SUPREME COURT RULING
Dave Hultberg (dave.hultberg@PAONLINE.COM)
Thu, 9 Dec 1993 00:16:49 -0500
S> Just when I had things calmed down with my family of Buddhist atheists
S> (whom I reassured that BSA welcomes because it features a Buddhist
S> religious recognition and because Buddhism is generally felt to have
S> ebough of a belief in a supreme power to pass muster) along comes the
S> Supreme Court to confuse them all over again. I mean, after all, the
S> boy was an AGNOSTIC, not even an atheist (and at the time he was
I don't understand why this should muddy the waters for your Buddhists.
They are not athesists. The ruling doesn't change anything that you were
previously told here on this list. All that court ruling does is let stand
a lower court ruling that the Boy Scouts are a private organization, not a
public accomodation. All that does is allow BSA to set its owm membership
criteria. Reading between the lines of your message, it almost appears like
this family is looking for an excuse not to join Scouts.
S> recruited he was 6 or 7 years old). So I am back to square one, now
S> with an extremely skeptical family! I find myself wishing in my heart
S> of hearts that there was another youth organization that my son and I
S> could join. We are neither atheists nor agnostics, but we do believe
S> that an organization which is intolerant of any group can not honestly
S> represent itself as patriotic or "American".
I disagree with your statement on BSA not being patriotic or American. Since
when is it unamerican for an organization to seek to associate with others
who subscribe to the same aims and principles? Scouting is not for everyone
and never will be. While you may wish BSA to admit agnostics and atheists
or even gays, BSA's decision not to has nothing to do with patriotism or
americanism. If you wish to change BSA's membership policies you need to
get the chartered organizations who sponsor the units to push for the change.
You will have a tough time changing the policy on religion since the
majority of chartering organizations are religious institutions.
S> Scout since 1958, and I have never felt anything but pride for GSUSA
S> and the values it represents. As a Girl Scout leader, I have never
S> turned anyone away, and I can not fathom the glee with which grown
S> men -- who claim to care about children -- are celebrating their
S> freedom to turn away first-graders on ANY basis, much less on the
S> basis of a religious conviction that, at that age, is still in
I think it is unfair to characterise those who agree with the Supreme Court
ruling as gleefully celebrating the freedom to turn away first graders.
I would love to be able to over the Scouting program to all youth, but I am
not willing to throw away our declaration of religious principles to do so.
Any private organization has criteria by which it decides whether or not to
approve prospective members. Even GSUSA which you are so proud of practices
discrimination. Only females may be the leader of a Girl Scout troop. Males
are only allowed to be co-leaders.
Yours in Scouting,
firstname.lastname@example.org ASM Troop 196, Keystone Area Council
and a good old Bobwhite too NE-VI-34
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City