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AGENDA wants to know what you think! Send letters to: Editor, AGENDA, 220 South Main St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. Please include your address and phone number (not for publication). AGENDA reserves the right to edit (for length) or reject any letter.

As a former Boy Scout, Scout Committeeman, Cub Master, Assistant Scoutmaster and Scoutmaster, I am very concerned with the apparent undemocratic, authoritarian, prejudicial and biased approach currently being used by the scouting movement administration to deny membership to homosexuals and/or others. It seems to me to encourage actions and beliefs contrary to the best concepts of the scouting movement as I knew it from back in the 1930s until now.

I am a 72-year-old educator, social service worker, labor leader and activist who has tried to live a life quite often centered on such great scouting principles as "doing a good deed daily" and being concerned about the welfare of others. As a U.S. Navy veteran during World War II, I was, and am still also concerned about any trend that pushes us in the direction of dictatorship, authoritarianism or exclusiveness.

I remember how Adolph Hitler started first with sending Jews to concentration camps and then homosexuals, Blacks, Communists and Socialists or Social Democrats, then Catholics, mentally ill, disabled etc., before doing the same thing with many Lutherans and other Protestants who had learned the old Christian and Jewish concept of loving one's fellow man as indicated by the Christian Golden Rule. Or as Rabbi Hillel, who many think was Jesus' teacher, said "Do NOT do unto others what you would not want done to you."

I have the feeling that this is partially the result of two factors in our current society. The Christian Right extremists who put personal behavior or "bedroom snooping" above the needs and concerns of fellow citizens and human beings is one factor. Instead of encouraging youth to be considerate of others such as doing a good deed or helping the poor, disabled etc, they would want to be exclusive and only have the scouts be a private-style club for those who - like the Hitler Youth of the '30s and '40s - made obedience into a way of life that discriminates and breeds hatred as their goal.

The other factor is a group allied to the Christian Coalition. It is the wealthy selfish corporate and business leaders who have an undue, usually overly strong financial influence in the Republican Party and over a few mostly Southern Democrats. They, like the Christian Coalition, either purposely or accidentally seem to try to distract the public - especially the voters from being concerned about problems related to welfare, homelessness, healthcare, disabled people, children, working mothers and the poor. They seem more interested in spending millions looking into the bedroom behavior of the President and other officials.

Of course it is important to note that not all wealthy individuals are more interested in using bedroom behavior to distract from having to solve the problems facing the lower and middle classes. ' Wealthy folks like the Kennedy clan in Massachusetts, former Senator Metzenbaum of Ohio, the Rockefellers of West Virginia etc. are concerned with helping others and still manage to hold on to some wealth.

I am Jewish and not a homosexual but like any other decent human being I must be concerned about homosexual children. I believe it was a Lutheran German minister who noted that he did not complain or do anything about it when Hitler went after the Jews and later the Blacks, Catholics, homosexuals, and the mentally ill, so when it came time for Hitler to go after him there was no one left who could complain.

Follow the Boy Scout concept of doing a good deed every day (at least) and urge the scouting administration to put good deeds, brotherhood and fellowship above bias, exclusiveness and prejudice. There are too many real problems to face today to waste our time on others' bedroom preferences.


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