An 8-year-old barred from becoming a Cub Scout says he's upset he can't join his friends in the organization unless he professes a belief in God.
"I'm just the same as everybody else," Mark Welsh said Monday. "It's just that I don't believe in God."Mark and his father, Elliott Welsh, sued the Boy Scouts of America after the Cub Scouts refused to admit Mark as a member in 1989 when he and his father told them they do not believe in God.
The Welshes say the Scouts are a public group and cannot discriminate. The Boy Scouts argue they're a private organization and that religion is a fundamental part of their teachings.
Elliott Welsh and his wife, Donna Arsenoff, say they're not pressuring their son to fight the Scouts.
"It's his choice," she said. "I wonder how many religious families leave that kind of choice up to their children."
Mark Welsh says his friends in the Scouts are having fun without him and that he was "surprised, sad and kind of mad" at being excluded.
Elliott Welsh testified Monday in the federal trial that he is a former Scout who fully believes in the values scouting teaches - except for belief in God.