December 20, 2001 11:00 pm

A Multnomah County Circuit Court judge ruled this week that Portland schools illegally discriminated against atheist students by allowing the Boy Scouts to recruit during school hours, and state officials are wrong to allow the practice to continue. Judge Ellen Rosenblum has ordered Stan Bunn, superintendent of public instruction for Oregon, to halt the practice.

Rosenblums order states that the Portland School District is discriminating against students, which is untrue.

The lawsuit was brought by the atheist mother of an 11-year-old child, Remington Powell. What a shame that our public schools should have to be directed by a mother, one little boy and an overzealous attorney. No wonder thousands of parents in Oregon have opted out of public education in favor of educating their children at home.

This same kind of attitude on the part of a few prompted the Portland School District to refuse military recruiters to come on school campuses to discuss military service with students.

The Boy Scouts of America do wonderful work with millions of young people across the country. They provide an opportunity for youngsters to learn valuable skills and build their character as they participate in the activities that are offered.

It is too bad that the Remington boy is being subjected to this kind of public display. Perhaps his mother should learn to let him deal with interaction with others by joining the Boy Scouts and refusing to verbalize the phrase in the Scout oath that talks about duty to God. Will his mother try and use her son next to repudiate the Pledge of Allegiance, which also includes a reference to God? Does his mother not use American currency to make purchases? After all in God we trust is printed on our money.

Everyone is entitled to his or her beliefs. Many Americans are opposed to war. Should the judges be allowed to stop the military from trying to root out terrorist camps in Afghanistan because some disagree with this action? Our democracy works on the principle that the majority rules. Unfortunately this is lost somewhere in our court system and on individuals who believe their opinion is more important than the majoritys.

Bunn should stand his ground and refuse to follow the order of a judge who is out of touch with the majority of public opinion. If not, then we should expect the public school system to continue to lose more and more children.

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