Boy Scouts Under Fire, Again

The Boy Scouts have been under sustained attack for the organization’s policies that, for example, require some belief in God for its members and exclude homosexuals from serving as scouting leaders. In a recent dust-up, the Scouts lost the use of the Berkeley marina for the Sea Scouts program.

The Los Angeles Times cheered the decision, in language that is both chilling and revealing:

The California Supreme Court ruled last week that the city of Berkeley has the right to not give the Sea Scouts, a Boy Scouts affiliate, use of its marina — a valuable freebie. In fact, the city has a moral obligation to end the subsidy. As a private group, the Scouts have the right to deliberately keep out whoever they want. But government entities do not. (California law prohibits discriminating against gays.) Preferential public giveaways to such private groups put taxpayers in the untenable position of subsidizing those groups’ exclusionary policies.


It has been sad to watch an otherwise worthy organization veer down this path. The Scouts offer a welcoming place for a wide variety of boys, including low-income youth who might otherwise never get the chance to go camping or operate a boat or learn a thousand worthwhile things. But other groups manage to do the same without institutionalizing intolerance. The Girl Scouts, somehow, have avoided sinking into a moral abyss.The Scouts are weighing an appeal in the Berkeley case. They should drop it.They made the decision years ago to be free of public antidiscrimination constraints — which means accepting that a growing number of taxpayers will object to their policies and refuse to single out for public generosity an organization that singles out minorities for scorn.

This is how a culture reverses its own moral logic. What had been seen as honorable by the elites in one generation (respect for God and belief in the normativity of heterosexuality) is now forbidden by the elites in a new generation. Groups that will not sing the new tune are dismissed with accusations of “institutionalizing intolerance.” Watch this pattern closely, and recognize it for what it is — a demand for ideological uniformity in the name of “diversity.”

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