You didn't hear about it on the network news, but an interesting thing happened last summer that is worth revisiting this Fourth of July.
A Boy Scouts color guard was booed off the stage of the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles.
Imagine being one of those Scouts. The patriotic music plays, and you hold the flag high. You're just a boy, but you feel a part of history, a part of the drama of American democracy. You get that thrill of knowing you love your country and your country respects you.
Then the angry yells start, and you wonder why people are upset. And then you realize that it's you that upsets them. They don't want you on their stage. They don't want you to hold the flag. They don't want you anywhere near them.
Unfortunately, that's a feeling Boy Scouts have become familiar with.
School districts across America are now being pressured to boot the Boy Scouts out of public-school facilities.
Why? Because the Boy Scouts will not surrender their First Amendment rights to follow their religious ideals. They won't take God out of their promise. They won't allow in males who identify themselves by their sexual attraction to other males.
The Scouts have noble reasons for sticking to this policy. They also have reasons of necessity.
Another unsettling thing happened last summer. Former scoutmaster Robert Malcomb Jr., 35, of Warr Acres, Okla., pleaded guilty to 61 of 107 charges of sex abuse and was sentenced to 200 years in prison. Victims included five boys under the age of 14, including two boys allegedly molested on camping trips.
John Hemstreet, a leading promoter of the idea that the Scouts should allow homosexuals, is a convicted child molester. He is president of the Toledo, Ohio, chapters of both Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, and Scouting for All. “I have done a terrible, horrible disservice to a boy,” he told the Associated Press last summer. His homosexual activism “is one of the things I have elected to do — to do community service.”
You can understand why the Scouts don't want men who, statistically, have a high predisposition toward pedophilia, to take boys on overnight trips in the woods.
They also don't see any reason to forfeit their own conviction of what's “morally straight.” Not in America. The Supreme Court, as it turns out, agrees with them.
But none of this matters to school districts in Los Angeles, New York, Minneapolis, Seatle, Worcester, Mass., and Madison, Wis., all of whom have attempted to block Boy Scouts activities. They want to force the Scouts to take men who identify themselves by their homosexual tendencies.
People nowadays like to talk about a culture war. This can be helpful in one way: Christians have always recognized that sin is a roaring lion, prowling about, and must be fought. But it can also be a problem: In the end, we are all in this culture together, and it is our job not to defeat people, but to win them over to the truth.
However you look at it, this pitting of cultural elites against the Boy Scouts of America shows two competing views of freedom. One view wants the freedom of religion, the other wants freedom from religion. One view says that God and morality are respectable concepts; the other says that they are dangerous and exclusionary.
This July 4, we should pray that the view our nation was founded on — that government can't interfere with religious freedom — will prevail.
And we can thank God that he's made the Boy Scouts the American heroes of our time.