Ken Blackwell

But the Philadelphia City Council has bought into a radical homosexual agenda lock, stock, and barrel. Not only does the Council provide full recognition of special homosexual rights, they also will obviously attack any organization that does not adopt its newfound agenda. The Council is utterly intolerant of any person or organization that does not embrace its new “tolerance,” and is seeking to drive the Scouts from the city.

One consequence of democracy is if elected leaders, in a city, state, or nation, choose to embody a radical agenda and attack traditional values, they can usually get away with it. There is nothing to stop government from enacting wrong policy.

But there is one problem with what the Philadelphia City Council is doing: it is not only wrong, it is illegal. In fact, it is unconstitutional. The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights constrains the actions of every city in America. And, targeting the Boy Scouts because of their religious expressions violates three of our country’s most sacred First Amendment guarantees.

First, this violates the Boy Scouts’ free speech. To discriminate against the Scouts because of what they say about homosexuality is called viewpoint discrimination, and the Supreme Court has held that viewpoint discrimination is always unconstitutional. Sometimes national security or other extremely important interests allow government to forbid speaking on certain topics. But if any given subject is permissible, then the government can never force those who take a certain side of the issue to be silenced.

Second, this violates the Establishment Clause. Government cannot target any person or group for punishment because of religious faith. The Scouts base their moral teaching on a traditional understanding of the Bible. To take action against them because of that faith goes to the core of what religious liberty is meant to forbid.

And third, it violates the Scouts’ fundamental right of association. The Supreme Court held just a few years ago that the Scouts have a right, as a private organization, to have its own standards for members and leaders based on their own values. Philadelphia is attacking the Scouts for exactly what the Supreme Court has ruled that the Scouts legally can do.

So the Boy Scouts’ rent in Philadelphia is about to skyrocket, seeking to drive them out. The Scouts must fight. They must now look to the federal courts to vindicate those rights, sending the message that liberal politicians who push a radical agenda will hit a brick wall when their actions violate the Supreme Law of the Land.


Ken Blackwell

Ken Blackwell, a contributing editor at Townhall.com, is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and the American Civil Rights Union and is on the board of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. He is the co-author of the bestseller The Blueprint: Obama’s Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency, on sale in bookstores everywhere..
 
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