more court battles...
Steve Souza (76703.633@COMPUSERVE.COM)
Tue, 18 May 1993 15:50:59 EDT
quoting From: Mark Wilson mwilson@POLARIS.ORL.MMC.COM
> There are some things that have to be more important than getting more
> boys in the program. I believe that the principles of the Oath and Law are
> among those things. If we weaken those principles, make them optional even
> for a time, then BSA becomes just another outdoor activity club.
Mark, I agree as does BSA National, that the Scouting values and ideals are
extreemly important to the continuation of the program as it exists today.
I know Elliott Welsh personally (Elliott filed suit in Chicago several
years ago after his son Mark wanted to be a Tiger Cub and Elliott would not
sign the Adult application due to the DRP (Declaration of Religious
Principle)), as well as knowing Tim Curran electronically (who filed suit
here in CA when BSA wouldn't allow him to continue his membership as an
adult Leader after he made public his homosexual lifestyle).
> I suggest that you look at the court cases, not just as excluding some boy
> from Scouting, but as a defense of the basic principles that BSA is
> founded on.
Both Elliott and Tim lost their initial cases against BSA and Tim lost all
the appeals he has filed. Elliott's appeal on his case had a decision filed
yesterday. This msg was posted yesterday by Elliott about his appeal and
thought the list might be interested...
#: 358964 S2/Scouting Politics [OUTDOORS]
Sb: #Circuit Court Decision
Fm: Elliott Welsh/IL 71301,3513
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Welsh v. BSA today that BSA is
not a public accommodation, thus is not subject to the Civil Rights Act of
1964. Further, the court held explicitly that BSA is a "private club"
within the meaning of the act.
The decision was two to one, with the dissent focusing on both the "private
club" exemption, and the reading of the law as to exclude membership
organizations from the reach of the act altogether.
While we strongly disagree with the finding of the court, we of course
I think that the focus of this case has for too long been on the rights of the
Boy Scouts under the law and the Constitution, and not on the appropriateness
and propriety of Scouting using encouragement of a belief in God as an excuse
for teaching and promoting prejudice and bigotry against those who hold
That BSA has succeeded in transmitting its religious prejudice to many of its
members there can be no doubt. While many here [CompuServe] and on Prodigy
rejected the notion that a person cannot, absent a belief in God, become the
"best kind" of citizen, a large number of BB participants on both services
have made it clear that they believe that an organization which purports to
teach respect for the beliefs of others ought to draw the line at
non-believers, and is correct to do so. I continue, however, to find this
kind of thinking, in the context of Scouting, bizarre indeed.
I would suggest that BSA's failure to teach and practice fully the religious
tolerance ordinary citizens often seem to give it credit for, is not an
inconsiderable one in an organization which is chartered as a "patriotic
For an American "patriotic society" to claim that patriotism includes judging
the citizenship of others, solely on the basis of religious belief, is a
failure of enormous magnitude, and one which BSA, in court or out, ought to
address in a forthright manner.
But I have no illusions about BSA. I don't believe its actions these past
four years have been principled or forthright. It continues to recruit
actively in public grade-schools, despite a letter to me in 1990 in which it
claimed to be looking into ways to avoid inviting boys who do not meet its
grotesque notion of "standards" of leadership and character.
I do not believe now that it ever intended to.
All in all, our encounter with the Boy Scouts of America was a very
demoralizing one. An organization which claimed to stand for the "best kind"
of citizesnhip repeatedly engaged in disingenuous tactics designed to inspire
even *more* prejudice in this case than it had by simply excluding us with
If one cannot gain acceptance and tolerance from those who seem singularly
ignorant of one's beliefs with respect to religion, I suppose this is
But BSA's public behavior and public pronouncements, which appeared intended
to inspire *additional* religious prejudice and intolerance in a situation
which was frought with it already, seemed, at times, positively indecent.
I have said many times that Scouting was clearly intended to build bridges
between those of differing religious beliefs, not dig moats. How ironic that
the strongest voices in support of religious tolerance come, not from
Scouting's national headquarters but from those who do not meet Scouting's
"standards" of leadership and character.
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank those of you who provided support,
moral and otherwise, throughout these long months. Your words and deeds are
deeply appreciated by all of us here in Hinsdale.
A decision on an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court has not yet been taken.
I'll keep those who are interested informed... We will look at this
decision in some detail and decide whether it makes sense to proceed, or
For those who wish to reply to Elliott, his Internet address is:
I, as many here on the list, have mixed feelings about the whole of the
situation involving the many law suits, but I maintain that the BSA should
continue to have the right to decide it's own future in regard to who is
permitted to join as a youth member or as an adult leader.
++ Steve Souza CompuServe 76703,633 ++
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