The ban on gay scouts has now been lifted (thought not gay scoutmasters), but it’s likely to be a long time before the Boy Scouts of America lifts the ban on open atheism in the ranks. Kimberly Winston has a report on that prospect at the Religion News Service.
No one is holding their breath, least of all Neil Polzin, an Eagle Scout who was fired from his job in 2009 as an aquatics director at a Boy Scout camp in San Diego after he admitted to being an atheist.
“I don’t see that happening, at least not in the immediate future,” Polzin said. “The focus has always been on the Scouts’ discrimination against gays and it seems atheists were always on a back burner or not discussed at all.”
But that doesn’t mean nonbelievers — atheists, humanists and other nontheists — have abandoned their quest for inclusion. In the wake of the BSA’s May 23 vote that led to the inclusion of gay Scouts — but not gay scoutmasters — every major organization of nonbelievers has issued a statement condemning their continued exclusion.
A BSA official declined to comment, but issued a statement that said, in part, that since the organization had “just completed a lengthy review process, there are no plans for further review on this matter.”
I don’t get the scouting thing at all. I remember doing Cub Scouts for a couple weeks when I was a kid and pretty much hating it. But I know several people who are atheists and became Eagle Scouts, presumably while pretending to do their “duty to God” as the scouting oath requires.