So I’m in a quandary…
My youngest son decided a few months ago that he wanted to join the Boy Scouts. (When I was a kid, I wanted to be a Boy Scout as well. I actually went to a meeting when I was in sixth grade, but there were only two of us there so the troop never formed.) We have been trying to get him involved in some kind of activity for a while, so we were kind of excited when he said he wanted to do this. I took him to the first meeting and it seemed like a good thing.
We went to the second meeting and all was well. He decided to stick with it, and now he goes every week. He’s even been on a weekend campout with the troop and had a decent time- minus the flooded tent and a bit of throwing up in the middle of the night. He’s earned his first merit badge, and seems to be getting along pretty well. It’s kind of nice that he has something to be involved in that he is excited about and that was his idea.
But a couple of weeks ago, the assistant scout master asked if I was willing to get a little more involved. Maybe I could be start training to be an assistant scout master or at least a volunteer… Yeah, sure. I would love to be involved.
The Boy Scouts require all of their members and volunteers to affirm a belief in god.
That’s not a problem for my son. He still goes to church with his mom and (I guess) believes in the magic man in the sky. He knows that I don’t believe all of that. We’ve even had conversations about what an atheist is and what the difference is between an atheist and someone who just doesn’t go to church. But that’s not the problem.
To be a scout leader or volunteer, I would have to sign a form professing my belief in a god of some form. I’m not sure I could do that. I would love to be involved and go on camping trips with him and maybe even help out in a more formal fashion, but I can’t sign something that isn’t true.
I’ve tried to rationalize this by considering a humanist point of view, (and this is my finagling of the definition) that humans are the “higher power” in the world, and thus “god”. I’ve even read articles that show that Buddhists and Universalist Unitarians are accepted as scouts even though they don’t necessarily believe in a god, per se.
I don’t know what exactly to do.
Maybe I’m still trying to work out my openness as someone who doesn’t believe in a god to be able to come to a conclusion.
Maybe I’ll have a discussion with the leadership next week and see what their opinion is.