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April,1998

The 'Have Your Cake & Eat It, Too' Badge - by Cliff Walker

The rabbit comes out of the hole.

For three years I was a Cub Scout. In the Cub Scouts I learned (among other things) several new tricks for getting my way. The others (I imagine) got lots of experience in handling difficult people.

At the time, I was also an atheist, and thought that the oath said, "to guard my country." It wasn't until much later that I realized it says, "to God and my country."

My mother was the den mother and, as far as I can tell, she had no faith in any gods. Her uncle was a big supporter of the Scouts in California, and it was he that got us interested in Scouting.

When I reached the level where we could have only men as leaders, Mom quit. Our new leader, a loser named Charlie Brown, insisted that Jesus was really real. I walked, never to look back.

The rabbit goes around the tree.

Recently, the Scouts spent a lot of money and time in court fighting the Randall twins' attempts to remain Boy Scouts. Upon losing the case, these nonreligious brothers wept. They had been on the verge of becoming Eagle Scouts.

One argument used against the Boy Scouts's right to discriminate involves the same angle used against the City Club of Portland, when several women sued to gain access to membership. The court ruled that when membership in a club becomes crucial to career opportunities, the organization loses the right to discriminate. Otherwise, a private club has every right to refuse membership to any group of people.

The rabbit goes back into the hole.

Perhaps the Boy Scouts are more of a nonentity than many of us think. Maybe they're simply not important enough to forfeit their right to discriminate. The press to join cannot be that great, if you consider that they must stoop to recruiting in schools contrary to school policy.

If I am wrong about this, if the Scouts are more important than I suspect they are, then the negative publicity resulting from their being allowed to discriminate should put the organization in its rightful place in the public eye. Their reputation cannot do anything but diminish from here on out.

Awareness of discrimination and racial sensitivity has advanced significantly in recent years. Racial slurs have replaced four-letter words as the language most likely to spark outrage among Americans. Acceptance of homosexuals is gaining.

The Boy Scouts have caused themselves a knotty problem. Now it's our move. We must insist that public funding for Scouting programs come to an end. If their religious values are that important to them, then we ought not hear any snivelling about lack of public finding.

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    • Notes:

    • See also: How About a New Merit Badge for Integrity? by Cliff Walker
    • See also: Nancy Powell on the Tom Leykis Show (transcribed by Cliff Walker)
    • See also: Bad Press: Better Than No Press? by Cliff Walker
    • See also: Nancy & Remy Powell (Finally) Prevail in Scout Recruiting Struggle by Cliff Walker

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Copyright ©1998 Cliff Walker; Portland, Oregon