Freedom From Religion Foundation Joins “Scouting for All” Protest

The Freedom From Religion Foundation will join “Scouting for All” and other critics of bigotry by Boy Scouts of America in protests held during the BSA’s National Council Conference in Chicago on May 19-21, 2004.

Musician Dan Barker of the Freedom From Religion Foundation will open the Scouting for All news conference on Wedneday, May 19, in front of the Hyatt Regency Hotel, with the song “Why BSA?”–a parody to the disco tune of “YMCA”:

“Young man, did you say you’re a Scout?
I say, young man, if you’re gay, then watch out!
I say, young man, in the new BSA,
There is no way for you to stay.

Young man, do you trust in the Lord?
If not, young man, you’ll be tossed overboard.
They might tell you that all boys are allowed,
But the out crowd’s not the in crowd.

Why, oh why, oh why, oh why BSA?
Are you, are you, are you acting this way?
You don’t have to be scared.
If you’re truly prepared,
You could treat every boy the same way.”

© Dan Barker & Steve Benson
from the CD “Beware of Dogma” (FFRF, May 2004)

Also speaking at the press conference will be Foundation co-founder Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor of the national association’s newspaper, Freethought Today.

“We have been protesting the Boy Scout’s exclusionary policies since the late 1970s,” she noted.

“Although it advertises itself as a fun youth club open to any boy, Boy Scouts of America has a history of blatant discrimination against nonreligious boys. The BSA national office mandates a religious litmus test, forcing the parents of boys interested in joining to sign a ‘Declaration of Religious Principles’ which must be returned with membership fees. The membership form states, ‘The Boy Scouts of America maintain that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing his obligation to God.’ “

Gaylor added: “We think no one get grow into the best kind of citizen believing that it is right and good to ostracise, shun and penalize boys who come from nonreligious homes, or who are gay or have gay and lesbian families.”

At the same time it demands public privileges, support, and favors, BSA argues that it is a private group with the right to discriminate against atheists and gays. On June 28, 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision–in a case brought by a gay youth Scout leader whose membership was revoked–concurring with BSA that it is a private group with the right to exclusionary practices.

“If Boy Scouts of America insists on standing for bigotry, then it should stand alone–without the support of our public institutions,” Gaylor said.

“Scouting for All” protests will include picketing in front of the Hyatt from noon on Wednesday, May 19, continuing each day through Friday. A candlelight vigial will be held in memory of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered youths who have taken their lives because they felt rejected.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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