Boy Scout Leader Kicked Out For Atheist Beliefs

Boy Scout Leader Kicked Out For Atheist Beliefs
PORT ORCHARD - A local Boy Scout's lifetime dream of being a Scout leader ended abruptly Monday when the Scouts ousted him because of what he believes -- or doesn't believe.

Darrell Lambert is a true blue Boy Scout. The 19-year old Port Orchard man believes in truth, loyalty, and all the other Scout principles -- except one.

"I don't believe in God," says Lambert. "I don't believe there's a supernatural or a higher being out there."

Lambert's atheism was never a problem during his 10 years in the Scouting organization until he became an assistant Scout Master. At a training conference, he told other leaders of his beliefs, saying it is wrong to kick out kids who don't believe in a god.

"It's a disgrace," adds Lambert. "This country was founded on religious freedom and here we've got the Boy Scouts of America defying those religious freedoms."

But when Lambert made his views known, Scout leadership said he had to choose: His beliefs, or the Boy Scout's.

Monday, the organization made its own decision: Lambert is out.

"We don't define God," says Scout spokesman Mark Hunter, "but we ask that each of our leaders subscribe to that, our declaration of religious principles."

Lambert's response? "It's a disgrace and it's saddening that they'd do something like this."

But the Scouts say as a private organization that does not receive federal funding, it has the right to require its members to believe the same principles.

"Although we respect his beliefs," says Hunter, "his right to choose what he believes, we're just asking that our belief system be respected as well."

But Lambert isn't giving up. He says what he learned as a Scout guides him now. So he plans to appeal, hoping to change the organization he says he still loves.