Secular Group Questions Why Boy Scouts Won't Accept Atheists After Lifting Ban on Gays

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, one of the largest nonprofit secular groups in America, ran an ad on Sunday in The New York Times asking why the Boy Scouts of America is maintaining its ban on nonreligious members after having changed its policy to now accept gay members. A pro-family group believes FFRF is right in its questioning.

"The bottom line is, Scouting has now removed any logical or legal basis for protecting against the inclusion of openly gay scout masters, so in a sense this group is perfectly correct," Rob Schwarzwalder, senior vice president for the Family Research Council, told The Christian Post on Tuesday.

FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor argued that although the secular group is supportive of the Boy Scouts' recent decision to allow openly gay members, the question remains: "Why is it still choosing to exclude and shun nonreligious boys and their families?"

The Boy Scouts oath reads: "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." A BSA membership form also states that "no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing his obligation to God."

The cartoon that accompanies the FFRF ad depicts a Boy Scout looking at the badges on his uniform, saying, "This one's for swimming. This one's for woodcraft. This one's for religious bigotry . . ."

FFRF argued, "The intellectual rejection of claims for which there is no evidence is not only respectable, but vital to progress. What should not be respectable is treating any American, whether young or old, as a second-class citizen."

The Boy Scouts lifted its ban on openly gay youths during a meeting in May, when 61 percent of the 1,400 delegates voted in favor of a resolution to lift the ban and 39 percent voted in opposition. The ban on gay adult leaders remains.

Schwarzwalder sent CP a detailed issue brief that analyzes the Boy Scouts' decision, noting that the organization's membership stance now becomes hard to defend from a logistical basis.

"[I]t is absurd for Scouting to have adopted the new policy and concurrently assert that homosexual men are more of an inherent threat to, or more undesirable roles models for, boys. As anyone familiar with Scouting knows, older boys mentor and lead younger boys in Cub Scout dens and Boy Scout troops. If a self-professed gay teenager is a good role model for boys up to the age of 17 years, 365 days, why does his example suddenly become untenable for boys the day he turns 18?" the brief notes.

The conclusion of the brief, written by Schwarzwalder, states that the new policy now creates mandatory exposure of boys to homosexuality.

FRC predicts: "The entry of 'avowed' homosexual Scout leaders into the organization; a loss of parental control in the way their sons are familiarized with issues of sexual intimacy and controversy; and the decline of Scouting as an institution, given the hundreds of thousands of families that now will leave Scouting."

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