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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Roosevelt Island Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony Friday December 7 At Blackwell Plaza - A Wonderful Tradition Of Lights, Songs, Hot Drinks, Family Fun And The Arrival Of Santa

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Acting President Don Lewis reports:
Tree Lighting

We invite you to join us for our annual Tree Lighting event on Friday, December 7th at 7:00 p.m. at Blackwell Plaza. The Main Street Theater and Dance Alliance and children from Roosevelt Island Youth Center will provide entertainment. We also expect Santa Claus to stop by and be available to take pictures. We encourage you to attend and celebrate the holiday season with the Roosevelt Island community.
Take a walk around the lights from the ceremony last year,

You Tube Video of Roosevelt Island Tree Lights

say Hi to Santa

and more from the 2011 Roosevelt Island Tree Lighting Ceremony here.

See you at Blackwell Park on December 7.

Also, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony takes place later today.


Westviewer said...

I hope they drape the lights better than they did last year.

mpresident said...

When will the boyscouts start selling christmas trees? I need one now.

YetAnotherRIer said...

Please don't give any of your money to the Boy Scouts. There is usually a good tree stand across Costco. They are cheaper, too.

mpresident said...

Why wouldn't I buy a tree from the boysouts? I think it is great they are doing someting besides playing video games or doing drugs.
Walking a tree home from costco sounds like the worst/coldest/most uncomfortable idea ever.

YetAnotherRIer said...

Just because of their open anti-gay policies.

Frank Farance said...

YetAnotherRIer, if one of the Island's organizations has its annual fundraiser by selling trees, why should we discourage supporting a neighborhood organization? When the Girl Scouts come selling cookies, will you be the first to post an on-line link to cheaper cookies? When they knock at the door, I'm sure you'll be thrilled to disappoint those little girls' sales efforts with "No Thanks, I can get it cheaper on Amazon with free shipping".

So rather than interact with neighbors with local delivery by Boy Scouts, you''re encouraging others to save a couple bucks, support strangers, and haul it further home. Who knew you were a Scrooge?

(Ebenezer Scrooge is the principal character in Charles Dickens's 1843 novel, A Christmas Carol. At the beginning of the novel, Scrooge is a cold-hearted, tight-fisted and greedy man, who despises Christmas and all things which give people happiness.)

mpresident said...

That is the fault of the administration of the organization, not the kids selling trees. Let them have their camping trip or whatever they do with the money, and protest the scouting organization in another way.

Jesse Webster said...

The administration of BSA has not listened to other forms of protest, so those of us who disagree with their policies have no choice but to vote with our wallets. Money tends to get the attention of non-profit leaders (recall Susan G. Komen for the Cure's experience in re: Planned Parenthood).

The Boy Scouts' anti-gay policies are not only discriminatory against openly gay adults. They are also incredibly damaging to the scouts who might be gay themselves. Even though most of the youngest kids have no idea about their orientation, the older they get the more such anti-gay rhetoric has the potential to negatively affect them. Even years later, the experience can have a terrible impact.

According to Wikipedia (, "Clinical social worker Caitlin Ryan's Family Acceptance Project (California State University, San Francisco) conducted the first study of the effect of family acceptance and rejection on the health, mental health and well-being of LGBT youth, including suicide, HIV/AIDS and homelessness. Their research shows that LGBT youths 'who experience high levels of rejection from their families during adolescence (when compared with those young people who experienced little or no rejection from parents and caregivers) were more than eight times [as] likely to have attempted suicide, more than six times [as] likely to report high levels of depression, more than three times [as] likely to use illegal drugs and more than three times [as] likely to be at high risk for HIV or other STDs' by the time they reach their early 20s."

Beyond the risk to the kids who might be gay, participating in an organization that is openly anti-gay demonstrates a tacit approval of the anti-gay views, even for non-gay kids and even if you as a parent or community member don't share them. This contributes to bullying in schools and in the community in general.

For me, this is enough of a reason to refrain from supporting an organization with openly anti-gay views. I agree with YetAnotherRIer and will not give my money to BSA, and if I had kids I wouldn't allow them to participate in the organization on any level.

YetAnotherRIer said...

Thank you. I agree completely. Unfortunately, the leaders of local chapters do not have the leeway to disagree with the higher ups and "do their own thing" and so the only way to put a stop to this nonsense is to not support the BSA financially. I understand that this should be about the kids but in this case the BSA is not run with the kids in mind.

YetAnotherRIer said...

Yes, Frank, I don't support the BSA because I am a scrooge. Right. Jesse below described ho I personally feel about this organization.

Frank Farance said...

Both you and Jesse misunderstand the nature of a protest: if your complaint doesn't get heard by the people you want to change, then that's a poor protest. I agree with you that the top-level organization has a bad policy, but your protest on the fundraiser only hurts the boys and not the central organization.

The fees that go back to the administration are the $15 annual registration fee and the $20 unit charter fee, which are most likely paid already by the boys. See ""

Here's a sample spreadsheet ("", see third page) from ANOTHER troop with 25 scouts and fundraisers with a total budget of approximately $6600 of which $395 goes back to BSA in registration ($375) and charter ($20) fees. Most of their budget is going for a week long summer camping trip ($4000) plus equipment ($800 for tents, stoves, etc.).

That's what it looks like: very little of their money goes to BSA, which (to take both of your points) is probably why BSA "Central" is insulated against protests.

So not buying Christmas trees has NO PROTEST VALUE and wrecking the fundraising only does harm to the boys *LOCAL* activities. Camping/hiking/skiing trips, etc. are helped by fundraisers, but the money to the administrators are unrelated to fundraisers.

The whole idea of boycotting their fundraiser (1) is misguided, (2) only hurts the boys, (3) has no effect on BSA policy.

Presumably when the military had its Don't Ask Don't Tell policy (which is similar to BSA), you'd feel thankless towards vets and look at closeted soldiers as hypocrites because you disagreed with the national policy at the time, right?

YetAnotherRIer said...

Are you now arguing with us how to protest? Thing is: I am not going to give any BSA troop any of my money. I support organizations that are more aligned with my social and political views.

Frank Farance said...

YetAnotherRIer, you are free to do things as dumb-ly as you want. It is your right. But I'm sure you'd take a different attitude towards recruits/troops/vets during the Don't Ask Don't Tell years. Were you just as dismissive to their causes or friends'/relatives' participation in the military?

You make the naive mistake that you can hold up an large established organization to scrutiny upon a single ideal and there will be no collateral damage, i.e., potential inconsistencies. I would have expected you to understand that kind of mistake somewhere around sophomore year in college.

Jesse Webster said...

When Don't Ask, Don't Tell was in place, I took a similar position with the U.S Military. I tried to convince friends and family not to enlist. A few, including my brothers, enlisted anyway. With DADT, unlike BSA, I didn't have the choice to withhold money directed to the military. But I did have the option to protest the law by voting for politicians who shared my view that it should be repealed, as it ultimately was.

Since BSA is a private organization, and I am not a member, my protests are limited to:

a.) convincing parents not to allow their children to join,

b.) financially supporting organizations that are working to change the BSA policy, like the Human Rights Campaign, and

c.) refusing to financially support the BSA at the national or local levels.

I do these things in hopes that:

a.) participation will be reduced (along with registration and charter fees paid to the national organization) because parents enroll their kids in other organizations because they share my view or because the local chapters are no longer financially capable of providing compelling programming, and ultimately

b.) the national organization will either change its policy or cease to exist.

I think there is greater immediate and long-term harm in allowing kids to participate as members an avowedly anti-gay organization than withholding the local chapter's "camping/hiking/skiing trips, etc." that would be financed by this fundraiser. If you feel differently, and choose to support them, that's your prerogative.

YetAnotherRIer said...

Frank, you are talking to the wrong person. I have always been a critic of the military and not just because of DADT. I don't have any more respect for somebody just because he/she was/is in the military (I, btw, served as well for a while in a different country, though, that does not have a problem with homosexuals).

Jesse is a lot better at explaining this so I am not going to add anything else. It is your choice to support BSA but you have to understand as well that there are plenty who do not.

CheshireKitty said...

But they're light and maneuverable - once they're tied up - all you need is a car, or even a shopping cart or bike. I once (slowly) rode home on my bike with a full-size tree under one arm. They're incredibly light-weight.

CheshireKitty said...

For clarification, the GSA (thankfully) is *not* anti-gay like the BSA!

Here is a blog post entitled "Girl Scouts differ from Boy Scouts in gay policy" that provides information on BSA vs GSA policies re gays:

mpresident said...

Ok, I'll go buy a car just to get a christmas tree. Makes sense. (also does not make sense for me to buy a bike or a shopping cart for this purpose).

I just wanted to know the tree selling schedule!!

CheshireKitty said...

No, what you need is a pick-up. This way you can both transport the tree and fit in with the "white people" in the red states, where you belong.

mpresident said...

That's just mean and uncalled for.

Realize that you were previously arguing that we NEED a hardware store because people can't get off the island, and you now seem to think that everyone has a car and can freely get places in Queens to cary big objects.

Make up your mind, form a solid opinion and stop being caddy. Sounds like a Romney fan to me.

Frank Farance said...

mpresident, I agree: CheshireKitty is a hypocrite. Her Buy Local on the hardware store was loud, but not when it comes to boy scouts, our own youth.

Frank Farance said...

Just spoke to Geof Kerr, head of boy scouts. Trees on sale Fri Dec 7. According to Mr. Kerr, Greater New York Council of boy scouts has non-discrimination policy, different from the national organization. He said it's a non-issue, there is no discrimination against gays. He also told me he has refused to receive awards at a national level in protest of the policy of the national organization. His primary concern is doing this as a service to our community.

Westviewer said...

Ah, yes,Kitty. We can always count on you to turn any discussion into a paranoid, racist rant.

YetAnotherRIer said...

Of course he would say that. It still is a DADT culture and openly gay people will never be able to get a leadership position within the BSA here in NYC or anywhere else. The meaning of the boy scout oath has been formally defined over and over by leadership and how can a local council say that they don't mean it that way? How much power does the local council have when the upper echelons of the BSA start looking at them more closely? Pretty much none, right?

Jesse Webster said...

The "non-discrimination statement" is below:

"The Greater New York Councils, Boy Scouts of America is in business to help all children in the five boroughs of New York City. As the most diverse youth organization in the most diverse community in the country, we are committed to this mission and we oppose any form of unlawful discrimination. All of our members repeatedly pledge to respect all people and defend the rights of others. Prejudice, intolerance and unlawful discrimination in any form are unacceptable within the ranks of the Greater New York Councils, Boy Scouts of America."

The statement sounds nice and inclusive. However, in practice, New York's and New Jersey's councils have had a policy of denying membership to individuals who have had their membership revoked by the national organization. Since the national policy is to deny membership to openly gay individuals, the above statement is effectively meaningless and completely inapplicable to gay members.

As a side note, it is not "unlawful discrimination" for this private organization to deny membership to gay people. Therefore, this statement does not condemn discrimination against gays.

Frank Farance said...

YetAnotherRIer, I can't see how you can read Gay Discrimination into the Scout Oath:

Scout Oath (or Promise)

On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.

Scout Law

A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly,
courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty,
brave, clean, and reverent.

YetAnotherRIer, I restate my point: You make the naive mistake that you hold up any large established
organization to scrutiny upon a single ideal and presume there will be no
collateral damage, i.e., potential inconsistencies. Really, you can't look past some policy that doesn't affect scouts here and the City? And you feel so strongly about it that, rather than just not buying from our local scouts, you want to actively discourage others from buying?

This is sort of an Ed Koch moment (one of the few things the mayor did wrong where everyone agreed): A bunch of Russian(?) school kids were visiting the Mayor's Office and, instead of being gracious, he decided to vent about some Cold War issue of that day and he took it out on the kids, essentially, blaming them for the country they came from. Truly upsetting.

Jesse Webster said...

Discrimination is baked right into the oath. The words "morally straight," included in the oath you quoted, are the foundation upon which the BSA has based its discriminatory policy regarding gays. The organization specifically interprets "morally straight" to exclude openly gay individuals from membership. Its position is that gays, by virtue of their orientation, can't be good role models for children.

YetAnotherRIer said...

The official stance of the BSA to discriminate against homosexuals lies in these two loaded words: "morally straight." I am not making this up. The BSA leadership has officially acknowledged this in the past multiple times.

Now, what's actually more important is how much protection can the local council extend to its members to fight of policies coming down the ranks? What are the chances for an openly gay BSA member in NYC to climb up the leadership ladder? Do they really have the same opportunities? Or does this all stop at "the kids are having fun, they go camping, they know how to tie knots, and they are morally straight."

One last word: as it was spotted correctly by Jesse, the discrimination is not unlawful. It may even be "morally straight" for some people. For me it is a reason not to support the BSA, no matter what lower ranked leaders try to make us believe.

CheshireKitty said...

I'm not the one who commented about how all the "white people" left Camden because of the crack dens. That was mpresident. If he feels Camden declined because all the "white people" left, then he should be in a red state with all the "white people". This is a diverse state, with plenty of black people, Hispanic people, and people of all colors. Crack users are locked up no matter what their color. The reason Camden declined is a lot more complex than the fact that crime and drugs proliferated and drove out the "white people" - as if white people are the only reason cities succeed, which is what mpresident seems to be implying.

CheshireKitty said...

Oh, I'm so sorry... really sorry that I exist if it's offended you in some way... I apologize for occupying the same island as you... and that I have a car.. Oyvei, oyvei, oyvei ist mir! Your above comment is not even worth an answer - but, yes, you should get a red-neck style truck; that'd be perfect for you and your tree...

CheshireKitty said...

I had no idea the BSA discriminated against gays until it was brought up on this blog. I always *thought* the BSA was a bit of a crypto-fascist organization - started to inculcate military-style values in youth, so I can't say I was ever pro-BSA. OTOH, if someone wanted to join the BSA, my thinking was, it's a free country, let them, what do I care? Now that I've found out they kick out gay youth and don't hire gays, I really don't like the BSA!

Also - if the GSA welcomes gay, lesbian, transgender etc., members and employees, *and* has also removed the word "God" from its oath, thus making it possible for atheists, agnostics, Hindus, and Buddhists to join and fully recite the oath, why can't the BSA do the same? I'd certainly continue buying GS cookies from GS but would not buy a tree from a BS.

Isn't discrimination against gays in employment against the law? The same law should be upheld in the BSA! Not only that, it should be part of BSA policy to teach members tolerance and acceptance of gay youth as an integral part of BSA teaching to fight prejudice based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, etc. I don't care how many knots you can tie or grannies you help across the street - if you can't accept people as they are, gay or straight, young or old, disabled or able, white, black, Asian, or Latino; Jewish, atheist or Catholic, - then all your Merit Badges aren't worth a hill of beans.

Frank Farance said...

CheshireKitty, you're insane: no one made that comment, it's only you with your bigoted/racist angle on many posts: "how all the 'white people' left Camden because of the crack dens". And you're wrong about "Crack users are locked up no matter what their color": that has been a big problem in that those locked up were disproportionally black, and comparing blacks vs. whites, blacks had much longer sentences. There has been much interest in reforming the laws in this area.

Jesse Webster said...

In 1991, the BSA published a position statement on homosexuality, which stated in part:

"We believe that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the requirements in the Scout Oath that a Scout be morally straight and in the Scout Law that a Scout be clean in word and deed, and that homosexuals do not provide a desirable role model for Scouts."

This position has been reaffirmed several times over the past twenty years, in statements that are worded slightly differently, but mean the same thing.

In this case, the word "straight" obviously does not refer to sexual orientation, as you simplistically asserted above. In its interpretation of "morally straight" vis-a-vis homosexuality, the organization implies that being homosexual is amoral, and explicitly stating that homosexuals are are not desirable role models.

You said, "I can't imagine that we're telling Cub/Boy Scouts: by making this promise, they are agreeing not to be homosexual." It may be true (although it's arguable, with an organization that publishes statements against homosexuals) that the BSA is not EXPLICITLY stating telling kids they can't be gay.

But implicitly, kids who grow up participating in the BSA learn that homosexuality is amoral and inconsistent with "clean speech or actions."

The national policy excludes openly gay people from membership, so a scout could not both a.) come out of the closet and b.) remain a member of the BSA.

The organization forces adolescents who may discover they are gay to remain in the closet in order to remain active in scouting, and worse, it condemns them as amoral and unclean.

And the organization also teaches kids who aren't gay that gays are "others" who are amoral and unclean.

This type of culture is precisely what causes anti-gay bullying in schools, and pushes a disproportionate number of gay youth to attempt (and often succeed) at suicide.

You talk about focusing on and protesting one issue and the collateral damage that can accompany such single-mindedness. I would argue that ignoring this single issue has the potential to cause much more far-reaching and certainly more damaging collateral damage by allowing kids to participate in -- and propagate -- a culture that reinforces anti-gay myths and stereotypes at a time when gay youth are most vulnerable, and all youth are most impressionable.

Ratso123 said...

The Boy Scouts of America has reaffirmed its longtime policy of barring openly gay boys from membership and gay or lesbian adults from serving as leaders. The decision, announced on Tuesday, came after what the organization described as a wide-ranging internal review, and despite public protests
The exclusion policy “reflects the beliefs and perspectives” of the organization, the Boy Scouts said in a news release from its headquarters in Irving, Tex.

The 2 paragraphs above are from the New York Times of July 12,,2012. It is apparent that the Boy Scouts discriminate. The origin of their discrimination can be argued, but the fact that they do discriminate cannot.

Frank Farance said...

Ratso123, maybe you missed the other points. The Greater New York Council does not. I confirmed that with Mr. Kerr.

Jesse Webster said...

Frank, you're willfully ignoring my points regarding the Greater New York Council. Their policy is superseded by the national organization.

CheshireKitty said...

Typical of Frank, Jesse: You can't argue with him - even if you're right, he'll never admit it. Folks, may I suggest we all move on from this topic? Frank supports the BSA although the BSA is anti-gay; evidently there is no argument that can change Frank's mind. Wait a few minutes and he'll start calling you, Jesse, a bigot or a dimwit because you are don't understand or support his point of view. BTW, does anybody know if RI's local Scout troupe receives funding from RIOC?

mpresident said...

"White flight" is a common term for the economic and social reasons for the decline of many urban areas in the 1960s. While I would agree that as a term it oversimplifies the complex socioeconomic reasons for the decline of an urban area, it is very widely used, especially in relation to Camden. I suggest you read a book about it.

mpresident said...

I'm actually more in the market for a hanukah bush, which is why I was hoping to have one before next weekend. Alas, no luck.

CheshireKitty said...

When is Hanukah this year?

mpresident said...

It starts on Saturday night. Oying all over the place, I thought you would know.

CheshireKitty said...

The decline had started before the 60s and the race riots. It started even before the war. Development interest had shifted to the suburbs along with freeway construction and car culture. The race riots only accelerated the population decline that was already occurring. Many of the middle-class of any race had already left decaying cities before the 60s.

CheshireKitty said...

No, I didn't keep track of it this year. But thanks for letting us know. So, Happy Hanukah!

Ratso123 said...

I didn't miss any of the points. The Boy Scouts of America discriminate. If you are under their umbrella, then you are a part of it. If you are saying that the New York Council is not really part of the National Organization, then just say it. It can't be both ways.

Frank Farance said...

Ratso123, if you carefully read how the local council implements this, you'll see that it is possible to get different implementations of the same policy: one that discriminates and the other that (in a practical way) does not discriminate. It's the art of being a clever bureaucrat: just like Attorney General Holder not defending the Defense of Marriage Act.

Ratso123 said...

You are deluding yourself. The BSA discriminates, no matter how the people you know get around it. Why be a member of an organization that has practices and rules you don't agree with? I apologize to CheshireKitty for not ending this before.(This may be a duplicate post).

Frank Farance said...

Ratso123, there's a very simple explanation: in life, we do many things that are not Ideal, but rewarding. The adult thing to do is to understand how to strike a balance that involves competing/conflicting ideals. In this case, I look at what's being done: our local youth are raising money that will go towards their own (local) adventures, which are worthy. Their money is not going towards supporting the national association. Locally, both in the troop and in NYC, there is a non discrimination policy. And it sounds like they have been able to finesse it in a way that meets the needs of their local NYC constituents.

I became a Catholic recently. There are points I disagree with, such as the lack of women priests, and the Church's position on conception, to name just a few. But there are many positives: as I hyper-rational intellectual/scientist, I've found that going to Mass every weekend stimulates my mind, it's something I've discovered I enjoy. I made a decision As An Adult (rather then a legacy of childhood) to become Catholic. Sure, I can think "The day the Pope finesses an acceptance birth control (and, thus, addressing global population growth) he will an international hero", but that probably won't happen in my lifetime. Still, it's nice to hope for, and it's consistent with the Bible, but not to the present Catholic Church.

Getting back to boy scouts, it's something I'd want my son to join because the troop here seems to have things right (better than what I had as a boy) ... and the whole discrimination/etc. stuff and national organizations seem far away from the mind of our youth, far away from where the money will go (local), and far away from its purpose (for our own youth).

Thus, I conclude, the money spent on trees/bushes/etc. for their fundraiser will help them locally, AND the lack of giving money will have no effect on the policy of the national organization (i.e., no protest value).

Ratso123, maybe we see similar things, but just arrive at different conclusions.

CheshireKitty said...

Indeed, mpresident referred to "white people" and "white flight" on another thread.

Here's what he said: mpresident Frank Farance • 2 days ago−
"Differences between Roosevelt Island and Camden, NJ:
- We have less crack dens
- We have more white people (ie we did not have a tremendous white flight in the early 60s leading to an influx of poverty and crack dens)
- All of my hubcaps were taken from my car in Camden, NJ."

The link to the thread is here

Sorry if everyone got confused by my trying to simultaneously reply to 2 posts by mpresident on 2 separate threads in one answer. I thought my answer was rather good - minimal but effective. Nonetheless, there's always a chance I misread mpresident's remarks as something other than humorous - which is what I would like to believe he intended them to be...

CheshireKitty said...

It has nothing to do with buying local or buying in Queens or having a car or not having a car - and both you Frank and mpresident know it. Do not side-track the discussion. It has everything to do with not supporting an anti-gay organization. For those of us on RI without a car who do not want to buy their holiday tree from the BSA - (currently) the only ones in town selling trees - obviously they have a problem. Maybe we can convince some enterprising individual to sell trees at the Farmer's Market the next 3 Saturdays as an alternative to the BSA. Just as we have food trucks to give us dining alternatives, we could have a tree truck to give us a tree-buying alternative!

Ratso123 said...

I am not saying that you shouldn't make up your own mind and strike your own balance. I am not even suggesting that anyone not buy Christmas trees from the BSA. But what I am saying is don't try to justify your decisions by denying the reality that they are an overtly discriminatory organization and that some people object to doing business with organizations that discriminate. Your views are your own. If the BSA policies don't bother you then they don't.. Don't try to convince me that their policies shouldn't bother me and that somehow your beliefs are more valid than mine.

Frank Farance said...

Ratso123, I didn't say your beliefs were less valid than mine. However, they might be more inconsistent, less informed, or incorrectly formed, but that doesn't seem to bother you.

Do you think the US government does everything right? (Probably not.) Are their US laws or court interpretations you disagree with? (Probably.) Do you use the US Postal Service? (Yes.) Have you ever driven a car or been driven in a car? (Yes.) So why is using the postal service acceptable? And why is using a car (which pays Federal taxes on the gasoline it uses) that funds the US government acceptable? Sure you have beliefs, but there's inconsistencies, right? Can you explain your inconsistencies?

Jesse Webster said...

Frank, you're the one with inconsistent, less informed and incorrectly formed beliefs.

The fact is the BSA is a discriminatory organization.

The Greater New York Council has a non-discrimination policy that was implemented as a cynical move to appease the United Way, which was refusing to provide financial support to state organization because of its discriminatory policies. The New Jersey Council has the same non-discrimination policy, implemented for the same reason (to appease the United Way and preserve funding).

You are simply incorrect in your assertion that the state non-discrimination policy makes the national policy a non-issue.

In New Jersey, which again has the same non-discrimination policy, volunteers have been excluded and scouts have had their memberships revoked based on sexual orientation. This is because a gay scout or volunteer who reveals his sexual orientation has his national membership revoked, and thus is ineligible for state membership.

Unlike the United States Government, where our ability to reform institutions is manifest as a right to vote, one is not obligated by law to participate in or financially support the Boy Scouts.

You have a choice whether to support the BSA or not. You can choose another organization in which to enroll your child. You can choose not to support fundraisers that help perpetuate a local organization that discriminates against gays.

Instead, you're choosing to support the BSA, and to explain away its discriminatory policies as tertiary to the organization as a whole. Don't pretend that supporting the BSA is somehow a more enlightened position. You're simply choosing to ignore blatant discrimination, and as I've said previously, that's your prerogative.

Frank Farance said...

Jesse, I don't believe you've carefully read my points. Essentially, the Greater NYC council has finessed this by limiting its approach on enforcing this bad policy. As an analogy, if the national policy is to toss members who wear Blue Shirts, but the local policy is for everyone to wear blindfolds and to not talk about shirt color, then (effectively) you've neutered the policy. It seems that the Greater NYC is not interested in enforcing this policy.

However, if you do something that announces to the world that You're Gay, then the national organization might revoke your membership. Note that there is no requirement on a local or national level to discuss sexual identity, and sexual conduct (and presumably its discussion) is not what scouts are about ... this seems clear from their policy.

So you're right that it is possible to raise the awareness at a national level, but at a local level They're Not Interested and there is no mandate to discuss one's sexual identity.

Sure, I don't like the national policy, but I look to the value/effect of my potential protest action (that you suggest). There are lots of things to protest, and there are lots of things to participate in. I just don't go looking for a cause to protest.

As I said before, I look at the potential positive impact of the protest (none, because the money just goes local), and I look at the potential negative impact of the protest (our local youth will have less funding to do worthwhile activities). Meanwhile, I look locally and don't see any discrimination because, I've heard, gay youth have already participated in our Roosevelt Island group without discrimination (contrary to your reports of "blatant discrimination"). Thus, my "enlightened" thinking is: the scale weighs heavily in favor of No Protest On Buying Christmas Trees / Chanukah Bushes. And, with your inspiration, I'll write a letter to BSA
protesting their policy.

Jesse Webster said...

Yes, there's "no mandate to discuss one's sexual identity." But there is a mandate NOT to discuss one sexual identity, that is biased against gays.