The Boy Scouts v. Dale

On yesterday's broadcast, I asked BreakPoint listeners to join me in two days of fasting and prayer. The reason is that the Supreme Court is hearing arguments in two landmark cases this month that may well determine who will win the battle for our nation's soul. The first, involving partial-birth abortion, will be heard on April 25th. And the second, Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, will be heard on April 26th. The Scout case involves a homosexual man, James Dale, who was dismissed as an assistant Scoutmaster after publicly announcing that he's gay. The Scouts' honor code, dating back to its founding in 1908, upholds sexual purity among its members, and James Dale publicly defied that code. When he was dismissed, Dale invoked a New Jersey law that, he argued, requires the Scouts to let him keep his position. The law forbids discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in places of "public accommodation." Well, the Scouts are a private organization, but the liberal New Jersey Court declared them a public accommodation and ordered the local troop to comply with Dale's demands. To justify this outrageous conclusion, they observed that the Scouts build membership by advertising. They also argued that reaching out to all boys and sending invitations to the general public makes them, by default, a public organization. So, despite Dale's disregard for scouting's moral code, the justices ordered he be reinstated. And now the case is on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Make no mistake: What's at issue here is not gay rights. It is the right of the Boy Scouts to define their own moral standards, and the right of free association guaranteed in the Constitution. If they lose this case, many churches and schools will be obliged to reconsider their long-standing association with scouting. And, indeed, the future of the Scouts will be in question, since a strong moral code is central to their mission of instilling virtue and honor in young men. But there's even more at stake in this case. For, if the Court holds the Scouts to be a public accommodation, think where that leads us. Such a law could be invoked by liberal judges to require churches to hire homosexual pastors. After all, churches are open to the public, aren't they? And Christian non-profits, including Prison Fellowship, could be affected as well. We issue a general invitation to participate in our various programs. In fact, we welcome people to come into our programs. Ultimately, Boy Scouts of America v. Dale is about our most basic freedoms: of conscience, of association, and of religion. And we need to let the Court know how we feel about this issue. So I'm asking BreakPoint listeners to join me in fasting and prayer for the Supreme Court as it hears these two important cases, on April 25th and 26th. Ask your friends to join us, too. And then let your voice be heard. Talk about this with your friends, write letters to the editor—and write to your congressmen. The Supreme Court does pay attention to public debate. Call us here at BreakPoint [800-995-8777], or visit our website [], for a copy of a prayer guide that will help you understand why these are not run-of-the-mill cases. What's at stake are the most basic freedoms we enjoy here in America.


Chuck Colson


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