Atheist group cries ‘foul’ after BSA lifts ban on gays, but not its own

Aug 4, 2015

REUTERS/Darrell Byers

By Gregory Tomlin

The atheist Freedom from Religion Foundation is praising the Boy Scouts of America for their new policy allowing gay adult leaders and employees in the organization, but also rebuking it for not extending the same opportunity to atheists.

In a statement issued after the BSA announced its policy shift, the Wisconsin-based group said the BSA had “cut a deal with the churches and conservative religious groups that run many packs and troops by exempting them from the deal [mandating the acceptance of homosexual leaders].”

Under the new BSA policy, charter organizations are allowed to determine the qualifications for their own leaders. Religious charter organizations, such as Boy Scout troops sponsored by Baptist or Catholic churches, are allowed to appoint leaders who meet the religious criteria of the church, even on the issue of human sexuality.

The BSA, however, did not address any other subgroup in the culture, and that has the FFRF fighting mad at “religion’s foot-dragging bigotry.”

“Today, ‘accommodating’ religion increasingly is code for letting religionists discriminate,” the group said, complaining that 70 percent of BSA packs and troops are sponsored by churches and other religious organizations.

That figure, FFRF believes, explains why BSA leaders and the media have made the glaring omission of not opening the ranks of scout leaders to atheists. The group is also angry because the public, government officials and the media are not championing its cause.

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