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Atheist expects Boy Scouts to change, but not soon
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer ^ | 12/30/02 | JOHN IWASAKI

Posted on 01/03/2003 8:35:59 AM PST by RonF

Darrell Lambert is prepared for a long struggle with the Boy Scouts of America, one decided by public opinion and not by lawsuits.

The 19-year-old Eagle Scout, the subject of national attention after being booted out of the organization last month for being an atheist, doesn't think his recent appeal will reverse his situation. Not soon, anyway.

Darrell Lambert of Olalla, who was kicked out of the Boy Scouts for being an atheist, has appealed the decision. But he says he won't go to court. "I'd like them to realize it is the moral thing to do."

"I think eventually the Boy Scouts will change," the Olalla teen said yesterday. "It'll just take longer than I like."

Lambert, who earned 37 merit badges in 10 years and assisted in leading a Port Orchard troop, sent his appeal last week to the Scouts' Western Region office in Tempe, Ariz. His letter started a process that likely could take months to resolve.

...

"Legally, (the Scouts) have a right to discriminate," Lambert said at a presentation on the issue yesterday. "Morally, they don't. That's what I'm fighting. They can't teach good citizenship and practice bad citizenship."

(Excerpt) Read more at seattlepi.nwsource.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: boyscouts; bsa; bsalist; lpfagsfor; scouts
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From another source, we have another quote from Mr. Lambert:

"Teaching boys to mistrust and reject nonbelievers makes a mockery of the true moral values of Scouts," Lambert wrote in a letter to the organization. "I, personally, have not imposed my beliefs on other Scouts and ask only to be given the same consideration in return.

Mr. Lambert, and many, many other people, seem to not understand that you can teach your child that other peoples' beliefs and actions are wrong without teaching them to hate or abuse such people. Certainly many people have used such beliefs to fuel and justify hate and abuse, but that is a separate issue, and not the inevitable, or even the usual, outcome.

The BSA has an appeals process when a member's registration is revoked. Mr. Lambert is following it, as is his right.

1 posted on 01/03/2003 8:35:59 AM PST by RonF
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To: RonF
Oh, one I left out.

In his letter of appeal to the Scouts' national office, Lambert said the reason for his dismissal was "un-Scout-like and un-American" and that "morals come from more than a belief in God."

The BSA has never said that morals come only from a belief in God. What they are saying is that while a belief is God is not sufficient to have morals, such a belief is necessary.

2 posted on 01/03/2003 8:39:44 AM PST by RonF
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To: RonF
"Legally, (the Scouts) have a right to discriminate," Lambert said at a presentation on the issue yesterday. "Morally, they don't. That's what I'm fighting. They can't teach good citizenship and practice bad citizenship."

I would hope they have a moral right to discriminate, otherwise they would be forced to accept pedophiles, bullies, serial killers, etc. He is muddying his issue. Being a nonbeliever is not equivalent to being morally different or deficient (though some people use their atheism to justify immorality). I am agnostic, and try very hard to uphold ethical behavior in my daily life. It gives me peace of mind, even when things aren't going so well for me.

What he could, and perhaps should be arguing, is that the Boy Scouts would be in no way diminished by inclusion of nonbelievers IF they demonstrate the qualities of service, respect, and ethical behavior that they associate with believers. He'd probably have better luck if he weren't so adversarial about it. Though his above statement at least acknowledges that he understands the Scouts are on firm legal ground.

3 posted on 01/03/2003 8:44:27 AM PST by TrappedInLiberalHell
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To: RonF
If he doesn't like the Boy Scouts, why does he want to be one ?
4 posted on 01/03/2003 8:45:14 AM PST by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: *bsa_list
http://www.freerepublic.com/perl/bump-list
5 posted on 01/03/2003 8:46:40 AM PST by Libertarianize the GOP
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To: RonF
I'd like them to realize it is the moral thing to do."

If there is no God how can their be morals?

6 posted on 01/03/2003 8:47:11 AM PST by NC Conservative
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To: RonF
So, why can't I be a member of the AMA even though I am not a doctor? They must hate me.

I want to be head of the NAACP too. And I'd like to join the NEA so I can vote against all their liberal policies even though I am not a teacher.

Hey! I'm a 41 year old female and the Boy Scouts won't let ME join. Maybe I can sue.

7 posted on 01/03/2003 8:48:52 AM PST by RAT Patrol
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To: NC Conservative
their should be there
8 posted on 01/03/2003 8:49:21 AM PST by NC Conservative
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To: RAT Patrol
Have you tried to join the Boy Scouts? They do accept 41 year old females as adult leaders.
9 posted on 01/03/2003 8:52:50 AM PST by airborne
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To: NC Conservative
I'm agnostic and I have morals. I do what makes me happy. It makes me happy to help others, keep myself physically fit, earn my living and have others like me. If I lie, cheat and steal, I wouldn't like myself and others wouldn't like me, either - it would cause me to be unhappy. How about that, a system of morals - no god or gods necessary.
10 posted on 01/03/2003 8:56:31 AM PST by Diverdogz
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To: airborne
But what if I don't want to be a leader, just a Scout? Is this age and sex discrimination. Also...I don't like camping so they need to change their activities to Mall shopping or something.
11 posted on 01/03/2003 8:57:06 AM PST by RAT Patrol
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To: RonF
Atheist expects Boy Scouts to change

They're praying for it.

12 posted on 01/03/2003 9:01:24 AM PST by dead
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To: RonF
About 25 years ago I had occasion to visit one of the local YWCA's in Seattle. I was surprised to see that it had been taken over by militant feminists and atheists who used the facility to promote left-wing political causes such as legalized abortion and "gay rights." There was no longer anything even remotely Christian about the YWCA. Anyone who thinks that the Scouts' positions on atheism and homosexuality are unimportant side-issues should consider the fate of that YWCA. There is no such thing as "neutrality" on moral issues, and if the Scouts abandon their principles, however silly those principles may seem to outsiders, they will be replaced by other principles, and those principles would make the founders roll over in their graves. The organization will be utterly transformed.
13 posted on 01/03/2003 9:01:27 AM PST by Steve_Seattle
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To: RonF
The Boy Scouts are cutting their own throats. They are shortsighted and self destructive. Stupid good people are..........stupid.
14 posted on 01/03/2003 9:01:41 AM PST by Consort
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To: NC Conservative
Excellent point...either morals have their origin with a higher being and are more or less consistent or they are nothing more than the opinion of men who are making them up as they go along. As it is most judge morality as a matter of opinion - I would rather base mine on something more than current public opinion...like the majority of the founding fathers I'll stick with the Ten Commandments and Christianity...

Van Jenerette
www.jenerette.com
15 posted on 01/03/2003 9:01:41 AM PST by Van Jenerette
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To: Jimer
See my post 13. The think the Scouts know what is at stake. I do not think they are stupid at all.
16 posted on 01/03/2003 9:04:41 AM PST by Steve_Seattle
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To: RAT Patrol
Hey! I'm a 41 year old female and the Boy Scouts won't let ME join. Maybe I can sue.

While I understand the spirit of your comment (;-) I feel constrained to point out that you *can* join the BSA. Plenty of Packs, Troop, Crews, and Ships would love to have a committed adult volunteer. A Venture Crew could especially use a 41-year old female, as Crews can be co-ed but cannot have female youth on outings unless a female adult is present.

17 posted on 01/03/2003 9:10:23 AM PST by RonF
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To: RonF
"Legally, (the Scouts) have a right to discriminate," Lambert said at a presentation on the issue yesterday. "Morally, they don't.

That's kind of like saying that I legally have the right to live in a big expensive mansion, but morally I don't.

18 posted on 01/03/2003 9:15:13 AM PST by judgeandjury
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To: Diverdogz
Certainly it's a system of morals. But it's dependent on your continuing ability to reason correctly in the face of stress or unanticipated circumstances, and it's also dependent on your ability to place the welfare of others above your own when necessary. Human reason alone can build an imposing edifice, but it can also be on a foundation of sand. Faith in God gives you a basis in unchanging truths that give strong tools to face an ever-changing world. As an Episcopalian, I hold that faith is not a substitute for human reason, but a basis for it. Good luck to you.
19 posted on 01/03/2003 9:17:26 AM PST by RonF
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To: RonF
I'm am agnostic and a former Scout. I wouldn't expect them to change to accommodate me if I decided to get back into scouting. They have their critera and the right to associate with like-minded people. This guy should join some other organization that doesn't have a theological component, or start his own. Christians have done so with groups like the Royal Rangers, and both sides were happy.

OR, he could have just kept his trap shut in the first place.
20 posted on 01/03/2003 9:17:35 AM PST by Britton J Wingfield
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
If he doesn't like the Boy Scouts, why does he want to be one ?

Good call. And if he insists on being a scout, why doesn't he start his own organization? Gay Scouts or God-free Scouts or something like that. It would be interesting to see how many join up and if it is still going strong after nearly a century.

21 posted on 01/03/2003 9:20:23 AM PST by Lil'freeper
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To: Jimer
The Boy Scouts are cutting their own throats. They are shortsighted and self destructive. Stupid good people are..........stupid.

The BSA has lasted 92 years with their current policies, and I don't see where their continued existence is threatened. I'm 50 years old and have spent more than 20 of those years as a registered member of the BSA, so I have spent some time observing the BSA closely.

I would think that stupidity and self-destructiveness would take less time than that to work. Perhaps you could expand on how you feel that the BSA is short-sighted, self-destructive, and stupid.

22 posted on 01/03/2003 9:21:53 AM PST by RonF
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To: RonF
I would think that stupidity and self-destructiveness would take less time than that to work.

Good point. In addition to being stupid and self-destructive, they are also very slow. They will change with the times, or they will wither on the vine.

23 posted on 01/03/2003 9:31:00 AM PST by Consort
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To: Lil'freeper
(I know I'm out on thin ice here but) I also wonder about members of various religious denominations who demand drastic changes in their faiths.
Why not start one of your own ?
24 posted on 01/03/2003 9:39:23 AM PST by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: RonF
They always expect others to change for them. Why the heck can't these people start their own groups?
25 posted on 01/03/2003 9:39:43 AM PST by hsmomx3
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To: Britton J Wingfield
The Gay/Athesist/Pagan/Lesbian/Transgendered/Democrat scouts are here. They are called SpiralScouts!
26 posted on 01/03/2003 9:40:52 AM PST by \/\/ayne
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To: RonF
If that were true, then believers wouldn't have moral lapses. But we both know they do. Even Mother Teresa struggled with her faith and all believers continually strive to make it stronger.

You get your personal stregth from your faith, while I get mine from knowing that I have to live with myself and the consequenses of my actions. My system works for me, I'm glad you have a system that works for you.
27 posted on 01/03/2003 9:42:00 AM PST by Diverdogz
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To: RAT Patrol
Hey! I'm a 41 year old female and the Boy Scouts won't let ME join. Maybe I can sue.

I'm going to ask my wife if I can start up a troop that will include you. Of course, I will expect to be the Scout Master {{:-)

28 posted on 01/03/2003 9:52:51 AM PST by trebb
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To: Van Jenerette
I would rather base mine on something more than current public opinion

One might argue that basing your morals on an old mythological entity might actually be 'less' than current public opinion. That isn't to say that you would be better off with public opinion, but still...wanting a God to provide an absolute system of morality is proof of neither a God nor an absoulte system of morality.
29 posted on 01/03/2003 10:04:45 AM PST by Dimensio
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To: RonF
Faith in God gives you a basis in unchanging truths that give strong tools to face an ever-changing world.

To an atheist, 'Faith in God' isn't any different a source of morality than just making them up on your own except that the former is incorrectly attributed to a nonexistent (or at least non-demonstrated) entity.
30 posted on 01/03/2003 10:06:46 AM PST by Dimensio
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To: RonF
Hmmm. Interesting. Well, my point was only that all groups exclude all kinds of people. I think this whole thing is stupid. Now, if the government said "atheists are not allowed to form a scouting group of their own" that would be discrimination.
31 posted on 01/03/2003 10:11:00 AM PST by RAT Patrol
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To: trebb
Okay. Can we change the color of the uniforms? I look better in pink.
32 posted on 01/03/2003 10:14:49 AM PST by RAT Patrol
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To: RonF
My 'public opinion' of Mr. Lambert - he is a liar and a fraud. After all, he pledged innumerable times to do his duty to God.
33 posted on 01/03/2003 10:45:25 AM PST by MEGoody
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To: Jimer
"Stupid good people are..........stupid."

Good people are stupid?

34 posted on 01/03/2003 10:48:29 AM PST by MEGoody
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To: judgeandjury
"That's kind of like saying that I legally have the right to live in a big expensive mansion, but morally I don't."

And I have to wonder if Lambert would agree that women have a legal right to abort, but morally they don't. I would be willing to bet he'd switch gears right quick if someone made that statement to him.

35 posted on 01/03/2003 10:50:37 AM PST by MEGoody
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To: Lil'freeper
And if he insists on being a scout, why doesn't he start his own organization? Gay Scouts or God-free Scouts or something like that.

A Congressional Charter prohibits any other "boy scouts" organization. The term "boy scouts" was generic at one time. At one time, there were many different "boy scouts" organizations here. In other countries, there are still many different "boy scouts" organizations. But, in the U.S., there can be only ONE. BSA has used the charter given to it by Congress in the early 1900's to sue and then swallow-up any other scouting organization who attempts to use the same name. BSA even lays claim to the name "scout"; for example, the YMCA isn't permitted to use that word anywhere in its literature (even though "scouts" was what their "Indian guides" were supposed to be). Then, the BSA receives donations from our military (courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer); access to children in public school classrooms; a few parks are maintained for the sole use of the BSA; and a scout automatically can qualify for a level two grades higher than anyone else upon admission into the military.

Can you tell I've been reading about the BSA lately?

The BSA has been established, endorsed, and subsidized by the government. It is a federally-protected government monopoly that requires a religious test upon entrance.

36 posted on 01/03/2003 11:02:01 AM PST by Tired of Taxes
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To: Tired of Taxes
The BSA has been established, endorsed, and subsidized by the government.

That can't be right. They argued to the USSC that they are a 'private religious organization'! They wouldn't have lied, would they?
37 posted on 01/03/2003 11:05:59 AM PST by Dimensio
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To: Dimensio
They wouldn't have lied, would they?

Lie? Oh, no, that would violate their own principles! ;-)

It's ironic how the BSA will complain that people are trying to destroy them with lawsuits when lawsuits is exactly how the BSA got started. I was just reading that there were many other boy scouts organizations, and one was called American Boy Scouts. BSA sued ABS to make ABS change its name; it did, to United States Boy Scouts. Then BSA petitioned for the congressional charter, and then it sued USBS to get it to stop using the name "boy scouts". One source said USBS changed its name again to American Cadets but then disappeared eventually. Meanwhile, the BSA proceeded to swallow-up the other boy scouts organizations in a more "friendly" manner. In 1989, the BSA reportedly "threatened" Wilderness Scouts with a suit, though I'm not sure what is meant by that. The Wilderness Scouts still exist - I forget which state they're in.

38 posted on 01/03/2003 11:18:26 AM PST by Tired of Taxes
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To: Dimensio
...wanting a God to provide an absolute system of morality is proof of neither a God nor an absoulte system of morality.

Fortunately for us mortals, proof is not a necessary prerequisite for mankinds moral code...proof of the exhistance of GOD would be the antithesis of the idea of faith. At the end of the day, the PARADOX of GOD is critical to maintain any semblance of civility.

Van Jenerette

39 posted on 01/03/2003 11:22:44 AM PST by Van Jenerette
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To: Tired of Taxes
BSA even lays claim to the name "scout";

Good for them! Great historical tidbits- thanks.

40 posted on 01/03/2003 11:29:42 AM PST by Lil'freeper
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To: Jimer
Good point. In addition to being stupid and self-destructive, they are also very slow.

It's the speed of the effect of external forces that we're talking about here, not the BSA's own speed.

They will change with the times, or they will wither on the vine.

The BSA has often had to change how they teach the values they teach. Boys don't have to learn Morse Code or semaphore, or how to stitch up the side of a cow or how to handle a runaway horse to earn First Class any more. And Patrol Leaders can now learn about how to lead a patrol from a BSA web site. But the values of citizenship, character, and fitness that the BSA teaches are as valid now as they were in 1910, and they're not likely to have to change those in response to these times or any others.

Still looking to see examples from you about the deficiencies you've attributed to the BSA.

41 posted on 01/03/2003 11:29:55 AM PST by RonF
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To: \/\/ayne
Actually, in looking at the Spiral Scout's web site, it seems that they do acknowledge a spiritual side to the universe. So they wouldn't qualify as atheist.

Sprial Scouts seems to be set up for pagans. However, it seems to me that as long as a pagan doesn't violate any of the BSA's membership standards (gender/age combinations, "avowed" homosexuality, criminal record), they are free to join the BSA as members in good standing. The BSA is not exclusively a Christian organization.

42 posted on 01/03/2003 11:32:48 AM PST by RonF
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To: Diverdogz
The fact that a person with faith can fall short is no more proof that their faith is wrong than the fact that an atheist can be immoral would mean that atheists cannot act morally. Every one struggles, faith or no. And having faith does not relieve one from having to live with the consequences of their actions on their own conscience and the persons and souls of other people. In fact, perhaps it even intensifies this, as an atheist wouldn't have to take into account any damage they do to someone's spiritual side.
43 posted on 01/03/2003 11:36:19 AM PST by RonF
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To: RAT Patrol
I look better in pink.

This could be more information than any of the rest of us need.

44 posted on 01/03/2003 11:37:41 AM PST by RonF
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To: Lil'freeper
Good for them! Great historical tidbits- thanks.

So, you see nothing wrong with a government-established/endorsed/subsidized organization that has a religious requirement for boys to enter and then, by using a government charter, doesn't allow the boys denied admission to establish their own group?

45 posted on 01/03/2003 11:38:45 AM PST by Tired of Taxes
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To: MEGoody
<>i>My 'public opinion' of Mr. Lambert - he is a liar and a fraud. After all, he pledged innumerable times to do his duty to God.

A key point, and one I'd like to see him answer to publicly. After all, after whatever point in his life (apparently prior to when he was awarded his Eagle) he decided he was an atheist, he stuck his hand up once a week or so and said, "On my honor I promise to do my Duty to God", when he didn't in fact recognize one. So, just how much honor does he have? And then there's "A Scout is ... Reverent".

46 posted on 01/03/2003 11:40:24 AM PST by RonF
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To: RonF
YOU COLOR BIGOT!!!

< /sarcasm >

47 posted on 01/03/2003 11:41:09 AM PST by RAT Patrol
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To: NC Conservative
"I'd like them to realize it is the moral thing to do."

I like playing softball. The league wants me to profess a belief in fair play, and follow the rules which are administered by umpires. But let's say I say sure, but continually break the rules. I'm booted off the team. But, if a requirement of joining is to profess a belief in God and abide by moral laws, then I'm obligated to play by the rules because of my abiding by morals set down by the All-Mighty. If there is God and you believe it, then you're far more likely to play by the rules. If you are unwilling to admit a belief in God, then you are determining your own rules, and they are not morals.

So I believe there can't be morals without God.

48 posted on 01/03/2003 11:49:06 AM PST by roadcat
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To: RAT Patrol
LOL. Good post!!
49 posted on 01/03/2003 11:55:46 AM PST by MarMema
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To: RonF
The BSA will not back down nor change. My father worked for them his entire life as a professional.
50 posted on 01/03/2003 11:57:16 AM PST by MarMema
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