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« New Year, Same Old Creationists The RantsSkeptics' Circle #1 »

Astounding Hypocrisy by the BSA
2005.02.02 (Wed) 20:42

We read through Natalie Angier's speech at the Ethical Culture Society (found via Unscrewing the Inscrutable). It's a lovely speech, a must read for anyone who wants to raise intelligent, independent children. Rather than commenting on the entire speech, which we think speaks for itself, we wanted to focus on one particular aspect that caught our attention.

A little while back, we wrote about the Boy Scouts and the fact that they are a faith-based organization, whether they admit it or not. The relevant facts can be found in our earlier Rant, so we won't go through them again. Another point that we made in that Rant was as follows:

The bottom line here is that it isn't the BSA that is the problem — it is the host of politicians who are outraged by this common sense decision to stop government funding for a religious (and non-federal) group. They should really just shut the hell up, and let the BSA go about its business, whatever it may be.

It turns out that the "business" of the BSA in question was even more unsavory than we imagined, and we may have been too kind. Or, more accurately, we should have extended our kindness more directly to the scouts themselves and not to the BSA. As has been reported in recent news, the BSA has apparently been fraudulently inflating membership numbers in order to garner more money from charitable organizations. We picked up on a Yahoo article about this from Les over on Stupid Evil Bastard:

Boy Scout volunteer Tom Willis knew something was wrong when he saw that 20 youngsters on the list for a scouting program all had the same last name: Doe. Willis said it appeared someone was listing fake members to boost enrollment, perhaps to bring in more funding from agencies like the United Way.


"I would say the numbers are probably inflated 30 to 40 percent in our council," Willis said.


The council received millions of dollars from United Way chapters during the six-year period, and is slated to get around $1 million this year.

This isn't chump change, and the investigations have now expanded to include possible similar activities in Texas and Georgia. So, not only did the BSA commit fraud, they did it in an incredibly stupid way. How low can the BSA get?

As it turns out, they can go lower still. Shooting from the hip, we're reacting to an anecdote related by Angier concerning her husband's interaction with the Boy Scouts of America:

[The Boy Scouts] kicked out Darrell Lambert, a model scout if there ever was one, because he refused to say he believed in God, remember? At which point, I'm proud to say, my husband, who was a boy scout and an eagle scout and learned many skills as a scout and had earned many patches and badges, decided to send back his eagle scout medal to the Boy Scouts of America; and he wrote a beautiful essay about his decision for the Washington Post. The director of public affairs at the organization sent him an answer, saying, We accept your decision, but we hope that someday, you will come to be more open-minded in your views.

To whoever wrote this response to Angier's husband: congratulations, you're an idiot! This is hypocrisy at a level so grand it simply infuriates us. The Boy Scouts, who kicked someone out because he wouldn't comply with their religious requirements, hope that the guy who quit their organization to protest that action "will come to be more open-minded" in his views? What controlled substance are they smoking?

It's just a prime example of typical fundy thinking: "Hey, you have to be respectful of our beliefs, culture, lifestyle and demands...you godless intellectual homosexual liberals! Stop oppressing us, or we'll pass far-reaching acts of legislation that make you a second-class citizen."

No, we're not attributing these hypothetical declarations to the Boy Scouts, though their reply to Natalie Angier's husband is only an inch away on the absurdity scale. For the record, remember that a member of the Two Percent Company was a proud member of the Boy Scouts in his youth, and never encountered any of the prejudice, discrimination or hypocrisy exhibited by the core organization. We also don't feel that the young scouts themselves, or individual units to which they belong, should bear the responsibility for the actions of the heads of the organization; but those top dogs should certainly be called out for their bullshit decisions, words and deeds.

The main point here is that every time a fundy — as an agent of any organization, or individually — engages in self-contradictory behavior, or makes a statement in a manner so staggeringly hypocritical, it belies their concern for the rights of others. Clearly, they are only interested in establishing their own rights and privileges, and curtailing others' rights; they don't seem to realize that our system of government is set up to guarantee all people's rights, so long as they do not interfere with the rights of others.

Quite frankly, we're more than a little sick of hearing about how the poor BSA is being repressed. As far as we're concerned, the BSA — the governing body for the Boy Scouts — has shown bigotry, greed, poor judgment, selfishness, and criminal tendencies. Go ahead and defend the scouts themselves — they deserve the sentiment. But the people leading the BSA are dirtbags, plain and simple, and should in no way be exempt from criticism. At any rate, they certainly aren't exempt around here.

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[  Filed under: % Civil Liberties  % Religion  ]


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