sign
WHERE
Have the Boy Scouts
GONE?

Few of us would debate the potential value of the Boy Scouting program for young people. At the unit level, dedicated Scouters help youth develop a set of values that will stand them well throughout their lives. Few would debate that there are many professionals in the Scouting program who are equally dedicated as well. However, there have been a number of problems that have taken place in the past few years that have left the National Scouting Movement under a cloud of uncertainty as to the future of the program. Supreme Court decisions, membership scandals, illegal activities by Scout officials, fiscal problems, scandals involving specific individuals and unethical actions taken by various Scout Councils against individual members have combined to raise serious doubts about the direction of the movement. I have done a considerable amount of research into this recent history, and have attempted to summarize my findings on this website. Wherever possible, I have included references for the material cited. Much (but not all) of the information was found on the following Web sites:
www.bsa-discrimination.org - Wealth of well organized information (history, funding, schools, religious groups)
www.scoutingforall.org - Home page of Scouting for All (news, links, letters, case studies, national activities)
www.charitynavigator.org - Financial analyses of charitable organizations (National and local Council finances)
www.govtrack.us - Tracks Congressional activities relating to the BSA ("plain language" summaries, updates)
www.religioustolerance.org - History of BSA intolerance 1998-Present (legal issues, funding, religious groups)

I plan to update this site frequently to keep the information current, so check back frequently.

The information is organized under the following headings:
A Brief History of the Boy Scouts of America
Supreme Court, State Court and Other Legal Decisions
Membership Scandals
Individual Scandals
Legally Irresponsible Decisions,Unethical & Allegedly Illegal Business Deals
BSA Removes Scouters from the Movement
BSA Removes Gay and Atheist Youth
National Financial Woes
What Congress Can Do
What Can I do?



          A Brief History of the Boy Scouts of America (how we got where we are today)

The Boy Scouts of America was first incorporated in 1910, and in its early years tried to pitch as wide a tent as possible. To some extent, this inclusiveness stemmed from the need to expand its membership base in order to win exclusive rights to the Boy Scouts name (the Hearst newspaper chain was planning a rival organization at the same time). But financial imperatives dovetailed nicely with ideological ones: The BSA's founders were concerned by a perceived crisis of youth caused in part by a burgeoning immigrant population, urban poverty, and the broader moral perils of modernity. One BSA elder complained that the nation was suffering from "City rot" and described American adolescents as "a lot of flat-chested cigarette smokers, with shaky nerves and a doubtful vitality." Scouting would train these youths - in the words of the national charter granted to the BSA by Congress in 1916 - in the "patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues" necessary for an enlightened citizenry. To become a truly national institution - as well as one dedicated to a nationalistic ideal - the BSA appreciated that it needed a representative membership.

In that vein, the organization emphasized uniformity, middle-class values, and diversified outreach. Foreign-language troops were discouraged; a Committee on Americanization edited theScout Law to remove references to class conflict inherited from its British antecedent; and in 1919 the BSA's Fifth Avenue office hired a field director to establish troops in the under-represented South and West. And though in the 1920s the BSA leadership tilted rightward (in 1919 the BSA's executive secretary suggested that scout-training might prevent Bolshevism), headquarters forbade any explicit political involvement and settled for an aggressive, ethnically neutral American chauvinism.

If today the BSA seems mired in a controversy over religious principle, in its earlier years the organization avoided any such denominational strife. Scouting in France, where Catholics, Protestants, and secularists had split into their own programs, was a sound warning of the alternative. And so, though the BSA was initially linked closely to the Protestant YMCA, it espoused a strict ecumenism based on a vaguely articulated but potent American deism. The BSA's commitment to religious pluralism was clearly spelled out in its 1917 "Declaration of Religious Principle": "The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no boy can grow into the best kind of citizenship without recognizing his obligation to God.... The Boy Scouts of America, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of a boy, but it is absolutely non-sectarian in its attitude toward that training."

In fact, at first the BSA's efforts to transcend religious and ethnic particularism scared off some conservative denominations, such as Lutherans, Catholics, and Mormons, according David Macleod's Building Character in the American Boy: The Boy Scouts, YMCA, and Their Forerunners. But assimilationist pressures soon won these groups over, and by 1921 Catholics boasted the third-most troops of any denomination. For the Mormons, participation in the Boy Scouts became a way to convince suspicious mainline denominations of their Americanism. (By 1913 Scouting had become the official youth program of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.) The BSA, writes Macleod, favored a "'civil religion' - not as a prophetic faith, standing in judgment upon actual American practices, but as a celebration of the American way of life." With its good works on the home front during both world wars (during World War I, Scouts sold more than $350 million in war bonds and distributed some 20 million government flyers), the Boy Scouts became one of the chief symbols of American patriotism; by 1955 the group could claim nearly 4.2 million members. And if the nation's living rooms had continued to look like those on the covers of The Saturday Evening Post, membership probably would have climbed steadily and with little contest.

That was not to be. The Boy Scouts as we currently know it, as an actively conservative body, emerged from the 1960s, a decade that challenged its institutional essence, its code of discipline, proud conformity, and devotion to country. Suddenly, it was no longer 'hip' to wear the khaki uniform. In desperation, the Cub Scouts removed the pledge "To be Square" from its Promise, while the Boy Scouts wondered aloud, in the words of a 1968 survey it commissioned, "Is Scouting In Tune with the Times?" Concerned that the answer might be "no," in 1972 the BSA revised its official Handbook. Sections on canoeing and rope-lashing were replaced with passages on urban hiking, drug abuse, and public speaking, and the organization made a concerted effort to recruit more minorities. But these efforts at relevance did little to correct stagnating membership, which declined for the first time in 1969 and plummeted in the early '70s; the Boy Scouts lost nearly one-third of its participants between 1973 and 1980. So the national leadership reverted to the old formula, issuing another Handbook revision in 1979 that returned the emphasis to camping skills and outdoor activities.

But as the organization rededicated itself to whittling and knot-tying, it also began to orient itself in the contemporary political landscape and to assert itself as a combatant in the culture war. Previously, the Boy Scouts had maintained a decorous silence about sexuality; according to the 1972 Scoutmaster's Handbook, Scoutmasters should "not undertake to instruct Scouts, in any formalized manner, in the subject of sex and family life.... [I]t is not construed to be Scouting's proper area." Some of this was the residual prudishness of the organization's Edwardian founders. But the Boy Scouts also did not want to isolate the more conservative religious denominations that sponsored troops, who (ironically, given their current insistence that the BSA explicitly endorse certain sexual norms) worried that any official BSA position on sexuality would impinge on their own efforts at moral education. So, as with religion and politics, except for a few perfunctory references, the BSA was happy to leave the topic of sex to a boy's parents or clergyman.

To be sure, this official silence frequently cloaked unofficial discrimination. As the BSA pointed out almost giddily in its Supreme Court brief, until 1979 homosexual sodomy was a criminal offense in New Jersey, the state whose 1991 antidiscrimination laws formed the basis for gay Assistant Scoutmaster James Dale's Supreme Court challenge. Moreover, since its founding, the BSA was plagued by fears that scout leaders might molest their young charges, and avowed homosexuals were considered the most likely to do so. As James Tarr, the chief scout executive in the late '70s, recently recounted to Rolling Stone, "If you had a person you knew was a homosexual, you would confront them, and they would resign quietly."

But precisely because such homophobia was informal, other troops were free to interpret the Scouts' principles as consistent with a progressive world-view. Looking back on his days as a scout in New Jersey in the '40s and as a professional district executive for the BSA in Long Island in the '50s, David Napp, a retired Connecticut book salesman, acknowledges that some of his co-workers were probably gay. But "the issue never really came up in all the years I was in scouting as a boy or as a leader." In 1993, after the Boy Scouts discovered that Napp himself was homosexual - he claims he was not yet publicly out of the closet - he was dismissed from the organization. Napp now views his early years in scouting nostalgically: "[E]ven in the '30s, [the BSA] was really open to all boys.... We had boys who were fat, boys who were clods, boys who were nerds, we had black kids." Mike Montalvo, a scout in the late '60s in Dallas, concurs, recalling that in his troop it was generally known that one of his Scoutmasters' sons, also in the troop, was gay. "It was something that was known, but it wasn't talked about."

But amid the cultural conflict of the '70s, such silence became untenable. The gay rights movement began to demand a response to the discrimination that the Boy Scouts tacitly allowed, and several high-profile cases of child abuse by scout leaders inflamed the national leadership's homophobia. (Especially devastating was the 1977 trial of a group of New Orleans scout leaders who formed a troop to serve as a pedophiliac sex ring.) And so, in 1978, the national organization offered its first official, if barely publicized, disavowal of homosexuality: The president and chief Scout executive notified the organization's executive committee that the BSA does "not believe that homosexuality and leadership in Scouting are appropriate." The following year, for the first time, the BSA insinuated sexual politics into the 1979 Handbook. Whereas the Handbook had previously associated "morally straight" (a phrase from the Scout Oath) with respect for others, it now invoked heterosexuality: "When you live up to the trust of fatherhood your sex life will fit into God's wonderful plan of creation."

That same year brought another symbolic affirmation of this realignment: After a quarter-century in New Brunswick, New Jersey, the BSA moved its headquarters to Irving, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. Ostensibly, the BSA moved for lower rents and the convenient location near a major airport, but many saw it as part of a larger demographic and cultural redefinition. During the group's membership skid in the '70s - which was most pronounced in the Northeast - enrollment remained steady only in the Rocky Mountain region, where numbers were buoyed by the steady participation of 250,000 Mormons, whose percentage in the organization quadrupled from 1920 to 1980, to nearly 20 percent.

It was as if the BSA had decided that the terrain it had previously staked out - that broad national consensus - was suddenly uninhabitable and chose to decamp to the narrower territory of the traditionalists instead. So, even in 1986, when the Boy Scouts, citing a study of convicted child molesters, admitted that avowed homosexuals were no more dangerous than heterosexuals, they still rejected gays, pointing to the threat they posed to the traditional family. By 1991 the BSA had retreated so far from its big-tent roots that, when a California appellate court struck down the complaint of a gay Berkeley Eagle Scout who was rejected as a Scoutmaster, Scouting officials could explain, "We are a private organization aimed at traditional families." A few months later, the BSA's national spokesman elaborated: "We're not saying that Scouting values are for every person in society to live by." That same year those traditional values were further clarified when, with a bit of exegetical legerdemain, the BSA declared that homosexuality not only conflicted with the Scout Oath's injunction to be "morally straight" but also with the ideal of "cleanliness" featured in the Scout Law.

These explicit policies have made the Boy Scouts a safe haven for the conservative, centralized denominations that were once wary of it. The Church of Latter-day Saints now sponsors more troops than any other single institution. In fact, religious bodies now sponsor 65 percent of all troops, compared with just over 40 percent 15 years ago. And, according to some observers of the BSA's bureaucracy, the real clout within the organization now lies not with the national executive board, made up mostly of corporate executives, but with the relationships committee, which comprises representatives from all the major sponsoring institutions and which is dominated by religious groups. As Chuck Wolfe, a former member of the national executive board, told The Advocate magazine last year, "The real driving force is the relationships committee.... That's where the money comes from."

And, indeed, a significant part of that money comes from the Mormons. This grants the Church of Latter-day Saints substantial leverage with the national leadership. As one scout leader told Newsweek this year, "There is an unadulterated fear that [the Mormons are] going to bail out, that they're going to start their own program." The Mormons have invoked their power in the current controversy, threatening to withdraw their 412,000 boys if gay scout leaders are allowed to participate. "[T]he Scouting Movement as now constituted will cease to exist," Von G. Keetch, attorney for the Church of Latter-day Saints, threatened in an amicus brief to the Supreme Court last year, suggesting that other conservative religious denominations might follow the Mormons' lead.

Liberal groups within the Boy Scouts have countered the BSA's increasing identification with the religious right by invoking the organization's ecumenical past. As University of California at Davis Professor Jay Mechling writes in the soon-to-be-published On My Honor: Boy Scouts and the Making of American Youth, "To maintain the position that homosexuality is immoral amounts to preferring some religions over others on this matter." The BSA "is acting like a church and is departing from the founders' principles." In fact, in an amicus brief submitted to the Supreme Court, a number of more liberal denominations (including the United Methodist Church, Reform Judaism, and the Episcopal Diocese of Newark) pointed out that they - along with governmental sponsors - represent nearly 60 percent of all troops. "Contrary to [the BSA's] assertions ... our boys and young men do not participate in the Boy Scouts for the purpose of expressing the view that gay boys and men are immoral," they wrote. "It is our boys and young men that the BSA seeks to exclude from our Scout troops." This January the Union of American Hebrew Congregations - Reform Judaism's governing body - called on its congregants to withdraw their children from Boy Scout troops, stating that the BSA's position is "incompatible with our consistent belief that every individual - regardless of his or her sexual orientation - is created in the image of God."

But perhaps no religious group has challenged the Boy Scouts' fundamentalism as vigorously as the Unitarian Universalists, a progressive denomination with some 217,000 members in North America. In 1992, in protest over the BSA's position on homosexuality, the Unitarians withdrew as an official sponsor, though individual churches still maintained troops. Then, in 1998, the BSA refused to rubber-stamp the "Religion in Life Award," the Unitarians' version of the decoration given to scouts by their sponsoring church based on the fulfillment of certain religious obligations. Historically the Boy Scouts have deferred to the religious institutions in the creation and conferring of the award. But, in this case, they objected to the inclusion, in the award's instruction manual, of material spelling out the Unitarians' "ongoing concern regarding the homophobic and discriminatory attitudes of the [BSA's] national leadership." A BSA spokesman claimed that the language "was just not consistent with Scouting's values, particularly regarding the commitment to duty to God and traditional family values." The president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, the Reverend John Buehrens (who was himself a Life Scout), disagrees. He believes the BSA simply "knuckled under to political pressure by those who pay the bills." Many Unitarian leaders, however, believing that scouting was worth saving, handed out the award anyway, without authorization.

Which begs the question: Is scouting worth the fight? The answer is yes. For, even in its tarnished state, the Boy Scouts does bring together boys from diverse economic, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, providing, in Robert Putnam's terms, "bridging social capital." Just witness the quadrennial National Jamboree, where scouts from Massachusetts and scouts from Utah fished, traded badges, and worked and prayed together.

Until society, and the Boy Scouts with it, comes to a consensus about the equality of gays and lesbians, liberals should work to decentralize the BSA - allowing different troops to define their own moral and sexual rules, as they effectively did for most of the organization's history. As Jay Mechling writes, "[T]he Boys Scouts of America - that is, the legal corporation and the bureaucrats working in the office buildings of the national office and the council offices - is not the 'real' Boy Scouts in the sense that a boy experiences Scouting through a concrete group of men and boys." Conservatives might be hard-pressed to oppose this sort of local-control argument. Certainly, it made its appearance at the Jamboree, where several scouts expressed displeasure that headquarters was intruding on their troops' territory. "People think we're homophobic, but we have no power over that. It's all the head council," explained 14-year-old Joe Paul, a red-haired, freckled scout from Travis City, Michigan.

And decentralization is catching on among some scouting officials as well. This June representatives from nine of the largest metropolitan Boy Scout councils - Boston, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, and Orange County - proposed leaving membership policies to the local sponsoring institutions. Says Mike Harrison, former chairman of the Orange County Council, "To me, one of the strengths of the organization is that it has always been able to accommodate differing viewpoints, and the present position is totally inconsistent with that. We want to get the tribe back on track."

Of course, remaining in the Boy Scouts would require liberals to tolerate a degree of moral discomfort. It would also require faith in the nation's moral progress: that the BSA will, over time, come to see nondiscrimination as the principle that best honors scouting's heritage. And it would require a belief that the Boy Scouts, by joining together children of different backgrounds in "a brotherhood of youth," can help achieve that progress. Should that time come, liberals, by refusing to abandon the organization even when it seems to have abandoned them, will - in the best tradition of the Scouts - be prepared. (The New Republic, September 17, 2001; Benjamin Soskis)
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                                Supreme Court, State Court and Other Legal Decisions

Dale vs. Boy Scouts of America - This Supreme Court decision profoundly affected the future of the Boy Scouts of America. In June of 2000 the Supreme Court found that the BSA was a "private organization" and not a "public accommodation." This decision permitted the BSA to specify membership requirements "at will." It now had the right to include (or exclude) anyone it chose. On February 6, 2002, the National Executive Board of the BSA passed a formal resolution that expressly excluded atheists and homosexuals from membership. Furthermore, the Executive Board resolved that all Councils and sponsoring organizations must sign a statement to the effect that they will enforce all policies of the BSA including the exclusion of homosexuals and atheists as members. All those applying for membership must also agree to abide by these policies. For those wanting more information about the Dale case, use the following link:
www.inclusivescouting.net/bsa/cases/dale

Good News Club vs. Milford Central School - The Supreme Court issued a decision on this case on June 11, 2001. The Good News Club is a "born-again" Christian group. It held that the school was violating its First Amendment right to free speech by failing to grant it access to school facilities after hours. The Supreme Court agreed. This case serves as a precedent for arguing that schools must offer Scout units use of their facilities during non-school hours. Schools are not required to "sponsor" Scout units, however. In addition, they are not obligated to permit Scout units to conduct recruiting activities during school hours.

Oregon Court of Appeals - The Court found that the BSA could not recruit during school hours since it discriminates against atheists. As government agencies, schools are bound by the First Amendment not to provide fiscal support (in this case, the use of school time) to religious organizations. (The Oregonian, 03/05/05)

ACLU lawsuit impacts government agency sponsors - The BSA altered it policy regarding government agencies (school boards, fire departments, police departments, etc.) that sponsor Scout units in the face of a threatened ACLU lawsuit. The BSA policy now states that government agencies may not sponsor BSA units. This is an outcome of the decision of the Department of Defense to cancel military sponsorship of Scout units. This decision was announced last November. (The BP News, Nashville, Tennessee, 03/09/05, Jeff Robinson)

Federal Court Judge rules against Pentagon support - U.S. District Court Judge Blanche Manning ruled that the Pentagon cannot provide financial support for the BSA National Jamboree in the future. This finding is the latest outcome of ongoing lawsuits filed by the ACLU in 1999. The judge agreed with the ACLU position that the BSA is a religious group. The First Amendment bars government agencies, such as the Pentagon, from providing fiscal support to religious groups. The judge failed to buy the Pentagon's argument that preparations for the Jamboree provided a training opportunity for the military since it simulates preparations that would be involved in erecting and supporting a large "tent city" in the event of a national emergency. (Associated Press, 07/08/05)

Support Our Scouts Act of 2005 - In March, Senators Bill Frist and Lamar Alexander, with the endorsement of a number of other Senators, introduced this proposal to the Senate. The act seeks to ensure that the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are granted "fair access" to government facilities. In other words, it seeks to ensure that the Scouts are not discriminated against when they seek to use facilities such as school classrooms and public parks and recreation areas. The act also states that government agencies cannot reduce fiscal support below present levels. The act easily passed both houses of congress. It was subsequently 'buried' in the Defense Authorization Act of 2006 (H.R. 1815) (Initially disclosed by Associated Press, 07/27/05)

It is the author's opinion that this act is little more than a "publicity stunt." The Good News Club decision by the Supreme Court, mentioned above, already ensures that Scouts will have "fair access" to government facilities. Admittedly, a federal law carries more weight than does case law. However, the case law referred to here is Supreme Court case law. At any rate, if the Act is ratified by the House and becomes law, it still would be subject to First Amendment restrictions. Government agencies could not be forced to subsidize BSA activities, since the BSA is a private religious organization.

Click on the "BSA-discrimination" link above and select the "BSA in the courts" link on the left for more cases.

Philly Mayor John Street Evicts Scouts - Mayor John Street ended a three-year debate with the Cradle of Liberty Council of the BSA when he announced that the council would be evicted from the Center City headquarters building that the city has provided rent-free since 1928 if it does not end its policy of banning gays from membership. City Solicitor Romulo Diaz sent Scout Executive William Dwyer, III a letter informing him that the council office would be evicted or charged rent on a "free-market basis" if the policy were not changed immediately.

According to former City Solicitor Nelson Diaz the Boy Scout policy violates provisions of the Philadelphia fair practices ordinance that forbids all forms of discrimination (including sexual preference) on city property. Diaz notes that the city is subsidizing discrimination by allowing the council to use the Center City headquarters building free of charge.

The Cradle of Liberty Council is the third-largest council in the country and serves 87,000 youth in Philadelphia, Montgomery and Delaware Counties. There are 40,000 Scouts in Philadelphia alone. (Philadelphia Inquirer, July 22, 2006)

Summary of 2006 Legal Issues - Six years after the Supreme Court ruled the Boy Scouts could ban gay leaders, the group is fighting and losing legal battles with state and local governments over its discriminatory policies.

The latest setback came Monday when the high court without comment refused to take a case out of Berkeley in which a Scout sailing group lost free use of a public marina because the Boy Scouts bar atheists and gays.

The action let stand a unanimous California Supreme Court ruling that Berkeley can treat the Berkeley Sea Scouts differently from other nonprofit organizations because of the Scouts' membership policies.

Two years ago, the court similarly rejected a Boy Scouts appeal of a case from Connecticut, where officials dropped the group from a list of charities that receive donations from state employees through a payroll deduction plan.

And in Philadelphia, the city is threatening to evict a Boy Scout council from the group's publicly owned headquarters or make it pay rent unless it changes its policy on gays.

On a separate matter, federal judges in two other court cases that are being appealed have ruled that government aid to the group is unconstitutional because the Boy Scouts of America requires members to swear an oath of duty to God.

Despite the string of legal setbacks, lawyers for the Scouts said they believe the Supreme Court ultimately will decide that governments are improperly denying benefits that they make available to similar organizations.

''The issue of governments seeking to punish organizations for exercising their First Amendment rights is a recurring one. There will be other opportunities for the Supreme Court to affirm First Amendment protections for organizations dealing with government agencies,'' George Davidson, the longtime attorney for the Scouts, said in a statement.

Duke University law professor Erwin Chemerinsky agreed that the justices probably have not had their last say on the Boy Scouts and may be waiting until lower courts disagree on the issue.

''This is about when governments can impose requirements for getting government benefits,'' Chemerinsky said.

In 2000, the court ruled that the Scouts have the right to ban openly homosexual Scout leaders, a decision that rested on First Amendment rights.

''The Boy Scouts asserts that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the values it seeks to instill,'' then-Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote for the court in a 5-4 decision.

Even so, the California Supreme Court said in March that local governments are under no obligation to extend benefits to organizations that discriminate.

Berkeley, home of free speech protests since the 1960s, adopted a nondiscrimination policy on the use of its marina in 1997 and revoked the Sea Scouts' subsidy a year later.

The Sea Scouts are a branch of the Boy Scouts that teaches sailing and seamanship. City officials had told the group that it could retain its berthing subsidy if it broke ties with the Boy Scouts or disavowed the policy against gays and atheists, but the Sea Scouts refused.

Eugene Evans, who leads the Sea Scouts, has been paying $500 a month to berth one boat at the Berkeley Marina. The group removed two other boats because it could not afford the rent. The group has about 40 members, down from as many as 100 before the subsidy was removed.

Berkeley had allowed the Scouts free use of the marina since the 1930s, said Evans.

The Sea Scouts said they were singled out because Berkeley's elected officials disapprove of the Boy Scouts' membership policies. The case is Evans v. city of Berkeley, 06-40. (Monterey Herald, October 17, 2006, written by Mark Sherman, AP)

BSA Wins One in Circuit Court - Two religious leaders brought suit to halt the Pentagon from supporting the National Jamboree. The grounds for the suit was the fact that the BSA discriminates against atheists. The Seventh Circuit Court dismissed the suit stating that "taxing and spending legislation was not subject to lawsuits brought by taxpayers." What further actions would be brought by the ACLU was non known. (Associated Press, April 5, 2007)

World Organization of the Scouting Movement (WOSM) in Crisis - Twelve National Scouting Organizations (NSOs) confronted the WOSM in an open letter dated October 19, 2007, demanding improved financial accountability. The BSA went further, insisting that Secretary General Eduardo Missoni be fired. The BSA threatened to cease paying dues to the WOSM unless Missoni was dismissed. BSA dues to the WOSM represent 39% of the operating budget of the organization. An emergency meeting of the World Scouting Council, the governing body of the WOSM, was held in Cairo, Egypt on November 12, 2007. Missoni was dismissed effective November 30. The Council also agreed to address the other complaints summarized in the original open letter. (BSA Today exclusive, November 28, 2007)

Berkeley Sea Scout Leader Accused of Molesting Teens - Berkeley police arrested 64-year-old Sea Scout leader Eugene Evans on six felony counts of sexual assault on Sea Scouts aged 13 to 17. The alleged assaults had been going on for "several years." Evans had been the skipper of the group's boat the Farallon for 35 years. He led the unsuccessful 2006 law suit against the city of Berkeley for revoking the city-funded berth at the marina because of the BSA discrimination policy against gays and atheists. The suit had made it all the way to the Supreme Court, which held in favor of the city. (Doug Oakley, Mercury News, December 4, 2007)

Boy Scouts Lose Philadelphia Lease After Three Year Battle - Philadelphia municipal officials have cancelled the lease held by the Cradle of Liberty Council on the Beaux Arts Building since 1929. The Council had access to the building for a nominal rent of $1 per year. They must vacate the building by June 1, 2008. (Ian Urbina, International Herald Tribune, December 6, 2007)

Los Angeles Police Department Ends Sponsorship of Explorer Posts - The LAPD eliminated all Law Enforcement Explorer Posts and replaced them with similar police youth groups. The Los Angeles City Council noted that the Explorer Program is offered through Learning for Life, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Boy Scouts of America. Although Learning for Life claims that it does not practice discrimination, its parent organization does actively discriminate against gays and atheists. Provisions of the City Charter forbid city agencies from entering into contracts with organizations that practice discrimination. The City Council ruled that these provisions precluded the City from dealing with Learning for Life. (ABC News, November 29, 2009)

Boy Scouts Granted Permanent Injunction against City of Philadelphia - After the Cradle of Liberty Council lost its lease to the Beaux Arts Building which it had leased from the City of Philadelphia since 1929, it obtained a temporary injunction that kept the City from evicting them pending action in Federal Court. The case finally came before a jury in 2010. The jury found that the City should not be allowed to evict the Scouts from their long-term headquarters. City Solicitor Shelly Smith cited numerous inconsistincies in the jury responses to eleven questions posed on jury verdict sheets that would not support their verdict. An appeal is likely, expecially in light of the Supreme Court finding noted below. (Nathan Gorenstein, Philadelphia Inquirer, June 23, 2010)

Supreme Court Finds That Law School Can't Be Forced to Host Student Group That Discriminates - By a 5-4 margin, the Supreme Court held that the University of California (Hastings) Law School, which has a strict non-discrimination policy, could not be forced to allow the Christian Legal Society (CLS), a student group that discriminates against lesbians and gays, to meet in law school classrooms. The CLS had argued that the law school was violating their First Amendment right to free speech and free association by denying them access to school facilities. Obviously, the Supreme Court felt that there were many other facilities where the CLS could practice those rights. (San Francisco Citizen, June 28, 2010)

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                                                                      Membership Scandals

Membership Trends - Membership in traditional Scout units has been declining year-after-year for the last eight years. Between 1998 and the end of 2005, there has been a loss of 531,000 Cub Scouts (24.5% loss). The total membership in all traditional units declined from 3,383,439 to 2,773,487 (an 18% drop) during this time period. These figures do not include the Learning for Life program, a "for profit" classroom program offered by the BSA to public schools. It is intended to help teach leadership skills to mainly inner-city youth. During the 2000-2005 time period, the BSA lost 18% of its volunteer leaders. The number of leaders dropped from 1.4 million to 1.15 million. Those seeking a more complete analysis of membership trends are directed to the following link:
www.bsa-discrimination.org/html/bsa-membership.html

Tampa Bay Scandal - Action News investigators found falsified unit rosters and phony applications for the years 2002 - 2004 in the Gulf Ridge Council. The Council registrar, Rhonda Jackson, who brought these records to ABC's attention was fired soon after. (ABC Action News, 03/03/05, Robin Guess)

Oregon Scandal - John Mangen, then Western Area Director, identified phantom troops in the Crater Lake Council and in other Councils in Oregon. He was given the choice of either resigning or being fired by the BSA. He chose to resign and is now suing the BSA for $296,000 on the grounds of "loss of income" and "mental anguish." (Portland Mail Tribune, 02/24/04, Sarah Lemon)

Atlanta Scandal - The BSA claimed to have 15,000 Scouts enrolled in Operation First Class, a program aimed at inner-city youth. John Beasley of the Rainbow/PUSH coalition challenged that number. The local council paid a law firm to conduct an audit. The firm reduced the number to 5,000. Beasley claims that there are no more than 500 youth involved in the program. Eight professionals were involved in Operation First Class. None has been fired. (USA Today, 06/05/05)

Alabama Scandal - A Scouter in the Greater Alabama Council reported membership irregularities. The FBI undertook an investigation in 2003. As a result, there was a 31% drop in both number of units and total memberships reported for 2004.

Dallas Scandal - The FBI raided the offices of the Circle 10 Council on April 7, 2000 and seized council membership records. A Federal Grand Jury was impaneled in 2003 to consider possible criminal charges. The Council has since reduced its roster by 20,000 youth (-35%). The Council Scout Executive in 2000 was Ronald Holmes. He is now the Council Scout Executive in the Greater Alabama Council. Evidently, Holmes took what he learned in Dallas to Alabama. By the way, Holmes salary in 2003 was $221,369, more that 10 times the average annual income in Alabama. (Global Ethics Newsline, 02/07/05)

Chicago Scandal - Membership scandals are not a new thing for the BSA. Back in the early 70's the BSA was suffering a "Vietnam War legacy." This was particularly true in Chicago where a bit of creativity placed non-existent Scouts in cemeteries and elsewhere. The Council Scout Executive at the time was Alden Barber. By the time the scandal became public in 1974, Barber had moved on to become the Chief Scout Executive at National Headquarters. Soon after, the following scandal appeared.

Boypower '76 - Membership numbers were down across the nation when Barber arrived at National, so he decided to take advantage of the fact the Bicentennial would be celebrated in 1976 by creating the All Out for Scouting Program. Scout District Executives were put on notice that their performance would be judged by two measures, the number of new members recruited during the year and the increase in the amount of money raised in their districts. With the stress again on numbers, the air was ripe for "inventing" new members in order to make quotas. The scandal broke during the Boypower '76 program. Barber bowed out by taking early retirement. If you would like to read more about the Chicago and Boypower '76 membership scandals, use the following link:
www.bsa-discrimination.org/html/mem-scandals.html
                                                                               
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                                                           Individual Scandals

Douglas S. Smith - Smith pled 'guilty' to trafficking in "kiddy porn" on March 30, 2005. He could be sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined up to $250,000. Smith was a Scouting professional and was the chairman of the BSA Youth Protection Task Force. (Dallas Morning News, 03/30/05, Michael Grabell)

Bradley Stowell - Stowell, a camp counselor, confessed to molesting boys at Camp Little Lemhi (Grand Teton Council) from 1988 to 1997, when he was arrested and convicted of child molestation. National Headquarters had been notified of the abuse in a letter dated 1991. The case was finally made public in May of 2005 on a TV news broadcast. (KPVI, Channel 6, Pocatello, Idaho, 4/9/05)

In the state of Oklahoma (and presumably in many other states as well) those who care for youth (teachers, coaches, etc.) must report even suspected child abuse to authorities according to state law. Consequently, the Grand Teton Council probably violated the law by failing to report Stowell to the police in 1991. As a responsible employer, the BSA should have noted and reported the abuse earlier.                  
                                                                              
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         Legally Irresponsible Decisions, Unethical & Allegedly Illegal Business Deals

Fatal and Potentially Fatal Decisions at Jamboree - Four Scouters from Alaska were electrocuted on the first day of the 2005 National Jamboree as they were helping contractors erect a tentpole for their dining shelter. The area assigned them was beneath a high voltage electical line. They were killed instantly when the pole struck the line. Two days later 300 Scouts collapsed from heat exhaustion as they awaited the arrival of President Bush, who was to speak to the assembled Jamboree. (Fox News, 8/2/05, Wendy McElroy)

Those responsible for assigning campsites for the Jamboree should never have allowed the Alaska group to camp under a power line. It is stated BSA practice that groups are not be located under power lines or directly beneath trees. It is totally irresponsible to keep 32,000 Scouts and Scouters in the un-shaded A.P. Hill amphitheater waiting for more than 2 hours in the blazing heat that is to be expected in Virginia in mid-summer. The BSA teaches how to avoid heat exhaustion. Why didn't it follow its own teachings? Mercifully, Bush re-scheduled his speech for early evening the following Sunday.

BSA, Learning for Life and BSA Foundation Involved in Unethical, Allegedly Illegal Business Deals - When people think of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), they usually picture Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts or Venture Scouts. These groups constitute the Traditional Scouting Program operated by the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America. The BSA formed a separate corporation, Learning for Life, Inc., to operate two additional programs, the Learning for Life Program and the Exploring Program, that are quite different from the Traditional Scouting Program. The Learning for Life Program is a curriculum supplements program that is used in classrooms to improve the academic performance and life skills of mostly inner city youth in kindergarten through high school. The Exploring Program offers career-awareness activities in twelve career areas.

Proponents of the Learning for Life Program claim that it exists primarily to benefit disadvantaged youth. After all, it is the largest program of its type in the United States, having grown from 600,000 when it was founded in 1991 to 1,700,000 in 2003. (Current enrollment is about 1,400,000.) In addition, it is widely supported by federal and state agencies, local United Way chapters and numerous charitable foundations. When you look at the Articles of Incorporation for Learning for Life, Inc. you get an entirely different picture. According to Article 4, the purpose of the organization is "to benefit the Boy Scouts of America.” Learning for Life, Inc. was incorporated by representatives of the BSA as a charitable corporation subject to the restrictions of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Since the code clearly states that a charitable corporation cannot be incorporated to benefit its creator, it is questionable whether Learning for Life, Inc. even qualifies as a charity, let alone as a charity that exists to benefit disadvantaged youth.

Learning for Life is potentially quite profitable. From enrollment figures and contracts available in public records, we concluded that Learning for Life was capable of generating revenues of around $70,000,000 in 2003. (See table below for details.) Both Learning for Life, Inc., and the National Council of the BSA are registered as 501(c)(3) charitable organizations. As such, they must file copies of IRS Form 990 each year to disclose their financial dealings. Once filed, these forms are matters of public record. We obtained copies from an online research firm (Guide Star) in order to see just where these revenues were going in 2003. They certainly weren’t going into Learning for Life accounts. According to Form 990, Learning for Life had revenues of only $9,000,000 (and expenses of $8,000,000) in 2003. The National Council, on the other hand, reported $114,400,000 as revenue from “membership dues and assessments.” The number of members in the BSA as well as the dues charged are matters of public record. From these, we concluded that the actual “membership dues and assessments” that the National Council should have reported was $46,560,000. (See table below for details.) The difference between these two values ($67,840,000) is alleged to be revenues diverted from Learning for Life, Inc. The sum of the revenues for Learning for Life, Inc., $76,840,000, is very close to the $70,000,000 estimated potential revenues quoted above.The return-on-revenue, 100 x [revenue – expenses]/[revenue], for Learning for Life is nearly 90%, making it a very profitable venture indeed. It’s much easier to be profitable when your profits are tax-free and when you can even accept donations and grants from individuals and government agencies. We reviewed the finances for 2001 and 2002 and drew similar conclusions.

Why would the BSA go to such lengths to conceal the fact that Learning for Life, Inc. was actually supporting the National Council by providing a sizable fraction of the revenue sustaining the Traditional Scouting Program? The BSA has repeatedly stated that the Traditional Scouting Program (which bars homosexuals and atheists from membership) is totally separate from the Learning for Life Program (which does not practice discrimination in enrolling participants). If Learning for Life, Inc. had simply granted its profits to the National Council, this would have shown up on Form 990’s for both organizations, and it would be obvious that Learning for Life existed exclusively to earn money for the BSA. The hypocrisy of practicing discrimination in some BSA programs while banning discrimination in others would have also come to light. In addition, the for-profit nature of Learning for Life would have been obvious. The original Charter of the BSA, granted by Congress in 1916, clearly states in Article 30906a that the "corporation cannot operate for the pecuniary profit of its members." Operation of Learning for Life by the BSA appears to be a violation of this article.

If you check out the list of occupants at the National Headquarters of the BSA in Irving, Texas, you find that the National Council BSA, Learning for Life, Inc. and a third affiliate, the National Boy Scouts of America Foundation (the Foundation) share this address. They share much more than an address, however. Various members of the National Executive Board of the National Council sit on the Board of Directors for the Learning for Life, Inc. and the Foundation. When we investigated the Foundation further, we found that its purpose was to financially support the Boy Scouts of America and Scouting organizations around the world. The foundation is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation. As such, it can accept tax-deductible donations from individuals, corporations and foundations. It can also disperse funds to Scouting organizations in the US and abroad without oversight of an independent Board of Directors. According to IRC 501(c)(3) a charitable foundation cannot be organized to benefit its creator. We assert that the Foundation may not qualify as a charitable foundation.

We recommend that a Congressional investigation be conducted into these matters since evidence suggests that the BSA may have violated the restrictions placed on it by Article 30906a in its original Federal Charter. This evidence also supports allegations that the BSA may have knowingly violated the Internal Revenue Code restrictions on 501(c)(3) organizations as well as having falsified Internal Revenue Service reports.

Sir Walter Scott once said, “O what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” No truer words could be said in the case of the BSA and its affiliates, Learning for Life, Inc. and the Foundation. The details of this complaint have been presented to federal agencies and selected members of the media for further investigation.

                         Income Estimates for BSA Traditional Program and Learning for Life

BSA Traditional Program - 2003 Membership Dues & Assessment Estimate

      Group                       Number                                Fee                                           Income ($)
Youth members                 3.2 M                            $10/member                                         $32 M
Adult leaders                     1.2 M                            $10/leader                                            $12 M
Units (troops, packs)      128,000 (1)                       $20/unit                                               $2.56 M

Total membership dues and assessments = $46.560 M

Reported membership dues and assessments = $114.4 M

"Excess" membership dues and assessments = $114.4 M - $46.560 M = $67.84 M

Reported Income for Learning for Life in 2003 = $9.0 M

Imputed Income = Reported + "Excess" = $9.0 M + $67.84 M = $76.84 M


(1) Estimate of number of units obtained by dividing number of youth members by an assumed membership of 25 members/unit. Membership figures from IRS Form 990.


Independent Estimates of Potential Income for Learning for Life

1. Neighborhood Assistance Grant for City of Reading, Pennsylvania for 2003 - 2004 school year was $50,000 for 1200 youth to use the Learning for Life program. This grant covered all fees and materials to support the program according to a private conversation with Jamie Reed, Chief of the Human Resources Division, Office of Community Services, Pennsylvania Neighborhood Assistance Program.

Cost per student = $50,000/1,200 students = $41.67/student for the school year

Potential Total Income for Learning for Life = $41.67/ student x 1.6 M students = $66.67 M

2. Character Development, LLC, a private training corporation, charges $47 per student for their Social Responsibility Training program (similar objectives to Learning for Life). This fee covers materials and licensing fees for an entire school year. If Learning for Life charged this fee, the

Potential Total Income for Learning for Life = $47/student x 1.6 M students = $75.2 M


Average Projected Potential Total Income for Learning for Life in 2003 = $70.94 M

In 2010 the BSA changed the way it operates Learning for Life by requiring that local councils license Learning for Life from the National Council. Local councils, in turn, sell Learning for Life materials to schools and other end users. Many local councils further complicated matters by forming non-profit corporations to handle Learning for Life as a charitable service to local schools. This approach makes it virtually impossible to track profits earned by both the National Council and the local councils associated with Learning for Life. In earlier times, National licensed the individual school districts and sold Learning for Life materials to them using local councils as agents of the national office. This approach made tracking the profitability of Learning for Life much easier, as illustrated in the example cited above for 2003.


                                                                             
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                                       BSA Removes Scouters from the Movement

As was mentioned earlier, the Dale vs. BSA decision gave the BSA the right to act as a private organization and specify membership requirements "at will." This basically means that members have no legal rights with respect to the BSA. If the BSA chooses to remove a member, that individual does not even have the right to know the reason for his/her removal. The individual also does not have the right to confront his/her accuser or to be judged by a body of his/her peers. When a BSA Council dismisses a member (either adult or youth), the member has the right to appeal the decision to the Regional Office. If that appeal is denied, he/she can appeal to the National Office. Given the fact that the member has no rights, the prospect of success for these appeals is limited. The only real hope that the individual has is that he/she can clear up inaccuracies during the appeal process. Even that is a "long shot" given the fact that the individual didn't even receive a formal statement as to what he/she is charged with.

I have become aware of a number of cases in which the BSA has dismissed an adult member for reasons not related to the exclusion of gays and atheists. For the most part, the BSA preaches ethical principles. When it comes to how it treats its members, ethics go out the window, however. As a private organization, the BSA is not bound by the First Amendment, although one would think that any ethical United States organization would follow its teachings. The official privacy policy of the BSA states, "The Boy Scouts of America is committed to respecting and protecting the personal privacy of its members..." (from
www.scouting.org). As you will soon see, the BSA doesn't act that way. Evidently, the policy, along with the teachings of the Scout Oath and Scout Law are only "for show" when it comes down to treating its members.

A number of the cases referred to below are in the review process. For that reason I have omitted names except for those cases disclosed in the press. The individuals involved are long-term Scouters with an average of 20 years of adult service. They all had distinguished Scouting "careers," with service at the local, district, council, regional and national levels.

West Coast Scouters - Several California Scouters were removed from the BSA for questioning the official policy excluding gays and atheists from membership. Obviously, the BSA does not respect the First Amendment right to free speech and does not tolerate dissent, even when it is voiced politely.

East Coast Scouter - A New York Scouter was removed when he questioned why the local Council chose to spend money on new offices when the money might have been better spent on program activities. Obviously professionals make better decisions that do volunteers. One way to cope with criticism is to "eliminate" it.

Southern Scouter - A Scouter in the deep South was removed from office on the charge that he had adulterous sexual relations with another Scouter on Scout functions. The Scouter vigorously denied this. The charges were raised after he "blew the whistle" on one of the membership scandals cited above. Obviously, the BSA has nothing against invading privacy and committing slander, although slander is a violation of civil law.

Southwestern Scouter - A Scouter was removed over the content of a personal and private correspondence he had with another Scouter. The correspondence was intended to clear up a misunderstanding. It had nothing to do with the BSA and contained nothing illegal, immoral or indecent. Again, the BSA demonstrates that it does not respect either the right to free speech or its own privacy policy.

East Coast Scouter - Another East Coast Scouter was removed when he questioned the proposed sale of Council property. This again demonstrates that the easiest way to cope with criticism is to "eliminate" it.

Southwestern Scouter - A Scouter from the Southwest was removed because he provided a letter of recommendation that was attached to the Regional Appeal of another Scouter. Evidently the BSA believes in "guilt by association." By the way, the dismissal letter was delivered the day before the individual was to direct a Council event. This ensures the maximum effect and the greatest embarrassment for the individual involved.

Midwestern Scouter - A Midwestern Scouter was removed because the local Council didn't approve of his political affiliations.

Southwestern Scouter - A Southwestern Scouter was removed when he questioned his local Council's accouting after the 2005 Jamboree. After his ouster, the Council quietly granted a sizable rebate to all participants.

Midwestern Scouter - A Midwestern Scouter was removed when he questioned his Troop Committee about the credentials of an individual the Committee was considering for the Scoutmaster position.

Scout Leaders - Leaders of a Southwestern Scout Troop were advised to "shun" a fellow leader who had just been removed. They were told that they too could be removed if they communicated with the individual who had just been removed. So much for free speech rights and the right of free association.

BSA "Whistle Blowers" - John Mangen, Western Area Director, uncovered phantom units across Oregon. He was given the choice of resigning or being fired when he disclosed his findings. He resigned and is now suing the BSA for $296,000, claiming "loss of income" and "mental anguish." An office employee, Rhonda Jackson, who acted as registrar for the Gulf Ridge Council in Tampa Bay, Florida, discovered falsified membership records for the years of 2002 - 2004. When she could get no action from the Council, she disclosed her findings to ABC. She was promptly fired. This just goes to show that the BSA lets no good deed go unpunished.
                                                                              
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                                             BSA Removes Gay and Atheist Members

The BSA has a long history of removing gay and atheist youth and adults from the movement. Read some of the testimonials of dismissed members by following this link:
www.scoutingforall.org/testimonials.shtml   

Long-term Employee Fired - Dennis St.Jean was a BSA professional for 32 years. He had been given numerous promotions over the years. In 2000 he took over as the General Manager of the Sea Base in the Florida Keys. In this position, he managed a seasonal staff of as many as 2000 employees. He took a recent vacation to the Lighthouse Court Gay Guesthouses in Key West. Within a week after his return, he received a letter from Douglas Smith at National notifying him that he was no longer employed by the BSA. (By the way, Douglas Smith was charged with trafficking in kiddy porn two weeks after he fired St. Jean.) St. Jean hadn't told anyone on the staff of Sea Base of his vacation plans, however, evidently a disgruntled employee had found his room receipt and sent it to the BSA. Thus far, St.Jean has had no success in negotiating a financial settlement with the BSA based on "wrongful termination." To make life worse, he was within two years of retirement. He now plans to sue based on a Monroe County, Florida ordinance that prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual preferences. (Mother Jones, 8/2/05, Clint Hender)

Dennis St. Jean was neither a known nor an avowed homosexual. He kept his private life "private" for the 32 years he worked for the BSA, and yet he was fired based on information that the BSA obtained by unethical means. So much for the BSA privacy policy that states, "The BSA defends and protects the privacy of its members..."             
                                                                               
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                                                       National Financial Woes

Charity Navigator is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that evaluates charitable organizations in various categories on a financial basis using information found in IRS Form 990. All charities must file this detailed financial disclosure form each year in order to retain their "charity" status with the IRS. Once filed, the information is available to the public. Charity Navigator (
www.charitynavigator.org) gives the BSA a "two star" rating, indicating that it "needs improvement." (For reference "one star" indicates "poor," and "four stars" indicates "exceptional.") In comparison, the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., which is in the same "youth services" category as the BSA, gets "four stars" from the Navigator. In the judgment of the Navigator, the Girl Scouts would be a much better choice for "charitable giving" than the BSA would be unless the BSA shows substantial improvement.

The Navigator considers organizational performance in two categories. The first is organizational efficiency. This criterion reflects how well an organization utilizes its income. The BSA does well in this category, getting a score of 31.68 (35 is perfect). This is primarily because the BSA does a good job of using its income to support its program. 91.4% of its income in 2003 (last year for which data is available) supported the program. 7.5% of the income supported "administrative costs." The remaining 1.5% went for "fund raising."

The second performance category is organizational capacity. This criterion reflects how well an organization is projected to be able to sustain its efforts. The BSA does miserably in this category, getting a score of 16.17 (35 is perfect). The Navigator evaluates three factors in assessing organizational capacity. The first is 'revenue growth.' The net revenue for the BSA has been declining steadily over the 2001-2003 time period. Consequently, the BSA gets a low score for 'revenue growth.' The second factor is 'expense growth.' Expenses have increased relative to income over the 2001-2003 time period. As a result, the 'expense growth' factor is actually negative. The third factor is 'working capital ratio.' This is a measure of how many years an organization could sustain its activities if it were forced to 'live off' its liquid assets and working capital. The Navigator judges that the BSA could "live" no longer than 2.95 years by "eating itself."

The Navigator analysis output gives a summary of income and expense for each year in the period of 2000 - 2003. The BSA have consistently run "in the red" every year, with deficits ranging from $19.4M in 2000 to $50.7M in 2003. The Navigator also notes that our Chief Scouting Executive lives pretty well, receiving a total compensation of more than $444,000/year.

Navigator analyses are available for 18 local Councils as well. Few did any better than receiving a "two star" rating.

The Navigator analysis of the Girl Scouts gives them a "four star" rating. They rate slightly higher than the BSA in organizational efficiency but substantially higher in organizational capacity. By the way, their Chief Executive makes do on $249,000/year.                                                         
                                                                                
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                                                        What Congress Can Do

Since the BSA has acknowledged that it is now a "private organization" that requires its members to swear an allegiance to God, the BSA has also become a "religious organization." The First Amendment precludes government agencies from providing direct fiscal support to religious organizations. Even the BSA has admitted that this is correct since it has declared that all Scout units must be now be sponsored by private organizations (churches, service organizations, etc.) and not by government agencies (military units, public schools, police departments, etc.). Congress needs to follow the lead of other federal agencies by doing the following:

1. Demand that the BSA allow private independent audits of its membership to be conducted regularly.
2. Demand that the BSA adopt non-discriminatory policies with regard to atheists and gays if it is to receive any public financial support from government agencies in the future.
3. Recommend that the BSA end all unethical practices in its dealings with members.
4. Repeal or withdraw legislation (such as the "Support Our Scouts Act of 2005") that seeks to grant "special financial support" to the BSA unless the BSA can demonstrate that it is free from discriminatory practices against any social group. One example of "special financial support" is the funding supporting the National Jamboree held every four years at Army Fort A. P. Hill.                                         
                                                                             
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                                                            What Can I do?

If you do not approve of the direction that the Scouting Movement has taken lately, you can take action to help change that direction. Use the link below to read some of the ideas proposed by Scouting for All* as part of their National Campaign.
www.scoutingforall.org/aaic/positionnc.shtml

*Scouting for All is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to making the Scouting program available to all youth and adults in the United States.                               
                                                                           
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