Now you see why I find this so fascinating? It's clear that the Constitution forbids our government from supporting organizations that mandate religious faith (like the Boy Scouts), and it's also pretty clear that there's no way the Senate would get the country to amend that ban out of the Constitution. So in order to get around it, the Senate is trying to pass laws that aim to prevent ordinary taxpayers from having sufficient standing to bring suit -- "what we do might be unconstitutional, but you don't have the right to file a court case to demonstrate that, so we can do it anyway." And as the final straw, they did all of it by declaring that the Boy Scout Jamboree is vital for national security.
David Montroni, an elementary school principal from New Jersey and another scuba diving instructor, said supporting the use of Fort A.P. Hill for the jamboree was also to the country’s benefit.
Montroni said exposing scouts to military life was a valuable recruiting tool.
“All of these boys are a captive audience,” he said. “You’ve got 40,000 boys who are enamored of the soldiers and equipment and all that paraphernalia … It puts a glimmer in their eyes.”
“They’re chomping at the bit to see and learn and be all they can be.”
That was certainly true of 13-year-old Zach Rockwell, of St. Louis, who talked enthusiastically about the Adventure Camp being put on by the Army.
Zach said he was set on a military career, although, “it’s still a battle for me between Air Force, Army and Navy.”
Boy Scouts of America believes that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God. Accordingly, adult volunteer leaders of Boy Scouts of America obligate themselves to do their duty to God and be reverent as embodied in the Scout Oath, the Scout Law, and the Declaration of Religious Principle. Because of its views concerning the duty to God, Boy Scouts of America believes that an atheist or agnostic is not an appropriate role model of the Scout Oath and Law for adolescent boys. Because of Scoutings methods and beliefs, Scouting does not accept atheists and agnostics as adult volunteer leaders.
"In fact, at first the BSA's efforts to transcend religious and ethnic particularism scared off some conservative denominations, such as Lutherans, Catholics, and Mormons, according David Macleod's Building Character in the American Boy: The Boys Scouts, YMCA, and Their Forerunners. But assimilationist pressures soon won these groups over, and by 1921 Catholics boasted the third-most troops of any denomination. For the Mormons, participation in the Boy Scouts became a way to convince suspicious mainline denominations of their Americanism. (By 1913 Scouting had become the official youth program of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.)
....During the group's membership skid in the '70s – which was most pronounced in the Northeast – enrollment remained steady only in the Rocky Mountain region, where numbers were buoyed by the steady participation of 250,000 Mormons, whose percentage in the organization quadrupled from 1920 to 1980, to nearly 20 percent."
....By 1991 the BSA had retreated so far from its big-tent roots that, when a California appellate court struck down the complaint of a gay Berkeley Eagle Scout who was rejected as a scoutmaster, Scouting officials could explain, 'We are a private organization aimed at traditional families.'
....These explicit policies have made the Boy Scouts a safe haven for the conservative, centralized denominations that were once wary of it. The Church of Latter-day Saints now sponsors more troops than any other single institution. In fact, religious bodies now sponsor 65 percent of all troops, compared with just over 40 percent 15 years ago. And, according to some observers of the BSA's bureaucracy, the real clout within the organization now lies not with the national executive board, made up mostly of corporate executives, but with the relationships committee, which comprises representatives from all the major sponsoring institutions and which is dominated by religious groups. As Chuck Wolfe, a former member of the national executive board, told The Advocate magazine last year, 'The real driving force is the relationships committee.... That's where the money comes from.'
And, indeed, a significant part of that money comes from the Mormons. This grants the Church of Latter-day Saints substantial leverage with the national leadership. As one scout leader told Newsweek this year, "There is an unadulterated fear that [the Mormons are] going to bail out, that they're going to start their own program." The Mormons have invoked their power in the current controversy, threatening to withdraw their 412,000 boys if gay scout leaders are allowed to participate. [The New Republic | September 17, 2001]
As to the second Lemon factor, the Act does not have the primary effect of advancing religion. It authorizes grants to institutions that are capable of providing certain services to adolescents, and requires that potential grantees describe how they will involve other organizations, including religious organizations, in the funded programs. However, there is no requirement that grantees be affiliated with any religious denomination, and the services to be provided under the Act are not religious in character. The Act's approach toward dealing with adolescent sexuality and pregnancy is not inherently religious, although it may coincide with the approach taken by certain religions. The provisions expressly mentioning the role of religious organizations reflect at most Congress' considered judgment that religious organizations can help solve the problems to which the Act is addressed.
The Jamboree status is neither neutral nor is the aid it provides the result of the "genuinely independent and private choices of individuals." First, it is not offered to a broad range of groups; rather it is specifically targeted toward the Boy Scouts, which, as this court has already concluded, is a religious organization from which agnostics and atheists are excluded. Second, the aid is not based on the "independent and private choices of individuals." Rather, the aid is provided directory to the Boy Scouts pursuant to the singular choice of Congress to provide a significant amount of aid (almost $8 million in 2005) to the BSA Jamboree to the exclusion of other possible recipients. Given the Supreme Court's focus on the neutrality in approving government aid to religious organizations and the Jamboree statute's complete lack of neutrality in allocating aid, the court find that a reasonable observer would conclude that the Jamboree statute conveys a message of endorsement of religion. As such, the court finds that the aid provided by the Jamboree violates the Establishment Clause.
The BSA reaffirmed its view that an avowed homosexual cannot serve as a role model for the traditional moral values espoused in the Scout Oath and Law and that these values cannot be subject to local option choices.
In affirming its existing standards of leadership, the board also agreed that duty to God is not a mere ideal for those choosing to associate with the Boy Scouts of America; it is an obligation, which has defined good character throughout the BSA's 92-year history.
"[Baden-Powell] was obsessed with boys and 'boyology.' The index of Tim Jeal's excellent biography 'Baden-Powell' speaks of his 'aesthetic and sexual interest in men,' 'pre-marital celibacy,' 'dreams of young men,' and 'anxieties over sexuality.'
....'B-P,' as he was known throughout the Scout movement, studiously recorded his dreams, which were often about young men." [Slate | August 27, 1999]
"We've asked him to search his heart, to confer with family members, to give this great thought," Brad Farmer, the Scout executive of the Chief Seattle Council of the Boy Scouts, told The Sun of Bremerton.
"If he says he's an avowed atheist, he does not meet the standards of membership."
On membership applications, Boy Scouts and adult leaders must say they recognize some higher power, not necessarily religious. "Mother Nature would be acceptable," Farmer said.
As a private organization, the Boy Scouts are permitted to exclude certain people from membership. The organization bans gays and atheists.
Lambert, who has been a Scout since he was 9, said he won't profess a belief he doesn't feel, saying it amounts to a lie. "I wouldn't be a good Scout then, would I?"
Declaration of Religious Principle, Bylaws of Boy Scouts of America, art. IX, 1, cl. 1:
The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God. In the first part of the Scout Oath or Promise the member declares, On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law. The recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe and the grateful acknowledgment of His favors and blessings are necessary to the best type of citizenship and are wholesome precepts in the education of the growing members. No matter what the religious faith of the members may be, this fundamental need of the members should be kept before them. The Boy Scouts of America, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. Its policy is that the home and the organization with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life."
"Frustrated by an unsuccessful campaign to achieve religious recognition from the Boy Scouts of America, a Seattle-based Wicca church has launched its own youth program, which is based on tolerance for different beliefs, including differences in sexual orientation."
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