Sunday, July 09, 2006

BofA "One": Politicians "Zero"

Bank of America has decided to stop donating to the Boy Scouts of America because of its recently revised non-discrimination policy. In a letter to the Boy Scouts, Bank of America states:
under the non-discrimination policy, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation cannot provide funding to any organization that practices discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, national origin, ancestry, citizenship or veteran or disability status. [...] The Boy Scouts of America has a constitutional right to provide a youth organization for families who share those values. Other groups are similarly free and may follow a different path.
Well put. Kudos to Bank of America for opposing discrimination. The Boy Scout representative replied politely:
more . . .
every nonprofit organization serves a specific audience, as does Scouting. To open membership to those who do not share the values of the Scout Oath and Law would violate our constitutional rights to freedom of speech and freedom of association.
Though I disagree with the Scouts policy, I defend their right to choose their own membership. However I don't quite see how a non-discriminatory membership policy, as many associations have, would "violate [the Scouts'] constitutional rights."

So far so good. Then the politicians get involved.

Claiming that BoA's policy amounts to extortion, Georgia’s Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) and Sen. John Wiles (R-Marietta) responded to Bank of America’s statement, saying that they will draft legislation that will bar state government from doing business with companies that cite such “non-discrimination policies” when dealing with youth organizations.

These two miss the point entirely.
  • Witholding charity because of a difference in values is hardly extortion.

  • They are coming down on the wrong side. They talk as if the BofA donation was an entitlement. To the contrary, BofA is well within their rights to chose who (and who not) to donate to.

  • It will be extortion if they force BofA to resume their contribution to the Scouts by passing or threatening to pass a law aimed at them.

  • Since they can't make it a crime to "not donate," they must charge BofA with "citing a non-discrimination policy". Besides the absurdity of making a crime of non-discrimination, haven't these guys ever heard of the freedoms of speech and association?

  • This is no business of the state. They should just stay out of it.

It's a sign of how far the gay rights movement has to go when some sleazy politicians can curry the favor of the electorate by opposing a private company's non-discrimination policy. Besides witholding donations to the Boy Scouts, Georgians should withold their votes for these Republicans, and vote Libertarian instead.