Tags: Boy | Scouts | Not | Welcome | Olympics

Boy Scouts Not Welcome at Olympics

Thursday, 07 February 2002 12:00 AM

Tomorrow marks the opening ceremonies for the winter games, but it turns out that the Boy Scouts from the Great Salt Lakes Council will not be on hand to assist in the myriad functions necessary for a successful event.

Today during a telephone conversation, Earl Armstrong, Director of Field Services for the council, said "our scouts won’t be participating in any official capacity” though some did help erect temporary fencing.

He first said that there was a rule prohibiting "political involvement.”

When asked if that rule was an Olympic edict, Armstrong replied, "No, there is a Boy Scout rule against getting involved in ‘politics’ ” and then related a situation with President Ronald Reagan as an example.

"Reagan wanted some Boy Scouts to be up on stage at some event and we couldn’t because of the rule,” he said.

Of course that sounds like an incredibly tall tale, especially considering the episode in Los Angeles at the 2000 Democrat convention when an Eagle Scout honor guard contingent was treated derisively by many of the delegates.

If that’s not a "political” event, then what is?

In response to the observation that the Olympics didn’t seem to be "political” in any way, Armstrong agreed but then added rather sheepishly that "volunteers had to be at least eighteen years of age.”

That’s the same excuse offered by the Salt Lake City Olympic Organizing Committee and its head Mitt Romney when the issue was first raised about Boy Scout participation.

It seems clear that this is not something the Great Salt Lake Council is pleased with, but to which it is reluctantly resigned.

How hypocritical is it that actual Olympians - including U.S. athletes in attendance in Salt Lake City - can compete in the games as teens or even pre-teens, but Boy Scouts of the same age are precluded from volunteering?

Sounds like yet another case of discrimination against the Boy Scouts of America for standing up and taking a position in which it strongly believes and one which the Supreme Court has declared is within their constitutional rights.

This Olympiad has been marked by controversy from the beginning, with the payoff scandal involving the sighting committee, to the flap over the presentation of the World Trade Center flag, to the continuing effort to exclude the Boy Scouts of America.

Not exactly the way to set an example for the youth of the world and yet another example of the politically correct International Olympic Committee tearing down the very principles of character, sportsmanship and clean competition they profess to embody.

Dan Frisa, an Eagle Scout, represented New York in the United States Congress and served four terms in the New York State Assembly. E-mail Dan:

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Tomorrow marks the opening ceremonies for the winter games, but it turns out that the Boy Scouts from the Great Salt Lakes Council will not be on hand to assist in the myriad functions necessary for a successful event. Today during a telephone conversation, Earl Armstrong,...
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2002-00-07
Thursday, 07 February 2002 12:00 AM
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