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Education Reporter

The End of the Boy Scouts in Philadelphia 
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By Hans Zeiger

Philadelphia's Cradle of Liberty Boy Scout Council self-destructed last month. Its executive board voted unanimously to include "sexual orientation" in its nondiscrimination code. This outrageous move came after years of intense pressure from radical homosexual and atheist rights groups.

The Philadelphia Council is the third largest local council in the country, serving 87,000 boys and men. It is an unfortunate addition to a list of councils that have eagerly dismissed the Boy Scouts of America and its moral codes. Last year, San Francisco and Boston became the first councils to reject the concept of "moral straightness."

We must be reminded that the Boy Scouts are not an intolerant, homophobic, racist, or anti-Semitic bunch. In fact, the Boy Scouts have always taught tolerance and have been at the forefront of celebrating diversity. Since 1911, the BSA has reached out to disabled youth, racial and ethnic minorities, Native Americans, and inner city children.

Scouting has also taught the difference between right and wrong, between honor and indecency, and between justice and perversity.

For a Scout troop, sexual orientation is an issue that goes beyond differences in skin color or economic status. It affects such critical matters as tenting arrangements and the development of pre-teen masculinity in a close-knit group of boys and men. But the BSA's position against homosexuality is not only an issue of moral principle in an effort to affirm the Scout Oath and Law, it is a serious safety effort to prevent sexual abuse and harassment.

To the vast majority of Americans, the importance of preserving Scouting's traditional moral code is a no-brainer. It is therefore time for families in Philadelphia to show that they oppose the leadership of their local Boy Scout Council by leaving the organization.

Furthermore, the BSA national office must disconnect itself entirely from the Philadelphia, Boston, and San Francisco Councils. Boy Scout councils around the country must take notice that their entire mission depends on the moral character of the boys and men involved, and that if they sever core principles from the program, they will destroy Scouting entirely.

The pressures from the radical Left must be dealt with as well. As the Left has opened fire on the Scouts, the reaction of Americans has been interesting. Some say the Scouts don't need defending because they are strong. Others argue that ignoring the opposition is the best thing for the Scouts. Perhaps that would be true in a small-scale conflict, but those who lead the drive against the Scouts have proven their capacity for a dangerous perversion of morality, when, in a hundred other scenarios, they've struck deepest when decent Americans either weren't looking or chose not to fight back.

Now is the time for all Americans to turn sullen eyes on Philadelphia. It is time we smell the awful stench that arises from the moral relativism condoned by the Boy Scout Councils in Boston and San Francisco. Now is the time to fight back and defend the Scouts from further damage.

As an Eagle Scout and assistant Scoutmaster, I cannot hide myself in the dark chamber of apathy as my organization is taken over by special interests whose political agenda contributes to the breakdown of character and family. The Boy Scouts have the God-given right to establish standards for their membership, and those standards have been highly respected for over 90 years. Citizens across America have a God-given obligation to ensure that the Boy Scout Oath and Law are upheld for another 90 years.

Hans Zeiger, 18, is an outspoken advocate for Scouting. He is a Seattle Times columnist and chairman of Washington Young Americans for Freedom, email: hanszeiger@yahoo.com. (Edited slightly for space.)

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