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whitewater

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About whitewater

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  1. According to Wikipedia: "Baden-Powell wrote this alternative oath called the Outlander Promise for Scouts who could not, for reasons of conscience, recognize a duty to a King, for individuals or members of religions that do not worship a deity, and for members of orthodox religions that do not use the name of God in secular settings." It seems it intended to cover religions that didn't worship a diety (such as Budhism) or those that don't use the word god in certain settings. I don't see any mention of atheists so it doesn't appear to be inconsistent with BP's belief in the importance of religion.
  2. whitewater

    Atlanta Scout Executive resigns amid scandal

    I think another reason it's such a big deal and why the FBI is involved is that there is considerable money involved as well. It costs money to sign up a boy ($10?) and these fees for underprivilidged boys where paid for by contributions by various organizations. That's where the fraud comes in.
  3. Merlyn, I already mentioned that the Girl Scouts' lease was excusively negotiated and was approved at the same meeting as the BSA lease. I believe the Campfire Girls and YMCA leases were also exclusively negotiated. There is nothing illegal or wrong with an exclusive negotiation. The City received value in the deal. The point I'm trying to make is NOT that the other deals might be illegal (they aren't). My point is if you are going to make it more difficult for a religious organization to lease public land then you are being hostile toward religion which is illegal viewpoint discrimination. That point is moot however since the court erred when it considered the BSA to be a religious organization. In doing so, it ignored Supreme Court precident that stated that the BSA was not a religious organization for purposes of the Establishment Clause. In fact, if the BSA were a religious organization in this context, the entire Dale case would not have been necessary since it has been well established that religious groups can choose their own leadership.
  4. So Merlyn, you are saying that the BSA should be held to a different standard than other groups? There were at least 8 other groups that were allowed exclusive negotiations for leases. If the BSA is not allowed to do the same because of their views, then that is unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination. Whether or not the BSA calls itself a religious organization is irrelevant- what matters is the legal definition. I can call myself a religious organization but the IRS isn't going to give me a tax break.
  5. Merlyn, You stated that (regarding the BSA lease): "That's not relevant - some or all of those leases may not be legal, either. That doesn't change the fact that the city didn't follow its own open bidding process for the BSA lease." It is only irrelevant because the judge made it so in his twisted logic. It should be very relevant in order to show that the City leases parkland out in a religion-neutral manner. Now it can be argued that the BSA is being discriminated against because of their viewpoint, and not given the same deal as other groups. Viewpoint discrimination is illegal too. If I understand the ruling in this case correctly, the judge invalidated the BSA lease because he felt they were a religious organization and exclusively negotiating the lease with them violated the Federal Establishment Clause and the California No-Aid Clause. Personally I don't think they qualify as a religious organization in this context. The primary purpose of the BSA is secular. Applying the 3 prong test from the Lemon-Kurtzman case doesn't raise any concerns: (1) The primary purpose is secular, (2) There is no advancement or inhibiting of religion and (3) There is no government entanglement of religion. Merlyn also argued that the City didn't follow their own open-bid process with the BSA lease. I don't believe they are required to. There are no statutes or policies requiring them to and at least 8 of the current leases to other groups were negotiated exclusively. In fact, the Girl Scout lease was exclusively negotiated and it was approved at the same meeting as the BSA lease. Another point: Even though the BSA has 100% usage of parts of their parcels at various times, they still attempt to provide access to others. As I understand it, they even make some campsites available during their Cub Day Camp. I think it is ironic that the plantiffs in the case, Barnes and Wallace, admit to never actually trying to use the property. In fact, one of them admitted never even going near the Scout camp because they objected to a chapel being there (sounds pretty hypersensitive to me!) I wonder how they feel about the Jewish Community center being on park property and hosting Sabath services, or the Presbyterian Church leasing park land and hosting Church Day Camp on it. Oh that's right, they aren't evil discrimatory organizations like the Boy Scouts (sarcasm).
  6. Merlyn, The $1/year lease that was not open to bidding was the same deal granted to quite a few other groups. (In the terms of the lease the Scouts also pay $2500/year in administrative fees.) In fact the Girl Scouts' lease was extended in the same way, without bidding, and was approved at the same hearing. Of the 123 leases to non-profit groups that San Diego has granted, 96 of them pay less than the Boy Scouts do when you add in the administrative fee. In return for the low rent, San Diego receives development of the property and doesn't have to maintain it- a considerable savings. Sounds to me like the City is getting the sweetheart deal. The City also leases part of the park to true religious groups: the San Diego Calvary Korean Church, the Point Loma Community Presbyterian Church, the Jewish Community Center and the Salvation Army. Why aren't you and the ACLU attacking them as well? As far as the value of the land, since it is dedicated parkland by the City of San Diego's charter, its value is purely speculative since it cannot be developed. However, the plantiffs in the case speculated that the Fiesta Island Aquatics Center was valued at about $1.25 million and the Balboa Park property was worth between $1.25 million and $1.9 million. The Boy Scouts have invested over $2.4 million in each. I did mis-speak when I said no one complained. I should have said that no one came forward with an offer to continue to develop and maintain the property. I see in an earlier message that Merlyn claims no one came forward with an offer because the City didn't request proposals. I contend that no one else has the resources to do what the Boy Scouts have with the property.
  7. Merlyn writes: "No. But the first amendment covers much more than that; it doesn't prohibit "establishment of A religion" but "establishment of religion". " That just illustrates the true heart of the argument. Most of us involved in Scouting realize that belief in God is only a part of the program. The aim of Scouting is to develop good citizens and a belief in God is a tool chosen to arrive at that goal. The primary purpose of the program is secular. And I find it hard to believe that the average observer equates Boy Scouts with religion. I also believe the San Diego case is an example of judicial activism. There are too many things wrong with the case for it to stand on appeal. To start with, it seems to be a stretch to find that the plantiffs even have legal standing to bring the case. In reading the judges decision in the case, he also appeared to be biased against the Scouts. Merlyn also wrote: "Prohibiting cities from making special deals with discriminatory organizations IS protecting the rights of the American people." Where is the special deal? The Scouts spent more money developing and maintaining the property than it was worth. There was a public comment period where no one complained and no one else came forward to offer to run the property. The only other youth organizations with the resources to take on such a property already lease similar property in the park on similar terms. How is any of this protecting the American people? The City of San Diego ended up paying $940,000 to the ACLU for their legal expenses, the BSA is out mega-bucks defending their position, and if they do end up losing the lease the City will have to fork over the $700,000 a year it takes to run and maintain the property. Is that defending the rights of the American people?
  8. I continue to take exception when people call the BSA dishonest and unethical. I will admit to them being somewhat inept sometimes, though, especially when it comes to PR. I think the policy makers in the BSA believe strongly that it is not improper for a school to sponsor a Troop, as do I. They did consider it prudent to sever ties with schools in order to avoid the inevitable expenses of defending their position. That doesn't mean they now believe their original position was wrong or that they are now somehow unethical. They just felt their time and money was better spent elsewhere. I do agree with tjhammer that there is a difference between the BSA and Scouting at the local level. These issues never come up on a local level.
  9. whitewater

    ACLU to BSA: Heads We Win - Tails You Lose

    Since when is joining a private organization, or even a club, a "right?" When my son was 5 he wanted to play baseball but the local team didn't start taking kids until they were in first grade. He didn't meet the eligibility requirements, so he didn't play.
  10. whitewater

    D&D and scouts.

    I have no problem with a Scout coming back from camp with only 1 or 2 merit badges if they had fun and learned some Scouting along the way. The primary purpose of a long term camp is to practice the patrol method and everything that goes along with it. I hate that so many camps have become merit badge factories. I think thats the reason many camps have dining hall cooking now- so they can cram in some more time for merit badge classes. I also have a problem with the quality of merit badges earned at camp, but thats another issue.
  11. whitewater

    So, What's so bad about being gay?

    I've seen several posters remark that homosexuality is immoral and others seem to think that there is nothing wrong with it. I think another way to look at is whether or not homosexuality is normal. The people who believe that homosexuality is OK also tend to believe that it is an inate trait- something people are born with. The others tend to believe that it is nothing more than a behavior. It should be noted that, despite some people's best efforts, there has never been a biological component of homosexuality identified. There are also groups that still consider homosexuality to be abnormal behavior that can be treated- NARTH is an example of one. They believe that the American Psychiatric Association caved to political pressure when they removed homosexuality from their list of mental disorders. There are also organizations of ex-gaysalthough I admit I don't know much about them or how many there are.
  12. whitewater

    ACLU Info?

    I don't know of any cases where the BSA has had to directly pay anything to the ACLU, but defending itself against the attacks has been very expensive. I think what evmori is referring to are the large fees that the ACLU collects when it wins a civil rights case. Title 42 Section 1988 gives a court "discretion" to award attorney fees to the prevailing party in civil rights cases but I don't know of any cases where the court refused to award the fees (though they may be smaller than requested). That is our tax dollars. Last February the City of San Diego agreed to pay $950,000 to the ACLU in the lawsuit involving the Boy Scouts. There are a lot of similar awards. A million here, a million there... pretty soon we're talking about real money.
  13. whitewater

    ACLU Info?

    Sorry Packsaddle- I guess I misinterpreted your comments. I thought that you were implying that the BSA WAS bigoted and hateful in their policies and SHOULD be more open, inclusive and tolerant. My point was that I have never seen bigotry or hatefulness practiced on the unit level. I do disagree with you that the government has interacted with the BSA illegally and that the law is fairly clear here. I think the the law is somewhat muddy here. (Although I do admit to seeing both sides of the argument.) And if the BSA believes they are correct in their position that does not make them dishonest. The core of the argument is in the interpretation of the constitution. Some people believe there must be total separation of church and state- that nothing of a religious nature has a place in government. I don't think you can (or should need to) totally sanitize government of anything that has a religious conotation. This was asked earlier, but I don't think anyone responded: Where in the constitution does it say it isn't allowed to post the 10 commandments on public property? How is that etablishing a religion? How is sposoring a Scout Troop establishing a religion? It all boils down to how you interpret the constitution and I think they are interpreting it wrong.
  14. whitewater

    hmmm.......answer to religion in scouts issue

    I believe the Spiral Scouts are also touted as an alternative to the BSA because they welcome homosexuals.
  15. whitewater

    ACLU Info?

    I sorry but I have a real problem with anyone that calls the Boy Scouts bigoted and hateful. I've been involved with Scouts over 30 years and I've never seen bigotry and hatred in the program. Are the Girl Scouts bigoted and hateful for not allowing boys to join? What's the old saying? Everyone's crazy, the ones to watch out for are the ones that say they're not. I've found that often the people that are complaining the loudest about bigotry are really bigots themselves.
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