President Bill Clinton and the man who hopes to succeed him, Vice President Al Gore, no doubt wish their overzealous appointees in the U.S. Department of the Interior had kept their mouths shut - at least until after Election Day. Some Interior bureaucrats thought the exclusion of homosexuals by the Boy Scouts of America, even though upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, ran counter to a recent presidential executive order.
Five days before the Supreme Court affirmed the Scouts as a private organization with clearly stated values, President Clinton issued an executive order prohibiting "discrimination" on the basis of "sexual orientation." Fortunately, though, Clinton's Justice Department moved to stifle their Interior counterparts - especially since Interior hinted it might bar Scout events from federal land.
This is but the latest attack on the venerable 6.2 million-member organization whose oath and law include pledges to revere God and be "morally straight."
Some companies, including Chase Manhattan and Merrill Lynch, may pull financial support from the Scouts. The Knight Ridder company even asked the United Way not to give any of the company's donations to the Scouts because it would conflict "with the company's philosophy on people and diversity."
What is happening to the American ideal of tolerance for diverse ideas and philosophies?
The Boy Scouts of America has made this a better country for over five generations. Eagle Scouts, especially, have continued to live by scouting values and have risen to become valuable and trusted leaders in their community, state and nation. Many fathers are active in leadership roles and serve as fine adult role models. All boys who wish to join may do so. Those who do not subscribe to the Scout Oath and Law do not have to participate in the program.
What is happening now is that the political Left, while prattling about acceptance of homosexuality, has no tolerance for a Scout organization with its own independent agenda. An outcry from citizens who appreciate the Boy Scouts may help pressure its tormentors to back off, just as the Interior Department has been forced to do.