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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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Activists Blast United Way for Supporting Anti-Gay Scouts Chicago United Way Targeted for Protest & Defunding

Activists with the Chicago Anti-Bashing Network (CABN), a gay liberation group which has taken the lead in urging the Chicago United Way to cease funding the anti-gay Boy Scouts of America (BSA), are blasting the charity's decision late yesterday to continue Scouts funding. No reputable charity would embrace an organization that purged racial or religious minorities from its ranks, contends CABN, an affiliate of the Scouting For All Alliance for Human Rights, and that by funding the Scouts, Chicago United Way officials send the message that it will tolerate the Scouts' bigotry towards Gays.

United Way officials tried to fudge the issue of whether it supports anti-Gay hate by funneling funds through a BSA program, "Learning Through Life," which allegedly does not discriminate against Gays. CABN believes that by funding the BSA's Learning for Life, the Chicago United Way has chosen to engage in an accounting shell game when a principled stand for human rights was called for.

"All they've done is make the BSA engage in a simple accounting trick," said Bob Schwartz, a member of CABN's coordinating committee. "The United Way shifts moneys previously sent to a general Scouts fund to the Learning Through Life program. The BSA in turn simply shifts resources it previously dedicated to Learning Through Life back to its general fund. In our discussions with the United Way, we repeatedly told them that such a 'solution' was completely unacceptable to us, and that anything short of ceasing Scouts funding would force us to make the United Way itself a target of protest."

Over the next few months the Chicago United Way will be gearing up for its fall fund drive. CABN in turn is targeting that fund drive with a protest campaign of pickets and other protest activities highlighting the United Way's support for the BSA's anti-Gay hate.

"We urge all Chicagoans who believe in human rights, Gay and non-Gay alike, to cease giving to the United Way," said Schwartz. "This so-called 'charity' has chosen to be less than charitable to Gay people by funding a virulently anti-Gay organization. The BSA leadership is not some homely group of naive do-gooders. Over the course of a decade, they fought
tooth and nail all the way to the Supreme Court for the right purge us from their ranks. No self-respecting supporter of human rights should want to have anything to with an organization like this. The BSA should be a pariah, and treated with all the contempt worthy of a lily white country club or a business association which excludes women. We are disgusted that the Chicago United Way has chosen to continue this association."

The United Way went so far as to quote a BSA official in its press release yesterday on the decision. "This agreement allows us to keep working together," boasted Jim Stone, Scout Executive of the Chicago Area Council of Boy Scouts.

According to the release, the Boy Scouts's Learning for Life program helps at-risk kids "develop life skills and explore career opportunities." In its discussions with the United Way, CABN pointed to several other worthy groups and programs, such as Mayor Daley's severely defunded Summer Jobs Program for Youth, which could serve these same at-risk kids without providing a prop to anti-Gay hate.

"That the BSA and the United Way counterpose programs for disadvantaged, urban kids to Gay people is the height of cynicism," said Andy Thayer, co-founder of CABN. "What's the message they're trying to send here? Gays versus Black, Latino and other minority youth? That sounds like divide and conquer to me. So let's divert attention from an abysmal human rights stance by pitting Gays against Blacks and Latinos.

"In their arrogance, the BSA and United Way seem to forget two things: 1) that many gays are also Black and Latino, and do not appreciate being treated with such contempt, and 2) that many people from all backgrounds are mature enough to recognize the United Way's use of at-risk kids as a political football. They will be disgusted that the United Way would sink this low. We are confident that many Chicagoans will be smart enough to see through the United Way's chicanery and decide that the United Way is an organization which they no longer can support in good conscience."

For more information, please contact CABN by phoning
773.878.3697 or 888.471.0874 or via e-mail at




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