The Cradle of Liberty Council of the Boy Scouts of America have decided to ignore the City of Philadelphia call to renounce their policy on homosexuals. Because of that, they will be required to pay the City of Philly $200,000 per year in rent on the property they are using as their offices. This will take effect on June 1, 2008.
As you know, the Boy Scouts, as a private organization, may exclude those who do not abide by their rules/beliefs, such as gays, atheists and agnostics from employment or volunteer positions. This decision was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2000.
Since that time, many local (esp. liberal) governments have done whatever they can to remove the Boy Scouts from their property or exclude them -- including use of various facilities. For example, right here in our own People's Republic of Montgomery County, the MoCo school administration banned fliers from being distributed to student about Scouting. This was fought by the National Capital Area Council - BSA and they won! Now, the MoCo Public Schools must distribute Scouting fliers along with ever other group.
How did they do it? It was because the Republicans in the Congress helped to pass the Support Our Scouts Act to protect Scouting groups from being denied access to public facilities in response to their stance on homosexuality. After some letters (and maybe the threat of a lawsuit?), the MoCo Public Schools sent out a note to all principals about this. It took a while to get this word out but the word is out.
Now, let me get back to the Philly situation for a moment. I wonder if the Philly government has thought about all of the money that the Boy Scouts save them by providing service projects, such as litter pick-up, building bird boxes, etc. I bet it is much more than the $200,000 they wish to charge. Maybe the Scouts in Philly should direct their service projects to organizations that support their beliefs and ideals and not the local government. Let's see who really benefits in the end.
Now for those of you who say, who cares, recently, the some members (two adults and four boys) of the Cub Scout Pack sponsored by my parish participated in a litter clean up. Each spent apx. 2 hours at this task. Even if it is calculated at 6 hours of labor, how much money did they save our local government? If you figure $20 per hour (wages and benefits), that equals $120. Multiply that hundreds of times over the year and it is a "pretty penny."
The Boy Scouts are one of the last groups to stand firm on these issues. I congratulate them and am proud to be among those who can call themselves a Boy Scout.