The ACLU needs a
new summer camp for its young folks, preferably in San Diego's Balboa Park.
The PC Scouts, as we'll call them, will head off to Balboa to obtain Rights
Badges (as opposed to merit badges) and learn the meaning of the PC scout
Oath: "On my self-esteem, I will do whatever feels good for myself; And to
question authority, To help myself at all times, To keep myself physically
gratified, Mentally interested, And morally tolerant."
But the ACLU has a bit of a problem: the coveted camp in Balboa Park is currently
being used by the Boy Scouts of America, the arch-enemy of the ACLU. In order
to train up a vast new generation of PC scouts, the ACLU must figure out
a way to move the Boy Scouts out of Balboa Park (and out of the rest of America
On Thursday, the ACLU came much closer to its goal. The landlord of the Boy
Scout camp in Balboa Park, the City of San Diego, switched sides from supporting
the Boy Scouts to supporting the ACLU in its quest to destroy the Scouts.
As settlement of an ACLU lawsuit against the City of San Diego and the Scouts,
the City of San Diego decided to abandon the Scouts in their appeal to remain
in Balboa Park.
Last July, U.S. District Judge Napoleon Jones ruled that the Boy Scouts of
America is a religious organization. Their presence in Balboa Park was considered
a violation of the separation of church and state. Because the Scouts believe
in God, said Judge Jones, there is "overwhelming and uncontradicted evidence"
that the Scouts have received preferential treatment in being able to lease
Under terms of the new settlement, San Diego must request Judge Jones to
cancel the Boy Scouts' lease on Balboa Park. 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.
Now that the City of San Diego has given up on the Boy Scouts of America,
a nearly 90-year relationship has come to an end. It began after the 1915
San Diego World's Fair in Balboa Park when the Santa Fe Railroad donated
its Pueblo Indian Village to local Boy Scouts with approval by the San Diego
Parks Commission. For 25 years, the Scouts used the Indian Village as a headquarters
and recreation site free of charge. During World War Two, the military took
possession of Balboa Park and the Boy Scouts launched their volunteer campaigns
to help the war effort from a makeshift headquarters in a local theater.
At the end of the war, the San Diego City Council passed a resolution authorizing
the Boy Scouts to take charge of several acres of land in Balboa Park. Through
fundraising and volunteer work, a state-of-the-art swimming pool and a 600-seat
outdoor amphitheater were constructed. In 1949, the Boy Scouts Desert Pacific
Council headquarters building was completed.
Parts of Balboa Park remained undeveloped by 1957, so the city council agreed
to transfer additional property to the Boy Scouts for maintenance and operations.
A fifty-year lease was signed with a rental fee of one dollar per year.
Today, Camp Balboa accommodates up to 300 campers at a time, and it offers
a variety of year-round programs. Each year, 12,000 Boy Scouts take part
in day camps, weekend camps, and merit badge classes.
But the Boy Scouts don't have exclusive access to their own camp. Anyone
can use it. Last summer, the two-day San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender
Pride Festival was held at Balboa Park.
And the Boy Scouts take good care of Balboa Park. The Scouts have spent millions
of dollars developing and maintaining the public park over the years, without
burden to the city and its taxpayers. In the language of free market think
tanks, that's a classic public-private partnership.
The ACLU cares nothing about saving taxpayers money, nor that the Scouts
perform millions of dollars and thousands of hours worth of public service
for the San Diego community, nor about the fact that the Scouts have been
in the park for most of nine decades. The ACLU simply wants to destroy the
Boy Scouts of America.
The ACLU is celebrating the capitulation of the City of San Diego. Now the
Boy Scouts are left quite alone in a hostile court system to appeal the ruling
of Judge Jones. It is likely they'll be kicked out of their historic camp
for good if Americans don't act fast.
The Boy Scouts need our help. Citizens of San Diego must pack the next city
council meeting and express their disapproval of this hideous surrender to
the ACLU. Congress must immediately seek the impeachment of Judge Napoleon
Jones who ruled that the Boy Scouts cannot have dealings with government
because the Scouts is a religious organization.
And the Boy Scouts need help with legal bills. Americans from coast to coast must send checks to the Boy Scouts and to the Scouting Legal Defense Fund.
The Boy Scouts have done plenty of good turns for San Diego. Now it is time
for San Diego -- and all of America -- to do a good turn for the Boy Scouts.
Hans Zeiger is a Seattle Times
columnist and conservative activist. He is president of the Scout Honor Coalition
and a student at Hillsdale College in Michigan.