CHRISTINE Flowers hit the nail on the head in her Dec. 7 op-ed about the city evicting the Boy Scouts from their headquarters. Being politically correct isn't always right.
In an op-ed in the Inquirer on June 6, I wrote that a change in the BSA's anti-gay policy is needed, but must come from within. Please, Philadelphia, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
This story is now national news. The New York Times published a lengthy story on Dec. 6. The anti-discrimination policy of the Cradle of Liberty Council was based on the policy of the New York Scouting Organization. The city and government of New York do not have a problem with the Boy Scouts, and I'm sure that those citizens are just as liberal-minded as we are in Philadelphia.
The Scouts built and maintained the building on Winter Street. If the city evicts them, then the Scouts must be compensated for their building. Published estimates are in the $5 million range. As Ms. Flowers has stated, it is improbable that any organization would pay the city $200,000 a year to rent this building. So, to make a point, the city will have to cough up millions and probably lose many of the services and programs that the Boy Scouts provide.
Isn't it more logical to support the Scouting program, strengthen the local council and help us change national BSA policy from within?
Michael Gilman, Asst. Scoutmaster
Troop 18 BSA, Philadelphia
Ms. Flowers' commentary is preposterous.
After reading Flowers' column, I initially thought she was a hateful bigot. She's not hateful, she's ignorant. Homosexuality is not a choice. We can no more determine our sexuality than we can our skin color, nationality, etc. Denying boys access to scouting through no fault of their own goes against scouting's core values.
The Boy Scouts' motto and law are not inconsistent with homosexuality, yet the BSA's governing body claims otherwise. I challenge Flowers and everyone else to go to the BSA Web site at www.scouting.com and try to find this supposed incompatibility with homosexuality. I did, and I can't.
In fact, if you read the scouting motto and scouting's law, the decision to ban homosexuals violates both.
I do not begrudge the right of the BSA to ban homosexual members. On the other hand, I pay Philadelphia a bundle of money in taxes, and I object to the city using tax money to do business with an organization that supports bigotry. Does Flowers think homosexuals are lesser people than heterosexuals? If the answer is no, how does she justify her support of the Scouts' bigoted membership policy?
Stan Horwitz, Pennsauken, N.J.
If the city is going to make the Boy Scouts pay a "fair market rate" rent for their property - $200,000 annually vs. the current $1 - then the city should also make all nonprofits pay their "fair market rate" to the city.
Nonprofits are aided by city tax laws because they are excluded from paying business, real-estate and use and occupancy taxes required of a for-profit business. They often receive goods and services from the city, too.
Some of them have been accumulating a lot of "profits" without paying anything to support this city.
And while the city is looking at "fair market rates," maybe it is really time to reassess properly all of the real estate in the city.
For example, there are properties in the city that sell for just about the same price as my home, and my taxes are $1,900 and theirs are $600 a year. This tax differential has been going on for years.