UPS Joins Intel in Boycotting the Boy Scouts

Just days after Intel announced it would no longer be giving corporate donations to the Boy Scouts of America because of their discriminatory nature, UPS is saying no to them as well:

“UPS showed true bravery today in standing with the 80,000 Americans, including thousands of Scouts and Scout leaders, who oppose the Boy Scouts’ hurtful anti-gay policy,” [founder of Scouts for Equality Zach] Wahls said in a statement. “That bravery is what Scouting is all about,. Corporate America gets it better than most: policies that discriminate aren’t simply wrong, they’re bad for business and they’re hurting the Scouting community.

UPS gave $150,000 to the Scouts in 2010.

They’ll be giving nothing to the Scouts this year.

When will the BSA learn that discriminating against gays and atheists is just bad policy for a group that’s supposed to be for all boys?

(via Boing Boing)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001627228091 Alexander Ryan

    They’re really in a bad situation. Even spinning on a dime and saying “Fine, we won’t discriminate against gays anymore.” wouldn’t end well because then it’d be obvious they were just doing it to please donors and the general public (which is the only reason I think they’d change their views anyways.)

    • Barefoot Bree

       Yes, but that is how it begins. People (or organizations) are forced to change their public behavior by law or public pressure, and then very slowly – VERY slowly – the actual views and attitudes that drive the behavior begin to change. Not everyone will, but over time, the old bigots die off (or retire out of the company) and the younger ones whose attitudes are more open rise to the top.

      You can’t legislate morality or viewpoints. You can only legislate behavior. Do that, though, and the morality and viewpoints follow in time.

      • IndyFitz

        VERY well said, BB!  Consider that only recently did blacks even get assured the same rights as whites in this country… and, less than 50 years later, we have a black president elected to a second term.  I’m sure that, in the 1960s, many allegedly non-racist whites would never have voted for a black candidate because “it wasn’t the right time” or whatever.  Clearly, thinking has changed, but it did take legislation to make it happen.  The BSA is certainly right to choose their discriminatory policies, but others are right to no longer support them.

  • rlrose328

    As long as they have the Mormons behind them… THOUSANDS of Mormons and millions of dollars… they won’t budge on those issues.  Every company can pull funding and they will survive with the Mormons on board.

    • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

      Well, I’m a little more optimistic about the Mormons. They have a history of resisting social change, then giving in under pressure and finally changing with the times, such as their stands on polygamy and African Americans, and then trying to erase every record of their having held the previous positions. 

      With living “prophets” who can declare new “revelations” that are now the new version of the “absolute truth,” the Mormons can suddenly drop their gay hating and pretend they never felt that way.  It will be fun to watch them hide behind their pasted-on bland smiles (the Romney smile) as they deny their recent past bigotry.

    • Jdm8

      That’s right, BSA has been hijacked by the LDS, so it might be a while before they’ll change their ways.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    With Prop 8 being declared unconstitutional in California, gay and lesbian candidates wining elections, victories for same-sex marriage in four states, and now high profile, high cost repudiations of the BSA, it looks like the acceptance of GLBT rights in the U.S. is not just progressing, it’s accelerating.

    When old, obsolete structures begin to age and decline, it’s often not a steady, linear decline. It often has a very slow deterioration at first, with little cracks appearing, then after a long time a piece falls off, then not as much time passes before two pieces come off at once, then more and more frequently several pieces topple off, then there’s a groaning, a deep creaking, and suddenly the whole decrepit thing comes crashing down.

    Change is accelerating. I think we’re watching a great big chunk of a crumbling edifice of hate falling to the ground. WHUMP!

    • Philip

      It is amazing how many “heterophobic” people responding. Also the amount of hate speech against the family of married husband / wife relationships is causing me to be disinfranchised. Oh, I forgot, only the holier than thou liberals have a right to speak and than men to men and women to women sex in the “norm” in relationships and views. The chinese and muslims are right about homosexuals, the chinese say it is a mental disease and the muslims will stone homosexuals because Allah calls it a perversion. UPS should be boycotted as well as all businesses that have CEO’s that are members of the democratic party.The October surprise of 2004 that got “Father Obama” elected was due to the CEO’s of Fanny Mai and Fanny Mac, who were liberals, to timely allow the market to crash. So all you heterophobic people out there who enjoy high prices, high taxes (which ALL will be paying), mental disease embracing, can’t keep my g-string up because I have no control, the US is only going to get worse and worse because socialism/communism never liberatesas ans as long as you put your selfish, greedy, hateful heart before the history of the nation you damn yourself and the future of the country.

      • Andrew B.

         Wow dude, you’re all over the place.  That was fun.  Thanks for the 8 am insanity.  Nice read.

      • Willy Occam

         Time to get a refill on the Thorazine.

      • Baal

        “(teh gays)  is causing me to be disinfranchised”
        What?  Since two women can set up a household as spouse you lost the right to vote?  Really, you get 1 ballot as does everyone else.  Part of living in a democratic society means 1 person 1 vote; it’s mostly a matter of definition.  If you don’t like the way most people voted, feel free to use argument (but not threats) to convince people to vote your way.

        Other comments of yours (philip) are bizarre, not really worth fully addressing, but were entertaining so I grant you partial credit.

      • John (not McCain)

        Not having a lot of luck with the ladies, are ya Philboy?

      • Brian Scott

        Amazing projection. Where do you see us criticizing opposite sex relationships? Remember, it is only in your fevered dreams that support for same sex relationships is opposition to opposite sex relationships.

        “muslims are right about homosexuals […] [they] will stone homosexuals because Allah calls it a perversion”

        Fuck you, murderer enabler. Don’t you ever fucking talk about morals until you are ashamed you ever said that. Get the fuck out of this blog, scum. You aren’t fit for civilization.

        • IndyFitz

          Take it easy, Brian… breathe!  I know he’s maddening, and maddeningly stupid, and maddeningly crazy, but remember, people like that posting here is a GOOD thing: They keep us all clearly reminded of what kind of thinking The Other Side espouses!  (I use the term “thinking” loosely, for I feel it’s a lot less about thinking than it is about parroting programmed hatred.) :-)

          • Brian Scott

            Actually not all that furious. :-P I just enjoy hurling invective against murder enablers. I generally prefer to be polite, but I feel it is a duty, if a rather enjoyable one, to verbally abuse advocates of this law and others like it.

      • Baby_Raptor

        Nobody hates heterosexuals, or heterosexual marriages. Get down off your cross, we need the wood.

      • MattD

        So here we are in an environment where people can take all the time they need to respond to others, and you think creating a monster post of random conspiracy theories and emotional accusations proves something to people that don’t see your face in the mirror?

        Huh….takes all kinds.

    • IndyFitz

      Nicely said.  I keep saying that the key factor in the changes in social thinking are simply those of age: old, die-hard conservatives die off, and new, liberal young people come of age.  Not that all old folks are conservatives and all kids are liberals, but I do think more old folks are stuck in old ways, and younger folks are exposed to a greater variety than previous generations.  The social conservatives seem to be forever attached to two basic tenets: one, that they’ve ALWAYS done it that way and it should NEVER change; and two, they want everyone to think and do just like they think and do.  Change is inevitable; change for the better is necessary.  And learning to live with others who are different is part of that.  We Americans tend to have difficulty with change and those who are different.  It’s nice to see it, as you say, accelerating instead of plodding along with slow progression!

  • EivindKjorstad

    The BSA are out of line, even compared to other scouting-organizations. In much of the rest of the world the debate is not about gays or lesbians, since that’s been settled as entirely acceptable decades ago, the debate elsewhere is about requiring members to be religious. The scout-promise that every member is required to make, varies significantly especially on this point.

    The BSA: “On my honor I will do my best To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law”

    Switzerland: “I promise that I will do my best to live by the Scout Law. (optional
    addendum for religious scouts:) I ask God and my friends to help me
    reach this goal.”

    DDS(Denmark): “Jeg lover at holde spejderloven.” -> “I promise to follow the scout-law”

    The trend has been clear for decades, in much of Europe the scouts are already de-facto an organization where the religious components are optional. It’s not as if they’ve got a choice, the scouts are an organization primarily for young people, and young people (including their parents) are getting less religious rapidly.

    • Erp

       Under the World Organization requirements the promise is suppose to include “duty to country”, “duty to god” (explicitly interpreted not to necessarily mean a belief in a personal god), and “duty to self” with a few grandfathered exceptions.   The DDS scout law includes  “To seek her or his faith and respect the faith of others*” (“At finde sin egen tro og have respekt for andres”).  “Tro” is “faith” (possibly a cognate of ‘trust’).

      • EivindKjorstad

         I’m aware of that. The thing is, there isn’t a majority for removing those demands, thus the demands stay. But there *also* isn’t a majority in favor of actually excluding all of the national scout-organizations which don’t currently have, or in some cases, never had, these in their promise.

        Neither the Norwegian scout-promise, nor the Norwegian scout-law mentions your country (or any country) at all. God is mentioned, but only in a requirement to be “open” towards the concept of a God, and the last national convention voted in favor of requiring the leadership to investigate a religiously-neutral version of the oath. The guides in Australia took steps in this direction last year:

        http://www.secularnewsdaily.com/2012/07/girl-guides-in-australia-drop-their-promise-to-serve-god-and-the-queen-2/ “he part of the membership oath in which Girl Guides promise to ‘do my
        duty to God, to serve the Queen and my country’, will be replaced by a
        promise to ‘to be true to myself and develop my beliefs’.”

        Like I said: this is work in progress. There’s absolutely no risk that the girl guides of australia, or the scouts of norway will be excluded from the world organization, despite the fact that their current oaths and laws does not fulfill the rules that still in principle apply. (because in -practice- there’s no majority willing to uphold those rules when the cost would be fragmentation)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sandy-Kokch/100000074576649 Sandy Kokch

    This is so great to see. Like I posted earlier, show your support for UPS by writing a well done email to them and then use their services…… best way to get this snowball a rollin

    Im reminded of the lyrics from Peter Gabriel’s song BIKO

    You can blow out a candle

    But you can’t blow out a fire

    Once the flames begin to catch
    The wind will blow it higher

  • Good and Godless

    UPS, 
     Don’t deliver packages for or to the Boy Scouts anymore.
    GaG

    • C Peterson

      Bad idea! How is this different from the florists in Rhode Island (now in legal trouble) who refused to deliver flowers to Jessica Alquist? Or a “Catholic” company refusing to pay its employees’ health insurance?

      We live in a society. We have to function as a society. It all breaks when every business starts deciding who it will or will not serve in the normal course of business. I’m happy that such discrimination is largely illegal, and hope it stays that way.

      • Good and Godless

        “boycott” is then a misnomer.

        “tolerance” got us into this mess and continued “tolerance” will not get us out.

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    I fear that as America becomes more polarized on social issues that the BSA will hunker down and even more fully embrace the religious right position on all things.  Progressive leaning parents will incline not to let their children join the scouts.  Then the BSA will become a purely right-wing organization from top to bottom.  They will see it as one of the last bulwarks against what they view as a liberal cancer infesting the country.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the BSA change the motto in some way to include accepting Jesus.I hope I am wrong about these predictions.  IMO the only thing that will really force the BSA to change is declining membership that can be unambiguously attributed to their discriminatory positions.  These corporate sponsors having second thoughts serve as good reminders to the general public about the discretionary nature of the BSA.

    • JohnnieCanuck

      Did you perhaps mean ‘discriminatory nature’?

      • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

        I changed it.

    • Gus Snarp

      I think you’re right. I think the BSA is already playing at a new religious right dog whistle game. Even their whole “timeless values” advertising slogan seems to be an appeal to the religious right. I’ve seen it even more clearly in some scouting publications. Nothing ever comes right out and says it, but they really seem to be becoming a right wing fringe organization. It’s not the organization it was when I was a scout.

      • Brenben

        what is it specifically thant you think makes scouting a right wing organization. most kids including myself who were even for a short while became productive members of society.

        Eric asm

        • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

          It’s the leadership. The Mormon church has a stranglehold on the BSA. They’re the ones making sure that anti-gay and anti-atheist discrimination stays. Most average Scouts and parents don’t care about things like this. But the BSA wants to appeal to conservatives, and conservatives are in charge.

    • EivindKjorstad

       Possibly, but if so they’ll be overtaken by competing organizations. There’s large demand for the program scouts stand for – without a too large dosis of conservative christianity. (many parents, even christian parents, would -prefer- a religiously neutral scout-organization open to all)

  • Zugswang

    Much as I’m glad that UPS has decided to stop supporting the scouts, $150K is a drop in the bucket.  That’s slightly less than the annual salary of my old council’s scouting executive (basically, the council CEO).

    This is a medium-sized council that brings in about $5 million in funding sources each year, and it’s just one council of the hundreds of councils across the US.

    Good on UPS for doing the right thing, but the scouts will need a lot more Intels and UPS’s to pull support before they’ll even think about changing.  I hope more will, and I hope that more parents will opt for alternative scouting organizations (they’re a lot smaller, but they do exist, and they don’t discriminate).

  • Jeff Arenson

    Interesting addendum: The BSA isn’t just an organization for boys, either.

    http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/Venturing.aspx

    • Gus Snarp

      Hmm, this looks like a rebranding of the old Exploring program, though I’m not sure about that. I wonder if they apply the same membership “standards” to it as to Boy Scouting. The Venturing Oath and Code there seem to have more god in them than the Scout Oath and Law.

      And an addendum to the addendum: The BSA has always been about ten years behind on its internet presence, and it seems like they still are. With all the donations they get, couldn’t they hire a really good web development team? Oh well, I guess being ten years behind on technology fits with being fifty years behind on discrimination.

  • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

    What’s sad is that Intel and UPS only mention the anti-gay discrimination. That’s their sole reason for withdrawing support. In fact, whenever this topic comes up in the mainstream media, it’s all about the ban on gays; very few seem to acknowledge that atheists are affected as well.

    • Gus Snarp

      Yeah, apparently it’s still OK to discriminate against us.

      • IndyFitz

        It truly is.  We’re easily the last group in the country that it’s OK to discriminate against.  It’s disheartening at times… but hey, our numbers are growing rapidly!  Earlier in this post, I mentioned that as the old conservatives die off, younger liberals are coming of age… and more and more younger folks are atheist, agnostic, doubters, disbelievers, etc., so it’s a matter of time before our numbers surge to majority status.  As Richard said earlier, we (as a country) are not just progressing but accelerating.


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