Isaac Kramnick, the Richard J. Schwartz Professor of Government Emeritus, joins with co-author R. Laurence Moore, the Howard A. Newman Professor of American Studies Emeritus, to write in this Washington Post opinion piece about recent decisions of the Boy Scouts to open membership to new groups — including openly gay members, transgender youths and even girls. Still, they say there is one large group excluded.
"Before we raise three hearty cheers for the BSA’s inclusive turn, it is important to note that one sizable group of young people are still excluded from membership and leadership — nonbelievers," they write. "Even as the number of nonbelievers grows steadily in the United States, the Boy Scouts still require a religious oath."
Kramnick are Moore are the authors of the recently-published “Godless Citizens in a Godly Republic: Atheism in American Public Life.”
"Since 1911, every new member has had to promise, “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country.” The bylaws of the BSA have a “Declaration of Religious Principles,” to which all boy scouts and scout leaders are required to subscribe: “Recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe . . . [is] necessary to the best type of citizenship.”