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Someone to Watch Over Me

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed another law suit to keep the U.S. Army from having too much contact with the Boy Scouts of America.

Thank goodness we have the ACLU to protect
our Army from the Boy Scouts.

Scouts have held their National Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia since 1918, Over the years they have invested nearly $12 million in permanent infrastructure at the fort. Not too bad a deal for the Army, especially considering the Jamboree only lasts nine days once every four years.

The ACLU claims this sort of Army support for the Boy Scouts violates our First Amendment because the Scout Oath mentions God. Apparently the ACLU has no problem with our Army supporting religious factions in the Middle East.

Don't get me wrong. The ACLU is an important organization. It's like Greenpeace, only without the boat. Instead of sailing around protecting whales, the ACLU protects liberty. And it must be doing a great job, if the Boy Scouts are the biggest remaining threat.

To get a handle on the legal issues, I called my old friend Caufbaugh Twilley. Twilley isn't actually a lawyer but he listens to talk radio which is basically the same thing.

According to Twilley, the ACLU bases its suit on the first ten words of the First Amendment, which are: "Please close cover before striking."

No wait, that's the Ninth Amendment. The first ten words of the First Amendment are: "Congress shall pass no law respecting an establishment of religion . . ."

There are 35 other words in the First Amendment, but Twilley said to ignore those.

At first glance, letting Boy Scouts camp at an Army fort doesn't look very much like Congress passing a law respecting religion.

"Ignore that too," Twilley said.

The ACLU has used this same argument to prevent Boy Scouts from renting part of Balboa Park in San Diego.

"So, according to the ACLU, protecting religious freedom requires the government to keep people who believe in God from using public property?" I asked.

"That's not the way the ACLU says it," Twilley told me, "but the effect is the same."

Now for some people, this sort of religious discrimination against the Boy Scouts will sound a lot like religious discrimination against the Boy Scouts, but Twilley said to "Ignore that too."

It turns out those other 35 words protect free speech, free association, free assembly and free exercise of religion. The ACLU knows all about those words and has even used them to protect the right of Nazis to hold a public rally in Skokie, Illinois. Skokie was home to a large number of Holocaust survivors, so the City wanted the Nazis to provide insurance for their rally. Apparently requiring insurance is discrimination under those other 35 words.

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Whether it's mishaps with a French-for-Travelers CD, or a media technology that corrects errors before they occur, Horace J. Digby never even sees the mark.

Winner of the Robert Benchley Society Award for Humor; selected to judge the (more...)
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