Why I don’t support the Boy Scouts.

A lot of folks in my office bring in fund-raising merchandise for the various organizations their kids are involved in. At any given point in time there is usually at least two boxes hawking various candies to support a local Scouting troop. Invariably someone ends up thinking that I must be the sort of guy who went through Scouting as a kid and tries to encourage me to buy candy to support that cause.

The truth is I was in Scouting briefly as a kid for about two weeks before the troop I was in ran out of money and disbanded. I never even purchased a uniform, which is just as well as I was heading into that period of my life where I was starting to question my religious beliefs. What does that have to do with Scouting? Well, it’s part of the “law” of Scouting that you have to recognize a “supreme being” (read: God). Being an atheist, I can’t in good conscious support an organization that openly discriminates against people who don’t believe in God. When I explain this to the people asking me to support their local troop I often find that they are surprised by my stand on the issue. Many seem to be unaware that atheists aren’t allowed in Scouting. Sure, they know that gays aren’t (and that’s one more reason for me not to support them), but lack of religious faith rarely occurs to them as a reason someone might get kicked out of Scouting.

Which brings me to this news article in The Seattle Times: Atheist Scout fights decision to boot him.

The Chief Seattle Council of the Boy Scouts has given Eagle Scout Darrell Lambert about a week to decide “in his heart” if he’s truly an atheist. If he insists on sticking to his belief that there is no God, the Council will terminate his membership.

“You need to have a recognition of a supreme being,” said Farmer. “We as the Boy Scouts do not define what that is, but you need to have a recognition.”

Every Boy Scout and adult leader must attest to that belief on an application in order to join. It can be part of subscribing to a structured religion such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam or Hinduism ח or a more amorphous faith in some presence greater than ourselves, Farmer explained.

From all accounts in the news article Darrell Lambert is a good kid:

The 19-year-old has earned 37 merit badges, been a quartermaster and three-time senior patrol leader, and now he’s an assistant Scoutmaster and a field leader in training as part of the Search and Rescue Program. In his senior year in high school, he racked up more than 1,000 hours of community service.

He doesn’t believe in smoking or taking illegal drugs. His mom offered to take him out for a drink when he turns 21. But he doesn’t believe in drinking alcohol.

And he doesn’t believe in God—not since the ninth grade. And even before then he was unsure.

Personally, I think Scouting is a wonderful idea that can have an amazing impact on the lives of the boys who participate in it. I would love to support such an organization. The Girl Scouts don’t have any such restriction in their laws and as a result I have no qualms with supporting that organization and we have the empty cookie boxes to prove it. Alas, until the leadership of the Boy Scouts decides to bring the organization into the 21st century it looks like I’ll continue to astound my co-workers with my unwillingness to support their favorite local troop.

77 thoughts on “Why I don’t support the Boy Scouts.

  1. Wow.. I didn’t know that about the Boy Scouts. That’s messed up. I do admire that they show such respect and tolerance for other beliefs, “such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam or Hinduism

  2. I am similarly troubled by the Boy Scouts’ policies. Both of my little brothers are eagle Scouts, and I’m proud of them and all, but all of scouting’s baggage saps the fun out of it for me.

  3. Oh but don’t you understand?  Their beliefs are the 21st century!  They want us all to believe what *they* believe.  Not free thinking, smart individuals – but more like brainwashed thinking that a ‘supreme being’ exists.  That’s how they get ‘em young – don’tcha see?

  4. Boy Scouts are fags. They are just tryin to copy Civil Air Patrol now since C.A.Ps playin a major roll in home land security and they are not. They dont represent the America with that 3 finger salute. They dont even know why we salute. How can they be on color gaurd when they cant even march and they dont even have a full uniform.  O , and Civil Air Patrol lets in girls, gays, and atheist. Girls dont have to go to a seperate Cap organization and plus thers no public display of affection. And Civil Air Patrol is the Air Force Auxilary and what are boy scouts?

  5. Hmmm. Considering their bad on homosexuals joining I’d have to say that Boy Scouts aren’t fags. I’m not certain I follow your comparison between the Boy Scouts and the Civil Air Patrol.

    As an organization I feel there’s a lot to like about the Boy Scouts, they just have a fatal flaw when it comes to their policies against gays and atheists. I would love to be able to support them with a clear conscious, but that flaw keeps me from doing so. Overall I think they provide a good experience for the boys who participate in much the same way I believe the Girl Scouts do. The difference is that I can still support the Girl Scouts because they don’t exclude girls from joining for being gay or atheist.

    I don’t think the Boy Scouts are trying to be anything like C.A.P. so comparisons between the two really don’t mean much.

  6. No i disagree the boy scouts are fags they dont do anything inportant there salutes uniform what they do dont mean anything and plus there all gay.
    Like if the military absolutly need someone for homedefense guess who gets call the civil air patrol hooya. and we offer alot more. if you want a challenge join it dosent caust that much and its worth it want you see all the things you can do.(http://www.capnhq.gov) its a lot better and the adults can do there part in it to and kids can pursuew a career in the military and if you pass a award for 2nd lt you will go in the military at a higher rank. Can you do that with the Boy Scouts? No and We let both girls boys in we dont have boys civil air patrol or girls civil air patrol its just Civil Air patrol. Long live the Civil Air Patrol

  7. Ross—yep, if a Boy Scout makes it to Eagle or a Girl Scout makes it to Gold – they can come into the military at a higher rank (and make more money).  It’s the same as the CAP.

    Yeah, there’s a separate Boy and Girl Scouting organization but there’s also Venturing…which is a program for BOTH teenaged boys and girls.  And guess who runs it??  Yep.  The BSA!

    And…there’s a separate outside corporation offering young people the chance to explore careers and interest areas…it’s called “Learning for Life/Exploring” and it is an offshoot of the BSA’s popular Exploring program.

    And finally, the BSA doesn’t MAKE you “believe in God” however you see Him or Her…the BSA DOES demand you believe in “something greater or higher than yourself.” 

    I explain all of this on a page at my website.  Take a look, read and try to understand that it’s NOT some stupid archaic rule done by old grizzed men…it’s there for a reason.

    http://members.aol.com/coffeeweb/books/reverant.htm

    and also a Readers’ Digest summary of what I feel is on

    http://members.aol.com/coffeeweb/LO/faq8.htm

    Settummanque!

  8. I’m sure the Boy Scouts have what they consider to be a valid reason for their requirement of belief in a higher power, but that doesn’t change the fact that it still amounts to discrimination against those who don’t have that belief. They are, in effect, saying that you can not be a good and moral person without holding a superstition in a fairy tale and I know for a fact that isn’t true.

    As long as the Boy Scouts continue to discriminate against atheists and homosexuals I will continue to discriminate against supporting them in any way and I will encourage others not to support them as well. The Girl Scouts have managed to change with the times and be all inclusive. I see no reason the Boy Scouts can’t do the same.

  9. Discrimination is an interesting term to use in connection with the BSA.  No one is forced to join, nor is it a mandatory part of a young man’s life – it is a group with a well defined set of beliefs that a person can come to terms with before they join.  Parents and boys should understand that they are joining a group that believes in God.  Maybe atheists should get together and start a group that specifically holds no reverence for anything above themselves.  They can celebrate the random acts of chemistry and evolution that turned elements into compounds into life forms. 

    I have heard religious beliefs espoused at BSA meetings, in coffeeshops, at work and on the street.  I have also heard gay-rights, pro-environment, libertarian, vegetarian and atheist beliefs promoted.  Isn’t that the point of interest groups – promote a belief and try to convince others of your position? 

    If you loath BSA policies, create something else and see how it goes.

  10. Discrimination is an interesting term to use in connection with the BSA.

    If not discrimination then what would you call it?

    No one is forced to join, nor is it a mandatory part of a young man’s life – it is a group with a well defined set of beliefs that a person can come to terms with before they join.

    All well and true, but that doesn’t change the fact that the BSA does discriminate against gays and atheists. If you are gay or atheist you will not be allowed to join regardless of whether you’ve come to terms with the beliefs of the BSA.

    Parents and boys should understand that they are joining a group that believes in God.

    And your point is…?

    Maybe atheists should get together and start a group that specifically holds no reverence for anything above themselves.  They can celebrate the random acts of chemistry and evolution that turned elements into compounds into life forms.

    As clueless about Evolution as you are discrimination I see.

    Should atheists start an alternative group to the BSA? They already have. It’s called Camp Quest and was founded in 1996 in Kentucky. Branches have sprung up in Michigan, Minnesota, Tennessee, and Ontario

    Additionally there are several organizations already out there that aren’t discriminatory and are more deserving of people’s support. Groups like Camp Fire USA, the 4-H Clubs, and Spiral Scouts (started by Wiccans, but open to all beliefs) to name just a few.

    In fact, the BSA is one of the few nationally recognized youth groups that has discriminatory policies.

    I have heard religious beliefs espoused at BSA meetings, in coffeeshops, at work and on the street.  I have also heard gay-rights, pro-environment, libertarian, vegetarian and atheist beliefs promoted.  Isn’t that the point of interest groups – promote a belief and try to convince others of your position?

    I’m sorry, I didn’t realize the Boy Scouts were supposed to be an interest group. I was under the impression they were a youth group. According to the BSA themselves they don’t try to promote a particular religious viewpoint. They simply require an acknowledgment of a Supreme Being of some sort in order to be a member. So it sounds like they’re not actively trying to convince anyone of their position.

    If you loath BSA policies, create something else and see how it goes.

    I don’t loath their policies, I just disagree with a couple of them. I think it’s a shame that the experience the BSA offers isn’t open and available to all boys regardless of religious or sexual orientation as I think it’s otherwise a very good program. As a result I refuse to support the organization by providing funding and I will continue to speak out against them for their discriminatory practices.

    Nothing you’ve said here in any way rebuts what my entry was all about. What, exactly, was your point? Assuming you had one.

  11. I was never interested in organizations like the Boy Scouts, if for no other reason that knowing that the German armed forces would take care of that kind of recreational need.

    My problem with the BSA is not that they are discriminatory with regards to their membership. It’s their prerogative, whether I agree with them or not. More interesting is whether or not they are allowed use of public facilities, perhaps in preference to non-discriminatory organizations.

  12. Indeed. I’ve not said that the BSA can’t be discriminatory if they so choose to be, but at the same time they shouldn’t complain about being discriminated against as a result of their policies. Something that they have done.

  13. I have been a part of the BSA for as long as I can remember and, yes the BSA does not allow gay, atheist, youth females in their scout “troops”. I listed troops like that because BSA offers lots of programs for youth and some allow girls, but not the troops. Why does BSA not allow the previous? Because the Boy Scouts of America has and always will be a private organization. It is not open to the public. It is open by membership only, and it is also run by people who keep to the original ideas and goals of the founder of the organization and it has remained unchanged since its founding. The Boy Scouts is also one of the oldest private organizations. Most former Presidents and Astronauts were Boy Scouts and are the men they are today because of it. Look people you all are entitled to your views and opinions. That’s what makes America great, but don’t bash the Boy Scouts because of it. If you don’t like it, then don’t join or support. But don’t go on the war path. Discrimination is when a person or a group of persons downs some one or some thing, not what the Boy Scouts do. The KKK does not like most religious groups or minorities (i.e. black’s) ….why? Just because they are! That is discrimination. The Boy Scouts simply have membership requirements for their private organization, because of that, some people will not be able to join. But the Boy Scouts are not downing on any other beliefs, lifestyles or political views. They just don’t promote them. This is the same as many of you would not want me, a white heterosexual male, to join a homosexual atheist club or other wise. I can not be in you club because I don’t share your views or thoughts, but you don’t wish ill will on me because of my views. But, to each his/her own. But don’t bash a group because of its views or censorship and yes the Boy Scouts have censorship! But not discrimination! Don’t hate what you don’t know. And as for the news article sited, I have never heard of that, and to me sounds like some one has veered left wing of true scouting.

  14. The Boy Scouts simply have membership requirements for their private organization, because of that, some people will not be able to join. But the Boy Scouts are not downing on any other beliefs, lifestyles or political views. They just don’t promote them. This is the same as many of you would not want me, a white heterosexual male, to join a homosexual atheist club or other wise. I can not be in you club because I don’t share your views or thoughts, but you don’t wish ill will on me because of my views. But, to each his/her own. But don’t bash a group because of its views or censorship and yes the Boy Scouts have censorship! But not discrimination! Don’t hate what you don’t know.

    Where do I sign up for one of those homosexual atheist clubs, anyway? lol.

    You know, I probably would know a lot more about the BSA if I had been allowed to continue in the program. Unfortunately, I wasn’t welcome anymore because I wouldn’t say the Lord’s Prayer at their meetings when I was a kid…(something they didn’t advertise when we signed up). The fact that they strongarmed me into doing it a couple times before I got the boot still makes me feel ill.

    Let’s have a look at what kind of a kid Ryan was when he was 9 years old:

    -Interested in the outdoors and fond of camping. Check.
    -Quite bored on the family farm, looking for something new and challenging to partake in that isn’t as expensive as hockey. Check.
    -Young parents willing to help out in all actities. Check.
    -Friends with all the other kids in the group (Half my class was in the local BSA.) Check.

    BSA is whack. Jared, much of what you write is valid, I guess. But what BSA must recognize (and eventually they will, trust me) is that they suffer for their policies. The policy is arbitrary and guarantees no benefit for the organization.

    I realize that there is a mindset BSA is trying to cultivate as they groom future leaders in the program. But it’s going to be 2000 and frigging 6 in a couple weeks. There is no excuse for discrimination (yes, that includes rejection of membership) based on matters of faith anymore. And the reality is the BSA isn’t doing its members (the kids) any favours by pursuing a policy of exclusion. They don’t teach that in school, do they? …well unless you go to a religious school, I guess…

    I agree with Les that there are other alternatives (Co-operatives, 4H’s, etc.) that parents should seek out when the local BSA leadership sucks < —and I think that’s 90% of the problem, right there. It’s unfortunate because my friends sure sounded like they had a good time at Scouts. Too bad I couldn’t join them. I guess I might have poisoned the water.

    Finding a co-ed summer camp without some weird agenda is also exceedingly difficult. What ever happened to just teaching kids how to swim and sing campfire songs?

  15. And to add to this:

    The BSA’s membership policies are discriminatory and there are no if’s or but’s about it. However, they are indeed a private organization and free to discriminate any old way they want to. They are also free to suffer the consequences. And anybody who cares to is free to call a spade a spade.

  16. Jared writes…

    Look people you all are entitled to your views and opinions. That’s what makes America great, but don’t bash the Boy Scouts because of it.

    “Bashing” is when you criticize something without providing any reasons for that criticism. I haven’t engaged in bashing of the Boy Scouts here as I’ve listed my reasons for not supporting the organization. I’ve said before that they have every right to discriminate if they want to, but as long as they do I have every right to criticize them for it and encourage others not to support them.

  17. The real problem with the BSA is not discrimination.  As a private organization, they have a right to exclude people for whatever reason, be it a belief in an imaginary friend, who people sleep with or whatever.

    However, they are hypocrites.  That’s the real issue and why they will never have my support.

    The BSA asks for and receives millions of dollars in government aid each year.  Some examples:

    $6 million and $8 million respectively for their jamborees in 1997 and 2001, which are hosted on United States military bases, places we all pay for with out taxes.  These places are provided to the BSA, and often ONLY to the BSA not other groups, at no cost or very little cost.  Certainly not enough to pay the bills they incur.

    Millions of dollars in aid from cities across America by providing public facilities to the Scouts, often at no charge or at a lower charge than other groups must pay.  In some places, the BSA employees are paid by the local government so they get government benefits and retirements.  In another case, a city gave the scouts a lease for a facility at no cost, and with no competitive process so other groups could also bid for the facility.  That’s your tax dollars at work folks.

    IRS tax exempt status.  Each year the BSA gets away with taking in millions of dollars and not paying taxes on any of it because they are a non-profit group.  Another form of government sponsorship.

    The Boy Scouts of America is a religious organization, by their own admission in a legal brief they filed in a lawsuit in 1998.  As such, any government support of their programs crosses the line between separation of church and state and is impermissible under the law.

    The Boy Scouts, as a private organization, have a right to discriminate against anyone and any group for any reason they wish.  The Boy Scouts, as a religious organization, have a right to pursue their religious goals and teach their religious message to any boys who join them.

    As a discriminatory and religious organization, however, they do not have the right to get government aid to support and further their discriminatory and religious goals.  Indeed, the government has a positive obligation not to get involved in such matters because the government exists for all citizens and should never send the message that such discriminatory policies or religious goals are favored.

    So, my problem with the scouts isn’t that they discriminate; it’s that they cry from the rooftops about how they can discriminate because they are a “private organization

  18. comments

    I’ll liberally interprete this as a bump and take the opportunity to address this:

    IRS tax exempt status.  Each year the BSA gets away with taking in millions of dollars and not paying taxes on any of it because they are a non-profit group.  Another form of government sponsorship.

    The Boy Scouts of America is a religious organization, by their own admission in a legal brief they filed in a lawsuit in 1998.  As such, any government support of their programs crosses the line between separation of church and state and is impermissible under the law.

    If you are attempting to assert that allowance of non-profit status equals government sponsership and thereby violates the First Amendment, I suggest you review case law on First Amendment law.  It would be helpful before making such sweepingly inaccurate pronouncements about what the law is.  If, however, you want to let us know that this is just your humble opinion, which is what it appears to be, then you should properly preface the statements with “In my humble opinion.” 

    Indeed, the government has a positive obligation not to get involved in such matters because the government exists for all citizens and should never send the message that such discriminatory policies or religious goals are favored.

    A review of civil codes, criminal codes and tax laws reveals that the government discriminates all the time in numerous and countless ways with respect to the civil code, criminal code, and tax policy against different classes of citizens depending upon behavior that it wants to encourage. 

    Forthwith, I do hereby dub thee with the Indian name: “He who hath inserted his his foot into his mouth.”  I know.  Long Indian name, but it is befitting.  Just calling a spade a spade.

  19. In paragraph 2, line 1, “sponsership” should read as “sponsorship” in the above post.

  20. “One must be careful to criticize when one knows little”

    “Don’t criticize another unless you have walked for miles in their shoes”

    “Don’t make comments about things you know nothing about”

    Okay,  all of this babble about the Boy Scouts is ridiculous.  First of all, I have to point out that people who usually make comments about, attack, or denounce the Boy Scouts know little about the organization, have a “chip” or “grudge” on their shoulder, or mostly just listen to other people who know nothing. 

    The requirement, as stated above, to declare “something”, “anything”, “just fill in the blank kid”, “we’ve made this as open as possible”, as a higher power is about as easy as it gets. The Scouts were pretty much asking this kid to state something.  He could of said his mom, his dad, he could of said any organization name. 

    BUT,  the point is clear, if the kid had no beleif in a higher object or being,  He pretty much said that he beleives in nothing higher than himself.  He beleives only in himself, meaning he doesn’t beleive in others.  He is selfish.  He can’t not even say that he beleives in teamwork.  He can’t say he beleives in the organization (which if he is a part of) is better than himself.  He is saying that he and another individual is not better or higher than himself. 

    The point—- if you can’t even beleive in the organziation, then WHY,  WHY????, even be a part of it. 

    You others with comments on this board,  all sound so bitter, like a kid “my mommy didn’t give me any candy, so poo poo on everybody” 

    The Boy Scouts have been around longer than the Civil Air Patrol,  the Air Force, Taxes, etc. 

    Before you make comments about them, learn their history,  learn about Baden Powell the founder. 

    By the way, the Girl Scouts are a part of the Boy Scouts of America,  and they have exactly the same beliefs.  So, comments like “the girl scouts have evolved and not the Boy Scouts” are completely offbase, un-educated, and unfounded. 

    “Oh, I support girl scouts, but, No I don’t support “THOSE” Boy Scouts”—— A quote like this is discrimination at its finest. 

    You might as well change the words to

    “Oh, I support purple people, but, No I don’t support “THOSE” pink poka dotted people. 

    By the way,  the Scouts don’t recieve “GOVERNMENT” money,  all of their money is donated to them from private individuals.  Once again, seek knowledge before you comment (see above, JamesG5223)

    Reading on I see more Bitterness,  “They din’t let me play in their game”.  When a kid isn’t allowed to play in the local pickup football game, Does he just say “oh well, darn, I can’t ever play football”??  No, No, most kids go and find another game to play in down the street, or start your own game. 

    Granted Scouting occurs at young ages, so if for some reason there is an “issue” like the example given above about the Lord’s prayer, it is the parents responsibility to communicate with their own children to see what is bothering them in their lives.  If a parent were truly involved in these issues, they would have been resolved with the leadership of that group within Scouts.  For instance, if saying the Lord’s prayer truly was an issue, then maybe that particular scout troop was chartered by a devout church that required their members to recite that particular prayer, (I don’t think this was the case), but if true, then the parents working with leaders could have found a troop where the scout was not “required” to recite the Lord’s prayer.  For example, a troop chartered by a Veteran’s group, or a school, or a car dealership for that matter. 

    There are always solutions, it is really whether or not the educated approach was taken.  Unfortunately, everyone doesn’t have involved parents, or involved role models, but that doesn’t mean that people who didn’t have everything go their way as kids or adults should try to “Punish” the one’s that did.

    Read Jared’s response.

    So, Get over those issues, Get over your own “issues”. 

    People, Get open minded, and Darn it, LEAVE THE BOY SCOUTS ALONE

  21. Sage … you’re obviously ambidextrous – you can wank with either hand. 
    I’m not surprised Consi supports you.  wink

    Most of your hissy fit looks like Swiss cheese with a large dose of hypocritical cream of Philadelphia.

    Sage: The requirement, as stated above, to declare “something”, “anything”, “just fill in the blank kid”, “we’ve made this as open as possible”, as a higher power is about as easy as it gets. The Scouts were pretty much asking this kid to state something.  He could of [sic] said his mom, his dad, he could of said any organization name.

    No Sage – you just don’t get it (Where else did I say that recently? Ah, yes. A Dr Dino post wink  ).
    This bloke didn’t want to lie.
    He sounds like he had honour and integrity … something, it obviously seems, you and your kind do not value highly.

  22. AA also requires a belief in a higher power.  In order to be a member in recovery, one does step work.  Included in the steps is a requirement for a belief in a higher power.  Like AA, the Boy Scouts strive for spiritual progress, not perfection.

    Appying the same principles to other organizations from the perspective of Les, Elwed, LJ, and Mr. Foot in the Mouth, AA and NA must be precluded from the use of libraries, civic centers, courthouses, and other governtment buildings

    I’d also be interested to know if AA is filled with those that “it obviously seems…do not value highly” honour and integrity?  Well my friend, the same requirement exists for both, shouldn’t your words be applied equally?

  23. Consi: AA also requires a belief in a higher power.  In order to be a member in recovery, one does step work.  Included in the steps is a requirement for a belief in a higher power

    Requires a belief? Suggests a belief more like it. I never really got the god thing. If anything, I sorta gave myself over to my higher self, my undamaged self, my true self … my real self … never to some invisible man in the sky.
    I was far too proud and different to everyone else in the group to submit but I submitted to most of the suggestions – most of the suggestions.
    I used to shock the others that I could still go into the club and play the machines without any compulsion to drink alcohol.

    AA and NA must be precluded from the use of libraries, civic centers, courthouses, and other government buildings

    I suppose you could be right but men’s (mostly) physical health and well-being are at risk – the religious bit is a mere glancing tag-along.
    Well it was in Oz anyway although there were some fucking boring holy rollers who said they’d never have got straight without god’s help.
    I used to laugh up my sleeve at some of those dough-heads.
    I found many of them to be no better than ‘dry drunk’ with no life outside AA.
    They found another addiction – I suppose it was better than being drunk and irresponsibly destructive.

    I’d also be interested to know if AA is filled with those that “it obviously seems…do not value highly” honour and integrity?

    I would suggest that in AA when I was last there 20 years ago more seemed to value honour and integrity that it seemed the general population did.
    Mainly because at our worst we were the best con-men around – we had to be. To drink the amount we needed to and keep a job or stay outa gaol takes some effort, intellect, dishonour and little integrity.
    For various reasons including pure vanity I feel much of this may have been aimed at me. If not. Cool.

    Well my friend, the same requirement exists for both, shouldn’t your words be applied equally?

    You lost me … and in the final furlong. smile

  24. You people still don’t get it.

    This higher power thing is such a trivial point of 1000’s and 1000’s in scouting and in society as a whole.  You people dwell on it as if this one little tiny stumbling block is going to keep you from functioning in society. 

    I bet If I took a poll of the ney-sayers on this web page that you would all have the same characteristics. 

    You are all have trouble socializing, have no direction in life, don’t enjoy things, have a whole list of things and organizations you hate in everyday life. 

    If you can get so hung up on one little article about one little point in life and can’t see the good things that come in everyday life or through organizations such as the BSA, then you need to look at yourself. 

    Stop and smell the roses people and quit pissin on them for the rest of us.

  25. You are all … blah blah blah

    Thanks for that, Sage. It’s nice that you talk crap, but it would be better if you back it up. A lot of people here are trained professionals, or professionals in training.

    Sorry if we disagree that excluding atheists from Boy Scouts is unimportant; I happen to think the same about black people getting their own bathrooms. They should be able to share ours.

    Stop and smell the roses

    If, by smell the roses you mean ‘join the boy scouts’, I would, but apparently I can’t. Sure, there are lots of other roses to smell – the point is the unnecessary discrimination stopping atheists from smelling that particular rose – a rose they are entitled to smell.

  26. I suppose you could be right…

    Well, now that we’ve established that, are you of the opinion that AA/NA should lose its non-profit status in the U.S.A. and be disallowed from low-cost use of public buildings?  If not, how do you and other anti-theists propose making distinctions?

    I would proffer that the “public good” is served by the existence of non-profits, whether they have a theistic thread or not.  Anti-theists get so damn giggly about poking at theists that in the end they offer to cut off their nose to spite their face.

  27. a rose they are entitled to smell.

    Huh?  Please provide some authority for this statement.

  28. Sage babbles the following:

    You are all have trouble socializing

    How amazing that you fancy yourself knowing such a thing. For the record, there are quite a few people who would disagree that I have trouble socializing.

    don’t enjoy things

    I don’t know you, but I’m still willing to bet a pretty penny that I get more enjoyment out of life than you do. At least I don’t feel guilty about pleasure, as many fundies appear to. Life is surely more fulfilling when it is not spent kissing the ass of some invisible playmate.

    If you can get so hung up on one little article about one little point in life and can’t see the good things that come in everyday life or through organizations such as the BSA, then you need to look at yourself. 

    Stop and smell the roses people and quit pissin on them for the rest of us.

    Everything you’ve written here far more accurately describes yourself than any of us. Why are you so threatened by our opinions about the BSA? Stop with the projecting and look at your own life.

  29. Sage babbled the following…

    Okay, all of this babble about the Boy Scouts is ridiculous.  First of all, I have to point out that people who usually make comments about, attack, or denounce the Boy Scouts know little about the organization, have a “chip” or “grudge” on their shoulder, or mostly just listen to other people who know nothing.

    Which is particularly ironic as he goes on to say…

    BUT, the point is clear, if the kid had no beleif in a higher object or being, He pretty much said that he beleives in nothing higher than himself.  He beleives only in himself, meaning he doesn’t beleive in others.  He is selfish.

    First you bitch that people who complain about the Boy Scouts don’t know anything about the organization and then you have the arrogance to proclaim that you know that Darrell Lambert doesn’t believe in anything higher than himself and is selfish? Have you even met Darrel Lambert?

    Starting early with the hypocrisy I see.

    Let me back up and address something I skipped over to make the above point:

    The requirement, as stated above, to declare “something”, “anything”, “just fill in the blank kid”, “we’ve made this as open as possible”, as a higher power is about as easy as it gets. The Scouts were pretty much asking this kid to state something.  He could of said his mom, his dad, he could of said any organization name.

    It seemed pretty clear to me that this “Higher Power” that the Boy Scouts want you to declare is supposed to be supernatural. I have doubts that they would accept him saying he believed in his Mom as a supreme being would’ve cut the mustard.

    Besides that, the Boy Scouts have proven that the idea they’ll accept “anything” as a Supreme Being is a total bullshit claim on their part. If you check the archives you’ll find that on March 10th of 2006 they kicked a couple of boys out for being Wiccan.

    He can’t not even say that he beleives in teamwork.  He can’t say he beleives in the organization (which if he is a part of) is better than himself.  He is saying that he and another individual is not better or higher than himself.

    I fail to see how ‘teamwork’ fits the definition of a “Supreme Being” which is what the Scouts wanted him to acknowlege. This is a strawman argument if ever I’ve seen one.

    The point—- if you can’t even beleive in the organziation, then WHY, WHY????, even be a part of it.

    Who said he doesn’t believe in the organization? Obviously he believes in it enough to make Eagle Scout before his lack of faith in a Supreme Being became an issue. Again this is a strawman argument.

    You others with comments on this board, all sound so bitter, like a kid “my mommy didn’t give me any candy, so poo poo on everybody”

    What does this have to do with the issue at hand? Nothing. It’s just you poo-pooing on everyone you don’t agree with.

    The Boy Scouts have been around longer than the Civil Air Patrol, the Air Force, Taxes, etc.

    Which means absolutely nothing to the issue being discussed. The fact that they’ve been around a long time doesn’t mean they aren’t wrong on this issue.

    Before you make comments about them, learn their history, learn about Baden Powell the founder.

    Now you’re arrogant enough to assume we don’t know their history. For someone who was bitching about how we don’t know what we’re talking about you sure do like to talk without any knowledge of what you’re addressing yourself. I used to be a Boy Scout myself, Sage, so fuck you.

    By the way, the Girl Scouts are a part of the Boy Scouts of America, and they have exactly the same beliefs.  So, comments like “the girl scouts have evolved and not the Boy Scouts” are completely offbase, un-educated, and unfounded.

    Who’s talking out of their ass now? Why I believe Sage is.

    While Lord Robert Baden Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts in England, did start a similar group for girls in 1909 called the Girl Guides due to popular demand, but he had nothing to do with the formation of the Girl Scouts of America nor did anyone associated with the Boy Scouts of the USA.

    The Girl Scouts of America was founded by Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low and she held the first group meeting on March 12, 1912 and the organization received its charter from the U.S. Congress on March 16, 1950. Juliette did start a Girl Guide troop during the summer of 1911 when she was staying in a Scottish valley and she did base some of what would become the Girl Scouts of America on her experiences with that troop, but the Girl Scouts of America is anything but a clone of the Girl Guides.

    Yes, they do have the phrase “to serve God” in their promise along with a disclaimer saying that girls are allowed to substitute anything they want in place of the word God if they should choose to do so and, unlike the Boy Scouts, they actually mean it. Also unlike the Boy Scouts, they don’t discriminate against homosexual girls being members. I’ve not read one report of a girl being kicked out of the Girl Scouts for being an atheist or being gay.

    “Oh, I support girl scouts, but, No I don’t support “THOSE” Boy Scouts”——A quote like this is discrimination at its finest.

    You might as well change the words to

    “Oh, I support purple people, but, No I don’t support “THOSE” pink poka dotted people.

    Yep, I discriminate against organizations with policies I don’t agree with. I fully admit it and I won’t apologize for it. It’s not the same as discriminating on something as arbitrary as skin color, though. Yet another straw man. Try again.

    By the way, the Scouts don’t recieve “GOVERNMENT” money, all of their money is donated to them from private individuals.  Once again, seek knowledge before you comment (see above, JamesG5223)

    Bzzzzt. Try again. In the past the Department of Defense itself had sponsored some 400 Scouting units around the country at various military bases using taxpayer money to support those units. Additionally the Department of Defense had spent some $7 million to provide staff and logistical support to the Boy Scout Jamborees every four years. After a lawsuit filed by the ACLU the DoD agreed to stop providing funding and support for the Boy Scouts in November of 2004. The government has provided funding for the Boy Scouts before and many State governments still do.

    Seems Sage is the one who needs to seek knowledge before he comments because it’s clear he doesn’t know what the fuck he’s talking about.

    Reading on I see more Bitterness, “They din’t let me play in their game”.  When a kid isn’t allowed to play in the local pickup football game, Does he just say “oh well, darn, I can’t ever play football”??  No, No, most kids go and find another game to play in down the street, or start your own game.

    I’ve said before that they have every right to exclude whomever they want. By the same token I have the same right not to support them as a result and to encourage others not to support them as well, which is what I’m doing here. They’re just exercising their First Amendment rights and so am I.

    You got a problem with that?

    Granted Scouting occurs at young ages, so if for some reason there is an “issue” like the example given above about the Lord’s prayer, it is the parents responsibility to communicate with their own children to see what is bothering them in their lives.  If a parent were truly involved in these issues, they would have been resolved with the leadership of that group within Scouts.  For instance, if saying the Lord’s prayer truly was an issue, then maybe that particular scout troop was chartered by a devout church that required their members to recite that particular prayer, (I don’t think this was the case), but if true, then the parents working with leaders could have found a troop where the scout was not “required” to recite the Lord’s prayer.  For example, a troop chartered by a Veteran’s group, or a school, or a car dealership for that matter.

    Who said anything about the Lord’s prayer? Eagle Scout Darrel Lambert got kicked out because he doesn’t acknowledge a “Supreme Being.” His Scout Troop, by the way, didn’t have a problem with this. It only became an issue when someone from a different troop heard about it and reported it to the National Council.

    So, Get over those issues, Get over your own “issues”.

    People, Get open minded, and Darn it, LEAVE THE BOY SCOUTS ALONE

    Again I say fuck you, Sage. I’m just using my First Amendment rights just like the BSA is doing. Don’t like it? Tough shit.

  30. Consi writes…

    Good one Sage. grin

    You have got to be kidding me. Your debate skills must be slipping, Consi. That argument was so full of strawmen and holes it made swiss cheese look solid.

    AA also requires a belief in a higher power.  In order to be a member in recovery, one does step work.  Included in the steps is a requirement for a belief in a higher power.  Like AA, the Boy Scouts strive for spiritual progress, not perfection.

    The fact that AA requires a belief in a higher power is not an issue so long as it remains a privately owned and funded organization. I only have a problem with it when judges order people to attend AA meetings.

    Appying the same principles to other organizations from the perspective of Les, Elwed, LJ, and Mr. Foot in the Mouth, AA and NA must be precluded from the use of libraries, civic centers, courthouses, and other governtment buildings

    Not necessarily. The Boy Scouts aren’t precluded from using said facilities any more than any other group would be so long as the Government isn’t showing preferential treatment, which, it turns out, they have in the past. Here’s a snippet from the Wikipedia entry on BSA controversies:

    When a private organization such as the BSA receives access on terms more favorable than other private organizations, it is known as “special” or “preferential” access whereas “equal” access is access on the same terms. For example, state and local governments may lease property to nonprofit groups (such as the BSA) on terms that are preferential to or equal to the terms they offer to commercial groups, in other words they may give nonprofit groups either special or equal access. Special access includes access at a reduced fee (including no fee) or access to places off-limits to other groups. The categorization of access as “special” or “equal” is not always clear-cut.

    Some cities, counties, and states have ordinances or policies that limit government support for organizations that practice some types of discrimination. Since the BSA’s membership policies may sometimes be contrary to these laws, some government organizations have moved to change the terms under which the BSA is allowed to access its resources. Private individuals have filed lawsuits to prevent governmental entities from granting what they see as preferential access. The BSA on the other hand has sued governmental entities for denying what it sees as equal access.

    In response to these changes and litigation, the federal government passed laws mandating the BSA’s equal access to local and state level governmental resources. The Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act, enacted in 2002, requires public elementary and secondary schools that receive U.S. Department of Education funding to provide BSA groups equal access to school facilities. The Support our Scouts Act of 2005 requires state and local governments that receive HUD funding to provide BSA groups equal access to governmental forums (lands, facilities, etc.). State and local governments still have flexibility regarding the provision of special access to the BSA.

    The AA organization would likely find it’s covered under similar regulations. Access to a library isn’t a problem, not being charged when other groups are is a problem. Being given taxpayer money for funding is a problem.

    Then Sage pops back up to spew more nonsense…

    You people still don’t get it.

    This higher power thing is such a trivial point of 1000’s and 1000’s in scouting and in society as a whole.  You people dwell on it as if this one little tiny stumbling block is going to keep you from functioning in society. 

    You still don’t get it. That “trivial point” was enough to get an exemplary Eagle Scout kicked out despite his years as one of Scouting’s best. That trivial point keeps thousands of boys from benefiting from all that Scouting has to offer because they don’t believe in God or happen to be homosexual. That “trivial point” isn’t that trivial.

    I bet If I took a poll of the ney-sayers on this web page that you would all have the same characteristics.

    You are all have trouble socializing, have no direction in life, don’t enjoy things, have a whole list of things and organizations you hate in everyday life. 

    Again with the hypocrisy. Bitch at us about not knowing anything about the BSA and then turn around and pretend like you have a clue who the fuck we are.

    If you can get so hung up on one little article about one little point in life and can’t see the good things that come in everyday life or through organizations such as the BSA, then you need to look at yourself.

    Stop and smell the roses people and quit pissin on them for the rest of us.

    Again, for the third time, I say fuck you, Sage.

  31. Well, now that we’ve established that,

    I don’t think we established anything, Consi.
    A belief in god wasn’t a condition of entry into AA/NA – if it had been Ida not played in that playground and I suppose Ida had to find another way to stop … or not.
    What this thread is about is that a belief in a HP is a BSA condition of entry.
    I’d say there was a greater than subtle difference but then again I’m really observant that way.  wink

  32. Regarding entitlement, Consi, I came from a small town. Funding was gathered from the community to help maintain Beavers/Scouts/insert-group-here. There wasn’t a lot to go around.

    If you wanted to do a social camp-gathering, wilderness training or any other sort of service equivalent to what the scouts offered, you had to gather considerable resources to grow and maintain a structure that would do the same. If you weren’t in scouts, chances are, you didn’t have the option of doing any of the stuff in question.

    I’m firmly of the stance that all young people should be allowed to share in those experiences, so long as they are mentally capable of making the decision to join, and so long as they are physically capable of performing according to the demands of that group. I do not see atheism (or any non-Abrahamic belief) as sufficient reason to say that a person is wholly incompetent.

    Twisting tails, here; whose authority do I need to believe that I am entitled to something, other than my own?

  33. Sarge’s attempt to brush aside BSA’s discriminatory policies by appealing to the thousands of people who don’t think the policy is a problem simply shows he does not understand discrimination or real separation of church and state.

    Appealing to popular belief is a spurious argument.  I suppose that Sarge would use the same argument for keeping black people as slaves.  Thousands of people have no problem with slavery; therefore, we should allow it.

    Sarge:  The mere fact that thousands of people do something does not make it correct, moral, justified, or reasonable.

    Let me share a personal experience.  During ROTC training for the United States armed forces, I counted the number of times I was placed into a unit formation, in the at-ease position (thus I was NOT free to leave without breaking ranks and receiving an Article 15 admonishment), where a chaplain was called in front of the formation to recite a supposed “non-denominational” prayer.  That number would be 53, just in training alone.

    Although I put “atheist” on my paperwork, and my dog-tags specified the same, I was not given a reasonable opportunity to not participate in the meaningless Christian ritual forced on me by my government.  Others in my unit were Buddhist, Jewish, and agnostic.  All of us felt that this was an impermissible forcing of religion on us at a time and place when we were not free to leave.

    The exact same thing happened to me in BSA, although at the time I was unaware of their preferential treatment by government or their receipt of millions of tax dollars.  If I wanted to participate in the same group as all my friends (BSA), I had to recite the Lord’s Prayer and pretend to believe in their imaginary friend.  I was not told I could profess a belief in “insert your favorite word here _________” instead of professing a belief in God.  I, and my parents, were told that I had to profess a belief in “God” period, or I could not remain a member of the BSA.  Needless to say, I did not remain a member and I lost a lot of friends because of it at a time when my development as a person needed the support and camaraderie that friendship brought.

    This country guarantees freedom of religion.  I support that.  However, for that principal to have any meaning whatsoever, it must also guarantee the same standard for those who have no religion.  Thus, the government must not support ANY religion in ANY way.

    All citizens should be free to accept or reject religion as they wish.  Government should not be a part of that decision.  I would have no problem with the commander announcing, at the end of the formation, that the chaplain will hold a brief prayer service for those who wish to attend in another room, the third tent in the row, or next to the truck, or wherever.  Then, those in charge should dismiss the formation and let those who wish to observe do so instead of holding ALL persons in a formation and forcing inane Christian based drivel on everyone, especially those who are not Christian.

    Christians are free to spout their beliefs to anyone who will VOLUNTARILY listen.  They are not free to use the power of government to coerce citizens to listen.

    As long as the Scouts receive tax dollars, this argument applies to them also.  Once they stop receiving any preferential treatment or tax monies, then, by all means, discriminate.  Until then, the Scouts need to stop discriminating with my tax money and with the support of my government.

  34. James – Quite true on fairness, and I think a large part is the acceptance of other theories by society at large, but the government does have a role to play – unfortunately they will be biassed if their voters prefer a bias towards christianity.

    The only thing to really fear about a loss of importance given to christianity would be the loss of christmass day as a national holiday (here at least), and the standard economic surge of christmass generally, I accept it is a little bit of a false pretense to forcibly buy stuff for other people that they probably don’t want, but it means a lot to people’s jobs, and children get excited about any presents day

  35. Hello Bahamat:

    I understand that voter’s religious views affect their votes.  But our lawmakers should step up and have the guts to keep all religion out of our government.  We hired them to represent ALL citizens, not just their special interest groups. 

    A person’s choice of religion is a deeply personal matter to be discussed between that individual and their conscience.  Government should never try to do with legislation what the churches have failed to do with persuasion.  That’s not a principal that the U.S. was founded on.  Unlike the England, we do not have a state religion.

    Strangely enough, I have no problems with Christmas, or Kwanzaa, or Hanukkah or any other religious observance.  In the U.S. government should not sponsor or endorse any of these religious holidays, other than to protect the right of all persons for a set number of days off each year.  These days, that everyone should get, can be used to celebrate a person’s religious holidays, or to fix the motorcycle or whatever.  The state should provide time off, but what is done with that time should be entirely up to the individual.  That’s a permissible use of government power; to protect the right of all citizens to time for their personal use be it for religion or for motorcycle maintenance.

    I truly do not think that Christmas will fade away if the U.S. government stops closing on December 25th.  There are many millions of Christians in the U.S. and they traditionally celebrate the birthday of their Lord and Savior on that day.  They can and should continue to do so.  What should stop is government’s acting as a Christian faith by taking Christ’s Mass as an official U.S. Government holiday, thus endorsing one type of religion over others.

    Just my .02.  Your mileage may vary.

    James

  36. James: We hired them to represent ALL citizens, not just their special interest groups

    True, and it keeps things as what most people want.
    I think democracy has a problem where some ideas are more easily learned and accepted than others, sometimes irrespective of how valid they are (ie even unreasoned prejudice retains popularity, and therefore weighting). That said, it would be very difficult to represent every idea on equal stead whilst also keeping support generally, or at least it’d take a lot of (honest) explanation

    I also agree that personal matters (including religion) should not be enforced by any outsider, and I agree with flexible holiday days (which we get here), they also have the advantage of not completely shutting down a workplace when that holiday happens. However generally workplaces will on some occasions try to force people to swap holidays they won’t want to if it isn’t a legal requirement to have that day off,

    But in some ways I welcome any break with tradition because it might end pointless symbolism that’s done for the wrong reasons like eating turkey and sprouts, or any feeling that worship must come in the form of blind ritual, and that somehow the mere unengaged action is considered worthy of credit, which must end to prevent brainwashing generally

  37. Do you really think it is possible to end brainwashing by any group; government, religion, cult, etc?

    In my experience, the vast majority of people are either too stupid to see through the brainwashing, are too lazy to think through the topic for themselves or they “go along to get along.”

    No matter the reason, the vast majority of folks seem to want to have their thinking done for them and they get quite angry whenever somebody challenges their opinions.

    Of course, most people don’t know why they believe what they believe so when somebody’s opinion differs from theirs their only recourse is anger and invective.

    Sadly, this, more than anything else, makes me doubt for the future of our species.

  38. Do you really think it is possible to end brainwashing by any group; government, religion, cult, etc?

    Individual cases of brainwashing can be ended, that’s the best we can do. Whilst we can never hope to eliminate stupidity, I think it’s still worth the effort on the individual scale.

    There is only so much you can do (because they need time and sometimes to suffer a little to see why), but it’s not difficult to do what we can. Well hell, we might as well…

    No matter the reason, the vast majority of folks seem to want to have their thinking done for them and they get quite angry whenever somebody challenges their opinions

    In such cases let them suffer in their anger until they’re satisfied and tired of it, but also show them your immunity to bully tactics, they will quickly learn you won’t provide them with their quick-fix, virtually laugh at them (if you can) to turn it back on them, but try not to alienate them enough that your connection is cut (sometimes it helps when people are forced together with work or family because they can’t leave and are much more forced to find a resolution).

    Also provide information, theories and help as a reward when they’re good/neutral, these people need emotional feedback to know what they’re doing, and have debate skills (on where and why they need to improve) that they cannot argue with so that you may slowly infiltrate (and skillfully evade all the emotionally-charged barriers they put against you), this is hard to do but a skill aquired through practise.

    Sadly, this, more than anything else, makes me doubt for the future of our species.

    You can only do what is within your influence to do, there is no use in worring about what is beyond your reach because there’s nothing the worry would achieve if the matter was beyond what you could do about anyway.

    What’s the worst that could happen? Mankind eliminates all life on earth? So what? – you can’t care once you don’t exist…

    And if the future is in ignorance, and from that born suffering, from that suffering would be born a desire to end ignorance, neither it or ignorance will be completely subdued so long as mankind exists, ignorance and it’s anti create the conditions for each other’s existence.

  39. Well if I might make a suggestion.
    Try joining the Hells Angeles and then rewrite thier bilaws.Make them change thier ways of thinking. Tell them what you want them to believe in. And then let us know how it turns out.

    Seems you want to do what you are accuseing the BSA of doing. You want to force them to believe what you believe.

    Get a grant. Start your own group. Call your selves the people scouts of America and let in whom you choose as does the BSA. Make it a requirement that you must not believe in a supreme being and you believe that you evolved from the goo. To the zoo. To you theory and move on with your life..
    Channel this Anger you have to do some good in life instead of running evryone around you into the ground.
    If you dont like something. try to change it.
    But at the sametime I dont believe that one person has the right to force the majority to do as he/she belives.Thank you madam O”hare!
    As with everything. If you look for the worst in any people/organization, you (WILL) find it.
    Good Day!

  40. Bri stops by to chat…

    Well if I might make a suggestion.
    Try joining the Hells Angeles and then rewrite thier bilaws.Make them change thier ways of thinking. Tell them what you want them to believe in. And then let us know how it turns out.

    Seems you want to do what you are accuseing the BSA of doing. You want to force them to believe what you believe.

    There’s a big difference between the Hell’s Angels and the Boy Scouts, Bri. Show me a Hell’s Angels chapter that gets government funding for its activities and special deals on usage of government facilities or, for that matter, that promotes itself as being an organization for the positive development of all boys and then you’ll have an argument. As it stands you’re comparing apples to oranges.

    And I don’t want to force the Boy Scouts into believing what I believe, but I do want to ensure that any organization that’s going to discriminate against some people due to their religious or sexual orientation isn’t supported by tax dollars either directly or indirectly.

    Get a grant. Start your own group. Call your selves the people scouts of America and let in whom you choose as does the BSA. Make it a requirement that you must not believe in a supreme being and you believe that you evolved from the goo. To the zoo. To you theory and move on with your life..
    Channel this Anger you have to do some good in life instead of running evryone around you into the ground.
    If you dont like something. try to change it.

    You don’t even realize the oxymoron you’ve just created do you? First you chastise me for trying to change the Boy Scouts and then you tell me that if I don’t like something I should try to change it.

    That’s exactly what I’m doing, dumbass.

    But at the sametime I dont believe that one person has the right to force the majority to do as he/she belives.Thank you madam O”hare!
    As with everything. If you look for the worst in any people/organization, you (WILL) find it.

    With some folks, such as yourself, one doesn’t have to look too hard to find it as it’s proudly on display.

  41. I am a Boy Scout.  However, I’m forced to be one because apparently eagle is good…  I don’t really don’t see what’s so special about it.  But whatever.  I absolutely hate boy scouts.  I feel like it is a complete waste of my time.  I mean, I’m 17.  I have much better things to do on the weekends than pretend like I’m an indian and deal with christians and hypocrites.  And yes, I’m atheist and I don’t really care about gays.  I’m personally not gay but I don’t persecute them and the such.  I just leave alone and let them do their thing.  As it should be.  I think that they only thing that is keeping me in scouts is my parents and them paying me 50 dollars per eagle required badge and getting a nice amount of cash when I do get eagle.  That’s the only thing that is actually keeping me in it.

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