I was about to give a better-late-than-never cheer to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) for indicating on Jan. 28 that it might reconsider its nationwide ban on gay scouts and leaders. But it took only a day of outrage by religious leaders for the BSA to back pedal. On Jan. 29, the BSA refused even the small step of letting local sponsors decide whether to continue their abominable policy of deeming gay teenagers too “immoral” to participate in Boy Scout activities.
That’s bad enough. Unfortunately, the BSA’s discrimination against boys and leaders who are atheists was never even on the reconsideration agenda, apparently because the Boy Scout Oath implies that an atheist can’t be “morally straight” unless he can do his “duty to God.” Using this twisted logic, a number of courageous and honest atheists have been kicked out of the Scouts for rejecting all supernatural beliefs. Among them was my friend Darrell Lambert, an Eagle Scout, who had been supported by his entire troop.
Cut to the military, which now allows gays and has always allowed atheists to serve openly and honorably. See, for instance, the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers. However, even atheists with an honorable discharge are not deemed fit to serve as Boy Scout leaders. This brings to mind Pat Tillman, who left an outstanding professional football career after the 9/11 attacks to volunteer as an Army Ranger. Had Pat survived, even he would have been excluded from Boy Scout leadership.
After several combat tours, Pat Tillman died in Afghanistan, becoming a poster boy for the heroic activities of the military. Tillman’s family was as honest as he, and worked diligently to uncover the Army’s lies surrounding his death. Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Kauzlarich, under whom Tillman was serving at the time of his death, said about the Tillman family. “These people have a hard time letting it go. It may be because of their religious beliefs.” He added, “When you die, I mean, there is supposedly a better life, right? Well, if you are an atheist and you don’t believe in anything, if you die, what is there to go to? Nothing. You are worm dirt. So for their son to die for nothing and now he is no more… I do not know how an atheist thinks, I can only imagine that would be pretty tough.”
Written By: Herb Silvermancontinue to source article at washingtonpost.com