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Austin Cline

Mormons Taking Over Scouting?

By November 21, 2003

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Many readers are surely aware of the fact that there continue to be legal and social problems due to the Boy Scouts' discrimination and bigotry against atheists and gays. What readers may not realize is just how much of this may be ultimately due to the efforts of the Mormon church. Mormons control a significant percentage of all Boy Scout troops; if policies change to treat gays and atheists equally, the Mormons will walk - taking all of their money with them.

As MSNBC reports, Mormon involvement in Scouting has even reached the point where Brigham Young University is offering a new major in Scouting:

The Boy Scouts are the official boys’ youth group of the LDS, and more than one in nine Scouts are Mormons. Critics say the church exerts disproportionate influence through membership on the national advisory council and vigorous fund-raising. (In New York, LDS leaders recently launched a fund-raising campaign with pamphlets carrying an endorsement from the church’s current prophet.)

Next to the Mormons, the Roman Catholic Church is also a major supporter of the Boy Scouts and their endorsement of anti-gay and anti-atheist policies has been crucial for the continued bigotry and discrimination. The exclusion of gays and atheists from the Boy Scouts qualifies as bigotry because the exclusion is based upon the assumption that being gay and being an atheist makes one fundamentally inferior. If the Scouts discriminated against Jews or blacks because such people were incompatible with the moral and patriotic misson of the Scouts, the outcry would be tremendous. But such bigotry against gays and atheists seems acceptable - especially when backed by major American churches.

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Comments
January 17, 2008 at 9:02 pm
(1) Dena Leichnitz says:

Austin, your little blurb makes absolutely no sense. At the heart of scouting is a belief in God, since atheists don’t believe in God why would you want to belong to an organization that is fundamentally based on that principle? It is moronic. I am Mormon and I would no longer belong to an atheist organization than I would belong to the KKK (I’m Black). So what if Mormons are taking over Scouting it is not hurting those who are interested in scouting. As far as homosexuality goes, it is diametrically opposed to those who believe in the Biblical and One True God. I am sure they also discriminate against thieves, adulterers (when known), and pimps from being part of the organization as well. If you are promoting sin then you can’t be a part of a Christian organization, that is totally fair. Next, atheists discriminate against Christians on an almost daily basis. We are told we can’t pray in school-even silently. We are told we can’t mention Jesus in a valedictorian speech. We are told we may not draw Jesus as part of our elementary school work. We are told that saying Merry Christmas is bigoted. We are told depicting Christians in the most offensive terms possible is acceptable but not if you are Muslim. (Truth be told most atheists are cowards and probably are afraid of getting beheaded by a Muslim if they so much as mutter on e bad word against Mohammed.) So please don’t give your woe is me line. You atheists have completely taken over society and brought it to its knees, making it an utter mess, so if the Mormons and the rest of the Christians have scouting, what is it to you? You have public schools to share your warped values with innocent children every day.

February 17, 2011 at 2:46 pm
(2) Madeline Knapp says:

Because we live in a Republic where democracy is valued, the idea that a church supports Boy Scouts but not Girl Scouts really brings the picture of the Mormon Church into perspective. I wonder what it is about the notion of making strong girls is something the Church doesn’t support? Mia Maids is not the same thing, eh?

Mimi

September 22, 2011 at 1:13 pm
(3) James says:

Madeline, The answer to your question isn’t quite as cynical as you may have imagined. I wondered the same thing a few years ago. What I learned was that at one time, the LDS church actually was interested in implementing the Girl Scout program, however, the Girl Scout organization was unwilling to allow the church to modify the program to suit its needs in the same manner that they modified the Boy Scout program. Therefore, the church decided to pass. For the record, I’m an LDS guy who really wishes the church would eliminate the Boy Scout program from their youth organization. The Mormon/Boy Scout hybrid they have created is a mess in my opinion.

June 12, 2011 at 5:27 am
(4) OZAtheist says:

Dear Dena, your rantings provide us with considerable amusement so please keep it up. As far as the God / Boy Scouts connection is concerned I have some difficulty however.
In Thailand, where I have lived for a number of years, the Scouts movement is very strong – both boys and girls. Baden Powell’s chest would swell with pride if he could see the children attending school dressed in there scouting uniforms. There is not a god involved however because these kids are Buddhist! Maybe you should make contact with them and and straighten things out.

January 29, 2012 at 6:34 pm
(5) Jack Herget says:

I wish they would ban blacks. There is no difference in the policy that you espouse and any other kind of bigotry. I often wonder how people like yourself can be so amazingly stupid.

January 18, 2008 at 6:43 am
(6) Austin Cline says:

Austin, your little blurb makes absolutely no sense. At the heart of scouting is a belief in God

How so? Please explain how much of what scouts do requires belief in any gods.

Also, please explain why it’s possible to be a scout who doesn’t believe in the Christian god, but who believes in some sort of other god. Furthermore, please explain how it is that atheists have been part of scouting before — how did they manage if belief in your god was so critical?

I am Mormon and I would no longer belong to an atheist organization than I would belong to the KKK (I’m Black).

Curious analogy, given that Mormons treated blacks like second-class citizens for so long. How does that make you feel?

So what if Mormons are taking over Scouting it is not hurting those who are interested in scouting.

Bigotry and discrimination always harm society.

As far as homosexuality goes, it is diametrically opposed to those who believe in the Biblical and One True God.

In your opinion. Others believe differently.

I am sure they also discriminate against thieves, adulterers (when known), and pimps from being part of the organization as well.

Do they? Please provide evidence that a person who has committed adultery or who has lied is excluded from scouting.

If you are promoting sin then you can’t be a part of a Christian organization, that is totally fair.

So, now the BSA is a “Christian organization”? Since when?

Next, atheists discriminate against Christians on an almost daily basis.

Please provide evidence and examples of this.

We are told we can’t pray in school-even silently.

No, you aren’t.

We are told we can’t mention Jesus in a valedictorian speech.

How is that discrimination?

We are told we may not draw Jesus as part of our elementary school work.

Where, exactly? Can you name the atheist who said this?

We are told that saying Merry Christmas is bigoted.

Where?

We are told depicting Christians in the most offensive terms possible is acceptable but not if you are Muslim.

Examples, please.

(Truth be told most atheists are cowards and probably are afraid of getting beheaded by a Muslim if they so much as mutter on e bad word against Mohammed.)

If that were true, why do so many atheists criticize Muhammad and Islam?

So please don’t give your woe is me line.

You’re welcome to offer a substantive, fact-filled rebuttal to my “line.” Making baseless accusations, though, is not part of a serious and sincere discussion.

You atheists have completely taken over society and brought it to its knees, making it an utter mess,

That’s a serious accusation. Can you prove it?

so if the Mormons and the rest of the Christians have scouting, what is it to you?

It matters because bigotry and discrimination matter. At least, it they matter to people for whom morality and justice are important.

You have public schools to share your warped values with innocent children every day.

Please support this accusation.

June 10, 2008 at 9:09 pm
(7) lws says:

Mormons never treated Blacks as 2nd class citizens. They were persecuted in Missouri for being abolitionists and some of the first settlers to arrive in Salt Lake Valley (until 1976 is was legal to kill a Mormon in Missouri under that state’s Extermination Order of 1838). What blacks couldn’t do was hold the priesthood. Big deal. They get out of a ton of work! Those who claim that homosexuality is a sin either a) have never read the Bible or other Jewish texts or b) have horrible reading comprehension! Like any of the laws of the Covenant, it’s all about building strong and healthy societies. Homosexuality is a filthy perversion that spreads diseases in society (AIDS, MRSA, just about any other STD in the book). Tolerating this behavior goes against the spirit and letter of the BSA code.

June 10, 2008 at 9:38 pm
(8) Austin Cline says:

Mormons never treated Blacks as 2nd class citizens. …What blacks couldn’t do was hold the priesthood.

That’s like saying it isn’t second-class status to be denied the right to hold public office, or to be denied the right to drive.

I’m sorry that you don’t regard a denial of equal rights as second-class status, but that is in fact a perfect example of what being relegated to second-class status means.

Homosexuality is a filthy perversion that spreads diseases in society (AIDS, MRSA, just about any other STD in the book). Tolerating this behavior goes against the spirit and letter of the BSA code.

At one time, people discriminated against Jews by claiming that they spread diseases. New group, same old bigotry.

June 17, 2008 at 12:28 pm
(9) Lurline says:

Homosexuality is a filthy perversion that spreads diseases in society (AIDS, MRSA, just about any other STD in the book). Tolerating this behavior goes against the spirit and letter of the BSA code.

Wrong. Promiscuity is what spreads diseases, not ones sexual orientation.

June 17, 2008 at 2:56 pm
(10) John Hanks says:

Mormons have always treated blacks badly. They do it because they are ignorant second rate whites who need all the somethings for nothings they can get.

June 17, 2008 at 4:21 pm
(11) Lyle G says:

When I was in scouting ( a VERY long time ago) the literature said scouting didn’t practice religious discrimination, and I was proud of that.

June 17, 2008 at 6:13 pm
(12) Drew says:

Hi Lyle. I’m in Canada, so not as religious-weirdy as the US. My sister’s son was in Beavers this year (ie junior Scouts), and in conversation with me recently she said that during the oath of membership there was something about “god” in it. My nephew looked nervously towards my sister when this was said. She encouraged him to say the oath but to omit the “god” reference if he wanted to do so (he omitted it).

Since over 35% of people where I live are non-religious, this is, according to that Scout Leader, normal, and nobody gets fussed about it.

So, two things. Firstly, the religious wording, and thus the religious discrimination, is still alive and well in Scouting, even in Canada, which is one reason why I won’t put my children in it. It must be even worse in the US.

Secondly, if the religious grovelling is optional, then why is it retained at all? What purpose does it serve? Scouting is dying in Canada, because it insists on extending religious bigotry to people like my nephew, who is being raised in a family free of such nonsense.

The vision of Lord Baden Powell was that British youth be prepared to help out in emergencies, and the global Scouting movement was born. This worthy goal can be retained in societies that have moved past uniform adherence to a particular religion; indeed, across educated societies it will need to be if Scouting is to survive.

June 17, 2008 at 11:58 pm
(13) Tom Edgar says:

Now this Octogenarian is a lifelong Atheist, In my youth I was a “Sea Scout”
I think we may have used all that horrible ridiculous preamble including loyalty to the Regal head of State. Sure as hell didn’t mean anything to us. Was a bit like the Church services in the Religious School I attended. “All Saints.” of which the Headmaster regularly said. “Not the makings of a Saint amongst the lot of you,” Usually brought on by some of our irreligious antics during Church Service. I really think this was the fertile ground for most of us being Atheists by the early teens.

In retrospect the whole
“Scouting”, movement in the U K was designed for indoctrination into the belief systems of racial superiority, and consolidating the attitude of being Colonial Masters of the world.

Scouting may have changed in some respects but it still smacks of social elitism. Its ideals and some of the honorable intentions are worthwhile. But just like Religion. Being an adherent to either a Religion, Scouting,
or any other Youth organisation is not a prerequisite to being honorable. Like Priests, Pastors, and even Parents, Scout Leaders have had their share of dishonorable conduct.

It was news to me that Mormonism has such a stranglehold on BSA. But I guess when one is gullible enough to believe in the childish superstitions of Mormonism, Christianity, Islam, and the
ridiculous claims of Abraham, Moses Jesus, Mohamed, and Smith then you will be a sucker for anything.

P S
Guess I have (hopefully) offended the lot here
sorry if I left anyone out but the list is too long.
tomedgar@halenet.com.au

August 21, 2008 at 7:00 pm
(14) Adam Young says:

What a great position the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints have in the Scouting Program. I am proud to be a member of both the LDS Church and The Boy Scouts of America. I am glad the my church has such a position in the scouting program because without BSA, I don’t know what stupid things I would have done.
In my years of scouts, our lds troop had members of our church AND nonmembers of our troop. We didn’t look down on that person for not being a member of our troop, we graciously accepted them for who they were and what they brought to the troop.
Boy Scouts today accepts all religions. There are specail awards for each religion such as the Duty to God award in the LDS church. In my opinion this shows no religious discrimination.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints wouldn’t put so much time and money into a program unless they saw the results from it. Scouting has the values that help young men get through this messed up world and become the future leaders of America.

If you want to be an Aethist fine, but don’t try to put it over on everyone that the world is out to get you. Most religions (including orus) allow men, women, and childern to practice whatever religion they want. This nation was founded on “In GOD we Trust” and the scouting program is the same way “Duty to GOD.” God has and will continue to play a huge role in this country and in the Boy Scouts of America. If you can’t handle that, then its your problem.

As for the whole black situation. People accusing the LDS church as being “Racists” has been around for too long. We need to put this situation to rest. Please come up with some new stuff to use. We love and honor the African American People. We don’t think of them any less than ourselves. If you believe we do, then take off your blinders and realize that we live in 2008 and not in 1950 and in the times of racism. Some of my closest friends are African American and I would die for them just as I would my own family.
John- If you believe that we treat blacks bad and always have been then you need to step into a chapel in St. Louis or any other city where there are many black people. Guess What???? They are treated the same as everyone else.

Now for Tom- Your article hardly offened anyone. I have shown many of my friends and needless to say, you made yourself look really bad. The LDS Church puts so much money into Scouts because they see the good that is does. Many Athletes, Astronauts, Politicians, and Thousands of other people in Leadership positions are Eagle Scouts… why??? because of the skills they learned from the BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA

August 21, 2008 at 7:14 pm
(15) Austin Cline says:

In my opinion this shows no religious discrimination.

You’re opinion is wrong. Kicking people out for not belonging to a theistic religion is in fact a form of religious discrimination. It’s just as much a form of discrimination — and bigotry — and limiting membership to only people who believe Jesus was the Son of God, thus excluding everyone but Christians. Bigotry and discrimination in favor of theists is every bit as immoral as bigotry and discrimination in favor of Christians, whites, men, etc.

It’s legal, since the BSA is a private organization, but it’s still immoral and a demonstration that all the claims about religious theists being more moral than secular atheists are false.

If you want to be an Aethist fine, but don’t try to put it over on everyone that the world is out to get you.

Not “the world,” just religious bigots who imagine that believing in a god makes them superior and deserving of special political, social, or cultural privileges.

This nation was founded on “In GOD we Trust”

No, it wasn’t. There is nothing in the Constitution about trusting in gods; that phrase was not added until the 1950s in order to attack atheists.

God has and will continue to play a huge role in this country and in the Boy Scouts of America.

The BSA has a legal right to discriminate and promote bigotry. What they cannot do is continue to receive government support, promotion, and privileges at the same time. Do you understand why?

People accusing the LDS church as being “Racists” has been around for too long. We need to put this situation to rest.

So long as you believe that your god told your church in the past that blacks were inferior, and then suddenly changed its mind and told your church to treat blacks as equal, the matter won’t be put to rest. Why? Because that is such a patently absurd thing to believe. Blacks were equal when your church discriminated against them and were equal when your church stopped. There was never any divine basis for discrimination, just plain old human bigotry that was attributed to a divine source in order to keep people form questioning, doubting, and opposing it.

Isn’t it interesting that none of the people who posted here to defend the LDS and BSA ever bothered to answer any of the questions and challenges put to them? None bothered to support any of the claims and allegations. Will you be the first, Adam?

October 3, 2008 at 2:39 am
(16) Kris says:

You atheists have completely taken over society and brought it to its knees, making it an utter mess,

That’s a serious accusation. Can you prove it?

I try not to get drawn into these he said she said because it is usually people who only accept as facts what they want to believe. But here is an answer to your question… or proof that you asked for:

Religion – including Christianity and Judaism – is “violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism, tribalism, and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive toward children.” At least that’s according to the No. 1 New York Times bestseller “God is Not Great: Why Religion Poisons Everything” by journalist Christopher Hitchens.

In the news business, we often cite a nation’s current top-selling books – for example, the popularity of anti-Semitic titles in Arab countries – as evidence of the mindset of the people.

Well, in the United States of America right now, some of the most-bought, most-read and most-discussed books are angry, in-your-face atheist manifestos.

COPYRIGHTED CONTENT REMOVED

I am not trying to convert anyone, but to say No one believed or there was no religious component any where in the creation of this nation is naive at best.

October 3, 2008 at 6:32 am
(17) Austin Cline says:

Most of what you posted is copyrighted content, not your own original writing. Republishing someone else’s work is bad enough, but posting it as if you yourself wrote it is even worse. I’m leaving just a little bit – the only bit in a long, unattributed quote that even comes close to addressing the issue that you claim you are responding to. If you wish to post more, you will have to write things in your own words, not steal others’ words.

In the news business, we often cite a nation’s current top-selling books – for example, the popularity of anti-Semitic titles in Arab countries – as evidence of the mindset of the people.

Not when there is massive evidence pointing in the opposite direction. Is the only evidence you have that atheist books have sold well?

Even if atheist books selling well were evidence of the presence of lots of atheists – even if all the books were purchased only by atheists, never by any theists – how would that support the claim that “atheists have completely taken over society,” much less that atheists have “brought it to its knees, making an utter mess”?

October 6, 2008 at 3:44 am
(18) Kris says:

In my own words:

“You sir, are a liar, dishonest and abused your editorial power (it is, after all, your blog espousing your opinions and only your opinions).”

I have not now, nor have I ever claimed to be John Winthrop, since he lived in the early 1630, nor have I claimed to be Jesus Christ. Had I been, you would have been in a two way conversation with God himself or herself (for the ladies) and that would render atheism irrelevant and/or an exercise in utter stupidity, take your pick. I quoted John Winthrop in his entirety so as not to editorialize his work, but to present it completely and honestly. It has been borrowed in some form or another by most people who have ever run for President of the United States and other political offices including but not limited to Presidents Kennedy and Regan, as well as Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin in the only debate between the two VP nominees, to name a few.

I did not use MLA formatting, because I did not know I was being graded, and will not do so now. I received an A in English while I am on my way to earning my degree in Electrical Engineering. I do not claim to be and English major, before you accuse me of that too. Since you seemed to have missed the class on MLA documentation, I only need to give credit to the authors John Winthrop (A Model of Christian Charity,” given in 1630, http://religiousfreedom.lib.virginia.edu/sacred/charity.html) and Jesus Christ (“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”—Jesus, from the Sermon on Mount, Matthew 5:14-16[I tried to avoid quoting the bible, I really did!]) , which I did, when quoting such well known works of art
that are in the public domain. While I appreciate your wanting to protect the word of God from plagiarism, I find it odd coming from a self professed atheist.

If you followed the link I supplied you which listed the fact that secular and atheistic ideology is prevalent, which was the point I was making, then your assertion that I was pretending it as my own original work is a bold faced lie! Let me guess… I am going to supply you with a link to the original work and then claim it is my work…. The original work “The rise of Atheism in America” (WorldNetDaily.com , http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=57512, Posted: September 07, 2007, 1:00 am Eastern, © 2008) List’s the number of books on the New York Times Bestseller list that deal with atheism. Unlike you, I did not simply quote the part that makes my point (You make my original point simply by what part of the article you “quoted”, very predictable. I included the entire article outlining both sides of the argument fairly so your readers could make up their own minds. In my opinion you’re a shameless huckster hell bend on
propagating atheism at all cost just like the original poster to your blog implied. You can be used as an example to answer your own question- “show me proof…”

I have submitted my own work in my own words! Post this, unedited, if you dare!!!! (I would be surprised, no maybe even dumb founded if you did, I wouldn’t count on it. It would show more integrity than I think you have now.)

October 6, 2008 at 7:11 am
(19) Austin Cline says:

In my own words: “You sir, are a liar, dishonest and abused your editorial power (it is, after all, your blog espousing your opinions and only your opinions).”

It’s not an “abuse” of editorial power to remove copyrighted material that has been posted without attribution or permission. Your posting it was both unethical and illegal. Complaining about someone who is following the law is very poor form.

I did not use MLA formatting

Nor were you asked to; that’s just a red herring to distract attention from your inappropriate behavior.

In my opinion you’re a shameless huckster hell bend on propagating atheism at all cost just like the original poster to your blog implied.

Opinions like that are easy to assert, but harder to defend. If you can support any of your claims or allegations, feel free to do so. If insults and attacks is all you’re interested in, please find another site where such behavior is considered acceptable.

December 6, 2008 at 3:01 am
(20) Goo says:

Austin I believe you can’t tolerate people who have views different from yours. You’re probably an anti-dentite too!

December 6, 2008 at 8:59 am
(21) Austin Cline says:

Austin I believe you can’t tolerate people who have views different from yours.

Feel free to support this accusation.

January 24, 2009 at 7:57 pm
(22) Lindsay says:

trust me the boyscouts don’t hate them their in fact extremely nice to them. Besides there fact that there are a lot of LDS boyscouts the whole walking out with their oney with them is flat out rude. It’s we the people not we [certain religion or race]. mormons aren’t bad. don’t hate them because of stupid little reasons.

WE THE PEOPLE.

January 28, 2009 at 12:18 pm
(23) Christopher says:

I’m a bit puzzled as to why an atheist would have any interest whatsoever in the Boy Scouts. They are principally a theistic organization. Honor and duty towards God is right in the first clause of the Scouts’ Oath and reverence (specifically reverence of God) is one of the twelve principles of the Scout Law of which scouts also swear obedience in the oath (also in the first clause).

It is by no means discriminatory for an organization to uphold its organizational law and for its members to fulfill their oaths. An atheist group, for instance, would not be expected to affirm a member’s earnest belief in God. Rather, such an event would beg the question as to why a theist would join an atheistic group.

As to purported bigotry, tolerance runs both ways. If religious people are expected to tolerate the presence of atheistic beliefs, so too should atheists be expected to tolerate the presence of religious views and organizations created to enshrine and encourage those views. If gay behavior is to be tolerated, so too must the longstanding contrary views be tolerated.

January 28, 2009 at 12:30 pm
(24) Austin Cline says:

I’m a bit puzzled as to why an atheist would have any interest whatsoever in the Boy Scouts. They are principally a theistic organization.

The theistic references in its documents could be dropped without changing anything in how the organization is run or functions. This renders the theistic components as little more than superficial reasons for bigotry and discrimination.

It is by no means discriminatory for an organization to uphold its organizational law and for its members to fulfill their oaths.

That’s like saying that a country club is “by no means discriminatory” when it upholds “its organizational law” which excludes women. Funny how courts have consistently found that such laws and subsequent behavior are, indeed, discriminatory.

As to purported bigotry, tolerance runs both ways. If religious people are expected to tolerate the presence of atheistic beliefs, so too should atheists be expected to tolerate the presence of religious views and organizations created to enshrine and encourage those views.

No one is calling for the Boy Scouts to be disbanded, so heir presence is indeed being tolerated.

What you appear to be asking for is a cessation of criticism, which is far more than mere tolerance.

January 28, 2009 at 1:19 pm
(25) Christopher says:

Your belief is that an aged, widely respected, and very successful organization should dismantle both of the principle statements of its mission (the Scout Oath and the Scout Law) in order to accommodate people who under that organization’s existing mission, oath, and law would not have a reason to join it? Would a fair extension of this seemingly puerile notion be that any organization must eliminate all oaths and rules if any party can disagree with it, regardless of the effect of such abrogations (which in the case of the Boy Scouts, you seem quite misinformed to suggest such an action would have only superficial consequences) on that organization’s continued success?

The analogy to a country club is, as you must surely realize, without merit. Most, if not all, country clubs are social organization without statements of mission or oaths. Membership is retained strictly through the remission of dues and continuous unobjectionable behavior. Further, there are many extant country clubs that restrict their memberships based on gender and other personal characteristics. The cause of change to these policies has consistently been the pressure of public opinion or that of the membership.

As to courts, you are correct to note that statutory laws and ordinances are consistently stricken when they discriminate in a way contrary to higher law. Yet, I am not familiar with any consistent judicial review of the rules and membership requirements of private and non-profit organizations whose membership requirements are generally outside the purview of state and federal legal entities. Cases where such organizations come under the jurisdiction of the courts relate to the perpetration of violent crimes, financial crimes, fraud, and racketeering under the organizations’ auspices.

As to your further claims, you are –in fact– calling for the Boy Scouts to be disbanded inasmuch as you would see it reformed as an organization devoid of its internal law and oath. That certainly isn’t tolerance, but rather a demand for the acceptance of your contrary views as their own. Cessation of criticism is by no means what I intend. Rather, I would remind you that tolerance is not acceptance of the Boy Scouts’ views as your own. Surely you would not intend anyone accept views they did not support?

January 28, 2009 at 1:43 pm
(26) Austin Cline says:

Your belief is that an aged, widely respected, and very successful organization should dismantle both of the principle statements of its mission (the Scout Oath and the Scout Law) in order to accommodate people who under that organization’s existing mission, oath, and law would not have a reason to join it?

Lots of atheists have joined the Boy Scouts.

Your position seems to be that the theistic components of the BSA are necessary for the BSA to exist, such that their elimination would destroy the BSA. I’m afraid that you’re going to have to support this position if it is indeed what you think. You’ll have trouble doing so, given the fact that there are scouting organizations elsewhere in the world which don’t discriminate or promote bigotry against gays or atheists. How is it that they can exist and thrive?

Would a fair extension of this seemingly puerile notion be that any organization must eliminate all oaths and rules if any party can disagree with it, regardless of the effect of such abrogations

It’s happened quite often that people have argued that an organization should change its rules to stop discriminating against some class of people. Do you object in all such cases, or is this one special?

The analogy to a country club is, as you must surely realize, without merit. Most, if not all, country clubs are social organization without statements of mission or oaths.

Actually, country clubs do often have mission statements. Whether they have oaths or not I don’t know, though I don’t see how that is a relevant difference.

I chose country clubs in order to be generous. If you’d rather, we could go with the KKK as an analogy.

Further, there are many extant country clubs that restrict their memberships based on gender and other personal characteristics. The cause of change to these policies has consistently been the pressure of public opinion or that of the membership.

Gee, sounds like the Boy Scouts.

As to courts, you are correct to note that statutory laws and ordinances are consistently stricken when they discriminate in a way contrary to higher law.

Private groups have done the same. So could the BSA, if they wanted to put justice and equality over bigotry.

Yet, I am not familiar with any consistent judicial review of the rules and membership requirements of private and non-profit organizations whose membership requirements are generally outside the purview of state and federal legal entities.

Such review happens with organizations that are open to the public, not with private membership. The BSA successfully defended the legality of their discrimination by arguing that they are private rather than public. As a consequence, critics have moved to fighting to ensure that they are treated as a purely private organization which can’t benefit from public financing, support, etc.

As to your further claims, you are –in fact– calling for the Boy Scouts to be disbanded inasmuch as you would see it reformed as an organization devoid of its internal law and oath.

I’m afraid that you’ll have to show how ceasing to discriminate would cause them to disband.

Other private groups have ceased to discriminate without disbanding. How and why is the BSA weaker?

Cessation of criticism is by no means what I intend. Rather, I would remind you that tolerance is not acceptance of the Boy Scouts’ views as your own. Surely you would not intend anyone accept views they did not support?

No, I argue for them to change their minds. Tolerance doesn’t mean ceasing to argue against other ideas, positions, and practices. I regard the bigotry and discrimination of the BSA to be unjust, unwarranted, and inappropriate, and that’s what I argue on behalf of.

January 30, 2009 at 2:39 pm
(27) John Hanks says:

The scouts worship God and Country. I belonged to one Mormon troop which was quite good. I belonged to another troop that was run by a bunch of drunks.

January 30, 2009 at 4:29 pm
(28) Austin Cline says:

The scouts worship God and Country

Traditional Christianity teaches that you can’t worship two masters and that true believers shouldn’t have idols… like Country.

April 29, 2009 at 3:24 am
(29) Jacque says:

Austin, there isn’t much of a point to fight these religious people. Being religious or not is a personal preference. I don’t think there is a “right” or “wrong” way to live one’s life… Anyway, I think attacking or in other words, humiliating fools that have inconsistencies in their arguments would only serve to draw them away from rational thought and discussion.

However, I appreciate the truth in your words and they are certainly refreshing and amusing to read. Keep up the good work!

May 14, 2009 at 10:49 pm
(30) er says:

And now the scouts are training “anti-terrorist” teams???

Anyone who doesn’t think mormons haven’t taken over the boy scouts doesn’t live in Southern Idaho.

June 19, 2009 at 8:15 pm
(31) Guy says:

I’m a bit puzzled as to why an atheist would have any interest whatsoever in the Boy Scouts. They are principally a theistic organization. Honor and duty towards God is right in the first clause of the Scouts’ Oath and reverence (specifically reverence of God) is one of the twelve principles of the Scout Law of which scouts also swear obedience in the oath (also in the first clause).

They allow polytheists or at least tolerate them. Obviously, the BSA does not have a monotheistic requirement so your singular “God” argument doesn’t hold water.

The BSA discriminates. There’s really no argument there. In fact, that is the very argument that most people defending the BSA are making whether they realize it or not.

We all chose our beliefs. I chose atheism after realizing that there is no credible evidence whatsoever to support a divine being. People should be held accountable for their beliefs so I don’t have as much of an issue with their requirement that scouts believe in God(s) as I do with discrimination against homosexuals. People are born one way or another. Holding something they can change against them is despicable.

June 26, 2009 at 12:07 pm
(32) Donald McDonald says:

Ever notice that these limp wristed gays won’t start the “Gay Scouts of America?” The reason is that they want to create chaos and try to bring down NORMAL Scouts to their level. If it was so important that they belong to “Scouts” they could start their own gay group and have at it. This is not their agenda. It’s just like that loser girl that tried for years to join the BOY SCOUTS! She even sued to try and join. After years of trying she lost and then she was too old anyway! Could have joined Girl Scouts or Campfire. Campfire is CO-ED!

June 26, 2009 at 4:34 pm
(33) Austin Cline says:

Ever notice that these limp wristed gays won’t start the “Gay Scouts of America?”  The reason is that they want to create chaos and try to bring down NORMAL Scouts to their level.  

As opposed to just being treated as equals?

If it was so important that they belong to “Scouts” they could start their own gay group and have at it.  

Not really, since the term “Scouts” is essentially trademarked by the BSA.

July 6, 2009 at 3:34 pm
(34) Vlad Gurgen says:

Notice that the homos or atheists won’t start their own “Gay Scouts” organization or “Atheist Scouts.” Why? Because their agenda is to pull the Boy Scouts of America down to their cesspool level. They have no interest in Scouting or anything about it. They just want to disrupt; disorganize and, as I said, destroy the fabric of the existing organization. They haven’t got the chance of a snowball in a blast furnace.

July 6, 2009 at 4:14 pm
(35) Austin Cline says:

Notice that the homos or atheists won’t start their own “Gay Scouts” organization or “Atheist Scouts.”  Why?

Because the BSA has essentially a trademark lock on “Scouts.”

Because their agenda is to pull the Boy Scouts of America down to their cesspool level.  

So, being gay or an atheist puts one in the “cesspool”? This is in fact one of the reasons we protest the Boy Scouts: their teachings encourage exactly the sort of unthinking, immoral bigotry which you are engaging in here.

They have no interest in Scouting or anything about it.

Right, all the gay and atheist boys who spend so many years in scouting and then were kicked out never “really” had any interest in it.

And you know this… how?

They just want to disrupt;

Disrupt bigotry and discrimination… sounds like a good idea to me. Why do you defend it?

They haven’t got the chance of a snowball in a blast furnace.

Private organizations have a right to discriminate and teach bigotry, but they don’t have a right to do so with government funding and support. On that, we are making progress.

August 4, 2009 at 3:25 am
(36) s says:

.

August 4, 2009 at 3:51 am
(37) aaron says:

Do you even know what the word ‘bigot’ means? When looked up in a dictionary it is associated with words like ‘intolerant’ and ‘hostile’. These words certainly don’t describe what is being taught in BSA meetings or what these boys are led to believe. These boys are taught to do good, worth while activities and projects. They are taught to be honorable, to work hard, and to respect their country, parents, and a higher being.

You seem to be the one preaching intolerance and hostility. While you are whining in your little blog, these scouts are planning/organizing/executing Eagle projects that feed the shut-ins, help the poor, build homes, and blaze trails for Federal lands (so don’t complain that the government gives them money, which is in the form of letting these scouts temporarily use public land for worth while meetings. Do you see how that works? A little quid-pro-quo, give and take, a relationship – not blatant, blind favoritism).

The true hostility comes when someone is fired from their job because they speak out against homosexuality or whatever politically incorrect thing they might say or believe. This is truly intolerant. Can’t we live and let live? Can you not see that just because someone thinks that homosexuality is wrong that they can still love that person. People are allowed to have opinions.

August 4, 2009 at 6:46 am
(38) Austin Cline says:

Do you even know what the word ‘bigot’ means?  When looked up in a dictionary it is associated with words like ‘intolerant’ and ‘hostile’.  

And that’s precisely what happens when children are taught that other groups are inferior.

Or don’t you think it would qualify as bigotry if the BSA excluded blacks, Catholics, or Mormons?

These boys are taught to do good, worth while activities and projects.  

So if they are taught some good things, it isn’t possible that they are taught some bad things as well? That’s absurd, but that’s what you are arguing here. The only way you can argue that the BSA isn’t a bigoted organization that practices discrimination and teaches bigotry and hatred is to argue that it’s somehow not bigotry to teach that gays and atheists are infeior.

You seem to be the one preaching intolerance and hostility.  

Feel free to demonstrate how — don’t just claim it, but make a serious, substantive argument.

While you are whining in your little blog, these scouts are

Practicing discrimination and learning to be bigots.

The true hostility comes when someone is fired from their job because they speak out against homosexuality or whatever politically incorrect thing they might say or believe.  

But it’s not “true hostility” when a person is fired or loses their apartment because they are gay?

And why is it “true hostility” to fire someone who practices bigotry in the workplace? Is it “true hostility” for a racist to be fired for speaking out against race mixing?

I notice that you don’t actual deny that the BSA is bigoted towards gay and atheists nor that the BSA practices discrimination against gay and atheists. Instead, you just seem to want them to be able to do these things without being criticized for it.

That’s cowardly, which suggests that you want the BSA to teach boys to be cowards as well: hold your bigoted opinions, but don’t let anyone criticize you for them.

Can’t we live and let live?

By which you seem to mean: let the bigots express and practice bigotry without any kind of social censure. Why do you want that?

People are allowed to have opinions.

People are not allowed to have consequence-free opinions.

August 4, 2009 at 10:47 am
(39) Aaron says:

“And that’s precisely what happens when children are taught that other groups are inferior”

Not “inferior”, but yes it is implied that certain behaviors are not accepted.

“So if they are taught some good things, it isn’t possible that they are taught some bad things as well? That’s absurd, but that’s what you are arguing here. The only way you can argue that the BSA isn’t a bigoted organization that practices discrimination and teaches bigotry and hatred is to argue that it’s somehow not bigotry to teach that gays and atheists are infeior”

So it seems that your argument is that ALL people need to believe that everything that everyone chooses to do is ok? This is absurd. This is truly a thought process that will bring this country to its knees. When we concentrate so much on forcing others to believe that there practices or their group is right, and that everything they do is acceptable….instead of serving others and making positive contributions to society then we will have proven that our time here on earth has been a waste. I once heard it said, (and I apologize that I don’t remember who said it) that a person who takes offense when offense was not meant is a fool; a person that takes offense when offense was intended is a bigger fool.

“You seem to be the one preaching intolerance and hostility.

Feel free to demonstrate how — don’t just claim it, but make a serious, substantive argument”

Aahh, your entire argument. The voice of posts shows contempt and hostility towards the BSA. You show intolerance toward the BSA by trying to force your ideas on them by making them accept others beliefs. You actually say that it wouldn’t change anything if the BSA was to take out the deity type verbiage from all Scout manuals and creeds. I can’t believe you don’t see the intolerance in this…..”yeah BSA…don’t worry about the beliefs that helped found your organization, just get rid all that you hold dear because I said so”.

“While you are whining in your little blog, these scouts are

Practicing discrimination and learning to be bigots”

So this truly what you believe the entire stance of the BSA is….”practicing discrimination and learning to be bigots”? This is your argument? I spent 6 years in the BSA, and not once was I taught that atheism or homosexuality was bad. I understand that the opposing argument would be that we were learning it passively, but I don’t buy it. I know and I have befriended many gay people and atheists through the years. I feel awful when these friends of mine seem to think I look at them in some sort of a self-righteous way. One of them told me that it seems that I am constantly judging them. In truth, and this is how I really feel, I love most if not all people that I come across. I feel sad that some of these people feel insecure, but this doesn’t mean that I have to accept their behavior. People are allowed to believe that homosexuality isn’t wrong, but that the ACT of homosexuality is wrong. The ACT is a choice.

“And why is it ‘true hostility’ to fire someone who practices bigotry in the workplace? Is it “true hostility” for a racist to be fired for speaking out against race mixing?”

I was referring to someone who is fired from a job for posting their beliefs a on blog that is completely separate from work.

August 4, 2009 at 11:24 am
(40) Austin Cline says:

Not “inferior”, but yes it is implied that certain behaviors are not accepted.

Teaching that gays or atheists cannot be the best kinds of citizens or cannot be morally straight is to teach that they are inferior.

So it seems that your argument is that ALL people need to believe that everything that everyone chooses to do is ok?  

If I did, then I wouldn’t object to the BSA choice to discriminate against gays & atheists or to teach bigotry against them. Obviously I do object to that, so it shouldn’t be hard for someone to recognize that you are failing to accurately represent my position.

Once again: The only way you can argue that the BSA isn’t a bigoted organization that practices discrimination and teaches bigotry and hatred is to argue that it’s somehow not bigotry to teach that gays and atheists are inferior.

Aahh, your entire argument.  The voice of posts shows contempt and hostility towards the BSA.

Yes, I have contempt for organizations that teach bigotry. So you seem to be saying that it’s “intolerant” to think this way about bigotry? Are you going to argue that in order to be “tolerant” we must not criticize organizations engaged in bigoted discrimination?

You show intolerance toward the BSA by trying to force your ideas on them by making them accept others beliefs.  

Feel free to show where I try to force my ideas on anyone.

So this truly what you believe the entire stance of the BSA is….”practicing discrimination and learning to be bigots”?  

No, I don’t describe this as the “entire stance of the BSA,” but is unambiguously part of their stance. According to them, it’s an absolutely vital part of who they are. They went to the Supreme Court to defend their right as a private organization to discriminate against atheists and, as part of their case, argued that this sort of discrimination was a critical part of their mission.

People are allowed to believe that homosexuality isn’t wrong, but that the ACT of homosexuality is wrong.  The ACT is a choice.

You seem to have forgotten — or are deliberately ignoring the fact — that gays are kept out of the BSA regardless of their acts. Thus a person who is gay, but not sexually active, is discriminated against. Ergo, it’s not any action that is being treated differently, but merely people themselves. So all your protests that BSA bigotry is really just disapproval of particular actions is clearly disingenuous.

“And why is it ‘true hostility’ to fire someone who practices bigotry in the workplace? Is it “true hostility” for a racist to be fired for speaking out against race mixing?”

I was referring to someone who is fired from a job for posting their beliefs a on blog that is completely separate from work.

In most states, that would be the basis for a lawsuit — just as if the person had written a racist screed on a blog separate from work. I don’t believe that a racist bigot should be fired for expressing racist bigotry outside work any more than I believe that a homophobic bigot should be fired for expressing homophobic bigotry outside work.

However, the expression of homophobic bigotry is actually protected by the law and I expect you appreciate that fact. Do you, in contrast, object to protecting gays from arbitrarily bigotry and discrimination? Or do you support antidiscrimination laws that protect gays from being denied employment, service, housing, etc. merely on the basis of their being gay?

Put another way, do you think that being gay should be just as protected as the expression of hostility towards being gay?

August 7, 2009 at 7:40 pm
(41) Zack says:

These words certainly don’t describe what is being taught in BSA meetings or what these boys are led to believe. These boys are taught to do good, worth while activities and projects. They are taught to be honorable, to work hard, and to respect their country, parents, and a higher being. — aaron on August 4, 2009 at 3:51 am

Well, yes and no. I am an atheist and a parent, so basically the BSA teaches my child that his respect for me is conditional. Fortunately, he disregards that part of their message.

I really did not want my son to join the scouts, specifically because of their bigoted treatment of homosexuals and atheists. I did let him join, though, because he wanted to join very much. He has been a scout for half his life, and he just adores it.

He has learned many valuable skills and had tremendous amounts of fun in the scouts, but I also hear his scoutmaster and other adult leaders say things that make me wince, and which become “teachable moments.”

I have never stopped feeling quite conflicted about letting him join. I sometimes ask myself if I would have let him join the KKK if they went on float trips and offered merit badges.

It’s not only gays and atheists who come up as targets of BSA bigotry — one of my son’s most admired leaders recently referred to Iraqis as “towel heads” during an Eagle scout ceremony.

The thing about the Boy Scouts is that it is almost entirely a volunteer-run operation, and the quality of adult leadership is hugely uneven.

After his first year as a boy scout, my wife and I moved my son to a different troop because the first troop he joined was so appalling incompetent that we feared for his safety. We had to do the same thing back when he was still a cub scout. In both instances, the difference between the quality of the first group and the second group was like night and day.

August 7, 2009 at 9:15 pm
(42) Austin Cline says:

It’s not only gays and atheists who come up as targets of BSA bigotry — one of my son’s most admired leaders recently referred to Iraqis as “towel heads” during an Eagle scout ceremony.

That’s as offensive as referring to Jews as “kikes” or blacks as “ni**ers.” Yet that man is treated as a moral, upright role model and scout whereas gays and atheists are excluded as being immoral.

The BSA simply doesn’t deserve any support or respect, IMHO.

August 8, 2009 at 11:22 am
(43) Velrei (forum member) says:

Without going into depth about it, I was in one of the poorly run groups for about 2 years in elementary. The handbook itself made it pretty clear I wasn’t welcome for being an athiest. I was only in it for as long as I was since my best friend’s parents at the time were leading it, as besides the bigotry, it was quite poorly run.

August 13, 2009 at 2:08 am
(44) Zack says:

Yet that man is treated as a moral, upright role model and scout whereas gays and atheists are excluded as being immoral. — Austin

Yes, even by BSA standards it was outrageous. I was floored.

It’s not entirely the case that guys like him get a free pass. Usually someone (i.e., me) will take him aside and explain, usually tactfully, that what he said was deeply wrong and ought to be avoided in the future.

This particular guy is an ex-Marine, however, and he doesn’t actually give a squat about what I think is deeply wrong. And, I have to admit that saying things like that have never materially affected his or anyone else’s stature in the troop.

The BSA simply doesn’t deserve any support or respect, IMHO.

It’s hard to disagree. However, the BSA does provide a combination of peer comraderie, hands-on learning, outdoors activity, and community involvement that my son just loves. I don’t know of any suitable alternatives. I wish I did.

And, while I acknowledge the BSA does have a huge moral blind spot regarding some areas, the men in my son’s troop do take seriously their self-described mission to provide moral instruction.

October 12, 2009 at 8:01 pm
(45) Eagle says:

Seems we are all forgetting our US history.
We all declare an allegiance and respect to a God, because our founding fathers established the United States based on their religious persecutions in Great Britain, and later, the greater European theater. They established the legacy that if you are born in America, you take on the baggage that they believed in, whether you did or not. You cannot chose where you are born, or who you are born to.
Our Canadian friend above kinda sums that issue up. Its also important to remember that BSA is a worldwide organization with tribes in most major countries. You don’t find them arguing over these issues, because their goals and ideals are different than ours.
Its also important to remember that BSA was formed as a para-military organization, to train youth to be better prepared for the Boer Wars, and later, World War I.
Our money is inscribed with an oath to God, our Declaration of Independence includes a reference to God, our national anthem includes reverence to God, everything we did as a nation two hundred years ago was based on the fact that we were led by Christian, and Jewish, leaders. Nowhere were there atheists as this was deemed anarchy.
Belief in a God and a country were assumed to be one in the same.
Are we forgetting Thanksgiving? Thanking God for surviving one year in the Indians country?
We forget that the country at that time was populated by nations of successful tribes of native “Americans” -dare I use that term?- who had inalienable rights of their own, which we, as white supremicists, slaughtered, decimated, and confined to concentration camps. So when you use the term discrimination, discrimination goes way back to a period over which we have no control, We mysteriously celebrate it, annually, on the fourth of July.
As for the BSA issue, my history is as an Eagle Scout/Gold Palm/OA Brotherhood, in the 50s and 60s and as a Scoutmaster in the 80s.
It seems to me that we are forgetting that membership in BSA is optional. You join if you want to. If you don’t believe in the ideals of Scouting, you don’t join.
As a white male, I could no more join the NAACP or my black brothers and sisters and pledge allegiance to their ideals, or join my Gay/Bi/Les brothers and sisters simply because I don’t believe in their goals.
My opinion is that we let the Mormons believe what they want to believe, we let the Christians believe what they want to believe, the Jews believe what they want to believe and we let the atheists believe what they want to believe. You didnt ask to be born, but you can chose what you believe. AND you don’t need to convert those who don’t share your belief.

September 24, 2010 at 8:42 pm
(46) dave Y says:

Eagle(41)
Seems we are all forgetting our US history.
We all declare an allegiance and respect to a God, because our founding fathers established the United States based on their religious persecutions in Great Britain, and later, the greater European theater
you seem to have confused Americans with the Puritans, and I’m sure thats not all your confused about!

October 13, 2009 at 6:53 am
(47) Austin Cline says:

Seems we are all forgetting our US history.

You don’t seem to know any history.

We all declare an allegiance and respect to a God, because our founding fathers established the United States based on their religious persecutions in Great Britain,

1. No, we don’t all pledge an allegiance and respect to any gods.

2. The Pledge of Allegiance doesn’t pledge allegiance or respect to any gods.

3. The phrase “under God” was added in the 1950s to a pledge that was written in 1892 by a socialist, so none of it can be tied to the founders.

4. The “founding fathers” had a lot of reasons for what they did, but religious persecution in Great Britain wasn’t one of them.

I’m not even going to bother with the rest because it is so extraordinarily ignorant and filled with so many errors that it’s just not worth my time. I’ll just add that no one is obligated to take on the “baggage” of the beliefs of the founding fathers, as demonstrated by the fact that most were highly deistic and today few Deists exist.

You do a good job at ignoring the central issue: the BSA is a bigoted, discriminatory organization and this appears to be because troops are run by bigoted religious groups.

October 17, 2009 at 3:40 am
(48) Zack says:

My opinion is that we let the Mormons believe what they want to believe, we let the Christians believe what they want to believe, the Jews believe what they want to believe and we let the atheists believe what they want to believe. — Eagle October 12, 2009 at 8:01 pm

Why should I let the Mormons or Jews or anyone else pick my pocket for money to advance their beliefs?

It seems to me that we are forgetting that membership in BSA is optional. You join if you want to. If you don’t believe in the ideals of Scouting, you don’t join. — Eagle October 12, 2009 at 8:01 pm

It seems to me that you are forgetting that the BSA wants to have it both ways — accept government money and material support, but not be obligated by government requirments to treat everyone fairly.

You didnt ask to be born, but you can chose what you believe. — Eagle October 12, 2009 at 8:01 pm

No, you can’t.

Are we forgetting Thanksgiving? — Eagle October 12, 2009 at 8:01 pm

Thanksgiving didn’t become a national legal holday until the 1941, when the United States was on the eve of entering World War II. Until then, its history was spotty and various:

http://www.oyate.org/resources/shortthanks.html

http://www.vision.org/visionmedia/article.aspx?id=3974&terms=Thank+but+no+thanks

Also, anyone who has ever worked in retail knows that Thanksgiving in the United States was a minor holiday until it was ginned up to its current status by merchants in the 1950s, as a sales-boosting gimmick to lengthen the Christmas shopping season.

October 17, 2009 at 4:01 pm
(49) Tim Lewellyn says:

I remember nothing of the religious BS in scouting.
I made Life Scout and I/We never even mentioned
god or religion as a matter practice or ritual.
What the hell has happened to a good organization.

Thanks

October 18, 2009 at 12:44 am
(50) Tom Edgar says:

I’ll not pretend to know a single thing about American Scouting. Well, fortunately I am not an American.

I was, in the U K, a “Sea Scout.” which accounts for my stupidly succumbing to the brainwashing and going off to sea at age 17 during WW2. However, whilst it is possible that there was religion involved I honestly can’t remember a single occasion when it reared its ugly head.

Oh yes we were indoctrinated with “Patriotism” both to the country and Scouting, but God? No way but that was because of the leaders. Austin actually hit the nail squarely there. It is usually because of the one eyed,
religious obsession, of the leaders. This is of course much more likely in religion crazed America than in other much more enlightened countries.

That other countries are more enlightened and emancipated from intensive religious affiliation is purely because of the poor average education standards prevailing in much of the U S A. It does after all rank at the lowest end of the education standards of all the advanced nations.

The better the education the least likelihood there will be that Religious Institutions will control the minds and the country. Even within the U S A this is evidenced by the vast gulf between the well educated areas and the “Fundy” Bible Belt.

As the education levels improve in a country then the religious stranglehold diminishes. Therein lies the answer to the world’s present “Terrorist” dilemma.

To distort the old. St Thomas Aquinas dictum.

“Give me the child to educate, and I will free the man.”

Freedom from religious enslavement is the target.
Freedom to think, without constraints, the goal.

October 18, 2009 at 4:35 am
(51) Tom Edgar says:

I’ve just reread that diatribe of nonsense by “Eagle”.

Austin, rightly, decided not to waste his time on answering the many areas of blatant, hypocritical inexactitudes.

Thanksgiving for surviving the first year in the Indian’s country. I use the apostrophe because the country belonged to them and the Limeys survived because of their kindness and munificence. Once established how was that repaid? To this day you give thanks to an invisible, non existent, imaginary being who somehow
motivated the alien beings inhabiting the Americas to being kind to the people who were destined to repay their kindness with hostility. Give me a break. Time say thank you to the right people.

December 31, 2009 at 5:28 pm
(52) Sean says:

I’ve absolutely no problem with the BSA expelling atheists and homosexuals. I could start my own Hair Club and refuse to admit redheads. That’s perfectly okay, but neither the BSA or my Hair Club should be subsidized by the government.

The BSA should pay market rates for the use of state owned facilities.

January 22, 2010 at 8:23 pm
(53) Jenni says:

What really bothers me here is that the Mormon church doesn’t even have girl scouts! It’s a male dominated, male chauvinistic religion that leave women out of the “important roles” of the church. This is pathetic and unacceptable. Get a clue Mormons and get a real religion.

February 6, 2010 at 12:50 pm
(54) Jason says:

Dear Dena Leichnitz, The fact that you are a “black mormon” is evidence that your cognitive ability has let you down. As a Native American I can assure you that your argument is the “teapot calling the kettle black”. You should think before you speak.

February 6, 2010 at 1:03 pm
(55) Jason says:

I am seeing a lot of Mor(m)on commentary about not crying discrimination…. something Mor(m)ons have been doing since their inception.

I was raised SDA and one thing that I appreciate now as an atheist adult is that the SDA have their own organization called “Pathfinders” where they push their religious agenda instead of doing it within a gov supported secular group. Mor(m)ons should take note and quit trying to hijack this country for their racist and bigotist purposes.

February 6, 2010 at 1:06 pm
(56) Jason says:

Tom Edger and Jenni, —- Kudo’s to you both for excellent remarks

February 8, 2010 at 6:11 pm
(57) Brad says:

Dear Austin,

I’m impressed when reading all of the comments on how you responded to almost all of the comments left, and you didn’t while keeping it focused and on point.

I do have a small story about Scouts. My mother was a Den Mother back in the 1960s and it was taught at the local elementary school. During this time the local bishop of the LDS Church asked my mother if she could become Den Mother of the local LDS Church. My mother didn’t like the the idea because it would alienate the kids who weren’t LDS. The bishop and my mother got into a disagreement and my mother no longer was Den Mother. This all took place in Salt Lake City, Utah. Of course, there, it is very difficult to be in BSA and not be a Mormon because all of the meetings are held within the church and of course if you are not a mormon there is some pressure to join and become active in the church all of the time.

February 12, 2010 at 3:13 pm
(58) Debbie Davis says:

I personally know a gay young man here in Utah who remained closeted until after he became an Eagle Scout. He also remained closeted at church because of the abuse he knew he would endure from his “church family” if he told them he was gay.

I think he is religiously agnostic, and mostly out of the closet. He has lots of loving friends and family now – but (if he has a son in the future) he probably won’t encourage the boy to be involved in scouting unless it actively includes gay people.

April 25, 2010 at 9:16 pm
(59) Nancy says:

I am bemused by this discussion, because I am a Girl Guide leader here in Canada. We are affiliated with WAGGGS, which is the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.

We have just changed our Promise in order to continue to be more inclusive. We now say:
I Promise to do my best
To be true to myself, my beliefs and Canada
I will take action for a better world
And to respect the Guiding Law.

The promise specifically does not mention any god or religion; you can be true to whatever beliefs you hold, including atheism, polytheism, or anything else.

And we still go camping and tie knots and plant trees and play games and sing songs and have campfires. There’s a lot of good in Scouting/Guiding and it has NOTHING to do with religion. I’m an outspoken atheist and have never had a problem with it, my co-leaders have various different beliefs, and it just never comes up with the girls. Neither is there a problem with sexual orientation.

I don’t think I’d be interested in joining BSA, but a very similar organization does quite well without the religious and sexual discrimination.

May 19, 2010 at 12:52 pm
(60) Jamesonian says:

First, I note that any discussion thread which stays active six years after it originated is a credit to the original author.

I grew up in the 70s aware of the Scouts but never joining. I had many friends in various troops but had no idea that there was a religious element until recently when my son asked to join. The Scouts have always been, and continue to be promoted with little or no mention of a religious interest. This would be understandable if that religious interest was minor, but IT’S THE VERY FIRST THING MENTIONED IN THE PLEDGE! The BSA preaches loyalty to God above country. They have this in common with both the Taliban and Al Qaeda. They fact that they don’t mention this in their promotional materials suggests to me that they’re deliberately under-selling it. I think they recognize that self-identifying as a primarily religious organization would be bad for business.

September 20, 2010 at 5:24 pm
(61) Prince Thrash says:

It is absolutely true that without a belief in God, a knot cannot be tied. When I have to tie my shoes, I convert to Christianity, tie my shoe, then leave immediately. And have you ever tried to erect a tent without belief in Jesus Christ? Don’t even try, unless you like explosions.

I was in Beavers (Canada) and the Scouts, and never actually noticed, that I remember, any God at all. There must have been something in a little chant to get the meeting going, but since at the same time I had to say the Lord’s Prayer in school, you learn to glaze over the God parts pretty early in life, and just accept them as part of the dominant, historical Christian culture.

There’s very little Christian about what the boy scouts do, unless you think that the gender socialization of the boy scouts is Christian. American Christian conservatisim sometimes sees boys learning to do manly things as innately “Christian”. Such as from the 11th commandment, “Though shalt be manly. Really manly. Wrestle your friends to the ground instead of saying hello, and bring your wife a deer you hunted with your bare hands every couple of months.”

The boy scouts have every right to discriminate. And they do. If we can’t have private, discriminatory clubs in a democracy, what’s the point? Parks shouldn’t discriminate, employers shouldn’t discriminate, but they boy scouts? Leave them be. When the Mormon influence becomes too overwhelming, and when it starts to actually change what the boy scouts do (“ok scouts, tie a knot in the shape of your savior”), there will be a mass exodus from the scouts into some other equally dull, horrific, confusing club that children would rather cut off their own limbs then attend.

September 21, 2010 at 6:52 am
(62) Austin Cline says:

The boy scouts have every right to discriminate.

Only if they exist as a wholly private organization.

Leave them be.

No.

Having a right to discriminate is not the same as having a right to discriminate without being criticized for it.

September 25, 2010 at 1:25 pm
(63) dollie says:

I must say I am thankful my son spent so little time in scouting. His friends were there and much against my better sense, I let him join.

The girl scouts, on the other hand, were a whole different animal, so to speak. My daughter spent several fun years in there and religion, god, or bigotry of any group was never mentioned. Everyone knew her parents were atheists. Perhps it was just that troop, but I suspect that the girl scouts have not been hijacked by Taliban-like fundamentalists like the boy scouts have.

The fact that so many posters here are defending bigotry demonstrates the type of mental disconnect that religious belief causes in a rational mind.

November 3, 2010 at 11:14 pm
(64) Jim says:

I am looking for info on scouts protocal/policy on informing parents re a troops/packs affilliation with Mormon/Lds church? Isigned my son up and had no idea. Even after checking website.

January 14, 2011 at 12:27 am
(65) Josh says:

If anyone ever comes back to this, I’m interested in knowing how the anti-discrimination folks feel about minority scholarships.

It seems that those are out-dated and that need-based scholarships are more appropriate for our modern society. However, black, hispanic/latino, and some Asian scholarships continue to be common around the country. Any thoughts on that?

Also, Native American tax-exemptions, scholarships, government grants, and other benefits provided purely on the basis of genealogical ties are entirely discriminatory, are they not?

Republicans won’t let Democrats vote in their primaries, which is discrimination based solely on a belief, albeit a political one. I could reverse the two parties names and the sentence would still be true.

January 14, 2011 at 10:03 am
(66) Austin Cline says:

If anyone ever comes back to this, I’m interested in knowing how the anti-discrimination folks feel about minority scholarships.

I’m interested in knowing what the relationship or relevance is, first. I doubt you’ll be able to establish the relevance, though, given the extent to which you’ve engaged in straw man fallacies elsewhere here.

January 14, 2011 at 12:28 am
(67) Josh says:

LGBTs commonly slander organizations that hold different opinions, especially when said organizations seek to propagate their opinions. This is hate-speech. Should it be tolerated? (You’ll likely want references. Just google LGBT + [insert religious entity here] and it is certain the LGBT movement has had some quarrel with whatever group you choose).

Some religious groups prevent LGBT from joining their ranks based solely on the fact that the religious group disagrees with their lifestyle. Heaven forbid (pun intended) that a religious group has an opinion on how its constituents’ lifestyles. Alas, this is strong discrimination.

Folks who run BSA find it in their organization’s best interest to block homosexuals (and possibly atheists, though in my experience I haven’t seen atheists be excluded) from participating. BSA has elected to have a particular value set, and they have decided to stick by that dogma.

On principle, we should force BSA to accept LGBT leaders, all religious sects to cease to have opinions on lifestyles of their members, LGBTs to silence their slander, Republicans and Democrats to allow each other to vote in their primaries, Native Americans to pay taxes, Blacks and Latinos to compete for the same scholarships as white folk, and while we’re at it, let’s just make it illegal to have differing opinions from the one guy who is right about everything. Who is that person? Me? You? Bah, what a crock.

January 14, 2011 at 10:01 am
(68) Austin Cline says:

LGBTs commonly slander organizations that hold different opinions, especially when said organizations seek to propagate their opinions.

Prove it. No, I’m not going to do your homework for you — you make the accusation then you have to back it up. This means backing up both the accusation that there is slander and the accusation that it’s “common.”

Some religious groups prevent LGBT from joining their ranks based solely on the fact that the religious group disagrees with their lifestyle.

Since being gay is no more a “lifestyle” than being straight, the closest thing to “slander” I see here is directed at gays.

Folks who run BSA find it in their organization’s best interest to block homosexuals (and possibly atheists, though in my experience I haven’t seen atheists be excluded) from participating.

Atheists are specifically excluded in the basic laws and scouting oath.

BSA has elected to have a particular value set, and they have decided to stick by that dogma.

And they are legally permitted to do so. However, they are not legally permitted to continue receiving government support or privileges at the same time. They also don’t get to be exempt from criticism over their practices and policies.

On principle

I’ve espoused no such principles nor have I seen anyone else do so. What you’re doing is little more than a “straw man” – you’re making ups falsehoods in order to pretend that you’ve responded to or rebutted someone’s argument. In reality, you’ve only “rebutted” a fantasy of your own creation.

Bah, what a crock.

Yes, that pretty much sums up what you wrote: a crock, because it’s nothing more than a series of falsehoods instead of a serious engagement with the real issues.

October 17, 2011 at 3:25 am
(69) Nicolai says:

Did that, but with UU church as the organisation. No quarrel there bre.
Peace

January 14, 2011 at 12:28 am
(70) Josh says:

On a realistic and utilitarian level, discrimination should cease when it causes bodily harm to someone or when it prevents more qualified persons from being employed based solely on a particular demographic quality that does not challenge her/his ability to complete a job task. Note that there may be other specific instances when it would be wrong to discriminate, but change the word “employed” to some other relevant word and that covers just about everything (for instance, “educated” or “awarded a scholarship”).

By the way, I’m from the South (Alabama), and I have several friends of different races who have learned about the Mormon Church from websites that express discontent and sometimes slander toward that Church, and then my friends proceeded to learn more and join the Mormons. I find it pretty amusing that the Mormons do enough charity work and have enough of a missionary effort that sites like this only help them to grow.

By the way, a nice factoid: Religious organizations were the largest force in helping to clean up after Hurricane Katrina. Particularly, Mormons came from as far away as California to assist. The Mormons also donated more supplies and money to the relief effort than any other private organization and even (gasp!) avoided media attention wherever possible.

January 14, 2011 at 9:57 am
(71) Austin Cline says:

On a realistic and utilitarian level, discrimination should cease when it causes bodily harm to someone or when it prevents more qualified persons from being employed based solely on a particular demographic quality that does not challenge her/his ability to complete a job task.

It should also cease when it promotes, endorses, or encourages slander towards a minority because the slander helps preserve their second-class status in society.

Or do you only object to slander when it’s directed as people you agree with?

January 14, 2011 at 2:50 pm
(72) Josh says:

Glad you noticed the straw man fallacy, since I laid it on pretty thick.

***
Your first point is irrelevant. It doesn’t actually address anything I said, and it ignores the very next sentence I wrote. You are just pontificating.

***
I’m in class, so I can’t really go through a lot of articles or videos on slander, but here’s a pretty interesting clip you should watch that I got from a two second Google search:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcKJEHrvwDI&feature=related

… and lest you feel that I’m being unfair, yes the “other side” has made some unfortunate mistakes as well:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjcpo3KcHSI&feature=related

My point being that no one is perfect, and even more than that, neither the LGBT or religious communities are innocent of discriminatory practices. Complaining about one side is not really a fair or practical way of solving anything.

January 14, 2011 at 3:59 pm
(73) Austin Cline says:

I’m in class, so I can’t really go through a lot of articles or videos on slander, but here’s a pretty interesting clip you should watch that I got from a two second Google search:

1. What’s the “organization” that’s being slandered? That was your very specific claim.

2. And where’s the slander in this clip? Don’t see it. Oh, wait, I see it – it’s in the title of the video given by the poster. There’s no “violent attack.” There’s rudeness in shouting over the women and greater rudeness by taking her sign. The latter behavior especially is quite wrong, but to call it a “violent attack” is absurd. I suppose the sign was “violently attacked,” but that doesn’t quite get the homophobic blood boiling, does it?

If this is what you considers “slander,” then I know what to conclude about your accusation of slander – it’s worthless, because you don’t seem to have the slightest idea what “slander” is. Whatever it is you think you’ve seen said or just implied in the past, I have no confidence that in reality any of it comes anywhere remotely close to slander. More likely it’s just very strongly worded criticism that you disagree with.

Slander is a legal term with a specific meaning. It’s not just an invective that you can toss around whenever the mood strikes you. Look it up and try to use it at least a little bit accurately.

neither the LGBT or religious communities are innocent of discriminatory practices.

Please do cite examples the discrimination being committed by the “LGBT community.”

January 14, 2011 at 2:50 pm
(74) Josh says:

***
You can argue semantics all you want, but living as a homosexual man or woman definitely involves differences in lifestyle (for example, sexual relationships, [duh]). I didn’t say it was a choice, and I don’t care to argue that point. It’s still a different lifestyle. And if religious groups don’t agree with certain aspects of such a lifestyle, then they should not be forced to accept proponents of such a lifestyle.

***
If you mean excluded in the sense that the scout oath says “do my duty to God and my country”, as a teen I participated in a Coast Guard sponsored troop that allowed some of my fellow boy scouts to omit God-related language. If atheists participate in a church-sponsored troop, they should expect church-related activities. Just like I should expect to see gays holding hands on Castro St. in SF, and it shouldn’t offend me. It doesn’t, in fact.

***
Atheist student groups are allowed to and commonly do meet on public university campuses across the nation. Stop them too?

***
Again, glad you saw the straw man. Congratulations on not being a moron.

***
There was a common thread throughout all of my previous post. It’s pretty obvious. I’ll let you pick it out, since you’re not a moron.

January 14, 2011 at 3:49 pm
(75) Austin Cline says:

You can argue semantics all you want, but living as a homosexual man or woman definitely involves differences in lifestyle (for example, sexual relationships, [duh]).

A gay sexual relationship is no more a “lifestyle” than a straight sexual relationship. Or watching “Desperate Housewives.” Or preferring wine with dinner instead of beer. I think maybe you need to look up what “lifestyle” means.

It’s still a different lifestyle.

They aren’t lifestyles at all.

If you mean excluded in the sense that the scout oath says “do my duty to God and my country”,

No, excluded in the sense that they aren’t allowed to join. This is official BSA policy. Look it up.

as a teen I participated in a Coast Guard sponsored troop that allowed some of my fellow boy scouts to omit God-related language.

Did you forget that the Coast Guard is a branch of the armed services and thus a government entity? Of course some members could omit the religious language – otherwise, the government couldn’t be involved. Ditto with the discrimination against gays, by the way.

If atheists participate in a church-sponsored troop, they should expect church-related activities.

Except that they are actually barred from joining at all.

Atheist student groups are allowed to and commonly do meet on public university campuses across the nation. Stop them too?

Irrelevant, since being allowed to meet in public spaces isn’t the same as governments support. Everyone is allowed to meet in public spaces.

Again, glad you saw the straw man. Congratulations on not being a moron.

You mean, unlike people who do use straw men?

There was a common thread throughout all of my previous post.

Yes, straw men.

January 14, 2011 at 4:57 pm
(76) Josh says:

I said you could argue semantics, and indeed you did. Being a couch potato and watching Desperate Housewives all day IS actually a lifestyle.

From Princeton’s online dictionary:
life style: a manner of living that reflects the person’s values and attitudes

Living as a gay man or a straight man are both lifestyles which reflect values and attitudes (acceptance of straight or gay behavior is one attitude among many that are intrinsically related to the lifestyles mentioned, in case I need to spell that out even further).

http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/BoyScouts/AdvancementandAwards/joining.aspx

Joining BSA has no religious requirement. You are wrong.

My quote: “Again, glad you saw the straw man. Congratulations on not being a moron.”

Your quote: “You mean, unlike people who do use straw men?”

Let’s define Straw Man (not men) from Wikipedia, which cites relevant sources:
Person B disregards certain key points of argument X as outlined by Person A, and instead presents the superficially similar position Y. Person B then attacks position Y, concluding that X is false/incorrect/flawed.

Interestingly, you also said, “A gay sexual relationship is no more a “lifestyle” than a straight sexual relationship. Or watching “Desperate Housewives.” Or preferring wine with dinner instead of beer. I think maybe you need to look up what “lifestyle” means.”

Good job using the straw man, you’ve officially proven you are a moron after all.

Well, so much for intelligent banter (and you’ll pat yourself on the back for whatever quip you come up with for this line, won’t you?). :)

January 15, 2011 at 1:16 pm
(77) Austin Cline says:

I said you could argue semantics, and indeed you did.

Using language correctly isn’t “arguing semantics.” The phrase “arguing sematics” refers to focusing on words instead of on issues.

Being a couch potato and watching Desperate Housewives all day IS actually a lifestyle.

I didn’t say anything abut “being a couch potato and watching Desperate Housewives all day.” I only referenced “watching Desperate Housewives.” Now, either you are incapable to telling the difference between the two, which doesn’t say much about you, or you can tell the difference in which case you deliberate misrepresented my statement in order or deceive through a straw man. I lean towards the latter since the only sort of argument I’ve seen you offer has involved straw men (and yes, the plural form does exist).

From Princeton’s online dictionary: life style: a manner of living that reflects the person’s values and attitudes

And simply being gay isn’t a “manner of living.” Being gay means being attracted (sexually, emotionally, psychologically) to members of the same sex. It doesn’t have anything to do with how one leads their live, their values, their behaviors, etc.

Living as a gay man or a straight man are both lifestyles

One more time: simply being sexually, emotionally, and psychologically attracted to one sex or the other is not a “manner of living.” A “manner of living” is the way one structures, organizes, conceives of, and leads their life. There is no single way of doing this which is common to all straight or all gay people. There is nothing about being straight or gay which necessitates any particular way of structuring a life, organizing a life, conceiving of a life, or leading a life.

If being gay were “a lifestyle,” and since “a lifestyle” is “a manner of living that reflects the person’s values and attitudes,” then we should expect to see roughly the same “manner of living” as well as “values and attitudes” among all gay people. But we don’t. Instead, we see tremendous diversity in how gay people life, what they value, their politics, their attitudes, their religions, etc.

What we see in reality is a great variety of lifestyles among gays, just like we see a great variety of lifestyles among straights. It’s nothing more than bigoted fairy tale that gays share some sort of lifestyle based around their sexual orientation — a fairy tales that bigots tell themselves in order to justify treating all gays as if they were an undifferentiated group, undeserving of individual judgment and treatment.

Racists do something similar in order to justify treating racial minorities as undifferentiated groups and misogynists do this n order to justify treating all women as an undifferentiated group. It’s a hallmark of bigotry because bigotry dies when a person is forced to treat individual human being as if they really were individual human beings rather than as two-dimensional representatives of some despised class.

which reflect values and attitudes (acceptance of straight or gay behavior is one attitude among many that are intrinsically related to the lifestyles mentioned, in case I need to spell that out even further).

There are no values or attitudes which are common to all straight or gay people. There is nothing about being gay or straight which necessitate any particular values or attitudes. There is nothing about being gay or straight which even makes any particular values or attitudes more likely. Both gay and straight people have a variety of values and attitudes which in turn inform a variety of lifestyles.

Joining BSA has no religious requirement. You are wrong.

You didn’t look very hard because the page you cite makes it clear to anyone paying attention that atheists and agnostics are forbidden from joining.

Or maybe you just don’t know what the Scout Oath is?

You are also clearly ignorant of the BSA Declaration of Religious Principles:

“The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God. In the first part of the Scout Oath or Promise the member declares, ‘On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law.’ The recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe and the grateful acknowledgment of His favors and blessings are necessary to the best type of citizenship and are wholesome precepts in the education of the growing members.”

This isn’t even something that every theist can accept, never mind any atheists or agnostics.

That the Scout Oath and Law is incompatible with atheism and agnosticism is the official position of the BSA and has been since at least 1985. No one who is even slightly informed about the recent history of the BSA is ignorant of the fact that the organization explicitly and officially excludes both atheists and gays from all positions, youth and leadership.

Interestingly, you also said, “A gay sexual relationship is no more a “lifestyle” than a straight sexual relationship. Or watching “Desperate Housewives.” Or preferring wine with dinner instead of beer. I think maybe you need to look up what “lifestyle” means.”

Good job using the straw man, you’ve officially proven you are a moron after all.

Feel free to demonstrate where the straw man in the above is. I won’t hold my breath, though, because you know that it’s defined as presenting a “superficially similar position” to the one being critiqued and in the above quote, I’m not describing anyone else’s position.

February 10, 2011 at 2:30 am
(78) Austin kline says:

This is ridiculous. If you go back and read anything you will see how stupid Austin Cline is. So what if the big boy graduated from Princeton and UPenn. He’s completely disrespectful and can’t back up any arguments. He makes other people “do their own homework” but can’t do his own. He’s so “open-minded” that he’s actually quite close-minded. All he wants to do is argue. Maybe he has some underlying psychological problems with Mormons and Boy Scouts. (perhaps he was molested as a boy scout…) I for one am glad the BSA doesn’t let homos like Austin Cline into the program. That’s my opinion, even though Mr. Cline here will argue I’m not allowed to have one. Get off the internet. Anyone can write an article about bashing Mormons.

February 10, 2011 at 6:49 am
(79) Austin Cline says:

This is ridiculous. If you go back and read anything you will see how stupid Austin Cline is.

Feel free to show how.

So what if the big boy graduated from Princeton and UPenn. He’s completely disrespectful

Does your position merit any respect?

and can’t back up any arguments.

You’re more than welcome to critique any of my arguments, if you can. If you can’t, I suppose you’ll stick with personal attacks instead.

He makes other people “do their own homework” but can’t do his own.

Examples, please?

He’s so “open-minded” that he’s actually quite close-minded.

Examples, please?

All he wants to do is argue. Maybe he has some underlying psychological problems with Mormons and Boy Scouts.

Or perhaps my arguments here are correct. You certainly don’t offer any substantive critiques or rebuttals.

(perhaps he was molested as a boy scout…)

And this, from a defender of Scouting.

I for one am glad the BSA doesn’t let homos like Austin Cline into the program.

So, you value and promote bigotry?

That’s my opinion, even though Mr. Cline here will argue I’m not allowed to have one.

No, I’ll argue that you should be allowed to have an opinion. Everyone is allowed to have an opinion. Even bigoted, baseless opinions that deserve no respect.

Get off the internet. Anyone can write an article about bashing Mormons.

True, and anyone can post anonymous insults devoid of real substance. Fortunately I have formulated serious arguments and if you had any good reason to dispute them, you’d have posted more than substance-free insults.

Thank you for providing such an apt demonstration of where defenders of the Mormons and the Boy Scouts really stand when it comes to critical thinking and basic reasoning.

February 19, 2011 at 3:20 pm
(80) ganz1960 says:

Austin,

Thanks for your responses in this thread and especially for your post on January 15, 2011. I appreciate the ideas and explanations and I appreciate all the time required for you to write these responses, and that post in particular.

February 19, 2011 at 10:56 pm
(81) John C says:

Direct from the BSA website:

Scout Oath
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
A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

So there is a religious element inherent in BSA(duty to God, reverent, and possibly the “morally straight” phrase). But they accept all comers, all faiths. How do they modify(if they modify) the oath and law for atheists or non-christians?

My apologies if this has already been answered above. Only read about 1/3 of this thread.. it’s long.

February 20, 2011 at 8:45 am
(82) Austin Cline says:

How do they modify(if they modify) the oath and law for atheists or non-christians?

They don’t, and atheists are barred from joining.

June 1, 2011 at 10:04 am
(83) Jason says:

I’m a scoutmaster, Eagle Scout, and a Mormon. I believe that the BSA should NOT receive government money just for the reasons listed…they are discriminating against athiests and homosexuals. I don’t have a problem with the BSA banning homosexuals and athiests and girls from joining their organization (examples of “discriminating” groups abound – NAACP, etc.), but they should NOT receive government funding.

In addition and related, federal funding should NOT be made available to Planned Parenthood (why should my tax money be used to provide abortions?), NPR (why should my tax money be used to provide radio programs slanting towards one political viewpoint or another?), or PBS (why should my tax money be used to fund Sesame Street/Elmo?). Tax money should be used to fund things the government has been assigned to provide by the constitution.

Would the author be satisfied if the government defunded scouting? I sense that he would not…it’s not simply the funding that is angering him, it’s the fact that the BSA won’t allow gays/athiests in. Well, that’s tough for him. Private organizations can define who is allowed to join and who is not. Like what they’re doing but can’t join? Make your own organization and structure it the way you like (and stop whining about the fact that the word “scouts” is taken by the BSA) – name it what you like without infringing on the name they have chosen.

June 1, 2011 at 10:48 am
(84) Austin Cline says:

In addition and related, federal funding should NOT be made available to Planned Parenthood (why should my tax money be used to provide abortions?),

Federal funds that go to PP do not fund abortions.

NPR (why should my tax money be used to provide radio programs slanting towards one political viewpoint or another?), or PBS (why should my tax money be used to fund Sesame Street/Elmo?). Tax money should be used to fund things the government has been assigned to provide by the constitution.

It’s been determined that educating and informing the public are within the scope of constitutional authority. If you disagree, make your case.

Would the author be satisfied if the government defunded scouting?

Legally, yes.

I sense that he would not…it’s not simply the funding that is angering him, it’s the fact that the BSA won’t allow gays/athiests in.

I do object to discrimination, prejudice, and hate mongering.

Well, that’s tough for him. Private organizations can define who is allowed to join and who is not.

Yes, they are, and I support that legal right. I also voice my objection to it happening.

and stop whining about the fact that the word “scouts” is taken by the BSA

Why?

June 1, 2011 at 11:14 am
(85) Jason says:

“Federal funds that go to PP do not fund abortions.”

True…but state funds can (varies by state) through medicaid, which is federally funded itself so…state funding does and indirectly federal funds do as well.

“It’s been determined that educating and informing the public are within the scope of constitutional authority. If you disagree, make your case.”

I could make my case more thoroughly, but in the comments section of a Mormon and Scouting post? It suffices for you do say that you object to private organizations defining who is allowed to join them and who is not without making your case despite the fact that it is their legal right, so it will also suffice for me to say that I object to tax dollars being used in organizations such as NPR, PBS, and PP…despite the legality of it.

“Why?” …should you stop whining about the fact that the word “Scouts” has been taken legally by the BSA?

Because it seems sophomoric to complain about an organization’s legal trademark. Are you truly bitter that you cannot create a gay scouting organization but can’t use the word “scout” in it or is your angst actually due to discrimination? I would assume the latter. My advice to stop whining about the legally trademarked term “scout” was constructive: it does nothing to further your arguement concerning the BSA’s discrimination (which I agree with) because trademarked terms are beyond arguement and whining about that seems immature.

June 10, 2011 at 2:34 pm
(86) James says:

The Boy Scouts are an anachronism. Who needs them, anyway? I was a Boy Scout for years and was atheist the entire time, by the way.

August 18, 2011 at 10:56 am
(87) Illumination says:

Austin you are gay aren’t you?

August 18, 2011 at 9:26 pm
(88) Austin Cline says:

Austin you are gay aren’t you?

Why, are you propositioning me?

September 30, 2011 at 4:36 pm
(89) Rex Winkus says:

My son is a “natural” atheist through-and-through and he is an Eagle Scout. He has worked professionally for Scouting for nearly ten years, and he believes–as do I–that Scouting is a valuable institution for boys and young men, not because of its religious rigmarole which asserts that you can believe in anything you want–even pantheism, naturalism, or The Force–just so long as you believe in something,/i> no matter how far-fetched or abstract.

Now, the reason my son could become an Eagle Scout and dedicate so many years as a PAID Scouter is because the Scouting organization never once asked about his religious orientation and he never volunteered it. This also goes for the majority of other leaders and professional Scouters my son has worked with. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” is alive and well in the BSA whether any of the good theists contributing to this list know this or not.

It’s rather ironic, I think, that a great many of those who are actually in the field doing that hand’s-on work with the boys and young men, and promoting the Scout ethic, are secret atheists and agnostics. This includes many of the professional Scouters who are overseeing the training and camps of the Mormon troops.

Believe me, I know all this first hand. Isn’t it time, then, that Scouting did away with this religious charade once and for all? Every boy involved in Scouting has probably at one time learned a great deal about the outdoors, ethics, honor, and morality from a ‘closet’ atheist…only he just didn’t know it.

October 1, 2011 at 6:15 pm
(90) Grandpa_In_The_East says:

Your words: “Isn’t it time, then, that Scouting did away with this religious charade once and for all? Every boy involved in Scouting has probably at one time learned a great deal about the outdoors, ethics, honor, and morality from a ‘closet’ atheist…only he just didn’t know it.”

No! Charade is very, very important. To acknowledge that atheists exist, is heresy. The house-of-cards might collapse.

Grandpa

October 5, 2011 at 1:46 pm
(91) A says:

Mr. Cline, you have every rights to be upset by the Boy Scouts. They discriminate againts Gays and Athiests. Let someone treat the Mormons the same way that they treat the Gays and Athiests, and see how they act! These are double standards. The Mormons are very wrong to do the most wrong things that they do and they know it. You just called them on their wrong doing. There is no shame on their game. They lie and they cheat. They are proud of their evil. What they do to Gays is human sacrifice! Who knows what nasty thing they will pull next. This is all a punch below the belt. Be safe, Mr. Cline, I wish you well.

February 21, 2012 at 5:13 am
(92) Zach says:

It’s perfectly fine for the BSA to discriminate and to teach these ideals to members of their organization. Ever hear of moral values? I personally believe that homosexuality is immoral and impure. I don’t avoid homosexuals or think less of them as human beings, but I don’t at all agree with their philosophy towards sexual orientation. When I have kids of my own, I’ll be sure to instill this belief into them as well: that homosexuality is wrong. While the word “discrimination” does apply here, it’s not wrong. The BSA has a certain set of morals they believe their boys should follow. But that doesn’t mean that they “hate” gay people or atheists. Believing that a certain sexuality/religion/etc. is wrong is not the same thinking that the person is bad.
As far as government funding, the government funds plenty of things that I don’t agree with, such as (as was brought up earlier in the thread) Planned Parenthood. I don’t at all agree with premarital sex and I’m even more against abortions. There are pleny of things the government shouldn’t fund.
As for people complaining about Mormons not having a girl version of Boy Scouts, they are 100% wrong. The twelve-eighteen year old girls have “Personal Progress” as well as weekly activities centered towards building necessary skills for girls–they meet at the same time as the Scouts, and once a month the boys and girls are combined. Just because I’s lesser-known does not mean that the girls get less of an experience.
I’m sure you’ll find tons of problems with my response, or continuously tell me to “give examples,” but I’ll I’m trying to say is this: we’re all entitled to our own opinions, and doing so isn’t necessarily bigotry. The BSA has specific moral values that they wish to uphold. If you expect them to respect your values than you should respect theirs. I’ll say it again: just because you don’t agree with someone’s morals or values does not mean that you don’t respect them.

February 21, 2012 at 6:12 am
(93) Austin Cline says:

It’s perfectly fine for the BSA to discriminate and to teach these ideals to members of their organization. Ever hear of moral values?

I wasn’t aware that bigotry and discrimination were considered moral values.

I personally believe that homosexuality is immoral and impure.

I personally think that bigots like you are immoral and impure.

I don’t avoid homosexuals or think less of them as human beings,

You can’t avoid thinking less of people you consider immoral and impure.

When I have kids of my own, I’ll be sure to instill this belief into them as well: that homosexuality is wrong.

That’s the moral equivalent of instilling in them the bigoted belief that it’s wrong to be Jewish or have an interracial relationship.

While the word “discrimination” does apply here, it’s not wrong. The BSA has a certain set of morals they believe their boys should follow. But that doesn’t mean that they “hate” gay people or atheists.

Teaching that gays and atheists are less moral and less patriotic is no less hateful than teaching that Jews or blacks are less moral and less patriotic.

As far as government funding, the government funds plenty of things that I don’t agree with, such as (as was brought up earlier in the thread) Planned Parenthood.

You don’t agree with prenatal testing and breast cancer screenings? That’s even more immoral than bigotry.

I’m sure you’ll find tons of problems with my response,

Like gross immorality and a complete disregard for even basic facts.

we’re all entitled to our own opinions, and doing so isn’t necessarily bigotry.

It’s not “necessarily” bigotry, but it’s 100% bigotry coming from you.

The BSA has specific moral values that they wish to uphold.

Specific bigoted values, you mean.

If you expect them to respect your values than you should respect theirs.

I don’t expect them to respect my values.

I’ll say it again: just because you don’t agree with someone’s morals or values does not mean that you don’t respect them.

True. However, in this case, I both don’t agree with the aforementioned “values” of the BSA and Mormon church and I don’t respect them. I don’t have the slightest respect for any person or organization that teaches lies and hate. I have even greater disrespect for people and institutions who try to rationalize or excuse their lies and hate as mere “opinions”.

March 2, 2012 at 1:00 pm
(94) Alex P says:

The biggest problem I see with the religious influence in the BSA, are the alienated feelings young boys from non member families may experience. Especially at such a young impressionable ages.

Young children should not be subjected to such extreme religious doctrine. The emphasis should be on outdoor activities, survival, etc. non denominated activities. The BSA should also require their scout masters to have some credentials to lead young men, such as thorough ‘background checks’ and some sort of training, as opposed to their level of church involvement. I would rather have Les Stroud teaching my boy than some random guy from a local church.

As a father of a young boy who may some day want to join boy scouts, we’ll definitely have to find other outlets.

March 8, 2012 at 5:48 pm
(95) liz says:

Well, I live in a Mormon town. And my son is in cub scouts. The Mormon church is in total control of the scouts!! They use the Mormon rules and regulations. They dont even fallow the scout book. When my son need to do 2 over night camp outs to earn his Arrow of light, They said the church does not allow cub scouts to have over night camp outs!! All den meetings and pack meetings are held at the Mormon church. The Mormon church pays for all scouting activities. The scouts should be held at a community building and not run by the Mormon church or any church for that matter!! I am Mormon and I know we have trouble getting boys to join our pack is because if you are not a Mormon scout they try to make you Mormon or you are treated like dirt!!!

March 15, 2012 at 4:49 pm
(96) Tictactaylor says:

I find the idea of LDS involvement similar to that of Adolf Hitler, and Hitler Youth…too based upon ‘scouting’. Originating from Poole, England, the starting point of scouting (Baden Powell and his troops on Brownsea Island) then living in Utah seeing their ‘scouts’ I have major doubts of the legitimacy.

I have to agree that Scouting does hold to Christian values, but unlike the US never discriminates intentionally. I don’t like what I read here, it seems totally against the original concepts of Baden Powell.

To talk in a negative way about a persons sexuality, is probably The most offensive. Thank GOD I live in England!

March 29, 2012 at 2:09 am
(97) Brian Terrill says:

Scouting was created with the motto “God and King” in England where it originated and in the US has carried the motto “God and Country”. Atheist can go out in the woods and camp all they want, that doesn’t make them scouts. The Scout Oath requires scouts to do their duty to God and country, how can any atheist live up to that, they can care less about either God or the country we know as the United States. Atheist are by nature more aggressive than even militant Islamist at forcing their religion they call non religion onto others.

Homosexuals are not much different. By simple decency why do homosexual men want to be boy scout leaders? Boy scout leaders take their boy scouts camping. Well duh, hard to figure out what their intentions are when it comes to that one. We already have to take an extensive training course to become boy scout leaders to protect the boys from child molesters most of which are gay men who sneak into the program.

As a Mormon I’m proud that the church has sponsored scouting and for the record we are not taking over scouting, the lds church has been the leading sponsor of the Boy Scouts of America since the scouting movement began in the United States. Unfortunately anti patriotic people who call themselves liberal want to get rid of those programs that are patriotic and thus this is why they are going after the Mormons and the BSA.

To those of you who call us a cult, I say you can just go to hell for being stupid.

March 29, 2012 at 3:03 pm
(98) Austin Cline says:

The Scout Oath requires scouts to do their duty to God and country, how can any atheist live up to that

That’s part of why the BSA is a bigoted, discriminatory organization. It’s no better than having an oath to Jesus and thereby excluding non-Christians.

Atheist are by nature more aggressive than even militant Islamist at forcing their religion they call non religion onto others.

You seem to forget that those Islamists agree with you about doing their duty to God.

Homosexuals are not much different. By simple decency why do homosexual men want to be boy scout leaders?

And that’s the other part of why the BSA is a bigoted, discriminatory organization.

April 6, 2012 at 8:19 pm
(99) Grandpa_In_The_East says:

To Brian Terril, who said,

“The Scout Oath requires scouts to do their duty to God and country, how can any atheist live up to that, they can care less about either God or the country we know as the United States.”

Please, tell me exactly what IS the Boy Scout’s duty to “God?” Be precise! And, please tell me exactly what IS the Boy Scout’s duty to their country? Again, be precise. I was never a Boy Scout, so please honor my inquiry.

True, I could NOT possibly care less for your imbecilic senil “God” of your terrible “Holy Bible,” but I DO take umbrage concerning your implication that “I could [NOT] care less about the country we call the United States.”

You see, I joined the U.S. Marine Corps when the first Lebennon crisis occurred in 1958 when the Marines left Camp Lejeune for the Mediterranean. I spent just over 8 years in the United States Armed Forces. Though I was a peace-time Marine, according to military records, I received an inner ear injury which has, over time, progressed to a major hearing loss, in both ears.So you understand I feel I am justified in attacking your bigotted concept of patriotism.

So please, tell me and all the rest who have served their country we call the United States, what do we have to do to be patriotic in YOUR eyes?. (Not that any of us would want to.)

In addition, may I take liberty to assure you, it is my opinion, that it would be most improbable that a homosexual, would be much less likely to be a preditor of young boys, than would a clergyman.

Grandpa

P.S. As I have written before, The Boy Scouts of America could be a wonderful organization. But so long as they, through policy and practice, are teaching young people how to be biggoted, they fail. And, the phrase “young people” applies to both those who do and do not wear the Uniform.

April 6, 2012 at 10:26 pm
(100) OZAtheist says:

I get the feeling Brian doesn’t know the difference between homosexuality and pedophilia. Doesn’t say much for the Mormon schools he was educated in does it.

April 20, 2012 at 7:49 pm
(101) Harlan Carpenter says:

Somebody finally wake up out there…? The Boy Scouts of America would been long defunct more than 100 years ago–had it not been for the support of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We are virtually the BSA’s only support…!

April 24, 2012 at 1:00 pm
(102) Austin Cline says:

The Boy Scouts of America would been long defunct more than 100 years ago-had it not been for the support of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We are virtually the BSA’s only support…!

If the only way to continue existing is to promote bigotry and discrimination, then they don’t deserve to exist.

April 30, 2012 at 7:30 pm
(103) Marvin says:

“Atheist are by nature more aggressive than even militant Islamist at forcing their religion they call non religion onto others.”

The ongoing trial in Norway with its ultra conservative defendant who declares his intent was to save Europe by killing children; the Oklahoma City bombing designed by its conservative perpetrator to save American society from some imagined peril; the idiotic ravings of Texas school board members intent upon changing history to preserve, uh, what? These are only a few examples. Can you point to anything done for atheism that is in any way comparable?

May 10, 2012 at 4:38 pm
(104) Ryan says:

I was happy in the Boy Scouts when I lived in Georgia. Though we were subject to southern baptist services on sundays, which wasn’t cool, we put up with it because no one was trying to actively convert us and no one asked what our sexual orientation was or what religion we belonged to. I was so into scouting that I got my First Class just before my 12th birthday.

Then I moved to Idaho, and my family was told that we could not join the Boy Scouts because we were not mormon, but they’d happily accept us if we became mormon. I was devastated because I was a devout episcopalian. I’d never been subject to discrimination before!

It was wrong for them to do and the question of one’s religious preference should never, ever be an issue. Boy Scouts should also NOT be a political institution. That the LDS church has taken over is a travesty to a long, proud tradition.

I have mormon friends, and I know many mormons who are perfectly good people, but I still can’t stand the mormon church, as much as I can’t stand any institution that promotes discrimination, bigotry, and division, for beliefs that are indefensible and arbitrary morals based on those beliefs.

May 19, 2012 at 8:33 am
(105) Grandpa In The East says:

Ryan said: “…perfectly……” Is that why they call themselves Saints? Because they are “Perfect.”

Ryan, why don’t you ask you Morman friends why the are against gays especially in the Boy Scouts of the Morman Church. If a scout starts Scouting at an early age, he may not yet fully understand that he will be gay. Then what? You should at least ask them. You don’t need to debate it, but it would be nice if you encouraged them to use their minds alittle.

Grandpa

July 17, 2012 at 7:32 pm
(106) S says:

@Ryan: I was sad when I read your experience. I am sorry. I’d like to think you were a victim of Idaho, not the Mormon Church. I am a Mormon scout leader. We have several people in our troop who are not members of the Mormon faith. They are treated the same as anyone else and are more than welcome in the troop. They are not pressured in any way shape or form to convert to Mormonism. As a scout leader, I have received no instruction to exclude anyone from our troop on the basis of religious affiliation. I can tell you wholeheartedly that you would have been more than welcome in our troop in California.

To everyone else, I plead for tolerance in both directions. Mormons have policies based on a religious belief in God who himself defines what is right and what is sin. Those beliefs are in no way rooted in hatred and intolerance for others. Yes, the Mormons excommunicate practicing homosexuals. We do the same for any sin we believe to be grievous in the sight of God. Adultery, polygamy, pedophilia… etc. you get the point.

We respect your belief (or lack of belief), surely, you can respect ours. May the day never come when you remove our right to believe as we do… It was the prophet Joseph Smith himself that said that one day, the constitution would “hang by a thread.”

July 17, 2012 at 9:31 pm
(107) Austin Cline says:

I have received no instruction to exclude anyone from our troop on the basis of religious affiliation.

But you will exclude atheists. That’s bigoted – just as bigoted as excluding Jews, Catholics, or Latinos.

Or Mormons.

Those beliefs are in no way rooted in hatred and intolerance for others.

Funny, but adherents of Christian Identity say the same thing. Why are you more credible than they?

By excluding gays and atheists, you are practicing intolerance. By teaching children that gays and atheists are necessarily less moral or less patriotic, you are teaching children to hate and to treat others as inferior.

What you’re doing is just as immoral as if you were teaching children that Jews can’t be morally straight or Mormons can’t be patriotic.

We respect your belief (or lack of belief), surely, you can respect ours.

No.

Beliefs do not deserve any automatic or inherent respect. Your right to hold a belief should be respected, but not necessarily the belief itself.

If you want your belief to be respected, you need to demonstrate that it deserves respect.

May the day never come when you remove our right to believe as we do…

No one has tried. If you think they have – merely because they disagree with you, argue against you, or even ridicule your opinions – then you are suffering from a serious psychological problem.

July 19, 2012 at 10:53 am
(108) S says:

Austin,

All of your assertions are based on a premise that exclusion implies intolerance. I don’t think you have it right. People are excluded from all kinds of organizations based on all kinds or reasons. I can’t join a country club because I do not have enough money. I can’t join a women’s volleyball team because I am a man. I accuse none of those organizations of intolerance.

Intolerance implies animosity, hatred, anger, of which I feel none toward anyone certainly not for their religious beliefs or sexual orientation. I give you the definition or tolerance from dictionary.com:

“a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry.”

It’s pretty clear that our opinions differ. I don’t see anywhere in that definition anything about inclusion. Believe me, we hate no one, we teach hate to no one. We simply disagree. My point is that tolerance should be a two-way street. If you feel the need to scout, please start the Atheist Scouts of America, or the Homosexual Scouts of America. I will do nothing to ensure that I am included in your organization. I will feel no hate.

I plead for peace, harmony, understanding, acceptance of the notion that people can exist in a society with differing beliefs, peacefully.

July 19, 2012 at 11:11 am
(109) Austin Cline says:

All of your assertions are based on a premise that exclusion implies intolerance.

No, they don’t. The exclusions in this case are demonstrated to be intolerant exclusions because of the reasons given for excluding.

And I don’t that you don’t even try to directly address what i wrote.

Intolerance implies animosity, hatred, anger, of which I feel none toward anyone certainly not for their religious beliefs or sexual orientation.

Supporting and defending a system or practice of intolerance makes you intolerant as well, regardless of what you say about yourself.

Besides, if you looked up “intolerance” in the same place that you looked up “tolerant,” you’d have noticed that the definition doesn’t reflect what you say above.

I give you the definition or tolerance from dictionary.com: “a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry.”

And think about what this means about being in-tolerant: not fair, not objective, not permissive.

Believe me, we hate no one, we teach hate to no one.

Teaching that others are morally inferior or unpatriotic, simply because they disagree with you or have different sexual orientation, is teaching hatred.

My point is that tolerance should be a two-way street.

It is. I don’t teach kids that a person is morally inferior or less patriotic merely because they happen to be a Mormon.

If you feel the need to scout, please start the Atheist Scouts of America

I can’t. Your Boy Scouts of America won’t let anyone else use the “Scout” name. It’s a special privilege granted to them by the Congress – another example of the government backing of BSA bigotry.

I plead for peace, harmony, understanding, acceptance of the notion that people can exist in a society with differing beliefs, peacefully.

No, you don’t, not as long as you teach children that gays and atheists are inferior. So long as you keep doing that, you’re teaching hate and bigotry, no different than if you taught kids that blacks or Jews were inferior.

July 19, 2012 at 1:17 pm
(110) S says:

We certainly disagree… The exclusions are based on not meeting the requirements of the organization. Any organization has the right to define its requirements.

The thing I don’t understand is why you would want to be involved in an organization that you disagree with on a very fundamental level. Why not walk away, live and let live?

And inferior is a word that I have never used. I have only used the word different. If this is America, we can be different and equal. That is our right, that is what our fathers fought for. It’s intersting to me that inferior is a word that only you use.

BTW, you don’t have to call it scouts. You can call it what ever you like…

July 19, 2012 at 2:08 pm
(111) Austin Cline says:

The exclusions are based on not meeting the requirements of the organization.

It’s more than that, and you know it.

Gays are declared to not be able to meet the requirements because they are declared as not being “morally straight”. Atheists are declared to not be able to meet the requirements because they are declared to be incapable of being “the best kind of citizen.”

Saying that you need to believe in a god to be the best kind of citizen is no less bigoted and intolerant than saying you need to believe in Jesus in order to be the best kind of citizen.

Any organization has the right to define its requirements.

True.

An organization which says that Mormons cannot meet the membership requirements because they cannot be “the best kind of citizen” is a bigoted and intolerant organization because it is applying its membership criteria in a bigoted and intolerant way.

An organization which says that Jews cannot meet the membership requirements because Jews are not “morally straight” is a bigoted and intolerant organization because it is applying its membership criteria in a bigoted and intolerant way.

The thing I don’t understand is why you would want to be involved in an organization that you disagree with on a very fundamental level.

I don’t. But that doesn’t stop me from pointing out that the organization is bigoted, intolerant, and teaching hate.

Why not walk away, live and let live?

I wouldn’t if an organization were treating Jews and Mormons like that, even though I’m not Jewish or Mormon.

And inferior is a word that I have never used.

So? When an organization tells members that they are able to be “morally straight” and “the best kind of citizen” while others are excluded from the group because those others cannot be “morally straight” or “the best kind of citizen,” then that group is teaching that those “others” are inferior.

If this is America, we can be different and equal.

True. However, teaching that some class of people cannot be “morally straight” or “the best kind of citizen” is not teaching that they are merely “different.” It’s teaching that they are inferior. It’s teaching hate.

It’s intersting to me that inferior is a word that only you use.

It’s far more interesting that you don’t. After all, as a scout leader you must believe that you can grow (or have grown) in the the “best kind of citizen” because you’re a theist where as I, as an atheist, necessarily cannot. You thus believe that your theism makes you inherently superior to atheists – that’s the official BSA which you are defending here.

And there’s nothing “tolerant” about that. It’s certainly not “respect” either.

BTW, you don’t have to call it scouts. You can call it what ever you like…

So, you agree that the Boy Scouts should benefit from special privileges denied to anyone else? You believe that the government should use the force of law and the courts to single out the BSA for special benefits?

July 23, 2012 at 2:05 am
(112) It is about me says:

My brothers and mother are bigots; this is what the Mormon Church has taught them. Zero tolerance for anyone who is not exactly what the Mormon Church has envisioned as a human. My sons will never be Mormons and they will never be a part of the Boy Scouts of America. I have raised them with tolerance, understanding, how to be open minded and not judge. This is the polar opposite of Mormons and The Boy Scouts of America as well as Dan Cathy, the president and chief operating officer of Chick-fil-A. They all who have one thing in common; they are revolting, they are judgmental, they are repulsive. I do not want to hear your prayers, your Boy Scout oath and I sure as hell won’t eat your chicken.

July 24, 2012 at 11:26 am
(113) JJ says:

The Atheism argument is ridiculous. The BSA includes many religious denominations to include those whom Christians consider heathen or pagan in origin that are held in the same low-esteem as atheists. The Mormons are a target of this very mentality by those who do not deem them as Christians. The Cub Scout organization is stepped in Native American religious belief, most particularly the belief in animal guides (the Spirit of Akela). All of its rank badges and the Boy Scout patrol badges are animal guides.The BSA is a quasi-military organization with hidden aspects of Freemasonry worked in. The Eagle Badge, the highest rank in BSA was patterned after the double-headed eagle of 33rd Degree Freemasonry. The rope attached to the “Be Prepared” ribbon/banner that looks like a noose replicates the cable tow rope used in Masonic initiations. The Order of the Arrow rituals and hand shakes are Masonic in nature. A problem with adopting military style uniforms is it promotes an us against them warfare attitude. Despite the U.S. Supreme Court Ruling, the government can still resend the BSA’s tax exempt status because it discriminates. As far as homophobia, it is biblical foundations are in the Old Testament, not the New Testament, which for “Christians” is supposed to supersede the Laws of Moses. Jesus never spoke against the practice of homosexuality and the only law He gave is found in Matthew 7:12. It is is the same “Golden Rule” upon which almost every organized religion is based and is one I am sure that Atheists also believe” For those who want to hang onto Old Testament belief, I ask you why do you salute a flag attached to a pole with a graven image/idol atop it? To do so violates Mosaic Law.

July 27, 2012 at 4:47 pm
(114) John Thomson says:

Jason #83: You’re wrong about almost everything you’ve written but I’m only going to correct you on one thing: NAACP gladly accepts whites. I know, I’m a member and white.

Alright, two things. Planned Parenthood doesn’t use any federal money to perform abortions nor are they affiliated with Medicaid which is state administered.

August 27, 2012 at 11:11 am
(115) puhiava says:

It is about me #112: Your comments expose the intolerance and hatred you have excused others of. Your post represents the hypocrisy I am seeing all over this post (over four years old!!) and throughout the internet -of a so-called “tolerant ” and “secular” mindset. “You can’t believe the way you do if it infringes on my beliefs and values.”

From the tone of your comments your children are doomed to the same narrow mindedness and bigotry you have project on others.

January 31, 2013 at 5:17 pm
(116) Diana Godwin says:

Wow, reading this stuff has gotten really boring. All Austin Cline does is repeat the same rhetoric over and over. There is nothing in here which show his opinion to be more valid than anyone else’s.

January 31, 2013 at 5:46 pm
(117) Austin Cline says:

Wow, reading this stuff has gotten really boring. All Austin Cline does is repeat the same rhetoric over and over.

Over the course of the 215 words in this post, I don’t think I repeated myself too much.

There is nothing in here which show his opinion to be more valid than anyone else s.

Yet, you appear to be unable to construct a substantive critique or rebuttal, just a personal attack.

February 2, 2013 at 8:54 am
(118) Diana says:

I felt it might be useless to construct a critique or rebuttal. I could predict in each comment which piece of dogma or logical fallacy you would pounce on in your response, but I found no evidence that you made any attempt to understand the person’s point of view. How can you change people’s opinions if you do not attempt to comprehend their feelings? I believe I do understand your compassion for those who are alienated because they feel differently from the accepted “norm”. I am LDS and a cub scout leader. The leaders of my church have been careful to make a distinction between same gender attraction and homosexual acts which are forbidden in our law of chastity. A person who feels same gender attraction deserves all the compassion and respect due to every human being on this planet. In church service and leadership people who feel same gender attraction have the same privilege to serve. A person who breaks the law of chastity, with heterosexual or homosexual acts is not. I do not believe that this policy affects the respect I feel for my homosexual friends, colleagues and students. In teaching and leading cub scouts, I do not believe I have ever said or done anything to affect feelings or attitudes about gender orientation. In my den we have boys who are LDS and boys who are not. I feel that Duty to God is an integral part of the BSA program. I do not teach religious doctrine in my scout meetings. I ask the parents to help their scouts fulfill those requirement. Attitudes about belief in God should be influenced by families. I believe in God and the doctrines of my religion. I believe in compassion and respect for every person. I do not believe in bigotry or discrimination. The BSA will make an announcement about a decision to allow individual troops to admit homosexuals. The LDS church has not publicly weighed in on this decision. I await with interest the announcement, and well as the response of the LDS church..

February 2, 2013 at 10:07 am
(119) Austin Cline says:

I felt it might be useless to construct a critique or rebuttal.

I don’t think you can. Given your inability to face up to the fact that your an accessory to teaching bigotry and hate, I don’t think you will ever be able to.

I could predict in each comment which piece of dogma or logical fallacy you would pounce on in your response,

You act like critiquing dogma and fallacies is problematic.

but I found no evidence that you made any attempt to understand the person s point of view.

I already understand the point of view of people who are bigoted against gays and atheists.

You, in contrast, don’t understand that it’s bigotry and disrespectful to teach that gays and atheists are inferior.

I am LDS and a cub scout leader.

So, you approve of teaching children that gays and atheists are morally inferior and should be regarded as second-class citizens.

I believe in compassion and respect for every person.

It’s neither respect nor compassion to teach or approve of the view that atheists and gays are morally inferior or second-class citizens.

I do not believe in bigotry or discrimination.

Then you should quit the BSA. By staying with it, you’re promoting and encouraging both.

February 2, 2013 at 12:41 pm
(120) Diana says:

Actually, I rather approved of your critique of irrational dogma and logical fallacy. It is unforgivably stupid to say we should support the duty to god in scouting because the government has “In God We Trust” as a motto or “under God” in the pledge. Even more unforgivably stupid to say homosexuals are filthy or they only want to go on campouts with boys in order to molest them. But I feel that you are also drawing on logical fallacy.

I am LDS and a cub scout leader.
So, you approve of teaching children that gays and atheists are morally inferior and should be regarded as second-class citizens.

That is a circular argument. There is bigotry and hate in the LDS church and in the BSA program. That does not mean that all people associated are hateful bigots, nor does it mean these organizations teach hate. There is hate everywhere, in theists and atheists. I know how I feel about my fellow man. And I believe in my religion.

February 2, 2013 at 3:31 pm
(121) Austin Cline says:

But I feel that you are also drawing on logical fallacy.

Yet you can’t point to one. You can make the accusation, but you can’t substantiate it – just as you can’t make any sort of substantive rebuttal to what I’ve written. Coincidence?

That is a circular argument.

Do you know what a “circular argument” even is?

There’s nothing “circular” about noting that if you take a leadership position in an organization, then you take some measure of personal responsibility for what that organization teaches and promotes. This includes the good and the bad.

When you take a leadership position in an organization which engages in hate mongering by teaching that atheists cannot be as good of a citizen as theists, then you are culpable for the hate mongering. You’re not an uninvolved, innocent witness. You’re no longer a bystander – you’ve taken sides against the minorities who are being defamed and discriminated against.

There is bigotry and hate in the LDS church and in the BSA program. That does not mean that all people associated are hateful bigots

True, but people with leadership roles in an organization which teaches and promotes bigotry and hate are, necessarily, approving of teaching bigotry and hate.

nor does it mean these organizations teach hate

True, but I didn’t say that the BSA teaches bigotry and hate merely because of any vague “presence” of bigotry and hate. I said it because they are specific and deliberate teachings associated with the exclusion of gays and atheists.

Teaching that some class of people cannot be morally straight or the best kind of citizen is teaching that they are inferior. It s teaching hate. Teaching that gays and atheists are less moral or less patriotic is no less hateful than teaching that Jews or blacks are less moral or less patriotic.

March 4, 2013 at 10:31 pm
(122) Don V says:

Many Mormons (LDS) believe that Scouting was and is a program inspired (by God). Obviously, one does not have to be LDS (Mormon) to be inspired. The LDS Church recognized this inspiration and readily incorporated this program into their male youth program. With Scouting’s great values of trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent; the LDS Church saw most of the character traits which they accept as qualities God wants strengthened in His children. Do all LDS Scouts and LDS Scout leaders live all these Scout laws?… of course not. All people have frailties and are imperfect…all.

These “Mormon” Scouts and their LDS leaders are also committed to what they see as even greater laws than Scouting’s; those laws are found in their scriptures and in the words of those whom they accept as prophets. A portion of their belief system states: “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may”. Yet they cannot be expected to turn from what they believe are laws their God has given because someone else doesn’t want to accept these values or accept them as truths.

…“The exclusion of gays and atheists from the Boy Scouts qualifies as bigotry because the exclusion is based upon the assumption that being gay and being an atheist makes one fundamentally inferior.”… Making this assumption seems to exhibit more ignorance of another’s convictions than it does to bigotry. Hopefully, both, bigotry and ignorance may be overcome with a sincere desire to learn.

March 6, 2013 at 6:28 pm
(123) Austin Cline says:

Many Mormons (LDS) believe that Scouting was and is a program inspired (by God).

And that’s a good reason to engage in hate mongering?

With Scouting’s great values of trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent; the LDS Church saw most of the character traits which they accept as qualities God wants strengthened in His children.

Funny, but neither religion nor theism are necessary for any of those traits.

…”The exclusion of gays and atheists from the Boy Scouts qualifies as bigotry because the exclusion is based upon the assumption that being gay and being an atheist makes one fundamentally inferior.”… Making this assumption seems to exhibit more ignorance of another’s convictions than it does to bigotry.

That’s not an assumption. It’s a conclusion and a fact, derived from the BSA’s own rules and documents.

It’s hate mongering to teach that people are less patriotic, less moral, or otherwise inferior simply because they don’t happen to believe in any gods or because they are gay.

March 20, 2013 at 3:59 pm
(124) Grandpa In The East says:

“Making this assumption seems to exhibit more ignorance of another’s convictions than it does to bigotry. Hopefully, both, bigotry and ignorance may be overcome with a sincere desire to learn.”

Yes, I see. So, simply having a “sincere” desire to learn is enough.” It sounds almost as lazy as “praying for peace” instead of working to make it happen.

Face it, Don V, ignorance and bigotry are your convictions. Your doom.

Grandpa

October 28, 2013 at 8:54 am
(125) Tom Sims says:

Austin,

I’m not even quite sure how I stumbled onto this page, just from web surfing. But anyhow, I take no side in this argument. But just a little hint of advice Austin, You will never be a good Journalist if you keep putting your own opinions into your papers, and then continue to fight with the readers. That is the biggest error of all. Think about that. Good writers write the facts while making for an interesting article, and then just let the people leave their opinions.

November 14, 2013 at 1:49 pm
(126) Austin Cline says:

You will never be a good Journalist if you keep putting your own opinions into your papers

You’re actually surprised that I put my opinion in what is an opinion piece??

and then continue to fight with the readers. That is the biggest error of all.

No, the biggest error is in your thinking that there’s something inappropriate about a blog writer responding to blog comments.

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