AMERICA SPEAKS OUT
by Chuck Colson
There's good news to report from the frontlines of the culture war, where the Boy Scouts have been fighting for traditional values for many years.
First, Attorney General Janet Reno ruled last Friday that the Scouts can hold jamborees on federal land, even though the Scouts bar homosexuals from leadership positions.
Just five days before the Supreme Court, in a major decision this summer, affirmed the right of Boy Scouts not to hire homosexual scoutmasters, President Clinton issued an executive order barring discrimination against gays. Curious timing. Then he launched an investigation to see if the Boy Scouts should be barred from using federal property.
Shocking! But the witch hunt was short-lived. The news of the investigation leaked out last week and the resulting controversy forced the Administration to beat a hasty retreat. That's good news.
The other good news is that Boy Scouts enjoy the overwhelming support of the American people. One poll showed that 56 percent agree with the Supreme Court's ruling in favor of the Scouts.
In fact, the Boy Scouts are in more demand today than ever. According to a Washington Times report, membership is nearing record levels, with more than 6.2 million participants. That's a 7 percent increase in just three years. The last time the Scouts had this much activity was back in the early seventies.
But it gets even better. Believe it or not, the fastest growing metropolitan Boy Scout Council in America is in San Francisco-the very heart of homosexual activism. The politically correct power structure there refuses to let Scouts use public property because of their commitment to remain "morally straight."
But despite the persecution-or maybe because of it-the San Francisco Bay Area Council has 46,300 Boy Scouts, an astounding 28 percent growth rate in just two years.
Commenting on the situation, Scout spokesman Gregg Shields told The Washington Times, "Our mission is to help people's character grow and to make ethical decisions. We feel strongly that parents wanttheir children exposed to the kinds of things Boy Scouts are teaching."
The experience of the Boy Scouts is a powerful reminder of the disconnect between grassroots America and the so-called elites. Radical homosexual groups have pressured corporations, cities, and charities to drop their support of scouting. The major media have ridiculed the Scouts, and an honor guard of Eagle Scouts was actually booed at the Democratic National Convention. Imagine how those kids must have felt.
Yet the American people have spoken, and the Scouts are blossoming because parents want to teach their sons how to be men, and that means, in part, standing up for bedrock principles regardless of the consequences.
Stories like this are one reason why I remain optimistic in these difficult times. There's a quiet backlash underway all across America against the moral relativism that has destroyed so many lives. Americans, instinctively, are searching for the things of God.
And just think of the quality of leadership we'll have when these Scouts, who've been trained under adverse conditions, grow up to be men. I say, God bless them all, and God bless Americans for standing with them.