Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Criticizing the Boy Scouts in Philadelphia

Stephen A. Glassman's column in the Philadelphia Inquirer last Thursday took Rick Santorum to task over his support for the Boy Scouts. In spite of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that the Boy Scouts have the right to decide who they allow in leadership, Glassman wants the Boy Scouts to pay for their "discrimination" against gays.

The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations enforces the Fair Employment Practices Act, which requires that we treat all people fairly and equally in the city of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection. We are very fortunate to live in Philadelphia, the nation's first capital, where liberty and freedom ignited the flames of revolution for which our forbearers fought and died in a war of independence.

The Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America, for example, is headquartered right here in Philadelphia. They are apparently looking for a new home. Therefore, I propose a novel solution to this problem. Why not give the Boy Scout's headquarters, which they have occupied rent free for the last 80 years, to the Big Brothers and Big Sisters who welcome everyone into their programs to help young people in need of positive role models, and let the Boy Scouts pay fair market rent in the location where the "BIGS" are currently located?

Glassman's selective reporting is misleading, to put it mildly. Here's how the Boy Scouts describe the way they occupied their headquarters "rent free for the last 80 years:"

A move to evict the Cradle of Liberty Council also would unjustly enrich the City at Scouting's expense. Boy Scouts built the Council's headquarters in 1929 using its own funds and in the 79 years since has invested millions of dollars to renovate and maintain the building. The Council spent more than $1.5 million of its charitable resources for substantial renovations in 1994, and presently spends about $60,000 each year just to maintain the historic building.

Maybe if the city of Philadelphia reimbursed the Boy Scouts for the millions spent on the building, that would be fair. Or the Big Brothers/Big Sisters could buy the building from the Scouts. But taking it without any compensation would be wrong.

Of course, for Glassman the whole point is to punish the Boy Scouts for taking a constitutional stand to protect young boys from harm. He's not interested in fairness.

Update (07/17/2008):

Here's an article on the Philadelphia/Boy Scouts issue from the International Herald-Tribune of December 6, 2007. It has some good detail on both sides of the question.

14 comments:

Brian Westley said...

When the BSA built the building on public land back in 1928, part of the arrangement was that the ownership of the building would immediately be transferred to the city. The city has owned the building for the last 80 years.

The BSA's supreme court victory doesn't mean that cities are required to subsidize them. The Boy Scouts should have realized that discrimination would jeopardize all kinds of special deals they get from local governments.

SkyePuppy said...

Brian,

Exactly who has been doing the subsidizing in Philadelphia? The BSA has spent millions on a building they didn't own but that was owned by the city. That's hardly a matter of the BSA being subsidized.

Refusing to allow homosexuals to be scoutmasters is not discrimination. It's protecting boys. As the mother of a son, I appreciate the BSA's stand against gay leaders.

Parents who are fine with gays in leadership can join Scouting For All, and maybe SFA can build and maintain a building in Philadelphia with their millions and get special deals themselves.

I'm glad you stopped by. You're welcome anytime.

Brian Westley said...

The BSA has rented the building for $1/year for 80 years; that's a subsidy. Any market rate rental would have to be MORE than any upkeep and renovations that the BSA has paid for themselves. So yes, the BSA are the ones who have been subsidized.

And no, you don't get to redefine what discrimination means. The city of Philadelphia gets to decide on what terms it will give below-market-rate leases to, and the BSA just doesn't qualify any more. The BSA gets to decide who can join their private club, and the city council gets to decide that they will not subsidize private clubs that exclude people based on their sexual orientation.

The BSA can still lease the building at market rates, like anyone else. Equal treatment and all that.

Tsofah said...

If the BSA left their building and moved; who would pay for the upkeep and maintenance? Could Philly afford it? Or would the building be left to rot like so many buildings in inner cities have done in the past?

When a business is built on public land, and give TIFF subsidies, does the building no longer belong to the business? No....

I'm tired of straight, heterosexual's being discriminiated against by having THEIR rights ignored in favor of of the gay lobbyists.

We are here, we're NOT queer, get used to it!

And leave our kids, our organizations, and our charities alone!

Brian Westley said...

If the BSA left their building and moved; who would pay for the upkeep and maintenance? Could Philly afford it?

If they can lease it at $200,000 a year (the price they quoted the Cradle of Liberty council for market rates), I assume they could, as they actually assessed the property, and any sane assessment would take upkeep into account.

When a business is built on public land, and give TIFF subsidies, does the building no longer belong to the business? No....

In the case of the Boy Scouts, the original agreement stated that ownership of the building would go to the city. The Boy Scouts weren't forced to agree to this.

leave our kids, our organizations, and our charities alone!

I agree; leaving you alone means you meet the same nondiscrimination requirements as everyone else, or you pay the same market rates as everyone else. No exceptions.

SkyePuppy said...

Brian,

In the case of the Boy Scouts, the original agreement stated that ownership of the building would go to the city. The Boy Scouts weren't forced to agree to this.

No, and the city of Philadelphia wasn't forced into a 100-year deal that gave them a landmark-quality building with no upkeep costs accrued to the city AND that has made it possible for thousands and thousands of Philadelphia's youth to be helped, with over 69,000 mostly inner-city boys being helped recently.

But you'd rather throw them out because they don't want to put boys at risk of harm from leaders who are attracted to males. After all, protecting children in this way is "discrimination," and we can't have that.

Brian Westley said...

No, and the city of Philadelphia wasn't forced into a 100-year deal that gave them a landmark-quality building with no upkeep costs accrued to the city AND that has made it possible for thousands and thousands of Philadelphia's youth to be helped, with over 69,000 mostly inner-city boys being helped recently.

There never was a "100-year deal"; the agreement has always stated that either the city or the Boy Scouts could terminate the arrangement by giving one years' notice.

But you'd rather throw them out because they don't want to put boys at risk of harm from leaders who are attracted to males. After all, protecting children in this way is "discrimination," and we can't have that.

The BSA has never defended their exclusion of gays on the basis of fears of molestation (probably because courts wouldn't give that angle much credibility -- after all, the BSA doesn't prohibit women from being BSA leaders, or men from being leaders of co-ed Venture Crews). You could just as easily defend a hypothetical "no black leaders" policy by saying the BSA is just protecting their youth members from people who might rob them. You're just playing off an offensive stereotype.

And combatting offensive (and socially harmful) stereotypes is one reason cities refuse to subsidize private organizations that continue to discriminate against such classes of people.

Finally, all the BSA is losing is an administration building. If they still need office space, like any other private organization, they can rent some.

SkyePuppy said...

There never was a "100-year deal"

I got that from the International Herald-Tribune article. You can take up the accuracy question with them.

I can see we won't come to an agreement on the issue of putting gays in leadership positions over boys. The Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization allows it, and they've had problems with molestation of the Little Brothers.

Here's a Google Search result on: big brother big sister molest. But I'm guessing that won't sway you that boys need protecting, and neither will the big molestation scandal in the Catholic Church.

As for women leaders of Boy Scouts, in light of the rash of women teachers getting sexually involved with students, I'd say it's time the Boy Scouts revisited that decision. At the very least, chaperones would be in order.

Tsofah said...

Brian:

"And combatting offensive (and socially harmful) stereotypes is one reason cities refuse to subsidize private organizations that continue to discriminate against such classes of people."

Homosexuals are not a "class of people"; just as heterosexuals are not. There is no one salary range that all in either group are contained in.

"Finally, all the BSA is losing is an administration building. If they still need office space, like any other private organization, they can rent some."

So, withholding facilities from an organization because it has not allowed gays to be leaders is more important to you than the help and skills the BSA provides for countless young men. YOUR rights because of a sexual lifestyle CHOICE is more important than the lives of others.

That is selfish. That is sorry. That is SAD.

It STILL is not going to get gays access to leadership in the organization so they can brainwash young men into believing they are gay too. It's not about rights.

It's about trying to convince yourself and others that being gay is not immoral. It's like a religion...the more you recruit, the more pressure you can try to put on those of us who aren't buying into it.

If the BSA were to close down entirely, all cities everywhere would have higher crime rates and more homeless within 3 years.

This is why the BSA was granted the helps it needed. Because it was to HELP others.

Selflessness. Maybe you can think about being like that sometime.

BW said...

Homosexuals are not a "class of people"; just as heterosexuals are not. There is no one salary range that all in either group are contained in.

That doesn't even make sense. Are classes of people only partitioned by salary in your world? That's not true in mine.

So, withholding facilities from an organization because it has not allowed gays to be leaders is more important to you than the help and skills the BSA provides for countless young men. YOUR rights because of a sexual lifestyle CHOICE is more important than the lives of others.

That is selfish. That is sorry. That is SAD.


Selfish is in the eye of the beholder; I consider the BSA to be selfish, by insisting on excluding people, and then expecting these same people to subsidize their private club.

It STILL is not going to get gays access to leadership in the organization so they can brainwash young men into believing they are gay too. It's not about rights.

No, in this case, it's about the city of Philadelphia obeying its own laws and not subsidizing a private group that doesn't meet the requirements for reduced rent on public property.

If the BSA were to close down entirely, all cities everywhere would have higher crime rates and more homeless within 3 years.

This is why the BSA was granted the helps it needed. Because it was to HELP others.

Selflessness. Maybe you can think about being like that sometime.


By using public tax money to discriminate against some of those same taxpayers? You have an odd definition of "selflessness."

BW said...

[Well, now you seem to be an intellectual coward, blocking further posts under my name, thus I'll sign this BW and be done with you, since you don't even have the courage to argue your convictions in public. I suppose you'll delete this, since you have no spine.]

There never was a "100-year deal"

I got that from the International Herald-Tribune article. You can take up the accuracy question with them.


Just being accurate. Both the Philadelphia city council resolution terminating the arrangement, and the BSA's lawsuit against the city are online, and neither one mentions any 100-year deal, only the 1-year notice required to end the arrangement. The spurious references to a 100-year lease started just a few months ago, while earlier news stories going back about five years don't have anything about a 100-year deal.

But I'm guessing that won't sway you that boys need protecting, and neither will the big molestation scandal in the Catholic Church.

No, because being gay isn't the same as being a molester, just as being black isn't the same as being a thief.

Excluding gays didn't stop Eugene Evans from molesting Sea Scouts. Men are still allowed to be leaders in co-ed Venture Crews even though there have been similar sexual assault problems with Crews.

As for women leaders of Boy Scouts, in light of the rash of women teachers getting sexually involved with students, I'd say it's time the Boy Scouts revisited that decision. At the very least, chaperones would be in order.

Don't you know about the BSA's two-deep leadership requirement? If you don't, how can you even intelligently debate what the BSA should or should not do when you don't even know current policy?

Tsofah said...

Brian:

In the U.S. we tend to think of a "class" of people as being either in an educational institutional, or in financial terms such as upper and middle class.

You said, "By using public tax money to discriminate against some of those same taxpayers? You have an odd definition of "selflessness."

I homeschooled my child, but I still had to pay taxes to my local public school district, although I did not get any services or books or anything from them whatsoever. So, why do you care if the BSA gets public tax monies because they don't let gays participate in leadership?

Oh, yeah, I know about the two person deal with the BSA, my son was a part of a local scout troop. But, haven't you heard of kids being molested more than one person at a time?

It seems gays would like to NOT be in a position where they could be tempted or accused of abuse.

Oh, and about Skye Puppy? She isn't an intellectual coward. She remembers that you can't match wits with an unarmed person.

Goodbye, see ya, so long, etc. I'm outta here!

SkyePuppy said...

Brian,

I never blocked you! I don't even know how to do that.

I'll accept your correction on the 100-year non-part of the deal.

No, because being gay isn't the same as being a molester, just as being black isn't the same as being a thief.

I never said that gay = molester (and would you quit with the black = thief stuff? You brought that up. I didn't and wouldn't). But if a man tended toward molesting people, the gay ones would go after Boy Scouts and the straight ones would go after Girl Scouts. Because we don't know which men are the molesters, it's safest to keep gay men away from being alone in overnight settings with boys. Likewise it's best to keep straight men away from being alone in overnight settings with girls. Somehow, the latter is a no-brainer, but people argue about the former. I don't get it.

SkyePuppy said...

Brian,

If I knew how to block people, there was a really angry commenter a couple years ago I would have blocked. As it was, I just had to stop "talking" to him, and he eventually went away.

You're not like him. We disagree, but you haven't become ugly about it, and I hope I haven't either.

The sparring back and forth is good once in a while to help sharpen skills (which, unfortunately for me are either blunt or dull most of the time--I avoided debate and impromptu speaking when I was on the Speech Team in high school because I stunk at it). Even though we will obviously not come to any kind of agreement on this topic (except that the Boy Scouts didn't get a 100-year deal), I appreciate the time you took to spar with me.

Come back any time. My topics range all over the place, and you may find one more palatable than this one (or another that you want to "discuss").