Skip to comments.The Boy Scouts on the Front Lines
Posted on 09/19/2002 5:37:52 AM PDT by luv2ndamend
A Washington, D.C. court hearing last Tuesday 9/10 offered a sobering reminder that 9/11 did not, in fact, change "everything." The proceedings, at the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, dealt with a government rebuke of the Boy Scouts of America last year for dismissing two Washington-area Scout leaders because they're gay. The Scouts asked the court to overturn the June 2001 command by the District of Columbia Human Rights Commission that Michael Geller, 39, and Ronald Pool, 40, be readmitted as adult members and receive $100,000 in damages.
Although the Commission submitted no briefs of its own (angry members of Congress had denied the agency funding to defend its decision), lawyers for Geller and Pool didn't give an inch at the hearing. They insisted that the Scouts cannot be allowed to escape the District's anti-discrimination law, and the hefty fine was right and just.
Carla Kerr, an attorney for the Scouts, reports that the judges questioned the Geller and Pool attorneys aggressively. But even if the appellate ruling favors the Scouts, the fact that they had to go to court to win back their rights highlights some disturbing continuities between pre- and post-911 America. Not all of today's agents of destruction work with bombs, bullets or box cutters. There are saboteurs in coats and ties as well - social and cultural saboteurs, some with government or academic status, who continue their long-running siege against venerable institutions that have nourished the nation's soul. The Scouts remain a prime target. They are loathed by the Left for resisting reeducation on sexual morality and for transmitting a cultural framework, stressing God and country, that was supposed to be marginalized by now.
Most of all, perhaps, the Scouts are hated simply as an obstacle to the Left's Taliban-like project of imposing a general conformity of thought on the country. Lovers of liberty - even those who might disagree with Scouting's membership policies - should toast the Scouts' tenacious stand for the First Amendment and the right not to be PC.
The District of Columbia assault on the Scouts may be unique in one respect: its unusually direct defiance of the United States Supreme Court. In the 2000 case of Dale v. Boy Scouts, the Court settled the question that the D.C. bureaucrats have tried to reopen. A five-justice majority ruled that the Scouts are free to follow their own philosophical precepts. Therefore, government - New Jersey, in the Dale case - can't compel the Scouts to admit avowed homosexuals as leaders.
The Commission claimed that the case it dealt with differs from the case of New Jersey assistant scoutmaster James Dale because Pool and Geller were not public about their homosexuality. But the Supreme Court's teaching in Dale still applies: a private, philosophically based organization is free to craft its own creed and tailor membership rules accordingly.
The Commission also accused Scouting's leaders of lying, in effect, when they say that Scouting considers homosexuality incompatible with the Scout Oath's pledge to stay "morally straight." The Commission alleged that the Scouts haven't held this belief historically. It touted as "evidence" the fact that formal position statements were drafted only in recent years. If this line of argument sounds familiar, it's because New Jersey tried to sell it to the Supreme Court in Dale. Writing for the majority, Chief Justice William Rehnquist declined the invitation to instruct a private organization on what it does and does not believe. The Court in Dale accepted Scouting's own interpretation of the Scout Oath and the Scout Law.
So the District of Columbia Human Rights Commission has demonstrated about as much respect for Dale as southern school districts showed for Brown v. Board of Education when they waged "massive resistance" to desegregation orders in the 1950s. Like Brown, Dale is a civil rights decision; it affirms liberty of association and freedom from thought codes. A "Human Rights" commission worthy of the name would honor Dale, not subvert it.
Most of the recent government assaults on the Scouts have not been as shamelessly frontal. The trend is to try to coerce rather than openly compel. For instance, there's the scheme of shunning, as practiced in San Francisco, where local judges are now barred from participating in Scouting. There's stigmatizing, as Connecticut has attempted by dropping the Scouts from the list of charities that state employees can support through payroll deduction. There's singling out for the withholding of public benefits, as Berkeley has done by starting to charge a Scout-affiliated group, the Sea Scouts, for use of the city's marina. No other nonprofit faces such a requirement. High school teacher Eugene Evans now must pay $532 a month out of his pocket so the Sea Scouts' ship can berth in the marina and 20 or so boys can sail the Bay on weekends and learn carpentry and plumbing by working on the ship during the week. Because he's covering berthing costs, Evans can no longer afford to pay membership fees for boys from poorer neighborhoods around Oakland and Berkeley. Some, including some black and Latino kids, have had to drop out.
These anti-Scout ploys raise constitutional issues by attempting to do indirectly what the Supreme Court has said cannot be done directly - force Scouting to abandon its First Amendment rights. A long, twilight struggle of legal battles is assured.
The Scouts are learning that the totalitarian temptation survived the Berlin Wall; it's an impulse that isn't necessarily confined to nations patrolled by tanks and jackboots. Totalitarian arrangements share a principle: independent, voluntary associations aren't allowed. A totalitarian community "is made absolute by the removal of all forms of membership and identification which might, by their existence, compete with the new order," wrote sociologist Robert Nisbet. "It is, further, made absolute by the insistence that all thought, belief, worship, and membership be within the structure of the State."
Tocqueville saw this phenomenon in fledgling form on his home continent 170 years ago: "In all European nations some associations cannot be formed until the state has examined their statutes and authorized their existence. In several countries efforts are made to extend this rule to all associations. One can easily see whither success in that would lead."
The Scouts' fight, then, is for the survival of an authentically private sector a sphere where beliefs can be embraced and explored without preclearance, editing or censorship by the state.
"They hate freedom." President Bush's words about terror networks also describe the bullies who would force Scouting to march to a new and "progressive" tune. By standing their ground, the Scouts put themselves on the front line of today's war against tyranny, as surely as the soldiers tracking Al-Qaida or any battalions that might be bound for Baghdad.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Harold Johnson is an attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation.
Proud dad of 2 Eagle Scouts, and 2 future Eagles!!
These Washington crackpots are dumber than dumb. The Supreme Court has ruled that the Boy Scouts has the consitutional right to preclude homosexual men from being scoutmasters. Their actions are blatantly unconstitutional.
I will assume that you're a former scoutmaster, and not a former straight.... ;-)
The Left is marginalizing itself on the scouts issue. The scouts lost a couple of % in membership as a result of the issue, and scouts is growing rapidly in many areas. Let's see, as a parent, which do I want for my sons - an atheist, pro-homosexuality organization, or a Godly organization which stresses traditional family and traditional family values? Hard to choose, hard to choose...
Because, unlike four Supreme Court justices, Rehnquist believes in the freedom of Americans to associate with whom they want - and to be able to choose who will take their teenage sons on overnight camping trips.
The motto for the addition to our house was: "It's only temporary until you get used to it."
It's similar in cases like this. Decisions of the DC Human Rights Commission are "Constitutional" unless and until contrary USSC decisions are applied to the specific case in question.
Eventually, fatigue or oversight allows one of these decisions to get by without challenge, at which point the USSC decision becomes irrelevant.
We had to fight a huge battle in our town, led by an active homosexual man and a liberal Jewish rabbi, to force scouts to accept this man as an assistant scoutmaster, or to be forced from use of the public schools for meetings. The queerites cannot leave anyone alone. They are the most intolerant people in the world. They will not rest until they can snuggle up to your teenage sons. - But with scouts, they have hit a big rock, and now they are angering many many parents in the country. The more they attack the scouts, the more people are turning against them. They are not only immoral and intolerant, they are extremely stupid.
Scouts has a long term fight on its hands. As I said in another post, homosexuals are only succeeding in turning Americans against them with their relentless and intolerant attacks on the scouts.
Well, after they raped thousands of teenage boys in the Catholic Church (of which I am a member), they are well on their way.
I was on our Cub committee during the whole homosexual controversy - which was hotly debated in our town. We lost precisely two families (out of 70 or so) who disagreed with the Boy Scout's position. A few other families sort of faded out of the pack due to their fear of the controversy (you know, where you have to take a stand). During the same year, our Boy Scout troop almost doubled in size, and we added a new and fourth Boy Scout troop to our town. Boy Scouts is going strong around here, and I believe that the fact that scouts won't allow homosexuals as scoutmasters is seen as a huge plus by a great many families.
This larger principle is indeed what is at stake in the scouts' principled stand. Will we be a truly free country, where we can associate with whom we wish, or an ideologically fascist state - where all dissent to certain moral beliefs is squelched?
We absolutely do have that right and moral duty. But many Americans are too weak and confused to use that right and to recognize that duty.
I like that one.
Give me a break. The vast, vast majority of parents wouldn't allow heterosexual men to be in close quarters with their teenage daughters on overnight camping trips. It's exactly the same for homosexual men with teenage boys. That's not bigotry, just common sense. It's discriminiation, of the sensible kind that's been practiced for centuries in the comparable heterosexual situation. But apart from that: 1) homosexual men molest teenage boys at a much higher rate than heterosexual men molest teenage girls (just like in the Catholic Church, where a minority of homosexual priests carried out 95% of all the molestations against teenage boys in the recent scandal); 2) parents do NOT want homosexual behaviors exhibited to their impressionable teeange boys, whose sexuality is just developing; 3) parents do NOT want homosexual proselytization of their teenage sons (hey, men humping other mens' rear ends is normal and good for you). ALL of the scout parents I know are perfectly content to let homosexual men do whatever filthy things they want to do in the privacy of their homes. Homosexual men have no right to be in close quarters with my teenage sons (where sexual attraction issues do arise), nor to influence my kids in ANY way that I do not want.
He was NOT told that he was unworthy of the badges he earned. He was told that he was an inappropriate role model for young teenage boys. And on sexual attraction issues, many homosexual men are highly sexually attracted to teenage boys, and many cannot (or do not want to) control those attractions.
It is you who are slandering me. I have not said that all homosexuals are dangerous pedophiles. I have said that many homosexual men are sexually attracted to teenage boys - and that is true. You see that in the Catholic Church scandal, in which thousands of teenage boys were homosexually molested by homosexual priests, in the books and magazines in gay bookstores, in the huge (male) teenage homosexual prostitution problem in New York City, in the constant push by homosexual activists to lower the age of consent for teenage/adult homosexual activity to 12 and 14, etc. etc. I don't claim that all homosexuals will molest. But a fair percentage of them will and do. They have no place as scoutmasters for teenage boys. If they are concerned about helping out society, all well and good. Just do it in a way that doesn't involve other people's teenage boys.
And your point is? Last I heard, lesbians are not going to court to gain admittance to the Boy Scouts. They are perfectly happy to be Girl Scout leaders. (The Girl Scouts have no policies against lesbian leaders.)
Billy Dale wasn't even a scout master.
No, he was an assistant scoutmaster.
I have treated homosexuals fairly all my life. I have spent many long hours and days trying to help a homosexual friend from high school with his many problems. But homosexuals have a far different set of beliefs with regard to sexual morality than do many, many Americans. I have always tolerated their beliefs; why can they not tolerate mine (and most scout parents'). They are the most intolerant people in the world. Scouts makes no attacks on homosexuals; scouts teaches tolerance for others' beliefs. That does not mean scouts agrees with everyone's beliefs; it doesn't. Scouts doesn't attack atheists because it disagrees with atheists, but atheists attack scouts on a regular basis. Same with homosexuality. Scouts doesn't attack the existence of gay bathhouses where homosexual men have unremmitting anal sex with tons of anonymous partners. So why do homosexuals attack scouts? Go home to your beliefs, whatever they may be. Let scouts run its program the way it sees fit. Show some tolerance for what others believe (if you can).
You miss the point. Many heterosexual men cannot control their attractions for teenage girls. That's why girl scouts doesn't have male scoutmasters. It's the same with homosexual scoutmasters for teenage boys - except the homosexual men DO molest at a much higher rate than heterosexual men. They have no business in contact with other peoples' teenage sons. If they want to form a homosexual scouts, they can do so any time they want.
I agree with you. But the City was not simply trying to disassociate itself from the Scouts. It was trying to force the Scouts to readmit those admits and pay them $100,000. You're barking up the wrong tree.
Yendu Bwam was accusing this city of wanting pedophiles to molest boys. That is slander. They only want to associate with groups who abide by their non-discrimination policies.
No, they want to penalize groups with whom they don't agree, and force them to accept leaders they don't want.
Yendu was right in pointing out how this isn't as much a gay/straight issue as it is a question of putting adults in charge of adolescents to whom they are sexually attracted. No way I'd ever want to have a 20 year old male scoutmaster in charge of a Girl Scout group of teeneage girls. But is that "discrimination" because of heterosexuality?
Duh. Because that does not prevent homosexual molestations. That's the answer. Prior to the scouts' strong policies aimed at preventing homosexual molestations, they had hundreds of such each year. Of course they threw out the perpetrators, but by then the damage to young impressionable boys had been done. If you care more about young teenage boys than about the precious feelings of homosexual men who feel they 'need' to be with your sons on overnight camping trips, then you don't put them in a place where many of them have sexual attraction issues. Further, if you care about what your children learn regarding homosexuality, and you disagree with what most homosexual men believe, then you also don't put them in close contact with your sons.
Actually, you may be right. Billy Dale worked in the White House travel office and was fired by President Clinton. I have no idea if he was ever involved with the BSA.
James Dale was the Assistant Scoutmaster who sued the BSA to be allowed to continue as a Scout Leader.
OK, Emmylou, that's fair. We teach our kids that homosexuals suffer from a type of disorder, and that homosexual behavior is NOT normal. We teach them not to blame homosexuals for that disorder. We teach them (as is consonant with our Christian religion) that we should love everyone with all our hearts, including homosexuals. We teach them that the sexual acts to which many homosexuals are attracted (like anal intercourse) are filthy and disgusting, and that we should feel sorry for those who feel compelled to engage in them. We teach them that these sexual practices are the primary cause of the spread of AIDs in our country. We teach our sons that homosexual men may have sexual attractions to them, and that they must protect themselves from and be wary about such. We teach them, that while we should have compassion for homosexuals, they are inappropriate as scoutmasters.
Take that back, emmylou. I did not say that and you know it.
Thank you. The implication is that the city is far more concerned about the feelings of homosexual men than it is about the welfare of teenage boys. A fair number of homosexual men are molestors and they teach and model things to kids that parents do not agree with, and which most consider harmful. You've made your choice. We'll make ours. Ours favors kids; yours does not.