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Letter from Ed - Be Prepared
Opinion piece on the Boy Scouts Supreme Court case.

By Dr. Ed Brindley
Date Posted: 12/1/2000

Be Prepared!

"On my honor I will do my best to do my dutyto God and my country and to obey the Scout law; To help other people at alltimes; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morallystraight."

I remember so vividly the privilege of speakingthese words. My scouting experience is one of the highlights of my youth. I amone of those fortunate people who can look back to my formative years withfondness. My life was deeply sculpted and shaped by my family, church andspiritual life, my school, musical experiences, and scouting.

Although I did not realize it at the time, I cannow look back and praise the Lord for the many leaders and mentors who deeplyinfluenced my young life. My high school was one of the best college preparatoryschools (probably the best) in the Mid-South part of the country. While theMethodist church I attended was not prominent, my friends in the youth groupwere very special; our spiritual values were important.

My Scout troop...ohhhh my Scout troop! Troop 13was known throughout the Chickasaw Council. When we showed up, the other troopsmight as well pack their bags if a contest was at hand. A corp of four or fiveScout masters guided the troop, molding the physical, mental, and spiritualcharacters of my fellow Scouts. They helped me learn to trust God and believe inmy ability when in His will.

As an Eagle Scout and patrol leader of thelargest and leading patrol, I always felt that our program was secure. We couldcount on our good, moral leaders and the sponsoring church to provide theleadership and financial support needed for our program. Troop 13 producednumerous Eagle Scouts and many fine young men. Those I have followed went on tobecome responsible citizens.

The Scout motto is "Be Prepared." Thesetwo powerful and meaningful words set the tone. We learned many lessons thatcarried over into all aspects of our lives. I believe that the time invested byour leaders and the support of the church were some of the best investments evermade in the young Scouts of Troop 13.

A recent five to four Supreme Court ruling statedthat the Boy Scouts of America has a constitutional right to exclude gays asmembers and troop leaders. The significance of this ruling reflects directly onour right to believe as our spirits, souls, and consciences dictate. I am notwriting to preach on the subject of homosexuality. Rather, I believe that wehave a right to support our standards without having to march to some vague,wishy-washy, politically correct concept that can blow with the wind. We havethe inherent right for individuals and organizations to choose. I am appalledthat such a case should be considered by the Supreme Court. A one vote shift,which could happen with a different court, could have reversed the decisionwhich will affect virtually every organization in our society.

Since the Supreme Court ruling, the Scoutingorganization as we know it has come under some pretty intense fire. For example,Broward County, Fla., Broward County’s United Way, and the cities of MiamiBeach, Wilton Manors and Fort Lauderdale have severed relationships with the BoyScouts of America. A variety of school districts scattered across the countryhave withdrawn their support of the Scouts, an established organization that hasan 85 year history of working to establish good values in our young men. The BoyScouts deserves our support.

At stake is both our right to take the moralroute and the ability to support this right with our organizations. If ourschools and churches fail to continue supporting moral organizations, what isahead for our society? My younger son Chaille put it this way, "We will getwhat we deserve."

I encourage readers to support our right todecide how our society will function – to decide how we as individuals and ourchurches, schools, and government as institutions can stand behind what ismorally right. It may mean opening our billfolds, using our voices, and castingour votes to see to it that valuable organizations, such as the Boy Scouts,continue to thrive. Otherwise our very society is at risk.

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