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Hans Zeiger
Sep. 21, 2004

For everyone who wishes I would quit writing about the Boy Scouts: sorry. I'm doing it again, to the probable dismay of the apparently regular reader who recently sent the following correspondence:

"dude, shut up about the boy scouts. i was boy scout, you were a boy scout--big deal. your column appears all over the internet and is presumably read by hundreds if not thousands of people each week. there are more pressing, relavent, and interesting topics you could write about than how great scouting is. it'd be one thing if you only wrote the occational column on scouting, but it seems to be all you can talk about. it makes you look like a fool (and maybe you are.) and it makes your beloved scouts look like a bunch of ideological zealot assholes. do yourself and everyone else a favor and grow up and move on." (sic)

I replied, thanking the emailer for his opinion and explaining the two reasons I continue to revisit this issue. First, I'm too young and stupid to know much about most issues, and any attempts to showcase my opinions on foreign policy, the environment, Social Security, economic policy, taxes, John Kerry's Purple Hearts, and other such complicated matters would be well beyond my credibility. Maybe once I've learned a bit more, I can write on those things. For now, I focus on what I know.

And second, that thing I know is that the Boy Scouts - a symbol of what is good and decent about American culture - are under vicious assault by forces of political correctness. There may be "more pressing, relavent (sic), and interesting topics" out there, but I'll leave those to other writers. As for me, I have an honor to defend.

And that's why I'm writing about the Boy Scouts of Norwalk, Connecticut who are being told by some Norwalk officials that they may not be able to reserve part of Shady Beach Park for a three-hour campfire and membership recruitment event on October 24. After city parks committee members Kenneth Baker and Peter Wien complained that the Boy Scouts discriminate against homosexuals and atheists, Mayor Alex Knopp asked city attorneys for an opinion about the legal precedence for denying access to local Scouts.

Even without the word of the attorneys, Norwalk Common Council President Bruce Kimmel has pledged enmity against the Boy Scouts of America. Kimmel calls the Boy Scouts commitment to traditional morality, "repugnant and discriminatory," and adds, "I would vote against [the Scouts' park reservation] as a matter of principle, period."

Norwalk, dating back to 1640, stands for the old colonial tradition, the forgotten roots of which still sustain us today. The haunted houses built after the British and Hessians burned the town in the Battle of the Rocks, the ancient cemeteries and cobbled paths of the place are legends of generations who built the nation.

It was with an eye to that mighty heritage, of which Norwalk is a part, that the Boy Scouts of America was founded 94 years ago. So in this potential rejection of the Scouts by the Norwalk Common Council, what seems a small park use permit in a small town could actually be quite a large declaration of war on the principles shared between the historic foundations of ordered liberty and the Boy Scout Oath and Law.

For Norwalk to deny the Boy Scouts' permit application to use Shady Beach Park would be more than a routine rejection of paperwork. It would be an outright assault on the moral underpinnings of the American character. It would be to aggressively favor over the ideals of moral straightness and duty to God the radical agenda of perverted activists who seek nothing less than the entire conversion of this nation to what Alan Keyes has rightly called "selfish hedonism."

Nothing in the U.S. Constitution would stop the City of Norwalk from doing whatsoever it pleases with regard to any group that applies for a park use permit. The question becomes one of principle. We should not ask that Norwalk take an explicitly favorable attitude toward the Scouts, nor should we request city opposition to homosexual or atheist groups who may also wish to utilize Shady Beach Park.

But we cannot and will not - if we wish to remain free on account of our character - tolerate continued attacks on the Boy Scouts of America. Now is the time to take action, before the City of Norwalk moves to unjustly discriminate against the Boy Scouts.

Email Norwalk Mayor Alex Knopp at - tell Mayor Knopp that the parks committee should approve a permit for the Boy Scouts to use Shady Beach Park on October 24. For it isn't wise to trample upon a Scout's honor.

Hans Zeiger is president of the Scout Honor Coalition, a Seattle Sentinel columnist, and a student at Hillsdale College.

(Enhanced for Netscape)

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