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TUESDAY, JUNE 14, 2005
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EDITORIAL

ACLU needs to leave the Boy Scouts alone

The American Civil Liberties Union does a lot of good. It has also, via its litigious campaign against the Boy Scouts of America, done a lot of harm.

The ACLU sued the BSA 14 times in 24 years. Those lawsuits denied boys across North America places to meet, camp out and develop life skills.

The ACLU's most recent threat of litigation on church-state grounds against public schools and other government agencies that charter Boy Scout groups forced the national BSA office to disassociate itself with those schools and government agencies. Many of them provided the places for troops, packs, units and their leaders to meet.

The effect is staggering.

BSA dropped 147 troops, packs and units in the 22-county North Alabama council alone. Membership declined 30 percent in the past year, including a 60 percent drop in Morgan, Limestone and Lawrence counties combined.

Membership reductions occur throughout the country.

It is important that organizations like the ACLU defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States. The ACLU deserves praise, especially for its work in preventing discrimination against society's most vulnerable members such as women, people of color and the poor.

"If the rights of society's most vulnerable members are denied, everybody's rights are imperiled," the ACLU's official Web site says.

In these days of gang warfare and rampant drug and alcohol abuse, all youths who lack access to organized, monitored, wholesome activities can easily be included among the "most vulnerable" in our society.

The ACLU should end its shortsighted campaign against the BSA.

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