More Letters Regarding NCC/ BSA Protest

Below is the response I received from NCC and further down is my follow-up response:

Dear Ms. Downey:

Thank you for your recent e-mail, protesting Scout Days at the National Constitution Center. We appreciate the strong concerns raised by this program. As an institution, the National Constitution Center does not examine the policies, preferences, and beliefs of individuals or groups that visit the Center. Because this is the National Constitution Center, everyone is welcome to come here. Our mission as an institution is to educate people - particularly young people - about the Constitution and our rights and responsibilities as citizens.

The scouts are one group among a diverse array of organizations that we encourage to use our museum and participate in our programs. We are not "honoring" them by providing this program, but simply treating them as we do other organized youth groups. We have offered to provide the same programming to "Scouting for All," a group committed to diversity in scouting.

Sincerely,

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

Don't miss the world premiere of America I AM: The African American Imprint, a roundbreaking new exhibition presented by Tavis Smiley, celebrating 400 years of African American contributions to our country through stories of courage, conviction, and creativity from January 15 and runs through May, 3, 2009. For more information and tickets, visit www.constitutioncenter.org or call 215.409.6700.

National Constitution Center, The Story of We, the People.

Dear Mr. Frank,

Thank you for your email response, but your explanation and rational about the National Constitution Center's (NCC) hosting of "Scout Days" is completely unsatisfactory. Your response dismissed all the favoritism evidence I provided in my original letter of concern.

You say in your email of March 11, 2009 that you are not "honoring" the Boy Scouts of America by organizing (according to the NCC website) a "fun-filled day learning about our country while [Scouts] meet requirements or work toward badges” and the implementation of:

1. Special programs

2. Workshops

3. Activities

4. Featured activity tables

5. "Shows just for Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts!"

6. Providing scout leaders and parents a special “Scout packet”

7. Special agenda

8. Earning credits toward earning an American Heritage and Citizenship in the Nation merit badge

9. Providing BSA with “a guided tour and a special interactive performance of ‘The Citizenship Show’” which, according to the NCC website, “will help Scouts better understand what it means to be a citizen of the United States.”

10. A special outdoor flag ceremony

11. Agenda to lead Scouts through the day’s activities and events

12. and an opportunity to “earn a commemorative National Constitution Center Fun Badge.”

While you say "everyone is welcome" to "visit" NCC, I see no other private youth group getting all the above listed gratuities, bonuses and "special" attention. If the Aryan Nations Youth Group (see: http://www.freewebs.com/anyacm/index.htm) were to ask NCC for the same twelve items listed above, would NCC ignore the policies, preferences and beliefs of that group?

You see, Mr. Frank, to those who are affected directly and indirectly to the prejudices and bigotry of BSA, NCC might as well also host an Aryan Nations Youth Group Day. The same type of Aryan Nations Youth Group bigotry and intolerance is exemplified at the hands of BSA. The Aryan Nations Youth Group excludes blacks and Jews. BSA excludes atheists and gays.

Mentioning Scouting For All in your letter shows how very little you understand this issue. Scouting For All is not a youth group. It is an open-to-the-public non-profit educational organization that seeks to convince BSA to accept gay and atheist applicants. Offering to provide "the same type of programming" is insulting.

I respectfully request that NCC allow the Anti-Discrimination Support Network to set up a "Diversity Appreciation" table or workshop during the Scout Day event. We would welcome an opportunity to conduct a presentation showing how American nontheists have contributed to our country through stories of courage, conviction and creativity. If not a presentation, we ask that NCC allow us to staff a "Diversity Appreciation" literature distribution table. Action such as this will prove that NCC understands the true meaning of "we the people."

I would very much appreciate more communication with you regarding this issue and the possibility of participating. Please telephone or write at your earliest convenience.

Margaret Downey
Founder and President
Anti-Discrimination Support Network

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