Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My Sons Will Not Join That Which Discriminates Against their Father

The Boy Scouts don't allow Jews to be Scoutmasters.

The Boy Scouts don't allow Catholics to be Scoutmasters.

The Boy Scouts don't allow Muslims to be Scoutmasters.

Each of those statements are false, but I imagine they raise the same level of feelings within you as when I type this true statement:

The Boy Scouts don't allow atheists to be Scoutmasters.

Tonight I attended a local meeting at my sons elementary school regarding their potential participation in the Cub Scouts and ultimately the Boy Scouts program. I participated in Cub and Boy Scouts through my own elementary through high school years. This was back when I was still a member of the LDS (aka Mormon) church.

There, the LDS church was as entwined with the Scouting program like two snakes twisted around a staff. Opening and closing prayers, meetings held in the church house - it was pretty much another church meeting.

Things are different now. I'm an out of the closet atheist, and will not have my sons participate in the Scouting program through the Mormon church through one simple reason: they don't allow either homosexuals nor atheists to be scout leaders. Evidently, they lack "proper values" to be able to lead their own children (let alone others) in Scouting events.

Tonight at my children's elementary school, when the opportunity was raised to asked questions, I asked if that rule is enforced at the local level. Turns out it does. Even a group that is hosted at a local school - local secular government institution - still regards atheists as "not fit" to be fully participating members.

Evidently, the fact that I pay my taxes like a patriot should, that I volunteer in my community, that I care for my family isn't good enough if I don't also share belief in the supernatural.

Then my boys will miss out on Scouting. Because I can not see fit to have them participate in an organization that teaches them to discriminate against their father.


Sean said...

As a fellow atheist I like to say I think your decision was good. As a child I missed out on Boy Scouts because I was a Jehovah's Witness. It wasn't until years later I am glad I never joined.

Connor said...

As an atheist Eagle Scout, I can sympathize with your decision. That being said, not all Boy Scout troops are run like the Mormons run theirs. My troop was based out of a Lutheran church, yet religion was almost never mentioned. It might be possible to find a troop somewhere that doesn't ask too many questions.

Tony said...

Excellent for your family! Discrimination for any reason is completely ridiculous. As a former Scout, I regret their decision to choose the path of hatred and incivility. They could have been an organization of inclusion, love and hope. Instead they chose discrimination, hatred and bigotry.

Zack said...

If you talk to Scouting leaders and executives in non-LDS areas, the general consensus is that rules against gays and atheists are ludicrous and should be dropped.

The problem is that doing so would lose a lot of desperately needed funding which is required to keep running big, gorgeous wilderness camps like Philmont and S-F, which are some of the things that really make Scouting special.

Not saying they've made the right answer, necessarily, but there are reasons for what they do.

John said...

Life Scout here in Cleveland Ohio. Yup. Atheist here too. Too bad we cant do anything about it. I loved the Boy Scouts and everything that they did. I wanted my son to do it too until I looked into it and saw the oath with God in it. Fine if he wants to. Not fine for me to lie unfortunately. Funny thing is. The Girl Scouts is the exact opposite with their rejection of bigotry. My son is 13 and they denied him the experience. Thanks BSA.
I have 2 younger girls. maybe Ill get them involved in Girl Scouts.

Bryan said...

I'm an atheist life scout (turned 18 before I finished the final project for eagle), and I'm considering Adventure Scouts as an alternative to BSA for my sons. Besides that, my wife and I are getting them into camping, knot tying, fire building, etc. ourselves.

mwh said...

wow, I was in Utah during that age and was kicked out because I wasn't attending the meetings. I was not attending the meetings because they were all very LDS influenced and held in LDS churches after immediately after LDS services.