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Jun 23 2005
atheists can't be boy scouts in England either

According to the Humanist Network News, a recent articles in the Sunday Times (the British paper) incorrectly reported that the British version of the Boy Scouts now allows atheists to join. When they inquired directly with the organization, they found that anyone who "has no faith" is officially barred. (This is not "news" in the sense that it has been true for a long time...but it corrects something that was reported as news elsewhere.)

Now, I wouldn't say that atheists "have no faith". There are things I do have faith in. I have faith in my wife, in the laws of physics, in the validity of mathematics (I'm a mathematician, by the way) etc. I just do not share the belief that many others do that there is some sort of intelligent superbeing responsible for the existence of the universe and interested in the affairs of humans. In fact, I quite certainly do not believe in that....but this does not mean that I have no faith in anything.

Also, I'd like to point out that as a private organization, the Boy Scouts (here in America at least) is allowed to keep people out based on any criteria they want...IMHO. I mean, they can be racist or allow only registered Republicans...or only members of the Communist Party. The problem is not that they have these restrictions, but that they are then given a special status by governmental organizations which ARE NOT allowed to have such restrictions. I mean, at my daughter's school the Boy Scouts are the color guard at every assembly and the principal often comments about what a great organization it is. THAT bothers me since even though the Boy Scouts are allowed to say that they have no respect for me and my family because of our religious beliefs (or lack thereof), a public school cannot.

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