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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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This is a copy of my presentation at the Berkley School Board, Berkely, California

February 21, 2004

I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak to you this evening.

My name is Charles Kesner and I live in the Berkley School District. I know children attending the Elementary schools and High School and also know parents and teachers in the district. I am gay, former Boy Scout, a member of Scouting for All and a member of Michigan Atheist.

Scouting for All is an organization which started in 1998 by and when a 12-year-old Life Scout named Steven Cozza who is now an Eagle Scout wrote a letter to his local paper saying that "the Boy Scouts of America es
not practice its own Scout Law when they discriminate against gay youth and adults". It should be noted that Steven is not gay nor is he an atheist, groups that the Boy Scouts exclude from membership.

I am not sure if you are familiar with the changes that have been going on in the Boy Scouts of America since the 90's. But I will mention 3 instances that most people know about.

James Dale case in which James Dale an Eagle Scout in New Jersey was thrown out of the group because he was gay. Dale sued and the case went before the US Supreme Court and the Boy Scouts won the right to discriminate against Mr. Dale because they stated they are not a public accommodation.

  • John E. Scalise case in Mt. Pleasant Michigan where they broke their promise, which is common around proselytizing religion with the children. He lost the case on a technicality around the injury part of the suit. But the court did not address the legality of the schools passing out their flyers.
  • The ACLU vs. the Boy Scouts in which the United States military is no longer affiliating with the Boy Scouts because they discriminate.
  • In April of 2001 Steven Spielberg resigned from the Boy Scouts Board of Directors because of their refusal to change their policies of discrimination.

There is another case locally where a parent has been struggling with the Scouts to stop proselytizing their child and there are many other cases throughout this great country of ours.

I think by the examples I have presented to you that you can clearly see that there has been a drastic change in this organization since the 90's that is working and shaping the values of our children.

The Boy Scouts have a long and proud affiliation with the Roman Catholic Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints and the Methodist. I do not have a problem with this and our own Methodist church here in Berkley sponsors a group. But what puzzles me is why they still continue to seek to recruit and use our public schools since they have declared to all in this country that they are not a public accommodation, they discriminate and all who participate must sign onto their "Statement of Religious Principals".

I feel that the Berkley School district should stop letting them use their facilities free of charge and should stop them immediately from passing out any flyers in the schools.

I think as we have just finished reflecting on the 60th Anniversary of the atrocities at Auschwitz and at present we are reflecting on the atrocities that occurred to blacks in this country during Black History month, both of these events were spurned by discrimination against a people. Are not gays and non-theist/atheist people too? I think it is only right and prudent that the Berkley School district a public district, should distance itself as much as possible from groups that discriminate, since I think the Boy Scouts discriminatory policies go against the school districts own non-discrimination policy.

I am more than willing to give you details of the cases I mentioned and will leave my name and address if I can be of any assistance to you on this matter.

Thank you
Chuck Kesner




Scouting For All is not an alternative scouting program.
We are an education and advocacy organization reaching out to gay and nontheist youth and adults in our effort to get the Boy Scouts of America to rescind its exlusionary policy.

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