Friday, May 12, 2006

Boy Scouts: Be Prepared... to lie.

The Boy Scouts of America has a long and proud tradition of discriminating against non-Christians and gays. It would be expected that in today's society, this would be unheard of from such a prominent organization, yet it continues.

Recently, a scout leader decided he wanted to show how "religiously diverse" his troop was. Thus, at a meeting he asked his group to raise their hands if they were part of a particular church (how being all Christian can be considered "diverse" is beyond me). By the end, two brothers, Cody and Justin, had not raised their hand.

When queried, they revealed that they were Wiccan.

The two were subsequently expelled from the organization being told that if the two had lied about their religious affiliation, there would be no problem.

Their father, Army Cpt. Todd Buchheim is a former Eagle Scout.

They were eventually invited back into the group. They attended the next meeting on April 25th. Two parents left with their children when Cpt. Buchheim brought his children.

Since then, the two have decided to leave the group.

"This was devastating," Aileen Buchheim, their mother, stated. "My husband puts on a uniform to fight for ours and other nations' rights every day, and yet this happens in our own backyard. We just wanted to make sure it was straightened out so no one has to go through this again."

Since then, she has filed a charter to form a chapter of the "Spiral Scouts", a Wiccan-based organization that does not discriminate on religious grounds.

Here's a quick history of the BSA in terms of its religious affiliation:

1916: BSA founded with declared purpose of promoting "the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues." (Note the distinct lack of religious intentions)

1970: BSA adds new policy stating "The recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe and the grateful acknowledgment of His favors and blessings are necessary to the best type of citizenship..."

1973: A 10 year old is expelled for crossing out "God" on the scout promise.

1977: BSA adds a recognition of God as a "Supreme Being" to literature.

1985: Fifteen year old Paul Trout is denied promotion to Life Scout for a lack of religion. Eventually given promotion due to national outrage

1990: Former Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and Explorer Scout wishes to enroll his child, Mark Welsh, but is told his family could not participate on any level if they did not sign the "Declaration of Religious Principles". Family files lawsuit saying that BSA is in violation of Title II of Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits places of public accomodation from discrimination.

Another member of the BSA group that Welsh wished to join pointed out that she too was non religious and had been participating for 3 years. She is forced to resign.

A 35 year volunteer is forced to resign after testifying on the Welsh's behalf.

1991: William and Michael Randall are expelled after 3 years of inclusion because their family was not religious. An agnostic den leader who writes a letter of support to the Randalls is expelled as well.

1992: Randalls win readmission in court.

1993: Supreme Court declines to rule on Welsh case. New York Times editorial writes, "...Any organization could profit from a 10-year-old member with enough strength of character to refuse to swear falsely."

1994: BSA appeals and wins right to expell Randall children.

2001: BSA denies membership to Benjamin Scalise because they are atheists.



Tom said...

Not on the topic of Boy Scouts, but:

Yesterday I drove an hour out of L.A. to a meeting of a regional Creationist Society. The speaker was a high school biology teacher who had run afoul of his school district by trying to raise the issue of intelligent design in class. What he didn't say in the proceedings at the time, but which he had no trouble announcing as he took the podium in front of a fundamentalist audience was, "I am a young earth creationist." Just like that. An educated man, a biology teacher in an upscale suburban high school for fifteen years, believes that Noah put all the animal including dinosaurs on the ark about four thousand years ago.

When is the next train out of here...

As for Boy Scouts, it should be noted that around where I live nobody ever has trouble with Jews such as my son taking part. Not that he wanted to take part for long, smart young fellow that he is. Also, no mention was ever made of God. Maybe they just knew better than to bring that up in this community.

The Ridger, FCD said...

I used to work with Scouting, back when I was in the Army, but resigned when it became apparent to me how bigotted they are. Note - I don't care if they exclude atheists, Wiccans, or gays, that's their privelege - but they shouldn't have any of my tax dollars while they're doing it. And they do get support - from the government - in many ways.

That should stop.