We have commented on the Boy Scouts’ fight to retain access to a public park in San Diego here, here, here and here. The power arrayed against the Scouts has, so far, been overwhelming, and their lonely battle has seemed doomed. Now, the United States Department of Justice has intervened in the Scouts’ lawsuit on their behalf:
The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division submitted a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the Boy Scouts in a 4-year-old federal case in San Diego. At issue is whether the Scouts should be allowed to rent land in public parks because they are a religious institution that discriminates against atheists and gays.
Justice Department attorneys argued that the Boy Scouts are not a religious institution and the Scouts’ lease of land on Fiesta Island, a public park, where the they run a youth aquatic center does not violate the U.S. Constitution.
“Quite simply, the Boy Scouts of America is not a church, and canoeing, kayaking and swimming are not religious activities,” said R. Alexander Acosta, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division. “Boy Scouts should not be prohibited from using public lands on an equal basis with other youth groups.”
M. Andrew Woodmansee, who is representing the ACLU in the case, said the Justice Department’s intervention was part of the Bush administration’s “far-right political agenda” intended to help rally conservatives before a presidential election.
Do you suppose that a Kerry Justice Department would intervene in favor of equal treatment of the Boy Scouts? Of course not. Like the ACLU, John Kerry and the people he would appoint to the Justice Department consider the Boy Scouts and their camping and canoeing activities to be a “far right” phenomenon, to be suppressed at all costs.