Robert Knight

The timing of this exercise in political correctness is odd. The Scouts, who won a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June 2000, just won another major legal victory in San Diego, where the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reversed a federal district judge’s 2003 decision to evict them from their camp in Balboa Park in a lawsuit brought by the ACLU.

Last year, the Scouts released a two-year study concluding that their current leadership and membership policy is the correct one. What’s changed? A Scout insider told me that major corporations and United Way chapters have been pulling their funding in recent months. UPS, Intel and Merck are among them. This must worry Scout executives, five of whom make more than $410,000 annually, including Chief Scout Executive Robert J. Mazzuca, who was paid $815,000 in salary in 2011, plus another $166,000 in other compensation. CFO James J. Terry Jr. made $697,000 in 2011, according to the Scouts’ 990 Form, and COO C. Wayne Brock made $568,000. That could buy a lot of tent pegs.

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest pro-homosexual group, has a Corporate Equality Index that takes points off corporations that give to traditional values organizations such as the Boy Scouts. What began as a request for tolerance for homosexual employees is now a bullying operation to break companies to the homosexual saddle.

Two Scout executive board members, AT&T CEO Randall L. Stephenson and Ernst & Young CEO James S. Turley, have been cited by major news sources as leading the inside effort. Mr. Stephenson might want to acquaint himself with AT&T’s policy regarding undue corporate influence. The company’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Anti-Bribery Compliance Policy says that “An AT&T employee or supplier acting on AT&T’s behalf may not, with respect to a non-U.S. government official … make charitable contributions with the intent to improperly influence any act or decision.” In addition, AT&T’s Code of Ethics requires company officials and employees to “deter wrongdoing,” not facilitate it.

Greg Quinlan, a former homosexual himself and the president of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (disclosure: I am on PFOX’s board), in an open letter to Boy Scout board members, writes, “It seems that one or more of your major corporate donors is pressuring you, and others are bullying you, to change the Boy Scout policy to admit homosexuals. … Please do without some corporate funding if you must, cut your budget and protect the children in your care….

“Money with dangerous conditions attached is not a donation - it's a bribe.” My advice to the Scout board echoes that of Mr. Quinlan: Do without the money from people who don’t really share your values. As Jesus said, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26)

The Scout oath requires boys (and leaders) to be “morally straight.” Putting openly homosexual men and boys into Scout troops would be a direct violation of that oath. The Scout leadership needs to man up and ignore corporate pressure from within and cultural pressure from without. They also need to hear an earful from Scout leaders, former Scouts and parents around the country who will not let a betrayal of this magnitude happen on their watch.

Robert Knight

Robert Knight is an author, senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a frequent contributor to Townhall.