Creed Trumps Deed for Boy Scouts

(Washington, DC) The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) this week gave one of their top ranked Eagle Scouts an ultimatum: affirm a belief in a higher power or quit the Boy Scouts. “This is the kind of lesson the Boy Scout leadership is teaching young men: despite devotion to a cause, despite dedication to others, despite accomplished service, if supernatural beliefs differ, then loyalty is cast aside. Creed clearly trumps deed,” points out Tony Hileman, executive director of the American Humanist Association (AHA).

Darrel Lambert earned the rank of Eagle Scout after ten years of dedication to the organization and community. If Lambert followed BSA’s advice and professed belief in a supreme being, it would be a lie. “I wouldn’t be a good Scout then, would I?” he asked.

The Bedrock of Scouting Values, a BSA publication asserts, “Our commitment is that no child can develop to his/her fullest potential without a spiritual element.” Derek Sweetman, a Humanist Eagle Scout asks, “Why doesn’ t performance alone prove worthiness? If the dedication and service is there, how is the person’s attitude toward religion relevant?”

“Lambert is a prime example that a failure to believe in God does not equate to a failure of good citizenship,” said Hileman.

The BSA is teaching youth to ignore accomplishments in favor of a declaration, sincere or not. By attempting to force a statement from Mr. Lambert the Boy Scouts of America are trivializing the meaning of belief. Hileman declared, “Its time for the BSA to live up to its own standards and end this practice of exclusion.”

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