arteejee

A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Friday, June 25, 2010

Intolerance 1, Philadelphia 0

The long legal piss match between the Cradle of Liberty Council of the Boy Scouts of America and the City of Philadelphia has ended for the moment. The issue between them was the Council’s occupancy of a building sitting on city owned land violated Philadelphia’s City Charter rules regarding discrimination. The national Boy Scouts office bars gays from serving in the Scouting movement. The local council’s obedience to the national office has put it in a protracted legal conflict with the city charter. The council was facing eviction from the building they leased for free from the city if it did not renounce the national office’s policy against gays. On June 23, a federal jury ruled in favor of the Scouts.

The decision has forced me to realize my deep conflicted feelings about Boy Scouts. The Boy Scouts do a wonderful job training young men for a variety of skills they may need throughout their lives. I was a Boy Scout, and some of my fondest childhood memories spring from those times I attended weekly meetings or went to camp in the summer. My brother is a scout leader and both of his sons are scouts. The education they are receiving is invaluable and deeply rewarding.

On the other hand — and in this imperfect world we live in, rest assured, there is always another hand — the national office’s policy towards gays is tragic. It is also heinous, counter-productive and all sorts of nasty, negative terms which I can’t possibly fit into a blog entry spanning seven to nine paragraphs. Most importantly — and most tragically — it is perfectly legal according to the United States Supreme Court.

The policy is just as heinous and hateful as any other act of bigotry against a group or culture. The Scouts probably subscribe to the notion that they are protecting their membership from unwanted sexual advances from gay adult leaders. Surprise! Being gay does not automatically make one a pedophile. Mary Kay Letourneau is recognized as a pedophile by US authorities, and she is definitely not gay.

It is counter-productive because it keeps any number of gay adults from being good adult role models. There is an added bonus in that they could become counselors for gay scouts — they DO exist — and help these young men cope with life in a hostile world. Gay adult leaders have just as much to offer Scouts as any straight male leader.

There have been charges made that the city of Philadelphia was prodded into action by gay rights activists. I do not consider myself a gay rights activist, but I do believe I am a progressive thinking person who deplores intolerance. The national office’s gay policy sends a wrong message of promoting discrimination to young people. With this in mind, I will pay the Scouts good lip service, but give it no financial support whatsoever. I would sooner send money to the Ku Klux Klan than to the Scouts, because to me they share the same wrong-headed notions about who is or isn’t fit to be a productive member of society.

I’ve avoided doing some cheap shots at the expense of the national office (like did you hear the Boy Scouts are offering merit badges in bigotry and gender orientation transformation and counseling) because the advancement of these ideas will have serious repercussions for years to come. Ironically, the Cradle of Liberty council agrees with the city of Philadelphia, but they don’t feel they can survive without the sponsorship of the national office. That’s a shame!

The local council should have the balls to break away like a schism in a church and try to proceed with their programs on their own. It wouldn’t be easy, and the national office may waylay the local’s resources with endless legal maneuvers, but it could start a movement. Then perhaps other councils would rebel, and the twin-headed devils of bigotry and prejudice might finally be defeated.

For now intolerance has won a place of high esteem around the camp fires.

(Thank you for reading. Please remember Michael Jackson’s “Man In the Mirror”; change and tolerance begins with each one of us.)

1 Comments:

Anonymous Janey said...

RIGHT ON!!!!

June 29, 2010 at 9:26 PM  

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