September 11, 2006


“Duty to God ahead of country, others and self is the credo of suicide bombers.”Penn Jillette on the subject of the Boy Scouts of America and their answer to the question “Can an individual who states that he does not believe in God be a volunteer Scout leader or member?”

Official answer from their FAQ: No. The Scout Oath represents the basic values of Scouting, and it addresses the issue of “duty to God” before duty to country, others, and self.

I miss back when I was a scout and BSA wasn’t a religious organization. Thank goodness that the GSA is not.

Posted by James at September 11, 2006 5:25 PM
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Boy Scouts wasn't religious back then? When did it get all fundified?

Posted by: Chuck S. at September 11, 2006 9:50 PM

That Bullshit thing blew my mind. I knew it had gotten bad in the last 10-15 years, but didn't realize it was a recent phenomenon.

I remember seeing an story about it on 20/20 or somesuch some time ago, about the atheist kids who were kicked out. But first their leaders told them they should just lie and say they were religious if they wanted to stay in the troop (or pack, or whatever they call them).

Posted by: Julie at September 11, 2006 10:53 PM

I misspoke (or mistyped): I didn't realize it was an *organized* phenomenon.

Posted by: Julie at September 11, 2006 10:54 PM

In the mid 80's, sometime. According to P&T.

Posted by: James at September 11, 2006 10:59 PM

The whole religion thing never came up in our pack. Of course, they never say the creed either. :D

Posted by: at September 11, 2006 11:28 PM

Ah yes, the Scout creed. I definitely don't remember it ever coming up either.

Must be a result of the war on Christianity.

Posted by: briwei at September 12, 2006 11:34 AM

I'm an assistant Scoutmaster for my son's troop, and the troop is definately NOT religious. I don't believe, have never asked if I do. The BSA in general has gotten a bad rap (and rightly so) for a bunch of crap they've pulled lately, but some Troops and Councils work on the very edges of Scouting rules. Boston Minuteman Council even coaches Eagle candidates (that don't believe) as to what to say when asked, at their Eagle Board of Review, about what they believe in.

That said, yes, scouting has changed a HUGE amount since I was a kid. Its mostly an Eagle factory to get 'Eagle Scout' on college applications. Merit badge classes are a rubber-stamp joke, for the most part, and the whole "Scout Spirit" bit is shown just by showing up, not actually being a 'good scout'.

Adult leaders are taught the way to run a troop, and how to make good leaders and independent thinkers out of young men, but then when put into practice, we get the "well, its not really done that way".


***end rant***

Posted by: Bob McCown at September 15, 2006 12:56 PM

It's the anti gay sentiment that cooks it for me. I can not support an organization that has "values" that discriminate.

Q. May an individual who openly declares himself to be a homosexual be a volunteer Scout leader?

A. No. The Boy Scouts of America is a private membership organization; leadership in Boy Scouting is a privilege and not a right. Boy Scouts believes that homosexual conduct is not compatible with the aims and purposes of Scouting and that a known or avowed homosexual does not present a desirable role model for the youth in the Scouting program. Boy Scouts will continue to select only those who meet Boy Scout standards and qualifications for membership.

Read it for yourself at their website:

This from an organization whose "Vision Statement" says they're "the nationís foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training."

Some values.

Posted by: Patti M. at September 15, 2006 1:08 PM

I don't think the anti-atheism is any less discriminatory than the anti-gay. Both issues grind my gears, but I have experience being an atheist and not so much being gay. :)

Bob, I think scouting can be salvaged. Some troops have lost their charter because of their diversity. But here in MA, your troop is probably less likely to be "outed."

It's unfortunate that a troop would even have to worry about this.

Posted by: James at September 15, 2006 1:30 PM

Yea, the big difference is that National has their guidlines, and thats who makes the most Anti-gay, gotta be religious, noise. On the local level, particularly working with the boys, there is none of that. The idiotic policies of National drive everybody at the local level nuts. We all want the boys to succeed, be independent, and have a great love for the outdoors, but that gets overshadowed by the wide paintbrush that Scouting gets painted with.


Posted by: Bob at September 15, 2006 1:50 PM

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