Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
eisely

Editorial Support for BSA

Recommended Posts

Let's see. Buddhists pray to Buddha. They build temples to him. They have statues of him in their places of worship.

 

And, NJ, if you mean those facts presented are the interpretation that by the military chartering BSA units promotes discrimination then yes you are correct, I don't see the connection. This is nothing more than persecution of the BSA. If it wasn't the ACLU would be working just as hard to get "In God We Trust" off our currency, removing chaplains and banning the swearing of any public office on the bible.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it's a mistake to generalize about Buddhists and what they believe and worship. Some of them apparently believe in and worship gods and god-like beings and others don't. Indeed, there are people who would describe themselves as Christians who honor Jesus as a great moral teacher, but who don't believe in his divinity.

But I think the point here is that BSA is not going to question a person who is an adherent of a recognized major world religion, unless he or she makes a point of saying that he doesn't believe in any supreme being. Certainly, Buddhists refer to their belief system as a "religion," something which atheists would not do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ed says:

 

And, NJ, if you mean those facts presented are the interpretation that by the military chartering BSA units promotes discrimination then yes you are correct, I don't see the connection.

 

Ed, obviously that isn't what I mean, nor is it what I said. What I do mean is that when the military charters a BSA unit that is required by the national BSA to exclude atheists (and avowed gays), the federal government is not only promoting discrimination, the federal government itself is discriminating. Where religion (though not sexual orientation) is concerned, that is unconstitutional. I also think it's just plain wrong. The BSA as a "private organization" can exclude who it wishes, but the federal government belongs to all of us and should not be discriminating against any of us on the basis of religion (or sexual orientation, but federal law doesn't say that, at least not yet.)

 

This is nothing more than persecution of the BSA.

 

No it isn't, it is the federal government obeying the Constitution, and one of the results is that the BSA is being made to live with some of the consequences of its decisions. As has been pointed out, however, it isn't likely that many (if any) BSA units will disappear as a result of this. So it really comes down to what the federal government can and cannot do; the impact on the BSA is minimal.

 

If it wasn't the ACLU would be working just as hard to get "In God We Trust" off our currency, removing chaplains and banning the swearing of any public office on the bible.

 

You have said this a few times in this thread, and although I have addressed it in the past, I have not in this thread. So I will now: You're wrong. What it says on the money, or voluntary swearing on the Bible, or many of these other things, are different from the government discriminating on the basis of religion, or sponsoring a school prayer, or displaying religious objects, or many of the other things that have been found unconstitutional. The Supreme Court as a whole has never specified exactly why there is a difference, but the leading theory is that the things that are "ok" represent "ceremonial deism," meaning that while they mention God, they actually have no religious significance and therefore do not constitute an establishment of religion.

 

Ed, I know you will not agree with this, but I just ask one thing of you. Before you respond, read this:

 

http://supct.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/02-1624.ZC1.html

 

It is the opinion of Justice O'Connor in the "Pledge of Allegiance" case (Newdow v. Elk Grove.) It explains what "ceremonial deism" is, some examples of it (which she believes include the Pledge of Allegiance) and how they are different from the things that have been found unconstitutional. Please read it and tell me what you think of it.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK. So if it's ceremonial its OK? Why? I read the text in the link. Doesn't explain it any better. If "In God We Trust" on our currency which is printed by the government isn't endorsing religion then the military chartering a BSA unit isn't promoting discrimination.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ed says:

 

I read the text in the link. Doesn't explain it any better.

 

With all due respect, Ed, I don't think the problem here lies in the quality of Justice O'Connor's explanation. Having said that, there are probably more thorough and/or more basic explanations of the concept of "ceremonial deism" in earlier opinions by her and other justices, and at least some of them are probably linked in that opinion, but I do not have time to do any extra legal research right now. It's futile anyway, because you will not accept it regardless of how well it is explained.

 

If "In God We Trust" on our currency which is printed by the government isn't endorsing religion then the military chartering a BSA unit isn't promoting discrimination.

 

Again, Ed, no amount of evidence that that statement is incorrect will ever move you from your unshakeable belief that it is correct, so I am not going to bother. Nevertheless, it is not a correct statement of the law.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ed,

There is a difference ,the Law as determined with the final say by The Supreme Court says there is. To keep saying that youre right and theyre wrong reminds me of the old hound dog that keeps going after porcupines. He believes he is right but it doesn't stop him from getting a snout full of quills.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

NJ--I think you're right in pointing out that the Supreme Court has (apparently) made this distinction between "ceremonial deism" that doesn't endorse religion, and actions that clearly do endorse religion (like sponsoring school prayer). But don't you think the distinction is, well, baloney? I'm not surprised that somebody who isn't a lawyer finds it difficult to accept an argument that printing "In God We Trust" on the money isn't an endorsement of religion. I think the distinction that's really being made is between cranky malcontents that most people would prefer just go away (like Newdow), and people who are really being discriminated against because of their religious views. In other words, "ceremonial deism" is just the Supreme Court's technical way of saying, "We just don't consider this a big deal, so leave us alone." It also seems to me that the question of military units sponsoring scout units is fairly close to this line (because of the small impact whichever way the decision goes), although I would agree that it is, at least technically, unconstitutional.

Let me add this--Ed, I suggest that this is an area in which you really don't want consistency from the Supreme Court, because they would likely be pushed to find a lot of things unconstitutional if they really were honest about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Again, Ed, no amount of evidence that that statement is incorrect will ever move you from your unshakable belief that it is correct, so I am not going to bother. Nevertheless, it is not a correct statement of the law.

 

NJ,

Maybe that's because there isn't any evidence that statement is incorrect.

 

Hunt,

Actually consistency would be an improvement! Plus maybe they would discover what our founding fathers were really trying to accomplish!

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hunt, nice post. I add to your last observation, or worse, they might NOT. But to expand on your earlier comment about being close to the line, I think the big distinction to be made here is where government funding (meaning OUR taxes) is invested in a program that discriminates - in this case against the non-religious. Your point about printing 'In God We Trust' on the money may be correct...not a big deal. It hardly costs anything beyond the annoyance of persons who disagree with it. But that is quite different from what I just described before.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think that much tax money goes to support BSA units, even if they are sponsored by government entities. Indeed, I suspect that if you looked at the big picture, the balance might go the other way if you factor in service projects done by Scouts for their sponsors. But all that aside, I think the Supreme Court would rule, if it ever got the case, that government entities can't sponsor BSA units--because they clearly couldn't sponsor Baptist, Buddhist, or atheist groups. (Please note: the key is SPONSOR--government entities can allow all these groups to meet on their property, and indeed they must do so if the facility is open to other groups. There might be ways to wiggle out of it, though, along the lines of "ceremonial deism." I can imagine a pretty good argument for allowing overseas military bases to sponsor units, i.e.: "The sponsorship of a Boy Scout Troop by an overseas military base is not primarily an endorsement of religion, but is a permissible morale-building measure for troops far from the typical American institutions that would otherwise be available to provide such sponsorships."

 

Ed, one thing the Founding Fathers (especially Jefferson) wanted to do was prevent the possibility of a "state religion." They certainly didn't want to promote Christianity--Jefferson (like other Enlightenment thinkers)assumed Christianity would fade away fairly rapidly, anyway. George Washington used to go to church with his wife, but he would always leave when they were taking communion. Most of these guys were not very religious.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And the 1st Amendment does this. It also ensures the freedom of religion. Sponsorship of a BSA unit in no way establishes a government religion nor does it endorse a specific religion. Sponsorship of a BSA unit is endorsing the freedom of religion.

 

Our founding fathers wanted to ensure all Americans would be able to profess their faith without the threat of persecution. Now the BSA is being persecuted for this very thing.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"ceremonial deism" isn't ceremonial when it results in different treatment by an agent of the government; military bases can't justify it as "ceremonial" when it actually excludes people.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ed, I think where you go wrong here is with the idea that a government action violates the Establishment Clause only if it endorses a specific religion. That's not what the First Amendment says ("Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion"), and that's not how the federal courts have interepreted it. It's well-established that if a government action endorses religion over non-religion, that violates the Establishment Clause. You may not like that interpretation, but that's the law--the Supreme Court has said so. (I would also note that if the scout leaders were appointed by a government agency, it might also violate the "no religious test" requirement in Article VI--but I haven't seen that one raised.) To try to make this a little clearer, imagine if I started a group called "Christian Adventure Boys," and a requirement for membership and leadership was membership in an evangelical Christian Church. Do you really think it would be OK for a government entity to actually sponsor a unit of my group? Not just let them meet--SPONSOR. Or do you think it would be "persecution" if the government entity refused to do so?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How does the military chartering a BSA unit "establish a religion"? Doesn't it violate the "freedom of speech" not to let the military charter a BSA unit?

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×