Boy Scouts of America will still ban atheists despite lifting ban on gays

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The Boy Scouts of America will continue to maintain a ban on atheists – despite lifting a ban on gay members.

The BSA confirmed this month that it would end a ban on gay adult leaders, after agreeing to lift its ban on gay youth back in 2013.

However, the organisation – which moved to change its policy after a warning that it could lead to costly legal action – has not shifted to remove another ban.

The BSA will continue to enforce rules that ban open atheist from serving – meaning you can be open about being attracted to men, but not about not believing in God.

All members of the Boy Scouts must sign a ‘Declaration of Religious Principles’, which states “The Boy Scouts of America maintain that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing his obligation to God.

“Only persons willing to subscribe to this Declaration of Religious Principle and to the Bylaws of the Boy Scouts of America shall be entitled to certificates of membership.”

The Freedom from Religion Foundation, a secular lobbying group, hit out at a “glaring omission by BSA to stop discriminating against nontheist boys and their families”.

It added that while the ban on gay members has received national attention, the media has “largely failed to point out BSA’s continuing discrimination against boys from nonbelieving homes”.

The group continued: “BSA should just lift its ban against nonreligious boys and leaders in the same way it has lifted the gay ban.

“Nontheist members haven’t even asked that BSA change its religious oath – just that BSA protect scouts’ freedom of conscience like the Girl Scouts of America’s policy adopted decades ago accommodating nonreligious girls.”