Guns, Politics, and Freedom
September 13, 2000

When you find something wholesome…

…kill it

F. Paul Valone

 

The following ran in The Charlotte Observer on or about September 13, 2000.

 

Imagine a dozen children busily building bird houses, learning wood-working skills and proudly giving Mom the fruits of their labors.  So went my seven-year-old’s Cub Scout den meeting last weekend.  As scouts, my kids race Pinewood Derby cars, learn the Scout Oath, and—in a country punctuated by juvenile homicide—develop the character to become citizens and leaders.

 

Now imagine gay rights groups like the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the Lambda Legal Defense Fund doing their best to kill scouting.  Why?  Because the Boy Scouts of America rejects their agenda.

 

In 1998, the New Jersey Supreme Court pronounced scouting (which is privately chartered) a “public accommodation,” forcing them to accept openly gay scout master James Dale.  In June, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the ruling, saying the Boy Scouts is indeed a private organization free to exclude gay scout leaders under its First Amendment right to expressive association.

 

Bear in mind the Boy Scouts doesn’t bash gays.  Says the organization, “BSA respects the rights of people and groups who hold values that differ from those encompassed in the Scout Oath and Law, and…makes no effort to deny the rights of those whose views differ...”  Nor does it actively expose homosexual scouts or leaders. 

 

The BSA’s sole “crime” is defending its right to select, as role models, scoutmasters who uphold its ideals.

 

So has the Supreme Court decision stemmed the attacks?  Not by a long shot.  Arrayed against scouting are leftist groups ranging from Lambda and GLAAD to the ACLU and a charming little non-profit called “Scouting for All” (perusing the latter’s web site eventually led me to a link entitled “hot chat”).

 

In a now-familiar pattern of Death by Litigation, the ACLU is suing to stop scouts from using San Diego’s Balboa Park.  Similar suits are forming elsewhere.

 

In Congress, Democratic sponsors introduced H.R. 4892 to repeal BSA’s federal charter, granted in 1916.  Fortunately, the bill was defeated on September 13.

 

Connecticut prohibited state employees from donating to the Boy Scouts through its state-run charitable campaign.  Chicago, San Francisco and San Jose banned scout troops from using public facilities.  Many United Way chapters have complied with demands to deny the BSA its lifeblood of charitable fund raising.

 

Meanwhile, corporations like Levi Strauss, Wells Fargo, and Textron have withdrawn financial support.  In San Jose, publisher Knight Ridder decided to ask the local chapter of the United Way to direct donations elsewhere…until the chapter rendered the point moot by dropping the BSA entirely.

 

But the political climate isn’t quite ripe for beheading  boy scouts.  After reviewing their policies, both The Charlotte Observer (owned by Knight Ridder) and First Union are continuing support.  With an election pending, Republican outcries prevented Mssrs. Clinton and Gore from barring BSA use of federal land for its National Jamboree.

 

But in a climate where delegates to the Democratic National Convention feel free to boo an Eagle Scout color guard, rest assured Madam la Guillotine lurks close behind.

 

Ignoring for a moment the wisdom of sending children camping with adults of opposite sexual orientation (by analogy, contemplate sending your teenage Girl Scout camping with a young stud scout leader), the real question is: Who are gay activists really punishing?

 

Not the BSA, I assure you.  The ones suffering are kids unaware of political correctness; kids without a dog in the fight; kids to whom scouting offers skills, character and a chance for success.

 

Gay rights groups are punishing those Eagle Scouts who, proud of their accomplishments, were booed at the Democratic Convention.

 

“That’s terrible,” you say?  Then rise from your armchair and do something.  First, tell the United Way to lean on local chapters that have dropped scouting.  Second, contact the companies listed below and tell them you don’t patronize corporations punishing children in the name of political correctness.  Third, make a contribution to the Boy Scouts of America (www.bsascouting.com).  And finally, sign the petition at www.SaveOurScouts.com.

 

The measure of Lambda, GLAAD et al. is their willingness to take a beneficial program like scouting and further their agenda by killing it.  Will you let them?

 

Organizations and companies to contact:

 

United Way of America, 701 N. Fairfax St., Alexandria, VA  22314, (703) 836-7100,  www.unitedway.org/. 

 

Levi Strauss & Co., 1155 Battery Street, San Francisco, CA 94111, (800) USA-LEVI, Fax: (415) 501-7112, www.levistrauss.com/index_sitemap.html (click on “Feedback”).

 

Textron, Inc., 40 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903-2596, (401) 421-2800, Fax: 401-457-3598, www.textron.com, Susan Tardanico, Director,  Corporate Communications.

 

Wells Fargo, www.wellsfargo.com/