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As A Current Atheist Scout I Have To Hide Who I Am


Dear Steven,

I would like to take this opportunity to express how I feel about being an atheist in the Boy Scouts. First of all, I am an Eagle Scout, Vigil Honor in the Order of the Arrow, as well as a former Lodge Chief in the Order of the Arrow (which lodge I'm not saying). I also attended the 1997 National Jamboree, Philmont, and even Sea Base and Northern Tier a couple of times. When I first joined scouting I didn't truly realize that they discriminated against anybody. I mean, I'm 11 years old at the time, what do I know about the program? To be honest, it never even really hit me that atheists weren't even allowed in scouts. During the Supreme Court trial in the summer of 2000, I was naive enough to not even realize that by giving the Boy Scouts the legal right to exclude gays would make it five times easier for them to exclude atheists. During the trial, I was saying to myself that "yes, a private organization has a 'right' to make its own membership requirements," and "whether or not they exclude gay scout leaders doesn't matter because it doesn't really involve me." Boy, was I an idiot. I guess by that time I was already out of the program anyway, but still...it doesn't make it right. Probably the only positive thing in my entire testimonial would be that I'm very confident that the BSA's policy will change within my life time. But, as long as conservative wackos make up the national committee right in the heart of Texas, my guess is the policy won't change for a very long time. Maybe they should move the national headquarters to Miami...

Peace,
Jon Doe II



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