City of Brotherly Love Hates the Boy Scouts

Philadelphia has big city problems.

The murder rate is on the rise, and gangs make some areas unsafe even in the daytime.  It's no secret that fatherless, undisciplined boys are the main reason the streets are deadly.

So what is the city doing about it?  Let's imagine for a moment that we're in a Philadelphia City Council discussion.

“How about a crackdown on gangs? Or a crackdown on drug dealers?”

“Nah. Those people shoot back. I've got it! Let's persecute the Boy Scouts!  They won't give the police any trouble.”

“Yeah, this will be a great way to pay back those gay groups for donating to our campaigns. The media will love us, too. Watch how they'll frame this: 'Enlightened Officials Reign in Hateful, Bigoted Boy Scouts!' Good for us! Now, let's take a Starbucks break!”

So it was that on May 31, the real-life City Council, without debate, and under pressure from an organization that promotes the rights of “sexual minorities,” stabbed the Scouts in the back.  The Council voted 16 to 1 to break a 79-year-old agreement allowing the Cradle of Liberty Council of the Boy Scouts to occupy a building in a city park.  The Scouts built the building and turned it over to the city in 1928 in exchange for a rent-free lease “in perpetuity.”  Apparently, “perpetuity” in Philadelphia now means, “until gay groups boot you out.”  The Scouts can stay only if they will open their ranks to open homosexuals.

The one councilman who voted against the resolution did so because he said it didn't go far enough to smack the Scouts. Not one city councilman in this city of 1.4 million felt the need to rise and defend the Boy Scouts.  The Philadelphia Inquirer noted smugly that the issue was whether the Scout council “must publicly affirm that it will not discriminate against openly gay people.” 

It's bad enough that the City Council wants to force the Scouts to allow homosexuals to be role models for young boys.  There's also the issue of child molestation.

Just ask the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia.  They've faced lawsuits from more than 200 men who claim to have been molested by priests. The church has paid out more than $1.4 million in settlements, with more on the way.

The Scouts have good reason to bar “sexual minorities” from their ranks.  Does Philadelphia have good reason to persecute the Scouts?

Think about this for a minute. Beset by thugs who make life miserable for poor people in the inner city, Philadelphia had long supported the Scouts' efforts to steer boys into manhood. The Scouts clean up parks, assist the elderly, and teach personal responsibility. If anything, you'd think the city would try to find ways to help the Scouts expand.  

But Mayor John Street, who claims to be a Christian, let his administration lead the attack on the Scouts, with the City Council as his echo chamber.

Sexual immorality is now the moral high ground in Philadelphia, and the Boy Scouts are the bad guys. Does anyone with clout in Philadelphia see why this is monstrously wrong? Are there any pastors willing to rebuke Street and the council in public for their embrace of the ethics of Sodom over those of their Lord?

Let's be generous here and assume that lots of people still don't know about this.  What should have been a national news story was utterly ignored by the all the networks except Fox News Channel.

As for local coverage, the Philadelphia Daily News didn't think the city's mugging of the Scouts even merited a headline, and tucked it into the last portion of a June 1 council roundup story on page 7 of the local section. 

The Philadelphia Inquirer gave the story a local section front page slot, but quoted no one, not even the Cradle of Liberty spokesman, defending the Scouts' policy.  Equality Advocates Pennsylvania, the bullies who forced the issue, were euphemistically described as a group “which promotes legal equality for sexual minorities.”

Councilman Darrell L. Clarke, the Democrat who introduced the motion, is urging the Scouts to “compromise. Honestly, no one wants to see them out of there.”

Okay, let's be honest, Mr. Clarke. Liberals know the Scouts cannot compromise on this. Apart from the moral question, the resulting lawsuits would bankrupt the organization. You're telling them to slit their own throats or head for the hills.

Over the years, the Boy Scouts of America themselves have had to deal with hundreds of incidents of molestation by Scoutmasters. They cannot afford to surrender. That's why the ultimate aim of the homosexual activists and their political and media allies is to destroy the Scouts. After that, they'll go after any churches that won't cave in to the publicly enforced agenda of “sexual minorities.”

Given the clearly illustrated danger of mixing homosexual men with boys, it is criminal to use government power to force a youth group to put boys at risk, just to please a special interest group. Actually, it's criminal for any reason.     

The Cradle of Liberty Council, which has 40,000 members in Philadelphia and another 24,000 in two nearby counties, has a year to submit to this ruthless bullying, cut their program budget and pony up rent (the amount is still undetermined) or abandon their longtime headquarters. As City Solicitor Romulo Diaz warns, “the year's-notice clock is ticking.”    

Philadelphia is getting a reputation for heavy-handedness. It was Philadelphia where 11 Christians sharing the gospel at a homosexual street festival in 2004 were arrested on “hate crime” charges and jailed, with five facing eight counts that would have netted 45 years in jail upon conviction.  A judge who viewed a tape of the event months later finally dismissed the charges, but the city had made its point.

Philadelphia is the City of Brotherly Love. Now they're beating up on the Boy Scouts' Cradle of Liberty Council.

The irony here is thicker than a Philadelphia cheesesteak, and it's a good deal more odiferous.

Somebody ring that Liberty Bell, will you?


Robert Knight is director of the Culture and Media Institute, an division  of the Media Research Center.