Washington (CNSNews.com) - Texas Gov. Rick Perry, an Eagle Scout himself, is now the father of an Eagle Scout. And that's just one reason it worries him to see the Boy Scouts of America under attack.
He described the Boy Scouts organization as a moral beacon for the rest of the country, adding that's why it has become a target for the secular left.
"The venerable institution of the Boy Scouts of America, with its clearly-stated belief in God, adherence to a strict moral code and steadfast focus on shaping young men, is the trophy buck that the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) and their friends would like to hang above the fireplace," Perry said on Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington.
Perry is the author of a book entitled "On My Honor," about the attacks the Boy Scouts are facing from left-wing organizations. He said the proceeds from the book would go to the organization's legal defense fund.
Perry began his speech by calling for more "transparency and accountability" in government, and he echoed the call of other CPAC speakers to rally around likely GOP presidential nominee John McCain. But it was Perry's comments about the Boy Scouts that generated the most reaction from the crowd.
The scouts have won court battles against the ACLU, which attempted to force the organization to accept homosexual scout masters and abandon adherence to a belief in God.
"Now, the secular left has shifted its attacks to public entities that have sponsored scout events at city parks, public schools, even the Department of Defense," Perry said. "They have gone after anyone with access to public funds to prevent them from providing space to the Boy Scouts.
"Friends, it saddens me to say, they are winning some of these lawsuits," Perry continued. "In some instances, just the threat of a lawsuit has compelled certain public organizations to close their doors to the scouts. In other instances, city officials sympathetic to the secular agenda are creating new policies that ban access to city facilities for scouts."
In one instance, the Boy Scouts were evicted from a facility in Philadelphia that they had rented for one dollar a year for almost a century. The city told the scouts they would have to pay fair market value -- $300,000 a year -- unless the Boy Scouts renounced its policy on excluding openly homosexual scoutmasters. The scouts declined and were forced from the building.
"You know what is amazing about that?" Perry went on. "The scouts actually built that facility more than 80 years ago and gave it to the city for free." That prompted boos from the crowd.
"We have to protect the Scouts. We want it to be around for another 100 years teaching young men the value of being trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent," he said to a standing ovation.
"They are our future leaders, future husbands and future fathers. We'll need their influence then, so we need [to come to] their defense now."
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