Boy Scouts of America to Be Honored on a Stamp November 17, 2009

Boy Scouts of America to Be Honored on a Stamp

The Boy Scouts of America will be honored by the U.S. Postal Service on a commemorative stamp to be released in the summer of 2010:

I won’t be buying any of those, of course, because I don’t support groups that discriminate against atheists or gays.


Is there any way to use this stamp against them?

I would find it almost poetic if you could use a BSA stamp to send their headquarters your resignation form… if such a thing existed.

Maybe you can come up with better ideas?

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  • MacCrocodile

    You could send them gay porn with their own stamps. And boy oh boy is there a lot of scout-themed porn out there.

  • How about making other versions with more appropriate images for a discriminatory group using photo stamps. Of course no one looks at stamps so it probably wouldn’t do any good…

  • Alan E.

    What if I mailed my badges back to them? I did just find a whole bunch of them when I was cleaning out my mom’s attic.

  • Edmond

    Discrimination isn’t the only scandal the Boy Scouts have embroiled themselves in. Their wilderness preservation policies have been called into question as well:

  • Give the people working for your favorite gay rights charity a chuckle when they see the stamp on your donation envelope.

  • JSug

    Use the stamps to mail out flyers supporting equal rights for LGBT Americans?

    I feel like there is some intentional misleading going on here. The stamp is clearly designed so that it does not directly honor the BSA. It just says “Scouting” and from the statements it sounds like they’re spinning it as a recognition of international youth scouting. But it also just happens to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the BSA, and it is being dedicated at next year’s Jamboree.

  • liz

    to alan:

    i think that’s a great idea!!
    you should send them one badge a week with a note explaining why you are returning it. And you should look into what the badges mean and explain why you dont think they have the right to award children with them when they dont allow others to gain the experience. And you should write a blog about it and post all the letters you send.

    That’s what i would do if i were a boy scout…
    but girl scouts seem to be much better about not discriminating…so i’ll keep my old badges.

  • The Other Tom

    Given that the Boy Scouts testified that they are a religious organization, isn’t this stamp illegal on the grounds that it is federal promotion of a religious organization?

  • Siamang

    Other tom, I don’t think it’s significantly different than any other religious stamp.

    We get religious stamps every year.

    You can buy christmas stamps, easter stamps, passover stamps.

  • llewelly

    Rather than waste time with the scouting stamp, we should use the aforementioned photostamps to send our own message. All you have to do is get permission from CoR or the FFRF or make your own artwork.

  • Daniel

    I think a fine line is being drawn, many Scouting organizations around the world stand in opposition to BSA’s bigotry. Hell, the Girl Scouts do! (Pity one of the figures isn’t a girl…).

    At any rate, I’ll buy the stamp…if just to drawn in what the guy w/binoculars is looking at…

  • Matt D

    Hey, i love that stamp!

    times like this I think that “not collecting stamps” really sucks as a hobby.

  • Erp

    I think the Girl Scouts are going for their stamp in 2012 on their 100th anniversary in the US.

  • JulietEcho

    Well the terms and conditions for photostamps include:

    A. To upload, order for print, or otherwise transmit or communicate any material for any unlawful purpose or that is obscene, offensive, blasphemous, pornographic, sexually suggestive, deceptive, threatening, menacing, abusive, harmful, an invasion of privacy, supportive of unlawful action, defamatory, libelous, vulgar, violent, or otherwise objectionable;[…]
    C. To upload, order for print, or otherwise transmit or communicate any material that you do not have a right to transmit or communicate under any contractual or fiduciary relationship or which infringes any copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right or any moral right of any party;

    …which could be easily used to block (or later challenge) all but the most subtle anti-BSA stamps, depending on who’s doing the judging.

  • Kevin

    As an Eagle Scout and recent convert to Humanism, I am always caught off guard when an something about BSA comes up in a blog like this. I grew up in the organization and learned some of the most important skills and values of my life. I can say with confidence that every single youth and almost every single adult I met through Scouting had morals that conflicted with the discriminatory policies of the organization. If my troop took a vote (both youth and adults) whether to allow gays into the troop, it would pass almost unanimously, perhaps minus one or two immature kids who didn’t understand the situation and maybe a couple overprotective adults.
    My point is that the participants in Scouting are in it for the positive experience, not to promote bigoted ideas. I know that some of my fellow scouts were gay (though, most of them being 12-15, they were still in the closet) and nobody said anything about it because nobody cared. That’s the state of homosexuality in scouting right now: it is accepted by most troops under a sort of “Don’t Ask Because Nobody Really Cares” policy. Obviously, some troops are more conservative than others and wouldn’t accept it. I’ve seen some of these troops, and they are run by controlling, conservative dads, and they are NOT FUN. They usually lose kids early, while troops like mine have enough 16 and 17-year-olds to run the troop as youth leaders and plan awesome activities.
    As for religion, the topic rarely came up in my experience. We met weekly in the basement of a church, at ceremonies there might be a prayer or grace, and we occasionally did a service project for a church. That’s pretty much the only religion I was exposed to in the program (though, of course, some troops are much more religious than others.)
    As of right now, I am still “in the closet” as a secular humanist; a close relative of mine is fairly devout, and I would rather keep her in the dark until she passes. At that point, I’m taking action. The rest of my family is very accepting, and will be fine with my decision (a few will probably join me.) I plan on returning my Eagle badge with a statement of explanation, though I might try to make a larger event of it for more emphasis. Many troops have signed a statement rejecting BSA’s discriminatory policy and promising to accept every sexual preference, religion, or lack thereof. I am confident I can get my troop to do the same.
    I did not mean for this to be so long, but I promise to come back with an update after I am public about my atheism. For now, I’d just like to urge you to attack the King, not the countrymen. We should fight this the same way we fight Christian homophobia, by criticizing the policy while respecting the good intentions of the huge amount of Christians who do not agree with the discriminatory ideas that are preached to them.

  • AxeGrrl

    Daniel wrote:

    At any rate, I’ll buy the stamp…if just to drawn in what the guy w/binoculars is looking at…


    if/when you do, you must share 🙂

    perhaps you’ll be able to inspire a whole ‘Slash’ series of stamps 🙂

  • Dog

    Over here in the UK, where stamps have an image of the queen on them, fixing a stamp upside-down on an envelope could be regarded as treasonous:

    So whatever you use you boy scout stamps for, make sure you accord them the same disrespect… that’s quite subtle though, so stuff the envelope with gay porn as previously suggested of course…

  • If it’s worth the price of the stamp to you, you could stick it on your envelope in addition to the required postage, then hand cancel it.

  • heironymous

    To be fair, the stamp doesn’t say “Boy Scouts of America” – it just says scouting…

  • muggle

    Kevin, I can only speak for myself but, please, do. I’d be interested in hearing the outcome. And that is good news that troops are rebelling so to speak by signing a statement against those policies. Very commendable action on their part.

    Dear Post Office,

    I hear you’re going broke. Here’s a thought, stop freaking spending money on stamp designs and pick one — one nonreligious, one not endorsing anything but the nation, how about the forever stamps or a flag no under “god” b.s. — already. Especially all the religious ones you endorse at holiday times. Read the Constitution. You are not supposed to be endorsing religion.

    And while you’re at it — don’t sponsor the Olympics. I don’t give a flying fig about sports and don’t buy the bull about them building bridges and would rather not have to pay more for my postage to support them.

    Thank you,
    Patriotic Godless American

    I was joking around but maybe I just will send that short note to the Postmaster General or something — for all the good it will do. Of course, the Christians would feel prosecuted if the Post Office stopped advertising them for free.

  • Adam


    I agree with your sentiments. I’m still active in Scouts mostly because much of my entire council is for gays and atheists. I’d say that over half of the summer camp staff, when I worked there, were either gay or atheist. We also have a lot of females in our council as staff and scouts. Many leaders and youth in my troop, district and council wear one of the “Scouting for All” patches somewhere on our uniforms.

    Most of us believe in working to better the organization from the inside, infiltrating and getting as many gays and atheists their Eagles and setup as Adult Leaders as possible.

    If anyone else believes that there is still good in the Scouts and would like to help end their discrimination, Scouting For All is a good place to start…

  • Emily Boyd

    I am very proud to say that I am a girl scout. I am an out spoken atheist and no one cares in girl scouts. I am not going to be thrown out beause of my lack of faith. However, we do say grace and all that shit, but I know more lesbians through girl scouting than I’ve ever met elsewhere. I’m under the impressions that lesbians run GSA.
    Besides, our cookies are way better than that nasty popcorn.
    Plus we invented s’mores. Hell yeah. We deserve a stamp.

  • Argentum

    I was in Scouting from ages 7 to 18 (1981 – 1992), and my experience was on par with Kevin’s. I simply refused to recite the words “to God” when reciting the oath. The only reigious activity my troop engaged in as a group was the march to the top of Chapel Hill for a short camp-wide service on the last day of summer camp every year. I wanted to abstain, but my Scoutmaster would not let me… in retrospect I believe he was more concerned with maintaining discipline in the troop than with my personal religious affiliations (or lack thereof). In the end I just tuned out the service and took in the gorgeous view, and let myself feel reverence for the natural beauty around me. Sure we had guys in the troop that earned religious awards or badges, but they did so of their own volition on their own time. My Order of the Arrow lodge was one of the first I know of to induct a female Scoutmaster.

    But the Religious Right and the Mormon Church have hijacked the organization. Instead of progressing the BSA into the 21st Century ideals of inclusivity and equality, they have actively retrograded its policies into medievalistic religious patriarchialism and bigotry. Penn and Teller had a great episode about this on their series Bullshit!, where they cited the statistic that the Mormon Church actively sponsors more than 30,000 Boy Scout troops in the US. They use the BSA as a recuitment and indoctination tool.

    The whole thing makes me very sad and outraged. If I ever have daughters, I’ll have no reservations about them joining the GSA, but if I have sons, you can bet I’ll be looking for alternatives to the BSA for them, or at least looking for a troop that refuses to discriminate or indoctrinate. Such troops do exist, as Kevin pointed out, and this is further born out by an experiment Penn & Teller did. They composed a letter from fictional atheist parents asking if their teenage son (who shares their secular views) would be welcome in the BSA, and sent the letter to troop leaders all over the country. Most leaders responded in the negative (albeit politely), but many leaders responded that although the son’s atheist views were at odds with the organization’s official policies, they would be happy to have him join, and would respect his position. It might not be too late for such fair-minded, conscientious members to speak out and reverse the trend. If that doesn’t work, then I’d like to see them break away, and form a better alternative to the BSA.

  • Doubting Thomas

    My wife told me that I should be a scout leader when our son is old enough. She seemed surprised when I told her that I couldn’t because they don’t allow atheists to join.

    And I think their popcorn is way overpriced. No way I’ll buy it to support discrimination.

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