Boy Scout Alert
ISSUE: According to a new article by Hans Zeiger, a former Eagle Scout and now president of the Scout Honor Coalition (scoutoath.tripod.com), “‘A Scout is trustworthy.’ But the City of Philadelphia isn’t keeping a 75-year old promise to the Boy Scouts.”
In 1928, the Philadelphia City Council took note of the good turns that the Boy Scouts were doing throughout the city. The city council voted in favor of allowing the Cradle of Liberty Boy Scout Council to utilize a half-acre plot of public land at 22nd and Winter Streets “in perpetuity.” By 1929, construction of the Boy Scout Resource Center was complete.
Today, three quarters of a century years later, Philadelphia’s Cradle of Liberty Boy Scout Council is being told that it will be KICKED OUT of the historic headquarters because of the Boy Scouts’ policy excluding homosexuals and atheists from positions of leadership and membership.
Last week, the Philadelphia mayor’s Chief of Staff, Joyce Wilkerson, informed the Boy Scouts of a policy opinion by City Solicitor Nelson Diaz. Diaz decided that the city’s non-discrimination policies are in direct conflict with the Boy Scouts’ rent-free land use. The city will give the Scouts one year to leave the land or compromise on moral virtue and retain use of the headquarters.
Non-discrimination codes, like the one being applied in Philadelphia, have exacted a great cost from the civic virtue of our cities. Government should be neutral on many issues, but government should never be value neutral.
No one should be forced to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. But the City of Philadelphia should have the instinctive desire to say that it encourages and endorses those things. America should never have come so near to the point of dismantling the statue of a Boy Scout in front of the Philadelphia BSA Headquarters instead of exalting it high on the pedestal of civic and community respectability.
Of course, Philadelphia is not the only government body that has supported the cause of young men doing a good turn daily, being prepared, and staying physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight. School districts allow Scout troops to meet in school buildings without charge. Cities develop partnerships with Eagle Scout candidates to assist with community service projects. Counties contract out to Boy Scout councils so they can provide after-school programs to inner city youth. And Congress first gave a charter to the Boy Scouts of America in 1916.
Americans nationwide need to take action to support these local Scouts that have come under fire.
ACTION ITEM: No one would dare to challenge the chartered relationship that exclusive veterans groups like Jewish War Veterans and Catholic War Veterans have with the federal government. And no one should suggest that the moral standards of the Boy Scouts of America are less than honorable. Few institutions in society place greater emphasis on honor than the Boy Scouts of America.
The city has some business with honor too — it needs to honor an old commitment. If they don’t, they will end a vital relationship with an organization that has contributed so much to Philadelphia’s quality of life.
Go to our site to send a FREE editable, pre-written message to Philadelphia Mayor John Street’s Chief of Staff, Joyce Wilkerson (AND the Mayor), urging her to honor that city’s commitment to the Boy Scouts.
NOTE: If you’d like to contact Wilkerson directly, you can reach her at City Hall, Room 215, Philadelphia, PA 19107; her fax number is 215-686-2180; her phone number is 215-686-7508 or 215-686-2181; and her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org . The Mayor’s email address is email@example.com .
2003 Meridian Magazine. All Rights Reserved.