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Another Debate to Start

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
So what do you all think about the Boy Scouts banning atheists, and more specifically banning an Eagle Scout, now Scout Leader, because he won't express his belief in a higher power?

Here is the full story on CNN.com

I have real mixed feelings on this. Legally, they do have that right since they are a private organization. However, I think it is prejudice that they ban atheists (and homosexuals) from their organization, but because they are the Boy Scouts it's all OK.

Any other thoughts on this matter?
post #2 of 10
I saw the young man in question last night and I must say he held his own pretty well with Bill O'Reilly. From the very beginning, the people who participate in Scouting take this oath. If anyone cannot take this oath truthfully, they should not take it at all. It is a private organization, has always been somewhat faith based, and should be able to have members that do not take their oath truthfully removed. Every one is entitled to believe or not, but, if they do not, they should not lie to take advantage of what Boy Scouts have to offer.
post #3 of 10
On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.
Scout Law

I appreciate the fact that this young man does not want to be a hypocrite, but this Scout oath is spoken at every Scout event. He should find an organization that emphasizes "do good" and "be good." It sounds as if he will be a good citizen, but he's in the wrong organization right now. It's a shame he didn't realize this before he put all that effort forth--unless his reward is in knowing that he has served his community.
Private organizations are allowed to ban anyone they choose, for good or bad, just as we can ban people from entering our homes. It's their right. Unless we change the constitution, it will remain their right, regardless of our opinions.
post #4 of 10
Sorry to lower the tone - but all I've got to say is:

Ging gang gooly, gooly, gooly, gooly, watcha ging-gang goo, ging-gang goo.......

(Maybe only the UK ex-girl guides or ex-brownies will get this one -so everyone else please ignore me)
post #5 of 10
They are a private organization, and make it very clear when you join what expectations they have. If you can't follow their "code" then don't join at all in my opinion.

Just as a side note, I am not 'pro' scout. In fact, my son wanted to join and we didn't because of some of their beliefs. I just think that if you do decide to join you already know what their expectations are. Its in the pledge.
post #6 of 10
One of our constitutional rights is freedom of association. This, also, means that we are free NOT to associate with people with whom we disagree. The Boy Scouts are a private organization and, if they don't want to associate with atheists or gays, that is their choice.

By the same token, atheists and gays should not continue to butt their heads against a stone wall. WHY would you want to join an organization that will not make you welcome?

My only problem with the Boy Scouts, is the "boy" part. I raised my sons in a non-sexist environment and taught them that activities and jobs should not be off-limits, strictly on the basis of gender.
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
In this man's defense, he joined the Boy Scouts when he was 9, and I'm sure didn't have the same belief structure as he does now.

I'm certainly not saying that a private organization doesn't have the right to exclude who they want to or that this is a constitutional issue.

I guess I'm on the other side of most of you. I think it is a real shame that an organization as good as the Boy Scouts is teaching their young, impressionable members prejudice on this scale. Perhaps the gays and atheists should just leave some things alone, and perhaps this is one of those things. I just think it is very closed minded of their higher-ups (whoever makes and upholds these policies) to maintain these positions of exclusion based on belief or preference.

Just my 2 cents.
post #8 of 10
'People living in glass houses' comes to mind.

In my experience of the scout and guide movement in the UK (may be different in the US, don't know), there is much moralising.

However, there are serious double standards and often those who moralise loudest have the biggest skeletons in their cupboards.

Surely humankind is all about tollerance. I'm of the belief that if nobody's personal thoughts and convictions do not harm me or others then thay are welcome to them. This guy is not imposing his will on anybody - he simply refuses to recite a mantra.
post #9 of 10
I have the greatest respect for you both, Heidi and Yola. And I'm sure this young man believed in God as a child. However, this is a group of young people dedicated to serving God and man, not just man. If I join a club dedicated to oil painting and decide later that I prefer acrylics, I should quit the oil painting club and join an acrylics club. Of course, this is more serious than that.

I personally believe that homosexuality is innate, genetic, not a chosen lifestyle. If I were on the board, (fat chance!) I would never ban a homosexual child. However, as a Christian afloat in a sea of non-believers, I am grateful for the Boy Scouts. They're not perfect, but they try to encourage ethical, God-loving behaviour and community service, and for that, I'm grateful.
post #10 of 10
I think it's a shame that he would be forced out of the scouts because of his beliefs especially after all the years of hard work he has partaken with the scouts. On the other hand I agree with Jeanie is saying.

I understand both sides of this argument but as a private organization I believe they have the right to remove him as a member.

What I'm wondering is if they knew he was an atheist as the article explains at the end why now are they having a problem with it?
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