Below you will find the response from the President of South Florida Council of the Boy Scouts of America to the United Way. I thought you might want to read it.
Subject: RE: United Way Crisis
Gentlemen & Ladies:
Let me add my voice to the chorus, to the extent you have not already heard our side of the issues about Miami-Dade United Way.
The United Way continues to try to deceive the community, including its large donors, by a series of very disingenuous claims. The facts are that United Way broke its compact with the people of Miami-Dade and especially the contributors to the United Way.
First they claimed there was an "agreement" brokered by United Way between the South Florida Council and SAVE Dade (the gay rights group) that we broke.
When we said there was no agreement and if there was one, "show it to us," they then backpedaled and said we "agreed" to add certain sensitivity training to our program by participating in a news conference in the summer of 2001 in which United Way claimed that it had obtained "progress made through the "common ground" process."
We have never, ever agreed to allow others to dictate our program and its content, including our training of our leaders!
What the United Way and SAVE Dade wanted was for us to agree to require our adult leaders to undergo "sensitivity" training that specifically covered what to do when a youth member told the leader that he or she had some questions about their sexuality and/or sexual orientation.
We already train our leaders to deal with a variety of issues that may arise, and some of those issues (such as sexual issues) mandate that our adult leaders refrain from substantive involvement and simply refer the children to their parents and religious leaders. But that was not good enough.
They wanted us to refer youths who raise such questions to, among others, organizations known to promote or act as advocates for homosexual activities and "lifestyle."
We have told the United Way that sex and sexual issues are not a part of our program, and we have more than enough to occupy our training time with youth protection, safety afloat, safe swim defense, the Scout Oath, the Scout Law, Scoutcraft, etc.
Aside from the fact that we, as the South Florida Council, are not in a position to modify, add to, or subtract from, the Scouting program, probably the last thing we would ever be interested in doing would be to add any type of sex education or training to the Scouting program.
We continue to respect differences and always encourage our members to respect differences and to teach tolerance for differing views. But that answer was not good enough for the United Way.
But it was good enough for United Way to send us a letter in mid-2002, about 1 year after the famous press conference that the United Way radicals claim embodied our "agreement," formally extending their funding to us of nearly $500,000 through June 30, 2004, and requiring us to sign and return a copy of their letter (which we did) evidencing the "extension of our contracts" (their words in the letter from one of their board members who is a lawyer) with UW.
The United Way radicals fail to address the fact that their own agency agreements prohibit a variety of types of discrimination, with which we comply, but further states as to "sexual orientation" only that the United Way "strongly recommends" (but does not require) that its agencies not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. In other words, it is not in our agency contract with United Way that we (or any other agency) must refrain from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.
The United Way radicals also fail to address the fact that at least two other UW agencies, which receive from UW significantly larger funding than we were receiving, are believed to "discriminate" against the participation in their programs of openly avowed homosexuals, but they are not being "defunded." When I personally pointed this out to Harve Mogul, the UW Executive Director (who, incidentally, admitted that he lied to us about the fateful UW board meeting at which we were to be defunded because, as he later said, he was required to do so by his "handlers"), he admitted that what I said was true. However, in the face of his subsequent admissions that he, in effect, lies when told to do so by the UW Board radicals, who can believe anything he now says or said then?
They should be ashamed of themselves.
If we were to allow others, including United Way, to dictate any aspect of our program, what would come next after sexual identity sensitivity training? Perhaps some of them will think we are being too hard on our Scouts by requiring that they complete 21 merit badges for Eagle Scout rank and that a boy who does not complete his Eagle service project will be scarred for life by remaining a Life for life- perhaps their committee of radicals should tell us how we should run our advancement program, or how to tie knots or pitch tents the politically correct way, etc.
It severely strain credulity to think that Scouting, which fought for the right to uphold its own principles as a private organization all the way to the US Supreme Court, would reach any type of "agreement" with a local bunch of politically correct radicals to change our national training program to conform with what they thought we should be doing.
We have not sold out, and we will not sell out. Our values are timeless and they are not for sale at any price!
We had a contract with United Way for funding through June 30, 2004, and we planned and set our program and budget in reliance on the expectation that we would receive that funding since the UW campaign does not begin until this coming Fall. We have not broken any of our agreements with the United Way- it is they who have broken their agreements with us.
The money that the United Way will be distributing after June 30 of this year will consist of, at least in large part, money that UW raised in the past, using our good name with contributors as one of the agencies that would receive funding from their gifts.
If UW told us that they would not consider extending our contract and funding after June 30 of next year, we would have been disappointed but we could have planned accordingly.
What they have done is simple- they have broken their contracts with us, they have obtained money from contributors under the pretense that we would be among the agencies benefiting from their contributions, and they have allowed their Board to be hijacked by a small but vocal group of radicals, who have no tolerance for views that differ from theirs and who certainly could not allow themselves to be constrained by contractual obligations and due process.
They should be ashamed of themselves, but as I believe you may suspect, they have no shame.
These are the people who are now apparently in control of the Miami-Dade United Way, and it vital that you understand the issues so that you can discuss them intelligently with UW contributors you know and might be able to influence.
Please keep in mind that even if a UW contributor specifically designates the "South Florida Council Boy Scouts" to receive the benefit of its contribution, the UW can take a significant "administrative fee" off the top before they remit the contribution to us. Therefore, if someone you know wants to give to us and for us to get the full benefit of their contribution, let them give to us directly.
South Florida Council will be running a large ad in The Miami Herald this coming Thursday in an effort to set the record straight, but we cannot cover everything in that (expensive) ad, and many people fail or refuse to read the Herald.
I just wanted you to know.
Please pardon me if you are offended by the tone or emotion of my message to you, but I simply cannot stand by and let their garbage and lies about us pile up and go unanswered.
Norman J. Silber
President, South Florida Council, Inc., Boy Scouts of America
701 Brickell Avenue
Miami, Florida 33131
Telephone (direct): (305) 789-2790
Facsimile (direct): (305) 537-3990
Telephone (switchboard): (305) 789-2700