Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Merit Badge of Tolerance...


The Constitution of The United States - Amendment 1:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

In Portland,the Boy Scouts have been targeted for termination. Due to legal threats from the ACLU on behalf of the parents of athiest and homosexual students, the Portland School Board plans to ban all activities involving The Boy Scouts of America from its property and jurisdiction. For an organization that thrives by nature of its affiliation with school-age children, marginalization to the private realm assures their deterioration to insignificance in this community. The Boy Scouts will join a growing list of ideas, groups, and institutions deemed 'unnacceptable' among the annointed enlightened bureaucratic aristocracy of public education, and thereby subject to expulsion.

AP reports:

Under pressure from gay and atheist parents, Portland school officials are considering a policy that would ban the Boy Scouts of America from recruiting students during school hours.

Under the proposal, non-school groups would be allowed to send literature home with children, but the flier or pamphlet would need to be accompanied with a disclaimer, warning parents that the groups' values may be offensive.

"From time to time, you may receive materials from a group that holds values that may offend some of our families," the draft disclaimer says.

At a public hearing Wednesday, gay and atheist parents called the policy a step in the right direction but said that it falls short of protecting their children from discrimination.

Discrimination... notable use of that word, is it not? Among it, tolerance, diversity, open-mindedness have become the catch phrases of a generation... that has obviously forgotten (or maybe has never known) what they mean. Today the very people who petition the loudest for thoughtful consideration are quickest to deny it to others. Denial becomes venom if others follow a traditional avenue of value-based judgments in their lives. The Boy Scouts happen to be the latest target du jour of Portland's brand of 'progressive tolerance'.

Attacks on the BSA are hardly new. For years, the ACLU and certain
predictable communities have been hacking away at the group's resources (by litigation), their reputation (by inference) , their participation (by legal exclusion), and ultimately their patronage (by marginalization). The group is fighting a near hopeless battle now for survival in an era where its principals, albeit noble, are of as much value as the fundamentals of liberty that have been perverted to redefine the nature of virtue in America.

Hans Zeiger at WorldNetDaily notes that Portland Schools are relenting after spending the last seven years defending inclusion. After judgments in similar cases and bowing to increased pressure,
The Portland School Board in Oregon has announced a proposed policy that discriminates against the Boy Scouts by banning the character development organization from recruiting students in Portland schools. The proposed policy would prohibit non-profit organizations like the Scouts, Little League, and the local parks and recreation department from distributing literature or recruiting during school hours. It is the latest blow against the embattled Boy Scouts.

But, one must ask if the change in policy is as much a surrender of principle as it is a relenting to a dominant progressive sensibility (a shift of consensual opinion) in a city with a giant bare 'holiday' tree standing amidst a sterilized season of meaningless celebration, where the fear of an angel, a star, or an unwanted infant might cause a collective conniption fit from the worshippers of secular ignorance. The desire to reject meaning (and consequence) has become fanatic among the worshippers of progressive sensibility. Clearly there is an ongoing effort by the 'progressive' Left to expunge any and all sources of judgment from their midst. The BSA is an American Institution that promotes goodness through moral principle. Note that there is no challenge of the organization regarding its actions or its mission. It is being attacked singularly on the basis of its values and their basis.

Let's look at what is the The Boy Scouts of America. By its own definition:

The Boy Scouts of America is the nation's foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training.

In the future Scouting will continue to offer young people responsible fun and adventure; instill in young people lifetime values and develop in them ethical character as expressed in the Scout Oath and Law; train young people in citizenship, service, and leadership; serve America's communities and families with its quality, values-based program.

Scout Oath
On my honor I will do my bestTo do my duty to God and my countryand to obey the Scout Law;To help other people at all times;To keep myself physically strong,mentally awake, and morally straight.
Scout Law
A Scout is: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, Reverent

Of all those things, the inclusion of one word - establishing the basis of their moral principle -is the cause for profound offense as noted by the AP report:

The Boy Scout oath requires members to "affirm a duty to God" and calls for scouts to keep themselves "morally straight" -- values which gay parents and atheists say are inherently discriminatory.

Boy Scout officials said that all children and parents are welcome to participate in their organization, so long as they do not advertise or proclaim their sexual orientation or differing religious views.

If the so-called 'Separation of Church and State' is the proclaimed concern of some parents in their ongoing crusade to exorcise all facets of judeo-christian philosophy from the civic realm, then it is important to reflect on the meaning and purpose of the Establishment Clause instituted by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The website, Exploring Constitutional Conflicts has a good analysis of the issue :

At an absolute minimum, the Establishment Clause was intended to prohibit the federal government from declaring and financially supporting a national religion, such as existed in many other countries at the time of the nation's founding. It is far less clear whether the Establishment Clause was also intended to prevent the federal government from supporting Christianity in general. Proponents of a narrow interpretation of the clause point out that the same First Congress that proposed the Bill of Rights also opened its legislative day with prayer and voted to apportion federal dollars to establish Christian missions in the Indian lands. On the other hand, persons seeing a far broader meaning in the clause point to writings by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison suggesting the need to establish "a wall of separation" between church and state.
The question of religion itself was outlined by Judge Adams of the Third Circuit. He applied these three criteria before answering the question in the affirmative:

1. A religion deals with issues of ultimate concern; with what makes life worth living; with basic attitudes toward fundamental problems of human existence.

2. A religion presents a comprehensive set of ideas--usually as "truth," not just theory.

3. A religion generally has surface signs (such as clergy, observed holidays, and ritual) that can be analogized to well-recognized religions

The Establishment Clause is understood to prevent Civic institutions from being controlled by aspects of faith as embraced by the Church or any other conceptual establishment. It likewise protects private groups and individuals from being compelled by the force of government to adopt a specfic set of beliefs. Religion being a comprehensive set of ideas concerned with fundamental issues of human existence, one might argue that the BSA is actually the subject of discrimination. The BSA is being unfairly targeted for its beliefs and denied fair consideration with regard to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution at the hands of a religion of fanatic humanists embracing secular pragmatism using the power of the Judiciary to manifest its will.

Do these self-annointed 'progressives' really fear discrimination from groups like the BSA? Or are they so baracaded by their own philosophic contradictions that any manifestation of values threatens to render the horrible conviction of judgment on their existence? Prejudice being an irrational hatred of that which is feared, then clearly the subject of prejudice (hatred and intolerance) is the BSA, while objects of intolerance are those groups who would have them aborted from their realm of perception. This begs additional inquiry: Do those organizations that fear and hate the BSA, really have a problem with the value-based organization? Or is it the fear and hatred of actual values that makes them simply despise the reality of the BSA's existence? Do they in fact fear reality?

A world of co-existing contradictions is a delusion. But, remove the acknowledgment of an unwanted contradiction, and existence can be maintain. The delusion, however still exists... as does the status of the deluded. A tree that falls in the forest does so whether or not anyone is around to acknowledge it. And the ideas embraced by the BSA will likewise remain regardless of their presence among the students in Portland public schools even as the Boy Scouts - with Christmas, the Commandments, and the Salvation Army - are burned like books on a proverbial pyre fueled by the victims of liberal tolerance.

Exploring Constitutional Conflicts
Establishment Clause
Boy Scouts in danger in Portland!
School officials consider ban on Boy Scout recruiting
5. Free Republic: Here, Here

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