Kansas Boy Scouts
In the continuing controversy over the exclusion of Atheists and
gays from the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), the BSA has found itself in
court again. This time, its discriminatory policies are being questioned
in the heartland of America -- Kansas.
Brad Seabourn, a member of American Atheists, was an Assistant
Scoutmaster for seven years, serving with honor. That is, he was until
he questioned the BSA policy that "no boy could grow up to be a good
citizen without recognizing a duty to God." In a personal letter to the
Council President, he stated that he knew this was wrong because he was
an Atheist and was just as good a citizen as anyone else. As a result of
his statement, he was expelled in 1991.
Subsequently, Mr. Seabourn, who lives in Kansas, filed two suits in
Riley County [Kansas] District Court in 1992. The first sought
reinstatement as an Assistant Scoutmaster and the second asked for
injunctive relief to prevent being barred from participation in a summer
BSA event with his son during the summer of 1992. The injunction was
The suit for reinstatement was filed under a Kansas public
accommodations law requiring all businesses to not discriminate on the
basis of race, religion, etc. The judge hearing the case was a former
Eagle scout and he dismissed the suit. Seabourn then appealed to the
Kansas Court of Appeals, but the Supreme Court of that state removed it
to its jurisdiction.
Oral arguments in the case were heard on Wednesday, September 14. A
decision is not expected until October 28.
American Atheists congratulates Brad Seabourn for his activism. Many
other members of its volunteer system are taking on the BSA in other
ways, primarily challenging public school endorsement or promotion of
@ Origin: American Atheists Online (512) 302-0223 (1:382/1006.0)