How to Make Blue Folks See Red: Pick on the Boy Scouts

How to Make Blue Folks See Red: Pick on the Boy Scouts (James Lileks, Newhouse News)

Since the last election we’ve been told that right-wing theoreticians concoct divisive social issues in secret underground labs and release them into the body politic every election cycle, clouding the minds of red-state sheep. But the Boy Scouts haven’t been suing anyone for the right to hold compulsory God and country rallies in schools across the land. The American Civil Liberties Union is forcing the issue.


This may be the face of the hard, foamy left, but it’s not the view of your average Democrat. Throwing the scouts into an electrified pen that keeps them from contaminating government is not high on the list of your average Democratic concerns. Ask one. Why are you a Democrat? “Because I believe in good jobs, health care for all, more diplomacy and strong public schools.” And you oppose the Boy Scouts, right? “What? No. My kid’s a scout.”

But the ACLU has practically declared them a hate group. Got the Pentagon to promise no official connections. “Well, I can’t go for that. Mumble, mumble, Jerry Falwell, mumble, both sides have nuts, Ann Coulter, mumble.”

While I sympathize with the ACLU on many issues, I continue to be baffled at some of the causes they champion. One would think that there are sufficient significant threats to our civil liberties to focus on without making, quite literally, a federal case out of such things as the Pledge of Allegiance and the Boy Scouts. By focusing on the trivial, they undermine their own cause.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. McGehee says:

    By focusing on the trivial, they undermine their own cause.

    I don’t mind.

  2. Chris says:

    My son is a Cub Scout – will graduate to Boy Scouts in a few months. The actual existence of religion in the scout program is way overblown. All the religious related merit badges are optional – or can be accomplished with very little actual immersion in religion. They say the Pledge of Allegiance each week – and that is generally the only mention God gets, and his den meets in a church.

    I think the real issue in that kids in scouts are more likely to grow up relatively conservative, since the whole program is based on basic common sense values that used to be associated with both liberals and conservatives, before the left went loony over the last 20 years.

  3. LJD says:

    Children should not be subject to brain washing by organizations like the Boy Scouts. It is up to their public school teachers to the instill proper values, like:

    Tolerance for, and even appreciation of flambouyant homosexuality.

    How to cope with losing a job opportunity to a less qualified individual due to affirmative action.

    That performance and results don’t matter. Just as long no one’s feelings are hurt.

    And last but not least, guns are bad! Bad, bad, bad!
    Only bad people have guns!

  4. A substantial – I would say majority – part of the ACLU has turned so dogmatically anti-religion in general and anti-Christian religion in specific that nothing else matters. And I think you are mistaken, James, that these things “undermine” the ACLU’s cause. These kinds of suits are their cause.

  5. leon dixon says:

    The Founders did no such thing. MANY States had Established Religions before, during, and after the Constitution was written, passed, and amended. Folks who don’t know that are brainwashed with bad history…a history of lies that the American Communist Liberty Union is only too willing to continue to retail.