- The Washington Times - Monday, May 1, 2000

Enjoyable, common-sense editorial about Boy Scouts

I enjoyed your editorial on the demise of common sense regarding the struggle to keep the Boy Scouts free of those it considers unsuitable leaders ("Trustworthy, loyal, helpful and gay?" April 28). Your position is entirely correct.

One passage, however, is off the mark: "Scout leaders have traditionally been older men fathers of the boys in the troop who are understandably concerned with mentoring and guiding their charges. 'Twentysomething,' single, unattached young males clinging to merit badges and campfires is, well, odd."

Yes, scoutmasters are usually fathers of boys in the troop. Their assistants are not, however. In my experience as a Scout in the 1980s, most of the assistant scoutmasters were young men in their 20s and 30s, and few if any were married. They were alumni of the troop who provided some of the best guidance and leadership we had. None of them was a homosexual.

We never considered these men wanting to go hiking, camping, canoeing and shooting "odd." Given their age, they were frequently better able to keep up with the older boys than some of the older scoutmasters.

I was an assistant scoutmaster in the mid-'90s, and my primary purpose was to take them hiking and camping. At the time, I was a captain in the Marine Corps, in my late 20s, single and heterosexual. (References, as they say, furnished upon request.) I was almost always the only adult out with a half-dozen or more teen-age boys.

I did it because scouting provided me with much of the basis for the decisions I took later in life, and I wanted to offer some of the same good experiences and positive guidance I received. Lord knows they need it.


Lake Ridge, Va.



Even if the Boy Scouts had no message of its own regarding homosexuality and Scouting, this organization has the right under controlling Supreme Court precedent to refuse to be the bearer of a message of a member who wants to declare his pride in being a homosexual Scout.

The declaration is speech, and on that basis, the Supreme Court has consistently held that whether an organization is private or public, it has the right to disqualify from membership a member whose views are at manifest odds with those of the organization, when the organization takes a position.

This was the essence of the unanimous opinion of the court in the 1995 St. Patrick's Day Parade case, Hurley vs. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Group of Boston, and in earlier public club cases.

I have every reason to believe the Supreme Court will not abandon this important and binding precedent now or in the near future.


Dorchester, Mass.


Paul Joseph Walkowski is co-author of "From Trial Court to the United States Supreme Court" (Branden Publishing).


Score one for common sense. The editorial "Trustworthy, loyal, helpful and gay?" reflects a stance that needs to be taken by every American who wishes to preserve the rights to privacy and free association against the onslaught of crybaby minority activists who seek to impose themselves on private organizations.

The editorial is right to equate the prospect of a young homosexual male taking a group of boys into the woods with that of a young heterosexual male taking a group of girls into the woods. It would be foolish to allow it.

Besides the obvious and dangerous opportunities that such a situation would present, the Boy Scouts of America, as a private Judeo-Christian organization, has the right to exclude anyone homosexuals, Muslims, Hindus, etc. who cannot adhere to the values the organization was founded to embody.



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