Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 310, a bill that would shrink the size of a national forest, transferring public lands to a private organization so that the land can be developed. The organization that will receive the land has a history of child sex abuse scandals and discrimination on the basis of religion and sexual orientation.
Yet, not one member of the House had the guts to vote against this legislation. The most that any member of Congress could summon the courage to do in the face of this anti-environmental, anti-gay, anti-secular legislation was to vote “present” rather than to vote in favor of the bill. Those voting “present” instead of “aye” were the following:
Why wouldn’t anyone in Congress vote against the legislation providing a sacrifice of public lands to an organization that promotes bigotry? It’s because that organization is the Boy Scouts of America, and politicians are afraid to take a stand against the Boy Scouts of America. To demand that the Boy Scouts of America stop its programs of discrimination against homosexuals and non-religious people is perceived as unAmerican, even though something like 10 percent of Americans are homosexual, and non-religious Americans consist of over 25 percent of the population in many states.
To ask this organization, which has influence over huge numbers of children, respect the principle of equality, is regarded as unAmerican. So, members of the House of Representatives who are fully aware of the inequality promoted by the Boy Scouts of America still cannot summon the political will to say no to the group.
The health of our public lands as a result of the transfer of a large chunk of the Ouachita National Forest to the Boy Scouts of America. The health of our civic society will be damaged just as much.