Mixed message

Recently, the Boy Scouts of America — of which I was a member for years — voted to end its ban on gay scouts under the age of 18. While many see this as a step forward, the mixed message BSA is promoting may be more disturbing than the former ban.

If a scout is gay, and if he finds himself in a troop that embraces the new policy, he can continue without fear of discrimination. However, he also better think ahead.

If scouting is going to be part of his adult life, he can never acknowledge his orientation, even if asked, and will be forced to live under the continual fear of discovery — not the optimal situation for an organization that calls for scouts to be “trustworthy.” The message is clear: If you think scouting is a way of life — something you would want to share with your own sons — then gay people need not apply.

Maintaining a ban on adult leaders who happen to be gay or lesbian only serves to promote a false stereotype. Gay men are no more predatory than straight men, and every leader should be screened, regardless of orientation.

Gay men, as leaders in scouting, can provide thoughtful examples of trustworthy, brave, loyal and helpful adults, who are willing to sacrifice their time and energy to make the world a better place for members of the next generation, gay or straight. Scouts need stable models of fidelity and honesty as they grow, gay and straight.

Warren Redman-Gress

Old Forest Drive

Seabrook Island

Say what?

To add insult to injury, on May 30 when I called to report that my Internet service was down, the robot on the other end said that I could follow the progress of Comcast’s efforts to correct the technical problems by going to www.comcast.com.

Wharton Winstead

Church Street

Charleston

Lost compass

The May 24 Post and Courier reported that Folly Beach City Administrator Toni Connor-Rooks would be “stepping down” after 17 years of service The item elicited an online retort implying this action is of a continuing pattern of “push and purge” over the last year and a half under Mayor Tim Goodwin.

It is the City Council’s job to handle the appointment and disposition of the city judges, the city attorney, the municipal clerk of council and the city administrator.

The mayor is but one member of seven who needs the support and endorsement of at least three others to effect his will.

I think it is important that all of Folly’s friends and citizens recognize Toni’s very positive influence.

She has been a beacon of exemplary public service during her entire tenure, from Folly’s recovery from the ravages of Hugo to this day.

She’s been the one consistently steady hand at the tiller as it regained momentum to be recognized nationally and internationally as a top-tier place to visit and a place to call home.

I am one who has followed in the smooth wake of her expertise and respected her unerring sense of direction and assistance in all civic matters from the early days since her arrival. While I view her departure as a community loss, I recognize that it will be an opportunity for some other port’s powerful, prospective gain.

Charlie McCarty

West Cooper Avenue

Folly Beach

Applause for show

On May 24, I had the opportunity to attend West Ashley High School’s drama studio production of “Little Shop of Horrors.” From the opening curtain to the final bow, this musical was absolutely wonderful. The entire cast, production staff, technical staff and directors Ellyn Winkies and Nancy Shurids are to be commended.

The scenery, costumes, music, set and of course the fly, Audrey II, were magnificent.

I had the pleasure or working with Ellyn and Nancy before I retired. They do an excellent job and are a credit to their profession.

West Ashley High School and the Charleston County School District are lucky to have them. They certainly raised the bar with this year’s production. Well done.

Carol M. Onorato

Bream Road

North Charleston

New hero

Thanks to sportswriter Tommy Braswell for his May 17 front page article on Budsy Howard, an 83-year-old golfer with a goal to play in 40 Charleston City Amateur Golf tournaments.

Budsy Howard is my new hero. What a guy. It’s not whether you win or lose but how you play the game that counts.

Budsy is surely a winner in the game of life and an inspiration. He enjoys the company and friendship of his golf buddies while getting the exercise everyone needs.

Budsy reminds me of this quote by Calvin Coolidge, 30th president of the United States: “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.”

Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

June Griggs

South Constellation Drive

North Charleston

Liberty attack

On June 8, it will have been 46 years since the unarmed U.S. Navy technical research ship USS Liberty was attacked by Israeli Air Force jet fighter aircraft and Israeli Navy motor torpedo boats.

The 1967 deadly attack was conducted while the Liberty was operating in international waters north of the Sinai Peninsula in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. The combined air and sea attack killed 31 sailors, two Marines and one civilian, and wounded another 171 crew members including the ship’s commanding officer.

Israel apologized for the attack, saying that the USS Liberty had been attacked in error after being mistaken for an Egyptian ship.

In error or deliberate, as countless high-ranking government and military personnel, including all the survivors of the attack maintain, is apparently no longer significant.

I recently queried a dozen friends and acquaintances, all of whom are of an age to remember, if they knew the story of the USS Liberty.

No one did, and I think it’s probably safe to say the cover-up is, unlike the shot-up and torpedoed ship herself, watertight.

Jim George

U.S. Navy (Retired)

Mulberry Hill

Summerville

Bells toll

The May 25 story titled “Spoleto’s opening bells toll for the late Ted Stern” needs to be corrected:

1) Not to take away from his importance to Spoleto, but the bells did not toll for Ted Stern. They were rung, as they always are, to celebrate the opening of the Spoleto Festival.

The bell band rang a mathematical principle called “Plain Hunt for 7 Bells,” followed by Heyward Horton ringing the tenor 12 times for the noon hour.

A toll is done using the tenor bell with the clapper half-muffled. The bell is tolled prior to the funeral service then afterwards, rung the number of years equalling the deceased’s age.

2) It is not St. Michael’s Episcopal Church. St. Michael’s has left the national Episcopal organization.

Wray Lemke

West Coleman Boulevard

Mount Pleasant

Perpetual poverty

There is a belief that the Republican Party is the party of the rich and that the Democratic Party is the party for the poor.

The Republicans believe that by providing an environment that fosters business growth and creates job opportunities for all people, everyone can prosper.

On the other hand, Democrats believe that they can give or provide entitlements to the less fortunate and that will pull those people out of poverty.

There are two problems with this Democratic approach to solving poverty: 1) a person is never out of poverty unless they earn their way out, and 2) the government does not have enough money to give, even if it confiscates all the wealth from the rich.

This process of government wealth redistribution is full of inefficiencies and corruption.

After 50 years of politicians promising to solve poverty through entitlements, there has been little change. The best our government can do to solve poverty is to create a climate that fosters job creation.

The only reason politicians promise entitlements is to get votes so they can remain in power.

Solving poverty can only be achieved through hard work by those individuals in poverty.

Jerry Johnson

Prestwick Court

Summerville