The Boy Scouts of America in all forms, across the United States, involve young boys and young adults in a number of healthy and education experiences in their programs. Since the Scouts' founding 1910, the organization has sought to help shape boys into lively and well-rounded adults. The problem lies in how the organization runs at the most basic level; whether or not the BSA is acting strictly as a private or public organization is still under debate almost 100 years after its creation. The Boy Scouts of America have had in their membership outlines distinctive policies regarding religion since 1910, with modifications being made starting in the 1970s to add a clear focus on such an agenda (BSA Legal). Today, their anti-homosexuality policies and membership criteria requiring a religious pledge are placing them under fire. As a private organization they reserve all right to not include members who do not meet their criteria, a power given to them by the Constitution's freedom to associate; the problem, however, is that the BSA receives public funding from tax dollars. As a private organization, the Boy Scouts of America should not receive any form of public funding unless they chose to comply with federal non-discrimination policies.
[...] ACLU officials had expressed concern about the thousands of troops chartered by the federal government in a recent article, saying that Pentagon's handpicking the Boy Scouts of America - and no other organization - for the expenditure of an average of million each year to support the national Boy Scout Jamboree” on US military grounds (“Direct Sponsorship”). Every four years, the government is specifically granting money to a federally recognized religious organization to the tune of almost eight million dollars. [...]
[...] Hans Zeiger, a student at Hillsdale College in Michigan, wrote Get Off My Honor: The Assault on the Boy Scouts of America to defend what he claims is one of the most important youth institutions in the world. According to Zeiger, The Boy Scouts help young boys learn important life skills and instill a sense of honor in doing good work, something few other youth groups have been able to do at such a grand scale. Zeiger defends the BSA as having religious tolerance, as Muslim, Jewish and other religiously active boys are encouraged to join and discuss their different faiths (Zeiger 23-64). [...]
[...] Unless the policies of the BSA are changed, or the LFL program adopts its own non- discrimination code and becomes independent of the BSA, it should not be receiving public money and should not be encouraged to be used in public schools. As it currently stands, LFL programs are promoting a private organization's agenda in the public classroom and sending a message of clear intolerance to those students exposed to it. The LFL curriculum should be eliminated from public schools, or altered in a way that shows no favorable support for religious belief or any preference to heterosexual lifestyles. [...]
[...] As a private organization, the BSA has the constitutional right of freedom to associate, which in this case grants the BSA full permission to exclude members based on religious views, sexual orientation, or other characteristics and statuses. As reported on the BSA Legal website article “Morally Straight Cases” in the Boy Scouts of America v. Dale decision, the United States Supreme Court upheld the BSA's First Amendment right to choose which members they permitted to be in their troops (“Morally Straight”). [...]
[...] Having public money spent on a discriminatory private organization's activities is not in the best interest of those paying taxes intended for other open and nonprofit community groups. Outside of classroom recruiting, the BSA has another strong presence in the realm of public education. Learning for Life (LFL) is a subsidiary program of the Boy Scouts of America that is designed for use in public schools to encourage positive growth and well-rounded educational experiences for all participants. According to Taylor's article, as of 2006, Learning for Life was not able to obtain its own tax identification number and is still classified as being a direct project of the BSA. [...]
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