Finding an organization more all-American than the Boy Scouts would be hard. Take it from someone who is blessed to have not one, but two sons achieve the distinction of becoming Eagle Scouts -- this organization is up there with baseball and apple pie. According to its charter, it exists to “promote … the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others … and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance and kindred virtues.”
Since 1910, that’s exactly what the Boy Scouts have been doing. Thousands of men today in positions of leadership, from soldiers to salesmen, began learning lessons in responsibility when they were Scouts. Which makes it all the more curious that the city of Philadelphia is determined to kick its local Scout council -- the “Cradle of Liberty,” seventh largest council in the nation -- out of the building it’s been meeting in for 80 years.
The Scouts may not be facing a formal eviction, but that’s the upshot of an ultimatum that Philadelphia’s city council delivered to the group earlier this year. Eight decades ago, the Scouts made an agreement with the city to pay a nominal rent of $1 a year. How much is the city demanding that they pay now? $200,000. Sadly, that’s not a misprint. The Scouts really are facing a rent hike of $199,999.
The blatant unfairness of the situation is galling -- especially when you consider, as Robert Knight of the Media Research Center has pointed out, that the Scouts “built the building with their own money, and then gave it to the city in 1928.” The Scouts’ lease was “in perpetuity,” notes Bob Unruh, news editor for WorldNetDaily, but the city doesn’t seem to care.
You may be wondering: Have the Scouts done something wrong? Oh, yes. In our politically correct age, they have committed what liberals would call a major sin (if they believed in “sin,” that is): They prohibit openly gay men from serving as Scout leaders. And if this policy strikes you -- as it does me -- as just plain common sense, then welcome to Bizarro World.
“If the Boy Scouts were anti-God, championed homosexuality and were anti-establishment, I would venture to say they would find themselves welcome in Philadelphia,” Project 21 Chairman Mychal Massie has commented. “It's the fact that they stick to and seek to promote a responsible and reasonable code of ethics that makes them a target of the anti-family left that tends to dominate urban governments such as Philadelphia’s these days.”