Activist Groups Urge Obama to Reject Boy Scout Honor
From Fox News:
Activist groups, including Scouting for All, urge President Obama not to accept the honorary Presidency of the Boy Scouts of America until they stop discriminating.
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June 5, 2003
For Immediate Release and Distribution
For further Information Contact
Scott Cozza, Pres.
Scouting for All
Scouting for All's Protest of the Boy Scouts of America in Philadelphia Our Work Has Just Begun
Scouting for All would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our volunteers and members throughout
the country and internationally who assisted us with our protest in Philadelphia at the Boy Scouts of America's
National Conference, May 28-31. A special thanks goes out to our co-chairs Margaret Downey, Pres. of the Freethought
Society of Greater Philadelphia and to Greg Laterra, Life Scout and Pres. of Furness High School Gay Straight Alliance
Club. If it wasn't for their passion,
dedication, and commitment to social justice, this event could not have become the great success it turned out
to be. We got great media coverage to get the message out to the public. The daily protests with our educational
messages on our signs were witnessed daily by BSA members.
Many just stood in front of our signs and read them. They were told by BSA national not to speak to us, although
some did. The candlelight vigil in memory of GLBTQ youth was very moving. About 50 of us walked a mile through
the streets of Philadelphia to the Marriott Hotel were we stood for a moment of silence.
Of news to some, the Cradle of Liberty Council of the BSA was quoted in the local newspapers that they would
no longer follow the BSA's policy of exclusion of gay (GLBT) youth or adults. Now the Piedmont Council in Piedmont
California and the Cradle of Liberty Council in Philadelphia, are the only scout councils who have adopted an anti-discrimination
policy. The executive board of these councils made the policy change. The executive board is the policy making
body for each council. So these councils are serious about their stand and are not attempting to manipulate anyone
to secure funding, as others scout councils have done.
While the Piedmont council included atheists, the Cradle of Liberty Council did not. Scouting for All cannot
support the Cradle of Liberty Council until it is all inclusive. Atheist children should not be denied scouting.
There are very few scouting associations in the world that have policies of exclusion. In fact out of 152 scouting
associations about 98% of them allow gays, atheists and girls in scouting. So the Cradle of Liberty has taken a
step towards inclusion but it has a few more steps to go.
Please write to the Cradle of Liberty Council supporting their courageous stand, but let them know they
must also include atheist youth and adults.
There is no room in scouting for any form of bigotry.
Cradle of Liberty Council
22nd and Winter Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1085