By Hilary White

PHILADELPHIA, December 11, 2007 ( – The Philadelphia council of the Boy Scouts of America will lose the lease on its historic premises for its refusal to bow to pressure from the homosexual lobby to accept homosexual members and leaders. The city has told the Scouts they will be evicted if they cannot come up with US $200,000 a year “market value” rent for the land on which their building sits. Until now, the Scouts had paid a nominal $1 per year lease fee although the youth organisation had originally owned the premises in 1929.

The famous Beaux Arts style building was built and paid for by the Scouts, and turned over to the city with the understanding that the Scouts would be allowed to remain in it rent-free “in perpetuity.”

City solicitor Romulo L. Diaz Jr. gave Philadelphia’s “Cradle of Liberty Council” of the Scouts until Monday this week to renounce their policy. The Cradle of Liberty Council is the largest Scouts council in Pennsylvania, and is the third largest in the entire Boy Scouts of America. The “City of Brotherly Love” has told the Scouts they have until June 1 to vacate their historic building.

A U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2000 said the Boy Scouts were a private organisation who had the right to bar anyone they chose from their ranks. But the city of Philadelphia has a policy that no organisation that “discriminates” may receive public subsidies and City Council is backing Diaz’s interpretation of the law.

Diaz, an open and practising homosexual, told a local radio interviewer he would begin looking for a new tenant for the building immediately.

The pressure started in 2003 when then, mayor of Philadelphia, John F. Street, started coming under pressure from homosexual activists, powerful in local politics, to force the Scouts to accept homosexuality, claiming that their refusal violated the city’s 1982 “fair practices” law.

Mark Chilutti, a member of the Cradle of Liberty Council executive board said, “We’re ignoring the deadline. It was the least bad option we have.”

Gregg Shields, national spokesman for the Boy Scouts told the New York Times, “Since we were founded, we believe that open homosexuality would be inconsistent with the values that we want to communicate with our leaders”

“A belief in God is also mentioned in the Scout oath. We believe that those values are important. Tradition is important. Our mission is to instil those values in scouts and help them make good choices over their lifetimes.”

A part of the Boy Scout oath says the boys promise to “keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight”. Scouting teaches boys to be “trustworthy, helpful, kind, cheerful, brave, clean and reverent”.

An editorial in the Philadelphia Daily News says the attack on the Scouts, and their moral stand, comes at a time in Philadelphia when the city suffers a murder a day, “but City Hall thinks Public Enemy No. 1 is the Boy Scouts of America”.

Christine M. Flowers said Diaz “has pursued the Scouts with something akin to vengeance, cloaked in the language of equality.”

“This is an organization that has done more good for more children in this crime-ravaged city than most of the other so-called charitable groups in the City of Brotherly Love…At a time when this city is awash in blood, and we need as many safe havens for our children as possible, Philadelphia decides to go after an organization that is politically uncomfortable.”

An editorial appearing in the online edition of Investor’s Business Daily asked, “Isn’t it hypocritical, though, to be intolerant in the name of tolerance, to say that it’s wrong to disapprove of the lifestyles of others but OK to condemn the religious and moral beliefs of others?”

“How is it that an organization that has done immeasurable good for tens of millions of boys becomes one of America’s most notorious and dangerous hate groups?”

Read related coverage:

Philly City Council Ends 79-Year Boy Scout Lease Over Refusal to Accept Homosexual Leaders

To respectfully express concerns to the Philadelphia City Council

Council Chair Anna C. Verna
City Hall, Room 405
Philadelphia, PA 19107-3290
(215) 686-3412, (215) 686-3413
FAX: (215) 686-1932

Vice-Chair Jannie L. Blackwell
City Hall, Room 408
Philadelphia, PA 19107-3290
(215) 686-3418, (215) 686-3419
FAX: (215) 686-1933

To contact Solicitor Diaz
Phone (215) 683-5003 

To contact the Cradle of Liberty Council
Bruce S. Marks
Scouting Resource Center,
22nd & Winter St.
(215) 988 9811