Monday, March 24, 2008

Boy Scouts and HUD

Just so we're clear: P2 is a Scout. He's now in his sixth year and shows no desire to stop anytime soon. I will always support his choices and activities (so long as they're not dangerous, illegal, or blatantly disrespectful). That said, I have my struggles with his involvement in an organization that is selectively exclusive. But, it's my struggle. My husband and father take care of all his activities and what-not because I make no secret about my atheism and that is a known fact within the troop. Despite being a Girl Scout for sixteen years (if you include my being a leader for P1's troop for three years), I am never asked to help with P2's troop, other than to help P2 with his badge requirements (this is due to my illness AND a conversation I had with the council honcho during P2's Arrow of Light and promotion award). In summation - I don't support BSA as an organization, but I do (and will) support my son. Part of letting him grow and mature into his own person is, in my opinion, allowing him the chance to know and explore things that I may not be completely down with (within reason).

That said, this pisses me off.
The Great Alaska Council (serving 6000 boys) is in line to receive a HUD grant, to the tune of $900,000+. The money will go towards the development of a BSA High Adventure camp in the council's territory.

As envisioned, the camp would occupy up to 3,200 acres of wilderness just south
of Denali State Park and attract Scouts from around the country -- as many as
600 a week for up to nine weeks a year.
It would serve both as a destination
for Scouts, and as a jumping off point where Scouts of both genders could stay a
few days before heading out for rock climbing and white-water rafting, among
other activities.

So...why not give the money to the Girl Scouts? The Girl Scouts do not discriminate against anyone. The Boy Scouts, however, do...and do so openly. Why, then, are they receiving FEDERAL MONIES to build this camp? I liken it to giving an LDS stake the funds to build a stakehouse or the Catholic Church a fellowship hall. Since when is it okay for the United States government to pay for exclusive clubs? No matter what your position is on god(s) or religion, this is not right. Until the BSA returns to the ideals of it's founder, Robert Baden-Powell, I can't see any circumstance where it's okay for the federal government to help the BSA financially. Baden-Powell was undoubtedly a deist. He recognized a deity. But, he purposefully recruited from all social and philosophical backgrounds. The aversion to atheists and agnostics is a fairly recent development. Unfortunately, the government either doesn't know about the exclusion of gays and atheists or they're knowingly supporting a private, religious, para-military organization. Both are a bad sign.

Should you wish to weigh in on this before a grant is given, then you may do so here.

*Hat tip to Ben for the heads-up.


Cat's Staff said...

I was an Eagle Scout in the 80's before anyone was talking about excluding anyone. I had lots of good experiences, although it did suck up a lot of time in the later years.

I don't mind the BSA being long as they don't get tax money supporting them. I don't see it getting better anytime soon, it's the type of thing that gets more entrenched in a quasi-theocracy.

Poodles said...

I completely agree that if they want to be descriminatory then fine that is their right as a private group but no tax dollars should be given. The gays and atheists pay those taxes too.

Whenever I am walking into a store and they are outside selling those "scout-a-rama" tickets I always refuse to buy them. If the scout is older I just say "no thanks. I don't support an organization that doesn't support freedom." I figure their parents can explain it to them.

Becca said...

Living in Alaska I can tell you, the funding was supposed to come from the state and the governor vetoed it (yay Sarah Palin) and I think they got Sen. Ted Stevens and Cong. Don Young (two very long-serving, cronies of questionable ethics who are about to get voted out I hope) to "find" them money. I agree, I think if its a private club allowed to make discriminatory rules then they should not get public money...

reddhedd said...

OK. I sent off an email questioning this idea...and received a reply stating :

"Thank you for contacting the hotline on this issue. It is currently an ongoing investigation with the issues being currently addressed. Have a nice day. "

So...we'll see where this goes, but apparently more than a few folks are up in arms over it. Odd grammatical phrasing.

Infidel Rooster said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Infidel Rooster said...

Sorry, I posted this once without reading my own comment thoroughly and there was an annoying grammatical error. So here it is again, error corrected.

I sent an e-mail as well but haven't heard anything back yet.
Hopefully this will do some good.

Becca, don't they refer to Stevens as "Senator-for-Life" in AK? I hope you're right and he gets tossed out.

Kevin L. said...

I just now sent an e-mail to the fraud/waste/abuse/mismanagement/complaints hotline, as well. We'll see what happens.

benjdm said...

The HUD OIG has a case open and has given at least two of us the same case number. I assume all the other complaints about the same issue with the same grant will be lumped in. Still, at least they will know a lot of people will be watching the results.

I also wrote my three Congress-critters about it.

Joe said...

I agree with the consensus. I was in the Cub Scouts and we were never asked what we believed in. This was 35 years ago so I guess it wasn't a big deal then.
Still, private club, no tax dollars.

Becca said...

Yeah they refer to him as senator for life but there is a big movement to clean up AK [politics and he is under investigation (the FBI raided his house last summer) so he is on shaky ground (although being the smug guy he is he wont admit it). Former Gov. Murkowski thought he was safe too and the lost in a huge landslide in the primary to Sarah Palin. We are so sick of the good old boys...they gotta go even if it means we lose4 the benefits of seniority in DC

Hound Doggy said...

And it's not the the BSA doesn't have any money....

susanbrown said...

It's just galling to be discriminated against AND have to pay (via your tax dollars) to be discriminated against.

This pisses me off.

Anonymous said...

I have been involved with scouting for 12 years and have never been asked what I believe. As for gays, I would never let my 6 year old son go on a overnight or most other activities along.Does't the goverment spend taxes on "don't ask don't tell". The scouts help so many kids have fun and do things that they would never do otherwise. Have you ever taken your son hiking,swiming,snorkling,fishing,rock climping,sailboating,on a zip line,white water rafting,mountain biking,shot blackpowder rifles, shotguns,fired off model rockets,go on a 50 mile backpacking trek,use a forge or learn cpr and life life saving? Thats just a small sample of what we do in a summer.