So this brings me to a question for anyone who can answer; something I have been wondering about.
I believe that the Unitarian church recently has reaffirmed their relationship with the BSA after a period of self-imposed exile. Since the Unitarians accept atheists in their ranks, does being a Unitarian satisfy the religious affirmation requirement? Even if that Unitarian is an atheist?
Yes it does. This is how it was explained to me by someone from National: "If the person doesn't have a belief in a god, it's fine as long as they don't use the word "atheist" to describe themselves. If they call themselves a Buddhist, a Hindu, a Taoist, a Pantheist, a Unitarian, or a ... then they are OK. It's the label that is the problem, not the belief. The BSA is not in the business of judging anyone's faith." - or words to that effect, it was quite a few years ago.
I think part of the problem is that a lot of people don't know what the word "atheist" really means. They think an atheist is someone that thinks anyone that believes in God is stupid (there are some atheists that do think that, but that is not inherent to being an atheist), which is incorrect. An atheist is simply a non-theist. There are priests out there that are atheists, there are entire religions that are atheistic in nature. But many people still think an atheist is someone that will automatically insult their faith, instead of just being someone with a different faith. Hence the "atheist are bad" idea.
I have even met atheists that claim they don't believe in any sort of god, or a soul, or an afterlife, or anything "spiritual", but insist they aren't atheists because atheists are "bad" and they aren't that. It's a very misunderstood word.
Of course part of the definition problem is in order to properly define "atheist", you need to define "theist". And to understand that you need to first come of with a definition of "god" or "deity", and to do that ... (and down the rabbit hole we go...).