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Ruling Intrudes on Boy Scouts' Rights

March 13, 1994

* I disagree with your editorial "Business of Scouting" (March 2), in which you report the recent 2-1 decision of a three-judge state appeals court to force the Boy Scouts, which professes a belief in God as an organization, to admit the atheist Randall twins to membership. You argue that the Boy Scouts should just drop the case, and leave kids like the Randalls "alone" rather than insisting on extracting an oath.

The Court of Appeal decision greatly harms associational rights guaranteed to all under the First Amendment of the Constitution.

Christians, Jews, communists and homosexuals alike all have a common interest in keeping government out of decisions as to who can or cannot participate in their organizations.

Members of these groups do have a constitutional right to affiliate with each other, whether their cause is religious, political or social.

All groups, be they the Boy Scouts or the Nation of Islam, are entitled under our Constitution to establish their own values and beliefs. But when the government starts deciding who is entitled to membership in such organizations, it intrudes on this right, and threatens the freedom of not just kids who go camping, but all Americans.

JAMES V. LACY

Laguna Niguel

* Please let the first "private nonprofit organization" with no assets and no budget stand up.

This is not about business, it's about doing away with the values of a great organization by those who can't otherwise demonstrate the value of their own generic view.

C.E. HUTCHINS

Costa Mesa

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