At about the age of seven, I joined the Cub Scouts and when I got old enough, I continued in the Boy Scouts.
I have vivid memories of my days with the Scouts which include numerous camping trips, summers at Camp Tomahawk
in Wisconsin, making friends, learning to be an ethical person, and of course, earning merit badges.
I remember every troop leader I ever had even though it was 25 years ago and I have only fond memories of those
days with the Scouts. It was only as an adult, however, that I learned that the Boy Scouts discriminate against
people on the basis of religious beliefs and sexual orientation. This was very discouraging to me, especially since
the Boy Scouts don’t consider nonbelievers or gays to be moral people
As a nonbeliever myself, I’m particularly offended by the Boy Scouts position on religion. They make the claim
that nonbelievers can’t be the best kind of citizens and are poor role models for children. We’re excluded from
the Boy Scouts on moral grounds.
As with gays, there are so many myths and misconceptions about nonbelievers, the biggest of which is that you
can’t be moral without religion. This is a myth which is continually perpetuated in today’s society. But in fact,
there is no evidence to support the claim.
I, myself, have dedicated my career to helping the poor as an inner city second grade teacher. I’m also a Red
Cross volunteer and a former Peace Corps volunteer.
We nonbelievers are continually knocked down by society Just last year, the Tennessee Sate Congress passed a
bill permitting discrimination against nonbelievers. The bill was vetoed by the governor and his veto was overridden
by the State Congress. Tennessee is the first state in modern times to pass a law permitting discrimination! This
kind of action is dehumanizing to non-believers! And of course, the Boy Scouts do the same by telling us that we’re
not good enough for their organization.
What was the most appalling to me was that my own school district(the St. Paul Public Schools) was willi ng
to violate its own policy of nondiscrimination on the basis of religious beliefs and sexual orientation and form
a partnership with the Boy Scouts. There was no regard for the fact that the Boy Scouts discriminate against some
of the school districts own teachers and students.
It was incomprehensible to me that school district officials were so unconcerned about discrimination against
the districts own nonbelieving and gay teachers and students that they went to the extreme of fighting a lawsuit
against them with the goal of continuing to violate their own policy of nondiscrimination!(a lawsuit which they
won, unfortunately, and as far as I know, the partnership continues)
This lack of concern for what are probably the only two remaining minority groups in the U.S. whose rights can
be trampled on with almost total impunity, is what compelled me to take a stand against the Boy Scouts and to get
involved in Scouting For All.
What Scouting For All is doing is extremely important and I am both pro ud and excited to be able to help to
eliminate intolerance and bigotry in this country. I hope to play a role in helping society to realize that you
can’t turn a blind eye to discrimination, even if it is the Boys Scouts. I hope to help society recognize that
it is not acceptable to differentiate between kinds of discrimination and allow it take place when its against
people that you don’t like or don’t agree with. And I hope to see the day when Scouting For All will no longer
be needed. I will fight for that day and do whatever possible so that noone has to feel ashamed of who they are.