Atheist Eagle flips the bird at Scouts

By WND Staff

Last week, The Washington Post turned over the left side of the Sunday Outlook section cover to a disgruntled atheist Eagle Scout.

In “For Me, It Was Never About God,” Rick Weiss, a Post science writer and self-professed atheist, recalls camping and knot tying, and concludes that Scouting is really about learning “practical skills and an earthy self-reliance.”

Mr. Weiss piously sent back his Eagle badge to Scout headquarters over the Scouts’ dismissal of Darrell Lambert, 19, a Seattle Eagle Scout who had declared that, darn it, he did not believe in God after all, so there. A weird sort of honor, it seems, impelled Mr. Weiss to fly off with Mr. Lambert into Eagle absentia. It’s a little like a light-in-the-loafers retired veteran hoping to embarrass the army by turning in his captain’s bars over the military’s refusal to accept sodomy as a career enhancer. Take that!

Mr. Weiss relates his own post-Scouting quest: a “mystical” Jewish yeshiva in Jerusalem, a Greek Orthodox monks’ sanctuary near Delphi, an “audience with the Dalai Lama in Nepal,” a session with “orange-robed sadhus in Veranasi, India, Hinduism’s most holy city,” plus “many months in Buddhist monasteries, in some cases taking long vows of silence – twice for six months each – as part of my shot at enlightenment through meditation. I may not believe in God, but am I godless?”

Well, if you take him at his word, the answer is “yes.” But just because Mr. Weiss failed in his spiritual quest does not mean the entire Scouting organization should bend to his demands.

“By some measures, I’ve had more religion than most,” he writes. Indeed.

There is only one measure that counts, and that is God’s. You can go through a lot of “religion” and never have a relationship with God. Finding the Almighty is not like playing Supermarket Sweep, where the contestant shovels as many things into his basket as possible before his time is up. Nor does being wrong or misled lead to the truth that “shall make you free.” Pupils who try 3 or 5 as the sum of “2 + 2” are not necessarily more enlightened than the student who answers “4.” A person who continually “seeks” God without bending a knee to Him is like a person perpetually trying wrong responses to 2 + 2. He may be eliminating false answers, but such answers number “to infinity and beyond.”

Mr. Weiss declares that Scouting is about living “more skillfully in the world, and standing up for what is right.” But as an atheist, how does he know what is right? Without God’s timeless guidance as revealed in the Bible, these folks have equal claims on the truth: Hitler, Lenin, George Washington, Osama bin Laden and Barbra Streisand.

For an atheist, all roads lead to the metaphysical desert of moral relativism, where right and wrong are entirely subjective.

Weiss doesn’t think it would hurt the Scouts to disown their heritage, so long as the boys are out there building campfires. But just as you cannot remove a building’s foundation without bringing the building down, you cannot remove the God-centered worldview that launched and sustains Scouting. It wasn’t Buddhist monks in orange robes who created the Boy Scouts. And it certainly wasn’t atheists.

The Scouts themselves might reconsider their public statements about inclusiveness to make it clear that, while all boys are welcome who subscribe to the Scout oath, and no particular denomination is required, the God who handed down the Ten Commandments is the One who they have in mind. They should do this out of simple gratitude, since Scouting is a product of Judeo-Christian civilization.

Mr. Weiss may have learned a lot from Scouting, but he appears to have skipped crucial lessons about loyalty and gratitude. Well, nobody is perfect, which is why we all need a Savior – every one of us.

When Mr. Weiss takes time for more meditation, he, like any of us, could spend fruitful moments focusing on four verses from the Bible:

Psalm 14: 1: “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.'”

Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Romans 5: 8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

When Mr. Weiss gets right with God, he should ask the Scouts for his badge back. They’ll probably give it to him, because they really are good guys.


Robert Knight, director of CWA’s Culture and Family Institute, earned his Eagle Scout badge in Troop 80, Cape Elizabeth, Maine.