The Pentagon has agreed to warn military bases worldwide that they should not directly sponsor Boy Scout troops,
partially resolving claims that the government has improperly supported a group that requires members
to believe in God.
The settlement, announced Monday, came in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, which
says American military units have sponsored hundreds of Boy Scout troops.
"If our Constitution's promise of religious liberty is to be a reality, the government should not be administering
religious oaths or discriminating based on religious beliefs," said ACLU attorney Adam Schwartz.
The Pentagon said it has long had a rule against sponsorship of non-federal organizations and denied the rule had
been violated. But it agreed to send a message to posts worldwide warning them not to sponsor Boy Scout troops or
other such groups.
The rule does not prevent service members from leading Scout troops unofficially on their own time, and Scouts will
still be able to hold meetings on areas of military bases where civilian organizations are allowed to hold events.
The settlement does not resolve other ACLU claims involving government spending that benefits the Boy Scouts, such
as money used to prepare a Virginia military base for the Boy Scout Jamboree and grants used by state and local
governments to benefit the Boy Scouts, Schwartz said.
Attorney Marcia Berman, who represented the Defense Department, declined to comment on the settlement Monday. But
Justice Department spokesman Charles Miller said the message that will be sent to bases represents "a clarification
of an existing rule that DOD personnel cannot be involved in an official capacity."
The original ACLU lawsuit named as defendants the City of Chicago, the Department of Defense and the Department of
Housing and Urban Development. The City of Chicago settled, agreeing not to engage in official sponsorship of