The two monster hurricanes smacking our shores recently should reminds us that, sooner or later, conflicts or disasters make survival too much the issue for certain pointy-headed philosophical debates to matter, and we simply need disciplined leaders of grace and grit.
So we’d best be preserving the Boy Scouts. Why trouble ourselves about the Scouts now, you ask? Because discipline, grace, grit, skills and morality are the special stuff of the training ground that is Scouting. And this hallowed institution is currently suffering ungodly persecution from an organization that professes to “protect civil liberties.”
I was a Boy Scout. Even before that, growing up in Nashville, I was a Cub Scout. So was my brother Nick. Mama was a den mother, and my two sisters were Brownie scouts. Daddy participated when and how he could, helping us kids earn our merit badges and always being at every event to cheer us on and let us know he was proud of us.
Can I describe what the Scouting experience meant in the shaping of my whole life and personality, my sense of duty, priority and self-esteem? Those few fleeting years emerge in the panorama of my memories as among the most precious and valuable of all. I truly believe I would be a lesser man today if the institution of Scouting had not been in my boyhood.
Remember 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.
That’s it. Simple, huh? A pretty good credo for a young person, wouldn’t you say? If a young boy or girl, at a very impressionable time in life, is motivated to try to live up to and employ these guidelines, the result should be a clean-living, courteous, responsible adult. What every community and every parent hopes for. Right?
Not according to the ACLU legalists (known increasingly as “The Devil’s Advocates”) who have carried on a relentless campaign to reshape, and to impose their idea of political correctness upon, the private, venerable Boy Scouts of America. They want to force the BSA to welcome professing homosexuals and even to recruit gay Scout leaders. They’d also like to erase the mention of “duty to God,” since not every boy necessarily believes in God, and a few have even been taught not to.
By the way, among the vast array of notables who have benefited from their old-fashioned Scout experiences and publicly attested to it, you can count Steven Spielberg, Bill Gates and Sam Walton; add in Hank Aaron, Bruce Jenner, Nolan Ryan and astronaut Sally Ride. And then ask yourself … any of the ACLU’s darlings in there anywhere? Why, do you suppose?
In the parlance of warfare, the ACLU is waging more than just a battle; it is waging a campaign. Since 1981, it has participated in at least 14 cases against the Boy Scouts, amounting to 89 years’ worth of court proceedings so far. Tactically brilliant at it by now, the ACLU has argued here that the Scouts are a religious organization and there that the Boy Scouts believe too little to qualify for First Amendment religious protection from governmental intrusion. It has learned that merely threatening to sue an institution or an arm of government does often work to “blackmail” officials into complying with its demands.
We have to worry that judges in court deliberations seem more and more to weigh what they were taught about the Constitution back in school against the pressure to dazzle their legal brethren and the “progressive” media. Some black-robed figures have handed down jarring decisions forcing upon society the discovery of new human rights and the redefinition of marriage – all according not to precedent, logic or text, but simply to personally felt idealism.
So, what to do? Put up some useless fight, flailing away at the “progressive” trends and entrenched powers? Or cave in and cool off, surrender to the apparent inevitable, and go with the flow? Many Americans are alarmed at all this, I among them. And we’re determined that the Scouts, a private organization after all, be left alone to continue their great, vital work.
If we fail? For your consideration, I offer a Scout Oath politically corrected for the ACLU’s America:
On my individual concept of honor, I will make a reasonable effort
To do my duty to vague ideals, possibly including, but never commingling, church and state
And to observe the Scout Law when I agree with it;
To help other people against American small-mindedness at all times;
To keep myself physically hot to both sexes, politically correct and morally malleable.
With this new Scout Oath, the ACLU’s self-appointed defenders of our liberties could at last move on to more tempting targets. Their prolonged legal warfare on the Boy Scouts will finally have ended, because the Scouts will have ceased to be a target representing any sort of old-time religious or patriotic values. In the meantime, there is still nothing the ACLU will target more strenuously than these values, wherever they’re exhibited – always in the name of “protecting civil liberties.”
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