Second Set of Exchanges With NCC Regarding BSA Scout Day Event

Below is the email message received from Mr. Frank on Thursday, March 12, 2009 and below his is my response to Mr. Frank on the same day:

Dear Ms. Downey,

First let me say that I understand and sympathize with the depth of your feelings about this matter. And yes, of course, the Center respects the right of the Anti-Discrimination Support Network to make its views known. Any individual or group wishing to set up a table during the Scout Day event may do so in the Center's First Amendment space, located in front of our building. To make these arrangements, a request must be sent to Indpendence National Historic Park for a permit. The contact at INHP is Frank Eidmann at 215-597-9205.


Steve Frank
VP Education & Exhibits
National Constitution Center
Independence Mall
525 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Dear Mr. Frank,

Thank you very much for your response suggesting the use of the Free Speech Zone in front of the National Constitution Center (NCC). We did indeed use that space in 2007 to set up a "Diversity Appreciation" booth (see attached photo).

More Letters Regarding NCC/ BSA Protest

Below is the response I received from NCC and further down is my follow-up response:

Dear Ms. Downey:

Thank you for your recent e-mail, protesting Scout Days at the National Constitution Center. We appreciate the strong concerns raised by this program. As an institution, the National Constitution Center does not examine the policies, preferences, and beliefs of individuals or groups that visit the Center. Because this is the National Constitution Center, everyone is welcome to come here. Our mission as an institution is to educate people - particularly young people - about the Constitution and our rights and responsibilities as citizens.

The scouts are one group among a diverse array of organizations that we encourage to use our museum and participate in our programs. We are not "honoring" them by providing this program, but simply treating them as we do other organized youth groups. We have offered to provide the same programming to "Scouting for All," a group committed to diversity in scouting.


Steve Frank
VP Education & Exhibits
National Constitution Center
Independence Mall
525 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Protest Letter

National Constitution Center
525 Arch Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106

To Whom It May Concern,

On Saturday, March 14, 2009, the National Constitution Center (NCC) will be honoring the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) with special programs, workshops and activities. Information posted on the NCC website states that BSA will “enjoy a fun-filled day learning about our country while you meet requirements or work toward badges!”

NCC will feature activity tables, workshops, and shows just for Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts! BSA is invited by NCC “to explore the entire museum” and to “earn a commemorative National Constitution Center Fun Badge.”

NCC is offering Scout leaders and parents a Scout packet and agenda to lead them through the day’s activities and events. On that day, Boy Scouts can participate in several activities to earn credits toward American Heritage and Citizenship in the Nation merit badges.

Statistics taken from the new American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS)

Percentage of people who call themselves some type of Christian has dropped more than 11 percent in a generation.
almost all religious denominations have lost ground since the first ARIS survey in 1990.

So many Americans claim no religion at all (15 percent, up from 8 percent in 1990), that this category now outranks every other major U.S. religious group except Catholics and Baptists.

Baptists, 15.8 percent of those surveyed, are down from 19.3 percent in 1990. Mainline Protestant denominations, once socially dominant, have seen sharp declines: The percentage of Methodists, for example, dropped from 8 percent to 5 percent.

The percentage of those who choose a generic label, calling themselves simply Christian, Protestant, non-denominational, evangelical or ""born again," was 14.2 percent, about the same as in 1990.

Jewish numbers showed a steady decline, from 1.8 percent in 1990 to 1.2 percent today. The percentage of Muslims, while still slim, has doubled, from 0.3 percent to 0.6 percent. Analysts within both groups suggest those numbers understate the groups' populations.

Speech Subjects

• Discrimination at the Hands of the Boy Scouts of America
• Rearing Freethinking Children
• Combating Superstitions
• The Life and Work of Thomas Paine
• Women’s Suffrage Movement
• Media Training
• Tree of Knowledge Project
• Unity Convention: Is it possible in the nontheist movement?
• What is atheism?
• The Importance of Keeping Religion and Government Separate
• Saving Ourselves from the TAR Pit of Society
• Celebrating a Secular Life

This information reposted from the notes section of Margaret Downey's facebook, where she is currently most active.

Pet Ten Commandments

1. My life is likely to last 10-15 years. Any separation from you is painful.

2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.

3. Place your trust in me. It is crucial for my well-being.

4. Don't be angry with me for long and don't lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your friends, your entertainment, but I have only you.

5. Talk to me. Even if I don't understand your words, I do understand your voice when speaking to me.

6. Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget it.

7. Before you hit me, before you strike me, remember that I could hurt you, and yet, I choose not to bite you.

8. Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I'm not getting the right food, I have been in the sun too long, or my heart might be getting old or weak.

9. Please take care of me when I grow old. You too, will grow old.

10. On the ultimate difficult journey, go with me. Never say you can't bear to watch. Don't make me face this alone. Everything is easier for me if you are there, because I love you.

"The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion."

- Thomas Paine

Atheist baby naming ceremony

More information about this atheist baby naming ceremony is here.

Tree of Knowledge video by Gregory Walsh

More Tree of Knowledge coverage on this site:


Tree of Knowledge on Fox

Christ out of Christmas article featuring Margaret Downey


Information from the creator of this video:

Atheism, a positive pillar

Atheism, a positive pillar

It’s not easy not believing in God in the USA. That’s why a group of non-believers is trying to shed the strident image of past atheists by promoting a better side of those sitting on religion’s sidelines.

By Tom Krattenmaker

Being an atheist is not easy in this age of great public religiosity in America. Not when the overwhelming majority of Americans profess some form of belief in God. Not when many believers equate non-belief with immorality. Not when more people would automatically disqualify an atheist for the presidency (53%, according to a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll) than a gay candidate (43%), for example, or a Mormon (24%).