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KCSD Drops Boy Scout Charter

The Kootenai County Sheriff's Office let its charter of Boy Scout troop 911 expire at the end of 2013. Tim McCandless, CEO of Boy Scouts of America-Inland Northwest Council, said Northwest Backcountry Rescue is now chartering the troop, starting officially at the first of the year. Kootenai County Sheriff Ben Wolfinger said last year he was considering dropping the sheriff's office chartered troop when Boy Scouts of America ended its membership ban on gay youth. He said then that his Christian faith and the language in the Bible informed his view of homosexuality. “Boy Scout troop 911 is stronger than it has ever been,” McCandless said Friday. “It has great adult leadership, a strong charter, and it has been very active.” He said the troop has 22 active scouts and 15 volunteer adults. “The troop never stopped meeting,” he said. Wolfinger couldn't immediately be reached for comment Friday/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (File photo: Duane Rasmussen)


Putting Frosting On Free Speech

“An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens” — Thomas Jefferson. Consider a scenario. Imagine me entering a cake shop and asking the proprietor to prepare a sheet cake with the text of the Second Amendment printed on a background of the U.S. flag. Put the National Rifle Association emblem in one corner for emphasis. If the cakemaker refused to make the cake on the basis that it offended his leftwing “morals,” what should I do? A civil man would take his order to another cake maker. That's what civility looks like. But too often, civility has been supplanted by incivility manifested as the brass knuckles of law. And when law relieves certain people of the responsibility of civility, many behave uncivilly. Witness the experience of a cake maker in Colorado who declined to create a cake with a pro-gay marriage message requested by a gay couple preparing to take their vows. Rather than take their business in elsewhere, they sued and the courts forced the cakemaker to do the couple's bidding/Michael Costello, Lewiston Tribune. More here.


Pope Faults Focus On Gays, Abortion

Pope Francis, in the first extensive interview of his six-month-old papacy, said that the Roman Catholic church had grown “obsessed” with preaching about abortion, gay marriage and contraception, and that he has chosen not to speak of those issues despite recriminations from some critics. In remarkably blunt language, Francis sought to set a new tone for the church, saying it should be a “home for all” and not a “small chapel” focused on doctrine, orthodoxy and a limited agenda of moral teachings. “It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time,” the pope told the Rev. Antonio Spadaro, a fellow Jesuit and editor in chief of La Civiltà Cattolica/Laurie Goodstein, New York Times. More here. (AP photo)

Question: Significance?

Pope On Gays: ‘Who Am I To Judge?’

Item: Pope Francis on gays: 'Who am I to judge?'/Nicole Winfield, AP

Mike Kennedy: Two non-Catholics I talked with today separately told me that the read about Pope Francis's Brazil trip. Both were stunned and smiling when they expressed their positive feeling about this man and his comments. As a Catholic I told them that I believed this to be the feeling of so many of my fellow parishioners (and many loyal parish priests) who have suffered in silence or simply left the church over the past decades. There is a long road ahead and many man-made rules in the church with which I struggle. But I'm personally grateful for Pope Francis's serious steps of healing and outreach. I expect backsliding and word-parsing from less charitable clerics, but it's a start and every journey begins with a humble first step.

Question: How does the pope's statement about gays affect your view of the Roman Catholic Church?

Rasor’s Gays In Tutus Goes Viral

This Dan Pelle SR file photo from the 4th annual Monster Dash in Manito Park/Spokane last fall is for illustrative purposes only.

Cornel Rasor, who chairs the Idaho Republican Party’s resolutions committee, says that he pushed for a resolution to void all local ordinances banning discrimination against LGBT people because he wants to be able to fire any gay man who “comes into work in a tutu.” The Associated Press reported that a non-binding resolution passed Saturday at the party’s Central Committee summer meeting in McCall calls for the state legislature to block anti-discrimination ordinances passed by at least five municipalities throughout the state/David Edwards, The Raw Story. More here.

  • Correction: If you follow the link above, The Raw Story reports that Rasor made this comment at the Central Committee summer meeting. He actually made the comment directly to SReporter Betsy Russell during an interview.

Question: Do you know any gay guys who show up to work in tutus?

Lake City OKs Anti-Bias Ordinance

Father Dennis Gordon, who opposed an anti-discrimination ordinance, discusses logical approaches in determining the need for one before the Coeur d'Alene City Council Tuesday. The ordinance passed 5 to 1. Coeur d'Alene Press story here. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Jerome A. Pollos)

“This is a huge victory,” said Tony Stewart, the Human Rights Task Force on Human Relations member who proposed the ordinance to the city, after the vote came in shortly before midnight Tuesday. “I’m absolutely elated this evening because the Coeur d’Alene City Council did what we’ve been doing for 30 years now — standing up against discrimination”/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: How will this vote affect the nation's view of iconic Coeur d'Alene?

Real Life Pastor Opposes Ordinance

A pastor at one of the area's largest churches is asking his congregation to oppose an anti-discrimination ordinance the city of Coeur d'Alene will consider adopting tonight. Real Life Ministries Pastor Jim Putman urged church members in a Facebook post to fight the proposed rule on grounds that would be “a pathway to promoting sin.” “Homosexuality is no worse then [sic] adultery or stealing but it is still sin,” Putman wrote last week. If “someone told me I had to hire or rents [sic] space to a thief I would not like that - neither would I like this.” He wrote that people who support the ordinance believe that homosexuality is not a choice and people are created that way, but “there is no solid scientific evidence for that and the Bible clearly calls it sin”/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.


CdA Church Drops Scouts Charter

Candlelight Christian Fellowship in Coeur d’Alene has decided to end its charter of Boy Scouts Troop 291 because of the recent decision by the Boy Scouts of America to end the organization’s membership ban on gay youth. In a statement released Monday by Associate Pastor Buck Storm, the church said, “BSA’s vote to mandate the acceptance of the homosexual agenda has unfortunately put many charter organizations in a difficult position. Candlelight Christian Fellowship is a Bible-believing Christian church, and as such we obviously can’t link arms with the Scouts on this path they’ve chosen to follow.” The church said it loves everyone in the community without bias and welcomes all. “That being said, it’s important that we retain the freedom to follow God’s word as it’s written, and without a differing moral base being dictated to us,” the statement reads. The church also said the families of troop members agree with its stand/Scott Maben, SR. More here.


Sheriff Undecided On Scout Charter

Ben Wolfinger, the sheriff of Kootenai County, said he has not decided to keep or drop the Boy Scout troop chartered by the sheriff’s office. But he said his Christian faith and what the Bible says about homosexuality are weighing heavily on him as he struggles with the recent decision by the Boy Scouts of America to end the organization’s membership ban on gay youth. “I don’t think I can make any decision in my life without bringing my faith into it,” Wolfinger, an elder in the large, evangelical Real Life Ministries church, said in an interview Thursday. “My faith influences what I do every day.” Wolfinger indicated last week he was compelled to drop the charter with Troop 911, saying it would be inappropriate for the sheriff’s office to continue the association because Idaho’s “crimes against nature” statute prohibits sodomy/Scott Maben, SR. More here. (SR file photo of Sheriff Wolfinger in February)

Question: What would you tell the sheriff to consider as he reaches a decision re: the Boy Scout charter?

Locke: What’s Ordinance End Game?

Jennifer_Locke (re: City OKs anti-bias ordinance 2-1):  If these discriminations are wrong period, then why are they exempt? They teach individuals certain principles on this matter? Is the ultimate end game to eventually pull these exemptions for churches, Christian daycare/schools, and religious organizations? What about the KROC center? I don't know much about them or if they practice these policies already, but don't they have a church on their facility and are some what of a religious organization, along with a gym and an event center? To expand further on that matter, what about a Christian business owner of a gym? These are just the many questions that are coming to mind after quickly reading through this proposed ordinance.

DFO: I've asked city spokeswoman Kristina Lyman for a copy of the proposed city ordinance, once it's available. It's my understanding that the one approved by the General Services Committee was similar to the one adopted by Boise.

Question: Is there areas of the proposed ordinance that you believe needs to be tweeked before it becomes city law?

Sheriff Mum On Scouts Charter

Item: Sheriff mum after meeting: Wolfinger may end Boy Scout charter after gay ban pulled/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: A meeting between the Inland Northwest Council of the Boy Scouts of America and the Kootenai County sheriff didn't appear to change anything Tuesday. Kootenai County Sheriff's Lt. Stu Miller said Sheriff Ben Wolfinger had no further comment on Friday's decision to pull the KCSO's Boy Scout charter. The sheriff announced he was pulling it because the BSA National Council passed a resolution last week that removed a ban against openly gay members in the scouts. On Friday, Wolfinger said “It would be inappropriate for the sheriff's office to sponsor an organization that is promoting a lifestyle that is in violation of state law.” He said sodomy was illegal in the state of Idaho.

Question: How do you think this will play out?

Council Panel OKs Anti-Bias Law

Item: Cd'A fights discrimination: Rule would protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender people/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: The city of Coeur d'Alene moved forward Tuesday with an anti-discrimination ordinance that would protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. The proposed rule would prohibit anyone from discriminating in areas of housing, employment and public accommodations based on “sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.” Any violation would be a misdemeanor offense, punishable by up to $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail. … The committee voted 2-1 in favor of sending an ordinance to the full city council for approval.

Question: How will the council vote on this proposal?

Lake City To Mull Ban On Gay Bias

Councilman Mike Kennedy tells Huckleberries Online that he will introduce a Coeur d'Alene ordinance that would ban discrimination against gays in Coeur d'Alene. The ordinance, which will be patterned after one in Boise, will be introduced at the noon meeting Monday, May 13, of the General Services Committee, which Kennedy chairs. Kennedy said he would like to see the matter taken before the council later in May. He said he had decided to go ahead with the ordinance after the 2013 Idaho Legislature refused to give fair hearing to the “Add the Words” campaign, which would have made Idaho the 34th state to adopt anti-discrimnation laws protecting gays. Four Idaho cities have adopted similar resolutions — Boise, Moscow, Sandpoint and Ketchum. The Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations had approached the city earlier this year with the proposal to adopt the anti-discrimination law. Mayor Sandi Bloem put Kennedy in charge of the process.


Scouts Propose To Lift Ban On Gays

In this Feb. 6 file photo, from left, Joshua Kusterer, 12, Nach Mitschke, 6, and Wyatt Mitschke, 4, salute as they recite the pledge of allegiance during the “Save Our Scouts” prayer vigil and rally against allowing gays in the organization in front of the Boy Scouts of America National Headquarters in Dallas, Texas. Under pressure over its long-standing ban on gays, the BSA announced today that it will submit a proposal to its National Council to lift the ban for youth members but continue to exclude gays as adult leaders. Story here. (AP Photo/Richard Rodriguez, File)


Sandpoint Bans Sex Orientation Bias

Sandpoint city attorney Scot Campbell walked along downtown Sandpoint on Wednesday. He drafted Sandpoint's new non-discrimination ordinance for sexual orientation and gender identity. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce President Kate McAlister wasn’t expecting it when a woman in her 60s walked up to her at a community event, hugged her and started crying. “She said, ‘I want you to know that because of what you did, for the first time in all our lives I can take my partner to a Christmas party without fear of being fired,’ ” McAlister recalled. This was after McAlister helped push through a citywide ordinance in Sandpoint barring discrimination in employment, housing or public accommodations based on sexual orientation or gender identity. In Idaho, it’s still legal to fire someone because they’re gay, or to evict them from their home or deny them service in a restaurant. But it’s no longer legal within the city limits of Sandpoint/Betsy Z. Russell, SR. More here.

Question: Are you surprised that Sandpoint was the first city in Idaho that has banned discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity?

Bar Gets Reaction To Product Ban

Mike Fuller, co-owner of the Waha Bar and Grill, said Thursday he and his wife, Mari, weren't seeking publicity and attention when they explained at the bottom of their menu why they don't sell Miller-Coors and Pepsico products. “But we've been inundated the last couple days,” Mike Fuller said about fallout from the posting.“We are Christians who do not believe in supporting the goals and the politicians who support the goals of the NGLCC,” the menu reads in part. NGLCC stands for the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce headquartered in Washington, D.C. Laura Barry, spokeswoman for the NCLCC … sent the following email response: “The NGLCC is proud of our more than 130 corporate partners, including PepsiCo, MillerCoors, and their industry colleagues, who remain committed to supporting LGBT and allied small business owners. Our corporate partners are essential to the economic development of LGBT-owned small businesses so those employers can continue to create jobs and provide health care for their employees”/David Johnson, Lewiston Tribune. More here. (Steve Hanks Lewiston Tribune photo).

Question: Am I the only one who thinks it's odd that these religious individuals are operating a bar?

Poll: Boy Scouts Stand Backed

  • Wednesday Poll: A majority of Hucks Nation supports the Boy Scouts continued stand re: excluding “open and avowed” gays. 152 of 287 respondents (52.96%) supported the Scouts stand. 126 of 287 respondents (43.9%) opposed it. 9 (3.14%) were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Why do you think the Otter administration wrongfully fired then ITD director Pam Lowe?

Boy Scouts Reaffirm Policy On Gays

After a confidential two-year review, the Boy Scouts of America today emphatically reaffirmed its policy of excluding gays, ruling out any changes despite relentless protest campaigns by some critics. An 11-member special committee, formed discreetly by top Scout leaders in 2010, “came to the conclusion that this policy is absolutely the best policy for the Boy Scouts,” the organization’ national spokesman, Deron Smith, told The Associated Press. Smith said the committee, comprised of professional scout executives and adult volunteers, was unanimous in its conclusion — preserving a long-standing policy that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000 and has remained controversial ever since/Associated Press. More here. (Wikipedia illustration)

Question: Do you support the Boy Scouts stand?

Christian Group Can’t Bar Gays, Get $$$

An ideologically split Supreme Court ruled Monday that a law school can legally deny recognition to a Christian student group that won’t let gays join, with one justice saying that the First Amendment does not require a public university to validate or support the group’s “discriminatory practices.” The court turned away an appeal from the Christian Legal Society, which sued to get funding and recognition from the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law. The CLS requires that voting members sign a statement of faith and regards “unrepentant participation in or advocacy of a sexually immoral lifestyle” as being inconsistent with that faith. But Hastings, which is in San Francisco, said no recognized campus groups may exclude people due to religious belief or sexual orientation/Jesse J. Holland, AP. More here.

Question: Do you agree with this decision?

Gay Marriage Pro-Con Stirs UW

At Vox Box, Blogmistress Erin Daniels tells of a flap on the University of Washington campus, triggered by a pro-con debate re: gay marriage in the college newspaper. You can read the pro-con arguments (take particular note of the cartoons that ran with them) here. The anti-gay marriage column and cartoon triggered a record 651 letters to the editor, many of which were published in eight full pages of a subsequent student newspaper edition. Also, the Graduate and Professional Student Senate demanded an apology from the paper and the firing of some Editorial Board members. Earlier this month, Editor Sarah Jeglum told readers that the paper would not issue an apology, in response to the Senate demands. You can read it here. You also can read Vox Box’s version of the hubbub here.

QUESTION:  What do you think?  Should the paper apologize?