Boy Scouts and the ACLU: A War of Worldviews

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Byron Barlowe — In a gang-ridden section of Dallas, 13-year-old Jose saw a Boy Scouts recruiting poster. That started Jose's improbable climb to Scouting's highest rank of Eagle and a life of beating the odds. He said this about Scoutmaster Mike Ross: "He was a father figure watching over me, the first time I felt it from someone other than my [single] mom."

In February 2010, the Boy Scouts of America, or BSA, celebrated a century of building traditional values into nearly 100 million youths like Jose through adults like Mr. Ross. The original Boy Scouts began in England in 1907. The Prime Minister said the new movement was "potentially 'the greatest moral force the world has ever known'." Yet surprisingly, there are those who would gut the movement of its culture-shaping distinctives.

In this article we take a look at the warring worldviews of The BSA and its arch-enemy, The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). In his book On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts Are Worth Fighting For, Texas governor and Eagle Scout Rick Perry writes, "The institutions we saw as bulwarks of stability—such as the Scouts—are under steady attack by groups that seem intent upon remaking (if not replacing) them in pursuit of a very different [worldview]." In a crusade to elevate the minority viewpoints of girls who want entry, as well as atheists and gay activists, the ACLU's unending efforts to ensure inclusiveness undermine the very Scout laws and oath that make it strong—commitment to virtues like kindness, helpfulness and trustworthiness. This is no less than a war of worldviews.

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"I've been involved in The Boy Scouts of America from age 8 to 48—from Cubs to Scouts, as a professional and a volunteer. It's in my blood. During those years, the BSA has been embroiled in legal battles that cut to the core of its worldview and threaten freedoms of participants. I explore that from a Christian perspective."

Byron is a research associate and Probe's Web coordinator. After college, he served 20 years with Campus Crusade for Christ), eight years as editor and Webmaster Leadership University ( His wife, Dianne, served 25 years with Crusade and now homeschools their rambunctious pre-teen triplets. Byron is passionate about "soc-net" and is considering having his phone surgically attached to his body.

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