Protest Letter

National Constitution Center
525 Arch Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106

To Whom It May Concern,

On Saturday, March 14, 2009, the National Constitution Center (NCC) will be honoring the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) with special programs, workshops and activities. Information posted on the NCC website states that BSA will “enjoy a fun-filled day learning about our country while you meet requirements or work toward badges!”

NCC will feature activity tables, workshops, and shows just for Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts! BSA is invited by NCC “to explore the entire museum” and to “earn a commemorative National Constitution Center Fun Badge.”

NCC is offering Scout leaders and parents a Scout packet and agenda to lead them through the day’s activities and events. On that day, Boy Scouts can participate in several activities to earn credits toward American Heritage and Citizenship in the Nation merit badges.

As an added bonus, NCC will be 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.” A special outdoor flag ceremony and other related activities will be sponsored by NCC specifically for BSA.

All this activity sounds fun and rather benign until you realize that honoring BSA in this way only serves to encourage and endorse BSA’s biased membership policy. NCC has chosen to ignore the fact that BSA’s membership policy violates anti-discrimination statutes in the City of Brotherly Love. As long as BSA continues to get praise, recognition and encouragement, its policy to exclude the gay and atheist community will not change. BSA’s discriminatory membership policy does not exemplify “what it means to be a citizen of the United States.”

The Anti-Discrimination Support (ADSN) objects to honoring a youth group that openly discriminates against fellow citizens. In 1993, the Girl Scouts of America (GSA) passed a resolution forbidding discrimination of any type. The courageous stance of GSA is worthy of emulation and praise. BSA executives could easily follow the lead of GSA, but the steadfastly hold on to their prejudices declaring that “...no boy can be the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God. (page 215 BSA’s Handbook for Boys and reaffirmed by BSA’s National Executive Board, June 12, 1991).”

BSA defiantly ignores anti-discrimination statutes in Philadelphia and around the country. They do so because facilities such as NCC overlook the violation and cater to the BSA leadership. ADSN appeals to NCC to take the brave stance of objecting to the discrimination rather than ignoring it. We beseech the NCC to re-evaluate honoring BSA and to join with us in objecting to the BSA’s bigoted membership policy.

Sincerely,

Margaret Downey
Founder and President

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