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I am outraged at the ousting of Darrell Lambert from the Boy Scouts of America

October 27, 2002

Each boy has the right to be judged on his own merit - not on some absolutist notion that to declare for God automatically makes one a good citizen and a worthwhile human being.

I am outraged at the ousting of Darrell Lambert from the Boy Scouts of America on the grounds of his moral wherewithal. Once again an exemplary Boy Scout and outstanding human being has been struck down by the hand of bigotry and prejudice simply for daring to be different.

Denouncing Darrel in the name of God and forgetting what that God is actually supposed to stand for is a mightier sin than any committed by this young man. The BSA, in assuming a legalistic stance on the issue of belief in a God, commits the grievous error of cutting off their nose to spite their face.

They use belief in God as a litmus test for morality. They use belief in God as a criteria for determining a boy's true character and worth. They abuse God when they do this. It is a moral outrage that they continue to prop up God in such a manner as to exclude boys from the ranks of the BSA. The God I know does not exclude. The God I know doesn't want to be part of a private boys club that excludes anyone. God means love. God means acceptance no matter who you are! God means
to judge people by the content of their hearts and the actions that they take. There is nothing in the exemplary record of Darrell Lambert that would preclude him from wearing the uniform of the Boy Scouts of America and wearing it as one of its proudest members - an Eagle Scout.

I do not think that God cares about what you say, so much as what you do. That's the true test of character which not incidentally, the merit badges were designed to bring out in a boy. Each boy has the right to be judged on his own merit - not on some absolutist notion that to declare for God automatically makes one a good citizen and a worthwhile human being. Let us not forget that throughout the centuries, this one included, people have committed horrendous crimes in the name of their
God. I would sooner be a loyal, honest and trustworthy non-theist than a lying, cheating no-good theist. In the best of all possible worlds, boy scout theists and non-theists alike would be judged by the work they do, not the words they declare.

Legalistically, the BSA has the "right" to look askance at Mr. Lambert's shining, exemplary record and simply toss it aside as so much garbage. But ethically, they have no right to co-opt God to justify their bigotry and ignorance. I hope that Scouting for All will call on all people of integrity in Scouting to defend Darrell's record to the BSA and to call for immediate revocation of his dismissal.

Thanks for letting me vent,

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."

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