Saturday, December 23, 2006

BSA's legal campaign for government discrimination

The legal team repeatedly makes the argument that government refusal to subsidize their organization is discrimination against the BSA's constitutionally protected first amendment free expression right. Citing other organizations that receive government subsidies, BSA complains that BSA is being unfairly singled out. Are BSA's arguments correct? No, their arguments are nonsensical.

It is true that BSA is being penalized for restricting its membership to theists. It is also true that many thousands of non-profit organizations are similarly penalized by being disqualified from receiving government subsidies because they are also partisan organizations. By definition, membership organizations that restrict membership to those who profess certain beliefs, such as BSA, are partisan organizations. The membership organizations cited by BSA that qualify to receive government subsidies do not restrict membership based on creed. So BSA's argument that they are being singled out for discriminatory treatment is false. It is actually just the opposite, the ongoing government subsidies to BSA are discriminating against the thousands of other organizations that are disqualified from receiving such government benefits because of the partisanship of their programs.

Free expression is compromised when government subsidizes only one side of a multi-sided set of competing creeds. Accordingly, the only practical way for government to avoid discriminating against some partisan viewpoints is to refuse to subsidize all partisan non-profit organizations. Subsidizing theist only Boy Scouts unfairly favors pro-theist and anti-atheist expression over pro-atheist and anti-theist expression. If BSA were really concerned about the constitutionally protected right of free expression, as they claim, then they would be advocating government subsidies for pro-atheist and anti-theist viewpoints to match the government subsidies that BSA receives. Of course, BSA is not seeking equal government subsidies for each of the viewpoints that are in opposition to BSA's. Thus, BSA's argument that government is infringing free expression rights by refusing to provide BSA with subsidies is self-serving and bogus.

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