Sunday, February 03, 2013

Boy Scouts of the USA considering retreat from no-homosexuals policy; unit sponsors could set membership rules

Homosexuality has been acceptable among Scouts in Canada for a long time.  The USA has three times the Scout membership per head that Canada has.  Enough said?  A big expansion of the Boys' Brigade might be forthcoming in the USA.  They normally are church-associated

Ironically,  it seems pretty clear that Baden-Powell (founder of the Scouts) was a homosexual  -- though maybe a repressed one.  He didn't marry until he was 55, got headaches when he had to sleep with his wife  -- etc. 

I never liked what I saw of the Scouts, never joined them and never sent my son to them.  The only youth organization I ever joined was the "Presbyterian Fellowship of Australia", which met at my local church.  I still have and value my old PFA badge.  Those were good times

The Boy Scouts of America may soon give sponsors of troops the authority to decide whether to accept gays as scouts and leaders — a potentially dramatic retreat from an exclusionary nationwide policy that has provoked relentless protests.

Under the change now being discussed, the different religious and civic groups that sponsor Scout units would be able to decide for themselves how to address the issue — either maintaining an exclusion of gays, as is now required of all units, or opening up their membership.

Gay-rights activists were elated at the prospect of change, sensing another milestone to go along with recent advances for same-sex marriage and the end of the ban on gays serving openly in the military.

However, Southern Baptist leaders — who consider homosexuality a sin — were furious about the possible change and said its approval might encourage Southern Baptist churches to support other boys’ organizations instead of the BSA.

Monday’s announcement of the possible change comes after years of protests over the no-gays policy — including petition campaigns that have prompted some corporations to suspend donations to the Boy Scouts.

Under the proposed change, said BSA spokesman Deron Smith, “the Boy Scouts would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units, members, or parents.”

Smith said the change could be announced as early as next week, after BSA’s national board concludes a regularly scheduled meeting on Feb. 6. The meeting will be closed to the public.

The BSA, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2010, has long excluded both gays and atheists. Smith said a change in the policy toward atheists was not being considered, and that the BSA continued to view “Duty to God” as one of its basic principles.

Protests over the no-gays policy gained momentum in 2000, when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the BSA’s right to exclude gays. Scout units lost sponsorships by public schools and other entities that adhered to nondiscrimination policies, and several local Scout councils made public their displeasure with the policy.

More recently, pressure surfaced on the Scouts’ own national executive board. Two high-powered members — Ernst & Young CEO James Turley and AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson — indicated they would try to work from within to change the membership policy, which stood in contrast to their own companies’ non-discrimination policies.

Amid petition campaigns, shipping giant UPS Inc. and drug-manufacturer Merck announced that they were halting donations from their charitable foundations to the Boy Scouts as long as the no-gays policy was in force.

Also, local Scout officials drew widespread criticism in recent months for ousting Jennifer Tyrrell, a lesbian mom, as a den leader of her son’s Cub Scout pack in Ohio and for refusing to approve an Eagle Scout application by Ryan Andresen, a California teen who came out as gay last fall.


Reality takes a holiday among the anti-Israel Left

Inauguration weekend has come and gone, and with it the preceding "No Blank Check for Israel" rally on Saturday, January 19, 2013. Rally participants first assembled in Farragut Square to hear various speakers and then marched through adjoining streets to Pennsylvania Avenue between Lafayette Square and the White House where President Barack Obama two days later reviewed the inauguration parade. The central demand of the rally was to "condition" American aid to Israel upon respect for human rights. Although presented in terms of human rights, the rally's speakers and participants cast grave doubts on the willingness of Arabs in the Middle East to make peace with a Jewish state of Israel now having survived over 60 years of conflict.

An amateur video of the rally available online (I appear viewed from behind at 6:00 wearing a light blue sweater and khaki slacks) clearly indicates the participants' sentiments towards Israel. The master of ceremonies for the event, Radio Rahim, for example, condemned American support for Israeli "war crimes" perpetrated against "innocent, defenseless people" as well as, for good measure, "genocide." Rahim later warmed up the crowd with chants of "No to the dark side, no to apartheid." Rahim suggested that American support for such Israeli "apartheid" flowed naturally from an America founded upon racism in which a "racist ideology still works through the veins of the system." Continuing this racism meme two days before the Martin Luther King holiday, one of the event speakers, Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), cast American-financed Israeli security policies in terms of a "triplet of evil" of racism, poverty, and militarism opposed by King. Although Bennis described Israeli "apartheid" as distinct from its infamous South African namesake, Israel still deserved this appellation, as there "people who are Jews are privileged" and both cases "are in violation of international law."

Also making an appearance accompanied by his wife Cindy was Craig Corrie, the father of Rachel Corrie, who died on March 16, 2003, when an Israeli army bulldozer crushed her while she protested the destruction of Palestinian homes (the Israeli military and judiciary have ruled the killing accidental, not intentional, as alleged by the Corries). Corrie compared sending military aid to Israel in the name of peace as "making about as much sense as sending four cases of beer to a fraternity to encourage sobriety." An introductory webpage for the website of the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace & Justice founded by her parents, meanwhile, describes Israel in terms of "apartheid" as well.

Other speakers were universally hostile to Israel and its continued American aid. Rev. Graylan Hagler of Washington, DC's Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ condemned that there had been a "silence for too long" while "business machinery" continued "to grind down the hopes of people" in the Palestinian territories as a "corporate press" looked away. While Martin Luther King, meanwhile, "had a dream, Obama has a drone." Philip Farah of the Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace (WIAMEP) said that the rally was about "people who do not know how to say no to war." In case anyone was confused by the rally's message, Najla Said, the daughter of Edward Said, declared that the "facts are simple" in the Arab-Israeli conflict while comparing civilian casualties during Israeli military action to the Newtown, Connecticut, shooting. Rahim as well stated during one of his "dark side" chants that "apartheid here is Israel, just in case you didn't know."

Examination of the crowd indicated that they would be receptive to the speakers. Copies of the Socialist Worker were available for the taking on a handout table. One sign held by a rally participant called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a "war criminal" while another sign listing the internet address of Occupy AIPAC declared "America First, Not Israel." One individual wore a National Lawyers Guild hat while someone from the other side of the political spectrum wore a Ron Paul button. Members of Code Pink, one of the event's organizers, were also present in their trademark color.

Shelley Fudge from the DC chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, another event supporter, spoke of Israeli "Judiazation" of Jerusalem, prompting one rally participant to cry out "Arianization." During the march to the White House, the demonstrators chanted "Viva Palestina/Long live Palestine" along with "Free, Free Palestine" and "Resistance is justified when people are occupied."

Personal interviews with rally participants during the march and on Pennsylvania Avenue did nothing to change impressions of the rally. Asked about an average annual American aid of $2 billion since the 1979 peace with Israel to Egypt, the second largest American aid recipient after Israel, for example, one Palestinian-American noted that Egypt's much larger population meant that Egyptians per capita received much less aid than Israelis. Left out of this reply, though, was any understanding of the American interest in such aid, as opposed to that of the recipients. Indeed, as David Meir-Levy has analyzed in various online articles at FrontPage Magazine, America reaps many benefits from aid to Israel, in contrast to the more questionable merit of aid bestowed on many Muslim-majority nations such as Egypt. Discussions of per capita international aid to Palestinians being significantly larger than the post-World War II Marshall Plan in Europe, meanwhile, merely brought the response that the Palestinians had nothing to show for this aid not because of Palestinian misuse but because of Israeli destruction.

Most surprisingly, rally participants seemed to question the very existence of Israel. Another Palestinian-American participant in the march rejected any reference to Jews as a people with a historic homeland in Israel, seeing them merely as diverse adherents of a religion scattered across the world who had imposed themselves as foreigners upon an Arab territory. My initial Palestinian-American conversation partner described Zionism as a "fanatical religious movement" that supposedly disrupted a tolerant, multi-faith Middle East and provoked in turn the development of militant Islam. Accordingly, these Palestinian-Americans as well as other participants in the march found nothing shocking in my references to the May 27, 2010, statements by the Lebanese-American journalist Helen Thomas that Israel's Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine" and "go home" to Germany and Poland.

The overall result of the rally was to leave a pessimistic impression upon any objective observer concerning future prospects for Arab-Israeli peace. All rally participants showed no reservation about demonizing Israel with comparisons to German Nazism, American racism, and, of course, South African apartheid. Yet as the pro-Israeli Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) has documented in detail, many allegations of Israeli mistreatment of Palestinian Arabs both within and without Israel are unsubstantiated.

The reality of Israeli-Arabs in particular, Karsh's colleague Daniel Pipes discovered in Israel, is that they are "intensely conflicted about living in a Jewish polity." While these Arabs resent the inherently Jewish nature of Israel expressed, for example, in a Jewish "Law of Return" allowing global Jewish immigration at will in Israel, they appreciate the domestic peace and prosperity of Israel's free society in which Arabs have obtained considerable societal success as equal citizens. In the end, Karsh notes that Israeli-Arabs "enjoy more formal prerogatives than ethnic minorities anywhere else in the world." Consequently, Israeli-Arabs "immediately voice their indignation" when Israeli policymakers suggest transferring Israeli-Arab towns to any new Palestinian state as part of a peace agreement involving Israeli-Palestinian territorial exchange. Palestinians living in East Jerusalem who enjoy Israeli social benefits and unhindered travel throughout Israel also show a preference for becoming Israeli, and not Palestinians, citizens in the future.

Such factual nuances apparently did not disturb the demonstrators in Farragut Square, who had clear black/white understandings of Jewish perpetrators and Arab victims. Although many in the crowd would claim to limit their opposition to Israel to nonviolent means analogous to those used by the mainstream global anti-apartheid movement in the past, the crowds' sentiments would not rule out a group like Hamas resorting to force against Israel. While Israeli uses of force always incited condemnations of "genocide", "ethnic cleansing", "war crimes", and "terrorism" from various rally participants, no one appeared to recognize any terrorism on the part of Arab forces in the region. While crowd participants complained about aid to Israel, they seemed to have no reservations about aid to terrorism-supporting groups like Hamas and the PA or the now MB-dominated Egyptian government.

Such views went in tandem with an abiding rejection of Israel's legitimacy as a free Jewish nation-state even after over 60 years of its successful existence despite all adversity. If people in Washington, DC, supported by 15 left-leaning Christian organizations, can hold such views, the Arabs in the region must have even more negative opinions of Israel. Future peace prospects for Israel must be bleak.


Whose Welfare?

Thomas Sowell

If there is ever a contest for the law with the most grossly misleading title, the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 should be a prime candidate, because the last thing this Act protects is the welfare of Indian children.

The theory behind the Indian Child Welfare Act is that an American Indian child should be raised in an American Indian culture.

Based on that theory, a newborn baby of American Indian ancestry, who was adopted immediately after birth by a white couple, was at 27 months of age taken away from the only parents she has ever known and given to her father.

Apparently the tribe has rights under the Indian Child Welfare Act. If this child were of any other race, a court would be free to decide the case on the basis of whatever was in the best interests of the child. Instead, the child is treated almost as property, contrary to the 13th Amendment that outlawed slavery.

Fortunately, the legal issues growing out of this case are now before the Supreme Court of the United States. We can only hope that the justices will use their wisdom, instead of their cleverness, to decide this case.

Solomon’s wisdom provided a good example many centuries ago, in a case where two women each claimed to be the mother of a child and each demanded custody. Since he did not know who was the real mother, King Solomon said that he would cut the child in half and give each mother her half.

When one of the women dropped her claim, in order to spare the child's life, he knew that she was the real mother. Anyone who would ruin a helpless child's life, in order to assert their own legal prerogatives, or to protect the tribe's turf, raises very serious questions about what kind of parent they are.

The question is not which home is better, but whether the child will ever feel secure in any home again, after the shock of being forcibly taken away.

The welfare of a flesh-and-blood human being should trump theories about cultures -- especially in the case of a two-year-old child, who has been torn away from the only parents she has ever known, and treated as a pawn in a legalistic game.

This little girl is just the latest in a long line of Indian children who have been ripped out of the only family they have ever known and given to someone who is a stranger to them, often living on an Indian reservation that is foreign to them. This has happened even to children who have spent a decade or more with a family to which they have become attached and is attached to them.

There have already been too many scenes of weeping and frightened children, crying out in vain for the only mother and father they have known, as they are forcibly dragged away.

Whatever the merits or demerits of various theories about culture, they are still just theories. But too many people put their pet theories ahead of flesh-and-blood human beings.

One of the rationales for the Indian Child Welfare Act is that, in the past, Indian children were wantonly wrested from their Indian parents and sent off to be raised by non-Indians. But nothing we can do today can undo the wrongs of the past -- especially not by creating the same wrongs again, in reverse.

While those who are most victimized by the so-called Indian Child Welfare Act are the children ripped out of their homes to satisfy some theory, they are not the only victims.

Indian children without biological parents to take care of them can be needlessly left in institutional care, when there are not enough Indian foster parents or adoptive parents to take them into their homes.

The Alice in Wonderland legal situation can hardly encourage non-Indian families to take care of these children, when that can so easily lead to heartbreak for both the children themselves and the surrogate parents who have become attached to them.

The New York Times reports that fewer than 2 percent of the children in Minnesota are Indian, but 15 percent of the children in that state's foster care system are Indian. In Montana, 9 percent of the children are Indian, but Indian children make up 37 percent of the children in foster care.

What a price to pay for a theory!


Australia: Hate speech warning as Dutch MP Geers Wilders faces protests

Hatred of Mr Wilders will certainly be on display

CONTROVERSIAL anti-Islamic Dutch MP Geers Wilders will face protests from Muslims and others in Melbourne next month.

The Baillieu Government has also warned that Mr Wilders could fall foul of the state's hate speech laws if he incites tensions.

Mr Wilders had been due to visit Australia last year but had to postpone the trip following delays in processing his visa.

He opposes the "Islamisation" of the Netherlands and has called for the banning of the Koran, which he equates with Adolf Hitler's autobiography Mein Kampf.

Mr Wilders was invited to Australia by a nationalist group called the Q Society.  A meeting is planned for Melbourne on February 19, and there are appearance dates in Sydney and Perth.

Islamic Friendship Association president Keysar Trad said he had been approached by Leftist groups about protests against the Right-wing politician.

Q Society spokesman Andrew Horwood said details of meetings would be released with only 48 hours' notice, for security reasons.  "We feel strongly that as a democracy we can't not talk about things because of the threat of violence," he said.

Mr Horwood said Islam was unlike any other religion, and his organisation was concerned that Australia, like Europe, was changing as Muslim numbers grew.

Victorian Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship Minister Nick Kotsiras said Mr Wilders had the right to free speech, subject to the state's racial and religious vilification laws.

Mr Wilders' Party for Freedom won 10 per cent of the vote at the Netherlands' last election in September.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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