Pentagon’s Boy Scout Outrage

November 16, 2004

According to the Chicago Sun-Times:

The U.S. Department of Defense has agreed to stop sponsoring the Boy Scouts, according to a legal agreement announced Monday.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois sued the Pentagon and other government agencies in 1999, saying their funding of the Boy Scouts was unconstitutional because the organization excluded people who did not swear an oath to God.

I hate to sound like a shrieking feminist at a pro-choice convention, but I am truly outraged by this.

The story continues:

It is critical that the Pentagon send this very clear signal to its units across the globe to insure that government officials are not engaged in religious discrimination in their official capacity,” said Charles Peters, a lawyer with the firm Schiff Hardin, who assisted the ACLU of Illinois.

Let me get this straight. The Pentagon cannot sponsor the Boy Scouts because the Boy Scouts wants to be entitled to enforce their own membership rules, including a requirement that members swear an oath to God? So now the Pentagon is going along with punishing an organization that seeks to instill morals in young men — many of whom could be future soldiers — by requiring a professed allegiance to the Author of morals?

Under the First Amendment, which the ACLU purports to endorse, we all enjoy the freedom of association and religious freedom. The Boy Scouts are permitted by the U.S. Supreme Court to exclude homosexuals as Scoutmasters, and they ought to be able to exclude those unwilling to profess a belief in God. Those who are excluded can join other organizations. But the forces of political correctness want to hit them where it hurts — in their pocketbook — for not complying with the dictates of the secular gods.

This is the type of warped thinking that is leading the secular Left and the Democratic Party off the electoral plank. The message is that the Boy Scouts are a bad organization that ought not be supported because they believe in God and insist their members do. Note that the Boy Scouts are not a government organization. And the ACLU’s complaint against the Pentagon for endorsing the Scouts is not on Establishment Clause grounds. That is to say, it’s not about the so-called separation of church and state — in this case, the use of government funds to support a religion. At least, according to the article, that’s not what the ACLU’s objection is about. It’s about the Pentagon supporting an organization that engages in religious discrimination.

This has nothing to do with religious discrimination. This a private organization enforcing its own membership rules. To deny them this right, is to deny them the right to be who they are: a God-fearing organization. They are not engaging in unlawful discrimination and the Pentagon, by supporting them, is not abetting unlawful discrimination. It’s just further hostility toward God in the public square by the secular Left. And it’s an outrageous assault on the freedom of association and religious liberties of the Scouts themselves. Shame on the Pentagon for yielding to this pressure instead of fighting it out to the end.