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Activist Groups Urge Obama to Reject Boy Scout Honor

From Fox News:

Activist groups, including Scouting for All, urge President Obama not to accept the honorary Presidency of the Boy Scouts of America until they stop discriminating.


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Oregon high court rules for Scouts, against atheist mother

09/08/2006
By TIM FOUGHT /Associated Press
The Oregon Supreme Court rejected Friday the discrimination claim of an atheist whose son was required to attend a Boy Scout recruiting session in a Portland public school.

The Scout oath requires members "to do my duty to God and my country," but simply providing information to pupils in public schools isn't discrimination under Oregon Law, the court said.

Reversing a lower court, the justices denied the claim of Nancy Powell, whose son, Remington, was in elementary school when the dispute began in 1996. He is now a junior in a Portland high school, a lawyer in the case said.

The justices said the recruiting process on school grounds treats all students the same.

"It is in the later enrollment in the organization that the Boy Scouts differentiate among those who do not profess a belief in the deity and those who do," the court said. "That enrollment, however, is not done by the school district, nor is it done in any public elementary school activity."

Dissenting, Justice Rives Kistler said the Scouts' offer "appeared to be open to all the elementary school children without limitation," but that wasn't the case.

"That offer, both in fact and in operation, divided the elementary school children into two groups: those whose religious views agreed with the Scouts' views and those whose views did not," he wrote.

David Fidanque, executive director of the Oregon ACLU, whose lawyers argued for the Powells, called the decision "shameful" and "callous."

He pointed to a footnote in which the court said it didn't see how state law "prohibits an organization, even a hate group, from making a neutral presentation to students, or how such a presentation, even by a hate group, necessarily would subject a person to differential treatment or discrimination."

He said the Powells were disappointed by the decision but were pleased that one result of the long case has been to prompt some schools to prohibit the recruiting.

 

 

 

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