On Sunday, President George W. Bush addressed several thousand boys at the 2005 National Boy Scout Jamboree. The President spoke after the Jamboree had been marked by tragedy and great dificulty.  Just days before, four adult scout leaders had been electrocuted and record-high temperatures sent 300 scouts to the sick bay. The boys were glad to hear the President, and his message was important. Consider these words:
At times, you may come across people who say that moral truth is relative, or call a religious faith a comforting allusion. They may question the values you learn in scouting. But remember, lives of purpose are constructed on the conviction there is right and there is wrong, and we can know the difference.
In the years ahead you will find that indifferent or cynical people accomplish little that makes them proud. You’ll find that confronting injustice and evil requires a vision of goodness and truth. You’ll find that many in your community, especially those younger than you, look to you as an example of conduct and leadership. For your sake, and for the sake of our country, I hope you’ll always strive to be men of conviction and character.
Those words sound much like what President Theodore Roosevelt would have said a century ago, but President Bush’s message would surely be dismissed by some as anachronistic, simplistic, and moralistic. The cultural elites see the Boy Scouts as fossils from a distant age where archaic virtues once ruled. I am thankful that President Bush didn’t surrender to the cynics. As for myself, here’s one former Boy Scout who hopes that those boys at the Jamboree were listening.
The full text of the President’s address is available through the White House Web page.