Jump to content

Good news from the left coast

Recommended Posts

Group Comes to Defense of Boy Scouts

Fund drive is set up after United Way chapter ends support over organization's gay ban.





By Massie Ritsch, Times Staff Writer



A group of Ventura County politicians, community leaders and executives has launched a fund-raising drive to protest United Way's decision to stop supporting the Boy Scouts because of their policy against homosexuals.


Now in its third week, the independent campaign has raised more than $30,000, which its organizers will match dollar for dollar, leader Carlos Ortega said.


That already surpasses what the Boy Scouts' Ventura County Council stands to lose when the county's United Way chapter cuts off its funding next summer. The Friends of Ventura County Scouts have committed $100,000 to match donations to the local council.


"Wherever your community happens to be, the Scouts are there," said Ortega, explaining why he and more than 80 others launched the Friends group to honor the Boy Scouts and protest United Way's "unwarranted and unfair" action.


"At some point you have to stand up for the people who've been doing the grunt work in society and say, 'You know what, these are good guys,' " Ortega said.


His group's prominent backers include several Ventura County politicians, all Republicans: Rep. Elton Gallegly, Assembly members Tony Strickland and Keith Richman, Sheriff Bob Brooks and Dist. Atty. Greg Totten. Christian broadcasting mogul Edward Atsinger and singer Pat Boone also support the "Tribute to Scouts."


United Way of Ventura County decided in 2001 to broaden its antidiscrimination policy, denying funding to any organization that discriminates based on sexual preference. The action followed a Supreme Court decision in 2000 that upheld the Boy Scouts of America's policy, excluding openly gay men and boys from their ranks.


Although the court's decision directly affected only New Jersey, where a gay troop leader first brought a lawsuit, the case rippled throughout the United States.


Some schools and cities barred Scout troops from meeting in their buildings. Many churches and synagogues also debated their sponsorships. Some donors pulled their money from the Boy Scouts, while others contributed in support of the organization's right to pick its members. Director Steven Spielberg, an Eagle Scout, resigned from the organization's national advisory board.


Each of United Way's 1,400 chapters operates autonomously, and Ventura County's chapter is among roughly 55 that have taken formal stances against groups that discriminate on race, religion, sexual preference and other criteria, according to the national organization.


In Los Angeles County, United Way stopped supporting local Boy Scout troops in recent years but funds "Learning for Life," an in-school ethics program that is affiliated with Scouting but does not exclude gay leaders, a United Way spokeswoman said Tuesday.


United Way and Boy Scouts officials in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties said local troops will not lose United Way funding.


Ventura County's United Way "is dealing with donor dollars and we have a fiduciary responsibility to our donors to make sure that our agencies do not discriminate for any reason," board Chairman Samuel L. Vernallis said.


United Way offered to fund Ventura County's "Learning for Life" program, but the Scouting council declined the offer.


Vernallis said he would donate to the Friends of Ventura County Scouts himself if they had not exploited United Way's stance in recent newspaper ads to stoke their donations. He fears the campaign will hinder United Way's fund-raising.


"If they are successful in hurting the United Way campaign, all they're doing is hurting individual clients of our agencies," Vernallis said.


One of United Way's largest individual contributors in the county, health insurance executive Denny Weinberg, has withdrawn his support and is giving instead to the Boy Scouts. "I don't want to see United Way stray from its mission and try to set policy for other agencies," Weinberg said.


In the current funding cycle, which ends June 30, the Boy Scouts' Ventura County council will continue to receive money from United Way in two ways: $28,716 from the county chapter's Community Care Fund, which distributes donors' contributions to more than 50 agencies; and $21,698 from donors who name the Boy Scouts as the sole recipient of their gift. After June, United Way will no longer fund Boy Scouts through its community fund.


"We're disappointed with [united Way's policy], but we respect their right as a private organization to establish their values and live by their values just as we expect the right to establish our values and live by our values," said Dave Graska, the Scouting council's executive director.


Losing that money removes only 2% of the Scouts' $1.5-million annual budget, a shortfall the organization could make up without the independent fund-raising campaign, Graska said.




Times staff writers Eric Malnic and Stanley Allison contributed to this story.

Link to post
Share on other sites

While the United Way funds many worthy causes, I don't agree with all of the organizations they fund. I decided long ago to quit donating to the United Way thru my employer. I used to work for a company that took great pride in having 100% participation in the drive. They would have a representative come and put on a dog and pony show complete with refreshments. If you chose not to participate, someone from Human Resources would pay you a visit to twist your arm. If you still refused, they would donate a dollar in your name so they could say that all employees participated. To them, it was a feather in their cap for PR in the community. To keep from having the visit, I would always make a one time $1 donation. Let me explain a little further. Being a Christian and active in my church, I am a tither and also give to many other charities of my choosing. Because of that, I didn't feel bad in deciding to take a stand in not donating to the United Way. I don't want the good programs to suffer, but I won't fund Planned Parenthood pushing abortion or gay rights organizations.


I'm glad to see the local leadership in this town choose to take a stand with the Scouts and raise funding for them since the United Way won't. Bravo!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Of course, these people wouldn't have to go through all this effort and trouble, and get into a public spitting match with a respected organization like the United Way, if the BSA did not insist on excluding qualified leaders, who live by the Scout Oath and Law, on the irrelevant ground that they happen to be openly gay.

Link to post
Share on other sites



If they are gay, they are not qualified leaders.


I can't fault the United Way. The are a private organization just like the BSA and can decide who to fund based on their criteria, just as the BSA can decide who to admit based on their criteria. However, as I said before, my support will go to BSA and not United Way because I believe in BSA's program and I disapprove of some of the United Ways organization's programs. I don't like giving to a blanket charity no matter how effecient it is to run such an organization. I prefer to pick and chose who my money goes to.

Link to post
Share on other sites

How can a homosexual live the Scout Oath & Law?


By abstaining!


If one is a homosexual one can not be morally straight & one cannot be Clean.


So if a person is a homosexual but abstains (never gets "married") you think they are going to hell?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I give to the United Way and use it to fund the groups I choose to support. I don't see it as dictating their policy I see it as supporting groups I believe in. The diffrence between that and the United Way frocing groups to change their systems to what they want is called "Bullying"


Like the school yard tryant of days gone by the United Way controls the purse strings and so they think they can tell other groups what to do or they will be punished.

Link to post
Share on other sites


In a single word - YES. Abstaining has nothing to do with it. God has told us homosexuality is a sin. It was the final straw that destroyed Sodom! If one is a homosexual - practicing or not - then one can't be Clean nor can one be doing their "duty to God" nor can one be Reverent.


Ed Mori


Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

Link to post
Share on other sites

"If someone agrees with your opinion, there's no need to try to convince them. If they do not, there's no point in trying to convince them..."




The easiest way to donate to charity is through annual broad-brush campaigns like United Way. It's a trade-off, though. In exchange for the research time and effort you get returned to you, you buy into the local United Way board's decisions on how to allocate and apportion the campaign's proceeds. Regardless of your position on various public policy issues, some of this allocation/apportionment is bound to be contrary to how you believe/vote. I found it was for me, and use a more involved method than a check-box to determine where my charitable contributions go.


For a United Way board to remove any legitimate NFP organization from their list because it's "controversial" is a concern. In such a climate, is any NFP organization safe? Womens' suffrage, civil rights, organized labor, AIDS prevention, and environmental improvement are all examples of movements that were controversial and didn't enjoy widespread popularity at certain points.


It's funny in a way, tolerance and diversity only seem to be encouraged and celebrated when the beneficiaries of tolerance and diversity are "liberal" and those expected to be tolerant are "conservative"...in other words, it's a one-way street...







Link to post
Share on other sites

If United Way quit funding all the "liberal" causes, would you then donate through them?


My point is that many of you would be very, very happy is Planned Parenthood was completely abolished. You would not see that as dictating your standards in any way. But asking BSA to change a policy is seen as dictating.


It can't be both ways. If you don't like United Way, then don't donate through them.


I choose to donate to them. I also am VERY glad the days of corporate arm twisting are over! I had a co-worker who choose not to donate. A few months later, much to his surprise, his paycheck showed a contribution to United Way. He finally got the contribution card in his hand and realized someone had changed it after he signed it. He got the contribution stopped. The next year he scribbled all over parts of the card to make sure they could not change it. Now days we do it electronically.


Forcing people to donate is WRONG! None of us know what others donate in time and money on their own. Also, we do not know everyone's family situation.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...