From gay members to atheist scouts: The Boy Scouts America deserves


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 Silverman
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  1. Well there is a shock…the religious using emotional blackmail and probably not so veiled threat no doubt!

    Bunch of spineless bigots.
    So sure of their own interpretation of life yet so shit scared and pompously hysterical to put it to the test.
    Deep shame on them…

    Morally and ethically corrupt to the core.

  2. BSA is outmoded, outdated, and outright nasty. In an inane display of not being able to think for themselves, they made an announcement that they then had to rescind due to pressure from outside agencies. Yes, folks, all their slogans are bullshit as is evidenced by their own inability to stand by one single slogan that they, themselves, proffer as being correct.

    From their motto: “Be Prepared”…. they clearly were not prepared for their own “coming out” party. They were not prepared to handle the pathway that they, themselves chose. And, when the “going got tough” they IMMEDIATELY buckled.

    To their oath: “On my honor, I will do my best….”
    Indeed, honor. What honor is there in making a decision and then caving in to pressure from bigots?

    “….. to do my duty to God and my country and obey the scout law….”
    Here, they look to change their law, which logically means that they think the old law is WRONG… The God part is dubious at best, but if that is their belief, they are entitled. The country is clearly swinging towards tolerance (and they were going to as well until they listen to bigots).

    “….to help other people at all times….”
    Yeah right. This doesn’t even warrant comment.

    “….to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”
    I’ll concede the physically strong point and ask a question. Mentally awake and morally straight??? WTF world are you living in if your idea of being awake is to sleep through a revolution?

    Even their slogan “Do a good turn daily…” Is clearly not being adhered to by the leaders of the group.

    Hopefully, this is their death rattle.

  3. I enjoyed my years in the BSA- mostly the weekend camping that allowed me a chance to get out of my religous, homophobic home as well as learning about the natural world.

    After seven years I had 22 merit badges, two catholic awards(Ad Altare Dei and Pope Pius XII- horror…) and had achieved the rank(salute!) of Eagle Scout. The badge I don’t remember being offered was ‘Critical Thinking’. So much for the ‘mentally awake’ part of the program.

    The gay man writing this today is an ex & recovering catholic who believes in the advancement of Science, secular humanism, anti-theism, naturalism, freethought and scepticism.

    I feel I’ve come a long, long way and as sure as anything will not look back. So sheltered an upbringing I had.

    P.S. The two catholic awards ended up as cinders.

  4. it’s the scouts ffs. keep your children away!

    this is an outdated organisation built on religious bigotry, there are other organisations you can send your children to that will teach them the same skills and provide the same social interaction without having to sign that you accept the bigotries of the 1910s

    in other news, not many jews got into the hitler youth, to paraphrase Marx (Groucho) I wouldn’t join any church-based uniformed youth group that’ll have me

  5. So as predictable with the religiously infected…the BSA has bottled it and delayed decision until May.

    Cowardly and …well predictable!
    They might ratify the change eventually, years down the dusty road, because it is obvious the board will have to be dragged kicking and screaming, while as blubbing piteously to jeebus, into the 21st century…nothing here…just good old fashioned bigotry and malice, the twin pistols of the xtian righteous!

  6. Pat Tillman did not die in vain. People old and young will hear his story and want to follow in his footsteps. He may have died by friendly fire but in the time of war accidents like that are almost guaranteed to happen. The fact that the military tried to cover it up and hide the mistake shows just how much the religious higher ranking officers really hold true to the christian upbringing. Pat Tillman did not die in vain, he chose to go and fight for a cause he believed in. Religious or Not!

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