Boy Scouts And Freedom Of Religion

Boy Scouts And Freedom Of Religion
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

So says the Bill of Rights. (1) Yet it appears that in a climate where political correctness is an altar at which time tested values and laws are sacrificed like the virgins of old who were thrown to the mythical beasts in an effort to appease those savage beasts, even the United States Constitution is no longer safe.

Granted, we all know that the text’s precepts have been stretched to such an extent that the original writers of the Constitution may have a hard time recognizing it were they to look at the laws it has spawned, we must nonetheless wonder just what the establishment of a religion talks about.

Case in point are the Boy Scouts of the United States who are once again making headlines because they are refusing to let agnostic, atheist, and also homosexual men serve in any capacity that directly involves the children. Having been sued for discrimination, the Boy Scouts were originally told by the Supreme Court that they could indeed ban gay leaders. In their turn, the Boy Scouts are now being discriminated against by the city of Berkeley – a bastion of free thought and free speech – because of their original conduct which was perceived to be discriminatory. Sure, they had the law on their sides, and the Constitution backing up their ability to have the religious freedom to observe their faith, but this counts for little when bastions of free thought and free speech find an organization in their midst that is not goose-stepping to their tune. (2)

Thus for anyone contemplating to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed right to exercise freedom of religion, here are a few things you will need to remember:

  • You are free to exercise your religion.
  • The government cannot tell you what precepts to include or exclude.
  • Similarly, the government will not protect you from societal retaliation, be it fiscal in nature or affect your ability to do business in other ways.
The question must now remain just how fair this treatment is. After all, the Constitution is quite clear that the Boy Scouts have the right to exercise a faith that prohibits gay men from becoming scout leaders. Interestingly, the courts are not trying to take away the Boy Scouts’ rights, but at the same time they are not forcing anyone else to offer preferential treatment to the organization either. In other words, the Boy Scouts may do business as usual, but individual cities and even entire states may elect to remove public funding from the organization if they deem that their citizens disagree with the precepts of the organization.

Is it fair? Of course! No law establishing a religion has been made – neither in favor nor in opposition to the Boy Scouts’ creeds. Would that the same could be done for the public funding that is enjoyed by many other organizations that are deemed by citizens to not be in keeping with their beliefs!


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