Axe to Grind

Filed under:Not Cool — posted by Anwyn on December 3, 2007 @ 9:02 am

Any of you legal types want to explain to me how a city can arbitrarily curtail a lease between itself and an organization, even a ridiculous 100-year one?

And how they can use the organization’s policies, distasteful to some but not illegal, to do so?

The Boy Scouts will be evicted from a downtown Philadelphia property unless they sign a new lease and start paying the rent that it’s worth. Okay … except they have a lease that it seems the city is able to break based on policies they don’t like, twenty years before the lease will expire. What am I missing here?

31 comments »

  1. Honestly, I don’t know about the legal question, but the article has two problems: first, there is no such thing as a “former Eagle Scout.” You are always an Eagle Scout (like always being a Marine). Even those who have returned their badges are considered Eagle Scouts. The BSA has revoked only a few of the awards, and those people were all crimnals of the worst kind. Second, John Braxton does not have the official BSA policy correct. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” is the US military. BSA policy states that if a leader is known to be gay, whether or not by their own admission, they will be asked to leave the organization. BTW, no Eagle Scout has ever had his award revoked for being gay; only boys under 18 may earn the award and the BSA does not have a policy against boys who profess to be gay. Sexuality for youth members is never an issue.

    Comment by Chuck Bell — December 3, 2007 @ 9:15 am

  2. Short answer – Philadelphia has a ordinance that bans “municipal subsidies for organizations that discriminate.” Story here. Reading between the lines, it looks like the city solicitor is claiming the rent break is a subsidy that Philadelphia is not allowed to give. If the Scouts were to comply with Philadelphia’s demand by altering their policies, they risk being tossed out of the national organization. Also, they claim to have built the building at issue. (Story here).

    Philadelphia is basically claiming, I think, that they cannot legally continue to offer the Scouts the deal they’re currently getting, under their own local ordinances, and at first glance it at least looks like an arguable position.

    I wouldn’t dare guess who’d win if the whole thing went to court, but the city’s position isn’t coming out of thin air.

    Comment by Gib — December 3, 2007 @ 10:30 am

  3. So it might end up a question for the courts whether low rent based on an actual contract signed in 1928 runs contrary to the subsidy law, then.

    Yeah, Chuck, I knew a few of those things were out of wack. If I had to guess I would say the guy who said “don’t ask, don’t tell” was trying to make the position a little more palatable for the article. Or maybe that’s the way they actually practice the policy in Philly. Who knows.

    Comment by Anwyn — December 3, 2007 @ 10:52 am

  4. If Mr. Braxton is practicing the policy in that manner, the Philly council now knows it and he will be getting a nasty letter from the council Scout Executive. There was an effort by many volunteers to practice the policy in this manner when it all came to a head in 2000. Those that did (and were caught) were lectured in no uncertain terms that that was NOT the way to to practice the policy and if they didn’t agree with the policy as written, they could leave. Many did.

    Comment by Chuck Bell — December 3, 2007 @ 11:30 am

  5. Chuck,

    Per the “Position Statement on the Cradle of Liberty Council’s Stance Regarding the Leadership Standards of the Boy Scouts of America” dated June 9, 2003:

    Applications for leadership and membership do not inquire into sexual orientation. However, an individual who declares himself to be a homosexual would not be permitted to join Scouting. All members in Scouting must affirm the values of the Scout Oath and Law, and all leaders must be able to model those values for youth.

    Since they distinguish between membership and leadership and include both groups when discussing exclusion, it would seem that the policy to exclude avowed homosexuals from their ranks applies to all levels. While this statement only specifies the policy of the Cradle of Liberty (Philly chapter), this was issued shortly after they were threatened with charter revocation by the national BSA if they had a policy counter to the national group’s policies, so you’d have to imagine that this would apply to all of BSA.

    It still amazes me that the whole discrimination against athiests thing still gets ignored in Philly and the discussion is only focused on sexuality. The Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance includes a religious discrimination clause as well.

    I did a post about this a few weeks ago which will undoubtedly make most of Anwyn’s regular readers want to scream, but here’s the link for your derision…

    Comment by ChuckFoxtrot — December 3, 2007 @ 11:57 am

  6. Once upon a time, it was normal and good to support organizations like Boy Scouting whose real purpose was character building. Nowadays character-building is derided, and people who celebrate what is noble about people instead of what is base are chided (at best) as “Bigots.” It’s becoming impossible for the public square to support organizations that help people grow up.

    Scouting isn’t about sexuality at all. Sexuality detracts from the mission of Scouting. Actually, so do drivers’ permits; one wise man said Scouting’s worst enemies are two odors: Perfume and Gasoline. I digress. Scouting is about spending plenty of time close to home with a team while preparing to go out and meet mighty creation three or four times per year. Sexuality gets in the way. Homosexuality for Scouting is about as welcome as it is in the Catholic church, and for much the same reasons–it hurts, not helps. But that said, I wouldn’t want the Girl Scouts camping the next site over. Boy Scouting is about developing men that can work as a team with like-minded men, it’s not a teenage dating society.

    If you want your kids to work with other kids in outdoor settings and without regards to sectarian or sexual beliefs, have them join Campfire USA (http://www.campfire.org/start.asp).

    Scouting has been working for 100 years now. It’s evolved somewhat from the organization Lord Baden Powell began, but its essence hasn’t changed. It will continue to do so, but it will always be fundamentally about molding boys into men who can lead in society.

    You could easily break the twelve points of the Scout Law out of nearly any of the military services’ core values. However, the values Scouting teaches are transferable everywhere.

    Comment by Chris — December 4, 2007 @ 4:36 am

  7. I should know better. I should have known that any comment on this would be a launching pad for personal bias, pro or con, especially about the Scouts. I was pointing out the problems with the article, that’s all. Sorry, Anwyn.

    Comment by Chuck Bell — December 4, 2007 @ 11:48 am

  8. No apologies, Chuck, discussion is one of the reasons the blog’s here.

    Comment by Anwyn — December 4, 2007 @ 11:57 am

  9. Edited by blog author to add separation line for blockquotes.

    If you want your kids to work with other kids in outdoor settings and without regards to sectarian or sexual beliefs, have them join Campfire USA (http://www.campfire.org/start.asp).

    This option is exactly the thing that bugs me about BSA. The fact that an organization exists that, generically, has the same goals as BSA, but specifically calls out absolute disregard for sexuality and religion, says to me that BSA exists merely to discriminate.

    After your comment, I looked up the definition for the word ‘bigot’ (which I used on my website when referring to BSA). Comparing the BSA policies to the definition, it is clear that I used the word incorrectly. Per their own statements, scouts are to be tolerant of all beliefs and actions, but may exclude people based on those beliefs or actions (which I have always asserted was their right). Since bigotry requires intolerance, I will not use that word for BSA. I still find their discriminatory views abhorrent in exactly the same vein as the KKK, neo-nazi’s, religious terrorists etc (and before the rain of fire comes down, there are KKK and neo-nazi groups that preach discrimination without violence, so the BSA policies are not so different from those groups).

    As to the assertion that sexuality detracts from scouting, I would agree. That is why I find it ironic that BSA has written policy statements addressing sexuality. I would say that a scout or scout leader’s sexuality should never have a part in scouting. Thus, their policy of booting avowed homosexuals seems to be a reach. If a scout never mentions sexuality while acting in a capacity as a scout, why does it matter at all? If the response is that a scout is always a scout, they’d better start booting quite a few more members (since most would argue that any sex out of marriage isn’t morally good, not following the laws of the land was explicitly stated as a problem under the teachings of Jesus (Scoutmaster’s late for a meeting and gets a ticket while speeding to make up for it? Boot him!), etc, etc, etc).

    If the BSA’s primary concern with regard to sexuality is the safety of their troops (an honorable concern), why are heterosexual “den mothers” allowed in Cub Scouts? I would think that BSA would need to adopt a strict Heterosexual Male or Homosexual Female Leader position statement in order to protect the impressionable scouts (lest we have another Mary Kay Letourneau / Deborah LaFave / etc scenario).

    This is all to say that the BSA has every right to discriminate against anyone they please. The rest of us have every right to be disgusted with them and others who discriminate on any basis. Pointing out hypocrisy along the way just makes it more interesting…

    Comment by Chuck Foxtrot — December 4, 2007 @ 12:17 pm

  10. erm…need to amend that last statement to say that we …have every right in public and on our own blogs to be disgusted…

    I would always respect Anwyn’s right to censor/ban me if she felt she needed to…

    (This wasn’t prompted by anything except my own realization that Anwyn is a gracious host and, while she would often disagree with my politics, I don’t want to appear to be self-righteous or claim any sort of superiority — I just have a different opinion)

    Comment by Chuck Foxtrot — December 4, 2007 @ 12:44 pm

  11. Test separation for blockquotes.

    This option is exactly the thing that bugs me about BSA. The fact that an organization exists that, generically, has the same goals as BSA, but specifically calls out absolute disregard for sexuality and religion, says to me that BSA exists merely to discriminate.

    No, the BSA exists to promote, in addition to some of the same goals as Campfire, “personal values based on religious concepts.” That’s straight from their website. A leader who embodies a homosexual lifestyle does not fit in with that ideal. Neither, in case you were wondering, does an atheist.

    I still find their discriminatory views abhorrent in exactly the same vein as the KKK, neo-nazi’s, religious terrorists etc (and before the rain of fire comes down, there are KKK and neo-nazi groups that preach discrimination without violence, so the BSA policies are not so different from those groups)

    Sorry, fresh out of rain of fire, but how about the idea that your brain is rather mushy if you are seriously comparing the BSA to the other groups named? Even if the “nonviolent” groups you mention exist, they are clearly in the minority. And even if violence does not occur every time the KKK marches, well, when’s the last time you saw the BSA proactively marching against homosexuality and atheism, rather than refusing to accept the idea that those characteristics model behavior they are trying to promote in their youth? Your comparison is rancidly unbalanced, unfair, and hateful.

    As to the assertion that sexuality detracts from scouting, I would agree. That is why I find it ironic that BSA has written policy statements addressing sexuality. I would say that a scout or scout leader’s sexuality should never have a part in scouting. Thus, their policy of booting avowed homosexuals seems to be a reach. If a scout never mentions sexuality while acting in a capacity as a scout, why does it matter at all

    Because policy aside, have you ever known a teenage boy without sex on the brain? Even if it’s not discussed, I think it’s obvious that a woman is not a good scout leader because of potential sexual issues *in the minds of the Scouts* and, as many many cases of female teacher/male student have shown, in the mind of the female scout leader. The same applies to a homosexual male leader. The standard here is a *potential* of harm, not the assumption that “all females or homosexual males would perpetrate harm.”

    If the BSA’s primary concern with regard to sexuality is the safety of their troops (an honorable concern), why are heterosexual “den mothers” allowed in Cub Scouts?

    Because Cub Scouts are not adolescents, yeah? Cub Scouts ends at 10. Obvious difference in the mindset, and arguable that women, especially who have children, are going to be better at herding a group of little boys into planned activities.

    Comment by Anwyn — December 4, 2007 @ 12:52 pm

  12. I’ve no idea why my comment above appears without its own comment number separating it from Chuck Foxtrot’s.

    As for the idea that I would need to censor or ban you, CFT, while I of course reserve the right to do so, that line has never come close to being approached in the time I’ve run this blog, nor have you done so now.

    Comment by Anwyn — December 4, 2007 @ 12:54 pm

  13. Okay, the problem appears to have been the comments that began with blockquotes without anything above them–they obliterated the comment numbers, so I edited my own and Chuck Foxtrot’s comments to put in a line above the blockquotes, just for sanity’s sake so the comments would be visibly separated.

    Comment by Anwyn — December 4, 2007 @ 12:59 pm

  14. Text line to allow for blockquote…

    Sorry, fresh out of rain of fire, but how about the idea that your brain is rather mushy if you are seriously comparing the BSA to the other groups named? Even if the “nonviolent” groups you mention exist, they are clearly in the minority. And even if violence does not occur every time the KKK marches, well, when’s the last time you saw the BSA proactively marching against homosexuality and atheism, rather than refusing to accept the idea that those characteristics model behavior they are trying to promote in their youth? Your comparison is rancidly unbalanced, unfair, and hateful.

    I made sure I did not say that I find all of those groups activities equally disgusting. I think proselytizing is pretty annoying by anyone, whether they are trying to spread their hate or their religion. Since the BSA doesn’t do that, I’m nore comfortable with their organization than I am with the KKK, neo-nazis or terrorists.

    What I said was that I find their discriminatory views abhorrent in the same vein. Basically, if a ‘yes’ answer to any of the following questions excludes you from a group, I’m not a big fan the group:

    Are you short?
    Are you Asian?
    Are you homosexual?
    Are you black?
    Are you white?
    Are you male?
    Are you under 50 years old?
    Do you have any genetic abnormalities?
    etc, etc, etc

    I have at least slightly more tolerance of religious discrimination (both against believers and non-believers) because religion is a choice made by the person. We can debate to infinity the “choice” of homosexuality, but I am firmly in the camp that it is genetic and not a choice the person makes. Certainly, a person chooses to act on an urge (i.e. engage in sex), but the attraction to one gender or another is, in my opinion, not by choice. I also would argue that a person is gay or straight based on attraction and not actual sex acts.

    Comment by Chuck Foxtrot — December 5, 2007 @ 6:48 am

  15. My cousin is a genetics researcher at Washington University. She’s pretty sure it’s not genetic. Certainly not the way physical traits are, in any case.

    Besides, if you believe in Darwinian evolution, survival of the fittest explicitly means the ability of a species to adapt to its environment (or adapt its environment to it) and to reproduce itself.

    My opinion only.

    Comment by Chris — December 5, 2007 @ 7:48 am

  16. Chuck Foxtrot, even if I believed 100% in the “no choice” argument relating to homosexuality, your point about attraction just makes my point for me: That sexual thoughts in the mind of a leader of adolescent boys while leading them, or a leader who provokes same in the boys, is undesirable from the POV of the BSA. Saying “it’s not their choice” does not make the potential results one whit more desirable.

    Comment by Anwyn — December 5, 2007 @ 8:55 am

  17. (Please ignore this line)

    My cousin is a genetics researcher at Washington University. She’s pretty sure it’s not genetic. Certainly not the way physical traits are, in any case.

    Besides, if you believe in Darwinian evolution, survival of the fittest explicitly means the ability of a species to adapt to its environment (or adapt its environment to it) and to reproduce itself.

    I very definitely glossed over my hypothesis when I used the umbrella term “genetics.” My actual thoughts on the process are that at some point (in utero or some later time), the person’s body releases hormones that are out of line with the “normal” amounts. This hormonal imbalance/difference affects the development and sexual orientation of the person. So, genetics is, at best (if the hormone exposure occurs in utero), a generic term and, at worst (if hormone release is post-birth and caused by environmental influences), does not necessarily explain the hormone imbalance hypothesis. I do not think that any specific chromosone or DNA sequence themselves necessarily define sexual preference. My larger point is that I do not believe that sexual preference is a personal choice, but instead is directed through development outside the control of the individual.

    As to the evolutionary impact of homosexuality, it certainly wouldn’t be a selected trait as it does not allow for continued existence. But, other traits that do not allow for reproduction also occur naturally in each successive generation (severe, debilitating developmental and mental retardation, for example). Thus, recurring instances of homosexuality wouldn’t necessarily lead to the decline of the human race.

    Chuck Foxtrot, even if I believed 100% in the “no choice” argument relating to homosexuality, your point about attraction just makes my point for me: That sexual thoughts in the mind of a leader of adolescent boys while leading them, or a leader who provokes same in the boys, is undesirable from the POV of the BSA. Saying “it’s not their choice” does not make the potential results one whit more desirable.

    I’m not arguing that BSA needs to accept gays at any level within their organization (though, if they do allow gay scout members (not leaders), then attractive men as leaders or attractive scout boys could provoke thoughts of a sexual nature in those boys. Thus, if they do not want to provoke sexual thoughts, but also don’t acknowledge that their members are sexual beings, they seem to exist within a paradoxical cloud by allowing any male to come in proximity with any other male, while not knowing the impure thoughts of either…). My only statement about the BSA and homosexuality is that I do not support their position based on their discriminatory views and, in reference to the blog post, they should not expect any explicit or implicit government subsidy if that government entity has a non-discrimination clause that includes sexual orientation (or religious beliefs, for that matter).

    Comment by Chuck Foxtrot — December 5, 2007 @ 11:11 am

  18. No, actually, your other statement about the BSA and homosexuality is that their policies disgust you on the same level as the Nazis and the KKK. That’s a far cry from “do not support.”

    Comment by Anwyn — December 5, 2007 @ 11:15 am

  19. No, really, all I said was “I still find their discriminatory views abhorrent in exactly the same vein.” That did not address their other activities — just their discriminatory views. I think their views on exclusion from the group are equal to those on exclusion from the KKK and neo-nazis– disgusting.

    I’ve never had a Boy Scout knock on my door and ask me to believe what he believes, but I have had Mormons and Witnesses knock on my door and ask me — a tactic that I think is pointless and annoying. And, through marches, etc, hate groups do the same, with the same response from me — derision and dismissal of thier basic goal. Thus, in my eyes, the activities of said groups differ significantly. I’ve got to give the BSA credit on that front. My beef is solely in their admission/exclusion policies and, in the case of the Philly chapter, their expectation of a government handout that is counter to the laws of the city. Had they quietly ponied up the fair market value or moved their HQ, they would have received no notice from me on this topic. Insted they whine about the injustice while practicing what I view as injustice themselves.

    Comment by Chuck Foxtrot — December 5, 2007 @ 12:35 pm

  20. “Expectation of a government handout” is not the same thing as “expecting the city to honor its signed and binding lease.” Whether that lease runs counter to existing laws that did not exist when the contract was signed is a matter for the courts.

    I think Jews and blacks might take issue with your equation of BSA’s exclusion from its ranks with the kind of “exclusion” the Nazis and KKK have historically practiced. I know I do.

    Comment by Anwyn — December 5, 2007 @ 12:45 pm

  21. The average slave purchase contract (which were entirely legal prior to 1865) was written to include statements that any offspring in the family line were to be owned by the family that purchased the slave. While the slave never signed those contracts, as property, their signature wasn’t required. However, those contracts were (rightfully) nullified by a change in the laws.

    Additionally, any lease I have ever signed, for a living space or vehicle, has included clauses that allowed either party to get out of the lease, often with some specified penalty. The terms of the lease haven’t been reported, but I would expect that something of the sort would have to exist in the lease in question as well.

    I would expect most blacks or Jews (or any other human being) to take issue with any type of discrimination. They would also likely have further issues with the murderous/violent/intimidating practises of the KKK and Nazis, but it shouldn’t lessen anyone’s resolve to eliminate discrimination on any level. Again, I am specifically separating discrimination from other actions of the groups.

    Comment by Chuck Foxtrot — December 5, 2007 @ 1:10 pm

  22. Chuck Foxtrot, just because *you* separate “discrimination” from violence and hatred … and you don’t seem to separate it very far from hatred, in any case … doesn’t mean the groups you cite do. The reality of those groups makes it heinous for you to even begin to compare them to the BSA.

    Leases do include escape clauses. Again, I suspect it will be up to the courts to decide if a law passed after the fact is a good enough reason AND if a lease amounts to a government subsidy or not.

    Comment by Anwyn — December 5, 2007 @ 1:17 pm

  23. Chuck Foxtrot, what an amazingly ignorant thing to say, Jews being sensitive to discrimination. I am Jewish and respect the BSA’s policy about it’s own membership. We discriminate: if you are not Orthodox you are not allowed to join the Orthodox congregation. Just because of discrimination towards a particular group don’t ever assume that they don’t discriminate themselves. Your argument gets weaker every time you post.

    Comment by Chuck Bell — December 5, 2007 @ 4:17 pm

  24. My argument has been nothing but consistent — discrimination, especially discrimination based on things out of the control of the individual (race, gender, sexuality, age, etc) is disgusting, but is a protected freedom for individuals and private groups.

    In an earlier response, I commented that I had more tolerance for religious discrimination than I do for discrimination based on traits that are not chosen by the individual. I have not argued against BSA’s policy on religious discrimination except to suggest that Philly had a reason to boot them from the building prior to their 2002 adoption of sexual orientation as a protected category (since Philly’s Fair Practices Ordinance also protects religious ideology).

    As far as your congregation’s discriminatory practices, I don’t care if your place of worship avows that all Christians who attend church with an even street number are the anti-christ (or, in the case of a Jewish congregation, I guess it would have to be the living embodiment of evil or somesuch since Christ was not the son of God). A religious group does and should have that right, as long as they don’t expect me (or my tax dollars) to lend my support or carry out any acts against the newly identified anti-christs.

    Comment by Chuck Foxtrot — December 5, 2007 @ 7:38 pm

  25. Ah, I see. It comes down to money. So much for your high moral tone.

    Comment by Chuck Bell — December 6, 2007 @ 9:20 am

  26. I’m not entirely sure how a three word aside taken from a 206 word comment (not to mention the 1,701 other words in previous comments) defined my views in your mind, but let me asure you that money does not drive my source of annoyance with discrimination.

    If you must know “what it comes down to,” my biological grandmother is a bigot and a waste of a human life. She disowned my aunt for marrying a black man (if you’d like, I could give you her address — she doesn’t like Jews either — so you could get a shining example of how good and wonderful discrimination is). That example I witnessed early in life planted the seed that discrimination is asinine and unnecessary. Further education helped support that thought (i.e. historical & current examples of genocide, denial of basic rights based on race in the US among other countries, etc). I have yet to encounter a situation where I feel that discrimination based on traits outside of the control of the individual is required or worthwhile. But again, I support the rights of people and groups to have those views — I just think they’re worthless views.

    That’s what it comes down to.

    Comment by Chuck Foxtrot — December 6, 2007 @ 10:46 am

  27. If you didn’t think that aside was important, you wouldn’t have wasted time typing it. As an educated person myself, I’ve learned this: the side, throw away comments are the most telling when judging the speaker.

    Besides, if you support the rights of groups to have those views, why did you even get involved? Not only have you wasted your own time, but the rest of us as well.

    Comment by Chuck Bell — December 6, 2007 @ 11:20 am

  28. I didn’t say it wasn’t important, especially to the topic at hand, but it is not even remotely what drives my opinion.

    This entire discussion began with a government entity telling a private group that they must vacate a property because their bylaws and exclusion policies, coupled with what amounts to a government subsidy of a lease, implies that the government supports discrimination, which is counter to the Fair Practices Ordinance. That is why taxpayer dollars are important and that is why I made the comment — for relevance.

    Comment by Chuck Foxtrot — December 6, 2007 @ 1:03 pm

  29. So you are back to #25. This is fun! Aren’t you getting dizzy yet, going in all these circles?

    Comment by Chuck Bell — December 6, 2007 @ 1:22 pm

  30. I’ll type slowly…

    My personal feelings are driven by experience and the ardent belief that there is no reason for discrimination based on race, gender, age, sexual orientation, etc. Money plays no role.

    My participation in these comments began as a question of whether or not a government should subsidize discrimination (that means they give them money (felt the need to explain because you didn’t seem to understand why money was relevant)). That’s where money comes in.

    So, to summarize:

    My opinion — formed from experience and based on basic belief in rights for all without respect to various innate characteristics.

    This topic — revolves around money, so it should likely be mentioned

    Comment by Chuck Foxtrot — December 6, 2007 @ 1:57 pm

  31. Okay. Let’s put a few fine points on this, shall we?

    The original article, and the money angle: The Boy Scouts will lose a 100-year lease before the 100 years expires because the city now has a law, written after the lease was signed, preventing government subsidy of groups that discriminate in ways unacceptable to the city. Chuck Foxtrot is all in favor of this. My guess is that it will be a matter for the courts as to whether this lease falls under the category of subsidy, but I am not a lawyer. Chuck Foxtrot rightly declares he does not want taxpayer money funding groups that discriminate in ways disagreeable to him.

    The moral angle: You lost, Chuck Foxtrot, the moment you brought the KKK and Nazis into it. I don’t know how many different ways I can make it plain to you that any comparison is ludicrous at best and hateful at worst. You keep referring to the rights of religious groups to discriminate in these ways, and I am here to tell you that the BSA’s policies are based on those same religious principles. The BSA differs from your grandmother in that they do not go about saying they dislike, hate, or otherwise demean groups of people based on unselected characteristics. They simply refuse to accept *into their ranks* on the basis of declared beliefs that do not conform to their leadership ideals, ideals that, far from the blanket hatred of the Nazis and KKK, can still be disputed by reasonable people on both sides. You are making no allowance at all for the idea that a homosexual lifestyle could be viewed as not an ideal situation for a boy growing up to be led to, because you make no allowance at all for the possibility that it is something that is preponderately modeled and chosen rather than preponderately innate. I don’t know the answer to that question, it has not been proven to my satisfaction, but I think it’s perfectly within the realm of reason to continue to agree with the position of the BSA that the modeling of those behaviors does not fall within their ideal of leadership qualities. And as the BSA is an explicitly religious organization, to despise them for being unwilling to take on leaders who do not believe in God is simply ridiculous. Do you have anything declaring they will not take on *boys* who disbelieve in God?

    In short, the word “discriminate” has only been made into a bad word by the liberal establishment in relatively recent years. People must discriminate all day long, every day, to make the best choices for themselves and their families. We prefer it when it doesn’t involve shunning people, but discrimination *can* be as simple as “I’m not going to hang out with Elizabeth because she always asks me for favors, never listens to what I say, and swears in front of my child.” That is discrimination, and it is the same kind the BSA practices: “We’re not going to ask gay people or atheists to lead our boys because one of the organization’s principles is to encourage belief in God and because we are uncertain, at the very least, about modeling gay behaviors for boys and convinced that, at the very most, there is a greater risk for harm than by the opposite policy.”

    There is nothing unreasonable in this unless you have chosen to explicitly believe, and in my view not on the greatest of grounds, that homosexual behaviors have the same or less rate of possible harmful outcomes than hetero ones. It seems you have. I wish you could leave a little room for the possibility that that belief is untrue, but you seem to be so worried about people *disliking* other people based on this that you can’t. I have two music degrees and so have been in contact with a higher proportion of gay folks than many people, and I am telling you now that I do not like or dislike people based on this characteristic. But I am in sympathy with the aim and policy of the BSA to err on the side of caution when promulgating models and behavior to adolescent boys.

    Comment by Anwyn — December 6, 2007 @ 2:51 pm

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