Philly Boy Scouts Face Eviction

25 07 2006

In the midst of Philadelphia’s worst crime wave in memory including 220 murders already this year, a shrinking police force, and failing schools, who has Philadelphia Mayor John Street bravely targeted as public enemy number one?

The Boy Scouts of America. The city of Philadelphia, under the leadership of Street, is now seeking to evict the Boy Scouts’ Cradle of Liberty Council from its city-owned Center City headquarters because of their refusal to admit open homosexuals as members.

“This is probably the most ridiculous political action taken this year by any politician in America,” said Raj Peter Bhakta, who is running for Congress in Northeast Philadelphia and Montgomery County. “While the city suffers its worst quality of life crisis in recent memory, John Street seeks to push a radical agenda rather than face the real problems.”

Raj said he was particularly shocked that Street would take on a group that has done so much to help so many young people steer clear of criminal activity. The Boy Scouts Cradle of Liberty Council, which serves 87,000 scouts in Philadelphia, Montgomery County and Delaware County, has kept its headquarters on public grounds near Logan circle since 1928. In a more sane time, the City Council promised that the Boy Scouts may remain there with no rent charged “in perpetuity.”

“The streets of Philadelphia are unsafe,” said Raj.” So Mayor Street chooses to go after the one organization that has done so much to improve the lives of thousands of children in this region.”

The Supreme Court said in 2000 that applying a state public accommodations law to require the Boy Scouts to admit a gay troop leader violates the group’s constitutional right of expressive association. “If crime and drugs persist in our neighborhoods, only God knows who the city will target next,” said Raj. “Perhaps the Salvation Army.”

Crossposted at Raj For Congress




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