Ali (age 5): Hi Dad!
She's so happy, it seems unnatural to me.
Will (age 8): Hi Dad.
Will, he's a happy kid too but in that geeky way. Nothing makes him happier than talking about his favorite superhero show Ben 10. I can understand that.
I traded hellos with the Wife and sat down. I saw a flier from Will's school. It seems the local fascist cell was seeking adherents.
Will: Dad, can I be a Cub Scout?
Under normal circumstances I'm pretty straight forward with the kids (in an age appropriate way). First thing in the morning I'm a bit more... direct.
Will just looks at me.
Will: How come?
Me: We don't give our money to those people.
The Wife gives me a hard look.
She and I are both Atheists. We don't argue about whether we raise the kids as non-Sky Fairyists. There are occasional issues about how religion is presented, however. I am a bit more blunt (hard to imagine, eh?) about being anti-superstitious. The official policy for the kids concerning people who believe in God is: God is an imaginary friend a lot of people have. People do not realize that he is not real. Do not tell them God isn't real because they will get mad at you.
Me: Listen, if I'm going to tell Will and Ali that people have an imaginary psychotic friend named God then they are ready to hear that we don't give money to those people.
At that point the topic was dropped because everyone in our house (maybe not the dog) is a slave to time on school mornings. Teeth needed to be brushed, backpacks double checked, and Ali needed to feed the dog (that's right my 5 year old has a chore). At 8:30 I walked the kids to school and I drilled Will on his spelling words in between his philosophical reflexions on what Ben 10 alien kicks the most butt.
I know the Cub Scout issue hasn't been fully resolved yet. I'm not satisfied with my Because I said so response. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against the idea of scouting. I was a Cub Scout when I was Will's age for a year. It didn't scar me in any way... it was just lame. Even at the age of 8 I didn't like putting on a uniform and the Den Mother's apartment where we met kinda smelled like... moldy socks... it struck me as unhealthy. However, my moldy sock smelling past is not the reason why Will won't be a Scout.
The Cub Scouts are junior Boy Scouts. The cubs can be 7 - 11.5 years old. The stated purpose of scouting (from their site)-
■Try new things.
■Provide service to others.
■Reinforce ethical standards.
Well, any reasonable person would be OK with that. I'm all about my boy trying new things, helping people who need it, and following the Golden Rule. Sounds like these people are all right.
So what could my problem be with the Scouts?
It seems that the Scouts have hid a bunch of child molestation accusations over the years and have settled out of court.
Well, that would give me pause to consider sending my child to an organization that has Perversion Files. I may as well send him to the local priest with a bow tied around his neck. I'll give the Boy Scouts credit though, starting June 1, 2010 they required all volunteers and staff to undergo Youth Protection training. I guess they couldn't do something like that earlier because they had campfires to light.
There is that anti-gay policy that the Scouts have. It seems that gays just don't have the right stuff to be in scouting. You see to be in scouting you have to be "morally straight" and the Boy Scouts don't think being gay is moral. The Supreme Court agrees that the Boy Scouts can discriminate against gay people in the case Boy Scouts v Dale (click here for link).
This alone would be a deal breaker for me. If I wouldn't have my boy participate in an organization who discriminates against African-Americans then I certainly wouldn't send him to an organization that discimainates against gays. Discrimination against people who are homosexual is the same as discrimination against any other group.
If I needed another reason why not to send my boy to the bigotted and sexual abuse prone Cub/Boy Scouts is that they wholly support Sky Fairyism. They loooooove God. Here is their code.
I ________ promise to do my best
To do my duty to God and my country,
To help other people, and
To obey the Law of the Pack.
They take this God thing seriously too. The Boy Scouts in their quest to be morally clean and straight (their words not mine) prevent Atheists from being in their organization.
Boy Scouts of America believes that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God. Accordingly, youth members and adult volunteer leaders of Boy Scouts of America obligate themselves to do their duty to God and be reverent as embodied in the Scout Oath and the Scout Law. Leaders also must subscribe to the Declaration of Religious Principle. Because of its views concerning the duty to God, Boy Scouts of America believes that an atheist or agnostic is not an appropriate role model of the Scout Oath and Law for adolescent boys. Because of Scouting’s methods and beliefs, Scouting does not accept atheists and agnostics as members or adult volunteer leadersHmmm... they believe one needs to believe in God to become the best citizen. I guess that means any God. They'll take in Muslims. If you work hard you'll get your In the Name of "Allah" God Emblem (no, I'm not making this up, click here and see). Really? You'll take in Muslims before Atheists? Hasn't Islamophobia helped out Atheists at all?
This is Purgatory.