The Washington Post this week stepped delicately around the thuggish tactics employed by Philadelphia City Solicitor Romulo Diaz, who has engineered a coup against the Cradle of Liberty Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
In the November 19 article, “Philadelphia Gives Boy Scouts Ultimatum,” Post staff writer Dafna Linzer noted that Diaz had given the Boy Scouts until December 3 to agree to pay $200,000 or lose the headquarters the Scouts have had in a city park for nearly 100 years.
The local Scouts, who serve 64,000 mostly minority boys in Philadelphia and in two adjoining counties, had an agreement to lease the building for a dollar a year. Urged on by Diaz, the City Council on May 31 invoked a “sexual orientation” law and reneged on the agreement.
Here's how the Post summarized the city's crackdown: “The confrontation between the city and the nation's third largest Scouts chapter has been building for four years, with each side blaming the other for backing out of previous agreements and for escalating tensions.”
So who's the bully? Egged on by local homosexual activists, city officials are clearly the aggressors, not the Scouts. But the Post's description is a classic example of moral equivalence, in which aggressor and victim are co-belligerents.
The Post also noted that the city “has invited the Boy Scouts to remain in the nearly 100-year-old building as paying tenants.”
“Invited?” That's a little like saying a mugger “has invited” his victim to remain unharmed as long as he forks over his wallet.
Here are a few things the Post story left out:
• The architect of the harassment against the Scouts, City Solicitor Diaz, is openly homosexual, as has been reported in the Philadelphia press.
• The Scouts built the building with their own money, and then gave it to the city in 1928.
• The Scouts had a lease “in perpetuity” with the city, an agreement the City Council broke.
• The Scouts bar openly homosexual Scoutmasters and members for moral reasons and for the sake of protecting young boys from possible harm, not because they are motivated by bigotry or prejudice. The Post article read as if the Scouts have no rational reason for wanting to determine whether prospective leaders or members are attracted sexually to males.
• The national Boy Scouts of America organization gets no ink to defend itself. Cradle of Liberty spokesman Jeff Jubelirer told the Post that the local chapter was trying its best in 2003 to cave in, with a statement saying that “prejudice, intolerance and unlawful discrimination in any form are unacceptable within the ranks of Cradle of Liberty Council.”
Quoth Jubelirer: “We were trying to be amendable to all sides, but National would not allow us to keep that language, so we rescinded it. We can't have a policy where we put in specific words that National won't allow or we'll loose [sic] our charter. We can't afford not to be part of the national Boy Scouts.”
It might be nice to know what the mean, bigoted old National headquarters thinks of this.
• No one was quoted who has any problem with the city “fathers” threatening to kick out the city's premiere youth organization.
• Philadelphia suffers from the leading murder and violent crime rate among top 10 cities in the United States. Most of it is being committed by fatherless young men.
The chief bully, Diaz, got the last quote: “If I do not receive an executed lease, signed by the Boy Scouts, to remain as tenants paying a fair market rent, we will begin looking for alternative tenants that can take over the property June 1, 2008.”
How about a Gay Pride Center? No problem there with a lack of money or connections. And it would make a fine kick-off to Gay Pride Month, which the city celebrates annually in June with taxpayer-sponsored activities. Diaz could be the first guest speaker.
As for the ongoing slaughter in the streets, Philadelphia had 406 homicides in 2006, courtesy of fatherless barbarians who could have benefited from character building offered by the Boy Scouts.
“It's a disturbing statistic, we're very concerned about it, and we're going to do everything we can to reduce it,” Police Commissioner Sylvester M. Johnson was quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Over at City Hall, the City Council and the mayor are doing their part by blessing the city solicitor's ambitious social agenda. If the Scouts are forced out of town, it might not make Philadelphia a more livable place.
But let's look at the bright side. Taxable champagne sales will soar in some circles.
Maybe the city can put the money toward building a more efficient morgue.
Robert Knight is director of the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.