In case you didn’t know it, the Boy Scouts of America is a religious organization. Yep. According to the City of San Diego and the ACLU, because they advocate the value of religion, they’ve been barred from making use of San Diego’s Balboa Park. And here’s the kicker:
The city will also pay the ACLU nearly $1 million in court costs and attorney fees, which will, of course, help finance further attacks against the Boy Scouts.
This is going one step too far. The separation of church and state was intended to prevent the adoption of religion by government, not groups or individuals. Indeed, at the time the constitution was ratified and the Bill of Rights adopted, most states had official religions.
Our interpretation of the separation of church and state clause has come a long way since then. Now, it’s being used to bar groups that merely advocate or mention religion as part of their practices; the First Amendment clause is being taken to mean freedom from religion, not of.
The First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . . or the right of the people peaceably to assemble.” In this instance, Congress has made no law establishing a religion, nor have the Scouts been allowed free exercise of theirs or their right to meet in Balboa Park on land they’ve leased from the City.
The City of San Diego, you’re wrong. And to shovel money from taxpayers into the coffers of the ACLU is heinous.