Scouts-L Mail Archive for April of 1999: ACLU Sues Public Schools, Military over Scouting
ACLU Sues Public Schools, Military over Scouting
Fri, 16 Apr 1999 10:01:41 -0500
This was sent to me by another Scouter in our council. I think we should
take notice of this. We have just had one of our rural schools in our
district to stop all scouting activities in the school. We are lucky in our
council because we only have a handful of school sponsored units.
02:53 AM ET 04/15/99
ACLU Sues Public Schools, Military
By DON BABWIN
Associated Press Writer
CHICAGO (AP) _ Schools, military bases and other publicly funded
groups have no business sponsoring Boy Scout troops so long as
Scouts are required to take a religious oath, the American Civil
Liberties Union says.
In a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday, the ACLU argues that
public funding of Boy Scouts of America troops violates the
constitutional requirement of separation of church and state.
``Government agencies simply cannot spend tax dollars on
programs that exclude people because of their religious beliefs,''
ACLU attorney Roger Leishman said.
The suit, filed on behalf of five taxpayers, names as defendants
the Chicago Public Schools and the United States Transportation
Command, headquartered at Scott Air Force Base in southern
Illinois. Leishman said the two defendants represent any local
agency in Illinois that receives state funding and all federal
He did not know how many schools in Illinois sponsor troops.
``There is no allegation that any individual student or leader
has suffered any kind of discrimination based on religion in
connection with any program sponsored by the Chicago Public
Schools,'' said Robert Hall, first assistant attorney with the
Chicago Public Schools system.
The Boys Scouts of America also said the lawsuit is without
``It is regrettable that the ACLU would seek to deny these boys
access to the scouting program simply because they promise to do
their duty to God,'' national spokesman Gregg Shields said.
The ACLU has been a longtime critic of the Boy Scouts. Last
year, it sued the city of Chicago over the organization's oath as
well as its ban on gay members. The city, which had sponsored
troops, ended its affiliation with the organization.