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Boy Scouts of America Kick Out 19 Year Old Eagle Scout For Being Atheist

Press Release
For Immediate Release and Distribution

October 26, 2002
Contact: Scott Cozza, Pres.
Scouting for All

Darrell Lambert, Eagle Scout was kicked out of the BSA by the Chief Seattle Council of Seattle, Washington. On October 12 at a Scout Master training Glen Schmidt, Dist. Comm. Chair was quoted as saying, "I ask scouts during the training if they believe in god and if they don't I boot them out. In order for scouts to become good citizens they must believe in god." Darrell responded to the comment by saying, " I am an atheist and no one in this room can rightfully say that I'm not a good citizen. Mr. Schmidt you are discriminating against the 6% of Americans that don't believe. I got my Eagle award with my board knowing that I didn't believe in god. They don't discriminate."

Glen Schmidt, Dist. Comm. Chair then went on to say, "Anybody that doesn't believe in god isn't a good citizen, and that if an atheist found a wallet on the ground they would pick it up plunder the money and throw the wallet back on the ground." Darrell's mother is a scout leader and was told by another scout leader, Dave Jones, "if you have any other boys in scouts that don't believe in god they need to be kicked out of scouts."

In a phone conversation, Brad Farmer, Council Executive told Darrell that the BSA couldn't take his Eagle Award away because he already received it. He also told Darrell that because he didn't believe in god he was not welcomed in scouts. In a conversation with Toby Estes, District Executive the following day, Mr. Estes is quoted as saying, "Darrell, scouting will be less without you, but it was the right thing to kick you out." He also said that "It is not discrimination it's policy. Scouts have been kicking atheists out for years and we are a private organization. Darrell it was also a mistake you received your Eagle Award."

About Darrell Lambert, Eagle Scout

Darrell Lambert joined the Boy Scouts of America as a first year Webelos. He received his arrow of light and colors and went straight into troop 1531. There he participated as an assistant patrol leader from the day he started with the troop. Since then he had been a patrol leader, quartermaster, librarian, assistant senior patrol leader, den chief, JASM, senior patrol Leader twice, and patrol leader 2 other times. Darrell received his Eagle award in April of 2001. He joined explorer search and rescue in march of 1999 and earned a team leader certification a year and a half later. At the time Darrell was kicked out for being an atheist he was a field leader in training. He had been actively involved in leadership competitions through the FFA for his
sophomore and junior years in high school. He also raised pigs to show at fairs. He was an agriculture student his sophomore year. His senior year he had 777 hours of community service time spent in athletic medicine class. Darrell tied for state champion that year, and was the top senior. Darrell also was a staff person at various weekend camps for trail of the eagle, and fall camporee, teaching scout skills, and merit badges. This Last June through September he went to fight Wildfires.

This is Darrell Lambert, 19 year old Eagle Scout who is considered by the Boy Scouts of America, not to be a good citizen because he is an atheist.

Steven Cozza, Eagle Scout "I think it is horrible the Boy Scouts of America would kick out Darrell Lambert. He is more of an Eagle Scout then many Eagle Scouts who believe in god. Believing in god is not a measure of the quality of person. In fact the two murders of Matthew Shepard was an Eagle scout and a Mormon. The character of a person is seen by how a person lives his life. Apparently Mr. Farmer, Mr. Schmidt, and Mr. Estes, lack the strength of character that Darrell has if they don't stand by him as the person they truly know he is. Sometimes rules that people follow are wrong. It would take the character of an Eagle Scout like Darrell Lambert to point that out. When will the Boy Scouts of America ever learn that their policy of discrimination is a violation of their own scout oath and law and hurts kids? Businesses, individuals, and United Ways should stop funding an organization that discriminates against nontheists, gays, and girls."

Other Contacts:

Darrell Lambert, Eagle Scout 360-895-6057

Chief Seattle Council
PO Box 440408,
Seattle, WA 98114-4408,
Phone (206) 725-5200, FAX (206)723-4330
Brad Farmer, Council Scout Executive
Glen Schmidt, District Committee Chair
Toby Estes, District Scout Executive



Scouting For All is not an alternative scouting program.
We are an education and advocacy organization reaching out to gay and nontheist youth and adults in our effort to get the Boy Scouts of America to rescind its exlusionary policy.

Any communications sent to Scouting for All or any Scouting for All representative may be published on the Scouting for All web site or in Scouting for All materials unless the communication specifically requests that it not be published.

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