WASHINGTON, D.C. -- One year ago this week, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) narrowly won an important battle in the U.S. Supreme Court. In its June 28, 2000, decision, the high court ruled 5-to-4 in BSA vs. Dale that, as a private organization, the Boy Scouts had a constitutionally protected right to "expressive association" and that the 91-year-old organization could not be forced to accept homosexuals as employees or leaders. Having won the battle, it's possible that the Scouts could lose the war.
Since that decision, homosexual "rights" activists have held the Boy Scouts under siege. They have formed a remarkably effective coalition that includes the Human Rights Campaign, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Discrimination (GLAAD), the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, the Lambda Legal Defense Fund, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and an organization calling itself "Scouting for All." These groups have a singular goal: forcing the 6-million member Boy Scouts of America to accept homosexuals in its ranks.
These homosexual activists are campaigning to cut off funding for the Boy Scouts and deny them places to meet, recruit, organize or camp. Integral to their effort is a relentless propaganda machine. Activists are targeting corporate donors, civic organizations, public facilities managers, charities, churches and schools that support the Boy Scouts or allow the scouts to use their property for BSA activities.
The Human Rights Campaign brags that defense contractor Textron and publishing giant Knight Ridder "have decided against continuing their contributions" to the Scouts and that Merrill Lynch "is likely to end its $150,000 annual contribution." Homosexual activists are also claiming victory in Portland, Ore., where energy giant Enron's local subsidiary felt the pressure and pulled the plug -- telling the local United Way not to use any of its $90,000 for the Scouts. Wells Fargo is following suit, they claim, telling the charity not to spend the bank's bucks on the boys unless it can show that none of their $400,000 in donations is used for programs "that discriminate against gays or other minority groups."
Homosexual activists have powerful allies in the effort to force the Boy Scouts to change. Both the National Education Association (NEA) and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) have urged that all public school buildings and grounds be "off limits" to "any organization that discriminates on the basis of sexual preference." According to U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., homosexual activists have "tracked a total of 359 school districts which have severed sponsorships with the Scouts since the Supreme Court ruling last June."
If that isn't enough to break the Scouts, America's doctors have another prescription: guilt. Last Tuesday in Chicago, after a remarkably brief debate, the American Medical Association (AMA) voted to "ask youth-oriented organizations to reconsider exclusionary policies that are based on sexual orientation." Though silent on the life-threatening aspect of homosexual activity, proponents of the AMA resolution did cite a study published this month in the American Journal of Public Health, that homosexual high-school students are "four times more likely to have attempted suicide as heterosexual students." America's physicians would have us believe the Boy Scouts are contributing to homosexual suicides by denying those who have chosen this lifestyle a chance to go camping.
The final component in this assault on the Boy Scouts is the insidious manipulation of public opinion. On the evening that the AMA passed its shameful pronouncement, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) aired a blatant propaganda piece that all but accused the leadership of the Boy Scouts of being homophobic. Dubbed "Scouts Honor," the one-hour "documentary" purported to show the struggle of a 71-year-old former Scout Leader and a young Eagle Scout in trying to convince the Boy Scout leadership that "gay is good."
PBS Vice President Tom Epstein was quoted saying that "'Scouts Honor' is not a political film." But the production's hype says otherwise. The film's credits include a "who's who" of radical homosexual and lesbian activists, and the promotional website for the taxpayer-subsidized indoctrination identified executive producer D. Stuart Harrison as a "major supporter of lesbian and gay film and video groups, and of organizations defending lesbian and gay youth."
The Scouts have won some victories, however. Efforts to kick the Boy Scouts out of U.S. parks have been rebuffed, a federal judge threw out an attempt to remove the Scouts from the Broward County, Fla., schools and Sen. Jesse Helms attached an amendment to the education bill that would deny federal funds to any school that bars the Boy Scouts.
Win some, lose some. These are really minor skirmishes in a much bigger contest. The well-funded radical homosexuals waging this campaign don't just want the Boy Scouts to allow them in, they want their lifestyle and its activities to be accepted in every part of our culture and society.
That means the Boy Scouts will not only have to let them in as Scouts and leaders; they will also have to eliminate the pledge I still remember in the Boy 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." You see, it's not really about money, meetings or members. It's about morals.