Boy Scouts Get Federal Money for Their Discrimination

Ben points out that a Boy Scout group in Alaska is about to get nearly $1,000,000 worth of federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Both HUD and White House websites have rules that say no grant-receiving group can discriminate against anyone who wants to use the service.

If our organization receives Federal funds, can it choose not to provide services to some people?

No. If you take Federal money you may not discriminate against a person seeking help who is eligible for the service. For example, if you are a religious organization and receive public money to run an emergency food distribution program, you may not serve only persons of your faith and turn away others. In addition, and as discussed above, you may not require those you serve to profess a certain faith or participate in religious activities, in order to receive the service you provide for the Federal government.

But if the Boy Scouts of America continues to kick out gays and atheists, they’d be doing just that.

Possummomma has problems with this, too:

…why not give the money to the Girl Scouts? The Girl Scouts do not discriminate against anyone. The Boy Scouts, however, do…and do so openly. Why, then, are they receiving FEDERAL MONIES to build this camp? I liken it to giving an LDS stake the funds to build a stakehouse or the Catholic Church a fellowship hall. Since when is it okay for the United States government to pay for exclusive clubs? No matter what your position is on god(s) or religion, this is not right…

If the BSA wants to fund their own programs, so be it. Our tax money shouldn’t be used to help a group that willingly kicks out those who have a different religious view or sexual orientation.

You can contact HUD and report the potential abuse by going here.


[tags]atheist, athiesm[/tags]

  • http://www.bloglongisland.com Sam Sutter

    I don’t know if that’s a true assumption – “grant-receiving group can discriminate against anyone who wants to use the service.” Pretty sure I’m too old to join the boy or girl scouts, i can’t go to public school (age discrimination?) I can’t seem to get any help from welfare… (wealth discrimination?) and can’t seem to get the pain meds I want… (what, now i’m being discriminated because I’m healthy?) They won’t let me play on the local high school basketball team – it really sucks… I don’t get any money from homeless shelters… they tell me to go back to my house… but for better or worse, there is obvious discrimination that takes place. The real question is of he nature of that discrimination.

  • Kevin L.

    Reported, and spreading the word.

    Thanks for the links and information.

  • Iztok

    Wouldn’t this constitute a fraud the moment they BSA organization applied for federal funds? They do know they are discriminating and still applying it sounds like attempt to defraud.

  • stogoe

    They may be able to skirt the discrimination issue if they open the camp to all groups who wish to use it. Then the camp wouldn’t be discriminating, even though the BSA still does.

    Sweet Christmas, I despise the Mormons’ stranglehold on the BSA. If it weren’t for them my happy memories of boyhood wilderness savagery would still be untainted by the realities of religious bigotry.

  • severalspeciesof

    I could be wrong but I seem to recall hearing or reading that the BSA has an out of sorts via a congressional act sometime ago, so that although they are officially a private organization they are also recognized as a government agency., something like that. They get to have their cake and eat it too. (I think maybe I heard it on Penn & Teller’s “Bullshit!” program.

  • TXatheist

    severalspeciesof, I have that episode of Bullsh-t at home and remember that but I thought it was just recognition of them but I don’t know if that gives them the loophole to avoid receiving federal funds while discriminating. I’ll have to watch it tonight to see. Our Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, just came out with a new book on how great the BSA is and how bad the ACLU is for suing them. Yeah, that darn Constitution making life fair for atheists and gays.

  • TXatheist

    I don’t know if that’s a true assumption – “grant-receiving group can discriminate against anyone who wants to use the service.” Pretty sure I’m too old to join the boy or girl scouts, i can’t go to public school (age discrimination?) I can’t seem to get any help from welfare… (wealth discrimination?) and can’t seem to get the pain meds I want… (what, now i’m being discriminated because I’m healthy?) They won’t let me play on the local high school basketball team – it really sucks… I don’t get any money from homeless shelters… they tell me to go back to my house… but for better or worse, there is obvious discrimination that takes place. The real question is of he nature of that discrimination.

    You can be a scout leader. Public school graduate? You got your public education but you can go to public university. You can get welfare if you need it and won’t be discriminated against if you need it. Your doctor will prescribe necessary meds. You can try out for a NBA team and make the team if you are good enough. You can stay at a homeless shelter if you are in line early enough and weather conditions determine it needs to be open. The nature of the discrimination of the BSA? Superstitious bigotry.

  • L

    All religions, and Atheists are allowed in scouting. The misconception stems from the fact that many scout troops are sponsored by religious organizations. In this case, you can easily find another sponsoring organization that is not affiliated with a church/temple/mosque.

  • Matt

    After contacting HUD headquaters in DC about this issue I got this response:

    Thank you for contacting the hotline on this issue. It is currently an ongoing investigation with the issues being currently addressed. Have a nice day.

    This and my original message was all that was included.

  • Claire

    Thanks, Stogoe, I had no idea that the mormons were behing the BSA’s discriminatory policies. No wonder that what is a fine group in the rest of the world is in the crapper here.

    If anyone else in interested in the history, I found this article which seems to be a fairly factual and impartial account of where the BSA went wrong.

    By ‘impartial’ I mean that it mentions as well some christian organizations that oppose the BSA’s discriminatory practices against gays and have tried to get the BSA to change its policies. It doesn’t mention anything about atheists, but then the article is about what the BSA has against the gay community, so the author probably considered it a side issue.

  • Vincent

    It is worse than just the BSA.
    Some overtly religious groups are targets of earmarks for HUD and other agencies.
    The Americans United for Separation of Church and State has protested many of them. I’m involved with the American Humanists in opposing another.
    The AU letter can be seen here:
    http://www.au.org/site/News2?abbr=pr&page=NewsArticle&id=9679
    And the actual list of earmarks can be seen here:
    http://www.rules.house.gov/110/text/omni/jes/jesdivk.pdf

  • stogoe

    I don’t know for certain that it’s just the Mormons, or them at all. It’s just what I’ve oft heard repeated in BSA discussions – that there are a ton of Mormon boy scouts and troops, and upsetting them enough to make them leave (i.e, by allowing atheists and/or gays to join and participate) would be a bad thing for the organization.

  • Claire

    Stogoe, it’s not just a rumor,and it’s not a vague fear of upsetting them. This quote is from that article I linked to before, from 2000:

    Several months ago, the Mormons drew another line in the sand over a controversial issue: if BSA units (the troops and packs sponsored by religious and other organizations) must accept homosexuals as leaders, the church would drop out and take its 400,000 scouts — about 12 percent of the BSA’s total membership — with it.

    The other biggest sponsor is the catholic church. Churches are a major source of both funding and other support. And yes, there are welcoming and tolerant churches out there who protest the restriction and would be happy to see the BSA include the gay community, but those aren’t the major sources of their funding.

    Is it any wonder they ban both gays and atheists?

  • Gullwatcher

    .

  • Gullwatcher

    .

  • Patricia H.

    I support your stand about federal money and BSA discriminating against gay boys and such. What proof do you have that BSA is receiving federal monies? Please get back to me on this subject. I would appreciate it. hollisph@att.net

  • Trentib

    I always find this weird cause I am an eagle scout and an atheist and was always very vocal about it while i was in scouts… so this kind of thing always seems weird to me…

  • Rob Golder

    As an Eagle Scout and Assistant Scout master I hate the discrimination against gay members. Just because I am attracted to women does not mean I am attracted to under aged women who can not make decisions for themselves. This would be just like a woman going to a boy scouting event or a father going to a girl scouting event. I love scouting and I feel it is a great learning resource for men, but men need to know about gay men as well as people who are atheist. My brother got his Eagle Scout even though his is atheist, he just had to prove he was following his faith, which was that there is no god.

    As long as we keep open minded leaders in Scouting, Scouting will go far, but if we are limited but narrow minded people, Scouting will die.

    • Tagz45

      Did he also have faith that there are no unicorns, Santa Clause, Bigfoot, or Bogeymen living under his bed? I find it amusing that believers are only agnostic about the Abrahamic god and not other unproved ideas and entities. Peace.

  • james

    My scoutmaster knew myself and my friends in boy scouts were atheists. We all stayed in until we were 17, whereupon we mostly quit simply because we were older and had other stuff to do like AP classes and college admissions. We were certainly never discriminated against, whether that is official policy or not.

  • Brian H

    as a former scout this whole thing saddens me

  • Jperry75

    They took the money to build houses for low income families.  This article is moronic and VERY narrow minded.


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