Stiff arming Boy Scouts seems un-American

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 19, 2004

The Tribune editorial staff

America's military leadership did something this week that seems downright un-American. Now you might think that we're writing about some atrocity in Iraq or Afghanistan, but you would be incorrect.

Actually the worrisome event happened right here in the backyard of the good old United States of America.

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The Pentagon agreed to warn military bases across the world not to directly sponsor Boy Scout troops.

The move was an attempt to partially settle claims that the government has engaged in religious discrimination by supporting the organization which requires its young membership to pledge a belief in God.

Officially, the ruling means little. The government, for its part, says it already had a rule prohibiting sponsorship of any non-government group.

The problem with the settlement is the precedent that it sets and the ambiguous nature of how the government perceives the separation of church and state policy.

We find it more than a little ironic that the government has politically distanced itself from the long-time national organization over the fear of religious ties. The same country will soon ask its leader to place his hand on a Bible as he recites his oath of office.

If coming in close contact to the Bible is good enough, even encouraged, for the nation's leader, is the nation too good to even have a whisper of national contact with the Bible?

Apparently not, if the American Civil Liberties Union has its way.

Some people have attempted to twist the policy of keeping church and state separate into meaning that church and state cannot be in the same room - ever! We don't think that is how the founding fathers intended the policy to be interpreted.

As for the modern day critics, we suppose that they'd like the government to be completely devoid of feeling and heart, completely isolated from the lives of the people it serves.

Creating a "safe state" as it were.

Well, we think that's a pretty sad state - scout's honor.