Two faculty members at the College of Charleston have staked their flags at opposing ends of a debate over the school’s support for United Way because of the popular nonprofit’s support for the Boy Scouts of America.
College of Charleston Bob Benson sent out a letter to faculty on Monday announcing the school’s plans for a United Way fundraiser, but Herb Silverman reiterated his long-standing opposition to the group because of it’s support of the Boy Scouts, regardless of their anti-gay policies.
“Many United Ways throughout the country (not ours) have a policy of not funding any organization that discriminates on the basis of religion or sexual orientation,” Silverman said in his response. “As far as I can tell, earmarking contributions to some of the many fine non-discriminatory organizations in United Way will not work. The United Way then simply allocates a higher proportion of the non-restricted contributions to the others.”
Silverman’s comments led to a defensive response from Robert Dillon, who said that the Boy Scouts right to discriminate against gays was reinforced by a 2000 Supreme Court decision. His argument seems to be that gays can’t keep their mouths shut about their sexuality:
There is no sex in the BSA, period. No heterosexuality, no homosexuality, none, end of story. There’s no blank on the form that the boys complete to join the scouts that says “sexual preference,” nor is there any such blank on the form that adults must complete to volunteer. If a prospective adult leader were to write “I only perform sexual intercourse with women, in the missionary position” in the margin of his volunteer form, he would be rejected immediately. This is because there is no sex in the scouts, of any sort, ever.
Nor are there any drugs or alcohol, nor any smoking, nor gambling, nor cussing, nor spitting, nor fighting, nor any vice whatsoever. In fact, because most troops enforce bans on electronic gadgets of all sorts, including iPods, there’s no rock-and-roll. If a prospective adult volunteer (such as myself) were to write in the margin of his application, “I like beer” (which I do) he would be rejected immediately. Is this discrimination? Yes, and I thank heaven for it.