Boy Scouts Head Back to Court to Challenge Ruling

April 6, 2006

Pentagon lawyers will be in a Chicago court this morning to appeal a decision that blocks the military from giving money to the Boy Scouts of America. The Pentagon has long given the Scouts funding for its National Boy Scout Jamboree, held every four years at a military base in Virginia.

A judge ruled last year in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and a retired Chicago minister. They argued the Boy Scouts is ineligible to receive government money because it's a religious organization. The ACLU says the Boy Scouts require members to pledge a "duty to God," which excludes atheists and agnostics from participating in the Jamboree.

George Davidson sits on the Boy Scouts' national council. He says the Pentagon's funding of the Boy Scout's Jamboree campout is rooted in helping the nation, not a private group.

Davidson says, "The support for the Jamboree has absolutely nothing to do with religion and everything to do with having a stronger military in this country."

The Jamboree was started in 1937 and hosts tens of thousands of scouts in a tent city. Last year, the event pumped about $17 million into Virginia's economy.