Boy Scouts

October 30th, 2002 7:32 PM

This one hits close to home; “Atheist Eagle Scout Gets Ultimatum”:

“Last week, Lambert was given roughly a week by the Boy Scouts’ regional executive to declare belief in a supreme being and comply with Boy Scout policy, or quit the Scouts. The official and Lambert were to talk again this week regarding Lambert’s answer, although a definite date hadn’t been set by Tuesday.

“‘We’ve asked him to search his heart, to confer with family members, to give this great thought,’ Brad Farmer, the Scout executive of the Chief Seattle Council of the Boy Scouts, told The Sun of Bremerton. ‘If he says he’s an avowed atheist, he does not meet the standards of membership.’”

I’m torn on this, being an eagle scout. On one hand, I can support the position of not wanting to associate with an organization that doesn’t want you as a member. But the boy scouts, for the most part (asside from being a para-military conservative organization), encourages issues I believe are worthwhile: morality, conservation, philanthropy. Yet issues like this, where the BSA explicitly expresses the belief that athiests (and gays) are unwelcome, frustrates me. The closed-mindedness that leads to these positions, in my mind, goes against the very foundation of the boy scouts.


The Klu Klux Klan did charity and promoted Christian values for white people in the south. The Nazi’s also made the trains run on time.

Granted they also lynched and executed thousands to millions of people.

Hate the sin, not the sinner.

Posted by: Tim K on October 30th, 2002 10:10 PM

Wow, comparing the Boy Scouts with the KKK is a pretty big stretch! :) I was in the boy scouts for about 2 weeks (long story), but in hindsight, it was the structure that bothered me most. Why could they have an organization that supported the same values without having such a crazy hiarchical structure. Derek told me about another org he was in called The Explorers or something which sounded much less structured. The issue of whether to allow athiests in is a tough one. On one hand, an organization should be allowed to have a certain alignment and make that alignment part of joining, but on other hand, its sad that an organization as widespread and good as the boy scouts can’t be more tollerant of different peoples beliefs. Of course, we all understand this is a particularly sticky issue because it deals with children and who is teaching them. So the real trick comes in when a parent sends his kids off to an org with specific expectations. One belief I DO have is that no child should be barred from the boy scouts for any reason, whether athiest or gay. I do understand that standards for leaders are and should be different than the standards for the kids. ie. A kid with a drug problem should not be prevented from participating. A leader with a drug problem is another thing. In the end I have to state my firm belief that I can’t decide what I believe in this matter.

Posted by: wonko on October 31st, 2002 5:22 PM

Begin Flame… Funny you bring up the KKK. While writing my blog entry I almost started a rant about how if they want to get rid of gays and Athiests why not just go the full nine and get rid of jewish and black people, but I didn’t think it was worth writing such flame bait. …End Flame

Honestly though, the BSA is a private organization, so honestly they can do whatever they want. However, as I mentioned in my blog, based on decisions that the BSA’s administration has made over the last decade I am hesitant to encourage my future childrem to join such organization. IMO, it’s just bad PR, especially in such a fast changing world. Teach kids good values and encourage them with positive reinforcement, but don’t punish them for their lifestyles unless they are against the law.

Posted by: slugworth on October 31st, 2002 7:05 PM

Yes, they are a private organization, and yes, they can do what they want. However, regardless of the legality of the situation, it pisses me off when their espoused values conflict. If they were a christian organization, then not allowing athiests and gays would be fine (fine in that it would be clear that they were just fucked up). But they aren’t a christian organization: they allow people with all sorts of beliefs in. By being open to anyone with a conception of a higher power, the gay thing is obviously problematic, as is the question of what constitutes a “higher” power. How about a political or military power? Language quickly becomes a real problem here.

Posted by: kasei on October 31st, 2002 7:35 PM

I do not know much about the Boy Scouts, considering I am a girl and not allowed in the organization. However, I respect the “guy thing” and a need for an organization that bonds boys with other boys (kind of ironic huh?). I understand there needs to be rules, and a bit of discipline in such an organization, but it should also be a group that teaches diversity, acceptance, and team work. They exclude girls, but talk or reference to girls is probably allowed. Same with the boys’ preferences. They should be able to share their differences and thoughts about the world and each other, without bad-mouthing those differences or preferences. However, I would feel wrongly excluded for my preference, if I were gay or athiest, especially if I were “a boy.” Anyway, just ranting, I feel overall, that the Boy Scouts of America has nothing to do with sex and religion, but more with guts, nature, nurture, and a bit of ego establishing. Don’t you think the more open-minded the organization, the better the teacher, leader, and team member? Well, Boy Scouts of America will probably add more and more restrictions to the organization, the more accepting and liberal the world becomes. Are Mormons, whos family practices polygamy, allowed? We will soon find out.

Posted by: christie on November 3rd, 2002 2:45 PM

An interesting part of this is WHY Darrell BECAME an athiest. He said he became an athiest when exposed to evolution in jr. high science class. He was lied to in science class and believed the lie. When people believe lies hardship eventually follows. Why is evolution required by law to be taught in all public schools? All law is someone’s morality. It is the new religion - secularism, a religion without a god. It demands total allegiance and will tolerate no competition. The result is anti-theist brainwashing! Everything can be explained without a Supreme Being. NO ONE has EVER seen any proof of molecules-to-man evolution. It is a belief system, yet it is taught as a fact. In the past 100 years athiesm has killed 100s of millions of people. More than all so-called ‘religious’ wars combined! Ask your science teacher about the ‘problems with evolution’ and see what kind of response you get. The truth IS out there. MPH

Posted by: MPH on November 14th, 2003 10:54 AM