Precinct 333

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Scouts In Schools Safe For Now

The “Only Atheists Have First Amendment Rights” Caucus lost another one in court recently, as it was held not to be a violation of the judicially-imposed extra-constitutional doctrine of “separation of church and state” to allow the Boy Scouts to recruit in schools.

A unanimous three-judge panel said the district’s policy was acceptable because the Boy Scouts received no special treatment or emphasis compared to other groups that visited the schools.

“It had a secular purpose and did not advance religion over non-religion,” Judge Bill Schuette wrote in Scalise v. Boy Scouts of America. “Simply because the Boy Scouts utilized the system does not itself create an Establishment Clause violation.”

As interpreted by the courts, the establishment clause has come to mean that government generally is prohibited from promoting or endorsing religion.

Now that seems like a pretty commonsense decision. Just because a group has a religious basis does not exclude it from the public square. And if a forum is open to non-religious groups, it must also be open to religious groups.

The losers in this case are furious, carrying on like leftists often do.

Timothy Taylor, the Scalises’ attorney, called the ruling the “most judicially corrupt and dishonest” he had seen.

“This was a political decision — not a legal one, and one in which the undisputed facts of the case were completely disregarded,” Taylor said.

He said his clients likely would file an appeal with the Michigan Supreme Court.
The Boy Scouts and school district, however, said they did nothing wrong.

“We were simply trying to provide boys with an opportunity to join scouting,” said Dale Holbrook, Scout executive for the Lake Huron Area Council. The council oversees 15,200 Boy Scouts in northeast and central Michigan, including Mount Pleasant.

Sadly, the Scouts don’t get to pass out literature at the schools in Mount Pleasant schools any longer, despite the victory. The schools had become so overwhelmed with material that it found it necessary to close the forum after finding itself bombarded with over 250,000 fliers each year.


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