How easy it seems these days to scoff at the Boy Scouts. Parading around in their khaki shirts and red and green caps, they have earned a reputation as society’s do-gooders, miniature George Washingtons who never tell lies, help old ladies cross the road and tie tons of knots. In the popular imagination, the boy scouts have traditionally stood as exemplars of probity, discipline, good manners and respect for authority.
No more. Over the past 30 years the public’s imagination has been steadily manipulated by liberal nostrums which decry the boys scouts’ resistance to accepting homosexuals within their ranks and the membership prerequisite of a belief in God.
The lethality of the assault on the Boy Scouts can barely be believed. Here are just a few examples:
A long running law suit launched by the ACLU against the Pentagon, claimed that the Pentagon’s open support for a national organization which has a belief in God as a pre- condition for membership was decided , by the Supreme Court, to be a violation of the division between Church and State. The result: The Pentagon was forced to issue warnings to U.S. military bases around the world to not directly sponsor Boy Scout troops.
In 2003, the Connecticut State Employees Campaign Committee expelled the Boy Scouts after the state’s human rights commission ruled inclusion of the organization would violate a Connecticut law protecting homosexual rights.
State and local governments increasingly have ruled against the Boy Scouts in recent years because of the organization’s policy on homosexuality — despite a Supreme Court ruling in 2000 upholding the scouts’ right to bar homosexuals.
At the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles in 2000, delegates booed a group of young Scouts as they led the Pledge of Allegiance. And in 2001, a group of Democrats in Congress led a failed effort to repeal the Boy Scouts’ federal charter.
My own son’s Pack charter – at an orthodox synagogue no less, was not renewed after the gay contretemps erupted, the rabbi apparently feeling that he would not countenance discrimination against homosexuals.
Yet we should not pretend that the left’s animus is driven simply by equal opportunity grievances. The burning rage that the left feels towards the Boy Scouts is a product of its rejection of the organization’s entire raison d’etre. Just take a look at the Boy Scout Oath:
“On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.”
Doesn’t appear to be too much wrong with that – unless, of course, you are an aetheist who despises any mention of God in the public arena; or you are someone who believes that self-gratification is man’s highest and noblest goal; or if you believe that the word ‘moral’ in itself is a relativistic term that has no objective meaning.
But more than this, the left detests for the Boy Scouts for its patriotism, its sense of honor, its pre-military structure and its certainty about right and wrong. In a society where individuals make up their own mind about such things, the idea of a collective agreement on these matters is anathema.
So it shouldn’t be surprising if the left looks upon the Boy Scout movement as a hot furnace spewing out young conservatives to wreak havoc on society. And nothing could be more repugnant than that.
But the furnace has traditionally not always produced miniature conservatives. Not by a long shot. Some of our most famous liberal leaders, including scientists, movie makers and politicians were once Boy Scouts. The long list includes John F. Kennedy, Steven Spielberg, Vaclav Havel, Lloyd Bentsen, Bill Bradley, Michael Moore, Wallace Stegner and Edmud O. Wilson.
How many of them now regret their boyhood experiences because gays were not permitted to join their ranks or that God was revered just a little too openly?
It is a sad commentary on our age when an organization that is so fundamentally supportive of American values and ideals is forced to stand in Court and defend its very existence.
I am proud to have been a Boy Scout leader for nine years and determined to help this treasured institution, which has been a driving force in the maintenance of American exceptionalism, survive.
I am then all for Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, when he states:
” Scouting is a rare institution in today’s society because it teaches young men that there are causes greater than self, that there is value in hard work and sacrifice, that it is more important to do what is right instead of what is easy, and that there are obligations and responsibilities we share in a free society, such as being good stewards of the outdoors and earning another’s trust. …”
Would that more of our political leaders have the courage to express that same level of support.