on Morgan Hill. The scouts are trying to raise $1,175,000 to purchase the property. 5

  • 2004-NOV-16: USA: Pentagon to warn military bases to withhold sponsorship of BSA: The Pentagon has agreed to warn its bases that they cannot directly sponsor Boy Scout troops because of the BSA's discrimination against non-theists. According to the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, the U.S. military has sponsored hundreds of BSA troops. ACLU lawyer Adam Schwartz said: "If our Constitution's promise of religious liberty is to be a reality, the government should not be administering religious oaths or discriminating based on religious beliefs." However, individual military personnel will still be able to lead Scout troops on their own time. Troops will be able to have meetings on army bases if civilian organizations are allowed to hold events. Rev. Barry Lynn, director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, described the Pentagon's warnings to its bases as "very wise advice....It's important that the federal government — including the military — not sponsor any organization that discriminates on the basis of religion. In the long run, this change will be a good protection for religious freedom and diversity." The Pentagon's action was motivated by a lawsuit that the ACLU initiated against the city of Chicago, the Department of Defense and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The city of Chicago had already settled by agreeing to not sponsor BSA activities. 6

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Year 2006 news items:

bullet2006-JUL-22: PA: Boy Scout council may be evicted: The Cradle of Liberty Council, centered in Philadelphia, has been battling with the city over its exclusionary policies concerning homosexuals.

Romulo L. Diaz Jr., Philadelphia's City Solicitor, in a letter to William T. Dwyer III, president of the council, wrote"

"For several years, we have attempted to convince the Cradle of Liberty Council that its discriminatory policies are untenable and violate express City policy and law. Regrettably, we have been unable to obtain adequate assurances that the Boy Scouts will not, while headquartered on City property, discriminate."

The letter goes on to say: "We believe that ejectment, subject to a fair-market rent agreement, is an appropriate measure that recognizes the many contributions made by your organization."

They have use of a half-acre on the grounds of the Philadelphia Art Museum. It is unclear whether the term "policies" in Diaz' letter refers to discrimination against homosexuals, or discrimination against Atheists, Agnostics, and other non-theists, or both. The media seems to have assumed it is their discrimination against homosexuals only.

Council spokesman Jeff Jubelirer commented:

"With an epidemic of gun violence taking the lives of Philadelphia's children every day, it is ironic the administration chose this time to destroy programming that services 40,000 children in the city."

Associated Press reported:

"In 2003, the council in Philadelphia said it would adopt a nondiscrimination policy on gays. However, weeks later the group dismissed an 18-year-old Scout who publicly acknowledged he was gay." 7,8

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Year 2010 news item:

  • 2010-OCT: Jon Langbert and his 9-year-old-son volunteered in a Cub Scout pack in Dallas, TX where they raised $13,000 in 2009 via popcorn sales and other fundraisers. Some of the other dads didn't like Langbert's presence because he is gay. The issue went up to the local and national leadership of the Boy Scouts of America. He was expelled. He commented: "The two of us and countless other gay dads and sons are being robbed of the full experience of scouting by an out of touch, discriminatory policy."

    Pat Currie, spokesperson with the BSA said: "Sexuality of any level does not have a place in the Boy Scouts of America. What we are all about is teaching kids lifetime values and trying to develop characters and make them better citizens … We are not about sexual orientation." This is a confusing statement, because the BSA appears to have ejected Langbert solely because of his sexual orientation. Also, some people question whether discrimination against persons on the basis of their sexual orientation or religion is a "lifetime value" that is worthy of teaching.

    She continued: "We do have a policy that avowed gays and atheists are not allowed to be a registered leader or member of Boy Scouts of America. It's a long-standing policy."

    He and his pack plan to meet to discuss the BSA rules, whether to ask the school to reevaluate its connection with the BSA, and whether the pack should split from the BSA. He said: "If we can't change it, then we have to ask ourselves, does our school where my tax dollars go belong in endorsing this organization, allowing recruiting for this organization and providing free facilities for this organization. That's a question for the courts." He is researching what legal action he might be able to take.

    He told CNN: "It made me feel terrible to think about the devastating effect it would have on my son, to see his father stripped of his leadership role. It brought tears to my eyes." 9.10

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This topic continues....

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References used:

  1. Seth Stern and Randy Dotinga, "Scouts must pack their tents: The Supreme Court ruled in their favor, but membership issues still roil the Scouts," The Christian Science Monitor, 2004-JAN-26, at: http://www.csmonitor.com/
  2. Jesse Smith, "Boy Scouts lose funding for barring gays," DailyFreeman.com, 2004-FEB-25, at:  http://www.dailyfreeman.com/
  3. "Any Organization In America That Discriminates Against Any Segment of Our Society Should Not Receive City, State, or Federal Support In Any Manner," Scouting for All, 2004-JUL-10, at: http://www.scoutingforall.org/
  4. George Tomezsko, "United Way to redistribute funds," NewsGleaner, 2004-JUL-7, at: http://www.newsgleaner.com/
  5. Luke Bogues, "Port Townsend: City Council won't help with buying Scout House,"
    2004-JUL-08, Peninsula Daily News, at:  http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/
  6. Mike Robinson, "Pentagon to warn bases on Scouts," Associated Press, 2004-NOV-16, at: http://washingtontimes.com/
  7. "Philadelphia may evict Boy Scout council," Associated Press, 2006-JUL-22, at: http://www.gay.com/
  8. Tina Moore, "City poised to evict Boy Scouts council," The Philadelphia inquirer, 2006-JUL-23, at: http://www.romingerlegal.com/
  9. Arezow Coost, "Father Not Allowed To Lead Son's Boy Scout Pack," CBS 11, Dallas, 2010-OCT-18, at: http://cbs11tv.com/
  10. Lauren Frayer, "Gay dad ousted as cub scout volunteer," 2010-OCT-21, at: http://www.aolnews.com/

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Site navigation: Home page > Religious intolerance > Boy Scouts > here

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Copyright © 2004 to 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
Latest updated: 2012-JUL-18
Author: B.A. Robinson

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