For information, not wishing to open discussion
Thomas C. Petrik (EC92@AOL.COM)
Fri, 6 Jun 1997 13:27:19 -0400
This is in the Chicago Sun-Times Commentary section (p.40) on 6/6/97 with a
major headline across the entire page "ACLU fight is with city, not Boy
Scouts", and I provide it here since for some unfathomable reason it _is not_
on the Sun-Times web page for everyone to see.
"In his May 29 column, Dennis Byrne criticizes the American Civil Liberties
Union of Illinois for attacking the "male, heterosexual and God-fearing
principles upon which the Boy Scouts were founded."
"Byrne has it wrong. The ACLU supports the right of private groups to
organize a fundamental principle and to exclude those who do not subscribe to
that principle. Byrne has confused freedom of association - a right
guaranteed to private groups and individuals by the Bill of Rights - with
government discrimination, a practice specifically forbidden by local, state,
and federal laws.
"The ACLU of Illinois' lawsuit to which Byrne refers is not against the Boy
Scouts of America nor any of its affiliates. Rather, the ACLU's lawsuit
challenges the government's operation of discriminatory scouting programs and
the government's agreements with private organizations such as the Boy
Scouts, which require the city to discriminate.
"When the local police station runs a youth program but excludes children
whose family, culture, philosophy or spirituality does not include a belief
in a supreme being, the government is telling the excluded child that he is
not worthy of its attention. When the city's legal department operates a
scouting program that teaches high school students about the law, but makes
an agreement witht the Boy Scouts not to let gay students participate, the
city exiles a group of young people who could benefit from its support,
protection and programs.
"Youth programs offered by the city play an important role in the upbringing
of many young people, but these programs must be available to all citizens.
American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, Loop"
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City