December 18, 2004


Scouts' sales tactic outside ACLU becomes pop smash: After radio celebrity plugs Chesterfield troop's booth, popcorn orders top $28,000 (MARK BOWES, December 17, 2004, Richmond TIMES-DISPATCH)

A friendly jab at the American Civil Liberties Union has turned into a financial bonanza for a tiny nine-member Boy Scout troop from Chesterfield County.

Troop 828, with an unexpected boost on Wednesday from nationally syndicated talk show host Glenn Beck, watched its struggling popcorn sales explode.

Scouts at a downtown booth had to call for fresh supplies. A Web site was flooded with orders from buyers in 39 states.

At last count, sales had topped $28,000. That set a record for the Boy Scouts' Heart of Virginia Council.

Last year the troop sold less than $300 worth of popcorn.

The windfall came after Beck got wind of the Scouts' decision to set up a booth near the ACLU's Virginia headquarters in downtown Richmond.

For years the ACLU has raised legal questions as to how closely the government should be aligned with the Boy Scouts of America.

"We're kind of a conservative troop," said Scoutmaster Jim Carpenter, whose two-year-old unit meets at St. Joseph Catholic Church. "They're a very devout group of young men, and God and country are extremely important to them."

"And at one of our Monday night meetings, they decided that it would be real cool to sell popcorn in front of the ACLU. This was their idea. We're a boy-run troop."

Scouts or gays just isn't a tough choice.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 18, 2004 9:37 PM


Suh-weeeeeeeeeeeet. Thanks for posting!

Posted by: Matt Murphy at December 18, 2004 10:45 PM

Kent Willis, executive director of the Virginia ACLU, said he doesn't begrudge the Scouts for exercising their First Amendment right to free speech or using the ACLU name to generate sales. [...]

The ACLU, Willis added, isn't opposed to the Boy Scouts or their right to exist.

Get the ACLU one of these for Christmas.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at December 18, 2004 11:03 PM

For the Democrats and the Pentagon apparat it apparently is a tough choice.

Posted by: Bart at December 19, 2004 6:18 AM

Nice to see the ACLU getting embarrassed.

However, the Times Dispatch website displayed one of those fake "computer security warning" pop-up ads that, if you click on it, installs spyware or adware on your PC. Pretty sleazy, and, I hope, soon to be a felony.

Posted by: pst314 at December 19, 2004 12:30 PM

If anybody ever machine-guns an ACLU office, he will get fan mail in prison by the sackful, beyond the wildest dreams of Jack Ruby.

Posted by: Random Lawyer at December 20, 2004 1:00 AM
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