Skip to comments.Boy Scouts under siege in culture wars
Posted on 01/19/2004 11:11:48 PM PST by kattracks
THE CITY of San Diego recently announced a whopping gift of taxpayer dollars to the American Civil Liberties Union. With budgets tight up and down California, San Diego citizens might have been surprised to learn there was so much extra cash lying around city hall. The payoff is part of the city councils shameful cave-in to the ACLUs lawsuit that aims to kick the Boy Scouts off of public parkland in San Diego.
As part of a nationwide anti-Boy Scout crusade by activists who cant stomach Scoutings traditional values, the ACLU filed suit in 2000 to end the Scouts $1 per year lease of 18 acres at San Diegos beautiful Balboa Park. The lawsuit charged that the Scouts are a religious group, and discriminatory to boot, so San Diego shouldnt be giving them no-bid access to public property.
San Diego stood with the Scouts for the past three years, but then the city council buckled and bought its way out of the case. The city handed the ACLU $950,000 for attorneys fees and court costs. So now the Scouts must go forward alone to defend the legality of their lease.
Theyre seeking reversal of a clunker of a ruling last summer by San Diego federal judge Napoleon Jones. He declared that the lease violates separation of church and state. Say what? Scouting isnt a church, temple or synagogue. It doesnt have a theology, just a broad acknowledgment of a common-denominator deity.
But even if you accept the courts curious claim that the Scouts are a religion, San Diego hasnt been unconstitutionally endorsing religion by leasing land to them. Not when the city also has similar leases with scores of other nonprofits. Some of these groups are religious, but many more are indisputably secular; they range from the Girl Scouts to a Jewish community center; from the Boys and Girls clubs to the YMCA.
Taken as a whole, the citys constellation of leases endorses pluralism and diversity, not religion.
By waving a white flag to the ACLU, the city is deserting more than just the Boy Scouts as an organization. Its copping out on the kids they serve. Generations of boys have enjoyed friendship and outdoor activities at the 18-acre Camp Balboa. The Scouts have been at the site since just after World War II; theyve invested millions of dollars in building camp facilities and keeping the grounds in shape. They pay taxes on the property, cover insurance costs and make the camp available to the public.
Theres a larger context to the San Diego skirmish. Its part of a broad-front war being waged by cultural imperialists of the left to punish the Scouts for their principles. In the 2000 case of Boy Scouts v. Dale, the U.S. Supreme Court said government cant order the Scouts to abandon their convictions, such as their belief that being morally straight means foreswearing sex outside of marriage, including homosexual activity. So the anti-Scout activists and bureaucrats have adopted an indirect approach: Theyre trying to arm-twist the Scouts by penalizing them (with loss of park leases, for instance) if they dont fall in line.
The general approach can also be seen in San Francisco, where local judges are barred from participating in Scouting. In Connecticut, the Scouts have been dropped from the list of charities that state employees can support through payroll deduction (the Scouts recently petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to take up this case). In Berkeley, California, the city bars the Sea Scouts (a Boy Scouts affiliate) from the free use of the Berkeley marina that other nonprofits enjoy (the California Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge to this policy).
By fighting back, the Scouts are battling for more than their own rights. At issue is the freedom of all private organizations, all across the philosophical spectrum, to follow their own beliefs without facing discrimination, censorship or punishment by the state (or the ACLU).
What a dishonorable day it was when San Diego officials decided to cut and run from that fight and to lavish taxpayers hard-earned money on the opposition.
Harold Johnson (email@example.com) is an attorney for Pacific Legal Foundation, a California-based public interest legal organization that litigates for individual rights and limited government. He has participated in the Scouts case.
I think that the Connecticut case, if it goes to the Supreme Court, could be a good one.
What we have here is the Left NGO's playing tag-team wrestling with the BSA using money given them by tax-exempts.
The Supreme Court could have something surprising to say on political uses of tax-exempt dollars. Even better, they could even strip some of the parties to the Scouts' suit of their tax-exempt status, since what is going on, if the Court were to consolidate some of these cases and prorogate the pending local ones, would immediately become manifest "patterns and practices" that the Court could then rule is political not eleemosynary. They could bag all these assclowns' exemptions.
And that would be how you spell "relief".
Dear Mr. Gwinn,
As a reader of Free Republic, I was interested to hear under what theory the City of San Diego gave a large sum of money to the ACLU in order to be excused from a pending case involving City property.
I also noticed that you left the other defendant, the Boy Scouts of America, to meet the burden of the illimitably-funded ACLU alone. How is this possible, given that City policies on public property use were involved?
Considering that the Boy Scouts of America are one of the few organizations left in the United States that haven't been politicized by inexhaustibly-funded NGO's and their armies of political locusts, what is San Diego's moral justification for leaving the Boy Scouts in the lurch?
Lastly, isn't it true that San Diego permits church- and temple-affiliated groups to conduct activities on City property? And isn't it true that the City, through various nondiscrimination ordinances, does not require these organizations to seat Dagon-worshippers, Satanists, practicing pedophiles, registered sex offenders, and other persons they might deem unacceptable participants in their activities, in their organizational leadership?
I'm just curious about how you are handling City property and why San Diego left the Boy Scouts case.
The City of San Diego has decided to abandon the Scouts.
The ACLU needs a new summer camp for its young folks, preferably in San Diego's Balboa Park. The PC Scouts, as we'll call them, will head off to Balboa to obtain Rights Badges (as opposed to merit badges) and learn the meaning of the PC Scout Oath: "On my self-esteem, I will do whatever feels good for myself; And to question authority, To help myself at all times, To keep myself physically gratified, Mentally interested, And morally tolerant."
But the ACLU has a bit of a problem: The coveted camp in Balboa Park is currently being used by the Boy Scouts of America, the archenemy of the ACLU. In order to train up a vast new generation of PC scouts, the ACLU must figure out a way to move the Boy Scouts out of Balboa Park (and a few other places too).
On Thursday, the ACLU came much closer to its goal. The landlord of the Boy Scout camp in Balboa Park, the City of San Diego, switched sides from supporting the Boy Scouts to supporting the ACLU in its quest to destroy the Scouts. As settlement of an ACLU lawsuit against the City of San Diego and the Scouts, the City of San Diego decided to abandon the Scouts in its appeal to remain in Balboa Park.
Last July, U.S. District Judge Napoleon Jones ruled that the Boy Scouts of America is a religious organization. Its presence in Balboa Park was considered a violation of the separation of church and state.
Because the Scouts believe in God, said Judge Jones, there is "overwhelming and uncontradicted evidence" that the Scouts have received preferential treatment in being able to lease Balboa Park.
Under terms of the new settlement, San Diego must request Judge Jones to cancel the Boy Scouts' lease on Balboa Park. The city will also pay the ACLU nearly $1 million in court costs and attorney fees, which will, of course, help finance the further weakening of the Boy Scouts.
Now that the City of San Diego has given up on the Boy Scouts of America, a nearly 90-year relationship has come to an end.
It began after the 1915 San Diego World's Fair in Balboa Park when the Santa Fe Railroad donated its Pueblo Indian Village to local Boy Scouts with approval by the San Diego Parks Commission. For 25 years, the Scouts used the Indian Village as a headquarters and recreation site free of charge. During World War II, the military took possession of Balboa Park and the Boy Scouts launched volunteer campaigns to help the war effort from a makeshift headquarters in a local theater.
At the end of the war, the San Diego City Council passed a resolution authorizing the Boy Scouts to take charge of several acres of land in Balboa Park. Through fundraising and volunteer work, a state-of-the-art swimming pool and a 600-seat outdoor amphitheater were constructed. In 1949, the Boy Scouts Desert Pacific Council headquarters building was completed.
Parts of Balboa Park remained undeveloped by 1957, so the city council agreed to transfer additional property to the Boy Scouts for maintenance and operations. A 50-year lease was signed with a rental fee of one dollar per year.
Today, Camp Balboa accommodates up to 300 campers at a time, and it offers a variety of year-round programs. Each year, 12,000 Boy Scouts take part in day camps, weekend camps, and merit badge classes.
But the Boy Scouts organization doesn't have exclusive access to its own camp. Anyone can use it. Last summer, the two-day San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Festival was held at Balboa Park.
And the Boy Scouts take good care of Balboa Park. The Scouts organization has spent millions of dollars developing and maintaining the public park over the years, without burden to the city and its taxpayers. In the language of free-market think tanks, that's a classic public-private partnership.
The ACLU cares nothing about saving taxpayers' money, nor that the Scouts perform millions of dollars and thousands of hours worth of public service for the San Diego community, nor about the fact that the Scouts have been in the park for most of nine decades. The ACLU simply wants to destroy the Boy Scouts of America.
The ACLU is celebrating the capitulation of the City of San Diego. Now the Boy Scouts are left quite alone in a hostile court system to appeal the ruling of Judge Jones. It is likely they'll be kicked out of their historic camp for good if Americans don't act fast.
The Boy Scouts need our help. Citizens of San Diego must pack the next city council meeting and express their disapproval of this hideous surrender to the ACLU. Congress must immediately seek the impeachment of Judge Napoleon Jones, who ruled that the Boy Scouts cannot have dealings with government because the Scouts organization is a religious one.
The Boy Scouts have done plenty of good turns for San Diego. Now it is time for San Diego -- and all of America -- to do a good turn for the Boy Scouts.
Hans Zeiger is an 18-year-old Eagle Scout, president of the Scout Honor Coalition, and author of a forthcoming book about the Boy Scouts in the culture wars. Besides writing a regular column, he attends Hillsdale College in Michigan.
I know you have some very conservative talk show hosts there...are they talking about on the air waves there yet?
There are lots of good, strong conservatives in SD....lots of military retirees.......they'll fight this.
The reason this happened (generic, overall, trendological reason) was explained by conservative essayist James Q. Wilson in a 1972 contribution to a book titled The New Urban Politics: Cities and the Federal Government. Wilson's essay, or chapter, was entitled "The Mayors Versus the Cities" and originally appeared in The Public Interest No. 16 in the summer of 1969. Wilson noticed that mayors during the 50's and 60's tended strongly to embrace liberal policy nostrums and side with liberal factions in controversies over policy. The reason, Wilson wrote, was that foundations run by liberal boards and Great Society federal bureaucracies run by liberals were supplying incremental and conditional dollars to municipal and other local governments, which allowed these liberal "audiences" (which Wilson defined as distinct from mere voting constituencies) to achieve enormous impact on policymaking.
So liberals didn't "win" any policy arguments during the 60's -- they just bought outcomes by leveraging their trust-funds' dollars at the margins of municipal, state, and national policy, and by parlaying Lydon Johnson's "100 days" in 1965 into a permanent advantage in political power for their fellow-travelers, by creating huge new agencies and peopling them with statist liberal activists willing to use federal money to procure local outcomes.
Does it take a rocket scientist to figure out what's going on?
I know that not every homosexual man is going to prey upon young boys. It doesn't matter if every one will.
It only matters that some will. I will not chance letting him near those boys.
I can't take Girl Scouts camping, and queers can't take Boy Scouts camping. Them's the rules. Lump 'em if you don't like 'em.
That is the equivalent of hitting the "reset" button on your computer. If the software is corrupt, if there's a problem with a registry file, you just lose time by going through the learning cycle again. The new team of pols you put in office suddenly find themselves in the same money bind as their predecessors, and chances are (since the built-in structural biases and the audience are the same) you'll get somewhat similar outcomes.
You have to fix the problem ...... extraneous money coming into the system from outside actors with an agenda.