Sobrans -- The Real News of the Month

Scouting and Sodomy

August 31, 2000

The Department of the Interior is conducting an investigation of its own ties to the Boy Scouts of America for the purpose of determining whether the Scouts discriminate against homosexuals in any way that President Clinton has forbidden by executive order. If so, the Scouts could lose federal funding and other privileges.

Clinton, who as president is honorary head of the Boy Scouts, has learned to use executive orders to skirt the need for legislation. The relevant order in this case was issued a few months ago; it lists “sexual orientation” along with race, religion, sex, et cetera, as protected categories for “federally conducted education and training programs.” Five days after Clinton issued the order, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that New Jersey could not force the Scouts to accept homosexual scoutmasters.

It’s a tangled situation, the sort of mess that results when civil rights comes to mean not freedom of association, but the reverse: compulsory association. When we hear the term civil rights nowadays, we instantly know we are in for more, not less, government power over our private lives. Civil rights has become shorthand for state coercion.

Homosexuals are rapidly being added to the roster of victim categories who may use state power to force others to accept them. “Civil rights,” in this baneful sense, trumps all religious, moral, and other personal reservations. And militant homosexuals have targeted the Boy Scouts for punishment because the Scouts’ code of behavior upholds traditional Christian sexual morality.

[Breaker quote: 'Civil 
rights' as coerced association]Clinton, the first president to court the homosexual lobby, is ready, willing, and eager to pressure private organizations to accept homosexuals. Once again we see in action the principle that when the state moves in, religion must move out. The liberal understanding of “the separation of church and state” means that as the area of politics expands, the area of private freedom — religious and otherwise — shrinks.

As you might expect, the Boy Scouts are vigorously resisting the homosexual aggressions. They say that Clinton’s order won’t affect them much, since they receive very little in the way of federal benefits.

Let’s hope that’s true. Any federal aid to the Scouts would be unconstitutional, as most federal aid programs are. There is no warrant for making taxpayers subsidize any Scouting activities.

But the case is a reminder that you start sucking the federal udder at your own peril. Once you depend on the state for income, the state will take advantage of your dependency to limit your freedom. And it will serve you right. A public charge is in a weak position to stand on his private freedom.

If the Scouts don’t receive substantial federal aid, Clinton’s order probably won’t affect them much. They may be banned from conducting their activities on federal property, but otherwise they will remain free to apply their own moral code and to ignore the tyrannical claims of “civil rights.”

Now is the time for Senator Joe Lieberman to pipe up in defense of the Boy Scouts. He has spoken eloquently on the need for religious values and moral renewal in American life, but so far he has been vague as to how this should come about. Here is a chance for him to vindicate the right of a venerable private organization to maintain its traditional convictions against secularizing pressures.

Will he do it? If he does, he will anger the homosexual lobby his party has embraced. He has embraced it too. But if he can’t tell that lobby where to get off, if he can’t draw a firm line in defense of private groups devoted to an ancient moral code, we are entitled to be skeptical of his pro-religion rhetoric.

Two years ago Lieberman made national headlines when he reproached Clinton’s “immoral” behavior; but instead of following through by calling on Clinton to resign the office he had disgraced, he resumed his role as a loyal party man and voted for acquittal. Though an Orthodox Jew, he has joined his party in supporting even late-term abortion. In deference to his running mate Al Gore, he has renounced his positions favoring school vouchers and Social Security reform.

So will he apply his professed concern for morality by defending the Boy Scouts? Or will he once more, as a loyal Democrat, “rise above principle”?

Joseph Sobran

Archive Table of Contents

Current Column

Return to the SOBRAN’S home page

FGF E-Package columns by Joe Sobran, Sam Francis, Paul Gottfried, and others are available in a special e-mail subscription provided by the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation. Click here for more information.

Search This Site

Search the Web     Search SOBRANS

What’s New?

Articles and Columns by Joe Sobran
 FGF E-Package “Reactionary Utopian” Columns 
  Wanderer column (“Washington Watch”) 
 Essays and Articles | Biography of Joe Sobran | Sobran’s Cynosure 
 The Shakespeare Library | The Hive | Back Issues of SOBRANS 
 WebLinks | Scheduled Appearances | Books by Joe 
 Subscribe to Joe Sobran’s Columns 

Other FGF E-Package Columns and Articles
 Sam Francis Classics | Paul Gottfried, “The Ornery Observer” 
 Mark Wegierski, “View from the North” 
 Chilton Williamson Jr., “At a Distance” 
 Kevin Lamb, “Lamb amongst Wolves” 
 Subscribe to the FGF E-Package 

Products and Gift Ideas | Notes from the Webmaster
  Contact Us | Back to the home page 

Reprinted with permission
Copyright © 2000 by the Griffin Internet Syndicate,
a division of Griffin Communications