July 6, 2000: Principles Reign Supreme

The Supreme Court of the United States just concluded its most recent term with a number of landmark decisions.  Among the more noteworthy actions, the justices reaffirmed the so-called Miranda Law that requires criminal suspects be made aware of their rights before being questioned.  Partial abortion bans were struck down, as were group prayers at high school football games.  No doubt, special interest groups were gleefully high-fiving each other over the rulings in the high court.

But the cheering stopped when the Court said that the Boy Scouts of America have the right to set their own standards for who can be a troop leader and who can’t.  This was a major setback for gay rights advocates who have been lobbying for years to force the Boy Scouts to accept them as scout leaders.  The Supreme Court by a regrettably small margin said “no” and in the process probably ruined a lot of bridespersons showers in Vermont, home of the same-sex marriage mill.

According to the Associated Press, critics predict the tent is going to fall in on the Boy Scouts because the organization has “squandered a reputation for tolerance” and will “face an erosion of public support.”  Those wonderfully unbiased folks at the American Civil Liberties Union opined that “People are going to turn to their local governments and say ‘This is a pack of bigots.  Don’t give them special treatment.’”   And the ACLU isn’t bigoted?  I can’t think of a group on earth that is in less touch with the community – and with reality — than the ACLU.

They are right about one thing, however.   There is going to be a concerted effort to smear this outstanding organization and it has already started. According to the same AP story, Levi Strauss & Company has dropped their support of the Boy Scouts of America.  (Remember that fact when it is time to go back-to-school shopping, Mom and Dad.)  Several United Way agencies have halted contributions to the organization (Remember that fact when the United Way solicitation campaign begins, officer worker) and the state of Connecticut has removed the Boy Scouts from a list of state approved agencies that employees can support through payroll deductions.

An Atlanta newspaper columnist compared the Supreme Court decision to the Dred Scott decision of 1857, which affirmed the right of slavery.  That is patently absurd.  There is no comparison between the two decisions.  One says a citizen has no right of choice.  The other is all about choice.  It is a fact so simple that it is baffling that others refuse to accept it.  It is called free association.  The fact that the organization doesn’t want homosexuals as troop leaders is their right.  This isn’t new stuff, folks.  This idea has been around a long time.  I belonged to a fraternity in college.  They chose me by the criteria they had established for membership.  They certainly didn’t ask me to approve the rules on whether I could belong or not.  The same with a private club in Atlanta that accepted me as a member.   They told me what the rules were.  If I didn’t agree, I didn’t have to join.

What makes the Boy Scouts any different?  They have a right to set their standards.    If they choose only left-handed people for scout leaders, more power to them.  If you don’t like their criteria, that is fine, too.  Don’t participate.  It is a free country.

Rather than accept that fact, the special interests – and much of the media – want to insult the good name of the Boy Scouts of America even though the Supreme Court says they are within their legal rights to include or exclude whoever they choose.   The smear campaign will fail.  We are the “local community” that the ACLU so smugly predicts is going to walk away from the Boy Scouts.  We won’t turn our backs on them.  The scouts have done too much good for too long and they continually turn out outstanding young men.  I am proud to say that two of my grandsons are Boy Scouts and they will be better for having been a part of scouting.

I applaud the organization for never wavering from their position. I think that is what sticks in the craw of the ACLU and gay rights groups.  The Boy Scouts didn’t blink on a matter of principle that was important to them.  As a result, that principle is now the Law of the Land.

For once, the good guys won.