In columnist Noah Feldman’s May 15 op-ed, “Mormons’ breakup with Boy Scouts is disappointing,” he expressed sorrow that the long-happy marriage between the organizations ended in divorce. He praised the Boy Scouts for deciding to admit gays and allow girls to participate in activities in the renamed “Scouts BSA.” Mormons decided to disaffiliate. But to their credit, Mormons have evolved culturally in the direction of tolerance. Black men finally became eligible for the priesthood in 1978 after church leaders received a “revelation” on the issue. And on Dec. 6, 2013, the church renounced its doctrine that brown skin is a punishment from God.
Regardless, Mormons and Scouts still share an unstated bigotry against atheists. Scouts and leaders must agree that “no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God.” Many open atheists have been refused Scout membership, though those who pretend to believe are admitted. Even though our military allows atheists to serve openly and nobly, adult atheists with an honorable military discharge are not deemed morally fit to serve as Scout leaders. I hope that Scouts BSA will eventually evolve to be as tolerant as the Girl Scouts, who treat lesbian and atheist girls as equals. Who among you is willing to say that the Girl Scouts are not as morally straight as the Boy Scouts?