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Philadelphia Scouts Giving In Again
by Hans Zeiger
29 December 2003

Executives of Philadelphia’s Cradle of Liberty Boy Scout Council announced Monday that they are about to give in to the radical Left after years of pressure to include homosexuals as Scout leaders.


Winston Churchill, who famously recommended against giving in, admired the Boy Scouts for their rock-solid principled stances that preclude giving in. In his 1937 book Great Contemporaries, Churchill wrote, “[The Boy Scout Movement] speaks to every heart its message of duty and honour: 'Be Prepared' to stand up faithfully for Right and Truth, however the winds may blow.”

Executives of Philadelphia’s Cradle of Liberty Boy Scout Council announced Monday that they are about to give in to the radical Left after years of pressure to include homosexuals as Scout leaders. The council will soon unveil a new anti-discrimination policy that appeases funding agencies and the City of Philadelphia while discreetly lifting the ban on homosexual leaders.

Without actually mentioning words like “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in the new anti-discrimination code, the Philadelphia Scouts will model its new policy after one recently adopted by the Greater New York Boy Scout Councils. The New York policy states that “prejudice, intolerance, and unlawful discrimination in any form are unacceptable within the ranks.”

The Philadelphia Boy Scouts learned its political maneuvers after it attempted to amend its former anti-discrimination code last May by blatantly mentioning its inclusion of homosexuals. The national Boy Scouts of America threatened to revoke the Philadelphia Council charter and replace the executive board, and the council had no choice but to reaffirm a public commitment to being “morally straight.”

But for Philadelphia’s Boy Scouts, the consequences of appearing to stand for principle have been severe. Pew Charitable Trust cut off $100,000, and the United Way canceled nearly half a million dollars of funding to the Philadelphia Scouts. In an outrageous editorial, the Philadelphia Daily News had the audacity to compare the Boy Scouts to the Taliban for its exclusive membership standards. 

Most problematic of all was the threat of the City of Philadelphia to kick the Scouts out of their 22nd and Winter Street Headquarters. In 1929, the city recognized the contributions of local Boy Scouts by giving the Scouts a plot of land for the headquarters “in perpetuity.” Recently, the city council amended its anti-discrimination code to give special rights to homosexuals in all public accommodations. Now, the city demands that the Boy Scouts include homosexuals as members and leaders or face ejection from the historic headquarters building.

Thus, the Philadelphia Cradle of Liberty Boy Scout Council is giving in. And this time it looks like it is giving in for good.

The Philadelphia Scouts are giving in for the sake of the United Way, the City of Philadelphia, Pew Charitable Trust, an assortment of homosexual front groups, and the gods of political correctness, in allegiance to which, foreseeably, they will someday amend their Oath.

Besides giving in, the Philadelphia Cradle of Liberty Boy Scout Council has given up on its 87,000 members who joined an exclusive organization for the sake of exclusivity. Those eleven and twelve year old boys knew when they joined their troops that not everyone can be a Boy Scout. Only those who commit to living “trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent” lives can be Boy Scouts. Only those Scouts who do their best to do their duty to God and country, to keep themselves physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight are worthy of the title of Boy Scout.

Philadelphia’s Scout Council will tell the world that its new policy is simply an effort to update the Boy Scouts for changing times, times in which people of all moral choices must have a place in Scouting.

But in using such terms as the Left would have them to do, the council will have explicated its own rejection of honor. For honor consists in the Scout’s allegiance to a code of conduct, and that means that homosexuals cannot become leaders or members of the Boy Scouts. 

Now is the last chance for Scouting families, volunteers, and supporters in Philadelphia to stop the Cradle of Liberty Scout Council from rejecting honor. The Boy Scouts can survive as a private organization without funding from major agencies, and it can locate a new headquarters if necessary. Those things are possible.

But it is absolutely impossible for a Scout to compromise on his honor and continue to call himself, definitively, a Boy Scout.

If “intolerance” is the synonym for honor in the lexicon of political correctness, may it be said that the Boy Scouts are intolerant of dishonesty, disloyalty, treason, impurity, disobedience, wastefulness, ignorance, indifference, hopelessness, and bondage.

And if intolerance of moral slavery is of any worth to the men who lead the Philadelphia Cradle of Liberty Scout Council, may they, before it is too late, consider that their decision to abridge a sacred honor is like a vote for moral slavery.


Hans Zeiger is a Seattle Times columnist and conservative activist. He is president of the Scout Honor Coalition and a student at Hillsdale College in Michigan
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