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Although recent media reports, spearheaded by a story in the New York
Times, have uncritically trumpeted as fact claims of homosexual
activists that major corporations are withdrawing donations from the Boy
Scouts of America, WorldNetDaily has found the claims to be largely
In fact, membership and funding for the
Boy Scouts of America are now at record levels.
“All across the country, Scouting is prospering and growing,” said Robert M. Gates, president of the National Eagle Scout Association in a recent letter to members. “Virtually every council has had healthy growth in both youth members and adult volunteers.”
“Every council is enjoying improved financial support, to the extent that many are making capital improvements in their camps and council service centers for the first time in years. Many councils are now able to begin building endowments or add to existing ones that will enhance programs for years to come,” explained Gates.
Enrollment in scouting is higher than at any time since the 1970s, according to BSA national spokesman Greg Shields. Over 47,000 boys earned the rank of Eagle Scout in 1999, a new record.
Many newspapers and television network news programs have repeated claims made in a
New York Times article by reporter Kate Zernike that the BSA has suffered a significant financial loss — but none of those news organizations verified the claims.
For the past three years, homosexual activists, represented by the
Lambda Legal Defense Fund, have been locked in a battle with the Boy Scouts over their policy of not accepting homosexuals as adult leaders. That dispute was settled on June 28 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the BSA is a private organization with the right to exclude anyone from membership.
San Francisco may have a population with a higher than average percentage of homosexuals and those who are sympathetic to homosexuals. Yet despite major publicity over the homosexual issue, membership has increased by about 14 percent a year in the San Francisco Bay Area Council of the BSA.
Shields told WorldNetDaily in a phone interview that there are now about 1.2 million adult leaders and about 5 million members of Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Explorers — a record high. Shields also pointed out that the BSA has not suffered financial loss.
Numerous homosexual activist groups have posted information on websites repeating information about major corporations that they claim have stopped donating to the BSA. WorldNetDaily found that most of those claims are false. The claims made by homosexual groups, such as Lambda Legal, appeared in the New York Times and were then repeated in many papers and news programs. (Editor’s note: WorldNetDaily carried the link to the inaccurate New York Times story, and apologizes for having inadvertently spread the misinformation.)
Lambda Legal and various homosexual organizations claim a number of large corporations once gave to the Boy Scouts of America, but no longer do so because they disagree with the BSA policy on homosexuality. Investigations by WorldNetDaily and others have found that claim to be an exaggeration.
The list of donors said to be in opposition to the Boy Scouts includes:
Levi Strauss & Company
Bank of America
Shields told WorldNetDaily that the list is not accurate and said he is challenging members of the press to investigate for themselves by contacting each company directly.
Although Bank of America briefly banned the Boy Scouts from their list of acceptable worthy causes in 1992, they changed that policy shortly after it was announced. A company spokesman did not wish to be quoted, but confirmed that Bank of America does not have a ban on donations.
Wells Fargo did ban donations to the Scouts in 1992, but changed that policy in 1998, according to a company spokesman. Norwest Corp. merged with Wells Fargo and allowed all local bank presidents to determine how they want to handle donations.
First Interstate Bank never banned donations to the Boy Scouts, according to a spokesman. News accounts from 1992 indicate only that a ban was considered at that time, but there were no reports of an actual ban.
Chase Manhattan Bank issued a statement last week to announce plans to continue financial support for the BSA. The bank provides $200,000 a year to the Boy Scouts. Withdrawal of support would be “harmful to thousands of children,” according to the statement. The New York Times had reflected the press releases of homosexual activist groups in claiming the bank does not plan to donate to the scouts.
Levi Strauss & Company is the only company on the list that has been reported on accurately. However, Shields said there has been no impact on the programs of the Boy Scouts because of the loss of donations from Levi Strauss & Company, which stopped donating to BSA in 1992 as a protest over the homosexual issue.
Textron, Inc. never donated to the Boy Scouts until 1999 when it gave $3,000 to a local group in Rhode Island, according to spokeswoman Susan Bishop. Textron decided not to give to the Boy Scouts directly, but permits subsidiary companies to do so. Textron owns Bell Helicopters, Cessna Citation jets, E-Z-GO golf carts, Kautex fuel tanks, Camcar fasteners, Textron Financial, Textron Automotive, Textron Fastening Systems, Textron Golf and Turf, OmniQuip Textron, Greenlee Textron, Textron Fluid and Power, and Textron Industrial Components. The parent company does not place any restrictions on any of the subsidiary companies and permits donations to the BSA, according to Bishop.
Homosexual activist groups have claimed, and a number of news organizations have reported, that Textron, Inc. has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Boy Scouts.
“Companies like Chase Manhattan Bank and Textron Inc., have withdrawn hundreds of thousands of dollars in support to local and national scouting groups nationwide,” reported Kate Zernike in her Aug. 29 New York Times article.
Bishop pointed out that Textron never did have a policy regarding the Boy Scouts prior to April 2000, and never gave money to the Boy Scouts beyond the $3,000 donated in 1999 to a local group. She emphasized that donations are left up to the subsidiary companies owned by Textron.
“Last year we gave $3,000 to a local (BSA) fundraising dinner, and we declined to do that this year,” said Bishop.
Zernike also reported that “dozens of United Ways from Massachusetts to San Francisco have cut off money amounting to millions of dollars each year.” Since then, the Times has run a correction and said the actual number of United Ways that have defunded the Boy Scouts is more like a “dozen” rather than “dozens.”
United Way of America does not tell its 1,400 local chapters how to handle the BSA issue. Less than 12 local United Way chapters have discontinued donations to the Boy Scouts, according to a United Way national spokesman. Other chapters are in the process of considering a ban.
Shields said the loss of a few United Way chapters is disappointing, but it will not change the stand taken by the BSA on the homosexual issue.
“We have never accepted homosexual leaders and we will never accept homosexual leaders,” he stated.
The Traditional Values Coalition, a family-values activist organization representing 43,000 churches in America, has also investigated the claims made by the New York Times and activist groups. Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, chairman, said he has found that most corporations have not banned donations to the Boy Scouts at all.
“When we’ve called these groups,” said Sheldon, “we find out that in fact they have not decided to defund the scouts at all.”
He said he also learned that AMICA, an insurance holding company, has been reported by some groups to be opposed to the BSA policy on homosexuals. His investigation discovered that the company never decided to stop donations to the BSA and will continue to do so.
Sheldon also confirmed that Bank of America reversed its decision to withhold donations.
“Bank of America went through over $100 million of withdrawals when they said they were going to defund the Boy Scouts,” he explained. “They changed their position years ago.”
First Union bank considered a ban on donations to the Boy Scouts, but decided instead to continue, according to an official statement.
“It is First Union’s intention to evaluate each of its corporate contributions to ensure that they achieve an appropriate balance between inclusiveness and community service, and that they are consistent with First Union’s core values. Over the past several weeks, First Union has engaged in thoughtful and engaging discussions with regard to the issues surrounding its support of the Boy Scouts of America. As a result of these discussions, First Union will continue to support the Boy Scouts of America. First Union believes that the Boy Scouts offer programs to America’s youth that are meaningful and positive,” said the company statement First Union e-mailed to WorldNetDaily.
Sheldon said the homosexual activists would not stop their effort to hurt the Boy Scouts financially, and said he plans to continue to ask the members of the 43,000 churches he represents to fight back.
“We’re calling upon every American to put pressure on Corporate America to continue –and to increase — funding for the Boy Scouts. We are also calling upon corporate heads to reject the strident demands of homosexual activists to destroy whatever groups they cannot control,” said Sheldon. “Corporate America should stand alongside the Boy Scouts for morality, decency, and honesty.”
“Corporate America must make a choice,” said Sheldon. “Businessmen must decide if they’re going to support homosexual sodomy over the Boy Scouts. If they choose sodomy over the Scouts, the American people should rise up to boycott their products.”