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.
Scouting for All is a 100% Volunteer 501-(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization. Every dollar donated goes toward our education and advocacy programs, and is tax deductible.
The San Diego City Council Voted to Extend The Boy Scouts of America's Lease of Balboa Park
Even Though The BSA Discriminates Against A Segment of Our Society, (gay youth, adults and atheists)
Mick Rabin of San Diego Speaks OUT!!!
(Even though it's too late to change the vote, its not to late to again let the City Council who voted in favor
of the BSA they will no longer have your vote)
Some of you already know what's been going down with the Boy Scouts lately and where I stand on the issue, but
for those who don't--a bit of history:
1. Boy Scouts of America (BSA) discriminates against homosexuals and atheists. They kicked out people who "came
out" who had been in the scouting movement for years (said folks of course never hurt, had no intention of
hurting, and would never hurt any child in their BSA service). The underlying assumption is that homosexuality
= pedofilia. Ridiculous . . . especially when you look at all the cases of molesters and pedophiles who have a
supposedly straight and upstanding outward personage. Doesn't it stand to reason that a person who was publicly
"out" would be somebody who would be particularly careful about his/her actions when around children
because of increased public scrutiny whether perceived or real? I have a friend who spent more than 55 years in
scouts as a prized commodity within the scouting community of San Diego. Is it not a sick thing for an organization
to turn its back on a person who has done so much good for the organization. BSA should be licking his shoes right
now, but the message has been "we don't want the sickos." Are we in the 21st century here? I found out
that the BSA had gone all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold its policies of intolerance and discrimination.
BSA fought tooth and nail to keep said policies intact because BSA proclaimed its status as a private organization
(with a decidedly public reputation, of course) and the laws of discrimination don't apply to private organizations.
The clincher, though, is that among the legal defensive tactics they used to maintain their detrimental policies,
they fell back on a legal precedent set by the KKK to exclude others from their organization. I am sickened to
even associate the BSA and the KKK together in the same sentence considering the history I've shared with so many
friends and family with an organization which I felt had the potential for so much good.
2. In June of 2000 I read an article about a 13 year-old kid named Steven Cozza who created a movement called Scouting
For All, which protested the discriminatory policies of BSA. For some time, I'd already resolved NOT to include
one of my proudest accomplishments--Eagle Scout Class of 1987--on any more resumes or applications. My badge had
become a weight of shame. As a teacher who works with children and parents from every walk of life, I find it unconscionable
to turn one's back on any child (or adult) and say that they are worth less because of color, religion (or lack
thereof), heritage, race, political bent, gender, or sexual orientation. When children come into my room, I love
and value them unconditionally. They are all treasures.
When I read the article about S. Cozza, I was moved to resign my Eagle Scout Badge. I sent it to the Scouting For
All Organization as a formal protest and had my name added to the website, which at the time, was only beginning
to carry its momentum. (If I'd sent it back to BSA, y'think they'd have raised an eyebrow?). I hope to get my badge
back someday but it doesn't belong on my uniform on the left pocket over my heart until BSA changes its tune. I'd
be betraying all of my friends and students if I did anything else.
3. Balboa Park has been the site of San Diego's own Boy Scout headquarters for many years now. I spent some formative
summers there myself. In retrospect the memories have a hollow resonance because the scouts would not have had
or would deny the value of my friends, colleagues, peers, or even some of my students. When Pam and I have children,
the idea of introducing them into an openly intolerant organization is indescribably distasteful. The BSA would
have us believe that they provide a service and access to people from all walks of life, but I've always subscribed
to Gandhi's and King's notion that the freedom of the collective is inextricably linked to the freedom of the individual.
You can't discriminate against the one and say welcome to the other when we are talking about good, caring, law-abiding
people. I defy the scouts American has its history of tolerance issues and any true scout or American would defend
those who are traditionally marginalized. Being an Eagle Scout means that one's oath to "help other people
at all times" DOES NOT stop at the mirror. Badges can come and go, but that oath will never, ever leave me.
Those words formed the foundation of my teaching philosophy, inspire me every day of my life, and I'll never looked
back. Scouts who follow that oath can look beyond their preconceived notions about people who hail from different
cultures, religious beliefs, and customs, and triumph for the good of all people everywhere. We all have a chance
to be brave--another scouting tenet--and rail against the final frontier of intolerance which hurts so many minds
young and old.
THE BOTTOM LINE: We all have the chance NOW to tell the City of San Diego that by continuing to provide a sweetheart
lease deal on prime Balboa Park public property to BSA, San Diego effectively subsidizes discrimination with our
tax dollars. They don't need to renew their lease now anyway because it doesn't expire until 2007. So why are they
trying to renew early? Because they can see the tide starting to turn against them and know that public opinion
won't stand for it for much longer. How long do they get the property (at a dollar per year) if they DO get to
renew? 50 years.
Brown Vs. Board of Education was 50 years ago. Doesn't that seem like the dark ages to you when we're talking'
civil rights? We look back upon the intolerance before that groundbreaking decision as one of the things no American
should be proud of. Are we really another 50 years away from eradication of all forms of federal and local public
monies being used to subsidize ADMITTED DISCRIMINATION?
I'm asking you for your help now. Do I sound like I'm on a soapbox??? Hmmmmmm??? Well, you're damned right I am.
I gave up my Eagle Badge for a cause I believe in. I'm thinking that not everybody out there shares my feelings
as intensely, but you are receiving this email because you are my friend and one I believe may also subscribe to
the aforementioned Bottom Line. If so, we need your help.
1. We need you to email, fax AND phone your council member and tell them how you want your tax dollars spent. If
you want to keep it simple, reiterate the bottom line mentioned above.
FIND YOUR COUNCIL MEMBER at www.sannet.gov.
The Mayor's phone number is 619-236-6330.
2. We need you to show up at the council meeting on Tuesday Dec. 4th. We need people to show up in large numbers.
If you know people that would be sympathetic to this cause, send 'em along. I will be giving my 2 minute spiel
and plan on reprising everything mentioned above in it, so if for no other reason, drop in to give me some moral
3. For info on the meeting, check out the item I copied below.
I just received word they are moving Tuesday's council session downstairs to the concourse auditorium so we can
accommodate the crowd. They (the mayor's office) really want to turn this into a spectacle; as we know by now Roger
is going to be broadcasting from there and is rallying troops, literally. What's going on behind the scenes may
be big, so I just wanted
everyone to be reminded that with four days left, we should be attentive and prepared to contact everyone we know
and -- seriously -- get the numbers down there?
So the Boy Scouts Lease Issue is on the City Council Agenda in the afternoon session of Tuesday, December 4th.
The votes aren't looking favorable to us. Maienschein in District 5 is our swing vote and the rumor is he won't
vote our way.
- Peters- with us
- Wear- not
- Atkins- with us
- Stevens- not
- Maienschein- not really
- Frye- with us
- Madaffer- not
- Inzunza- with us
We MUST be there in numbers to demonstrate our outrage at the thought that our city would subsidize discrimination!
The BSA is bombarding, and has been for about a week, the City Council with their message and even- *gasp* - hateful
mail- imagine that! The Council is apparently receiving an average of 200 phone calls/emails a day (for each council
member) from the BSA folks.
Fill the chamber seats, everyone wears "our" Merit Badge. This means around 100 people.
Keep the chamber seats filled all day - the vote could be delayed into the evening.
This is a HUGE task. I need commitments from folks that can be there. I'm doing one and half hour shift, beginning
at 9:30am. PLEASE EMAIL ME WITH THE TIME YOU WILL BE ABLE TO DO IT. INCLUDE YOUR TELEPHONE NUMBER, A CELL PHONE
IF YOU HAVE IT SO WE CAN PROVIDE UPDATES ON TIMING ON DEC. 4TH.
BEFORE DEC. 4th-Call or email your council member and say "This is not a complex issue. Organizations that
discriminate should not be subsidized by this city or any city for that matter. Vote No on the Lease Renewal."
Please encourage your network, group or groupies to do the same. They need to hear from us loud and clear that
we won't accept shoddy city operations!
FIND YOUR COUNCIL MEMBER at www.sannet.gov.
The Mayor's phone number is 619-236-6330.
NEEDS FOR THE DAY:
We need folks to speak to the council from the following communities/categories:
- Religious Communities
- Current (and Former) Scouts, Leaders (Gay Scouts a bonus)
- 5th District People*****BIG TIME
- Parents, with their children if at all possible
1. The Boy Scouts of America discriminate against boys, Scout Leaders and parents on the basis of sexual orientation
2. Boy Scouts of America receive Balboa Park Land (worth millions) for $1/year.
3. YOUR tax dollars are subsidizing a private organization's discrimination on YOUR City property. Would they subsidize
a Roman Catholic Organization in Balboa Park?
4. It's an early renewal - wait like everyone else has to. (the lease actually expires in 2007)
5. It's in litigation-wait until the case is settled.
Please be sure to forward this to anyone and everyone you think could help us out on this one. It will be such
a shame to see us lose this one, and even worse if we don't try our hardest!
Scouting for All was started by then 12 year old Steven Cozza, his father a Scout Troop Leader and Dave Rice, a
Scout master who had been with the Scouts for 59 years. The latter two have been kicked out simply because they
disagree with the BSA policy of discrimination against gays and atheists. Everyone at Scouting for All believes
Scouting is a wonderful program and believes that ALL youth will benefit when the BSA returns to its history of
evolving to include all.