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Wed Jan 30, 2013, 09:36 AM

Why the BSA Will Not Admit Atheists Any Time Soon

Why the BSA Will Not Admit Atheists Any Time Soon

The Boy Scouts of America appears to be ready to take a small, but significant step forward by changing its national policy prohibiting gay scouts. This is good news. Unfortunately, the BSA will continue to exclude atheists, and I predict the organization will continue to do this for some time.

I applaud the BSA for reconsidering its policy barring gay scouts. A policy reversal is long overdue, but better late than never. Admittedly, the change in policy, if it is confirmed next week, will only end discrimination by the national organization. Local scout councils will retain the discretion to ban gay scouts based on the “best interests” of the local group. So the BSA change is a baby step. Still, CFI is a strong supporter of LGBT rights and we are encouraged by any movement toward social and civil equality for members of the LGBT community.

Of course, the BSA continues to demand belief in God as a condition for membership. In other words, atheists and other nontheists are excluded. Given the BSA’s willingness to reconsider its position on gay scouts, is it possible the organization will soon reverse its position on exclusion of atheist scouts?
...
Second, the pressure felt by the national organization to change its policy came in part from the withdrawal of support by some major corporate sponsors. These corporations recognized it is bad for business to be associated with an anti-gay organization. Reality check: being known as an anti-atheist organization does not currently have the same business implications.



More:
http://www.centerforinquiry.net/blogs/entry/why_the_bsa_will_not_admit_atheists_any_time_soon/

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Arrow 9 replies Author Time Post
Reply Why the BSA Will Not Admit Atheists Any Time Soon (Original post)
Ian David Jan 2013 OP
Jokerman Jan 2013 #1
Auggie Jan 2013 #2
trotsky Jan 2013 #3
NeoGreen Jan 2013 #4
LiveNudePolitics Jan 2013 #5
Gore1FL Jan 2013 #6
Phillip McCleod Feb 2013 #8
Act_of_Reparation Feb 2013 #9
Phillip McCleod Feb 2013 #7

Response to Ian David (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 09:57 AM

1. The local groups are often the real problem.

I was bullied out of one local group at the direction of the fundamentalist nut-job scout master once he found out that I had never been baptized.

My parents found another local group for me that was much more accepting but by that time I had soured on the entire organization.

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Response to Ian David (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 10:52 AM

2. Scouting seems like such an anachronism ....

even in the 60s-70's, when I was one, it seemed out-dated.

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Response to Ian David (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 12:01 PM

3. Sad but true.

As even so-called liberal, tolerant Christian DUers make it clear: atheists need to STFU and defer to belief. TRADITION!

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Response to Ian David (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 01:11 PM

4. I have hope while waiting to read the final text of BSA's (potential) new position...

... which I have not done, yet.

If the text allows for the Charter Organization (CO) to determine whether it will be "closed" or "open" Unit (Troop/Crew/Pack) based on the rules of the CO, and does not specifically limit that determination of a question of sexuality, I have hope that it could be interpreted to mean Atheists may no longer be excluded.

As an under the radar atheist and Committee Chair of my son's Troop, chartered to a local volunteer fire company which receives public funds, I will look closely at the new rule, and interpret the text as best I can, from the position that if our CO may not discriminate, neither may the Troop.

I have hope.

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Response to Ian David (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 06:42 AM

5. more secular childrens groups are needed

Chipping a way at tradition helps promote inclusion, but is painfully slow. Kids from atheist backgrounds deserve to have the same activities and experience now.

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Response to Ian David (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 09:52 PM

6. I took part in the Eagle Scout Ceremonies of at least two atheist Scouts.

I was an atheist Scout Leader. The only troops that really force religion are church-sponsored. Some of the ones sponsored in a more secular manner many drag the kids places, a note from the parents asking that it not happen pretty much does the trick (unless there is no way to accommodate this with safe-scouting rules (which absolutely have to take precedent.)

The whole God rule is so amusingly impossible to enforce. Let me invoke Carl Sagan:

The idea that God is an over-sized white male with a flowing beard who sits in the sky and tallies the fall of every sparrow is ludicrous. But if by God one means the set of physical laws that govern the universe, then clearly there is such a God. This God is emotionally unsatisfying... it does not make much sense to pray to the law of gravity.

There is absolutely no reason they can reject that as not being a good-enough belief in God because that would start an organizational holy war over what met purity standards and what did not.

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Response to Gore1FL (Reply #6)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 02:35 AM

8. i think the problem is people who won't say they believe

 

as a matter of principle. some probably most atheists refuse to define 'god' away to be sociable. the freemasons have the same problem. they won't let nonbelievers in so they are deprived of the world's greatest thinkers and they wither.

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Response to Gore1FL (Reply #6)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 06:48 PM

9. That's not necessarily true

Even if you get lucky and find a progressive troop, as I did, you can still get screwed out of getting your Eagle because your Council conducts the final Board of Review.

When I was up for mine, the Council goon asked me if I believed in God, without hesitation. I'm not sure if all council goons receive some kind of packet on conducting Eagle BoR's, but at least for this guy the question seemed standard.

I considered myself an agnostic theist at the time and basically said "yes" and left it at that. If I knew then what I know now, I probably would have failed the BoR, and might actually have been all the prouder because of it.

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Response to Ian David (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 02:02 AM

7. i had a great experience up until

 

marty's mom became the scout leader. we met in the basement of the church i was baptized in (methodist) and on her 1st day marty's mom told us that anyone who touched the piano would have their fingers slammed in the keyboard cover. well that was one of 3 pianos i took lessons on and i was a brat so naturally..

..she actually tried to slam my fingers in the heavy wooden keyboard cover. no i mean she grabbed me all 300 lbs of her vs my 75-85 lbs and tried to smash my fingers. i squirmed, ran and escaped.

i was webelos at the time which if anyone cares is pretty good. i was almost a real boy scout.

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