I always cringe when a boy scout from the congregation asks me to work on their “God and Country” badge. The degeneration of religion to a kind of magic dust to place on our own purposes defeats any kind of meaningful ethics. Instead of the symbol “God” lifting my own will to consider what my choices mean to everyone else, such religion lifts my own purposes and those of my country to universal status.

My own church has had to reluctically decline requests to use our building for scouting events so long as they continue their discrimination against gays, but it is every bit as sinister to reject young boys because they do not believe in God.

Huffington Post has a piece linked below on the furor over a movement to allow scouts in England to use a nontheisic “values based” oath to join. Unsurprisingly religious people who think they have copyrighted truth and righteousness objected. Priest Peter Mullen wrote. “[T]he original boy scouts were not anything so woolly as ‘values-based’, which might mean anything from ancestor worship to declaring paid-up membership of the Amalgamated Coven of Tree-Huggers: they were founded as a Christian organisation.”

Many boys submit to the scouting oath out of peer pressure and the desire to belong to a group. It is a form of child abuse to pressure a young boy to commit to intellectual absolutes before the age of reason. It is a crime against humanity to propagandize a young boy to swear loyalty to nation, before he has discerned his duty to humankind.

Watch the full segment on HuffPost Live