Monday, July 26, 2004

Scouts' rights violated

Reading The Inquirer, one would think that people were in the streets marching on City Hall demanding the ouster of the Scouts from their headquarters ("No movement on threat by city to evict Boy Scouts," July 14).

Why hasn't the City of Philadelphia pressed the issue? Perhaps it's because of all the good that Scouts do in the community. Very few other organizations have a track record that matches Scouting.

I, and many other volunteers, disagree with the Scouts' stand on homosexual participation - issues of adult sexuality have no place in the operation of a youth leadership program. What I support is the Scouts' right to determine membership standards. The Scouts have been made to pay a price for standing up for their constitutional rights.

Duty to one's country is a pillar of Scouting. The Supreme Court found no fault with the way the Scouts determine membership. But it seems that since the membership standards of Scouting have been deemed as politically incorrect, it's OK to attack them. This is despite all the good work they do.

Local Scout leaders want to get past this issue because it detracts from the issue of serving youth in the Delaware Valley. However, the national Boy Scouts office already has shown that it would dissolve the local leadership and then reconstitute it with people who follow the party line.

Attacking Scouting on the local level only hurts local kids. Will Rogers once said, "The problem with Boy Scouts is there aren't enough of them." I wonder what Rogers would say about the intolerant attitudes facing Scouting today?

Bruce Andersen

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