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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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Scouts denied funding



Here's the pertinent part of this story:

After hearing the news of Bank of America's decision to withhold contributions from Boy Scouts of America, two Cobb County legislators made the decision to draft legislation aimed at the bank.

House Rules Committee Chairman Earl Ehrhart and Sen. John Wiles said, "Georgians' and Scouting's values are not for sale and should not be subject to extortion by any entity," according to a media release to the Boy Scouts of America.

The proposed legislation would prohibit the state of Georgia from doing business with companies which invoke non-discrimination policies against organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America. The legislators added that the legislation would pertain to Bank of America's subsidiaries and holding companies as well.

The whole story is at this URL
http://www.valdostadailytimes.com/homepage/local_story_138230721.html

Scouts denied funding
May 2006
Kelli Hernandez
VALDOSTA - Decades of continued financial support to the Boy Scouts stopped after the Bank of America Charitable Foundation denied their request for funding this year, according to a letter written by Michael Harp, Market President for Bank of America.

The letter, addressed to Scout Executive Matt Hart, with the Alapaha Area Council Boy Scouts of America, outlined the Bank's newly adopted non-discriminatory policy for charitable giving. According to the letter, "under the non-discrimination policy, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation cannot provide funding

to any organization that practices discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, national origin, ancestry, citizenship or veteran or disability status."

The Boy Scouts' current employment and membership practices do not comply with this policy, according to the organization's general position statement. The statement says, "Since its inception in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America has believed that open homosexuality is inconsistent with the values it wants to communicate through its leaders."

The statement adds, "The Boy Scouts of America has a constitutional right to provide a youth organization for families who share those values. Other groups are similarly free and may follow a different path."

"We believe these policies reflect and respect the diversity of beliefs among our associates," Alex Liftman, spokesperson for Bank of America, said.

Liftman also added that the bank also respects the beliefs and values of their associates by matching any charitable donation to a non-profit organization made, even if that organization has been denied financial support by the foundation.

The policy was implemented Jan. 1 of this year after the bank's foundation merged with the Fleet Foundation and the two policies were reviewed and joined. The bank's rejection letter added that if the Alapaha Area Council, Boy Scouts of America departed from the current "discriminatory practices" of the national organization, placing the organization in line with the current policy, the request for funding could be reconsidered.

In a letter Hart wrote as a response to Bank of America's denial letter, Hart notes that the organization respects the Foundation's right to adopt the new policy of non-discrimination. He also noted, however, "every nonprofit organization serves a specific audience, as does Scouting. To open membership to those who do not share the values of the Scout Oath and Law would violate our constitutional rights to freedom of speech and freedom of association."

Hart also noted in an interview that numerous other non-profit organizations restrict membership to those who meet a certain set of criteria, which in some cases includes gender, race or other practices that may discriminate against certain groups. He offered the example that a young boy does not have the right to join the Girl Scouts — and yet there has been no discussion of discrimination on this point. Hart also pointed out that the policy of the organization pertains only to Scout leaders who serve as role models. The policy does not apply to the Scouts themselves.

After hearing the news of Bank of America's decision to withhold contributions from Boy Scouts of America, two Cobb County legislators made the decision to draft legislation aimed at the bank. House Rules Committee Chairman Earl Ehrhart and Sen. John Wiles said, "Georgians' and Scouting's values are not for sale and should not be subject to extortion by any entity," according to a media release to the Boy Scouts of America.

The proposed legislation would prohibit the state of Georgia from doing business with companies which invoke non-discrimination policies against organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America. The legislators added that the legislation would pertain to Bank of America's subsidiaries and holding companies as well.

Liftman added that the policy is not directed at any one organization, but Bank of America has not yet withheld any funding from any other organization throughout the country since the policy took effect the first of the year.

Hart added that a number of Scout families and those associated with the area council have closed Bank of America accounts as a message that those organizations who support and believe in the mission of the Boy Scouts of America will be supported in return.

Bank of America's decision to withhold funds from the Alapaha Council was discovered after a grant was submitted during the annual "Friends of Scouting" fund-raising campaign.

The Alapaha Area Council serves 12 counties in South Georgia. Anyone wishing to be a part of the "Friends of Scouting" campaign can call the Valdosta office at 229-242-2331.

 

 

 

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