Repeat after me . . .
On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
And to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
Mentally awake, and morally straight.
That, kids, is the Scout Oath, the words that every Boy Scout recites with two or three fingers pressed against his forehead.
The “morally straight” part almost got settled this year when the Scouts finally ruled that gay boys would henceforth be worthy of joining the club. I don’t think the founders of this organization ever intended “morally straight” to mean “morally heterosexual,” and now they’ve halfway straightened it all out. I say halfway because they still don’t allow gay adults to be Scout leaders. So now you can be gay and a Scout until you reach adulthood, at which time you must amazingly become straight or, more likely, take a hike. Them’s the rules.
But those rules are downright radical when compared to another part of their pledge. We’re talking “God and my country.”
In 2013, if you don’t happen to believe in God, then you’re still on the outside looking in. The Scouts make it very clear: We don’t want no stinkin’ atheists.
So what do you do when your kid wants to join the Scouts, and you happen not to believe in the Big Bad Invisible Voodoo Guy in the Sky?
Pull up a chair, kids, and I’ll tell you about the day my son, Ben, wanted to be a Tiger Scout, and how a little clause in the signup form opened not only my eyes, but his. Continue reading →