Intel: If the Boy Scouts Continue to Discriminate, We Won’t Give Them Any Money

The Intel Corporation has a great program to encourage volunteering: For every hour an employee volunteers for an organization, they’ll give that group $10. Last year, that amounted to $8,200,000 in total.

The Boy Scouts of America have been one of the biggest beneficiaries of Intel’s donations, but that’s about to change for good, now that Intel has changed its own rules to require the groups getting money to be non-discriminatory… and the BSA is anti-gay and anti-atheist:

“At the end of the year, to get their grants, we’re going to require them to send a letter that they are in compliance with our nondiscrimination policies,” [Intel spokesman Chuck] Mulloy said.

“We feel strongly about the underlying values that are Intel, very strongly that we have a nondiscrimination policy on a wide variety of issues,” he said. “And if you aren’t complying, you shouldn’t be asking us for money.”

In a statement, the national Boy Scouts said it respects Intel’s decision. But the organization isn’t changing its policies.

“We fully understand and appreciate that not everyone will agree with any one position or policy; however, we believe a strong partnership does not require full agreement on every societal issue,” wrote Deron Smith, spokesman for Boy Scouts of America.

To paraphrase, the BSA refuses to accept gays and atheists into their organization, even if it means turning down hundreds of thousands of dollars that could benefit their members. Some may see that as a tough stand on principle. I see it as doubling down on bigotry.

Their exclusion of gays and atheists has hurt them in all sorts of ways — like the loss of great potential scouts and the loss of goodwill among donors. It has gained them nothing. Yet, they still persist with this absurd notion that you must share their beliefs on God’s existence and proper sexuality to be worthy of admission into the group.

Good on Intel for making sure they’re only giving to organizations meant to include everybody instead of just a select majority. It’s the BSA’s loss.

(Thanks to Greg for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    Does Intel’s anti-discrimination policy actually spell out atheists as being protected from discrimination?

    • C Peterson

      From a legal standpoint, atheism is treated as a religion. That is, courts recognize atheism as protected in the same way religious beliefs are protected. So if Intel’s policy prohibits any sort of religious discrimination, that should suffice to cover atheists as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Daughtrey/29715820 Scott Daughtrey

    I really hate how that the scouts are the ones who will feel the impact of this.  As someone who is an atheist and an eagle scout I will say that not every scout troop is anti discriminatory.  My troop had me, an atheist, and another who was a homosexual.  It’s the heads of the BSA that are doing the damage to their own organization.   

    • Cecelia Baines

      This is the “not every priest is bad” or “not every cop is corrupt” defense and it simply does not hold up or work.

      Any troop that still aligns itself with an organization that actively encourages and brags about being discriminatory or bigoted is as guilty as the organization itself because it is ALLOWING the organization to continue. It is like the cop that sees his partner beat the stuffing out of someone and violate the person’s civil rights but does nothing to stop or prevent it. The “thin blue line” means bad cops stay within the organization. Same is applied to the Catholics and their defense of “a few bad apples….”

      Sorry, but I will not hire, or even consider having anyone on my staff who has BSA experience listed on the resume or CV. And before the idiots start to claim I am intolerant and discriminatory, remember this:

      Tolerance of intolerance isn’t.

      • Sharon Hypatiia

         I hope you are open minded enough to consider that they may have left the BSA because they didn’t agree with their policies?

        • Albewi01

          I would argue that if that’s the case, it wouldn’t be showing up on the resume or CV.

          • 3lemenope

            Gaps in one’s resume or CV are problematic from a prospective employer’s point-of-view, and in a competitive job market it is much stupider for a person to leave a large gap and risk being passed over without an interview rather than leave it in and take the (much smaller) chance that the person doing the hiring would make the sorts of obnoxious assumptions that Ms. Baines there seems bent on making.

            • Albewi01

              BSA is not really something that I think would be anyone’s full time job. I was a boy scout (for about 5 minutes when I was in 2nd grade) and it was definitely an extra thing. Extracurricular activities or outside of work hobbies missing from a resume do not cause holes. I stand with Cecelia and her stance against affiliation with discriminatory organization. 

              • 3lemenope

                If *that’s* true (and it sometimes is, sometimes isn’t; commitment can be as little as something one does for kicks to something much more serious and involved), then in what sense can it be said that poor Cecelia or anyone else in her position is “affiliating” with anything?

                I maintain that Ms. Baines is bent on giving herself the warm fuzzies by “striking a blow” for non-discrimination while in reality she’s doing anything but. And that’s not laudatory at all.

                • http://twitter.com/the_ewan Ewan

                  Just how discriminatory does someone have to be before you’ll hold it against them? If membership in the BSA wouldn’t do it, would membership in the Klan?

                • 3lemenope

                  Is the *purpose* of the BSA to discriminate? What about the Klan?
                  I’ll let you work it out. 

                  [/paging Mr. Godwin's little brother]

                • Nope

                  One of their purposes, yes.

                • 3lemenope

                  [Rolls Eyes]

                • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

                  I hear you. My dad would be screwed by that lady’s standards, even though in the last few years he’s denounced BSA and his former RC church. She’d be passing up hiring a pro-equality agnostic because “OMG! HE HAS AN EAGLE SCOUT AWARD?! THAT PIG!”

                  Though, kind of glad she said it publically. Will make those lawsuits by looked over employees soooo much easier for them.

                • MV

                   And the lawsuit would be on what grounds?  It’s perfectly legal to discriminate in hiring decisions.  Employers do it all the time.  You just can’t discriminate against a protected class.

                • 3lemenope

                  It depends on a few things, actually. Many states’ employment laws are as you describe, but some impose an “objective relevant requirements” test on hiring decision-making in at least some contexts; some states, for example, recognize causes of action where the criteria being imposed by the hiring agent diverge sharply from the published job requirements in the advertisement for the job being made available. An employer would be hard pressed to show how being a member of the Boy Scouts is relevant or speaks to the failure to meet any requirement of employment, unless in the job posting they have an explicit line that says “boy scouts will not be considered”. And nobody does that, for what I assume are pretty obvious reasons.

                  Further, even if there is no law requiring such standards, a company can get in trouble if it violates its own prior stated policies, which even in places that are at-will employers tend to include an objective relevant requirements test. If a company has such a policy, and then an agent of that company violates the policy in excluding an applicant for non-relevant minutiae, they open themselves up to legal action.

                  Employment law is devilishly complicated even in places that are nominally at-will, and if Ms. Baines actually is a hiring agent for a company, it is almost excruciatingly stupid for her to post online that she categorically rejects anyone, never mind a category that doesn’t obviously speak to job qualifications.

      • 3lemenope

        My mother is an atheist, and a person who has fought (long before it was cool) for gay rights. As an artist, she takes commissions from all sorts of clients. One of those clients in the past was the Catholic Church. Would you not hire her because she has “Catholic Church was a client” on her CV?

        My freshman roommate was an Eagle Scout and worked for many years at the local Boy Scout camp. He’s an atheist. Due to him and scouts like him, discrimination against scouts for being gay or atheist is not tolerated *at all* at that camp. They have to buck their nationals and risk their jobs to tell them consistently to piss off. We already know what you would do with his CV.

        A person calling you intolerant, discriminatory, and, frankly, simply obnoxious isn’t being an idiot. They’re being accurate. A person works for their daily bread often however they can. A person can work for a church and not agree with what the church does in everything, and can find value in things that are not perfect, even radically so. A person can be a scout and not only not discriminate against the groups the nationals want them to, but also push back against them. You’d throw them all in the trash.

        It is one thing to not donate to an organization. I don’t; just yesterday I had to explain to a Webelo who was asking for donations outside the supermarket I go to just why I don’t donate despite liking other things the scouts do. It’s quite another to pull shit like “won’t hire someone related to the organization” as though you think it makes some kind of statement other than “wow it makes me feel good that I denied a job opportunity to someone because I don’t approve of their past life choices on a moral level”…which of course is pretty akin to what you don’t like about the BSA in the first place.

        • Carmelita Spats

          A person working for the Catholic Church is a moral toad. The Catholic Church is an organized crime syndicate that continues to protect pedophiles, particularly in the third world. A person working for the RCC might as well deal in child porn. See also Patrick J. Wall’s blog; Bishopsaccountability.org; the Dallas Morning News series on runaway priests; Father Marcial Maciel and the Legionarios de Cristo; Mexican journalist Carmen Aristegui’s investigation and much, much, much, more. Benedict should be in jail singing “Folsom Prison” or “Ring of Fire” while being subjected to nipple torquing from a wide stance guy named “Molly”. I’m just sayin’. Filthy stuff.

          • 3lemenope

            I tell you my mom worked for the Catholic Church (albeit briefly), and you come back with: “A person working for the Catholic Church is a moral toad.[...]I’m just sayin’.”

            So thanks for that.

            Not that you know my mom beyond that one fact. This is, apparently, enough for you to determine a person’s moral worth. The artist that carves a sculpture or paints a painting of the patron saint of a church, or the janitor who cleans the pews, or the carpenter who built the pews, or architect that designed the building of the church, or the caterer that provides coffee after service…all moral toads.

            The are absolutely no polite words I can use to properly, effectively convey the level of contempt I have for you, so I just won’t. Let your imagination do the work and if you’re the verbally creative sort, you might come close.

        • Slpmichaelle

          A person can work for a church and not agree with what the church……………… Something I read on this Site about church in Germany, not allowing anyone to work for them who disagreed….those who didn’t give money or support the church could not work for even catholic hospital…… There are a lot of catholic hospitals here in US that make policies about reproduction rights that are held above rights, wishes, and often with out knowledge of women in those hospitals… Forget having a tubal ligation. Even if doctor wants….. My oblique point is that policy matters. My son is a scout and absorbing some of their crap, but with limited social outlets, I decided it was more important for him to have friends and those experiences to help him grow up….. Just trying to educate him as well. If you must work for a church or rub elbows with scouts, realize how intolerant they inherently are and don’t ignore they are wrong to be that way. Won’t change them but hopefully knowledge will buffer some of their acid from seeping in.

      • Fizban

        So you think that people can’t learn anything from Bad Situations? I mean I’ve had plenty of horrid work environments, relationships, etc that I’ve been able to salvage something from it. The whole learning from Failure, etc? 

      • Zugswang

        I think you ought to rethink that, because what you’ve effectively stated that you are willing to
        take a single aspect of a person, make assumptions about that aspect
        that you’ve never experienced, simplify its dynamic nature into a
        monolithic, one-size-fits-all demography, and use your erroneous
        oversimplification on that single quality to judge the entirity of a
        person’s value.  That is precisely how the BSA’s wrongheaded
        discriminatory policies operate.

         Let’s present an alternative situation: would you hire someone if you found out they voted for a presidential candidate who condones torture and protects (or would protect) those who carried it out?  Because if that person voted for Obama in either of the previous two elections, that’s precisely who you would be hiring.  Does that mean this person necessarily condones the use of torture?  And if you were to hire this person, would that mean that you condone the use of torture?

        My point is, you can belong to an organization or support a cause without falling in lockstep with everything they do.  Believe it or not, I didn’t spend 10 years as an assistant scoutmaster teaching the most effective way to insult, marginalize, and ostracize gays and non-theists.  Saying that you judge me for my involvement is just as offensive as if you were to judge me for my atheism.  I left the scouts this past year when the intransigence of BSA’s executives became undeniable, ending a 10 year career where I worked with a lot of other volunteers to change the very policies that the BSA has decided to maintain.  But in spite of this, we are still proud of the good we did for those young men and women who were allowed participate as part of what is a valuable, but undeniably flawed, organization.

        I hope you will reconsider your position.  If you decide to stick by your black and white view of scouting volunteers, you’re going to miss out on a lot of qualified candidates who did not support scouting’s discriminatory policies, but who were still proud of the good they did as volunteers, even if many of us left in protest and disgust with BSA’s executive leaders.  It’s precisely how the BSA misses out on talented and wonderful scouts and volunteers because they’ve chosen to turn something that has no bearing on their character or ability, and wrongly turned it into the ultimate determinant of their worth.

      • Pseudonym

        With the possible exception of government organisations such as the police (who are, ultimately, responsible to the government and hence the taxpayer), you generally can’t reform an organisation from the outside. Change comes from within.

        Incidentally, assuming that you live in the United States… why do you live in the United States? You are, after all, supporting violations of civil liberties, the war on drugs, drone strikes, kill lists and any other amount of horrible things. Why shouldn’t I hold you as guilty for that as the government?

      • rlrose328

        “Sorry, but I will not hire, or even consider having anyone on my staff who has BSA experience listed on the resume or CV. And before the idiots start to claim I am intolerant and discriminatory, remember this:

        “Tolerance of intolerance isn’t.”

        So you’re basically saying that 2 wrongs make a right?  It’s okay for YOU to be intolerant of this applicant because they mentioned the BSA on their resume?  How about if they were a scout and they mentioned their Eagle project, which takes much time, effort, planning, and follow through, good experience for project management.  You’d automatically toss that out?

        I’ve hired well of 50 people my previous management positions and while I don’t agree with BSA’s intolerance and would never associate with them myself, I’d not rule out a mention of the BSA on a resume or CV sight unseen.  You can always ask them in an interview to discuss their work with that organization.  There need not be discussion on their discriminatory practices at all.  If that discussion raises red flags, then you are justified to rule them out.

        I’m just saying, that is poor hiring etiquette, rude and unnecessary.

      • Peekaboo

        Doesn’t that violate some anti-discrimatory laws there Cecelia?

    • C Peterson

      We are judged by the company we keep.

      • 3lemenope

        Of course. On the other hand, judging someone solely by the company they keep is pretty stupid in all but extreme cases.

        • C Peterson

          It is a weighted judgment. The more extreme the views or actions of those you associate with, the more heavily that will reflect on you, despite your personal views. Fair or not, that’s human nature. Literature is rich with tales of the consequences of keeping the wrong company.

      • Pseudonym

        We are also judged by the reality-distorting echo chamber that we set up around ourselves.

  • Shuteme

    Its there a place where we can go thank Intel for their intelligent decision?

    • cdogzilla

      I’m going to send them a ‘thank you’ via their Corporate Responsibility link on the intel website: https://www-ssl.intel.com/content/www/us/en/forms/corporate-responsibility-contact-us.html

  • cdogzilla

    Good for Intel.

  • Jonas Green

    “we believe a strong partnership does not require full agreement on every societal issue”
    To paraphrase — Give me your money anyway.

    • Envy Burger

      I caught that, too.

  • Jennifer

    A few weeks ago I signed a petition on Change.org requesting that they do this. I hadn’t heard anything till the great news posted here. The boy scouts can stick to their discriminatory policy and Intel can stick to their inclusiveness policy. No money needs to change hands. Perhaps NOM can make up the shortfall for them?

  • Jan W

    I was a bit surprised to see that the scouts in the USA are that discriminatory. 
    I never was a scout but I knew people who were and this sounded odd. So I checked the website of the scouts in my country (Belgium). You can have a look (www.scoutsengidsenvlaanderen.be) but if you can’t read Dutch you’ll need a translation tool.

    Anyway, if you look at the statutes you’ll see at page 8 that “the organisation is christian inspired”. So, no surprise there. 
    But on page 16 you’ll see: “the Scouts and Guides Flanders are open to everybody who wants to play the scouting game, without distinction of any kind, like race, color, sex, language, religion, handicap, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Discriminatory behavior towards its own members and/or third parties is not compatible with membership of Scouts and Guides Flanders.”

    In 2001 they also received a price from the local gay community for their stance against discrimination of gays. 

    It seems like the scouts of the USA should have a good look at there colleagues on the other side of the ocean.

    • Larry Gagnon

      They don’t even need to go that far. Scouting Canada does not discriminate either. Only in the good ol’ USA! 

      • Alt+3

        They don’t even to go that far. The GSUSA has shown itself to not only be nondiscriminatory but actively committed to inclusion. They frequently have to remind people that they’re unaffiliated with BSA.

    • ReadsInTrees

      But, but,….America is the greatest country on Earth! We don’t take advice from NOBODY!!!

    • Stev84

      Most scouting troops in the US are either sponsored by the Mormons or the Catholic Church. Other evangelical churches also make up a big part. So those also control the national organization at the top and make the rules. That’s why nothing is going to change.

  • Itch

    For those that will think  tl;dr – Wise idea intel, horrible consequences. 

    Here’s the thing. It’s actually going to have the opposite effect and drive BSA deeper into the hands of religious organizations. 
    I don’t disagree that founder Powell had strong religious tendencies. But once an organization is created, it doesn’t always stick to its original path. The more members, the more interpretations. But that flow of philosophy can go many directions. 

    Disclosure, I was in BSA through Eagle Scout, and have worked at camps before. Secular Troop in fact. And I want to provide abit of a what I’ve seen over all my years. 

    Over the past 20 years, because of the economy and shifts in interests, the BSA has been in a decline. You can see it in their rosters, activity on all levels, and other areas if you know what to look for. And like any other organization or business, the BSA despite it’s lofty goals are simply trying to perpetuate is own existence. To do so always requires money. So there is one source of pressure on the organization.

    The other pressure is simply tradition. And like all things tradition can be both good and bad. In this case the high level officials are trying to maintain the same feelings, the same nostalgia, that they had when they came up.  Any they want to continue that for generations to come. That pressure two.

    When these two pressures combine, it leads to an interesting push on the organization. Instinctively they search out sources of funding that matches what they are the most comfortable. And changes in philosophy like atheism and homosexuality are tough, fundamental changes in belief. Ergo the BSA goes to the “easy source” of money – churches. 

    You want to see the biggest example? Look straight to the Mormon Church. Troops often associated with Mormons are used as training for their outreach and walkabouts or whatever its called. And currently they are the largest sponsor/charter organization (required for a troop to exist). I can’t find the numbers (used to have the link) but over 75% of the sponsors are churches. And that’s where the BSA gets its money from. Its the sponsors who get new scouts, which mean membership dues. Removing a large source of funding like Intel will make the BSA rely heavier on the sponsors (churches). And that will further the problem as those once scouts move up the organizational chain. 

    All that mentioned, I do believe and support Intel in their decision.  It is/was altruistic for Intel( as well as Lowes, exxon, at&t,  and others) to donate money. But until you changes the base method of fundraising and membership drive there won’t be a change.  The low level influence of religious organizations need to be counteracted with a larger grassroots campaign.  And Intel has no time or desire to become a low level troop sponsor that is needed to bring about said change. 

    The BSA isn’t going away in our lifetimes. It’s too large, to much inertia/mass to just disappear. There are good and bad things to learn from the BSA, just like anything else. I just hope that the changes needed for the organization can happen before it becomes something they can’t recover from. 

    Anyways, that’s my 25 cents. Kudos to anyone who read the whole things. I’m a long winded bastard sometimes. 

    • machintelligence

      No Eagle scout here, but I was involved in Scouting as a child, and so was my son. I also was a den leader and asst. Scoutmaster (not that big a deal, there were more than a dozen in our troop). I have been disappointed to see the direction the BSA has taken in recent years, but all organizations have a lifespan, and I fear the Boy Scouts is nearing its end. They are caught between a rock and a hard place with the Mormons. From what research I have done, the Mormons are the second largest religious denomination in Scouting, and have the majority of troop sponsorships. There have been complaints that they are less rigorous about requirements for awards and treat Scouting as a prep area for their missionary program. If the BSA adopts more liberal membership standards, they will probably pull out and start their own organization.
      If you want an example of something that looked rock solid with great inertia that just fell apart, look no further than the Soviet Union. 

      • juniper666

        I grew up in Utah and thought the BSA was a Mormon org. Getting your eagle scout is something all boys have to do prior to their mission, or so I was led to believe. I know my non Mormon brother was not allowed to join the scouts because she wasn’t LDS. So, my father created similar outings for him and his friends. This may have been a local chapter issue, but it was very LDS.

    • MV

       You might have a point about the consequences if there had been a policy change.  There hasn’t.  The BSA has always had religious underpinnings with the associated issues.  It’s just that society is moving on and they aren’t.

  • SeniorSkeptik

    According to their website, a Mr. Paul Otellini is the President and CEO of Intel. Another website notes that he has a brother who is a Catholic priest in the San Francisco area. Hmmmmm.

    • Knowles2

      So what. He not arguing against religion he arguing about discrimination they are different things and different arguments. 

    • Noelle

      Many of my friends and family are very religious. There are a good number of ministers and missionaries in that group. Doesn’t make me less an atheist. Even if I were still religious, I would still argue against the discrimination of any group.

  • I_Claudia

    Their exclusion of gays and atheists has hurt them in all sorts of ways —
    like the loss of great potential scouts and the loss of goodwill among
    donors. It has gained them nothing.

    Not quite. Or rather, it’s not that exclusion is costing them and inclusion would be a gain. Inclusion of gays and atheists carries a lot of risk for the BSA because it hurts what they most care about. No not principle. No, not the kids. Financially.

    The BSA has a huge Mormon component. This homophobia is not coming from nowhere. The LDS influence on the BSA has only gotten stronger over the years. If the BSA decided to accept gays (I suspect atheists would be less of an issue) this could lead to a mass exodus from the organization of Mormons, by far their most loyal faith group. This would cost the organization a LOT of money, so my guess is that they are simply calculating that the losses they get from excluding gays are lesser than the ones they have from including them. They can’t exactly say this, because they must pretend its on principle, though to be fair after so many years of Mormon dominance, I’m guessing a fair bit of their top people are Mormons themselves, or at least some brand of conservative Christian and therefore probably personally comfortable with this strategy.

    • BC

      I think you have identified the largest roadblock.  Mormons have taken over volunteer leadership positions at both the district and council levels and can exert influence beyond just the financial.  

  • http://www.junglehope.wordpress.com/ Lana

    ——-

  • http://www.mymusingcorner.wordpress.com/ Lana

     I didn’t know they discriminated against atheists. That is SO wrong. The thing is, everyone is fighting to give gay rights, but in the state I’m from, people are more tolerant of gays than atheists. They assume that atheists are stupid, irrational, and just do whatever they want with no moral boundaries. I don’t get it.

  • Curt Hall

    The crazy thing is the Scouts will accept a fundamental Fred Phelps conservative, the most liberal, “God is an inspiring idea” Presbyterian, a Shiite Muslim, a non-higher power Buddhist, a native American animistic believer – groups many of which think the others are completely wrong or in for the flames of hell.
    But, if you don’t think any of these groups have the inside on the truth of the universe, then you are out, out , out.

    • machintelligence

      The Boy Scouts do not believe in God; they believe in belief in God.This is an entirely different concept.

    • NickDB

      So if you think they’re all wrong you’re out? But if you’re think all of them except one is wrong you’re fine?

    • Gus Snarp

      In theory you could be a member of any religion at all. I wonder how they’d respond to a Wiccan? Or a Discordian? Or a Pastafarian? Or my personal favorite, a Subgenius (does anybody remember that one?)?

  • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

    How long until we get the moronic complaints that Intel is against free speech? Always get that one from people who don’t realize “free speech” is a government policy that protects citizens from the ruling authority, but not from your fellow citizens.

    • Gus Snarp

      Also, calls for boycotts can be expected. Right wingers will seek out AMD chips and Intel will not see any difference in sales.

      BTW, Levi’s did this decades ago and supporters of the BSA attempted a boycott. Blue jean sales were unchanged.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Inability to adapt to changes in the environment precedes extinction. More adaptive species are always waiting to fill in the niche.
    https://www.google.com/search?q=alternatives+to+boy+scouts+of+america&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a#hl=en&safe=off&client=firefox-a&hs=Olf&tbo=d&rls=org.mozilla:en-US%3Aofficial&sclient=psy-ab&q=non+discriminatory+alternatives+to+boy+scouts+of+america&oq=non+discriminatory+alternatives+to+boy+scouts+of+america&gs_l=serp.3…25791.32302.0.32858.21.21.0.0.0.8.1244.3962.5j13j1j1j7-1.21.0.les%3B..1.0…1c.1.iC4g8JGokYs&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.&fp=9ea53e6e32d8ec62&bpcl=38093640&biw=1247&bih=898

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mark-OLeary/1313741338 Mark O’Leary

    Good for Intel. Now if we could just get the Federal government to stop subsidizing the BSA, that would be something

  • Mudskipper5

    My two cents:  I am horrified by the organization of the BSA and their political/social stances.  A cousin of mine is an Eagle scout who came out a few years after receiving his rank and I’ve watched how horrified and conflicted he is over a group that helped him accomplish so much but treat those like him with such bigotry and disdain.

    Personally, I am an atheist and rather nauseated by the emphasis on religion in the BSA.

    That said, I am also a den leader and very active in our local Cub Scout pack.  I have been for 7 years.   Why?  If you take on a leadership role in BSA, you can shape the experience the way you want.  I’ve guided my older son through Cub Scouts and he is now contemplating the Eagle project he will complete.  My younger son is a Webelos scout.  He loves camping, can start a fire by himself, pitch a tent, and can identify local plant life better than I can.  Both of them have gotten much out of the organization because I have decided to use the organization to their benefit.

    At the same time, do I discriminate against families in my den and pack who have gay parents?  Or who aren’t Christian?  Absolutely not.  We practice tolerance and it is a key part of many of our meeting discussions.  My scouts will not discriminate or bully or look down on others because of their differences.  That also means that my scouts will probably soon recognize the discriminatory behavior of this organization of which they are a part.  I think that’s a good thing.

    Someone above said that you don’t change an organization from the outside.  I completely agree.  You have to change it from within and from the bottom up.  I think this organization has value and potential and I’m willing to influence it for the better from the inside.

    Regarding Intel:  Good for them.  Money talks and if enough companies send this message to BSA, perhaps some of those at the top will listen.  I doubt it, as there will always be people who don’t mind spreading bigotry with their money, but we can always hope.  In the meantime, I will do my bit from within and make sure my boys take advantage of the good and learn to leave the bad far, far behind them.

    • Gus Snarp

      The problem with this is that there’s no avenue for change from within the BSA. You can do what you want locally, and that’s fine, but you aren’t changing things at the national level. They’re not going to listen to you any more than they’re going to listen to me. The BSA is not a democratic organization at the national level. The loss of money like that from Intel will do far more than any internal efforts. The only thing that will change national policy that members can do is to leave and stop paying membership fees. When they lose outside funding, membership funding, and troop charter in large numbers, then they will change or die.

      Which is not to say that you shouldn’t keep doing what you’re doing. The decision of whether to be involved or not is a complex ethical decision, so if you think you’re doing more good by running a group that is accepting even in a larger organization that is not, then that’s your decision and I don’t mean to attack you for it, although I do disagree with, and I don’t think that it will result in any larger change in the organization.

      • Mudskipper5

         That was actually my point.  You can’t change it from the top down.  They will only fight it in a political manner.  It needs to be a slow, gradual change from the inside which will feed to the top…

        …  kind of like how we change our economy from the bottom up instead of the top down.  :-)

        Yes, it is my decision.  I don’t feel attacked.  Thank you for your opinion.

        • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

          How is it going to feed to the top, though? I think it’s great that the kids in your troop are having a positive, non-discriminatory experience, but how is your local troop going to affect the organization as a whole? Have you expressed your disagreement with their policies? Have you sent letters to the top brass informing them that your troop will not discriminate?

          • Mudskipper5

            How will my [pack] affect the organization as a whole?  By providing the scouts in my pack and den with a positive, non-discriminatory experience and by discussing the problems with intolerance and bigotry in my meetings.  But it looks like this needs some explanation…

            Not every action needs to be immediate and confrontational in order to have a positive effect.  These scouts are young and impressionable.   Helping to guide them and teach them that the practices espoused by the BSA are wrong, bigoted, and discriminatory is a slow but effective way of getting to the heart of this problem.  These are the future leaders of BSA.  They will be deciding policy in the future.  This is how attitudes toward gay marriage have been turned around over the last 20 years.  It can work for BSA as well.

            We live in a “now, now, now” environment where we want and expect immediate responses and immediate gratification to our demands.  Not every approach needs to be that way and some of the more effective approaches are slow and work at the foundation of an organization.   I’m glad to let others bang their head against the brick wall that is the BSA organization at the national level.  I’ll think long term and work at it’s soft underbelly, thank you very much.

    • Rory

      I see two problems with what you’ve said here.

      1) While I applaud the inclusiveness and tolerance you obviously bring to the boys in your den, I don’t see how that translates into bottom-up change of the national organization. Many of the kids who receive your message may be better off for it, but how many of them will continue on in Scouts? How many of them will ever be in a position to affect a change? Some of them might, of course, but many of them probably won’t simply due to attrition. And of course, even the ones who are sufficiently motivated by your actions to do something won’t be able to have an impact for years. So your claim that you’re trying to change the organization from within is, at present, unsubstantiated.

      2) While I agree with you the den/troop leader is the primary determinant of what each boy’s experience is, there are elements of the BSA program at a national level which are discriminatory. For example, if your sons share your atheism, then they’re falsely representing themselves every time they take the Oath and pledge to do their “duty to God.” The Boy Scout Law requires Scouts to pledge ‘reverence’ which is specifically described as ‘reverence towards God and faithfulness in religious duty.’ There’s no gray area here: an atheist Scout swearing the Oath or Law is doing so dishonestly, whatever his good intent might be or how tolerant his troop leader is. That, and not the practices of an individual troop leader, is what needs to be addressed.

      I mean no offense; I’m sure you’re doing a lot of good for the boys you’re guiding. I’m not as convinced you’re affecting the organization at large. Whether or not you choose to continue to give the BSA the legitimacy of your participation is an ethical matter on which reasonable people may disagree.

      • Mudskipper5

         No offense taken because it doesn’t matter.  Your opinions and feelings on this are not mine and that is fine.  I’m doing what I feel is best for my kids, my scouts and the organization.  :-)  My choice.

  • Mudskipper5

    An afterthought…  Up here in Washington State, guess who is the biggest company to match donation funds to the BSA? 

    Microsoft.

    If someone could have a little chat with Bill Gates about this (because I can’t believe he actually agrees with the BSA stance on gays and atheists), removing Microsoft from the list of BSA financial supporters would possibly have a tremendous impact, at least in the Pacific Northwest.

    Anyone here have an “in” with Gates?

    • http://twitter.com/cr0sh Andrew Ayers

       Gates isn’t CEO any more; Steve Ballmer is.

      • Mudskipper5

         Okay… Anyone have an “in” with Ballmer?

  • JMB

    I work there!  Yay.  :)

  • dreamora

    Thats not true. Their gay attitude got them a fully dedicated south park episode. Thats worse than nothing

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sandy-Kokch/100000074576649 Sandy Kokch

    Ladies and Gents, friends, chums and fellow travelers,

    HATS OFF TO INTEL!

    Send em a nice well done email, and buy their product.

    Thats how you support social change in a free market economy.

  • Sue Blue

    Good for Intel! It’s a rare corporate decision that I can get behind, but this is one of them.  Now I’m just waiting for the Christian howls of persecution, the rightwing screams about how Intel has obviously caved to the liberal, gay, atheist Anti-American agenda, calls for boycotts of Intel from pulpits everywhere, and the screeching condemnation by media pundits claiming Intel is undermining “sacred American values”   and is the nexus of some sort of unpatriotic conspiracy against America.

    In one…two…three….

  • TheKevinBates

    So, who didn’t know that filling out a form was a great way to generate some money for your humanist group which is already doing volunteer work?

    /raiseshand


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