Church, State, and the Boy Scouts

by TChris

The Pentagon has agreed to instruct military bases to stop sponsoring Boy Scout troops. The action comes as partial settlement of a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Illinois.

In its suit, filed in April 1999, the ACLU of Illinois contended that because the Scouts excluded people who did not profess a belief in God, government funding of the organization violated the constitutional requirement for separation of church and state. "If our Constitution's promise of religious liberty is to be a reality, the government should not be administering religious oaths or discriminating based on religious beliefs," ACLU attorney Adam Schwartz said.

Still at issue are military expenditures to prepare property for the Boy Scout Jamboree, expenditures to support Boy Scout units on military bases overseas, and expenditures to improve Boy Scout properties, including summer camps. The suit also challenges the Department of Housing and Urban Development's allocation of bloc grants to state and local governments for the benefit of the Boy Scouts.

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