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Practice What You Preach

We can tell our values by looking at our checkbook stubs. ~Gloria Steinem

Recently the Boy Scouts of America reaffirmed its ban on homosexuals and non-religious folks that want to be involved with their organization. That’s within their rights. Recently, the Plymouth School Committee voted to allow the scouts to use the schools without a fee. I can’t help but wonder if this violates the anti-discrimination policy of the Plymouth Public Schools. Would we tolerate another group to use our facilities for free if they discriminated against color or religion?

Many will argue that the scouts teach community and other skills that are good and necessary; that they make a difference in the lives of the boys who commit to scouting. I’m sure that’s true. But it’s also true that by choosing to enroll and stay in scouting, they are teaching their children that it’s ok to tolerate hate and bigotry if it benefits you in some way.

Also in the news is Boston’s Mayor Menino’s stance against Chick-Fil-A and his vow not to let them open a restaurant within the city limits due, in part, to their stance on marriage equality.

I don’t agree with the mayor. I believe that the best way to handle a business that wants to discriminate is to make sure that you do not frequent it. If the establishment or organization operates in a way that you find morally reprehensible and you continue to support them with your money, that’s on you and it makes you a part of the discrimination, part of the problem. Understand where your money goes. If you eat at Chick-Fil-A, a portion of your money will be actively used to discriminate. It will be used to spread hate, fear and intolerance.

I’m not arguing that the scouts and Chick-Fil-A should not exist nor am I arguing that they shouldn’t be allowed to make their own rules regarding membership or how they want to spend their profits. What I’m saying is that in order to affect change in organizations in a real and meaningful way is to hit them where it hurts: the pocketbook. Every dollar that you give to the scouts and Chick-Fil-A allows them to continue to spread hate and discrimination.

Talking with my daughter about this the other day I asked her if the mayor of Boston should be able to bar a business from opening if he doesn’t agree with how they spend their profits. I explained about Chick-Fil-A and how they actively seek to prevent marriage equality. She thought they should be allowed to open since she loves their chicken sandwiches. I then explained to her that by purchasing their delicious chicken sandwiches a portion of her money would go to fund activities that discriminate.

That led us to discuss what’s more important: her lunch or marriage equality. Thankfully, she decided that marriage equality is more important in the long run than her lunch. She’s a smart one, she is. We talked a little about being aware of where your money ends up. 

I explained how important it is to understand how money travels and that it is up to us to research how and where we spend our money. If a business or organization doesn’t align with our beliefs, we try not to give them our business.

Live your conscience. If you can’t stand up for your beliefs who will?

Patrick Mulvey-Welsh July 25, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Another thought provoking piece. What I find really interesting is that a youth sports organization that I'm involved with in the town of Plymouth has paid Plymouth Public Schools over $6,000 in the past 3 years for use of their outdoor fields. This doesn't require oversight from custodians or school personel while we are there, and from the condition of the fields no additional maintenance has been completed. Our organization hasn't had an issue with paying these fees since we believe that is part of our responsibility to the community in return for them allowing us to use their facilities. However, upon reading your piece I find it absolutely appalling that the school committee would voted to allow of an organization to avoid contributing their share to the community while at the same time actively excluding Plymouth citizens from participating. Our group welcomes anyone and everyone that wants to participate. We even accept individuals from other towns. We pay so should the Boys Scouts!!
Barbara Mulvey-Welsh July 25, 2012 at 07:28 PM
I have tolerated your venom and disdain thus far but until you are able to 1) answer the question I posed earlier and 2) speak to me in a civil and appropriate manner, I'm done engaging you.
Barbara Mulvey-Welsh July 25, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Thanks Grace!
Casey Meserve July 25, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Ouie, if you can't address the issues in a civil tone I will block you.
Barbara Mulvey-Welsh August 10, 2012 at 11:02 AM
I would like to correct an error that was recently brought to my attention. In the first paragraph I say that the Plymouth School Committee voted to allow the BSA to use the schools without paying a fee. That is incorrect. They voted to reconsider having them pay the fees. A much different vote. I regret the error. Thank you. Barbara

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