The Boy Scouts basically is a religious organization

Let me stipulate from the outset here that I’ve always thought the Boy Scouts of America has every legal right, as a private organization, to exclude whomever it wants and to promote whatever beliefs it chooses.

On the other hand, if I had a son, I wouldn’t want him to join the BSA. The organization’s intolerance of  people who don’t hew to certain conservative religious principles is unacceptable to me.

We’re all aware, of course, that the BSA currently bars homosexuals from its ranks. Speculation on whether that prohibition might soon be dropped has been a big news story of late, and polls show that most Americans favor a more tolerant policy (see HERE). But that doesn’t mean the BSA will change its position on that matter. Nor, as I say, should it be legally required to.

Militating against any change on the issue of gays is the fact that the BSA is so closely tied to religions known for their homophobia. As the Associated Press reported the other day,  “about 70 percent of all Scout units are sponsored by religious denominations, including many by conservative faiths that have supported the ban [on gays], including the Roman Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the Mormon church.”

In light of those religious ties, it’s not surprising that the BSA also bars atheists and agnostics from its ranks. As Scouting founder Robert Baden-Powell said more than a century ago in the first Scout handbook: “No man is much good unless he believes in God and obeys His laws.”

That’s an unfortunate notion to promote among boys and young men, but again, the BSA can promote whatever notions it wants, just like any other religious organization. And that’s what it is — a religious organization.



  1. Betsy Schulz Urbik

    The Boy Scouts are a private institution that receives Federal and State money. If you consider them to be a religious organization, that funding should stop.

  2. shawnnews

    When I was a scout, our troop met in a church basement. We didn’t say prayers. In fact I think the only time we ever mentioned God was when we said a scout oath or creed about being loyal citizens to God and country. Also it’s an organization that allows for any religions — the medal with the cross on it in your picture is some sort of award we could earn if we selected. I looked into earning one but scouts wasn’t keeping my interests then. You can be a Muslim or Buddhist and get an award like the one with a cross there. Also, we didn’t talk much about God or religions from what I remember but really about what service project we were doing or what opportunities there were for merit badges — introductions to skill sets, and camp outs. I don’t know if anyone actually believed one way or another about God. Around 14 people started leaving scouts and started school activities and dating rather than scout activities.

  3. shawnnews

    I should’ve written “Around age 14, people started leaving…”

  4. jjgettys

    Your entitled to your ‘unfortunate notion’ comment. That ‘notion’ will outlast you as it is eternal and you are not. Man is not ‘good’ without God. Pious and self centered for sure, but never will be more than moving toward depravity. The road is wide that leads to destruction. Your words will decide your fate. yak on. I choose to believe the unbelievale truth. Its a faith thing. Not a head trip into vain philosophy’s.

  5. jjgettys: My, my! Aren’t you the self-righteous one!

    Oh, and your spelling and punctuation are so representative of your intelligence. Very impressive, indeed.

    Keep up the good work.

  6. The Comedian

    Self-righteous indeed. Especially the part where he admits all men are depraved. What a big headed religious zealot. His overwhelming zeal for all things pious spills out in his poor grammar and sentence construction. All of which combined truly enlighten us in regards to his obviously sub-pat intelligence. All who travel the blogoverse know that poorly constructed sentences and bad grammar are anathema to the blogging elite. Bow jjgettys and weep at your humiliation. It’s the only way my pathetic existence will make any sense.

  7. jjgettys

    The foolish things confound the wise. Rail on there Pat. Hit those keys a bit harder if you like. Moving slowly on that slippery slope without… I doubt your spelling excellence will buy you any points in the big scheme of things. But hey, it floats your little boat so paddle on. Keep drawing those straws with the sons of Cain.

  8. RedRover

    I have never liked the para-militaristic uniforms, badges, ranks, salutes, etc.

    Can’t boys go off camping in the woods together with their dads for fun only and without all this status/class associated baggage?

    Never liked that part of it when I was in it. Still don’t like it now.

  9. jjgettys: Just a wild guess here: You’re a creationist, right?

  10. Pat, Your question is wild indeed. Interesting turn. I will quote a friend; I’ve been boxed in the lowlands and the canyons that think. I’ve been pushed to the brink of the precipice and dared not to blink. I’ve been confounded by the whirlwind of the what if’s and dreams. I’ve been burned by the turning of the wind back upon my own flames. I am sure you are a deeper man on the inside than the superficial question you threw out. I will give you that.

  11. jjgettys

    Pat, Kind of a knee jerk question there. Does it make it easier for you to assign a label to someone? Sure seems that way. If i label you something then i can dismiss everything you say and not read your column. We have our choices. I will respond with this; ‘I’ve been boxed in the lowlands and the canyons that think, I’ve been pushed to the brink of the precipice and dared not to blink, I’ve been confounded by the whirlwind of the what if’s and dreams, I’ve been burned by turning of the wind back upon my own flames’. Draw straws with someone else.

  12. jeff (or jj or whatever your name is): Sounds to me like you don’t want to admit you’re a creationist but don’t want to risk burning in hell for denying it.

    Well, you can always invoke the argument that you, yourself, are evidence against the theory of evolution.

  13. jjgettys

    Pat, i guess the ‘deeper man on the inside’ decided not to make an appearance, but the ‘i think i am so clever has’. think away there on this lovely wintry saturday. you have the floor. dance with your self.

  14. RedRover

    “A meaningless but phonologically structured human utterance believed by the speaker to be a real language but bearing no systematic resemblance to any natural language, living or dead.”
    — William J. Samarin

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