News & Blog

Margaret Downey, Boy Scouts Expert, to Speak at Convention

The Boy Scouts of America is now deciding whether or not to lift its archaic ban against LGBT Community members.  Such a change would certainly be a positive step, but it is not enough to call the BSA a bigotry-free organization, as they still openly discriminate against nonreligious children.

Why do you need to be religious to be a Scout?  Why are they considering allowing gays but not atheists?  What has been done in this effort up to now, and (most importantly) what must be done to get the BSA to eliminate discrimination from its repetoire once and for all?

Margaret Downey is known for her activities in this area. According to her Wikipedia page: “Her first major involvement as a publicly active atheist was when her son Matthew Schottmiller was not allowed to renew his membership in the Boy Scouts of America since he was raised in an atheist household. This led to Margaret Downey v. Boy Scouts of America, which did not go far in the courts before the United States Supreme Court‘s 2000 decision in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale that the Boy Scouts constituted a private organization and could thus choose their own membership criteria, thus preventing Downey from taking her case further”.  Since then Margaret has continued to fight discrimination at the BSA through other methods.

Margaret will be speaking about these recent developments at the American Atheists 50th Anniversary National Convention, March 28-31 in Austin Texas.