It was reported yesterday that the Boy Scouts of America is considering filing for bankruptcy in large part because of financial pressures (due to low membership) and legal costs (associated with paying out settlements for victims of abuse). They also retained a law firm that specializes in bankruptcy. So… their future plans really aren’t in doubt.
While Christian hate group leaders like Tony Perkins blame all of this on the BSA’s acceptance of gay and trans members — ignoring the fact that the (unrelated) Girl Scouts do the same thing and they’re not going bankrupt — this would be a perfect time for the Scouts to make another bold move: Accept atheists.
We know why they haven’t done it so far. They always point to the Scout Oath, which includes the phrase “I will do my best to do my duty to God,” and the Scout Law, which includes the goal of being “reverent” to God, as justification for the exclusion.
But at this point, Mormons and evangelicals have already abandoned the organization in order to double down on their faith-based bigotry. By accepting atheists, who exactly would be alienated? It’s not like the Scouts can’t make changes to their principles — they did that already by accepting gays and girls. And if they insist that they’re in the business of teaching kids values like loyalty, kindness, friendliness, etc., there’s just no good reason to continue banning a large swath of people who want to join.
Plus, if the Scouts really are going to file for bankruptcy, they could accept atheists right now and it wouldn’t even create that much controversy since everyone’s focused on the bigger story. Christian haters might make a big deal of it, but they’re been criticizing the Scouts since they began accepting gay troops. Their opinions only matter to fellow bigots.
So do it, Scouts. Open the door to atheists while you figure out how to survive. Even if the organization ends up shutting down for good, at least you’ll be able to say you were finally, truly inclusive.
At least for a few minutes.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brian for the link)