Monday, October 22, 2007

On being Politically Correct

It's been a while since I last (knowingly) raised people's blood pressure. This may do it for some (UPDATED after the story).

Investors Business Daily October 19, 2007--Political Correctness: The city of Philadelphia raises the nominal rent on a city building the Boy Scouts use because it says the group discriminates against gays. Is the City of Brotherly Love the one being intolerant?

The Boy Scouts' Philadelphia branch, called the Cradle of Liberty Council, had been renting the Beaux Arts building, which stands on city-owned land, for $1 a year. The city has now ordered the Scouts to pay a "fair market" rent of $200,000 on the grounds that the group refuses to admit openly gay Scouts and Scout leaders.

"We know there are gay scouts," says Scout spokesman Jeff Jubelirer. "Of course there are. We don't care. Nobody cares." He describes the national organization's policy as a variation of the military's don't ask, don't tell policy.

But the Boy Scouts, who require a belief in God and therefore also "discriminate" against atheists, are not comfortable with the idea of openly homosexual men leading young boys into the woods.

In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision (with justices Rehnquist, O'Connor, Scalia, Kennedy and Thomas in the majority), upheld the group's right to bar scoutmasters who are openly gay based on the principle of freedom of association.

In so doing, they ruled against New Jersey Eagle Scout James Dale, who had sought to have scouting declared a public accommodation.

Ironically, one of the amicus briefs supporting the Boy Scouts was filed by members of Gays and Lesbians for Individual Liberty. They pointed out that "infringement of the freedom of association would harm all Americans, but it would particularly threaten the welfare of gay and lesbian Americans." They were worried that they might be forced to admit heterosexuals into their group.

In its decision, the Supreme Court acknowledged that homosexuality had gained social acceptance, but it went on to say: "This is scarcely an argument for denying First Amendment protection to those who refuse to accept those views."

"We are not," the court said, "as we must not be, guided by our views as to whether the Boy Scouts' teachings with respect to homosexual conduct are right or wrong. The state cannot compel the organization to accept members where such acceptance would derogate from the organization's expressive message."

But the state, or in this case the city of Philadelphia, apparently doesn't have to give the Scouts a break on their rent. Isn't it hypocritical, though, to be intolerant in the name of tolerance, to say that it's wrong to disapprove of the lifestyles of others but OK to condemn the religious and moral beliefs of others?

How is it that an organization that has done immeasurable good for tens of millions of boys becomes one of America's most notorious and dangerous hate groups?

If America is about anything, it's about the right to hold beliefs and views with which others disagree, the right to express and act on those views, and the right to freely associate with others holding similar views. That's not bigotry; it's true diversity.

So a venerable, well-regarded youth group that has done nothing worse than instill formerly uncontroversial values into the millions of young men it has prepared for responsible adulthood is being successfully demonized.

A survey a few years back found that 63% of U.S. Air Force Academy graduates, 68% of West Point graduates, 70% of Annapolis graduates and 85% of FBI agents,
not to mention 26 of the first 29 astronauts, were all Scouts.

It's no surprise that such leaders would come from an organization whose oath

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; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.

Frightening stuff, indeed


UPDATE: Speaking of Scouting in Philadelphia , read about a woman rescued by members of a Boy Scout Troop and Venture Crew.

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