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Tag archive for: Boy Scouts

Atheists Saved!

For a brief moment last week, I was saved — and as an atheist, that was new for me.

During morning mass at the Vatican, Pope Francis offered a sort of absolution for heathens. The Lord has redeemed all of us, he said. “Not just Catholics. Everyone! … Even the atheists.”

Well, the world gasped. After 2,000 years of astonishing rigidity and intolerance, the Catholic Church was suddenly handing out pardons?

But ole Franky didn’t stop there. The Vicar of Christ upon Earth (for real, that’s what he’s called) went on to imply that our character is reflected as much by our actions as by any religious affiliation — maybe more. “‘But I don’t believe, Father; I am an atheist,'” the pontiff posited. “But do good. We will meet one another there.”

Wait, did he just …? It sounded like he … What the heaven just happened?

It was an interesting week for infidels all around. The Boy Scouts finally voted to allow gay scouts to join their ranks — while godless lads remain unwelcome. But nonbelievers found a hero in Oklahoma tornado survivor Rebecca Vitsmun, who responded to CNN reporter Wolf Blitzer’s comment “You gotta thank the Lord” by giggling, “I’m actually an atheist.” As odd as it was for a journalist to suggest that she praise God while standing in the rubble of her former home, and as unlikely as it was for Blitzer to get stuck on camera with an “out” atheist in the middle of the farm belt, the woman’s admission inspired thousands of faithless folks to contribute to a relief fund to help Vitsmun and her toddler son. You can even buy “I’m actually an atheist” T-shirts to aid the cause.

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Scouting for Some Sense

Pet Care. Kickball. Archery. Cub Scouts earn a colored belt loop for each cool new skill they master. Strangely, the organization doesn’t make a loop for the lesson that’s being taught to the little boys in Pack 70 of University Park, Texas: intolerance.

The pack’s leaders stripped a fellow dad of his uniform and troop leadership role earlier this month because he’s gay.

That’s all. Just gay.

For two years, Jon Langbert and his nine-year-old son, Carter, were active in the pack; Carter has more than 15 loops on his belt for fishing, woodworking, basketball, and chess.

Langbert was once a Cub Scout himself and treasures memories of building pinewood derby cars with his own dad. But he worried about joining with Carter.

“I was concerned about the gay issue,” he told me last week. “I called the Cubmaster and said, ‘Hey, I’m a gay guy and my son wants to sign up. Is there going to be any problem with that?'” The Cubmaster welcomed him, and the pack even nominated him to run its popcorn-sales fundraiser. A Harvard Business School grad, Langbert brought sales up from \$4,000 to \$13,000 in one year.

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