State-sanctioned discrimination

Tim Paluch

Last week the Senate voted 52-48 to approve an amendment to the federal education bill that withholds federal money to schools who deny the Boy Scouts access based on the Scouts’ stance toward homosexuals.

As you probably know, everybody’s favorite traveling camping troupe doesn’t accept open homosexuals, or as they refer to them, evil, anti-God, predatory, sex-crazed pedophiles.

According to them, a homosexual can’t be “morally straight” or “clean,” and thus doesn’t belong in an organization that is rooted in honor, dignity and of course, extreme homoeroticism.

I won’t get into it too much, but I find it funny that an organization that herds olive-colored uniform wearing boys with rolled up handkerchief neckties into pup tents in the middle of the woods to recite oaths and test their knot-tying skills would be the ones to say homosexuals can’t be efficient leaders.

The bill, sponsored by North Carolina Republican Jesse Helms, who still thinks civil rights, like global warming, is just an unproven scientific theory, is another victory for the Boy Scouts against those nasty anti-American/anti-family citizens who think discrimination is, God forbid, wrong.

First off, as much as I respect Sen. Helms (about as far as I can throw him), this is the guy who said Joe Camel was a great advertisement for children. His grasp on reality is about as good as his cardiovascular system.

A known opponent of civil rights, Helms’ amendment is unnecessary, since it is already against the law for public schools to discriminate against such “public” organizations. All it does is get the federal government (which Helms himself usually limits) involved in state-sanctioned discrimination.

The real question is, what type of organization is the Boy Scouts? Are they public or private? Religious or secular? That answer seems to be whatever it takes to get what they want from the government.

Last June, the Scouts argued before the U.S. Supreme Court that they were a private organization that can set its own moral codes for those who join (They won that case).

That being said, whenever it comes time for the Scouts to request reduced or waived fees for using public facilities for meetings or events, they claim to be a public organization.

So why are the Boy Scouts allowed to use public facilities for meetings when not all the public is allowed?

Contributions to private organizations can’t be itemized as charitable donations, yet the Boy Scouts claim donations to them are deductible. They also receive a special charter from the U.S. Congress allowing them to have ranks and uniforms like the Army.

The President of the United States is also the honorary president of the Boy Scouts. Does all this sound private?

It certainly appears public or private depends on which gives them what they want at that particular time.

Another vague determination of the Boy Scouts is if they are a religious or secular organization.

The Boy Scouts continuously justify their exclusion of atheists and agnostics by citing the Boy Scout Oath, which requires duty to God. With this they claim exemption from laws prohibiting religious discrimination by invoking constitutionally protected religious freedom. In that sense, they are a religious organization.

Yet again though, the hypocrisy of the Boy Scouts comes up again. In California the Boy Scouts deny being a religious organization. Why? Because there, religious organizations are required to pay full prices when using public school facilities.

They’re abusing the system and taking advantage of their wholesome all-American image.

While the law of the land says it’s OK for the Boy Scouts to preach hate and discrimination, there’s no law that says private organizations must continue funding them.

American corporations, such as Wells Fargo and Levi Strauss & Co., have already withdrawn funding to the Boy Scouts, and it is my hope that the Boy Scouts do one of two things – change their anti-gay policy, or completely fall apart at the seam due to lack of funding.

I would not shed one tear if America’s male youth never again had the opportunity to work their way through the Boy Scouts ranks. There are plenty of other respectable, honor-molding organizations, like 4-H, that don’t sanction hate and discrimination.

The Boy Scouts have become an extended arm of the Christian right, who still foolishly equate homosexuality with pedophilia. They are nothing more than another example of the “Christian Supremacy Movement,” the new puritanism in America.

They are the morality police, armed with Bibles and chastity belts, who don’t want to see the creation of a “matching accessories” merit badge, as one so eloquently put it. They’re right, God is on their side and everyone else is going to burn in Hell.

The Scouts convinced the courts they are a religious organization so they could discriminate against atheists. Next they convinced the U.S. Supreme Court they are a private organization so they can discriminate against gays.

Last week, they convinced Congress they are a public organization, giving them access to taxpayer-funded facilities without regard for state and local laws prohibiting the use of those facilities by private or religious organizations.

Congress did what the courts did not do. They made the Boy Scout’s anti-gay policy state-sanctioned discrimination. Taxpayers now support hate and bigotry each time the Scouts set up a tent in a public gym.

The Boy Scouts aren’t going anywhere for a while, at least not until more able-minded people cut ties to this bigoted organization. Until then we should keep this dangerous influence away from our young males.

They’re here, they’re bigots, get used to them.

Tim Paluch is a junior in journalism and mass communication from Orland Park, Ill. He is opinion editor of the Daily.