‘On My Honor’ blames ACLU for leftist push to accept gays
AUSTIN The governor of Texas argues in a new book that attacks on the Boy Scouts are the latest front in a "culture war" and the moral struggle for the country’s future.
Gov. Rick Perry recently launched a book tour promoting "On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts Are Worth Fighting For."
In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, Perry said his support of the Boy Scouts is "intensely personal."
"Scouting teaches young men the responsibilities of freedom, it teaches them how to be leaders. It instills character, it instills courage," Perry said.
The book extols the virtues of the Boy Scouts and its impact on Perry as he was growing up in rural Paint Creek. "Life revolved around school, church, and for most boys the Boy Scouts," Perry wrote.
Perry would eventually achieve Scouting’s highest honor, Eagle Scout, as would his son Griffin years later. Perry often wears his Eagle Scout lapel pin.
The book also traces a 30-year history of litigation involving the Scouts most of which they won which Perry considers an attack on traditional values and faith in God.
Perry, a Republican, targets the American Civil Liberties Union as the primary force behind a leftist push to accept homosexuality and challenge Scouting’s duty to God.
"The ACLU and its allies seemed determined to force the Boy Scouts to bend to their version of what is right and wrong," he writes.
If intimidation and the threat of lawsuits succeed, Perry writes, "the culture war will be lost before we know it. If that happens, we will find ourselves living in a world where moral relativism reigns and individualism runs amok."
Several officials with the ACLU said they are aware of Perry’s book but have not read it.
"Our issues aren’t with the Boy Scouts per se, but they are with issues of tolerance in general," said Lisa Graybill of the ACLU of Texas.
On homosexuality, Perry says he is tolerant of gays he knows: "I believe in valuing their lives like any other, as our God in Heaven does," and is open to the idea that sexual preference may be genetic.
But he says any discussion of sex heterosexual or homosexual has no place in scouting.
"Most Americans have a live-and-let-live view about homosexuality," Perry writes. "Scouting’s leaders have the same tolerant view, but they do not believe that someone whose personal agenda is to make an open issue of his sexual orientation should be a Scout leader. Scouting is not about sex, but about building character … The Boy Scouts is not the proper intersection for a debate over sexual preference."
Perry wrote the book last year with Eric Bearse, his former communications director who left the governor’s office to start his own consulting firm.
The two have worked together since Bearse joined Perry’s campaign for lieutenant governor in 1998.
"On My Honor" is published by Stroud & Hall of Macon, Ga., which specializes in books from a conservative viewpoint. Stroud & Hall would not release how many of the books are in print. All net proceeds go to the Boy Scouts of America.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 29, 2008.