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Editorial Support for BSA

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Those of you who are regular readers of the Wall Street Journal will have seen this already. The editorial comment below is pasted from Friday's paper. At least one national media organization recognizes what is going on.

_______________________

 

Bashing the Boy Scouts

One group whose First Amendment rights the ACLU opposes.

 

Friday, November 26, 2004 12:01 a.m. EST

 

Legal historians may someday explain how the once-great American Civil Liberties Union came to see the Boy Scouts as public enemy number one. In the meantime, the ACLU keeps on bringing its absurd First Amendment challenges against the Scouts. The Defense Department is the latest defendant to throw in the towel.

 

The issue this time is the status of Scout troops on military bases. Most troops have institutional sponsors, and the military has traditionally performed this function for troops on bases, especially overseas where other options aren't readily available. The ACLU claims this is religious discrimination because the Boy Scouts require members to believe in God.

 

That argument received a boost last week when the Defense Department agreed to issue an all-points reminder that official sponsorship of Boy Scout troops is against departmental rules. The edict is unlikely to have much practical effect, since most troops can continue under private sponsorship. But the PR effect is immense. Defense admitted no guilt--a subtlety that went mostly unnoticed in the media rush to report the ACLU's "victory."

 

If all this weren't silly enough, another part of the ACLU lawsuit uses the same church-state argument to object to the famous Boy Scout Jamboree, held since 1981 at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia. This time the military is willing to fight the charges, which eventually will be decided by a federal court in Illinois. The Scouts receive no direct financial support from the Army for the Jamboree--though the ACLU contends there are indirect costs involved.

 

But so what? The military earns a lot of public goodwill and A.P. Hill's soldiers learn a thing or two in helping to put up a temporary city and police 35,000 energetic teenage males. The Army even comes out ahead financially. The Scouts expect to spend $29 million on next year's Jamboree--and that's on top of the $12 million or more that they've already put into the base's permanent infrastructure. The military and other civilian groups make use of those facilities when the Scouts aren't there, which is all but nine days every four years.

 

Ever since the Supreme Court upheld the Scouts' First Amendment right to bar Scoutmasters who are openly gay, the ACLU has looked for softer targets. The suit against the military is one of a series aimed at getting communities to deny access to public facilities. The original lawsuit also challenged the city of Chicago's sponsorship of troops in public schools, another venue where sponsors aren't always easy to find. The city settled.

In Connecticut the ACLU has succeeded in getting the state to remove the Scouts from the list of charitable institutions to which public employees may make voluntary contributions. And earlier this year it settled a suit against the city of San Diego, which agreed to evict the Scouts from a public park they have been using since 1918. The Scouts countersued, lost, and the case is now on appeal before the Ninth Circuit.

 

The question no one seems to be asking is, who's better off as a result of these lawsuits? Surely not the 3.2 million Boy Scouts, whose venerable organization is part of the web of voluntary associations once considered the bedrock of American life. If anything, the purpose of the ACLU attacks is to paint Scouts as religious bigots. Other losers are communities themselves, which are forced to sever ties to an organization that helps to build character in young men.

 

It's been 20 years since the ACLU brought its first suit against the Scouts. If there's one thing we've learned by now, it's that the ACLU offensive says more about the degraded status of the civil liberties group than it does about the Boy Scouts.

 

 

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At least one national media organization recognizes what is going on.

 

But not the Wall Street Journal. For one thing, they state: "Ever since the Supreme Court upheld the Scouts' First Amendment right to bar Scoutmasters who are openly gay, the ACLU has looked for softer targets."

 

The ACLU lawsuit against military support was filed back in 1999 (and grew out of an even earlier lawsuit with the same plaintiffs); the supreme court didn't rule on Dale until 2000, so this lawsuit wasn't filed as a result of the Dale decision.

 

And it fails to distinguish between access to public facilities vs. public sponsorship: "The suit against the military is one of a series aimed at getting communities to deny access to public facilities." This is false for anyone familiar with what the ACLU lawsuit says.

 

The editorial incorrectly states that the BSA had been "using" the Balboa Park property, instead of leasing it for $1/year, and that the lease was found to be illegal since there was no bidding process and the Boy Scouts describe themselves as a religious organization in court, and that such a public subsidy for a religious organization violated the first amendment.

 

But the editorial writers at the WSJ don't seem to think atheists have any rights. Look at their opening paragraph, where they describe the ACLU's first amendment lawsuit in defense of nonbelievers as "absurd."

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The WSJ is right on the mark with the overall tone that those who support the efforts that Scouting promotes.

 

There has been an interesting development in Texas now that the Dale suit has set precedent. A Christian Legal Society bars gays from participation. The group has filed six seperate suits against various colleges who have taken away funding for the groups activities on campus. So far two of the six suits have been resolved in the Christians groups favor.

 

The ACLU is being flanked.

 

See Time, Nov 29, p. 18

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You don't win legal arguments by getting the facts wrong.

 

And why do you say "The ACLU is being flanked"? They have nothing to do with the CLS litigation.

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The ACLU is attacking the military and the BSA. You can not take GOD out of public life and expect most just to go along with the idea this is good for our republic.

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Face it Merlyn, you and the ACLU won nothing in this battle! The BSA comes out of this misguided attack stronger and with more support! Thanks!

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10(This message has been edited by evmori)

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You might want to check with Mike Walton if this settlement doesn't adversely affect scouting in US bases in foreign countries.

 

And your response is similar to people who fight against ACLU lawsuits to remove the ten commandments from government property, and then (after it's moved across the street to private property), point to how nothing has changed. You've missed the whole point of the lawsuit, which is to remove the improper government sponsorship.

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The editorial is the WSJ is entirely accurate based on the authors view point. Period.

 

If your interested in getting the facts right how about the ACLU stating that the military gives the BSA $2 million per year to support the Jamboree. (See Final paragraph in http://www.aclu-il.org/news/press/000220.shtml) Its a LIE. In addition there is nothing mentioned about the millions that the BSA will spend on AP Hill for capital improvements to the base in preparation for the Jamboree. These improvements will end up supporting ALL groups utilizing the facility.

 

Finally, the ACLU is being flanked. The ACLUs fixation on the establishment clause has been entirely void of the next statement of Article 1; , 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. . My argument is that I think the ACLU is depending too much on Title VI & VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to buttress its challenges against the BSA.

 

If ones religious beliefs are deemed discriminatory by the US government which in turn changes policy that causes harm or damages ones practice thereof then the US government is acting outside its constitutional boundaries. Up until Dale the ACLU supported religious expression on public property. (See County of Allegheny v. American Civil Liberties Union, 492 U.S. at 613).

 

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The editorial is the WSJ is entirely accurate based on the authors view point. Period.

 

It isn't accurate; "author's view point" does not affect matters of fact, like this ACLU lawsuit being filed in 1999, and Dale being decided in 2000, so the author's viewpoint that this lawsuit was in response to Dale is factually wrong.

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And your response is similar to people who fight against ACLU lawsuits to remove the ten commandments from government property, and then (after it's moved across the street to private property), point to how nothing has changed. You've missed the whole point of the lawsuit, which is to remove the improper government sponsorship.

 

Spin it any way you want Merlyn! The ACLU ends up looking like the class bully in this one! The BSA loses nothing! You and the ACLU gained only bad press!

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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No, the WSJ authors basic premise is correct. The Illinois ACLU DoD case, filed in 1999. The Dale case had been making its way to the Supreme Court since 1992.

 

"July 29, 1992: Lambda, with Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, files suit against the national Boy Scouts of America and its Monmouth Council on behalf of Dale..."

 

I see that you are silent on the ACLUs problem with accuracy.

 

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Wrong again Merlyn! Principle means a lot to me! However, my principles are the exact opposite of yours. And that in itself is a blessing!

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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mmhardy writes:

No, the WSJ authors basic premise is correct. The Illinois ACLU DoD case, filed in 1999. The Dale case had been making its way to the Supreme Court since 1992.

 

But the WSJ said that this was in response to the supreme court ruling, which was in 2000:

"Ever since the Supreme Court upheld the Scouts' First Amendment right to bar Scoutmasters who are openly gay, the ACLU has looked for softer targets. "

 

That's incorrect. This lawsuit was filed before the supreme court ruled in the Dale case.

 

And what ACLU inaccuracies are you referring to?

 

 

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