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Continued: Boy Scouts: Yes to gays, no to atheists

  • Article by: JEFFREY WEISS , Real Clear Religion
  • Last update: February 2, 2013 - 1:07 PM

The local options being discussed wouldn't require any scouting troop to take any particular position on homosexuality. What that means is that there will be troops that are known to be open and those not, so parents will have the ability to choose what they want for their boys. (I can imagine diversity creating some real issues at the Jamborees, however.)

But what about parents and kids whose attitude toward religion is not doctrinaire? I sent an email to the Boy Scouts' national spokesman, Deron Smith. Will there be a "local option" offered for atheists or agnostics?

From his answer, it appears that religious conservatism still holds the line there.

"It is the position of the Boy Scouts of America that the ideals and principles of 'Duty to God' and 'reverence' set forth in the Scout Oath and Law are central to teaching young people to make better choices over their lifetimes."

It's certainly the right of the Boy Scouts to take that position, and maybe history has made it impossible to extract religious faith from the Boy Scout mission.

Of course, the organization was just as unequivocal not so long ago about sexual orientation. So maybe the non-religious still do have a prayer of becoming Boy Scouts one day.


Jeffrey Weiss is a reporter based in Dallas, Texas. He wrote this column for

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