One Christian Bigot’s Take on What Will Happen Now That the Boy Scouts of America Will Admit Gay Youth

In the wake of the Boy Scouts of America’s decision to allow gay members, we have basically seen reactions from three different groups of people:

1) You have the people (like me) who are disappointed that the BSA still bans gay scout leaders and atheists. The group took a nice baby step in the right direction, but they are still a bigoted organization as far as we’re concerned.

2) You have the people — relatively few of them, I would think — who are just proud that the BSA finally let in gay scouts. They’re less concerned about the other bans and are just celebrating what they consider a huge step forward.

3) You have the religious conservatives, who think the BSA has stained its reputation by caving in to the public outcry and gave up one of the best things it had going for it.

Regarding this last group… what exactly are they worried about?

Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel Action gives us some insight into the fear:

What’s the next step? Activists now demand that adult men who desire sex with other males (“gay” scout masters) be allowed to take your sons camping overnight. Soon they’ll be insisting that “transgender boys” (girls who wish they were boys) be allowed to join as well.

What a camping trip! Imagine the pup tent. Your son and Jimmy — who’s got a crush on him — along with Billy and Billy’s boyfriend Bobby, all snuggly warm in the middle of nowhere. But make room for Sammy (formerly Suzie) and Sammy’s boyfriend Gary (formerly Gertrude).

Don’t forget to hang the disco ball.

So… implying that gay leaders would molest the children and that gay scouts (who are barely old enough to even have crushes) are automatically going to cuddle up next to their fellow troop members… and throwing in some transphobic comments just for good measure. Way to be rational there. (Edit: I was referring to Cub Scouts not being old enough to want to cuddle. Sorry for the confusion!)

In other words, the Christian Right has no good reason to be worried. All they have are stereotypes rooted in bigotry and their own paranoia. It’s the same thing we see when it comes to marriage equality and it’s the same thing we saw when it came to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

My favorite bit of delusion thinking, though, comes in the form of conservative columnists and commenters who say that the BSA is now a godless organization.

A godless organization that refuses to admit godless people.

There’s some Christian logic for you.

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.

  • LesterBallard

    They’re losing; fuck ‘em.

    • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

      The Boy Scout’s “Decision” has mortally wounded American christianity, a wound that bores deep into their flesh. Atheism has been gifted a great advantage. It is an opportune moment for us to administer a vile poison that creeps deep into the heart of christians as well as all theists.

      • Hat Stealer

        Mwa ha ha haha ha!

      • Free

        Christianity is going nowhere. History has proven that. It has been threatened and bibles burned on numerous fronts. Even in periods open to religion, when threatened, true Christianity has adapted. This will never change as the realities of Jesus words and life are not debatable. Truth, as He revealed, is in the core of our existence and can not be separated from humanity. It will change of course, but will not die. Please do not “hope”, a concept and reality espoused by Christ, be in the demise of the faith He embodies.

        • pRinzler

          wha?

        • Space Cadet

          “true Christianity”

          *giggles*

        • 3lemenope

          It was killed already, it died by winning. This is one, I think, of the best ways to interpret Nietzsche’s main points about Christianity. It already died, the smell of decomposition just hasn’t reached us yet. It died the moment the Eastern emperor converted, and it has slowly been turned inside out ever since, from a marginalized cult with a critical eye towards secular power into a power-fellating state religion. Seventeen centuries of power rotted them completely, as power tends to do. What remains has precious little to do with what your Jesus exhorted or cared about.

        • The Other Weirdo

          Wow, I haven’t read declarations like this anywhere except medieval fantasy novels.

        • TheG

          So, the word of Jesus “adapts”? In order to survive, I guess truth as to change. I wonder how many of your fellow Christians would believe that the Word of God is not absolute.

          • Free

            Let’s say “stays relevant”. Of course Truth does not change but throughout history it has always found its expression and survives. Ie. Martin Luther…That is the issue. You can not bury Truth. I guess it’s a fantasy that after over 2000 years, the majority of the worlds population espouses to Christianity. I guess its a fantasy that our country has embodied its principles. You can suppress the Truth but you cannot do away with it. I agree that “what remains has precious little to do with what Jesus cared about.” That is why it is important for each one of us to inquire about His claims and not be so foolish as to make Jesus equivalent with the religion that bears His name.

            • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

              Martin Luther aka an anti-Semite, now that’s a truth giver worth mentioning.
              I guess it’s a fantasy that for approximately 200,000 years before christianity, nobody believed in christianity.
              It is a fantasy that our country embodied religion since our founding fathers embodied the Enlightenment Philosophy.
              The “Truth” as in the way you seem to be implying is “Theoretical.” Here are five popular theories concerning “truth.” There is the correspondence theory, the coherence theory, the constructiveness theory, the consensus theory and lastly, but not an irrelevant least, the pragmatic theory.
              Just which “Truth” are you referring to?
              And you are spot on with “what remains has little to do with what Jebus cared about” because you guys don’t follow Jebus you follow your opinions.

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              Martin Luther the misogynist, who said “If [women] become tired or even die, that does not matter. Let them die in childbirth – that is why they are there.”

              Truly a man full of truth, love, and justice …

            • TheG

              Wow. You… uh, you really took two extra strength crazy this morning, didn’t you.

              I feel awkward now. I work in the ER and that just convinced me to agree with you on anything that comes out of your Amanda Bynes mouth. Because I don’t want to wake up in a bathtub full of ice.

            • Justin

              Actually, yes, those are both fantasies. 33% is not a majority, and the US does not embody Christian principles. Good day.

          • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

            The “word” of gawd or as Free puts it the “true word of gawd” is irrelevant. All that matters to them is the interpreted word of gawd. Henry the 8th made that fact perfectly clear to us all.

        • allein

          There seems to be an awful lot of debate out there these days for something that’s not debatable. Interesting..

        • Frank

          Christianity continues to grow at a fast pace. Can’t stop it! And that’s what really gets into the craw of those opposed to it. Oh well let them spin their wheels if they choose to.

          • Michael W Busch

            Christianity continues to grow at a fast pace.

            Incorrect. Currently, ~1/3 of the world’s population identifies as Christian. That fraction has remained almost exactly flat since 1970, although the worldwide distribution of Christianity has changed quite dramatically. The number of Christians has gone up mainly because there are more people now than there used to be.

            Can’t stop it!

            That’s not true either. Consider the United States. In 1990, 85% of the population identified as Christian. Now that number is a bit below 75%. Numerically, there are now slightly more Christians in the United States than there used to be, because the population has gone up. But there are more than three times as many Nones – 8% of the 1990 population to ~20% of the population now.

            Another example: New Zealand. In 1991, the population was 70% Christian. That’s since fallen to just over 50%. Numerically, the number of people who identify as Christian in the country has decreased by 10% (~2.5 million in 1991 to ~2.2 million now).

            And, nearly the limiting case: right now, only ~20% of the population of Sweden asserts belief in the existence of any god. That doesn’t stop many of them from nominally being members of the Church of Sweden, but even that fraction has dropped from 95% of the population in 1970 to ~2/3 of the population now (in absolute terms, that’s a decrease of 1.3 million in the church membership).

            There are many reasons why people abandon Christianity for irreligion, which have been discussed extensively on this and other blogs. One of the main reasons: Christianity is wrong.

        • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

          Free why do you always use redirects and red herrings in your replies? The following is a good example:
          Free, your last sentence make no sense. When commas are used to add parenthetical elements to a sentence the beginning and the end, of the sentence, should have continuity. If I remove the irrelevant information between the commas this is how your sentence reads.
          “Please do not hope be in the demise of the faith he embodies.”

        • Yodal

          You’re right, Christianity’s going nowhere. What we need is a system that will actually take humanity somewhere.

      • LesterBallard

        I’m waiting for shit like the protests in in France and Russia to happen here. Or some idiot killing himself.

  • C Peterson

    Obviously, we’re on the path to overnight trips where the council supplies pigs for each tent, so the boys can engage in bestial orgies. Oh, the slippery slope!

    • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

      and for those who wish to be excluded from the pig shagging they will get squirrels for other ungodly acts.

      • Hat Stealer

        That would make one hell of a merit badge.

        • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

          just wait until the lesbians get into it.

  • http://awesomethingoftheday.tumblr.com/ Remy Porter

    Whoa, now. Some of us stay into the Boy Scouts until we’re 18. And even the youngest scouts- 11 years old- are plenty ready for crushes. And if you don’t think there’s some “experimenting” happening in those tents, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    A godless organization that refuses to admit godless people.
    There’s some Christian logic for you.

    It seems like it doesn’t take much for these Christian elitists to call each other “godless,” or “not true Christians.” All it takes is a small difference in theology, or policy, or the other doing something that embarrasses them. It’s like they’re eager to exclude even other Christians from the innermost in-group.

    Fine with me. Julius Caesar said, “Divide and conquer.” Keep dividing yourselves, and there will be no need to do any conquering.

    • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

      Men in general are quick to believe that which they wish to be true.
      Julius Caesar

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        Or because they fear it to be true.

        (whether it is or not)

  • Miss_Beara

    It looks like Matt Barber has put quite a bit of thought into this little fantasy of his.

    Also, it is now a godless organization even though they don’t allow atheists? Does not compute, does not compute. It is amusing that people think acceptance of gays=godlessness. It is more like acceptance of gays=decent human beings.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

      grrl, don’t even go there. we mock Bam Bam at the gaii blog i read all the time. you’ve got to be… sumpthin. to think about gay men having sex as much as he does. like, more than any gay man alive. i guess the paycheck in it must be good. have you seen how he holds his wrist? it’s… suspicious.

      • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

        he who protest loudest has a really dark secret

        • Machintelligence

          People are quick to accuse others of things they would do themselves.

          • RJ (TO)

            Also, those who proclaim their piety the loudest are usually the ones who end up in all the sex or financial scandals.

      • kenofken

        It would be funny if he turned up at IML this weekend! :)

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    Over Christmas I had an interesting conversation with a male relative who is currently serving in the military. He said that DADT repeal has been no big deal because honestly everyone knew which men and women were gay anyway so the few who came out were no big surprise and no big deal. Most are also not coming out which is their right. No big disruptions or problems. The same is going to be true with the Boy Scouts. Most of these young men are not going to come out. They often come from conservative families and are not going to come out before heading off to college. For those that do, the reaction will be “duh”. The other boys already know. It will be no big deal, no big threat, and no big disaster, which is exactly what the religious right fears most. All their dire predictions about society “accepting” homosexuality spelling doom and impending apocalypsis keep turning out not to be true. It makes them look like the bigoted whackadoos they are. *g*

    • Geoff Boulton

      I wonder, if their beliefs weren’t subject to special treatment under the ‘get out of jail free card’ that is religion, how many right wing conservatives would be diagnosed as clinically paranoid. From wikipedia:

      “a thought process believed to be heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion. Paranoid thinking typically includes persecutory beliefs, or beliefs of conspiracy concerning a perceived threat towards oneself. (e.g. “Everyone is out to get me.”) Making false accusations and the general distrust of others also frequently accompany paranoia. For example, an incident most people would view as an accident or coincidence, a paranoid person might believe was intentional.”

      I’m sure we can all think of any number of examples of the above in religious circles.

    • JET

      The BSA is disproportionately funded by the Mormon church. ALL Mormon boys are assigned to a troop at the age of seven. The Mormon church funds many troops that contain boys of other faiths and troops that are on the books but contain no boys at all. Based on this, I think its safe to assume that the Mormon church is hell-bent on claiming the BSA as *their* organization. At the very least, they have a majority influence over what the BSA say and do. Allowing gay youth to join the BSA is simply a political maneuver on the part of the Mormon church to make them appear more progressive and keep the Scouts from losing their status as a tax exempt organization. It is not a coincidence that this new rule came out just as the California legislature was threatening to yank the tax exempt status of the BSA as being discriminatory.
      A certain percentage of the male population is homosexual. There is no reason to believe that the percentage of homosexuality in the Mormon church is any different than that of the general population. But like any other fundamentalist religion, homosexuality is taboo and members of the Mormon church will be excommunicated if they come out as gay. (In fact it’s impossible to get into the third level of heaven if you’re not celestially married to a person of the opposite sex.) I think its safe to assume that there are many Mormon homosexuals in the BSA, both as members and leaders, but they’re still in the closet and probably married (or will eventually be married) to members of the opposite sex.
      I have to agree with you that this new rule is no big deal and will have no effect on the BSA other than having many fundamentalist parents, but not Mormon parents, keep their boys out of the Scouts. The Mormon parents will continue to sign their boys up at the age of seven, as required of them by the church. And so the BSA will become an even stronger Mormon organization. This is why we kept our son out of the BSA and why we refuse to support it.

      • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

        I have met dozens of closeted married Mormons over the years, so I will at least give you anecdotal confirmation of your hypothesis. BSA could claim to be a religious organization and therefore retain NFP status as well as be allowed to discriminate based on religion but I think they like to see themselves as open to people of all faiths, even though Mormons and Catholics make up a large part of the membership. Doing so would solve problems for them but also create others, like free access to school facilities which would be harder (but based on recent news reports, not impossible) for a religious organization to get. I hadn’t heard about the phony troops but little the LDS church does surprises me any more. I know a lot of Mormons and they are good people but even they have a hard time with the crap their church pulls. (They just can’t seem to leave for complex reasons, not unlike the reasons Catholics stay in spite of being revolted by the actions of their church.)

  • Charles Pierson

    I was a Scout for years. I don’t think that anyone’s sexual orientation or religious beliefs ever entered into our activities and discussions. It was all about camping, and being good citizens. Maybe I was lucky in that.

    • Scott Kivett

      I agree. I am an Eagle Scout. Religion and sex were NEVER discussed at any Boy Scout function I ever attended back in the 80′s. I knew even then that I was an atheist, the issue just never came up.

      • KarenB

        Which means that EVERY time you recited the Scout Oath you knowingly and willingly “LIED”. You have no honor and have betrayed your oath as a Scout and do not deserve the rank of Eagle. One of the fundamental foundations of Scouting is a belief in God.
        “On My Honor, I will do my best, to do my duty, to GOD and my Country”.
        Scouting makes no real distinction whether it’s a Christian, Jewish or Muslim God. It’s not the name of the religion that’s important but the belief. Even in the 80′s there were religious Merit Badges. The major point is that Scouting is a Volunteer organization, they do not force anyone to join, you have to ask. This means that you joined under false pretenses, you lied to your leaders and you lied to your fellow Scouts, in fact your entire career as a Scout was based on a LIE. And now you want people to respect you for that?

        • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

          You, ma’am, are part of the problem. Scouting was designed to teach boys to be leaders and upright citizens. Believing in God has nothing to do with either of those things; yes, Scott lied, but he should never have been put in that position in the first place. I consider those who would exclude atheists (or gays, or people of color, or transboys, or anyone) far worse, ethically speaking, than those who lied to get around rules that should never have existed in the first place.

          • KarenB

            Wrong, they did not put Scott in that position, he knowingly put himself in that position. Scouting is over 100 years old. Right or wrong, a belief in God is one of the foundations of Scouting. The Scout Oath puts God even above country. I have seen Scout manuals from the 1990′s and early 2000′s, from the early 1960′s to the mid 70′s and even my fathers manuals from the 20′s and 30′s and while it has evolved and become watered down in time, there has always been an emphasis on a belief in God. They have basically said that these are the values and the rules we follow. If you don’t feel that you can accept these, then thank you for your interest, but we are probably not the organization for you. It is their legal right as a private organization to ask this and they are not forcing their values on anyone, unlike you who wishes to force your values and beliefs on them. I call that hypocrisy on those who do.

            • Charles Honeycutt

              You are unfamiliar with how the words “force” and “hypocrisy” are used in the English language.

              I have seen Bibles from the 1900s and 1800s, and even the 1500s. There has always been an emphasis on not performing any work on Saturday, that women should be silent and let their husbands do the talking, especially if they have questions and the men are talking, and that a woman whose husband divorces her is an adulterating whore. If you don’t feel like you can accept these, Christianity is probably not the organization for you.

              But you were raised in Christianity! It’s part of your heritage! Members of your community are involved in it and expect you to be! Well too bad. Christianity is not a public organization.

              Feel free to give this one some thought. Also feel free to ponder why you conflate the word “legal” with “moral”, but only when it suits you. I guarantee you do.

            • ~SoACTing

              And herein lies the problem: Are the Boy Scouts a private or public organization??

              They have every opportunity to stop blurring the lines by either completely denouncing their exclusionary membership policies or to cease accepting massive government support.

              The Boy Scouts have been know to, and continue to capitalize on massive and unique tax-funded support from both local and federal governments.

              It’s simple: If they want to operate as a private religious organization, free to engage in and impose any form of outdated discrimination and bigotry of their own choosing, then they are not entitled to a government subsidy.

              To live up to their self-declared status as a private organization, then they should cease to accept tax-funding and cut all official ties to government agencies.

              ~ SoACTing

            • cipher

              Put it on a sign and stand outside a shopping mall.

            • RedGreenInBlue

              “The Scout Oath puts God even above country.”

              Whoops! Bang goes the popular US myth that patriotism and Christianity go hand in hand…

            • http://www.facebook.com/barbara.barrett.982 Barbara Barrett

              Boys who join scouting (seven, eight and nine through 11 year olds) seldom have any opinion at all on the “existence of gods” and if they are asked to swear to something as abstract as a god (in all its millions of definitions) is not “lying” its just following instruction set up by the adults that set rules about what they have to do in order to participate. It is FAR more dishonest of an adult to set a child up to swear to something they have no understanding of (and in some cases are inacapable of understanding), then accuse them of lying when they gain the understanding to grasp that what they were instructed to swear to in order to participate was not true. The hypocracy comes from the adults who claim a value in truth, but then insist children swear to a lie.

            • Spuddie

              You are exaggerating and conflating something which was never given any real significance. There was never an “emphasis on God”. Maybe among individual troops which had church sponsorship, but organizationally, no.

              It was referenced, but only because such references were common for the culture in the century it has existed. Scouting was never tied to a given religion nor was religion ever meant to take a significant part of the organization beyond what the individual scout sought to develop on their own.

              The worldwide organization does not consider belief in God to be an integral part of it either. It never did. The Boy Scouts was founded (by a gay man) to be a national alternative to various private sectarian religious youth clubs. References to god were generalized and minimized.

            • TheG

              “The Scout Oath puts God even above country.”

              Yes, but not above “duty” and self.

              Let me ask you, did you and your father embrace every aspect of scouting? Not only getting every badge, but passionately pursuing it outside of scouting?

              Also, do you support our government and our elected leaders?

              No? Then you are both hypocrites. You went into scouting knowing what it entailed without always embracing every aspect of scouting, including doing a duty to your country that is more than just Christianity and white presidents.

              You ignored the parts of scouting that embrace railroading, nuclear science, and cinematography, the PP ignored the part about mythology. I say if he’s a hypocrite, so are you (and your father, too!).

            • kenofken

              BSA likes to play up its rights as a private organization to do what it wants, yet it always has its snout in the public trough or someone else’s pockets. For most of a century, they’ve gotten tax breaks and freebies in in-kind donations from governments which are worth vast sums of money. Basically, if a scout troop or council asked for something, governments bend over backwards to kiss their own heels to give it to them – free or nominal use of land, buildings, permits, surplus equipment, you name it.

              Not only that, they’ve developed a keen sense of entitlement to these things. They’re all about the libertarian ideal of private organizations having absolute autonomy – as long as someone else pays for it.

              Even the decision to open to gays reeks of hypocrisy. BSA didn’t take that vote out of belief or conviction. They did so to protect the corporate donations they depend upon. If it was really an organization that believed in standing by its core values, it would do so and pay the rent with the personal funds of membership which shared those convictions.

              • Anna

                And don’t forget the public schools! The BSA has a long history of chartering troops through public schools and other secular civic organizations, while still wanting to maintain their ability to exclude people. If they want to be a private discriminatory organization, then they should be truly private and stop asking for any perks, benefits, or access to children through the government.

        • Charles Honeycutt

          It’s very sad that you’re so sick as to blame children for joining the only available organization to learn positive things. Sick, but unfortunately typical of your hypocritical breed.

          • ~SoACTing

            I don’t see how the child gets blamed for this at all! While I’m sure there are some boys out there who long for the day when they’re old enough to join scouting, it’s my opinion that it’s the parents who sign the kids up.

            I was in AWANA’s when I was much younger and regularly recited pledges, verses, and sang songs. Had I not believed a thing I was singing/reciting at the time, it would have been totally and wholly irrelevant; it was not a choice! It was my mother saying, “I’m signing you up for this. I don’t care if you don’t believe a word of it. You wll stand there, you will recite the pledges, and you will be obedient.” Any negative reports meant being punished when I got home.

            ~ SoACTing

            • Charles Honeycutt

              Having been forced to go to karate lessons where I was punished and humiliated for being overweight, and then called a liar when I told my parents what was going on, I definitely get that. I was a slow, stuttering, anxious twelve year-old with Aspergers and unable to figure out social cues who often didn’t even hear people talking. As one example of many, the instructor had a 6’4″ and very muscular advanced student kick me in the small of the back from surprise and knock me down because I wasn’t fast enough when lining up. They set it up beforehand. All I got out of that “training” was a nervous tic in my eye.

              • ~SoACTing

                Absolutely terrible and horrific!

                ~ SoACTing

            • Anna

              It’s odd to blame the child, or even the parents. Way back before the Internet, people had no idea the BSA was anti-gay or anti-atheist. How could they know unless someone in the organization told them? My lesbian moms signed my little brother up for Cub Scouts, and no one told us we shouldn’t be there. One of my moms was even assistant to his Den Mother. It was a public school troop, and religion did not come up as a topic of discussion.

          • Free

            Interesting how “positive things” as you mention seem to hail from religious organizations. Of course they do. Religion is the means to integrate morality into an amoral or immoral culture. This is the historic record. Of course there are some exceptions. However, the overwhelming majority of our moral fiber has been passed down by religious value systems that protect the fundamental institutions of our nations. Marriage, family, and general human ethics rose out of tenants of faith. Face it, if honest, you need the security of a moral compass that religion brings. Faith is here to stay. You can not legislate and hate the skin from the bone or the blood from the body. They are part of one another. Faith plays a part in the essence of humanity. Your faith in no faith is proof unless you deceive yourself.

            • pRinzler

              What makes religion the only possible source of morality? Nothing that I can see.

              I don’t have faith in no faith, I have evidence that faith doesn’t work.

              • TheG

                Because what Free is actually saying is that he (or she) would be out there murdering and stealing if there were no religion. It is a tacit implication that Free is amoral and is only going through the motions of morality to gain favor with a possible god and the community. It is a good thing, in this case, that there is a thing out there such as “religion” to protect us from the awful people of the world like Free.

            • Hat Stealer

              You mean that faith that told Spaniards to torture Jews?
              The faith that caused the Crusades?
              The faith that caused many many many genocides?
              The faith that was behind segregation? Or racism?
              Or do you mean those lovely moral fibers that told us to stone gay people, and unruly children, and sluts. Are you talking about the slaughter of the golden calf worshipers? Or maybe the 2000 year old religious slaughter that’s been going on in the Middle East? What about the faith that told us to rip still beating hearts out of people’s chests while they were still alive? The faith that told an old man to kill his only son and got him to do it too. Do you mean the faith that considered Native Americans subhuman? The faith that told us to lop of the ends of baby penises? Do our ethics come from Lord Xenu, who needs our money? Do they come from a 2000 year old mishmash of writings from a bunch of lunatics, misogynist asshats, and murderers?

              You know what gave rise to this nation? The Enlightenment. That’s right- that secular gathering of freethinking humanists who decided to give a go at morality that wasn’t based on faith, but on reason and logic. Faith has given us bloodshed, horror, torture, war, dickishness, brutality, inhumanity, racism, sexism, and far more. The moral compass that religion brings? I prefer to think for myself.

            • Michael W Busch

              Interesting how “positive things” as you mention seem to hail from religious organizations.

              Charles said that positive things come from scouting. Scouting is not by itself religious, as much as it has been co-opted by religious groups in the United States.

              Marriage, family, and general human ethics rose out of tenants of faith

              No, they didn’t. Family structures go back further than the human species by quite a considerable margin. So do basic ethics. And so do mating patterns (although those of current humans are significantly different from those of the other apes and from those of our common ancestors with them).

              Religions came later, and the specific tenants of currently-popular religions later still.

              Face it, if honest, you need the security of a moral compass that religion brings.

              No, I don’t.

              Your faith in no faith is proof unless you deceive yourself.

              You do not appear to understand what the word “faith” means. Either that or you are engaged in a linguistic shell game.

        • Donalbain

          The oath never says what that duty entails though. My duty to gods are the easiest of all duties to uphold, since they amount to nothing. Perhaps, if a god did happen to exist, I might have a duty to not cause that god any pain, but that is no different to my duty to any other person I have never met.

        • The Other Weirdo

          Scouting makes no real distinction whether it’s a Christian, Jewish or Muslim God.

          It’s the same god, just labeled slightly differently.

          • Anna

            Not to mention, they allow Buddhists, whose religion is not even remotely about worshipping a god.

        • Spuddie

          There were NEVER religious merit badges nor are there any now. Religious awards were always voluntary and of no significance towards “rank” within the organization. The part about “god” in the Scout Oath is given the same significance as it is with the Pledge of Allegiance. A sop to culture at a time when atheism was associated with our enemies in the Cold War. So I guess you think all Atheists are Un-American because they don’t believe in that part as well.

          The Founding Scouting organization, Boy Scouts UK has already dropped such references as counter-productive and unnecessary.

          Scouting is a non-sectarian organization. It was never meant to be the thrall of various churches or religious organizations. Churches have their own youth wings. The primary goal of scouting is Citizenship. Finding ways to connect to the community, nation, and world at large. Engaging the greater part of one’s surroundings The point is not to be an insular theocratic club. There were enough of those when Scouting was founded, there are enough now.

        • Yodal

          Stop crapping all over the poor guy’s childhood, it’s kind of rude.

    • creature

      I think that all gays should be treated like witches and burned at the stake just my opinion

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

    Holy can of dumb fuck batman. Those comments are unreal.

    • cipher

      This is who they are. This is a nation of abject morons, and I’m convinced the vast majority are incapable of change.

      Don’t let ‘em vote; don’t let ‘em breed.

      • Michael W Busch

        Cut out the ableist slurs. And once again, I remind you that changing a culture is possible – although it takes considerable time and effort. That this small change has happened is one proof of that; even if the BSA remains a profoundly bigoted institution.

        • cipher

          Fuck off, Michael. After our last exchange, I’m surprised an institution gave you a PhD.

          • Michael W Busch

            My credentials are not relevant here, since my PhD is in planetary astronomy, not sociology or psychology. But your insulting Caltech does not make what you have said here and the errors I called you on before any less wrong.

            You assert “Don’t let ‘em vote; don’t let ‘em breed.” as though some large section of humanity is somehow inherently inferior simply because of ideas that they hold. That is wrong. We all have the same ancestors, innate intelligence is uniformly distributed across the entire population, and political and religious beliefs are not innate characteristics (e.g. no-one is born thinking “homosexuality is evil” – that’s a learned belief). There are simply people and the various cultures we have collectively created. Many of us believe wrong things that cause harm to ourselves and to others, and are encouraged in those wrong beliefs by cultures that either endorse them or let them pass unchallenged.

            Fortunately, with time and effort, both individual people and entire cultures can and do change for the better. To say that “the vast majority of people are incapable of change” is to sell everyone short.

            • cipher

              I will not discuss this with you. I attempted to last time, but you make broad, sweeping, unsubstantiated statements while accusing me of doing the same. You’re an obnoxious little shit and I won’t engage you. Do not address me again.

      • amycas

        don’t let somebody vote because they disagree with you? Don’t let somebody have children because they disagree with you?

        Note: I can’t stand the bigots just as much as the next guy, but I’m not about to go around taking away people’s rights because they disagree with me.

  • timberwraith

    Imagine the pup tent…

    Imagine the church in the not so distant future…

    Empty because of parents who have grown so tired of hearing the unhinged hatred and fear of religious conservatives that they decide to stay home on Sundays.

  • A3Kr0n

    You have Jimmy who’s praying to a non-existent god that the other boys won’t find out he’s gay, while the other boys exchange gay jokes in their tent. Suzi (who would rather be Sammy) doesn’t even think about either the boy scouts or the girl scouts. She sits home wishing she wasn’t so alone. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY must ever know how she feels!

    How could anybody wish this upon any child? Matt Barber is a very cold, closed minded man indeed.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    “Activists now demand that adult men who desire sex with other males (“gay” scout masters) be allowed to take your sons camping overnight.”

    Yes, adult men that desire sex with OTHER ADULT MEN. They are not interested in your child. I think I am going to stop pointing out the difference between being gay and being a pedophile because no matter how often you point this out they are not going to change their mind.

    • Hellbilleh

      Probably because most of the pedophilia that the church is used to, turns out to be homosexual. Apparently they assume all large Christian oriented groups are full of homosexual pedophiles, since the Catholic church tends to run that way.

      • Stev84

        Actually, nearly all pedophiles identify as straight. Pedophilia is defined an attraction to prepubescent children. So gender doesn’t really enter into it. However, most people lump it together with hebephilia – attraction to young adolescents. But often pedophiles lose interest in children when they get older.

        • Spuddie

          Its really more of a question of opportunity. Parents are more likely to trust a child in the care of an adult of the same gender. Many childhood activities are gender segregated.

          • C Peterson

            Or institutionally segregated. In the Catholic Church, you have priests and altar boys. Few adult women, few young girls. In the scouts, same thing. It seems like another area that is very attractive to pedophiles is youth pastor positions. Hundreds of youth pastors get caught with little kids. But the organization of these protestant churches makes boys and girls equally accessible, and the youth pastors seem to go after both.

            • Erp

              Less accessible girls but that doesn’t prevent more than a few cases of sexually abused girls within the Catholic church (how many is not known but remember that all over a certain age have to go to confession and those hearing confessions are always male priests); the John Jay Study reports that 19% of the victims of Catholic clerical sexual abuse that it was told about were female. Even in the Boy Scouts adult leaders have had sex with underage female Venturers (the one BSA program that does have young women).

              In both cases abuse of trust between an adult leader/priest to another adult can also happen. Scouts have youth members over 18 in Venturers and I would also say just turned 18 scouts now serving as junior leaders are also still under the authority of the much older scout leaders. And priests always have a certain authority over their lay parishioners.

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      Just because someone says they are heterosexual, doesn’t mean they are. Whether they say they are gay or straight, that doesn’t tell you whether they are or are not interested in doing something they shouldn’t with the young men they are supervising. having openly gay scoutmasters wouldn’t change anything. The same guidelines need to be in place to prevent abuse either way. Why don’t people like that understand. Oh yeah, this isn’t about the children. This is about practicing their bigotry against gay people.

  • Rain

    Don’t forget to hang the disco ball.

    Say what? A lot of those were good songs.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ktbhw0v186Q

  • observer

    Before the voting, they were in denial, now we have the anger. Next is them bargaining with God (i.e. prayer).

  • Jon Peterson

    It’s like looking back at all those times I’ve crashed on female friends’ couches. Since I’m a heterosexual male, I guess by this guy’s line of thinking I should have been incurably horny the whole time, every time, because I was merely in the presence of the gender I’m attracted to while I was sleeping.

    So. Here’s to doing it wrong, I guess.:P

  • Ken Detweiler

    Why not just go to the disco and eliminate the middleman :-/

  • Garret Shane Brown

    “and that gay scouts (who are barely old enough to even have crushes)”
    No, Hemant. Not even close. The cub scouts are probably barely old enough to have crushes, but boy scouts can be as old as 18. I don’t disagree with the overall message of this but I think that error should still be noted.

  • Tak

    The comments over there make me laugh and cry at once. The pure hatred is palpable. I feel sorry for their children. I would’ve commented on the article except…what’s the point? There’s nothing to be gained from arguing with such willfully ignorant and hopelessly delusional people. I just have to laugh and take pleasure from the fact that probably some of those posters and certainly some of their children will one day realize it is all BS.

    • Billy Bob

      I made the mistake of commenting with people like that. I always have to shake my head at these people. Say anything against them and they go on a tirade full of hatred, name calling, and just plain insanity. Thankfully, they are getting smaller as a group, but unfortunately, are very loud at the moment.

    • Anna

      Most of their children, I think. Evangelicals aren’t doing a good enough job of getting the anti-gay indoctrination to stick with the younger generations.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Wait. Why shouldn’t they allow trans-boys? Am I missing something?

    • MD

      They still got icky girl parts. I guess.

    • Charles Honeycutt

      because they don’t know their place, you know, [insert gender role ideas so sick that I can't even stand to type them]

    • Space Cadet

      Because they don’t understand trans-people, period, and anyone they don’t understand should be shunned. Or something.

  • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

    I really don’t think the christians are all that concerned with gay scouts or even for that matter gay scout leaders. What really scares the christians is the inevitable “outing” of the vast numbers of christian men, who are on the down-low. The Abraham Theists seem to condone pederasty.

  • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

    Christians always speak of “The Trials” that their gawd gives them but yet in this matter it seems they are rebelling against their gawd. What ever happened to the christian doctrine of, “The road less traveled is the way to the Lord?” Frakken hypocrites, all they want is an easy way out and when they can’t get that they whine and cry about it. When things get tough the christians have tantrums.

  • MD

    Huh? I don’t know about BSA, but in UK Scouting, adults and children don’t share a tent. Regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or anything.

  • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

    I’m not in any of those groups. I want the BSA to continue banning gays and atheists. The proper solution is, I think, for them to lose their federal funding.

    • ~SoACTing

      I second this as “the proper solution”!

      ~ SoACTing

  • http://iamchristianiamanatheist.blogspot.kr/ Christian Kemp

    Theists have a tendency to not be able to see the woods from the trees. To them every gay person is perverted. Its sad but this is what religion does to you

  • Charles Honeycutt

    I was wondering why anyone would have disco balls so prominently on the brain, until I realized that Matt Barber must have one hanging over his computer. That’s the only way he could be typing out such a scintillating reflection of the asshole he is.

  • plaids

    Mr. Mehta,

    These are hardly the important “what will happen now” possibilities. How many boys and scout leaders will the Boy Scouts lose as a result of this decision? I read a news article the other day that the organization’s own estimate has that number at up to 400,000 (you can google for lots of articles that mention that). Thats just the immediate aftermath and this is an organization that has to have new members every year.

    The Boy Scouts relies on parents investing their volunteer time, money, and family support. But at the top are people who get salaries and they were pressured by corporations and the media. What is the future of the Boy Scouts in 10 years and if the organization is weakened by the decision and scouting becomes less available for ALL boys, is that a good thing?

    They weren’t asking kids “Are you a homosexual?” by the way.

    • Spuddie

      If we lose enough of the sectarian and bigoted scout leaders, then all the better.

      These are people who are teaching scouts to ignore the principles of the organization in favor of their sectarian agenda. They have undermined the BSA from within. People like them have already driven away many potential scouts, leaders and donors. They have ruined the reputation of the organization. Their departure would be welcomed by those who actually care about the organization.

      Btw people made the same arguments as you did when the BSA desegregated. The BSA survived and became a better organization for such decisions. All you have done is shown you think just like a klansman.

      • plaids

        No, I’m thinking “What is the purpose of the Boy Scouts?” just as I think about “What is the purpose of marriage?”

        • Earl G.

          And the purpose of the Boy Scouts has to do with sexual orientation HOW? Oh, right, it doesn’t.

          I hope you’re actively trying to keep infertile and post-menopausal and committedly childfree heterosexual couples from marrying, by the way, otherwise your imagined “purpose” for marriage is a transparent excuse for your homophobic bigotry.

    • Earl G.

      Funny, the Girl Scouts are doing great, even with all the atheist, lesbian, and trans women they accept.

  • sandchigger

    They know that straight adult women can be scout leaders, right? And take the boys camping? All alone in the woods? Surely they’re aware of that, right?

    • kenofken

      I wish I had known that when I was a young lad in uniform struggling with his first flush of Cougar fantasy! :)

  • Janice Clanfield

    Exactly all these terrible things have never happened here in Canada where LGBT scouting has never really been an issue. I wonder why?

    Betcha he wouldn’t like the fact that an atheist can be a Boy Scout/Girl Guide here either.

    Is there a drug that would calm the bugshit bigots down just a bit? Their lives would probably be a whole lot better if they just chilled a bit. Really, just take a deep breath Matt.

  • Hank Kelly

    Matt Barber is America’s version of Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Gays don’t exist in Iran according to their government. When they are discovered, they are hanged regardless of age. Barber wants the same thing in the U.S; a government sanctioned religion that hates and persecutes gays. Barber couldn’t stand that his former employer (Allstate) treated everyone with respect. It would be interesting to study Barber’s brain. Why and what makes this sick individual’s hatred of gays. When he hates gays so much, there must be something inside of him that he is trying to kill with hate. He is a sad, sick excuse of a man and human being.

  • Matt

    LOL, every one of my comments got deleted on that website. Well done you open and honest christians

  • MeetJohnDoe

    The hypocritical irony that, if you are gay and a Christian, that’s OK…but if you are straight and an Atheist, you are not OK – is mind boggling how these guys ‘wrap’ their “belief system” – do they think it will be easier to convert a young gay teen to be straight than it will be to conver a young Atheist teen to be Christian?


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