Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review August 31, 2000 / 30 Menachem-Av, 5760

Michael Kelly

Michael Kelly
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
MUGGER
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Debbie Schlussel
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports


Sins of the Scouts


http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- IF THERE IS one article of faith that stands above all others in the creed of the new American establishment, it is that of Tolerance.

It is the universal and paramount virtue, so embraced by the institutions of politics, the corporate world, the info-entertainment industry and the academy as to be unchallengeable. We are all tolerant now; IBM is tolerant; the Republican Party is tolerant. We are so tolerant that, increasingly, we cannot tolerate any views that challenge our tolerance.

In Tuesday's New York Times, there appeared a front-page story that was in part a report, in part a pronouncement from on high and in part a call to arms. The story, running under the headline "Scouts' Successful Ban on Gays Is Followed by Loss in Support," reports that "corporate and governmental support" for the Boy Scouts of America has "slipped markedly" since a June 28 Supreme Court ruling which affirmed, 5 to 4, that the organization has the constitutional right to exclude an avowed homosexual from the position of scout leader.

A brief history: In 1978, James Dale joined the Boy Scouts, a private association with a mission: "To instill values in young people." The values that the Scouts seek to instill are old ones, and old-fashioned ones. Among the promises each Scout swears to in his induction oath is to be "clean in word and deed," and "morally straight."

It is obviously arguable that there is no contradiction between being "clean in word and deed" and "morally straight" and being gay. But that is not how the Scouts see it. In 1978, the year Dale joined, the association held (as it still does) the position that avowed homosexuals may not be scout leaders, and thus charged with the moral instruction of scouts, because they were not, by example, expounding the values that the Scouts wished to impart.

Dale, who rose through the Scouts, is gay. He became a gay activist, the co-president of a gay and lesbian organization in college, and, in his words, one of the "leaders in their community . . . [who] are open and honest about their sexual orientation." He became, at least by example, the active proponent of values that were in direct opposition to those espoused by the Scouts.

So the Scouts denied Dale the privilege of serving as an assistant scoutmaster--an instructor of values in their association. Dale sued, and the case of Boy Scouts of America v. Dale eventually made its way to the Supreme Court.

There, Chief Justice William Rehnquist, writing for the scant majority, found that the Boy Scouts of America was a private "expressive association"; that one of the values it sought to express to young people was to "be clean in word and deed"; that it did not see homosexual conduct as compatible with that value; and that its right to express and protect this value was covered by the First Amendment, regardless of whether anyone else approved.

"It is not the role of the courts to reject a group's expressed values because they disagree with those values or find them internally inconsistent," wrote Rehnquist. And he also wrote: "Dale's presence in the Boy Scouts would . . . force the organization to send a message, both to the youth members and the world, that the Boy Scouts accepts homosexual conduct as a legitimate form of behavior." This, he said, would "surely interfere with the Boy Scouts' choice not to propound a point of view contrary to its beliefs." So that is the law: The Boy Scouts of America have a right not to be forced to support values with which they do not agree.

Law, shmaw. The establishment, the Times reports, will not tolerate the Boy Scouts' constitutionally protected expression of its values. Chicago, San Francisco and San Jose are refusing to allow Scout troops to use municipal sites for camping and rallies, and Connecticut has forbidden its employees to contribute to the Scouts through a charity drive administered by the state. Some United Way chapters are refusing to give contributions to local Scout councils unless they sign statements disavowing support for the national association's position. Not mentioned in the Times' story as evidence of "a loss in support" was an Aug. 17 poll by Princeton Survey Research Associates, which found 56 percent of registered voters agreed with the Supreme Court decision, as opposed to 36 percent in disagreement.

Citing no source, the Times noted, without a dissenting opinion, that "some companies and organizations say the Scouts' refusal to admit gays has come to seem almost un-American." Almost un-American. Well, we can't have that. It's a big country and G-d Bless the Framers, and all due respect to the Supreme Court. But one thing we just don't have room for are values and behavior that are "almost un-American."


Michael Kelly is the editor of National Journal. Send your comments to him by clicking here.

Up

08/24/00: AlGore's Flex-O-Joe
08/17/00: The Joyful Clinton Nation
08/09/00: A Calculated Risk
08/03/00: New Hope for Nice Guys
07/27/00: But What About Dad?
07/20/00: U.S. Handiwork In Sierra Leone
07/13/00: President With a Porpoise
07/06/00: The Importance of Being Earnest
06/29/00: A Press Obsession With the Death Penalty
06/21/00: Gore and the Goodies
06/15/00: Network Snooze
06/01/00: Sunshine on My Shoulders
05/24/00: Last Chance for a Hardened Prevaricator
05/17/00: Cuomo's Thought Police
05/10/00: Hammering DeLay
05/04/00: Some Closing Thoughts
04/28/00: Endangering Elian
04/19/00: Imitation Activism
04/12/00: Why they hate Bubba
04/05/00: Census and nonesense
03/29/00: The Stiffs and Their Statuettes
03/15/00: Anarchy in Kosovo
03/08/00: Reform joke
03/01/00:The Pinhead Factor
03/01/00: The Christian Right: Past Its Prime . . .
02/24/00: McCain's Majority
02/16/00: Sharpton's Supplicants
02/09/00: The GOP Pilgrims' Sad Tale
02/02/00: Fodder For the GOP
01/26/00: Million-Dollar Mediocrity
01/19/00: Campaign Reform: Let's Pretend
01/12/00: Never Again? Oh, Never Mind
01/05/00: Turn Off, Tune Out, Drop In
12/22/99: Gore's TV Gambit
12/15/99: Campaigns Do Clarify
12/08/99: Kosovo's Killers
12/01/99: Not Ready for Prime Time?
11/24/99: The Company He Keeps
11/17/99: Republican Illusion
11/10/99: The Know-Nothing Media
11/03/99: Necessary Partisanship
10/27/99: Buchanan's Gift to George W. Bush
10/21/99: Who are the real friends of the poor?
10/14/99: Gore's 'courage'!?
10/08/99: Republican Stunts
09/23/99: Buchanan's folly
09/16/99: Beatty and Buchanan: That's Entertainment!
09/09/99: Puerto Rico Surprise (Cont'd)
09/02/99: Puerto Rico Surprise
08/12/99:The Age of No Class
08/05/99: Assessing Welfare Reform
07/29/99: On the Wrong Side
07/21/99: Mass Sentimentality
07/15/99: Blame Hillary
07/08/99: Guide to the Arts: For Your Summer Reading . . .
06/30/99: A Perfectly Clintonian Doctrine
06/25/99:Smorgasbord by the Sea
06/16/99: A National Calamity
06/09/99: Stumbling Forward
06/02/99: Commencement '90s-Style
05/26/99: Will we ever learn? Clintochio is a lying ...
05/19/99: Comforting Milosevic
05/13/99: Short-Order Strategists
05/06/99: Four Revolting Spectacles

©1999, Washington Post Co.