You have to give the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) credit. When it comes to being anti-God, anti-morality, and just plain anti-America -- no group leads the pack like the ACLU. Or put another way, nobody is more wrong more consistently than the folks at the ACLU.
Of course, this isn't exactly news to anyone familiar with the ACLU's handiwork. In fact, north Georgia has gotten a full dose of the ACLU through their legal maneuvers to keep the Ten Commandments out of our area courtrooms and public buildings. The fact that the Ten Commandments (and the fundamental moral tenets they contain) guide our laws and legal system, our free society and our individual lives every single day is, sadly, of no significant interest to the ACLU. No, what matters most to that crowd isn't promoting a shared, common code of decency and morality among everyone -- it's preventing the mention of "God" to anyone.
So who's next on the ACLU's hit list in this politically correct crusade? Hold on to your hat: it's none other than our own Boy Scouts of America.
Wouldn't you just know it? After all, any group trying to build character, promote responsibility and develop good habits in young men is just asking for a fight from the ACLU. Well, that's just what our Scouts have on their hands.
The truth is, the ACLU's latest beef with the Boy Scouts isn't new, either. It actually started with a 1999 lawsuit filed by the ACLU seeking to sever long-standing ties between the Department of Defense and the Boy Scouts. It seems the ACLU has a real problem with Scouts being required to express belief in God, and an even bigger problem with a federal agency offering assistance of any sort to a God-fearing group like the Boy Scouts.
The latest chapter in this sad legal saga came last month when the Department of Defense entered a "partial settlement" to resolve a small portion of the bigger ACLU suit. In short, the folks at the Pentagon agreed to restate their existing policy prohibiting the military from directly sponsoring any outside groups. It's a development that's sent a fair number of shockwaves (good and bad) across the country.
The bad part is pretty obvious. For starters, about 400 Boy Scout units across America are losing their official sponsor: the local military base in their community. That's a real shame. But as bad as that is, the greater tragedy isn't that these Scouts are temporarily without sponsors -- it's that devastating damage has been done to the faith, trust and respect held for our nation in the eyes of our young people and anybody else paying attention because the Pentagon put the ACLU's anti-God agenda before that of the Boy Scouts. And that's simply inexcusable.
There is, however, some good news to report. First, the roughly 400 displaced Boy Scout units are finding new sponsors through the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and other good groups who have filled in the gap. Also, Pentagon officials have noted that through this very limited settlement, "Boy Scout units are permitted to meet on military bases, and military personnel are allowed to remain active in Boy Scout programs."
But it seems to me, the real good news -- if there is such a thing in a mess like this -- is the wake-up call that's been sent to America and the reaction it's brought about from rightfully outraged citizens, community leaders, opinion-makers, members of Congress and Administration officials. And in case you didn't notice, you can count me as one of the outraged.
Responding to the outcry recently, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld wrote House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to pass along some more good news. Rumsfeld wrote in his letter that the Justice Department continues to fight the larger lawsuit; that the 'partial settlement' "does not fundamentally change the long-standing relationship between America's Boy Scouts and U.S. military installations" (that Scouts will continue to have access to facilities for camping, hiking, fishing and the like); and that he also supports congressional measures clearly stating that the Department of Defense should continue to "exercise its statutory authority to support activities of the Boy Scouts.."
No doubt about it, the Pentagon giving ground to the ACLU over the Boy Scouts and their profession of faith in God is enough to make this Veteran and former Boy Scout's blood boil. But the voice of opposition to the ACLU's attack on our Creator and country is more united, more motivated, and more vocal than ever before. And since that support will be needed in the battle to set the ACLU crowd straight when the new Congress adjourns next month, that's very good news indeed!
(U.S. Rep. Charlie Norwood represents the 9th Congressional District.)
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