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. They 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 in 1928, and turned it over to the city 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.
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? Let’s be generous and assume that lots of people still don’t know about this. The story was ignored by all the networks except Fox News Channel, and the local press didn’t even put it on the front page.
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 218 men and 33 women who claim to have been molested by priests. The church has paid out more than $1.4 million in settlements.
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. Everyone knows the Scouts cannot compromise. The lawsuits would bankrupt the organization. You’re telling them to slit their own throats or get out of town.
The Boy Scouts of America themselves have had to deal with hundreds of incidents of molestation. They cannot afford to surrender.
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 has a year to submit to this ruthless bullying 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, a division of the Media Research Center.