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ScoutNerd

ACLU Info?

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No, I'm right - public schools can't own & operate "no atheists allowed" clubs, even if they operate other clubs that atheists can join. You might want to consider why the BSA didn't even TRY to fight the ACLU on this.

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No, you are wrong. Public schools can't force anyone to join the BSA but there is no law in the land that prohibits a public school from chartering a BSA unit.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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Maybe someone ought to tell our local schools here in Houston that they can't sponsor Cub packs as is done currently. They are booming and using the school's facilities.

 

Fancy that Congress can open in prayer but some think it should be illegal for schools to sponsor a group that believes in duty to God and country.

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tortdog, it is my understanding that belief in duty to god and country is not the problem. The problem is discrimination against persons who do not share a religious belief. And if an organization that is funded by the government (the school) does discriminate on that basis, or if they give exclusive access to a group that discriminates on that basis (BSA), it IS illegal.

 

This does not mean that cub scouts have no access to schools. Of course dens can meet there. We use schools for all sorts of activities. For that matter some churches in this area actually use public schools for their weekly services. This is just fine as long as all of us have equal access and as long as the public school does not sponsor the church. Similarly, packs and troops simply cannot be chartered by public schools and they cannot be given exclusive access by public schools.

 

As for calling attention to possible illegal activity in Houston, don't feel badly, it was your civic duty to bring that to light. ;)

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Maybe you are right, and the schools are not sponsoring the units, but it sure looks that way. I'll have to inquire next time I'm at the school. The packs are all over the place.

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Tortdog, you seem to have missed the recent news where the BSA agreed to re-charter all BSA units currently chartered to public schools and other government agencies:

http://www.aclu-il.org/news/press/000259.shtml

 

There ARE a lot of BSA units in Texas chartered to public schools (Texas is the worst, with about 25% of all Packs chartered to schools). All of those will have to find private groups to charter them.

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tortdog, it may be that those units meeting in the schools have already undergone the transition of shifting their sponsorship from the school to a private entity. Most of the cubs and their parents will never even notice the difference. This is probably one reason BSA decided to stop fighting this battle--the disruption is minimal. Most schools provide nothing to units beyond a free place to meet. I think most will be better off with a private CO that might offer some additional support. The only downside I see is that they might have to pay a fee to use the school if other community groups are charged. But hey, schools are often not a very good place to meet anyway--you can't store your stuff, you may not have a key, it may be closed in the summer and other times, and you may get bumped for school activities.

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>There ARE a lot of BSA units in Texas chartered to public schools (Texas is the worst, with about 25% of all Packs chartered to schools).

 

Well, I'd rewrite that to say "Texas is the best, with about 25% of all Packs chartered to schools."

 

Hunt. I hear ya. Until I was on District Committee, I didn't even know that schools sponsored BSA units. I thought that almost all BSA units were sponsored by churches, with cities picking up some slack.

 

There is no downside to the BSA. The only harm I see is that a lot of kids who aren't active in a church because of parental decisions might never get the chance in the BSA except where schools are still allowing the BSA to recruit. Every young man in my church will get the benefits of the BSA, but that neighbor kid down the street might never get the chance if the ACLU keeps forcing the BSA into a corner. No one is hurt but some kids.

 

Meanwhile, got me thinking if we'll soon see the ACLU fighting to prevent the BSA from recruiting at schools, similar to the push by some law schools to prevent Army recruiters on campus (and currently in the Supreme Court). I'd be willing to bet that it's next on the ACLU's list.

 

Last note, have a look at this letter that pretty much sums up what I just wrote, only with far more class. Makes you proud to be part of the BSA:

 

http://www.aclu-il.org/news/archives/bsaletter2.pdf(This message has been edited by tortdog)

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Hey tortdog, what about the gay and atheist kids? Don't they count? It appears not.

 

The BSA's letter to the ACLU shows more of the BSA's hypocrisy - they ask the ACLU for more time to re-charter some units to poor kids, but do you think the BSA will allow gay and atheist kids to join those units while they still have government charterers? Any bets on that?

 

The Powell case in Oregon is largely over in-school recruiting; it's been dragging on for years. The recent ruling by the Oregon court of appeals sounds like the ACLU will win.

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>Hey tortdog, what about the gay and atheist kids? Don't they count? It appears not.

 

Gay kids are allowed (and I kind of doubt that their sexuality at 8-years old has been explored anyway).

 

Children who refuse to abide by the Scouth Oath/Law have voluntary chosen to not join the BSA. The BSA isn't keeping them out, those kids are keeping themselves out. They chose. Choices have consequences.

 

>The Powell case in Oregon is largely over in-school recruiting; it's been dragging on for years. The recent ruling by the Oregon court of appeals sounds like the ACLU will win.

 

I'll bet you they won't win. Once it gets out of the kangaroo court to a justice who knows the law, the BSA will prevail. Do you think the ACLU should pay the attorney fees if the ACLU loses?

 

BSA SCHOOL RECRUITING CONSTITUTIONAL

 

>As discussed, Mt. Pleasant allowed Boy Scouts to distribute its flyers under the same terms and conditions *28 that applied equally to all other groups. There was nothing uniquely cooperative about **877 Boy Scouts' use of Mt. Pleasant's literature distribution system; Mt. Pleasant merely acquiesced in Boy Scouts' use of the neutral policy Mt. Pleasant implemented to balance free speech and free exercise rights. Acquiescence is not sufficient to establish state action. Blum, supra.

 

>Boy Scouts' school-hours visits resulted from Boy Scouts' impetus, as opposed to joint efforts between the group and Mt. Pleasant. Those visits showed no ostensible link to Boy Scouts' religious nature. Mt. Pleasant merely approved Boy Scouts' temporary nonreligious visit.

 

>Therefore, Boy Scouts' advertising and recruiting efforts did not make Mt. Pleasant a participant in Boy Scouts' exclusion of plaintiffs. Thus, because Mt. Pleasant was not jointly participating or sufficiently entwined with Boy Scouts, Boy Scouts was not a state actor.

 

So says a Michigan Court of Appeals in SCALISE v. BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA and Mt. Pleasant Public Schools (Jan. 20, 2005).

 

[smiles, points to the scoreboard and walks away](This message has been edited by tortdog)

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As I suspected, gay and atheist kids DON'T count in your world. Atheists don't "exclude themselves" from the BSA any more than Jews "excluded themselves" from Restricted clubs in the 1950s.

 

Or would you be OK with public schools running youth groups that kept Jews (and only Jews) out for being Jews? Think that would be legal, tortdog?

 

And if a religious organization like the BSA can recruit in public schools during school hours, you'll see churches getting in to recruit schoolkids to join their religion.

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Merlyn, here's where you don't get it. The BSA is not a religion. It only requires duty to God. It doesn't ask who your God is. It doesn't ask how you worship your God. It merely asks this question: Do you commit to do your duty to your God?

 

If the answer is yes, then you are in.

 

If the answer is no, then you are out.

 

It's really that simple. That's not discrimination based on religion (since you can be Jewish, Mormon, Catholic, Muslim, anything). It IS discrimination against only those who refuse to do their duty to God.

 

Regarding your fear of the BSA precedent allowing churches to proselyte on school grounds, that's unfounded. The court case I cited made clear that the BSA is not a religion and does not proselyte. Further, in the BSA literature it doesn't ask people who believe in God to come join. While that is a requirement, it is not the solicitation. A purely religious group such as the LDS Church would never meet that standard, and thus would be precluded from proselyting students on school property during school hours.

 

Your fears are unfounded.

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Hey tortdog, I was referring to the Powell case in OR, not the Scalise case in MI. In Powell, the BSA (used to) recruit during the class day, aided by the teachers. The Oregon court of appeals said the school can't do that.

 

Of course, in cases where the BSA distributes flyers along with all other groups equally (including other groups like churches, or groups that discriminate like the KKK), the BSA will get to do so. But no more recruiting in class for a discriminatory religious organization like the BSA.

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Tortdog, excluding people for not believing in at least one god IS "religious discrimination" under US law.

 

Specifically, it's discrimination based on creed - you a requiring that the person hold to a creed that god exists.

 

The EEOC seems to think atheists are covered by religious discrimination law: http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/threshold.html "Religious discrimination also includes discrimination against someone because s/he is an atheist."

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