Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Is This King's Legacy?

So this morning over my morning coffee I was watching New York 1--a local cable news channel. They were doing a heartwarming little story for Black History Month on a center named for Dr. Martin Luther King up in the Morrisania section of the Bronx, a rough neighborhood to be sure. The center was founded to promote King's vision of "a beloved community...Free of the evils of racism, poverty and violence," said its founder, Cliff Frazier. But apparently that community does not include freedom from homophobia. One of the first things they did at the center to promote the ideals of Dr. King was establish a Boy Scout troop. A BOY SCOUT TROOP!

As you may recall, the Scouts are against homosexuality and a Supreme Court ruling by a right wing majority protected their right to discriminate, much to the chagrin of many local Boy Scout troops. The Philadelphia chapter of the Scouts lost their home recently because the homophobic platform violates that city's equal opportunity housing laws. They tried to amend their local platform to include gays, but the National organization forbid it. What a nice lesson to teach the kids. In the city of brotherly love--the cradle of freedom. The Philadelphia Scouts were forced to move out or pay market value for the space--a sum they could not afford nor had budgeted for as the city had leased the building to them for a dollar a year since the 1920s.

From what I can tell from the article, a private non-profit organization founded in 1997 built the Center in the Bronx bearing King's name and presumably funds the activities there. If they receive any funding from the city they can expect a sharply worded letter from me! So there!

UPDATE: Scott sent me this link at work today. It has many quotes from Coretta Scott King about her husband's legacy and its role in the fight for GLBT rights. Among them is this:
"I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice. But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.'...I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream to make room at the table of brother- and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people."
There's no "room at the table" for gays in the Boy Scouts.



At 5:06 PM, Blogger TCho said...

Wow. i never made that connection with the boy scouts, but I'm just as disturbed as you are.

At 5:07 PM, Blogger TCho said...

i'm surprised you haven't posted about Idol yet! actually i'm surprised I haven't either. I'm scarily obsessed with it right now.

At 5:09 PM, Blogger Todd HellsKitchen said...

Yeah, the BSA has gone the way of the Salvation Army.


At 10:43 AM, Blogger Bill Sharp said...

It's really unfortunate, because I can testify that being a Scout went a long way to helping me develop as a gay man. (No, not that way, pervs.) Scouting helps (some) shy, withdrawn kids learn to socialize around members of their own sex. It also teaches leadership, citizenship, environmental protection, and lots of other positive stuff. If the BSA were smart, they'd leave the gay thing up to the local councils, but they're not smart.

At 10:58 AM, Blogger Michael said...

Tcho--I don't touch American idol till the final 12. The auditions make me crazy.

Bill--It is a sad state of affairs. I have many gay friends who participated in Scouts, some who reached Eagle status, who were crushed by the betrayal of the BSA's exclusionary stance.

At 12:32 PM, Blogger TCho said...

ah ok. well, we can discuss when it's the final 12! :-)

At 4:11 AM, Blogger Maddog said...

I saw the same report on NY1, and was also offended by it. I'm actually thinking this week of calling the center and voicing my concern of their support of bigotry. I don't think it will do any good, but they need to know that people are paying attention and aren't happy about their acceptance of discrimination.


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