Atheist scout seeks help from pro-gay scouting group

BY Advocate.com Editors

October 31 2002 12:00 AM ET

Eagle Scout Darrell Lambert has earned 37 merit badges, worked more than 1,000 hours of community service as a high school senior in Port Orchard, Wash., and helps lead a Boy Scout troop in his hometown. But Lambert was told by the Boy Scouts' regional governing executive that he had one week to declare belief in a supreme being in compliance with BSA policy or quit the Scouts. As a private organization, the Boy Scouts is permitted to exclude gay people and atheists from membership.

"We've asked him to search his heart, to confer with family members, to give this great thought before any decision is made," Brad Farmer, Scout executive of the Chief Seattle Council of the Boy Scouts, told The Sun of Bremerton. "If he says he's an avowed atheist, he does not meet the standards of membership of our traditional programs and as such cannot participate. We would return his registration fee to him and wish him the best."

But Lambert, who has been a Scout since he was 9, said he won't profess a belief he doesn't feel, saying it amounts to a lie. "I wouldn't be a good Scout then, would I?"
He said he wants to fight the requirement and seeks to take Boy Scout rule-making authority from the national council and give it to the individual units. He added that he is seeking help from Scott Cozza of Scouting for All, a California-based group that advocates for gay and atheist scouts.

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