Monday, October 10, 2011

Closet? What closet?

I’m not one to be in a closet.  As soon as I found atheism, I was out.  It never even occurred to be that I ought to consider being in the closet.  I’m just not that kind of guy.  You probably guessed that by now.

But now, things have changed.  My son is getting involved in Cub Scouts.  He really likes it.  I find scouting to be a complete waste of time and energy, but he finds it enjoyable so he can go have fun.  This weekend he went camping with his Nana.  He had a blast.  He went and sold popcorn.  He was very good at it.  He looks forward to meetings and participates well.

Now I know most Scout leaders wouldn’t give a shit if my son is the child of atheist parents.  But even so, I know the official stance of the Boy Scouts of America is to shun those without religious faith.  So for the first time since I became an atheist, I’m in the closet.  Somewhat.

I recently went to a LGBT meeting at my local public library.  It was a really cool meeting.  It reminded me a lot of my meetings for my atheist group.  They told coming-out stories, shared experiences of discrimination, gave support and encouragement to those who had felt lost, lonely or isolated.  That’s exactly what my group does.  They talked about the closet.  It’s never a comfortable place to be.  Now I get it.  I never really did before.

It sucks.  Many of the other parents of scouts are people who we see all the time.  These are my son’s friends’ parents.  We talk often.  Eventually, someone will say something and I am SO BAD at biting my tongue.  It would truly suck if I got my kid kicked out of a group he enjoys so much.


  1. As an atheist myself (like you), I don't find it too be to bad to be "in the closet." I don't think it is really necessary for people to know the inner workings of my mind. With that said, I can see your point and find being "forced" into the closet to be pretty disheartening to anyone. Hopefully you can just enjoy life for what it is, in or out of the closet. Fortunately, at the end of everything, it doesn't matter a whole lot. I'm glad you allow your son to go to Boy Scout meetings despite their idiotic stance on religion and atheism. He enjoys his time there, and most of the other children probably don't know the difference between religion and atheism anyways. While the organization may be flawed, I'd expect the actual people working there may be different then the ideals.

  2. Thanks, Chris. I think my son has an idea of what an atheist is. Of course, that might have something to do with his dad running an atheist blog or two and a Secular Student Alliance group. He tried to wear a "Don't believe in gods? You are not alone" button to a Scout meeting once!

    We eventually stopped going to the Scouts. Not because of anything religious, but the leaders changed and the new one couldn't really run a meeting. He was going to the restroom in the middle of the meetings to break the monotony!

    Thanks for reading!!