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BSA Spokesman Says Hate Rallies Won't Change Boy Scouts' Policy

("This is the first time Shields has verbally attacked Scouting for All. The BSA is feeling threatened by our healing educational advocacy against its bigoted hurtful policy of discrimination. A policy that not only hurts GLBT and atheist children, but all children." Scott Cozza, Pres. Scouting for All)

By Chad Groening and Jenni Parker
October 10, 2003

(AgapePress) - The Boy Scouts of America says it is not concerned about a hate rally planned for Sunday by radical homosexual activist and atheist groups.

The anti-Boy Scouts rally is being organized by a group calling itself Scouting For All. The protesters plan to gather in San Diego's Balboa Park, right across the street from the Scouts' headquarters.

The protest is being organized by local community leaders and former Boy Scouts who oppose the BSA's policies requiring Boy Scouts to affirm faith in God and prohibiting homosexuals from serving as Scout leaders. Darrell Lambert, who will offer the keynote address at the rally, is a former Eagle Scout and young adult Scout leader who was expelled from the BSA when he affirmed his unwillingness to profess a belief in God or a higher

The Southwest Region of Scouting for All, along with the San Diego Alliance for Human Rights and the Balboa Park for All Coalition, are providing a forum for multiple speakers who will address what they call the BSA's "exclusion" of the atheist, lesbian, "gay," bisexual and trans-gendered communities, as well as the issue of the city's continued provision of a "sweetheart" land-lease subsidy of prime city land to theBoy Scouts.

The protesters feel that San Diego, in granting a 25-year extension to the San Diego Boy Scout Council on its already long-term lease of 18.5 acres of public land in Balboa Park, violated the city's Human Dignity Ordinance
as well as constitutional equal protection and separation of church and state statutes. That lease was ruled unlawful in a historic ACLU court case this past summer. Now, Scouting for All's goal is to encourage the public to join in prompting the courts to finalize a decision against the BSA.

But according to BSA national spokesman Greg Shields, the group and their supporters will be protesting in front of an empty building. Shields says when the radical homosexual and atheist groups hold their Sunday
demonstration, Boy Scouts representatives and officials will be at home or in church.

Shields says the San Diego rally is supposed to be part of a bigger series of protests against the BSA.

"They bill this as a national rally and they only have three or four sites," he says, noting that the group also plans protest events next week as part of "Gay, Lesbian, Bi- and Trans-gender Pride Week" events. But the BSA spokesman says none of these activities will make a difference.

"That doesn't change our mission to try and help young people and their families build lives of character," he says.

Shields says the Boy Scouts have dealt with such individuals before, and so he is not overly concerned about these rallies. He notes that when the BSA held its national convention in May, only a few demonstrators even
showed up.

"There were 20 protesters outside, but inside we had 4,000 volunteers who had come from all over the country at their own expense, staying for three or four days, talking about the future of Boy Scouts and how we can help
young people in this country today," he says.

The BSA spokesman says those numbers are a perfect illustration of why he is not worried. "That just about says it all, right there -- 20 people protesting, 4,000 people working on the future," Shields says.

Despite the rallies and any other protest efforts, Shields says his organization will not waver in its policy of excluding homosexuals from holding positions as Scout leaders, or in its stance as an institution based on the principles of honor, character, and faith in God.

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