Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Bitter Boys Battle About Bigotry

Boy Scouts suffer a setback in Supreme Court over discrimination

You'd think they'd know how the system works by now, wouldn't you? If you discriminate, you don't get public funds. Period. End of discussion. But I guess they get some type of merit badge for being numbskulls or something... I only know they aren't showing these kids how to earn that civics badge, and that ain't no lie...

Six years after the Supreme Court ruled the Boy Scouts could ban gay leaders, the group is fighting and losing legal battles with state and local governments over its discriminatory policies. The latest setback came Monday when the high court without comment refused to take a case out of Berkeley, Calif., in which a Scout sailing group lost free use of a public marina because the Boy Scouts bar atheists and gays.
What is it that they don't understand? They are throwing more money away that they could instead be plugging into local troops and actually teaching these kids some of their "values," but instead, they'd like to have their cake and eat it, too.

The action let stand a unanimous California Supreme Court ruling that the city of Berkeley may treat the Berkeley Sea Scouts differently from other nonprofit organizations because of the Scouts' membership policies.

Two years ago, the court similarly rejected a Boy Scouts appeal of a case from Connecticut, where officials dropped the group from a list of charities that receive donations from state employees through a payroll deduction plan.

And in Philadelphia, the city is threatening to evict a Boy Scout council from the group's publicly owned headquarters or make the group pay rent unless it changes its policy on gays.
See? The country doesn't agree with discrimination. Now, granted, you don't want us in your club, oh well. Seeing as how I was never a boy scout to begin with (my father instead had us in the ultra conservative version of AWANA), it's no skin off my back anyhow. But I do have a lot of friends who were scouts, and wonder what happened to the loving, all-inclusive group of people that used to run the organization. They were all about teaching valuable lessons, not about how to discern who the homo or atheist may be and letting them know they aren't welcome to learn about how to make fire, how to help old ladies cross the street, why lying is bad...

On a separate matter, federal judges in two other court cases that are being appealed have ruled that government aid to the group is unconstitutional because the Boy Scouts of America requires members to swear an oath of duty to God.
Hmm, didn't see that one coming, did you? Swearing fealty to god is an endorsement of religion, which the government constitutionally cannot do... I don't know the actual ramifications of the government handing money to a group that makes you swear to god, but it would seem an endorsement to me... Much like making people say "under god" in the pledge, but that's for another time...

Despite the string of legal setbacks, lawyers for the Scouts said they believe the Supreme Court ultimately will decide that governments are improperly denying benefits that they make available to similar organizations.

"The issue of governments seeking to punish organizations for exercising their First Amendment rights is a recurring one. There will be other opportunities for the Supreme Court to affirm First Amendment protections for organizations dealing with government agencies," George Davidson, the longtime attorney for the Scouts, said in a statement.
Can you hear it? "Uncle Sam won't give us money! You're denying us Freedom of Speech! Waaaahhhhh!!!"

Here's a clue: The government denying you money because you discriminate in no ways hampers your ability to discriminate (unless you were hoping to use the governments money to rent a billboard in Times Square to make sure the world knew you hate gays and atheists...)

In 2000, the court ruled that the Scouts have the right to ban openly homosexual scout leaders, a decision that rested on First Amendment rights.

"The Boy Scouts asserts that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the values it seeks to instill," then-Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote for the court in a 5-4 decision.
How do you like them apples? One of the most conservative judges in the United States said, "You have first amendment rights, but that right to free speech comes at the cost of public funds." Too bad, so sad. You can't even trot out your "activist judges line on this one!

Even so, the California Supreme Court said in March that local governments are under no obligation to extend benefits to organizations that discriminate.

Berkeley, home of free speech protests since the 1960s, adopted a nondiscrimination policy on the use of its marina in 1997 and revoked the Sea Scouts' subsidy a year later.

The Sea Scouts are a branch of the Boy Scouts that teaches sailing and seamanship. City officials had told the group that it could retain its berthing subsidy if it broke ties with the Boy Scouts or disavowed the policy against gays and atheists, but the Sea Scouts refused.

Eugene Evans, who leads the Sea Scouts, has been paying $500 a month to berth one boat at the Berkeley Marina. The group removed two other boats because it could not afford the rent. The group has about 40 members, down from as many as 100 before the subsidy was removed.

Berkeley had allowed the Scouts free use of the marina since the 1930s, according to Evans.

The Sea Scouts said they were singled out because Berkeley's elected officials disapprove of the Boy Scouts' membership policies.
In other words: "The boy scouts do not like teaching gays and atheists how to sail. Oh, and if we find out you're a Jew, we'll probably try to convert you as well, but at least we have the same god, so... Plus, Jews don't need to sail.... They can part the seas. My bibble tells me so."

And I wonder what happens if they found out years later, after winning all your badges and such, if they revoke them and make you turn in your childhood uniform when you come out of the closet, or convert to Islam, or question evolution...?

By the way, all the images you see came from the boy scouts own website at Boy Scout Stuff Galleries... Perhaps they should read what their badges and certificates say, hmm? You see what that last one says? "...he respects the convictions of others in matters of custom and religion." I wonder where that respect for others of differing beliefs went? Probably left with all the decent gays and atheists...

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