Believing in a Higher Power Shouldn’t Be a Prerequisite to Becoming a Boy Scout

Tom Krattenmaker, author of The Evangelicals You Don’t Know, has written a column for USA Today in which he brings up the other question we’re all asking about the Boy Scouts of America:

When will the Boy Scouts accept the non-religious?

Ultimately, it would be self-defeating for the Boy Scouts to forfeit the chance to spread Scouting skills and values among the population of people who identify as atheist, agnostic, or otherwise not religious. More and more youths are growing up in non-religious homes; why would the organization squander the opportunity to serve and influence these boys?

Yes, as a private association, the Boy Scouts have a right to decide for themselves who’s in and who’s out. But just because they can exclude atheists doesn’t mean they should.

The issue isn’t whether atheists can be good scouts — many already are and many have become Eagle Scouts. But, like their gay counterparts in this regard, they’ve had to do so while keeping an important part of their identity under wraps.

There’s no good reason for that.

The Boy Scouts of America can ban atheists and gay people if they want to. But if they do, we’re going to call their leaders out on it and let the world know what kind of bigots they are.

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.


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