Yeah, it's been like that for at least as long as I've been alive. I've always thought it was a bit of a holdover from the Baden-Powell days and its foundations in early 20th century Englandia, but some places seem to have strengthened and reinforced the religious aspect. I was in Scouts, and I was also in the Royal Canadian Air Cadets. It's odd how the cadets, which are still tightly paramilitary, could in some ways be much more progressive when it comes to religion, women, and homosexuality.
Different countries have different treatments for these issues. In Canada, the wording is loose and "Duty to God" is preserved as some vague 'spirituality' with no requirement for organized religion. When I was a Scout, there was an annual invitation to a church service, and some inclusion of religion, but everyone could pretty much do their own thing. Probably half of my scout troop were not religious.
Toward the end of my time in scouts, girls were just being accepted into the organization, but were previously discouraged. I know it's called 'Boy' Scouts, but in all fairness, girls didn't have a comparable organization. Girl Guides had a much different focus.
Homosexuality is allowed in Boy Scouts of Canada (as well as many other countries), but I've heard, and seen articles stating that the Boy Scouts of America, at the very least at the national level, still discriminates against 'avowed' homosexuals, both as leaders and as youth participants. I'd wager that individual groups at the local level all have their own spin on the rules, and some troops are much more accepting than others. The only problem is, if one parent complains about noncompliance with the rules on religion or sexuality, they are probably going to win their case.
Unfortunately, the mormons co-opted scouting in the 80's. Sad.
Yup. The three G's cant join "girls, gays and the godless". There's a whole website dedicated to their discrimination.
We pulled our son out of the Scouts because of that and the fact that they are anti-gay.
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