Subject: United Way branch cuts Scout funds
It is the policy of the Boy Scouts of American that nonbelievers may not join.
It is the policy the United Way not to distribute money to organizations
that discriminate on the basis of religion (in fact, it is in the charter).
A front page article, last Friday's Chicago Tribune reports
that for the first time a branch of the United Way has decided
to follow policy and is therefore not giving the Boy Scouts $1250.
The article says that the decision only effects the Genoa-Kingston
United Way of rural De Kalb county (and that they may change their mind).
In <1990Sep29.012512.12728@Neon.Stanford.EDU> firstname.lastname@example.org (David Ash) writes:
>It is interesting to note from one of Lord Baden-Powell's original books
>(Scouting for Boys) that this support of God is indeed required of scouts.
>So the BSA could take the position that they are merely following the
>"teachings" of B-P. HOWEVER B-P also makes it very clear that scouts are *not*
>to accept charitable donations of any kind but rather are supposed to finance
>their scouting habit through their own earnings as a group. So if the BSA
>wants to take the moral high ground on this issue they should never have been
>receiving United Way funds in the first place.
Today's Chicago Tribune (Section 1, p. 15, Sept. 30, 1990) says "Boy Scout
"Though refusing to address the issue directly, Jim Ferris, chairman of
the local [United Way] board, hinted that the United Way had come under
pressure from pro-Scout donors at a time it could least afford such a
controversy -- the start of the charity's annual campaign."
"Ferris refused to discuss however, what lead to his board's letter of
Sept. 15 that informed that Boy Scouts of America -- Two Rivers Council Inc.
in St. Charles that 'there is sufficient reason to question the Boy Scouts'
compliance with the United Ways Charter' prohibiting discrimination on the
bias of religion."
Well, at the very least the boys are learning importance of expedientcy
over principle. :-)
In article <1990Sep23.email@example.com> firstname.lastname@example.org (Carl M. Kadie) writes:
>It is the policy of the Boy Scouts of American that nonbelievers may not join.
In <5903@vice.ICO.TEK.COM> hall@vice.ICO.TEK.COM (Hal Lillywhite) writes:
>I'm not sure this is true. I was recently chairman of a troop
>committee and while my memory is a bit hazy I don't think this is a
>requirement. BSA does require that boys support any religion they
>happen to hold and tries to work with the various churches but they
>explicitly forbid requiring a boy to join a church in order to be a
>scout. We had boys in our church-sponsored troop who were not
>members of any church and at board of review time we just asked them
>how they supported whatever they believed.
>Some troops may make non-believers feel unwelcome, but they would be
>a minority and possibly in violation of BSA standards.
Here is that the Chicago Tribune (Sept 25, 1990) says:
"'On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and
my country,' goes the Boy Scout oath. The Boy Scout law
also invokes the deity. A Scout, it says, is 'reverent'
toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties and he
respects the beliefs of others.'
'If a boy does not subscribe to these precepts, he cannot
be a Scout," a spokeswoman at the Boy Scouts' national
headquarters in Dallas explained."
From the articles, it sounds like the BSA is the only program with a
religious test that the United Way supports. That is, the United Way may
support a program administed by, for example, a Jewish charity. That
program, however, must be open to all regardless of religious belief.
Do you think general United Way antidiscrimination policy is sound?
Should they make an exception to their policy for the BSA? On what
principle (beyond expedientcy) would this exception be based?
Carl Kadie --- email@example.com
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
=== Today the NEA and alt.sex, tomorrow our public libraries ===
From: T.G.Nattress@newcastle.ac.uk (T.G. Nattress)
Subject: Re: The brainwashing of children
Date: 13 Mar 91 14:09:43 GMT
firstname.lastname@example.org (Siddarth Subramanian) writes:
>In article <1991Mar11.email@example.com> T.G.Nattress@newcastle.ac.uk (T.G. Nattress) writes:
>> My pet religious hate is the teaching of religion in schools and especially
>>to very young children. Young children are very perceptable to what adults
>I agree with you except that I wouldn't call it a pet hate - it is
>what saddens me most about religion. I feel that brainwashing kids
>into religion is something that ought to be recognized as a form of
>child abuse. (I know that will never happen - it's just the way I see
And I've had bad experience of it. When I was in Infant School (5-7) I
can remember teachers teaching us the lords prayer (christian) and
singing Christian Hymms in morning assemblies. Later on in Junior
school(8-11) they didn't just sing hymms but invited the local vicar
in to preach! The only people who were exempt from this were a few
Jews. At the Moment this is Law in Britain that they should have
Christian assemblies on morings(at least once a week I think). I find
this disgusting! It just shows how when the people in power in a
country belong to an orgainised religion they force it by LAW on
I think ALL people are born atheists (IMHO) and become whatever they
It is also nice to see :-) that Religious peoplepractice what I call
the 1st law of Brainwashing, "When Brainwashing, always brainwash that
they never have and cannot be brainwashed" Just ask the religious if
they have been brainwashed when they obviously (INHO) have. THey will
answer that they havent... ( I know this isn't a proof, it's just what
>At the same time (before the theists flame me), let me say that
>indoctrinating kids with statements like "There is no god" is just as
>despicable. The only non-abusive way of bringing up kids (IMO) is to
>present them with the various belief systems that people hold and give
>them the intellectual tools necessary to discriminate between them.
Well I certainly aggree with that! Maybees when a little kid asks his
teacher ,"Where do I come from?" they should answer "Idon't Know"
until they're older when ALL (and I do mean ALL) the different
viewpoints can be represented equally. I remeber reading in a scouting
handbook;" Not even the cleverest people can prove the non-existance
of God" and this was their proof of the existence of God. Surely
invallid proofs like this should be banned.
>-- >Siddarth Subramanian
INTERNET: firstname.lastname@example.org > UUCP: uunet!cs.utexas.edu!siddarth
Subject: Boy scouts and religious discrimination, part 1
Date: 29 Mar 91 20:50:49 GMT
Organization: University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada
Once again, an article from the -> recent <- Nov 1990
issue of Freethought Today, which you people should subscribe
to as I have no intention of reproducing every issue.
You've been warned.
This is in two parts, the first being the FT article and
the second being a response to a previous poster.
Yeah, it's long. There's always the 'n' key.
"Boy Scouts Sued over Religious Discrimination"
A year ago at the start of the school year, Elliot Walsh's
six year old son Mark, starting the first grade, brought home
a colorful flyer his teacher has passed out, which invited him
to "Join Tiger Scouts, BSA, and Have Lots of Fun!" The promo
explained: "You Can Join Tiger Cubs, BSA, If You Are In The
Welsh, who had been a Cub Scout, Boy Scout and an Explorer
Scout himself, and whose father had been in the Scouts,
thought, "Why not a third generation?"
Father and son went to the advertised meeting, which was
held in a public school gym, to sign up. The Tiger Cubs
program requires that an adult join with the child. Welsh
was handed an application, which included a paragraph titled
"Declaration of Religious Principle," which stated, in part:
"The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can
grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an
obligation to God and therefore recognizes the religious
element in the training ..."
He explains: "We are not a religious family. Our children
are given moral instruction, and taught to respect the
religious beliefs of others."
He asked a BSA official, "Does this mean the nonreligious
are not welcome?" He was told point-blank that nonreligious
families could not participate at any level of Scouting.
"I was absolutely stunned," Welsh recalls. He quietly
left the meeting with Mark, who was near tears.
"This was just a taste of what it must have been like to
be Black in the South before segregation--just a taste,
but I didn't like it," Welsh said.
"On the way out I explained that I had made a mistake,
that Tiger Cubs was a religious club, like a church club,
open only to religious boys. Mark, only six but very
familiar with the ethics of changing the rules in the
middle of the game, asked me why I hadn't known that.
That was a very good question. The flyer and other
materials said "any boy ... can join," not "only religious
boys may join." Furthermore, Boy Scouts of America claims
that it is not a religious organization, and its major form
of recruitment is through public schools, which must remain
neutral toward religion.
After a family discussion, the Welshes told Mark they
would do what they could to enable him to become a Tiger
Scout. He didn't realize, Welsh says now, that this would
mean "we'd end up in federal court."
Welsh sent an application with the required fees to the
Council, noting that he could not subscribe to the
Declaration of Religious Principle. The application was
He then wrote a letter to the BSA headquarters in Irving,
Texas, saying he and his son wanted to belong and suggested
that they reconsider their policy excluding applicants on
the basis of religion. The reply stated that adult leaders
must sign the declaration, and boys must acknowledge a duty
"BSA is fighting for the right to have public school
first-grade teachers invite all six-year-old boys in their
classes to join Tiger Cubs--only to discriminate against
some of them, solely on the basis of the religious beliefs
of their parents," he points out.
"BSA officials never apologized or showed any concern
for the distress they caused Mark," he adds. After a
lawsuit was filed last March with the assistance of an
attorney working "pro bono", Welsh said his family was
"treated as if we had gone into it to be a test case."
In fact, Welsh adds, "I had not been aware of the
longstanding controversy" over religious intolerance in
The suit charges that Boy Scouts of America, chartered
as a civic group by Congress in 1916, is violating Title II
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits places of
accommodation from discriminating on the basis of such
criteria as religion.
As the civil rights suit is played out in the courtroom
of Judge Ilana D. Rovner, some changes have occurred.
The local Tigers Club volunteer coordinator told Scouting
officials that she too was nonreligious, and was forced
to resign after more than three years of service.
More positive, the school board in Hinsdale, Illinois,
the Chicago suburb where the Welsh family lives, has
stopped Boy Scout recruitment through the schools, at
Welsh has informed the United Way in Illinois, which
gives about $225,000 a year to the Boy Scouts, that the
club discriminates on the basis of religion. Welsh,
a longtime supporter of the United Way, points out that
its own requirements state that recipients cannot
discriminate on the basis of such things as religion.
In an incident occurring as an indirect result of Welsh's
lawsuit, the Genoa, Illinois United Way this fall
suspended funding of $1,250 to the local Boy Scouts,
but that suspension is under appeal.
Welsh has also asked the Cook County Forest Preserve
to reconsider its policy setting aside hundreds of acres
for the permanent and exclusive use of Boy Scouts.
Meanwhile, the controversy has effected one family
"Mark's younger sister announced at dinner one evening
that she believed in God, but added that she didn't much
like him. When asked why, she explained with the quiet
reasonableness of a child just turned five that she
believed in him because she wanted to be able to join
the Brownies like her friends across the way, but she
didn't like God because he wouldn't let Mark join
Welsh adds: "Mark still wants to join Tiger Cubs to
be with his friends, and I have no reason to believe
that the volunteer parents at the local pack would not
welcome him. The scout motto is 'Be Prepared.'
If BSA intends to issue invitations to children in
public schools, they ought to be prepared to abide by
the admission standards of public schools and stop
discriminating on the basis of religious belief."
Elliot Welsh is a computer consultant, whose landmark
case Welsh v. United States (1970), decided before the
US Supreme Court, established the right of the
nonreligious to the claim of conscientious objector.