Boy Scouts of America owned in today's Exponent

I love reading the letters to the editor in our student newspaper. Really, it’s the only thing I’ll make sure to read every day, because it’s always chock-full of amusing letters. For example, this young man’s failed attempt to defend the Boy Scouts:

Boy Scouts organization does not discriminate

I am writing in response to Mr. Miller’s cheap shot at the Boy Scouts in his letter from Tuesday (“Hate to bear bad news, but humans have sex”). First off, it was unnecessary and childish, given that it was unrelated to the issue at hand (on which, coincidentally, I would tend to agree with you.) Secondly, the loss of funding to which you refer was politically motivated, rather than impartial.

However, the point is this: Boy Scouts, both as an organization and as individuals, do not discriminate. You cite atheists; one of Scouting’s core values is “duty to God.” (Note that no religion is specified.) Why, then would an atheist wish to join Scouts, other than to cause trouble?

You also mention homosexuals. Let’s stop and think for a moment: Scouts spend a large amount of time in the backcountry, far from “civilization,” for lack of a better word. The only ones around are the other boys in the troop, and the adult leaders. Do we really wish to place young boys in a position where they could be taken advantage of by an older boy or adult? Of course not.

Next time you take a shot at someone, take the time to learn the facts before you open your mouth; you’ll sound smarter.

Michael Harvath, Eagle Scout
Freshman in Engineering

Hmm, did someone just slander gays and atheists in one letter? Release the hounds!

Seriously, he got obliterated today, with six different letters refuting him. Go check them out. I’m pretty sure the majority of the writers are members of the Society of Non-Theists, so props to them! Always fun to hear the rational voices of Purdue!


  1. says

    I don’t see how Michael Harvath’s claims were refuted. They were disagreed with, yes, but I don’t see how they were refuted. His points are quite reasonable:(1) Boy Scouts is an explicitly theistic organization. Banning atheists is indeed discriminatory, but only in the authentic sense of the term, to discern and select from among possibilities. If it is reasonable for a church to select only Christians for membership, for example, then why shouldn’t Boy Scouts be able to reject all applicants who do not accept their code and beliefs? Now, civil rights legislation may have something to say about this, but if I may speak only of morality, I don’t see how Harvath’s argument can be offensive. If I myself tried to join a church, for example, I wouldn’t be offended at all if they told me that because I’m a Jew, that they cannot accept me. What else do I think should happen?(2) Think about this: Boy Scouts is for boys and Girl Scouts is for girls. There is a reason for this discrimination. Obviously, the intent is to eliminate sexuality from the groups. So unfortunately, homosexuals must be eliminated. The fear is not that suddenly, the homosexuals will unleash their urges like a nuclear explosion, any more than one fears the same of a heterosexual. But people – homosexuals and heterosexuals alike – do have sexual urges. If you compose a group entirely of heterosexuals of one sex, and screen out pedophiles via criminal background checks, then you’ll probably be able to keep out most sexuality. But to allow mixing of sexes or homosexuals of the same sex will frustrate this design. But come to think of it, why doesn’t anyone argue that Boy Scouts discriminates against girls and Girl Scouts against boys? What’s the difference? If you are concerned that homosexuals cannot join Boy Scouts, why aren’t you concerned that females cannot? Is this any less discriminatory?Of course, Boy Scouts receives government funding. My answer to this is that really, according to the Constitution, the federal government is forbidden to tax to the degree that it does, and the present social-engineering as engaged in by the federal government is entirely unconstitutional. Most federal legislation ought to be immediately struck down as unconstitutional, and no one at all should be receiving federal funding, regardless of political orientation. Left, right, center, up, down, I don’t care, you shouldn’t be getting federal funding.

  2. says

    I’m gay, an atheist, *and* a Boy Scout- Order of the Arrow at that. The organization’s political slant makes me seriously uncomfortable, but it’s worth remembering that the true purpose of Boy Scouts is to make friends, go camping, and get something that looks respectable for your resume. Mainly the friends and the camping thing. The religious side of the organization is very much downplayed in practice, and I never had to hold back my disbelief in a god because of it… at least not any more than I do already to socialize with friends who have to go to church.It’s frustrating that so many talking head adults in the BSA are right-wing agenda-pushers, but let’s not let that reflect too strongly on boy scouts themselves. Politics shouldn’t get in the way of rock-climbing and playing Pokemon cards around a campfire.

  3. thomascox says

    Currently I am officially registered as an assistant scoutmaster with the BSA and I’m an Eagle Scout. That said, I believe the National Council is 100% wrong on these issues. Scouting is supposed to be about teaching leadership and life skills. Sexuality and religion shouldn’t enter into it. The religious emblems that scouts can receive actually don’t come from the BSA either, those are given by the scout’s religious leader. Although admittedly they do have a list of approved religious emblems. I find it interesting that for all the talk of banning atheists and agnostics because they don’t believe in God, the scouts still allow Hindus and Buddhists to not only join but have their own religious emblems as well. It would seem that if the BSA were truly committed to the notion of God in a Christian sense then they should also be banning people belonging to religions outside of that framework. I think I’d also like to see Gene Robinson, an openly gay Episcopal bishop, try to do some work for the BSA, it’d be entertaining to see what leaps of logic they use to allow or disallow that.

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