The Boy Scouts of American made a lot of noise this week by stating that they were opening Cub Scouts to include girls as members, to be followed by girls as Boy Scouts a few years down the road.
While the media debates the plus and minus of that change, little attention is being paid to another kind of discrimination. Unlike the Girl Scouts that allow all young girls to join, the Boy Scouts refuse membership to atheist, agnostic or humanist members, be they scouts or scout leaders. With estimates suggesting that as many 30% of those under 30 would mark “None of the Above” when asked about their religion, the Boy Scouts are holding on to a discriminatory view of what makes a for good citizens.
As FFRF recently noted:
The official position of the group — “No member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing his obligation to God” — turns secular boys into pariahs and second-class citizens and defames nonbelief. This is a bias exclusively belonging to the U.S. division of Boy Scouts, which makes the religious litmus test all the more inappropriate in a secular country that welcomes citizens, of all religions or no religions. Furthermore, Boy Scouts has a congressional charter as a fraternal (not a religious group), and the president serves as the honorary commander in chief, all additional reasons why its religiously discriminatory policy must go.
In fact, as way of countering the bigotry against atheist scouts, FFRF has adopted a program to allow any young boy — or girl — to fulfill their own Atheist Merit Badge requirements and then receive the (unofficial) badge shown here that can be sewn on the merit badge sash as silent protest. If the Boy Scouts would change their discriminatory policy and allow this badge to worn with the other Scout merit badges, it would send a clear message that, in fact, Scouting is for All!