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Is "Belief in a Supreme Being" an Actual Rule by Now?

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  • #16
    I was referring to God or belief in a higher power within the BSA. One of the anti gay folks said it would be next

    Comment


    • Scouter99
      Scouter99 commented
      Editing a comment
      More like "all of the anti-gay folks knew it would be next." And the pro-gay for that matter.

  • #17
    The 'God or/and religion Issue is something that if its radicaly changed would ave to be done so at an international level, this is an interesting article on the subject from the World Organisation of the Scout Movement http://www.scout.org/information_eve...tual_dimension
    From a UK point of view the God issue exists over here as well, but in a much watered down format, stating that an avowed absence of religous belif is a bar to taking on an adult leadership role within Scouting.

    Comment


    • #18
      The 'God or/and religion Issue is something that if its radicaly changed would ave to be done so at an international level, this is an interesting article on the subject from the World Organisation of the Scout Movement http://www.scout.org/information_eve...tual_dimension
      From a UK point of view the God issue exists over here as well, but in a much watered down format, stating that an avowed absence of religous belief is a bar to taking on an adult leadership role within Scouting.

      Comment


      • #19
        Originally posted by Pint View Post
        The 'God or/and religion Issue is something that if its radicaly changed would ave to be done so at an international level, this is an interesting article on the subject from the World Organisation of the Scout Movement http://www.scout.org/information_eve...tual_dimension
        From a UK point of view the God issue exists over here as well, but in a much watered down format, stating that an avowed absence of religous belief is a bar to taking on an adult leadership role within Scouting.
        Scouts Canada allows atheists, provided they have a "basic spiritual belief" (which isn't really defined - do you have to believe in ghosts?). What is interesting is the WOSM link you provided specifically says no belief in God is required, then dodges the whole "Atheist" question by ignoring what the word means (a non-theist).

        Basically they appear to be saying something of the form: "Atheist is a bad word, so we don't want to apply it to those good atheists over there. So we are going to make up a new definition for the word so we can pretend it doesn't." This is a common way of treating the word by people that haven't really thought it through, or don't understand what the word really means. "Those bad people are Atheists, so those good people can't be Atheists!".

        The same thing applies to the word: "agnostic".
        Last edited by Rick_in_CA; 06-06-2013, 01:26 PM.

        Comment


        • #20
          Originally posted by DWise1_AOL View Post
          Let's try this again.

          I need to
          You need to get over it, or go to the local council and view the bylaws, or hire a lawyer and call the LA Times. Unlike the ban on homosexuals, the BSA's religious stance is right there on both the youth and adult application, it's in the oath, it's in the handbook, it's part of the program. If swearing as an atheist to do your duty to God didn't tip you off that you were going to intrinsically be in conflict with BSA, you either weren't paying attention, or you wanted that conflict. BSA didn't cause your suffering, you caused your suffering when you knowingly and willfully joined an organization which you knew was incompatible with your beliefs. You can camp without god in Campfire USA.

          We've answered your question: Refer to the BSA Declaration of Religious Principle. There are already plenty of websites dedicated to tearing BSA down, I'm sure they can give you the ammo you're looking for.
          Last edited by Scouter99; 06-06-2013, 03:57 PM.

          Comment


          • Merlyn_LeRoy
            Merlyn_LeRoy commented
            Editing a comment
            Well Scouter99, some other people might want to help him. You don't have to involve yourself in this thread if you don't want to.

          • Scouter99
            Scouter99 commented
            Editing a comment
            If some other people want to help tear down BSA, then some other people should join Campfire USA, too.

          • DWise1_AOL
            DWise1_AOL commented
            Editing a comment
            The last person to ask and get an honest truthful answer is a BSA professional. I asked them during the time period I describe (1990's) and they insisted that that "rule" did absolutely exist and that it was forcing them to act against anyone who didn't believe in a "Supreme Being" (curiously while ignoring Buddhists). They even spent a lot of advertising dollars to tell the public about this "rule" and paid lawyers to insist in the court cases that they had created that that "rule" did actually exist. Even our council's SE did the same; he was the one who told me that that "rule" did indeed exist and he promised to send me a copy of the rule, one of many promises that he broke. But then a judge in one of those court cases order our council's SE to show him that "rule", to which our SE finally had to admit in court that that "rule" does not exist.

            The 1990's taught us three sad facts: BSA lies. BSA refuses to honor its promises. BSA violates its own rules. I truly wish that were not so, but we cannot escape reality.

            I have read and studied the DRP along with the Rules&Regs, Bylaws, and the Advancement Guidelines. I did so when asked to sign on as Cubmaster, so I did give the matter very serious thought. Despite your own narrow interpretation, officially published BSA religious policy does not require "Duty to God" to involve YHWH nor does BSA even allow itself to define or interpret what "Duty to God" must mean nor does BSA allow itself to determine whether anyone does his "Duty to God". Rather, one is to perform one's "Duty to God" in accordance with the teachings of his own religious tradition and the determination of performance of one's "Duty to God" can only be made by each individual's religious leaders.

            Scouting is not incompatible with my beliefs. Officially published BSA religious policy is not incompatible with my beliefs. Religious bigotry is incompatible with my beliefs.

            You should try to familiarize yourself with the actual rules. I also offer a working document I had started in the late 1990's and have recently revisited. It's a text file that I just now posted at http://dwise1.net/scouting/timeline.txt . I also recently found a reposting of a message I had posted in rec.scouting around that same time and which delves into these questions much more deeply. It's at https://groups.google.com/forum/?fro...ng/adi4Dl5TlZY .

            If some people appear to want to tear down BSA, it is because BSA is destroying Scouting. BSA is not Scouting. It is Scouting that matters!

        • #21
          Originally posted by Scouter99 View Post
          You need to get over it, or go to the local council and view the bylaws, or hire a lawyer and call the LA Times. Unlike the ban on homosexuals, the BSA's religious stance is right there on both the youth and adult application, it's in the oath, it's in the handbook, it's part of the program.
          Is it? This is what the BSA actually says about it (the current Guide to Advancement, page 33):

          5.0.5.0 Religious Principles
          From time to time, issues related to advancement call for an understanding of the position of the Boy Scouts of America on religious principles. In the appendix (section 11), see the Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America (article IX), and clause 1, Declaration of Religious Principle, from article IX in the Charter and Bylaws of the BSA. The following interpretative statement may help to clarify this position:

          The Boy Scouts of America does not define what constitutes belief in God or practice of religion. Neither does the BSA require membership in a religious organization or association for membership in the movement. If a Scout does not belong to a religious organization or association, then his parent(s) or guardian(s) will be considered responsible for his religious training. All that is required is the acknowledgment of belief in God as stated in the Scout Oath, and the ability to be reverent as stated in the Scout Law.
          See the lovely circular logic? All that is required is a belief in God - the BSA refuses to define what constitutes belief in God. That is for the scout and his family to decide. As for A Scout is Reverent, I believe this is the current wording:
          A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.
          This doesn't define what God is either. So if someone belongs to a religious faith that doesn't have a god (like many forms of Buddhism) or require a belief in a god (like Unitarianism), who believe they can do their "Duty to God" as their faith defines it, the BSA appears to say they can be members. Which is the situation the OP was in.

          So to tell the OP: "stop whining, it's all their in black and white" is incorrect.

          Comment


          • Kudu
            Kudu commented
            Editing a comment
            packsaddle commented

            I noted the derisive tone you employed in your use of the phrase 'you Greenbar fanboys'. Could you elaborate on what your intent was in that? Was it intended to imply that 'you Greenbar fanboys' are hypocritical for some reason? Please explain.
            Presumably because a belief in "leadership skills" constitutes belief in supernatural forces!

            Yours at 300 feet,

            Kudu
            http://inquiry.net/ideals/beads.htm

          • Rick_in_CA
            Rick_in_CA commented
            Editing a comment
            Oh, Greenbar Bill. I didn't get the reference as I never heard him referred to just as Greenbar. It has always been Bill Hillcourt, or Greenbar Bill. When I was a young boy scout I actually got to meet him. A very nice man.

          • DWise1_AOL
            DWise1_AOL commented
            Editing a comment
            Originally posted by Rick_in_CA
            So to tell the OP: "stop whining, it's all their in black and white" is incorrect.
            I respectfully disagree. Yes, it is indeed all in their "black and white", which is to say in BSA's officially published religious policy. The problem is that neither BSA nor the religious bigots who follow their knee-jerk reaction to agree to BSA's violations of its own officially published religious policy ever bother to actually look at that officially published religious policy.

            Unfortunately, the only conclusion I can reach is that BSA knows full well what its officially published policies are, but those are not what it wants to impose. They really do want to impose their own religious ideas, members' own traditions be damned! Of course, they cannot declare this publically, because many charitable organizations, including many United Ways, themselves have requirements that they can only contribute to organizations that do not discriminate. So BSA keeps its "absolutely nonsectarian" rules and requirements on the books in order to parade them to donors, all while refusing to actually live up to those ideals.

            Here's the situation I had seen in Orange County, CA. Orange County's United Way had a definite anti-discrimination policy in place and they presented it prominently to the public. Then when the Randall trial broke, they said that they had to wait for the court's decision. Then when the court decided that BSA was indeed discriminating, UW said that it had to wait for the final decision, but in the meantime their anti-discrimination rules mysteriously disappeared. At one point, our pack's ACM was at a UW presentation at his work-place and basically their position at that point in discrimination was that they arbitrarily chose which organizations to support, basically considerations of discrimination be damned! At present, I visited our UW website and could not find any mention of any anti-discrimination policies. I think that when the California Supreme Court's decision came through, our UW tried to claim that BSA didn't discriminate, but the decision was that BSA does indeed discriminate, it's just that they are not subject to the law.

            In the meantime, United Ways across the state have withdrawn their support for BSA, making them far more honest and honorable than my own local UW.

        • #22
          ... DWise refers to himself as an "atheist" which is understood to preclude belief in God. ... BSA has magnanimously and reasonably taken a stance that allows for the widest interpretation of "duty to god" to the inclusion even of philosophical belief systems that don't have a god, like Buddhism; it's bad form to turn that around on BSA and try to use it against them.

          Sorry, the above makes no sense at all. If a Buddhist or a Unitarian or a Wiccan or a Jew can be an atheist and a member of the BSA, then a god isn't needed, and an atheist who just calls himself as an atheist should be able to join, unless the "duty to god" requirement is so shallow that a label makes all the difference. But that's just stupid.

          Comment


          • sailingpj
            sailingpj commented
            Editing a comment
            Hmm, well perhaps in this area of things it is a good thing that Sea Scouts are not really noticed by anyone. If they wanted to enforce any of that with the Sea Scout leaders in my area they would end up losing units due to having kicked out most of the leadership in the Area. Now that may be a slight exaggeration, but I personally know of at least 5 adult leaders that don't conform to BSA's officially published policies, and are quite upfront about it. I could probably name another half dozen that are a bit more discrete. All of them are great scout leaders. I would not still be in scouting if I hadn't met at least 3 of those first 5.

          • DWise1_AOL
            DWise1_AOL commented
            Editing a comment
            Conforming to BSA's officially pubished policies is one thing. Conforming to BSA's flagrant violations of its own rules is another. I'm not sure where the leaders you mention reside.

            BTW, I was "outed" by a BSA National spy on CompuServe, so you might want to consider COMSEC.

          • sailingpj
            sailingpj commented
            Editing a comment
            I'm not all that worried about that. At least in my council, the few people paid people that interact with Sea Scouts on a regular basis already know who these people are and their beliefs.

            Where I live Sea Scouts is a very different community that the other scouting organizations. There are several adult leaders now that were basically born into the program. Their parents met as scouts, then grew up to be adult leaders and had kids that they brought around the program all the time. Those kids grew up and met people in scouts and are now doing the same with their kids.

            Then we have all the adult leaders that have been friends with each other since they joined in high school.

            The whole community is crazy tight. It makes for interesting political games within the area, but politics and religion are never brought into it.

        • #23
          Originally posted by Merlyn_LeRoy View Post
          Sorry, the above makes no sense at all. If a Buddhist or a Unitarian or a Wiccan or a Jew can be an atheist and a member of the BSA, then a god isn't needed, and an atheist who just calls himself as an atheist should be able to join, unless the "duty to god" requirement is so shallow that a label makes all the difference. But that's just stupid.
          I had a discussion with someone from regional a few months ago, and he said that according to national, the only thing that matters is the label. If someone self identifies as an Atheist, they are not eligible. If someone with identical beliefs calls themselves something else, they are good. He says it's because so many people get hung up on the word "Atheist". So yes, it is stupid.

          And people do get hung up on the word. To many people, it is a very negative word and they have a strong emotional reaction to it. When they here the word "Atheist", they think of "those Atheists" that don't believe in anything, think anyone with religion is a fool or idiot, that will take any opportunity to be obnoxious about it, etc. (While I have met in passing a couple of Atheists that can be obnoxious about it, I don't think I have ever met one that fits the "doesn't believe anything" description). So they assume that anyone that self identifies as an "Atheist" is claiming all the listeners baggage too. That's why you get all the: "I don't consider those people atheists..." kind of discussions when Duty to God is discussed (see the above WOSM link).

          Comment


          • #24
            So maybe atheist need different denominations, so that the respectful considerate atheists can separate themselves away from the obnoxious, disrespectful activist atheists.. I guess you get some of that if you can be a UU atheist and be accepted.. You just need one that collectively defines you without having to go to any group meeting about it.. But, I know my districts Eagle board will ask if the scout believes in a higher power, so that would probably trip up a UU atheist..

            Comment


            • #25
              I would like to clarify here that while self-identified atheists are sometimes members of the UUA, and they are welcomed and respected for their individual beliefs, the UU faith is not inherently atheist (popular and erroneous opinions to the contrary notwithstanding). There are also Buddhist, Jewish, Wiccan, and Pagan individual members of the UUs. But the historical foundation of the UUs goes back to the Council of Nicea whereupon their ancestors in faith rejected the Trinity.



              When I ask a group of UUs today, what is the best way to characterize the UUs, I get as many different opinions as there are UUs in the group. I give them a lot of credit, every last one of them, for making well-reasoned and thoughtful statements about their faith. They really do know something about what they believe.



              On the other hand, if someone wants to argue that UUs are space aliens........

              Comment


              • DWise1_AOL
                DWise1_AOL commented
                Editing a comment
                I am going against what some UUs themselves believe here.

                UUs like to harken back to the Arian Heresy from around the Nicean Council, where Trinitarianism was chosen over Unitarianism. IOW, Unitarianism was basically a revolt against Trinitarianism. But that "heresy" (for what can you call a heresy that has been accepted as dogma?) died out at that time along with its supporting Scripture (outside of whatever has survived that purge).

                Then in the 1400's or 1500's there arose in Transylvania (no, I am not kidding you) a Unitarian movement. Then later in the early 1700's or earlier, an English Unitarian movement arose. While it may have been inspired by the two earlier Unitarian movements, I do not know of any direct connections. That is the tradition that the modern UUA comes from. Joseph Priestly, the scientist who discovered oxygen, was also a Unitarian minister who had to flee the mobs in England and arrived in the American Colonies to found the first two Unitarian churches there; when our church was searching for a name, I suggested naming us after Joseph Priestly, the discoverer of oxygen, "for a breath of fresh air."

                Though I remember one sermon in which our minister mentioned one region of England that the Church of England calls, "The Black Spot", since the Unitarians there are immune to all efforts of the Church to proselytize them.

            • #26
              Oh I know Packsaddle, they are a little bit of everything some having some ties to the faith they grew up in, but disliking something about it, homosexuals that have been rejected by their faith, people who have unique ideas but perhaps do not consider themselves from any formal religious background.. But, there are also atheists among them who just enjoy the community.

              (I think I saw an antennae rising out of the back of the head of one of them the other day.)

              Comment


              • #27
                Originally posted by packsaddle View Post
                But the historical foundation of the UUs goes back to the Council of Nicea whereupon their ancestors in faith rejected the Trinity.
                I made roughly the same comment about Jehovah's Witnesses once, and a friend replied "How dare you demean one of the greatest heresies of Christendom!

                Comment


                • packsaddle
                  packsaddle commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Well, they got the 'heresy' part right at least, lol. No intent to demean anything in that. Actually, I admire their pluck.

              • #28
                Originally posted by Merlyn_LeRoy View Post
                Sorry, the above makes no sense at all. If a Buddhist or a Unitarian or a Wiccan or a Jew can be an atheist and a member of the BSA, then a god isn't needed, and an atheist who just calls himself as an atheist should be able to join, unless the "duty to god" requirement is so shallow that a label makes all the difference. But that's just stupid.
                All of those are religions. At the time Mr. Wise's troubles began he was simply an atheist without any g/God or religion, as he has explicitly written in his testimonial (now linked above). He also saw, read, and had misgivings about the DRP, but he signed on anyway.
                Originally posted by Rick_in_CA View Post
                I had a discussion with someone from regional a few months ago, and he said that according to national, the only thing that matters is the label. If someone self identifies as an Atheist, they are not eligible. If someone with identical beliefs calls themselves something else, they are good. He says it's because so many people get hung up on the word "Atheist". So yes, it is stupid.
                And people do get hung up on the word. To many people, it is a very negative word and they have a strong emotional reaction to it. When they here the word "Atheist", they think of "those Atheists" that don't believe in anything, think anyone with religion is a fool or idiot, that will take any opportunity to be obnoxious about it, etc. (While I have met in passing a couple of Atheists that can be obnoxious about it, I don't think I have ever met one that fits the "doesn't believe anything" description). So they assume that anyone that self identifies as an "Atheist" is claiming all the listeners baggage too. That's why you get all the: "I don't consider those people atheists..." kind of discussions when Duty to God is discussed (see the above WOSM link).
                It may be stupid, but then again how stupid does anyone have to be to push it. You don't get honey by kicking the beehive.

                Originally posted by packsaddle
                It isn't clear from your comment what the relevance is for your mention that Trevorum is a member of the UUA. What's that all about?
                It's perfectly clear from the context of the conversation: Rick claimed that Wise was in "the same position" as atheistic Unitarians as if perhaps it was his Unitarianism which caused him trouble Trevorum is a Unitarian on the national religious committee, so clearly that's not the issue. Wise's situation was unique to Wise as outlined in my reply to Rick at the top of this post.

                Originally posted by packsaddle
                @Scouter99, I noted the derisive tone you employed in your use of the phrase 'you Greenbar fanboys'. Could you elaborate on what your intent was in that? Was it intended to imply that 'you Greenbar fanboys' are hypocritical for some reason? Please explain.
                It boils down to why we're here and why we're Scouters. BD put it better and more succinctly than I could, so I'll refer to him:
                Originally posted by Basementdweller View Post
                So the BSA currently has a black eye......You are helping this fellow blacken the other one....... give it a rest for cryin out loud.....
                And take his wise lead on excusing myself from this flagellation party.

                Comment


                • Scouter99
                  Scouter99 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I got the "empty response" error on this post, but I can see it, so I'm assuming you all can as well.

                • Merlyn_LeRoy
                  Merlyn_LeRoy commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Originally posted by Merlyn_LeRoy View Post
                  Sorry, the above makes no sense at all. If a Buddhist or a Unitarian or a Wiccan or a Jew can be an atheist and a member of the BSA, then a god isn't needed, and an atheist who just calls himself as an atheist should be able to join, unless the "duty to god" requirement is so shallow that a label makes all the difference. But that's just stupid.
                  All of those are religions. At the time Mr. Wise's troubles began he was simply an atheist without any g/God or religion, as he has explicitly written in his testimonial (now linked above). He also saw, read, and had misgivings about the DRP, but he signed on anyway.


                  Uh, so what? Where does the BSA state that you can be an atheist as long as you belong to a religion? Or where does the BSA state that all members have to belong to a religion? Sounds to me like you're just making up rules that don't exist.

                  It may be stupid, but then again how stupid does anyone have to be to push it. You don't get honey by kicking the beehive.

                  To unroll your metaphor, "kicking the beehive" = being honest about ones own religious views. Yeah, we can't have that...

              • #29
                Originally posted by Scouter99 View Post
                At the time Mr. Wise's troubles began he was simply an atheist without any g/God or religion, as he has explicitly written in his testimonial (now linked above).
                And just exactly where in officially published BSA religious policy are those required? And while you're at it, what is the officially published BSA policy on defining or interpreting either "God" or religion?

                For that matter, just exactly what in officially published BSA policy would require the expulsion of an atheist? Please be specific and quote the applicable publication. Please remember that a "rule" requiring "belief in a Supreme Being" did not exist in the 1990's, as testified to in court by the Orange County Council's Exec. But then the question I am pursuing here is whether such a rule has been added to officially published BSA policy. Though that would raise the question of how such a rule could possibly be squared with the rest of officially published BSA religious policy.
                Originally posted by Scouter99 View Post
                He also saw, read, and had misgivings about the DRP, but he signed on anyway.
                Please read what I actually wrote. I read the DRP and, based on officially published BSA policy, found that I was in agreement with it. I would not have signed the application if I did not agree with the DRP, because that would have been dishonest. I still agree with it. Rather, it is BSA that does not agree with it.


                So the question still stands about the current status of "belief in a Supreme Being." Does such a rule exist? Or, like in the 1990's, does BSA continue to appeal to a "rule" that does not exist?

                Comment


                • DWise1_AOL
                  DWise1_AOL commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Originally posted by quazse
                  I was not asking for a definition. I was asking about your stance. Let me rephrase:
                  Do you have a duty to God?
                  No, you were not asking for a definition, but rather I was. In your question, "So, you do believe in God?", what definition of "God" were you applying? What definition of "believe in God" were you applying? That is an extremely important question, because this entire issue revolves around BSA applying its own definition in complete opposition to its own rules that it does not and cannot define or interpret those terms. So if I were to have simply answered "yes" or "no", just exactly what was I saying "yes" or "no" to?

                  I assume that you are a theist and most likely some form of Christian; please correct me if that assumption is in error. Most if not all Christian definitions of "God" are that of a personal God, which is to say a literal supernatural being. The BSA non-rule's "Supreme Being" is likewise a personal God. But not all religion depends on believing in literal supernatural beings. Many religious and spiritual people can use "God" to describe impersonal things and forces, ideals, or even abstract ideas; eg, Nature, humanity as a whole, harmony, Ki. I am reminded of a line in one UU hymn: "Some call it 'God'; some call it 'evolution'." True, many non-theists (ie, those who do not believe in literal supernatural beings) would prefer to not use the actual word "God", considering it to be overloaded with unpleasant and unwanted baggage, but what they believe would still satisfy BSA's "absolutely nonsectarian" requirements. Buddhism is not at all theistic and can even be downright atheistic; the Buddha taught against believing in the gods, because that would only hold you back from gaining Enlightenment. But while some Buddhists will agree to being called atheists, many will not solely because "atheist" sounds too materialistic to them.

                  Theists believe in one or more of the gods. I am not a theist. I do not believe in the gods. I am an atheist and have been one for about half a century. And I am religious. I do have positive beliefs that entail what some non-theists would call "God" even though I would not be inclined to use that specific term. And I do do my "Duty to God" in accordance with my religious tradition.

                • qwazse
                  qwazse commented
                  Editing a comment
                  You've just gone to great lengths to say that "God" probably does not mean to you what it means to me. Well, take a number.

                  I did not ask if you believe in the definition that Christians have attributed to a very ancient word to great effect. What's wrong with just speaking English at face value?

                  If your assertion is that you revere something more elevated than anything else in the universe of things to revere, it seems you've arrived at the end of an ontological proof for God.

                • DWise1_AOL
                  DWise1_AOL commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Originally posted by qwazse
                  You've just gone to great lengths to say that "God" probably does not mean to you what it means to me.
                  Bullshit!
                  Originally posted by qwazse
                  I did not ask if you believe in the definition that Christians have attributed to a very ancient word to great effect. What's wrong with just speaking English at face value?
                  Officially published BSA policy says that your own religious standards do not apply to others not of the same tradition.

                  What part of that do you not understand?

                  Originally posted by qwazse
                  I did not ask if you believe in the definition that Christians have attributed to a very ancient word to great effect.
                  Bullshit!

                  Your very refusal to discuss the various possible definitions indicate your desire to force one particular highly sectarian definition.

                  You very clearly only want to allow a narrowly CHRISTIAN definition to that term. Hardly "absolutely nonsectarian" at all.

                  What part of that do you not understand?

                  Originally posted by qwazse
                  What's wrong with just speaking English at face value?
                  Because it is not specific enough. You can just mouth meaningless mumble-jumble that others can misinterpret.


                  Are you at all familiar with Monty Python's Flying Circus? Nudge-nudge, wink-wink?

                  In one skit, Eric Idle approaches another character (Michael Palin?) and intimates whether his wife engages in kinky sex though all entire through inuendo:
                  "Does your wife? Does your wife? You know ... nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know what I mean, know what I mean?"

                  Well, that was BSA attorneys' approach in the Randall trial. I was subpoened for that one, I was. At one point, the BSA attorney asked me about "God". Well, I was about my wits, I was, Gov'ner. I asked him what he meant by that, I did, Gov'ner. I said that I was confused by his question and I needed to know the official BSA definition of "God" that he was applying, I did, Gov'ner. I saw the plaintiff attorneys wake up just then, though sadly too late. I also saw the BSA defendent attorney back-pedel furiously to get himself out of that quagmire, he did, Gov'ner, glorious though it was to witness.

                  BSA's argument there is straight out of Monty Python. "What is 'God'? Well, we don't define nor interpret that, but we all know what that means, ... nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know what I mean, know what I mean? ... etc." Ad infinitum, ad nauseum.


                  To give you a direct answer, a straight "English answer" would need to be given fully. The "usual English understanding of God" is far to nebulous and completely incompatible with officially published BSA religous policy.

                  What part of that do you not understand?
                  ]

              • #30
                DWise - I am sorry for your experience in scouting as a youth, it was wrong and you were wronged.. You did say you went through years of appeal, so I would imagine it went up to National and probably beyond to the court system.. I am shocked it went so far, and that you were not victorious.. I am surprised it did not get more media attention as a case as to what is wrong with the BSA.

                Our District had a similar case last year. Though it took a week of deliberation and speaking more with the young man's religious witness. But, the young man made the mistake of saying at the board that he did not believe in God.. He went out with his scoutmaster while the board deliberated and the scoutmaster told him what he said wrong.. On his return he corrected himself in saying he was not an atheist, he just didn't believe in God as everyone else did.. The board was about to deny him, but decided to investigate upon the statement he did not consider himself an atheist. Lucky for him the person he put down was a Catholic priest.. the young man went to a Catholic school, yet was not Catholic.. The priest though wrote a statement on his behalf which when I saw it I thought was going to be too wishy washy for the board to accept.. The letter only stated he was respectful of others beliefs and was a good kid.. But, the board decided to consider the boy "In search of" what God means to him, but that he was not a atheist. So he was approved.. Therefore the scout never needed to appeal higher then District's board. Our board has stated that you need to believe in something higher then yourself, but have stated they don't care if it is a rock, tree or lamppost, you just might need a little more explanation as to why the lamppost is a higher entity then yourself, if that is what you believe. Still I wonder, if the boy had not attended a Catholic school, and had a Catholic priest as his witness if it would have turned out so well. But, I am certain that this board would have excepted your UU beliefs and the statements of your minister as equally acceptable also..

                Comment


                • DWise1_AOL
                  DWise1_AOL commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Moosetraker:

                  My experience was not as a youth, but rather as an adult leader.

                  The problem with going through the courts is that you need to find a specific law to base your case on. The Welsh case was based on the federal Civil Rights Act, as I recall, which required him to have BSA found as a place of entertainment or something like that. Because of that, a narrow definition would invalidate the case. It appears that in the case of the Randall trial which was based on the Unruh Act, the same problem applied. It appears that there is no law that requires a private organization to actually adhere to its own self-appointed rules and regulations.

                  In all court cases, BSA won the overall case on technicalities. But they were still found to discriminate.

                  I was a leader. I took a pack that was barely surviving and I organized it into a viable unit. Under my leadership, I insisted that each and every adult leader enroll in every training opportunity that was available to us; as a US Navy Chief Petty Officer, I could expect no less of those under my command. We went from barely surviving to being 100% in all aspects. Although we were a public school unit, we instituted a year-round program. When I was expelled, I informed a den leader that according to BSA my mere presence would irreparably disrupt the pack, her immediate reaction was, "But under your leadership we FLOURISHED!". Under my leadership, we repeatedly informed the pack at large of the religious emblem awards programs and actively promoted it, which was completely in accordance with my own personal religious values that calls for everybody to know everything they can possibly know about their own religious traditions.

                  When I took command, our pack did not have any Webelos program and it had merged the Tiger Cubs into the Wolf den, which had devastating effects on that den leader. I established our pack's Webelos program, taking command of it myself directly; that was only natural, since my best memories from my own youth as a Scout was from Boy Scouts. I also established a Tiger Cub program in accordance with BSA standards. At all the district meetings I attended, our pack was singled out as a success story.

                  At a point, the Cubmaster duties had been passed on to a couple. We were able to find a straw leader for Webelos, but he could not perform those duties because of his commitments to the YMCA Indian Guides program, so I performed the duties of a Webelos den leader, but always in accompaniment of at least two parents who were also officially registered as Members of Committee; my own presence was sanctioned by my younger son being in the den.

                  During all this time, I attended the district roundtable each and every month, first representing the pack and then later representing the troop that my sons were in. When I was attending to my duties with the pack, without my knowledge my pack leadership and our CO rep repeatedly petitioned BSA for my reinstatement. Later when I was representing our troop at the monthly roundtable meetings, the entire district volunteer leadership, without my knowledge, staged a "palace coup" demanding a resolution to my situation. As usual, the BSA professionals made promises to them that they then immediately broke; it' called "smiling them out the door", a practice that BSA is very practiced at.

                  For details, refer to my timeline file at http://dwise1.net/scouting/timeline.txt .

                  The lesson to be learned is to keep BSA as far away from your unit as is possible. The presence of this atheist never ever disrupted any unit, but rather the presence of BSA was extremely disruptive.

                • Khaliela
                  Khaliela commented
                  Editing a comment
                  "It appears that there is no law that requires a private organization to actually adhere to its own self-appointed rules and regulations. . . . In all court cases, BSA won the overall case on technicalities."
                  Preciously why I didn't bother with a case.
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