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Boy Scouts of America

Boy Scouts of America 

Origin Story 

The Freethought Society was founded in 1993, shortly after its founder and president, Margaret Downey, filed a discrimination complaint against the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Her complaint was filed at the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission citing that BSA was discriminating against a segment of the population — nontheists — even though their Congressional Charter recognized them as an open-to-the-public organization and they recruit in public schools. BSA also receives federal, state and local funding, and it holds a 501(c)3 tax-exempt status. Additionally, the Honorary President of BSA is the President of the United States. The President is supposed to represent all American citizens – nontheists and theists alike.

It took nine years to investigate Downey’s complaint. During that time BSA decided to declare themselves a “private organization.” This distinction was made to avoid serving the public at large and to contend that BSA has a “right of association.”

As of this date (February 1, 2019), BSA demands that every volunteer, Scout, and employee sign their “Declaration of Religious Principles.” This Declaration describes “God” as “…the ruling and leading power in the universe and the grateful acknowledgment of His favors and blessings are necessary to the best type of citizenship. The Declaration also states that BSA believes “no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God.” See the entire Declaration of Religious Principles here.

The goal of the Freethought Society has been to convince BSA that negative stereotyping of the nontheist community is unethical and harms society. The Freethought Society does not seek to destroy BSA but to stop their prejudgement, demeaning membership rules, and inequality in the public forum. The Freethought Society abhors teaching bigotry by example. It is not acceptable to separate nontheist from theist citizens, particularly within the ranks of the world’s largest youth group.

Since BSA has declared themselves “private,” the Freethought Society will make sure that they conduct themselves as such. BSA should not be allowed to recruit in public schools, receive local, state, and federal financial assistance, and benefit from gratuities afforded to other open-to-the-public organizations who do not discriminate.

The articles found in this section of the Freethought Society website exemplify activism, personal stories, and much more. We hope to inspire others to join in our efforts and to help us end BSA discrimination against the nontheist community.

Freethought Society Articles on Boy Scouts of American (BSA)


FTSociety Posts Related to Boy Scouts of America “BSA”

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