Stop the separation of Scouts and school!
Posted: March 12, 2005
1:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2005 WorldNetDaily.com
by Hans Zeiger
Georgia Power CEO Michael Garrett, a former Boy Scout, spoke at a
luncheon honoring Scouting supporters in the Augusta Towers Hotel
last week. He noted that 60,000 Georgian students - four in 10 - who
enter the ninth grade never graduate. By contrast, "95 percent
of Scouts finish school. The things you are doing are important to
But an emergency is in the offing. Under threat by the American Civil
Liberties Union, the Boy Scouts of America is formulating plans to
remove thousands of chartered troops from sponsorship by our nation's
public schools. </news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=43258> The important
partnership that has existed for 95 years between the Boy Scouts and
public schools apparently is being severed - by the Scouts themselves.
It would be detrimental to America's communities. In a time when strength
and honor are most needed, the Boy Scouts run the risk of appearing
According to a recent BSA annual report, public schools are the third-largest
type of group that sponsors Boy Scout, Cub Scout and Tiger Cub troops,
numbering over 10,000 units of nearly 363,000 Boy Scouts. Though public
school relationships with the Boy Scouts have been harmed by political
correctness in recent years, especially in major cities, most local
school districts have cherished the contributions that the Scouts
make to their communities.
But last month, the ACLU - which has spent the past two decades at
war on the Boy Scouts because they exclude homosexuals and atheists
from membership and leadership and celebrate God, country and character
- sent a letter to the Boy Scouts national headquarters threatening
lawsuits against public schools that sponsor Scout troops. According
to the ACLU, for a school to sponsor a Scout unit is a direct violation
of the First Amendment separation of church and state.
And the Boy Scouts are yielding. The ACLU is just too big and nasty
and vile, and the Boy Scouts don't have the time, money, public relations
infrastructure or strategic ambition to fight its lawsuits.
"We obviously don't want that [expensive lawsuits against schools]
to happen," national Boy Scouts spokesman Gregg Shields told
the Baptist Press. "Instead, the Boy Scouts have tried to protect
the resources of our education partners by moving our charter from
public schools to other community-based organizations such as parent-teacher
organizations or Salvation Army units or nearby religious organizations."
By withdrawing from public school charters, Boy Scout troops will
not be protecting the resources of their education partners - far
from it. Rather, the Boy Scouts will concede the validity of the ACLU's
claims. Of course, the ACLU is wrong. Of course, there is no truth
in their argument that the Scouts' presence in the public schools
is a violation of our nation's Constitution. Not only does a school-chartered
Scout troop fall well within the Constitution, it helps to preserve
For the Constitution rests on self-government. If ever a statement
of self-government was written, it is the 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." It is
the duty of the public schools to teach, to encourage and to frame
its academic mission around that understanding of self-government.
In a day when public schools have fallen far short of their moral,
spiritual and intellectual responsibilities, sponsorship of a Boy
Scout troop is one critical, remaining link to self-government. As
Paul W. Terry of the University of Alabama wrote in the School Review
70 years ago, "Being concerned with boys of school age and principally
with out-of-school hours, and being devoted to objectives which are
wholly educational and strikingly similar to those of the school but
pursuing these with activities which differ in many respects from
those of the school, the Boy Scout organization is now generally recognized
by school men as a highly desirable if not an indispensable supplement
to the training afforded boys in the schools." The same holds
true, if not truer, today.
Of course, the ACLU is not concerned with truth. But Americans who
care about the future of Scouting, of self-government and of constitutional
government, must be concerned. We must take a stand for the Boy Scout
Oath and Law before they are destroyed by the ACLU.
This newest challenge to the Scout Oath and Law is one of the harshest
the Scouts have come against. And the Boy Scouts of America should
hear from supporters around the country - with dollars and with feedback.
First, the Scouts need money for their legal defense efforts and other
programs < http://www.give2bsa.org/>.
Second, the national Scouts need to know that it would be a crime
against honor to give in to the ACLU - contact your local counsel
through the Scouts' legal-issues website < http://www.bsalegal.org/>.
Some 363,000 Boy Scouts would be affected if the BSA withdrew from
public school charters.
This must be our clear and unabashed message to the ACLU: On my honor,
get off my honor.