Margaret Downey writes in the Fall 2000 issue of Free Inquiry:
By getting itself declared "private," the BSA has defeated the rationale for it to have public support, government gratuities, and a congressional charter. Nor will it be legitimate for BSA to receive money from United Way's unallocated fund, or to go into public schools to recruit, or to be given military and other government gratuities. BSA will have to rely on private donations exclusively. This will work against the troops and the boys.
Prejudiced zealots have seized control of BSA and will destroy all that has been good with their fear and loathing toward the gay and nontheist community. ... Recently BSA ruled that Unitarian Scouts will no longer be eligible to receive religious emblems. Unitarian rules do not fall in line with BSA's selective membership policy. Unitarians are too tolerant and too sympathetic toward gays, girls, and the godless.
Those same prejudiced zealots have been outraged at efforts to strip the Boy Scouts of their various sources of public funding and support. Either it just never occurred to them that a private, discriminatory organization shouldn't receive public support or they just didn't care; regardless, they have effectively adopted the position that private bigotry and discrimination cannot justifiably come with any social or political costs. They further insist that the Boy Scouts, by discriminating against gays and atheist and by depicting them as morally inferior, continues to serve the public good.
If the Boy Scouts engaged in similar bigotry and discrimination against other groups like Jews, Hispanics, Catholics, or liberals, there's no way that public agencies or charitable organizations would continue to support or help them. This is because it's generally accepted that discrimination against those groups is harmful; people don't yet quite understand that the same is true about discrimination against gays and atheists.
Understanding Atheism & Atheists:
- Atheism 101
- What is Atheism?
- Defining Atheism
- Is Atheism a Religion?
- Who Are Atheists?
- Why Don't Atheists Believe in God?
- Questions About Atheism
- Atheism Myths
- Polls on Atheism
Resources for Athiests: