from the Congress Action newsletter

Liberal Intolerance

by: Kim Weissman
August 27, 2000

Leftists claim to honor "diversity", and democrats claim to be the party of "tolerance". But the hatred and intolerance of lock-step leftists and extremist democrats is now clear for all to see. Leftists pretend to "celebrate diversity", but only up to the point where one disagrees with them. Democrats pretend to be tolerant of differences, but only the superficial differences of race or ethnicity, and are completely intolerant of any different ideas, beliefs, or values that truly make us individuals. If anyone — or in this case, any group — disagrees with leftist ideology, they will be destroyed. In the name of tolerance. This is the fate now facing the Boy Scouts of America.

"The Boy Scouts is a private, not-for-profit organization engaged in instilling its system of values in young people. The Boy Scouts asserts that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the values it seeks to instill." Thus did Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist begin the June 28, 2000 decision, in the case of Boy Scouts of America v. Dale. The case was not about whether homosexuality is good or bad. It was about the First Amendment's right to freedom of association, and whether a private organization has the right to establish its own code of ethics and values. In that case, the Supreme Court ruled that the Boy Scouts of America is a private organization, and that forcing it to accept an open homosexual as a Scout leader is contrary to the stated policy and the fundamental values of the Boy Scouts of America, and "…violates the Boy Scouts’ First Amendment right of expressive association."

Nothing so enrages "diverse" leftists and "tolerant" democrats as someone refusing to bow down to their ideology. This is especially true when that refusal tends to uphold traditional values, while at the same time standing in the way of the radical ideology that leftists and extremist democrats are trying to impose on society.

The Supreme Court's opinion went on:

"The Boy Scouts asserts that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the values embodied in the Scout Oath and Law, particularly those represented by the terms 'morally straight' and 'clean,' and that the organization does not want to promote homosexual conduct as a legitimate form of behavior." "While the law may promote all sorts of conduct in place of harmful behavior, it may not interfere with speech for no better reason than promoting an approved message or discouraging a disfavored one, however enlightened either purpose may seem." "The forced inclusion of an unwanted person in a group infringes the group’s freedom of expressive association if the presence of that person affects in a significant way the group’s ability to advocate public or private viewpoints."

To "diverse" leftists and "tolerant" democrats, however, freedom only means that you are free to agree with them. You are not free to disagree. You are not free to determine what values you will espouse. As one commentator put it, "In the opinion of the Boy Scouts, homosexuality is wrong. Those who disagree are free to whine and complain all they want…but it doesn’t give them the right to try and use the government to force a private organization to alter its code of ethics." What would the leftist reaction be if a pro-life conservative took the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) to court, demanding to be placed in a leadership position within that organization? According to the arguments used against the Boy Scouts, the government should be able to force NARAL to do precisely that.

But "diverse" leftists and "tolerant" democrats would tolerate no such thing, of course, just as they will not tolerate the Boy Scouts of America espousing traditional values or opposing their agenda. In response to the Court's ruling and the Scouts' refusal to change their code of ethics to accommodate gays, there is a growing national campaign of petitions and protests against the Boy Scouts, organized and directed by gay advocacy groups. As a result of pressure from those groups, a number of cities and counties have threatened to withhold from the Boy Scouts the taxpayer money that those localities distribute to numerous civic organizations.

Officials in several cities are considering ending sponsorship or affiliations with the Scouts, and one town has decided that the Boy Scouts should be banned from using any of the town's public buildings for its meetings. Several United Way affiliates are considering withdrawing contributions to the Boy Scouts, and the State of Connecticut has excluded the Scouts from the State Employees' Campaign for Charitable Giving. And in a truly astonishing display of intolerance, we saw the shameless performance of delegates to the Democrat Party convention in Los Angeles. When an honor guard Eagle Scouts entered the arena, many of those "tolerant" and "diverse" democrat delegates hooted and booed those young men.

But aren't governments required to withhold taxpayer money from organizations that espouse a particular value system? Indeed they are, but the reality is that governments at all levels already — wrongly — fund many groups that advocate particular value systems, and that engage in lobbying and activity espousing ethical and political viewpoints. For example, according to The Heritage Foundation's Government Integrity Project, pro-abortion Planned Parenthood and its affiliates receives millions of dollars in direct subsidies from the federal government. And hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars funneled through AmeriCorp are used routinely — and illegally — to finance political advocacy.

Some democrats in Congress have also joined the campaign against the Boy Scouts of America. On July 19, Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) introduced H.R. 4892, titled the "Scouting For All Act". The stated goal of Woolsey's bill is "To repeal the Federal charter of the Boy Scouts of America" that was granted to the Boy Scouts in 1916. The "congressional findings" accompanying Woolsey's legislation state: "…the Boy Scouts of America promotes the social and civic development of young boys through mentoring, it also sets an example of intolerance through its discriminatory policy regarding sexual orientation. Federal support for the Boy Scouts of America indirectly supports the organization's policy to exclude homosexuals. A policy of excluding homosexuals is contradictory to the Federal Government's support for diversity and tolerance and should not be condoned as patriotic, charitable, or educational."

In her July 19 statement introducing her legislation, Woolsey made the following remarks (Congressional Record page H6565):

"The bill's cosponsors are sending a message to the Boy Scouts and to all Americans that the Congress of the United States does not support intolerance. As my colleagues know, a charter is an honorary title Congress awards to organizations that serve a charitable, patriotic, or educational purpose. But to me there is nothing charitable or patriotic about intolerance, and it is not a value we want our children to learn. Revoking the charter sends a clear message that Congress does not support this value, this value of intolerance. The supporters of my bill are not saying that the Boy Scouts are bad. We are saying that intolerance is bad. …the Boy Scouts fought hard to win their right to discriminate. But for me and the bill's supporters, this is not a question of whether the Boy Scouts have a right to establish anti-gay policy. It is a question of whether the Boy Scouts' anti-gay policy is right. We believe that choosing to do nothing in response to the court's decision would only compound the injury and would reaffirm the Boy Scouts' message that intolerance is okay."

Several days later, Congressman Stephen Buyer (R-IN) responded (Congressional Record page H7006, July 26) to Woolsey's H.R. 4892:

"…the Supreme Court has ruled that the Boy Scouts of America, as a private organization, has the right to set its own standards for membership and leadership. This allows the Scouts to continue developing young men of strong moral character without imposing the mores on them that they find abhorrent. Would my colleagues like a view of extremist liberal Democrats who seek to control this House? They have filed a bill to revoke the Boy Scouts Federal charter, a blatant attempt to undermine the Supreme Court's ruling and punish the Boy Scouts for their belief. This bill promotes intolerance. The Boy Scouts respect other people's right to hold differing opinions than their own and ask others to respect their belief. Extremist Democrats believe just the opposite. They believe that if one does not subscribe to their beliefs and their view of the world, then one is intolerant and must be chastised. These liberal Democrats are in error. Tolerance does not require a moral equivalency. Rather, it implies a willingness to recognize and respect the beliefs of others."

But leftist platitudes about "tolerance" and "diversity" notwithstanding, recognizing and respecting the beliefs of others are the last things that leftists and extremist democrats will ever do.

Woolsey's H.R. 4892 has only six congressional co-sponsors: Barbara Lee (D-CA); Jerrold Nadler (D-NY); Fortney "Pete" Stark (D-CA); Cynthia McKinney (D-GA); Eleanor Holmes Norton (Delegate, DC); Nydia Velazquez (D-NY); and John Lewis (D-GA); and John Lewis withdrew his co-sponsorship on July 27. Perhaps it bears noting that every one of the co-sponsors of Woolsey's bill, and Woolsey herself, are members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which is that group of congressmen and women that the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) — which proclaims itself to be "the largest socialist organization in the United States" — claim to work closely with, to advance their agenda.

On July 19, Woolsey's H.R. 4892 was referred to the House Committee on Judiciary; and on July 25, it was referred from there to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims. But with or without H.R. 4892, the Boy Scouts of America is now facing a concerted assault by all the forces that leftist intolerance can muster.


Legislative Text (H. R. 4892: "Scouting for All Act"):

Supreme Court Decisions:

Cornell Law School:

The above article is the property of Kim Weissman, and is reprinted with his permission.
Contact him prior to reproducing. 

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27 aug 2000