Second Set of Exchanges With NCC Regarding BSA Scout Day Event

Below is the email message received from Mr. Frank on Thursday, March 12, 2009 and below his is my response to Mr. Frank on the same day:

Dear Ms. Downey,

First let me say that I understand and sympathize with the depth of your feelings about this matter. And yes, of course, the Center respects the right of the Anti-Discrimination Support Network to make its views known. Any individual or group wishing to set up a table during the Scout Day event may do so in the Center's First Amendment space, located in front of our building. To make these arrangements, a request must be sent to Indpendence National Historic Park for a permit. The contact at INHP is Frank Eidmann at 215-597-9205.

Sincerely,

Steve Frank
VP Education & Exhibits
National Constitution Center
Independence Mall
525 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Dear Mr. Frank,

Thank you very much for your response suggesting the use of the Free Speech Zone in front of the National Constitution Center (NCC). We did indeed use that space in 2007 to set up a "Diversity Appreciation" booth (see attached photo).

The problem is that we were "outsiders." In 2007 we were not even allowed into the NCC building to use the facilities.

Using the outside area distinctly places our message of diversity appreciation in the form of protest and in a low outsider un-endorsed status for Scout Days. We did not have a place at the table at NCC in 2007 and that is why I requested NCC to approve a diversity appreciation workshop or presentation during Scout Days.

Your email message of March 12, 2009 does not address the Anti-Discrimination Support Network's (ADSN) request to present such a workshop or presentation, nor do you acknowledge the request for ADSN to host a diversity literature distribution table--inside.

The bigger question, Mr. Frank is will NCC continue to treat nontheists the same way BSA does--as "outsiders" and as second-class citizens?

Furthermore, NCC houses two displays that promote a belief in God (oath to office and citizenship oath) even though the United States Constitution specifically excludes religious tests. We formally request that the two “oath to God” displays be re-evaluated using the First Amendment as your guide.

It has not gone un-noticed that nontheist representatives are rarely, if ever at all, invited to participate in community events held at NCC throughout the year. We, therefore, request that NCC place my name and the name of other local leaders of nontheist groups on a “contact” list should future events call for full representation of the diverse society in which we live.

To show complete understanding and sympathy, please recommend that NCC host a "Freethought Day" event that would include a 12 point benefit package similar to what is provided BSA for the NCC sponsored "Scout Day."

Margaret Downey
Founder and President
Anti-Discrimination Support Network


This is the booth we set up in 2007 "outside" the National Constitution Center.

This information reposted from the notes section of Margaret Downey's facebook, where she is currently most active.