Tuesday, November 23, 2004

ACLU Vs. The Boy Scouts Round One

I am quite frankly so filled with anger I can barely see the keyboard to type. I know this issue has been in the news for a few days but I wanted to take some time and read up on the topic before I sounded off on the insanity of the ACLU. I and my 3 younger brothers were proud members of the Boy Scouts and my son will participate as well so this topic hits close to home.

Let's start with the First Amendment since it seems to be the weapon of choice for the ACLU.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Ok, now obviously this is the first Amendment of the United States Constitution and not whatever copy the ACLU uses in its legal battles to destroy facets of American Life. Granted, I am not a Constitutional law expert but the founding fathers wrote the Bill of Rights so that common men could understand the rights afforded to them. I don't see anywhere in the amendment where it states the government of these United States shall be prohibited from providing assistance or funding to any groups that have a religious charter. As most people know, there are references to God all over the federal government. Our motto, our currency, the Congress prays before starting a session, the fact is that this country was founded on Christian principals and no amount of revisionist history will change that. Now I am sure that folks will correct me with the argument that the Founding Fathers could not have foreseen this issue and we must try to find their intent. One word for that, BULLSHIT.

We have only have to realize that in the 228 year history of this country we have only amended the Constitution 17 times including such winners as the 16th, income tax, the 18th, ban on alcohol, and the 27th which says Congress gets no raise until after a full election of it's members. The important ones in my humble opinion have been amendments such as the 13th, abolishment of slavery, 14th, due process, 15th, right to vote of every citizen, 19th, Women's right to vote, and the 24th, which again grants the right to vote for every American. The last important amendment was passing over 40 years ago. I would think that if the 1st amendment was such an issue, we may have found the time to correct it.

While you thinking upon that chew on this, the ACLU prides itself on the fact that it is a champion for all Americans rights. Boy that is a bold statement; let’s look at their mission statement below. You can find it here.

The ACLU is our nation's guardian of liberty. We work daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Our job is to conserve America's original civic values - the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

The American system of government is founded on two counterbalancing principles: that the majority of the people governs, through democratically elected representatives; and that the power even of a democratic majority must be limited, to ensure individual rights.

You know what, that sounds great, I mean who could be opposed to an organization with such a lofty goal. Damn, I will send them some of my hard-earned money right now. Honey, where's the checkbook? Loud slap from my better half. Ok, I am fine now. See how they suck you in with there words, because after all words mean things.

According to them, America was founded on two principles: that the majority of the people governs, through democratically elected representatives; and that the power even of a democratic majority must be limited, to ensure individual rights. Take their logic and apply it to this battle against the Boy Scouts, if the majority rules through their elected representatives and the majority has no problem with the United States government in whatever form providing funding and assistance to the Boy Scouts, where’s the problem? Here comes the second principle: that the power even of a democratic majority must be limited, to ensure individual rights. Ok, working with libs and even calling a few (very few) friends, let me explain this. Their argument incorrectly assumes that the Boy Scouts in mentioning God in their oath somehow forces its members into some sort of bible-thumping organization till their deaths.

I can personally testify to the fact that the Boy Scouts, at least every troop I have ever been in contact with, is not the religious cult that the ACLU makes them out to be. Let’s take a closer look at the Boy Scout Oath.

Scout Oath

On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.

You know, thinking back to my scout days, I really never thought about the mention of God. We never discussed it in troop meetings; it was never discussed among the scouts that I led or their parents. Perhaps it’s because it’s not a big deal to those who are raised in God-fearing Christian homes. Is the root of this issue really about the fact that the government funds some scout troops and provides a place to meet or is it really about the ACLU showing it’s true colors as a God-Hating, Christian demonizing group with little or no real regard for the concerns of Americans?

Can it really be that simple? Could the ACLU just have gone too far? I polled some folks I know that support the ACLU and even they are ready to walk away from this group because of this latest campaign of hate. Some will suggest that when the Supreme Court ruled that the Boy Scouts were a private organization and could deny gays membership the die was cast and this is really just the ACLU’s form of revenge. Could be, I mean after all the Boy Scouts have been around since 1910 and were in fact chartered by Congress in 1916 with the following mission, to provide an educational program for boys and young adults to build character, to train in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and to develop personal fitness.” The ACLU has been around since 1920 and to this day claims to be a non-partisan group. So in the past 80 plus years, the ACLU had no problems with the Boy Scouts until the case of the NJ scoutmaster who was gay.

I tend to give the benefit of doubt to groups like the ACLU, because after all, they do some good here and there. But their constant attack on mine and others religious freedom simply must stop. The Boy Scouts do enormous good for this country and millions of young people and should be protected against the hate mongering of groups such as the ACLU. I would encourage everyone to read some of this links below and speak up one way or another. This is just another battle in the culture war that we face. This agreement between the ACLU and the Department of Defense will not stand. Sorry for going long but this is an issue that is close to my heart. Hunting season is open for all of the leftists that will flame me for this, don’t really care, cause when your right, your right.

Enjoy the links and keep the faith, later………..

For Scouts










Against Scouts


The Players




Drunken Samurai said...

Well, technically, when Congress passes a funding bill it is then signed into LAW by the President. Therefor the government has violated the First Ammendment by passing a "law respecting an establishment of religion..." This is the cornerstone of the arguement. The government cannot use taxpayer money to support a religious organisation or church. I don't like the ACLU most of the time but on this one they have a valid arguement, regardless of the good the Boy Scouts may do, the government is prohibited from supporting them.

Demon King said...

Uh, no it's not, anymore than it is prohibited from extending tax-exempt status to any one of hundreds of religious and similar organizations, from providing tuition support to kids who go to private schools, guaranteeing student loans for same, providing funds that go to Catholic hospitals, etc. Unless you're a constitutional law scholar, be careful. I for one think the ACLU is not on sound ground here; they are in fact on one of their hate missions, and they have tortured the history of the 1st Amendment to suit their political ends. Historically, I supported the ACLU, because they often advocated politically unpopular causes that did in fact help to conserve, extend, and protect individual freedoms. But in this case, I do believe they are so wrong, so spitefully motivated, that it can only hurt.

darcey said...

Groups like the boy scouts build nationalism, love for your country. They do good things. Groups like the ACLU are outdated and of little use. In their guise to promote fairness they create separtism and animosity.

I was a proud scout too. I agree that others should have that opportunity. The ACLU needs to find better things to do.

dafyd said...

I was a scout in the uk for a while, and am still involved on the edge of the organisation. A while back, the uk scouts changed their promise to read "On My Honour, I promise that I will do my best to do my duty to my God and to the Queen, to help other people and to keep the Scout Law" - note "my God"... They changed it so they didn't encounter exactly the problems that you describe...

Anonymous said...

The first amendment is quite succinct and explicit in its comments on the relationship between government and religion. The Founding Fathers came from an environment where failure to give rabid and exacting support to the government sponsored religion of the moment was met with the harshest types of punishment the government and church could dream up. From the reports they dreamed wildly and creatively. While this meant that the Founding Fathers were adamantly opposed to any form of government imposed religion, they were not by any means irreligious people. Various religious symbols and practices have been a part of out heritage from the beginning.

The difficulty that has been encountered is in the details of how this is interpreted and implemented. As the government has become more involved in the daily lives of their citizens the opportunity of interaction becomes greater. As we become more aware of the divergence of viewpoints of some of our citizens we also discover the need to modify these interactions to avoid trampling on the viewpoints of those who do not agree with us.

Implementation of the first amendment separation of church and state implies that the government should not be advocating or financing any type of religious group or activity over another. You probably do not see that explicitly stated because it wasn’t stated.

The Boy Scouts of America is a private organization. As a private organization they have the right to impose religious requirements and standards on their members. By doing so they then are of necessity by extension of the first amendment reasoning and implementation separate from government and support. This also impacts on government financial and material support. Support is prohibited even if it is indirect support.

The scouts have become embroiled in this discussion in part because a few people who are of the atheistic persuasion took offense at the oath to God that is part of the core of the Scouting culture. The courts ruled that they have the right to do that as a private organization. At the same time they would not be permitted government support that would be perceived as promoting this same culture. They can’t have it both ways.

I would suggest that you get a grip. The sky has not fallen in. Take a deep breath, read some of the reference material, which you have kindly provided links to, with an open mind and I think you will see my point.

Scouts are a great organization. I expect that they will continue to provide our youth with a great service for a long time to come.

Anonymous said...

Oh, by the way was the vulgarity really necessary in the context of scouting and religion?

Anonymous said...

First, let me say that I am an Eagle Scout, and went through the scouting program in the late 1980s and early 1990s. I agree with your assessment that Scouting is hardly a Bible convention. Ironically, that's part of the problem, because positioning itself as an inclusive, not-particularly-religious group encourages not-particularly-religous people to join, at which point they sometimes discover that they aren't welcome.

During the time I was a scout, a nearby troop (or possibly a Cub Scout pack, I don't remember exactly) gained attention when a pair of atheist twins refused to include God when they recited the oath. One of our troop leaders had been associated with that group, and spoke on their behalf. As I recall, he admitted he was an atheist and was subsequently kicked out.

Forget the phrasing of the Scouth Oath for a moment -- the BSA has a history, over the last 10-15 years, of expelling atheist scouts and leaders. Yes, as a private organization this is probably legal under the principle of freedom of association -- but that doesn't necessarily make it *right*.

If the BSA positioned itself as a religious organization, one suspects atheists would be less interested in joining. But as I recall they went to a great deal of effort to modify their requirements so that people of non-Christian faiths could join in good conscience, and the BSA is positioned not as a religious organization, but a character-building organization.

I, an Eagle Scout, am offended by the fact that the BSA rejects people as unworthy of character building based solely on their religion (or lack thereof). For this reason I have refused to donate whenever the requests start circulating.

-Kelson (sorry, no Blogger account - I got here via BlogExplosion)