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The national leader of the Boy Scouts of America has gone on record explaining why he thinks the organization is right to exclude secular humanists, atheists, and agnostics.  Let's take a look at what he says:

Recent comments from the Boy Scouts of America provide some interesting insight into the group's rationalization of its discrimination against secular Americans.  In an AP story about the 100th anniversary of the BSA, chief Scout executive Bob Mazzuca explained that atheists are excluded from the BSA because "we believe that to become the best you can be, you need a belief in something bigger than yourself."

Hence, Mazzuca is saying that atheists are incapable of believing in something bigger than themselves. This, it seems, points to an old prejudice that needs correcting.

Just because atheists have no belief in a divinity, they are fully capable of seeing that they are part of something bigger, of living lives filled with purpose.  Indeed, by eliminating supernatural views from their thinking, most atheists nevertheless still recognize the enormity of the natural world, the dependence of humans on the fragile environment, and the duty of global citizens to solve the challenges of living in the modern world.

All of this, of course, points to a recognition of "something bigger than themselves," and it highlights the unfortunate but all-too-common prejudice of Mazzuca and others, who see their religious approach to the world as somehow being superior to the naturalistic approach of atheists.  This view wrongly scorns and vilifies atheists.

The Girl Scouts of America doesn't discriminate against atheists, and most scouting organizations around the world no longer have religious requirements.  The BSA, however, clings to this old prejudice, thereby only calling attention to itself as a discriminatory, ultraconservative institution.

It's a fact that secular societies tend to have lower rates of violent crime, spousal abuse, teen pregnancy, and divorce than religious societies - a phenomenon that we see within the US (when we compare religious states to less religious) and internationally (when we compare countries with higher rates of religiosity, such as the US, to more secular countries such as most nations in Western Europe). The BSA stubbornly ignores such facts, instead clinging to the notion that God-belief is a requirement for good citizenship.

But if this long tradition of discriminating against atheists is based on the mistaken notion that atheists don't believe in anything bigger than themselves, then we can dispell such ideas quickly.  Millions of nonreligious Americans selflessly contribute to the greater good every day, volunteering at food pantries, making contributions to scientific research, and in countless other ways. Two of America's most charitable individuals, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, are well-known for being nonreligious.

The BSA remains somewhat isolated today because it has allowed a wall of prejudice to separate itself from rational, decent secular Americans.  Mr. Mazzuca and his colleagues would be wise to tear down that wall.

Originally posted to Ahadave on Wed Dec 23, 2009 at 07:00 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  He didn't explain why... (10+ / 0-)

    ...the BSA also discriminates against LGBT people too. I guess he doesn't think they believe in something "bigger than themselves" either.

    The next OneCare Happy Hour will be January 29, 2010.
    Act locally if you want Single Payer:

    by Pris from LA on Wed Dec 23, 2009 at 07:10:37 PM PST

  •  I'm an Eagle Scout, and I want change (18+ / 0-)

    It's long past time for the Scouts to accept gays, atheists and anyone else who wants to join.

    The problem is that the leadership in Texas has long since been captured by the Christian right.

    Take the fight to them. Don't let them bring it to you. - Harry S Truman

    by jgoodfri on Wed Dec 23, 2009 at 07:11:42 PM PST

    •  yea, totally had to BS my way through my Eagle... (6+ / 0-)

      board of review on the religion questions. was not good times.

      •  Clearly, the BSA teaches honesty and integrity (0+ / 0-)

        especially to its elite Eagle Scout Corps.

        Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? -- Douglas Adams

        by RandomActsOfReason on Thu Dec 24, 2009 at 06:39:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, (0+ / 0-)

          kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

          (one of my friends accidentally said "honesty" was, to him, the most important part of the scout law, during his eagle board of review. that was some crazy good times right there.)

          so yea. I dunno what the BSA teaches, but I know what I, personally, was taught as a Boy Scout, and it was those things. My apologies to you, personally, if the fact that I BS'd a bit about my faith during my Eagle board of review is offensive. I worked for a few hundred hours on that award, not to mention something like a decade of scouting leading up to it, so yes, I bulled a bit to cross the finish line.

          •  No problem, I'm sure the young boys (0+ / 0-)

            who used to attend the John Birch camps just bulled a bit to cross the finish line, too.

            Ever occur to you that the BSA would not be able to continue its bigoted ways, if Scouts didn't sell their principles to gain personally from the experience?

            So, I guess young atheists or gays with principles, who decided not to enjoy the Boy Scouts experience because honesty and integrity mattered to them, as just losers in your book.

            Sorry, but it's hard for me to reconcile your shrug of the shoulders on this issue.

            I doubt anyone here would salute a comment like yours justifying membership in a whites only club.

            Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? -- Douglas Adams

            by RandomActsOfReason on Thu Dec 24, 2009 at 08:25:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's not that I don't hear you. (0+ / 0-)

              It's just that the entirety of my experience had nothing to do with these issues. Eagle candidates know they're gonna get asked about the "reverent" issue, but that was the only time the issue came up. As an older scout, I heard one or two adult leaders make comments about the policy, but that was it. As scouts, we weren't lectured to about religion or sexuality (except regarding abuse). We weren't sitting around the campfire, learning about teh gays, the UN and brown people.

              I hate the policy. I think it's total bullshit, and it makes me really sad that an organization that has done so much good in my life does such a disgusting thing. But my troop really just was not involved in any of this.

              •  I really hate to seem to be personally attacking (0+ / 0-)

                you, but with all due respect, the fact that your experience had nothing to do with these issue, and that your troop was not involved in any of this is really not the point.

                Would you accept that as an argument if it was about excluding blacks? Even if you and your troop were really nice white boys who said "Ma'am" to the Negro woman, as she made her way up the dirt road to wash your family's clothes?

                With all due respect, you are complicit and part of perpetuating this bigotry against gays and atheists, but remaining a part of, and supporting - and even lying to avoid what you KNEW was a discriminatory policy - the Boy Scouts of America.

                After segregation was outlawed, there were still whites who chose to enjoy the benefits of whites-only club, all the while tsk tsking the "terrible" American apartheid - and then, there were those who chose to stand for principle and refused to perpetuate bigotry.

                Where would you have stood - and, unless you say you'd have gladly hung out with Whitey, why are you so willing to gloss over equally reprehensible bigotry and exclusion based on sexual preference and religious preference?

                Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? -- Douglas Adams

                by RandomActsOfReason on Thu Dec 24, 2009 at 09:23:06 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  Isn't BSA basically an arm of the LDS church? (10+ / 0-)

      When the BSA hate-the-gay thing went down years ago, I thought that the Mormons finally came clean about their intentions to cleanse BSA of everything not to their liking. I'm sure that's a bit hyperbolic, but when a person sees what's really going on, not so much.

      •  Not in my experience it isn't. (4+ / 0-)

        Of course, there weren't a lot of LDS in the town/area I grew up in... my Boy Scout troop was mostly Methodists and Presbyterians.

        Call Congress and demand 2 Senators, 1 VOTING Rep, and full home rule for DC citizens. Anything less is un-American.

        by mistersite on Wed Dec 23, 2009 at 07:47:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yea, it's purely political. (7+ / 0-)

        Not that the entire organization is run by the Mormons, but they sponsor so many troops that it'd be really bad tough for the BSA to go against the LDS.

        Clearly I don't know anyone at the top of the BSA, but I can't imagine the decent among them enjoy watching so many troops lose access to free space in many cities.

        I dealt with an adult leader here and there who talked about teh gay and atheist ban, but most really just don't care. The biggest issue, if ya ask me, is the kind of behavior it allows, not anything that it actually advocates, if that makes sense.

      •  No. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        There are now (and always were) lots of Scouts in places where there are hardly any Mormons. There are plenty of socially conservative groups besides the Mormons who take the positions the BSA takes on these issues (and who should share the discredit), though I'm sure the Mormons have a huge impact on the BSA in Utah.

        FWIW, the Scout Law refers to being reverent, and the Oath starts (or started) "On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country..." So believing in God in some form has always been an official part of Scouting. There was never anything official about being heterosexual. Indeed, when I was in it, I don't recall that sexuality was ever discussed.

        •  Actually, they'e breaking traditions on both. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          m16eib, 2020adam

          This is what was so fucked about the Dale case in the Supreme Court. The Court let the BSA create out of whole cloth a new essential value of discriminating against homos.

          An essential part of scouting's values is "respecting the beliefs of others". Discriminating against atheists and gays directly violates this basic value.

          The BSA lied in court and got away with it. IMO, the New Jersey Supreme Court decision in Dale, which was overturned by SCOTUS, was very well written. But as in Bush v. Gore, the Supremes disregarded fact to achieve their desired goal.

          Discrimination is a relatively new "value" to the BSA, at least as an imperative enforced from the national body. They have sold their collective soul, but most of their sponsors are more interested in the result than in integrity.

          "Jane, you ignorant slut." --Dan Aykroyd, Saturday Night Live

          by homogenius on Wed Dec 23, 2009 at 09:47:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  There is a differnece in regional councils. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            In NY or other states they don't work under the same rules as other states. In NY or in in my state, there is still a large representation from the left.

            My wife and her New Yorker friends calls the ones in NY pretty much a tree hugging lefty org. There is a differences from state to to state.

            I am a liberal and I was a Cub Scout leader. And not to say the right is not absent...

            I pointed out to another leader that I was a Veteran and a liberal after a meeting where he said something crazy (Paraphrased: "You may have heard from a pinhead liberal school teacher that the war is bad") and did I have some things to say, both on the spot and afterwards...  

            I may be the closest thing to a real liberal these boys will ever meet. And among the very few Vets that are around them as well.

            If it had been a blog I would've unloaded on the dude. Being that the boys were there I made them laugh at the other guy with an off the cuff humorous remark.

            These kids are smarter than their parents. They got it. But I live in a "conservative" town that voted for Ned Lamont.

            Ain't that funny?

            ePluribus Media
            Collaboration is contagious!

            by m16eib on Wed Dec 23, 2009 at 10:11:22 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Depends what area of the country (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cpt Robespierre

        > Isn't BSA basically an arm of the LDS church?

        Depends what area of the country.  In the northeast and some other areas, the Scouts are pretty much a secular organization.  In areas with a high percentage of LDS they are heavily affiliated with those churches, and similarly in areas with a high percentage of Catholics.


      •  Not exactly. (0+ / 0-)

        The mormon church has a history of bullying the BSA by threatening to leave if they don't get their way. For instance, they start their boys a year later in Boy Scouts by diverting them to a side program the first year.

        The ultimate program is not the BSA's Board of Directors (as knee-jerk conservative as they are)--it's the Board of Advisors, which is made up of representatives of the major sponsoring organizations--all conservative religious bodies. The biggest sponsors are the lds, catholic church, and methodists in the form of the methodist men's board which is considerably more conservative than the denomination as a whole.

        The BSA can't change--it would lose the lds immediately, followed closely by the other conservative churches.

        Personally, I think the key is to break their monopoly--the BSA's congressional charter gives them exclusive rights to the term "Scouting" for boys' programs in the US and to the US version of the Scouting Handbook. This is 180' contrary to the original intent of Lord Baden-Powell.  I think we should press congress to dilute their monopoly by allowing, for instance, the Girl Scouts to expand their program to include boys or some country like Canada or the UK to import their inclusive version of scouting.

        Unfortunately, the BSA is likely a lost cause. They are beholden to these conservative religions. Many more liberal and moderate religious denominations have pulled back from participation, as have schools because of the backlash.

        The BSA is the only major youth program in the US that codifies and enforces discrimination from the national level. The Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs, and Big Brothers/Big Sisters all have basically inclusive policies (or at least don't mandate discrimination from the top down).

        The thing to remember with respect to the gay ban is that the BSA's approach puts boys at risk. The biggest threat to boys isn't out gay men--it's closeted pedophiles. The BSA also bans gay parents from participating and boys who identify as gay or even questioning.

        These policies have caused many institions and families to self-select out of Scouting, making the BSA even more conservative and discriminatory. It's heart-breaking for those who value the benefits of Scouting.

        I hear a lot of people trying to defend the BSA by saying "you can't throw the baby out with the bath water". But my question for them is would they say the same if the BSA discriminated against blacks, jews, or catholics?

        "Jane, you ignorant slut." --Dan Aykroyd, Saturday Night Live

        by homogenius on Wed Dec 23, 2009 at 09:40:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yep. This Eagle Scout agrees. (6+ / 0-)

      It's long past time.

      Call Congress and demand 2 Senators, 1 VOTING Rep, and full home rule for DC citizens. Anything less is un-American.

      by mistersite on Wed Dec 23, 2009 at 07:47:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  scouts (9+ / 0-)

    Atheists are also under-represented in prisons.

    So, we know why the Scouts hate the godless. Any talk of why they hate the gays?

    Here's an atheist singing a sappy song about Christmas for you. Because...well, just because.

    The plural of anecdote is not data.

    by Skipbidder on Wed Dec 23, 2009 at 07:19:32 PM PST

  •  As a GAY Eagle Scout (15+ / 0-)

    I have nothing good to say about the BSA these days.  

    There should be no merit badge for bigotry.  They need to evolve or go extinct.

  •  My take (5+ / 0-)

    is that they have every right to exclude gays and atheists as long they don't receive taxpayer money. But if they are to receive taxpayer money they shouldn't discriminate.

    •  Do they have the right? Sure. (6+ / 0-)

      Is it right? Not a chance in hell.

      Call Congress and demand 2 Senators, 1 VOTING Rep, and full home rule for DC citizens. Anything less is un-American.

      by mistersite on Wed Dec 23, 2009 at 07:48:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  BSA taxpayer money (5+ / 0-)

      In my experience, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts meet in 2 places; churches and schools. Meeting in churches would fit your argument, but those meeting in schools are using taxpayer funded facilities, and therefore have no right to discriminate.

      I was an unofficial pack leader when my sons were cubs, I could not be a leader thouugh, because I could not sign the leadership oath, including a belief in God. I'm sure I'm not the only person in this position, unable to volunteer because I wasn't 'moral enough' for the organiztion.

    •  Also their congressional charter. (0+ / 0-)

      This gives them extraordinary exclusivity to terms like "Scouting" and rights to the US edition of the Boy Scout Handbook, even though Lord Baden-Powell intended his work to be open source.

      They enjoy the imprimatur of Congress as the "Boy Scouts of America", even though their program isn't for all American boys.

      "Jane, you ignorant slut." --Dan Aykroyd, Saturday Night Live

      by homogenius on Wed Dec 23, 2009 at 09:50:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  They do receive taxpayer money (0+ / 0-)

      in many ways.

      They use public school property without compensation.

      They receive preference in hiring - Eagle Scouts are automatically granted higher starting pay for federal jobs, which is also a violation of federal antidiscrimination law. That's how they get around using our money for discrimination.

      They have received federal grants for recruiting Scouts on public school property during school hours (there was a lawsuit about this in 2003).

      Until 2005, the Pentagon would spend millions of taxpayer dollars preparing a Virginia military base - federal land - for the annual Scout Jamboree. That stopped only because of a lawsuit, which took 6 years to complete. The lawsuit is under appeal, so  the taxpayer spending continues, as far as I know. In any case, they would still have use of the facility for free.

      In 2008, Congress passed the "Boy Scouts of America Centennial Commemorative Coin Act"

      The bill mandates that the U.S. Mint create and sell as many as 350,000 one dollar coins commemorating the Scouts’ centennial in the year 2010. A ten dollar surcharge on each coin goes directly to the Boy Scouts of America, who will net as much as $3.5 million in the deal.

      Among the upstanding Americans who supported this subsidy for illegal discrimination:

      The perfect boy scout, the messiah of the antiestablishment far left, presidential candidate and all around flawless perfect public servant (other than the fact that he has voted with theocrat Ron Paul more often than any other member of Congress), Dennis Kucinich.

      Of course, he's not alone. The House approved this travesty 403-8. Hail Jesus. Hail Christian America

      Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? -- Douglas Adams

      by RandomActsOfReason on Thu Dec 24, 2009 at 06:37:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I was a scout. I didn't even know (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh, Belle Ame

    then that the BSA was anti-gay and atheist-only (though of course I was aware of all the prayers and such). It's like a pretty good program for boys, but behind the scenes it's a horror show. But in the end I don't think that even Eagle Scouts come out both more religious and more anti-gay.

    I'm in the pro-Obama wing of the Democratic Party.

    by doc2 on Wed Dec 23, 2009 at 07:29:37 PM PST

    •  I sort of agree (9+ / 0-)

      I went through years of BSA (Eagle) and I am now a HUGE FAG, very happily married to my husband and  I am more atheist than Richard Dawkins.  No harm done here!


      I think they are a relic of old times that need to evolve or go away.  I do have a problem with any public (i.e. tax payer) support of such a bigoted society though.  

    •  Your tax dollars and mine pay for their bigotry (0+ / 0-)

      both directly and indirectly - and Eagle Scouts are automatically granted higher starting pay in federal government jobs than others, which, because of the BSA exclusion of gays and atheists, is a form of federally sanctioned discrimination which violates federal law.

      The same argument could be made about a whites-only camp for boys. "In the end, they come out ok".

      Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? -- Douglas Adams

      by RandomActsOfReason on Thu Dec 24, 2009 at 06:26:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  YMCA is now the "Y".... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pris from LA, Oh Mary Oh

    and it accepts people of all relilgions, and as stated at a recent event, "agnostics"  I almost laughed that they weren't quite ready to go all the way to Atheists.

    But is the City of San Diego ready to accept non Christians.   For an interesting column about this issue read this.

    Get a war memorial we don’t have to fight over

    And then be sure to comment about the second guy mentioned, as I have a special interest.

    •  I think both the Y and the 1st comment on the (0+ / 0-)

      San Diego article are offensive and not funny.

      It is not a trivial think that "inclusion" continues to broaden and yet stubbornly refuses to include atheists. That is why tolerance, by all statistical measures, continues to increase in America towards all minority - except atheists.

      As for the first comment in the article about the Cross memorial, it is typical of the "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" mutual bigotry of religious institutions and many believers.

      Either all religious symbols (cross and a Eruv) seen and unseen, known or unknown, are Constitutional, or they are not. Some San Diegans have testified to the City Council that neither should exist on public land. Our interpretation of the Bill of Rights is "Freedom of religion," not "Freedom from religion."

      Yeah, that's Joe Lieberman's line too. Also Pat Robertson's. Birds of a feather.

      Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? -- Douglas Adams

      by RandomActsOfReason on Thu Dec 24, 2009 at 06:24:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Boy Scouts of America lost a handsome building (9+ / 0-)

    ... here in Philadelphia that they paid the city practically no rent for because they are bigots. The Beaux Arts building was used by the BSA since 1928. The City warned the BSA that they could not continue to support them in a public building if they continued to discriminate against gay people. BSA and the City sparred for awhile and now the BSA idiots are gone. Hallelujah. Praise the Lord.

    I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

    by CherryTheTart on Wed Dec 23, 2009 at 07:33:48 PM PST

  •  My husband was discriminated against by the BSA (7+ / 0-)

    When he was 13 he had gotten all of the required badges to become an Eagle Scout. He would have been the youngest Eagle Scout in the state of MD.

    His scout leader refused to give it to him because he did not go to church. He actually tried going to church, but thought it was stupid and refused to go again.

    His mother raised bloody hell with the Boy Scouts. She wrote letters, she contacted her congressman, her senator, the PRESIDENT - she was a bigtime letter writer.

    Finally they agreed to give it to him about a year later. He said thanks, but no thanks.

    Needless to say he has been very anti BSofA since then.

  •  Ad Alteri Dei..., (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dadanation, ExStr8, rb608, Oh Mary Oh, svboston

    As a 69 yr old former PROUD member and wearer of the above Catholic medal/award, AND supporter of Scouting..., today, I also proudly "RIP THIS AWARD OFF MY CHEST AND FLING IT BACK INTO YOUR FACE, MR. MAZZUCA".
    Your attitude, and the attitude of the BSA under your direction in this day and age is unforgivable.
    I am appaled re: your position concerning Atheists, Gays, etc.
    Whats next?  Republicans..., Non-politicals..., Redheads?
    "Wake up, you Dunderhead...!, descrimination is not rightous to ANY God!"
    a FORMER Scout

  •  I Was a Boy Scout in the Late 60s Early 70s (5+ / 0-)

    I had great camping experiences and learned how to cope with and truly appreciate nature.

    My scoutmaster was a virulent Christian nutcake. At that time, even in the southern city I grew up in, that was still something. The assistant scoutmaster was not an asshat however, but a truly good outdoorsy guy who always covered us when the main man was on the warpath, which was often. Years later I heard he was kicked out of scouting for being gay.

    Though certainly not delineated in it's charter, the BSA is still a homophobic Christian supremacist organization. Like the military academies its governing board is populated with intolerant zealots. Fortunately they still have enough liberal Christians and Jews to keep a check on the wingnuts.

    The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by easong on Wed Dec 23, 2009 at 08:02:31 PM PST

  •  I was an Eagle Scout (5+ / 0-)

    but I never considered getting my offspring involved because of the bigotry espoused by the BSA.

    •  meh. I'm no happier than you are with the BSA, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      but the experiences I had in scouting were unrivaled. From leadership, to outdoorsmanship, to civic duty... no program could have done anywhere near as much for me as Boy Scouts did. I was with the program from first grade through the rank of Eagle. I don't know of any other program that would have given me such a long-term experience with so much depth.

      •  I agree, but (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        having those experiences allows me to pass them on individually without legitimizing a bigoted organization.  My offspring go camping with me, they can tie knots, and they've learned leadership through other groups & organizations.  And they've learned these things while also learning to accept other cultures and faiths.  My experiences in the BSA were great, but I won't support their agenda.

  •  Don't have no morals if you're an.. (3+ / 0-)


    All morality comes in the form of commandments from God, and the fear of God's wrath if those commandments are broken.

    Ergo, no atheist can be either moral or decent.


    So...religionists are "moral" because they're scared of angering God. They are restrained from lying, cheating, stealing and killing primarily from a sense of fear.  

    Atheists behave well because they simply think that the world will be a better place to live if we all treat each other well.

    Guess which motivation I think is more reliable?

    •  This is the common BS from christofascists (0+ / 0-)

      As if they have a corner on morality. As if doing the right thing HAS to be done in the fear of god.

      I'm so fucking tired of these morons.

      •  It's not uncommon on the Christian Left as well (0+ / 0-)

        I hear it all the time right here on DailyKos.

        And, guess what - not a single "progressive theist" ever pushes back when that kind of crap is posted here. On the contrary, comments like that always get recs.

        Many people on the Left have a problem separating anything that doesn't have to do with capitalist economics and identifying it as a problem.

        Theist bigotry in America crosses all political boundaries.

        Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? -- Douglas Adams

        by RandomActsOfReason on Thu Dec 24, 2009 at 06:12:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  exactly (0+ / 0-)

      So...religionists are "moral" because they're scared of angering God. They are restrained from lying, cheating, stealing and killing primarily from a sense of fear.

      That's not morality, it's Santa Claus for grownups.

  •  BSA PAID leaders sold their soul a while back (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    homogenius, m16eib

    Confronted with declining membership numbers - due to the expansion of options open to boys (think rec soccer and more) and the declining number of adult VOLUNTEER leaders willing to put in the time needed for things like camoping and hiking, BSA's PAID leadership sold their souls trying to do ANYTHING to make membership numbers look better.  They were desperate to justify their ABSURDLY OVERPAID existence (lower rank paid staff are paid squat but the higher-ups make out VERY well - BSA is a regular topic when it comes to overpaid charitable organizations).

    Anyway you had MASSIVE Fraud - and still have it - with local Council paid staff exaggerating the numbers of boys enrolled (and using those numbers to solicit funds).

    But NATIONAL leaders (though turning a blindd eye to regular local enrollment scandals) looked for a 'bigger' 'fix'.

    BSA cut a deal with the LDS (Mormon Church) to have BSA beciome the OFFICIAL youth program for LDS boys - guaranteeing a substantial number of members.  LDS gets away with 'murder' (almost literally) in that they do pretty much as they want - without the LDS BSA 'leaders' having to do the same training and such that others have to do.  The end result - 'appointed' BSA 'leaders' in LDS units has left a legacy of 'accidents' that should horrify anyone.  LDS has also been remiss in dealing with that ever present problem in BSA - child abuse.  A scandal in Idaho showed how the LDS worked to hide recurring abuse.

    With BSA DEPENDING on the LDS for membership, they ended up pandering to LDS beliefs on 'God and Gays'.

    Baden Powell - BSA founder - was NOT obsessed with the current definition of 'God' and in fact had made provisions for Scouts that did NOT follow monotheistic type religions.   It was about a 'higher power' - vaguely defined, not much more....

    As far as gays went, more than a few of the original US founders WERE - that again was only an issue with growing LDS presence.

    As BSA pandered to the LDS, it alienated many more liberal chartering organizations.  Reform Synagoguse dropped BSA soponsorship years back - as havbe many other churches.  The Unitarians are involved in an ongoing dispute with BSA over 'God'

    BSA PAID leaders hide behind 'values' to kewep everyoine from looking at their own malfeasance.  They have looted the organization for their own benefit - selling off property donated for the use of BOYS to pay their own salaries.  When volunteers try to stand up to the National Organization and paid leaders they end up involved in never-ending court cases - look at Greater Chicago who have spent years fighting over the closing of one of BSA's oldest camps.

    "Scouting" can be a great program and HAS been for millions of kids.

    The problem is that the VOLUNTEER LEADERS that do the real work in Scouting - wo run the Troops - have NO real control over BSA.  The PAID staff does as they want and USE BSA as their personal feifdom.  VOlunteers joke that the ONLY time the y see paid staff is when they show up to ask for money (to pay THEIR salaries).  

    Our once rich Council has been looted by a succession of paid leaders - the last one sold property over the objections of volunteers to make failing finances look better.  We lost HUNDREDS of volunteer leaders - and contributions dried up because this PAID head was such an arrogant ass.  He planned on a very nice career here but was finally driven out... the Council even lent him downpayment for a house.... he made TWICE what his GSA counterpart made - with HALF the membership in BSA that GSA had.   All too typical of BSA.

    BSA will continue to fade away - unfortuantely - led by inept and self-centered paid leaders more concerned with THEIRE lifestyle than kids.

    •  Very well said. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dadanation, m16eib

      To amplify or expand what you said about properties (and it's probably covered in your links) many Councils around the country have misused properties--often in direct violation of the terms of the original gift.

      It's a travesty that is under-reported.

      "Jane, you ignorant slut." --Dan Aykroyd, Saturday Night Live

      by homogenius on Wed Dec 23, 2009 at 09:54:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here's the money quote: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rieux, m16eib, RandomActsOfReason

    " the exercise of their constitutional right to bring the values of Scouting to youth members, the Boy Scouts of America will not employ atheists, agnostics, known or avowed homosexuals, or others as professional Scouters or in other capacities in which such employment would tend to interfere with the mission of reinforcing the values of the Scout Oath and the Scout Law in young people."

    "I still believe in liberalism today as much as I ever did, but, oh, there was a happy time when I believed in liberals..." -- G. K. Chesterton

    by teachme2night on Wed Dec 23, 2009 at 09:41:25 PM PST

  •  Socialism is belief in something bigger (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This is probably something he's not capable of seeing or believing in.

  •  Bottom out comment. (0+ / 0-)

    Great diary. And thank you for honoring my request.

    You know who you are. :)

    ePluribus Media
    Collaboration is contagious!

    by m16eib on Wed Dec 23, 2009 at 10:17:33 PM PST

  •  People who need to believe in something (0+ / 0-)

    bigger than themselves are suffering from an inferiority complex that needs to be justified and balanced out.
    Whether their sense of inferiority is self-induced or imposed is unclear.  But, that it's unlikely to be cured is fairly certain.  

    How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

    by hannah on Thu Dec 24, 2009 at 03:36:32 AM PST

  •  How many of the scouts posting here (0+ / 0-)

    proudly about their defiance of the national leadership, would be scouts if the BSA banned black people?

    And how many of you, within or without the Boy Scouts, will bother to criticize them if they finally accept gays, but still exclude atheists?

    Given that 90% of progressives public statements about the BSA don't even mention the discrimination against atheists, I'm guessing few to none.

    Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? -- Douglas Adams

    by RandomActsOfReason on Thu Dec 24, 2009 at 06:10:17 PM PST

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