My oldest son just started Kindergarten 2 weeks ago. Before school started, I was at a back to school night and there was a table specially for the Boy Scouts of America with a scoutmaster and applications.  I am completely aware of the Mormon and other religious influences, and especially the exclusion and predjudice of atheists, agnostics, and homosexuals.  I was annoyed with the display at back to school night, but today my son comes home with an flyer inviting boys to join the Scouts, and the location is at his elementary school. It is a full page (front and back) flyer, but does not include the words 'god' or 'faith'.

I sent an e-mail to the principal saying I thought it was inappropriate, and cited the BSA's stances on non-theists and homosexuals. I intend to contact the cub master listed on the flyer as well.  This isn't something I am enraged about, but I'm pretty annoyed. Is this something I should be louder about or have I done the best thing by voicing my opposition to the right people?

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That's a great resource, George! Many thanks. I still haven't heard from the prinicipal, but the superintendant will hear from me if I see any more advertising.

If you oldest just started Kindergarten you are going to have a lot more agregious problems come up with the school's, and people of the area trying to push their religious believes on you.  If you take up arms against every slight then you might run out of energy and patience well before the real fight starts.  It does not take long before the school starts seeing you as a "problem parent" and once they see you in that light getting anything done, or any help for you student becomes near impossible.  You might want to consider letting some of the annoying things go so you can save your energy for a different fight.

As a former Cub Scout parent I helped to recruit kids into scouting at my sons school. I didnt like the religious component of Scouts and did not protest against it. There is no Atheist alternative to Scouts so I guess I had to submit to the religious affiliation or drop out. In the end my child had a good time, he is not religious, and all ended well.

"There is no Atheist alternative to Scouts..."


And no atheist after school activities

And no atheist community center

And no children's skeptical society


That is one of the failures, to me, of the skeptical movement. We buy the books, watch the debates, blog battle...all the while the children are still suffering by not learning how to think and question "authority."


If it really bothers you, I would try to start up a skeptical club for youth in your area, once I have more resources I'm going to start one in my area.


It took three weeks for the principal to respond to my e-mail. I had decided to let it go, besides, my family is moving out of state in November.  He said he enlisted help from the school's attorney, and there should have been disclaimers attached to all flyers stating that the school district does not endorse or sponsor any of these groups. He said I have his 'commitment' that all future flyers will be in accordance.

He also brought up the Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act:

The Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act was passed to prevent State and Federal agencies from reducing their support for the Boy Scouts of America (and other youth organizations). The bill was passed in the wake of a number of controversies involving the Boy Scouts of America, such as their exclusion of gays and atheists, and subsequent attempts to limit government support of the organization.

In particular, the bill states that no school receiving Department of Education funds:

shall deny equal access or a fair opportunity to meet to, or discriminate against, any group officially affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America, or any other youth group listed in title 36 of the United States Code (as a patriotic society), that wishes to conduct a meeting within that designated open forum or limited public forum, including denying such access or opportunity or discriminating for reasons based on the membership or leadership criteria or oath of allegiance to God and country of the Boy Scouts of America or of the youth group listed in title 36 of the United States Code (as a patriotic society). From Wikipedia


Guess who signed this badboy? Good ole W, of course!



As with every faith-influenced organization I personally have come across, (YMCA, Boy Scouts, summer camp in general) nearly every gay man I know, experienced their fist sexual experience in these places. Not at all trying to add to the overly-cautious nature of a paranoid society. Just illustrating yet another example of the lack of ability to live up their own standards. (Oh wait, that would be taking responsibility for their own actions.) Scratch that: GOD's own standards!




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