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Jewish World Review Aug. 17, 1999/ 5 Elul, 5759

Marianne M. Jennings

Marianne M. Jennings
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In defense of Boy Scouts and judgment -- THERE IS MORE than gay pride in the New Jersey Supreme Court's decision requiring the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to allow avowed homosexuals as troop leaders.

Tears of joy and chants of "free at last" flowed from elite nihilists as they celebrated "an archaic institution" toppled by today's amorality. It would be an interesting exercise in gauging the sincerity of these social activists to determine whether they know what a Webelo is or how many electives you need for an arrow point, but knowledge of programs and institutions and dedication to them have never been prerequisites for litigation hissy fits. Despite the acclaimed removal of so-called oppressive Scouting policies, don't expect a stampede of supportive intellectuals from the local Starbucks to the BSA's drab olive uniforms and rustic camps. There is no foaming latte cooking badge.

Those demanding access to a voluntary organization demonstrate not only insensitivity but ignorance. BSA is a pervasive and longstanding organization precisely because it has definitive standards. Synagogue and church attendance, duty to God awards and commitment to family are hardly culturally consistent with NAMBLA, the North American Man/Boy Love Association, which applauded the decision by describing "sexual freedom" as equivalent to freedom of speech.

The Internet "Premier Gay Site" offering "the youngest legal boys with hardcore videos, bondage and fetish fun" does give a parent pause and certainly some justification for BSA's policy.

BSA is a conservative organization committed to tenets grounded in religion and family. Its exclusion of atheists and agnostics was upheld as protected freedom of association in a March 1998 California Supreme Court decision in a case brought by obnoxious boys who wanted a Duty to God award despite their declared non-belief in Him. The views and policies of BSA not only define it, but also explain its popularity.

To the extent that its purpose and views are antiquated, those who disdain such should create and promote alternative organizations, not destroy an existing one. Drunken fools should not be permitted to infiltrate the leadership ranks of AA simply because AA's abstinence philosophy is offensive to them and the AA is so pervasive and successful. While AA may be powerful, it is voluntary, private and self- regulating. As a private organization, AA has the right to exclude other approaches to alcoholism. AA may be wrong, but they have the right to be wrong. To require AA to place a still-drinking leader in its organization violates its core values and its members' rights. Those who remain philosophically committed to moderation in drinking should form their own organization, not destroy AA.

But live and let live was insufficient for Mr. James Dale, the gay community and its sock puppet, the ACLU. Their New Jersey decision takes us to new levels of tolerance -- full embrace of gay policies and beliefs. The judges of the New Jersey Supreme Court might just as well have stood in Gilbert and Sullivan fashion and sung, "We're open-minded as can be for we see things that you can't see. We'll make you succumb. We'll indoctrinate your sons. We're learned, wise and full of lard, look at us, we're avant garde." Dr. Seuss is more apropos. Malcontents who employ litigation to get their way regardless of the systemic implications leave the query, "Are there any adults at home?" We grow as weary of the demands of conformity from the homosexual community as we do of the continual errata from the Clintons on the underlying causes of the president's sexual adventures.

While tolerance is an admirable goal, homosexuals' mandated infiltration of family and religious-based organizations is subversive. The gay community would benefit most from political scientist Nigel Ashford's "wide definition of private and narrow definition of public." The New Jersey decision will ensure heterosexual infiltration of gay organizations and is a short- sighted Pyrrhic victory by those preaching but not practicing tolerance. The judges of the NJ court are totalitarians who have selectively denied the freedoms they tout in 89 pages of rhetoric and dogma surpassing even a Church Lady diatribe. They are shamed by their hypocrisy and disgraced by their shallow egocentrism.

Parents should be able to raise their sons in the manner they see fit which includes association in organizations that promote their values. There is not one wit of sociological nor psychological evidence that concludes anything other than a mother and father (of different genders) do the best job of rearing normal children. To introduce the notion of male partnerships in children's formative years is a violation of the rights of parents and sons.

Within this mess is a revelation supportive of BSA's exclusion policy on another basis. What parent would want a child exposed to the level of maturity Mr. Dale and his cohorts in litigation exhibit in their demands? Young boys will have the opportunity to learn from someone who shouts, "I made you be what you don't want to be. So there." Such is not what Scouts are made of. A Scout is not a self-centered tantrum monger who obtains his way while trampling others.

JWR contributor Marianne M. Jennings is a professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State University. Send your comments to her by clicking here.


08/10/99: Ruining the finest health care system in the world
08/03/99: Nihilism and politics: ethics on the lam
07/26/99: Of women, soccer and removed jerseys
07/23/99: Not in despair, a mere mortal doing just fine
07/20/99: "Why me?" How about "Why us?"
07/13/99: Bunk, junk & juries
07/06/99: An Amish woman in a Victoria's Secret store
06/30/99: That intellectually embarrassing Second Amendment
06/24/99: Patricia Ireland eat your heart out --- but check out the recipe in 'women's mags' first
06/22/99: Dems and the Creator coup
06/17/99: True courage is more than just admitting troubles

©1999, Marianne M. Jennings