Wow… 11 days and no blogging. Sorry. I’ve been really busy, and there’s so much political fodder right now between Fallujah and the 9/11 Commission, it seems a shame to waste it. Then again, it’s getting pretty well worn by the media.

So I might as well take a shot at the Boy Scouts instead. My eldest son just graduated from Cub Scouts, and we went to the first Boy Scout Troop meeting the following week. Now I’ve had issues with the scouts for years. I think the fact that they categorically discriminate against gays and atheists is unconscionable. However, this seemed to be more an issue with the national organization, and I could rationalize my kids’ participation at the local level on a “don’t ask, don’t tell” basis. However, on the first night of Boy Scouts I was confronted by their policies with no room to hide.

The very application form requires the scout to agree to the Scouts’ Declaration of Religious Principle. Further, any adult even volunteering to help out, needs to sign a similar statement. I can’t. And I’m not sure my son can either.

But here’s the rub. I can live with the Scouts declaring themselves a private religious organization and reserving the right to exclude whomever they want. (It’s interesting to note that the founder of scouting was a man in England who wanted an organization which wasn’t associated with the church and was open to all boys. European Scouts is still that. But the BSA has sought to “improve” on the formula. But that’s an aside.) The BSA can’t seem to decide whether they are private or not or even religious or not. They recruit at schools, they get free access to public lands and government facilities. They can’t be a religious organization and do that. Yet they have made statements in court that they are a “religious organization”. It seems they are whatever it is convenient to be. As if I didn’t have enough against them, they’re hypocrites too.

In fact, their hypocrisy even extends into the application of their own Declaration of Religious Principle. The principle clearly states that the requirement is a belief in a monotheistic deity. This should include Christians, Jews, and Muslims (and interestingly, Satanists). But it should exclude Buddhists, Hindus, and most eastern faiths. It should exclude American Indian faiths, Pagans, Druids, Wicken, and other polytheistic and pantheistic faiths. But the BSA has openly admitted Buddhists and Hindus, and told a Seattle teen that they would let him stay if he could conjure up a solid belief in Mother Nature. The only ones they are dead set against are atheists and agnostics – and they are adamant about that. They have gone to court to defend their right to exclude us.

So to summarize, the BSA is a bunch of ignorant hypocritical homophobes with a fear of the godless. And I want my kid in this organization why?


Waxing non-political for a bit I have to recount an adorable tale.

Yesterday the family celebrated my nephew’s 2nd birthday. Grandma rolled out the requisite cake replete with two candles to the lucky boy. In addition to twin pillars of fire, the cake had one of those realistic pictures of a firetruck on it, the irony of which was lost on the little boy. Nonetheless, this was perfect as this particular little boy is positively obsessed with trucks of any kind. He made a number of dips into the cake with a probing finger and gleefully licked off the icing.

Then his mom starting cutting up the cake and passing pieces around the table until they found a hungry face. He watched, fascinated, as the pieces were removed. As the last plate arrived under a poised fork, he turns to his mom, points to the cake, and says, “Back together. Put truck back together.”

Mom says, “Oh honey, this truck doesn’t go back together.” He scans the table, looking at the rest of us joyfully stuffing our faces with bits of his firetruck. He looks back at the cake and eyes up the mutilated vehicle. The horror dawns on his face and the tears begin to roll. He was inconsolable for several minutes during which most of us were trying desperately not to laugh. Then Grandma saves the day by telling him there were presents.

“Presents? I got presents! Go get boxes!” And down he goes from the table, frosting still on his chin, tears drying on a smiling face. Suddenly we couldn’t eat his firetruck fast enough.