Twelve years ago, Bryant Gumbel called me an (expletive) idiot on CBS' "The Early Show" for defending the Boy Scouts after the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed their right to uphold moral standards for leaders and members.
Whether or not you agree with his unvarnished assessment, I'd like to think most people would contend he crossed a line.
Though he was caught on camera saying it, CBS denied it. Years later, Mr. Gumbel himself smugly confirmed it. This is what liberals mean when they lecture us about keeping a civil tone.
On July 17, the Scouts released a two-year study whose common-sense conclusion was that it's still not a good idea to put males who sexually desire other males into the Scouts as either role models or members. The report followed the dismissal in April of an openly lesbian Cub Scout leader.
As in June 2000, liberals exploded in outrage, with the media leading the charge.
"Once again CNN is cheerleading the fight for gay rights, this time within the Boy Scouts," Media Research Center's Matt Hadro reported on July 18. "An effusive Starting Point panel welcomed gay activist Zach Wahls on Wednesday and celebrated his cause of pushing the Boy Scouts toward acceptance of openly-gay scouts and leaders.
"Wahls is no stranger to CNN, as back in May he was lauded as a 'very powerful' activist during a soft interview. On Wednesday, the CNN panel oozed admiration for him. 'I'm a big fan. I've followed you for a little while,' Starting Point regular Margaret Hoover told him. 'You're a wonderful spokesman for the effort for equality.'"
Ms. Hoover is the media's idea of a "conservative."
Later that day, as Mr. Hadro reported, "anchor Don Lemon gave the sappiest of interviews to former Cub Scout den leader and lesbian Jennifer Tyrell, booted from the organization because she is openly gay. Lemon asked saccharine questions like 'You doing OK?' and 'do you feel disrespected?' and 'You sound a little sort of downtrodden.' Unsurprisingly, no guest was brought on to defend the Boy Scouts."
On NBClatino.com, blogger Esther J. Cepeda opined, "It's obvious that the decision to treat gays as unfit for membership in an organization that seeks to instill loyalty, friendliness and bravery in their young charges is far from, in the words of the Scout oath, 'morally straight.' But it's their rope, and it's up to the Boy Scouts to decide whether to use it as a lifeline or a noose."
I don't think it's hard to figure out which sort of knot many in the media would like to use on the Boy Scouts.
My question to them is: What part of the Jerry Sandusky Penn State molestation convictions don't you get when it comes to the Boy Scouts?
Do you honestly think boys won't notice or care if their leader is kissing another man or if a boy who wants to touch other boys shares their tent? How about a Cub Scout pack leader who lives openly as a lesbian? Is this a good example for young boys in an organization expressly created to give them a manly start in life? How does a woman who rejects being married to a husband and father and instead gives a boy "two moms" claim to be a suitable person to teach the value of manhood? If you answer, "She can't," you're a hate-filled bigot.
America got another taste of liberal intolerance and insanity the past couple of weeks when homosexual activists and Democratic mayors of several big cities erupted over Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy's support of marriage. Mr. Cathy said in an interview published by the Baptist Press that he and his company support the biblical definition of the family unit. The company donates to pro-family organizations that liberals reflexively label "hate groups."
Led by CNN, the media portrayed Mr. Cathy's remarks as an attack on "gay marriage," even though Mr. Cathy discussed what marriage is, not what it isn't.
The good news is that Mike Huckabee's call for pro-family Americans and free-speech lovers to observe Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day on Aug. 1 was a smash, with long lines around the fast-food stores. Because Chick-fil-A is privately owned, sales figures are unavailable, but they went to the moon and back. That should more than offset any pro-sexual-anarchy boycott or in-your-face "kiss-in."
It would be nice if Americans similarly rose somehow to the defense of the Boy Scouts. In a July 31 Wall Street Journal column, "A Century of Eagle Scouts," Michael S. Malone, author of the new book "Four Percent," provides a wonderful reminder of how much the Scouts, founded in 1910, have accomplished and given back.
Of "more than 115 million boys who have passed through the Boy Scouts of America in the last 102 years," about "2 million have become Eagle Scouts," Mr. Malone writes.
"Since the mid-1960s, all Eagle candidates are required, beyond earning the traditional 21 merit badges, to devise, plan, execute and manage a community-service project. it was only recently that the National Eagle Scout Association decided to look beyond the anecdotes and tally up all of the Eagle service projects ever done. It came to the jaw-dropping total of more than 100 million hours of service. Eagle Scouts are adding more than 3 million more hours each year."
Let's recap: Chick-fil-A serves millions of delicious, nutritious chicken meals, unabashedly embraces Christianity and gives back to communities in numerous ways through its Winshape Foundation. The Boy Scouts train millions of boys in practical skills and the more important value of what it means to be a man.
No wonder the left has declared war on them. They know the enemy when they see it.
Robert Knight is a senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a columnist for The Washington Times. He earned his Eagle Scout badge in Troop 80, Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
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Robert Knight is senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a columnist for The Washington Times.
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