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  • #16

    Sorry to hear you got the "I'll get back to you" line from your DE, but it isn't too surprising. Hopefully he understands that there is a young man hanging in limbo (note intentional use of lower-case "l", no religious reference intended) and really will get back to you. The fact that he went on your troop hike with you sounds like a good sign generally, even apart from this particular issue. I don't think I have ever once seen a DE when he/she was not "on the clock".

    In reading the various posts on here, one thing that stands out that it is up to the Scout and his parents, not the troop, to make sure the Scout abides by his family's religious beliefs. That means the family's actual beliefs, not necessarily the "orthodox" beliefs of his religion. So if my parents thought it was ok for me (as a youth) to eat bacon on camping trips, it was - and my father was right there eating it too. But in this particular case, we know that the Scout is aware that he cannot recite the Pledge of Allegiance and intends to abide by that restriction - he said so himself, and he was the one who brought it up. So it's not a question of the Scout/parents not following the rules of their religion, they seem to be following them - at least as far as the Pledge goes. Now, as some others have brought up, there may be other issues - what about the Scout Oath (or Promise, if that helps). What about the requirements regarding flag etiquette, folding, etc. (We do still have those somewhere, right? I'm the advancement chair but I admit I don't know all the requirements by heart). Maybe there are some requirements for Cit in the Nation, for example, that might be a problem. I think I am coming around to partial agreement with qwazse that AFTER you get the "official line", you sit down with the parents and the Scout together, and go over them what the Scout will be expected to do throughout the advancement program, including any information about "accommodations" you might get from your professionals. Then they can decide whether the program is for them.


    • #17
      I don't have a Problem with a JW Youth or anyone willing to abide by the BSA Rules. I simply said follow the Rules or don't join. If the JW wishes and agrees to follow the Rules then they can be a Boy Scout. I have simply pointed out where problems with a Devote JW would arise, Like it or not. I never said Disallow the Scout simply because he was a JW.

      I simply stated many reasons why a True Jw would not be able to participate in Scout. These Events include Flag Ceremonies, Christmas Parades, Veteran's Day Parades. Such as I pointed out many events a JW would not Participate in due to religious Beliefs. According to BSA Rules they would be require to attend events outside of regularly scheduled meetings.
      Second Class: Since joining, have participated in five separate troop/patrol activities (other than troop/patrol meetings), two of which included camping overnight.Participate in a flag ceremony for your school, religious institution, chartered organization, community, or troop activity. Explain to your leader what respect is due the flag of the United States.
      First Class: Since joining, have participated in 10 separate troop/patrol activities (other than troop/patrol meetings), three of which included camping overnight. Demonstrate the principles of Leave No Trace on these outings.

      Sit Down and List the Last 12 Months of Your troops Activities besides Troop and Patrol Meetings. List what your Troop has Done.
      ​Interestingly I find it kinda funny that after 1st Class attendance at Troop/Patrol activities seem no longer required beyond regular Meetings or Camp outs.

      Star :Be active in your unit (and patrol if you are in one) for at least four months as a First Class Scout.. A Scout Could Attend only 4 Camp out in that Time Frame, No troop Or Patrol Meetings
      Life: Be active in your unit (and patrol if you are in one) for at least six months as a Star Scout. Could just attend a Troop Meeting 1 time 6 Months
      Eagle: Be active in your troop, team, crew, or ship for a period of at least six months after you have achieved the rank of Life Scout. Scout attended 6 meetings in 18 Months
      Using the Logic Around here..You could say after 1st Class a Scout does not have to attend anything except Troop/patrol Meetings to be considered Active to advance since there is not a specific Number or defined number of events. Nor do they have to do it in Consecutive Months because it does not say it. Up until first Class it states activities other Than Troop/patrol Meetings and Limited the Number of Events allowed on Camping toward advancement. Camping Requirements are by Event not Days..So a 14 Day Trek at Philmont would be 1 Event not 14



      • moosetracker
        moosetracker commented
        Editing a comment
        Again, those rules allow you to ADVANCE.. The only rules for youth that I know of that say you can not join at all is the (soon to be defunct) outwardly gay, and the atheists rules (adults have more like not having any serious convictions and not being an undocumented immigrant).. There is no time limit that you MUST make the rank of Scout by blah.. blah.. month of joining or you are kicked out..

        So I don't see the "FOLLOW THE RULES OR NOT JOIN".. I think that is rather harsh and brittle and unwelcoming myself.. I know plenty of kids who do not join to advance in rank..

        NJCubScouter - although I agree it is up to the parents.. Because it sounds more like they will be kicked out of their religion for not following the religions rules, rather then need to go to confession and say a few hal Mary's or just not follow them because they don't believe that part of their religion.. I think I would feel better that they break those rules knowingly rather then in ignorance. So would want to learn what I can and sit down to figure out where there are problems and what we as BSA can do to work around the issues, and what they would either need to accept in the inability to rank advance or what rules in their religion they feel comfortable breaking or questionably finagling to get any rank advancement. I would feel very guilty if I knew they could be ex-communicated for what they were doing, said nothing.. Then had them crying on my doorstep when they got ex-communicated.
        Last edited by moosetracker; 09-30-2013, 12:05 AM.

    • #18
      moosetracker commented
      Today, 03:53 AM
      That is the first badge.. I have known scout to take a year or more to earn it, no one from council came around and told them they had to leave the troop because they were taking too long to earn the patch.. This scout might never earn it is all. It doesn't matter if he never earns it, no one can or will kick him out because of it !!.... I am sure that at some place, at some time BSA has enrolled a child that for mental reasons and/or physical reason could not ever complete the tasks necessary to earn the scout badge.. It might say joining, but once you sign the application, and pay your membership fee your a member.. Once council gets the paperwork processed you get the insurance.. You can go to summer camp and on any outing scout related.. No one checks you over and tells you to 'get out' because you have not earned the scout badge. There is no time limit... Period..

      On the other hand the openly homosexual and atheist is more then just under the Undefined "Morally Straight" clause.. If that was the only place it was, BSA could not win court battles against people who are kicked out of scouting because of it. It is under things you agree to when signing the membership application, and they can kick you out for lying on your application.
      Last edited by moosetracker; Today, 03:56 AM.

      You Will Notice it Says BOY SCOUT JOINING REQUIREMENT not RANK REQUIREMENTS RIGHT? If This Is a Rank and Not simply Joining Why is there No Alternatives for Scouts with Learning and Physical Disabilities like Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class?

      You Know I went and Pulled up an Official Boy Scouts of America Application you Mentioned Both Youth and Adult..I looked There is Nothing about Religious Preference nor Sexual Preference on It...Can you post an application with those on it stating No Homosexual or Atheist?

      Excerpt from the Declaration of Religious Principle
      The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing
      an obligation to God and, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but it is
      absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. Its policy is that the home and organization
      or group with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life. Only persons willing
      to subscribe to these precepts of the Declaration of Religious Principle and to the Bylaws of the Boy Scouts of
      America shall be entitled to certificates of membership.

      Program Policies
      Chartered organizations agree to use the Scouting program in accordance with their own policies as well as those
      of the BSA. The program is flexible, but major departures from BSA methods and policies are not permitted. As a parent, you should be aware that
      • BSA adult registration is restricted to qualified people who subscribe to the precepts of the Declaration of Religious Principle, the Scout Oath, the Scout Law, and the BSA Standards of Leadership.
      • Citizenship activities are encouraged, but partisan political activities are prohibited.
      • Military training and drills are prohibited.Marksmanship and elementary drill for ceremonies are permitted.
      • While Boy Scouts of America recognizes the importance of religious faith and duty, it leaves sectarian religious instruction to the member’s religious leaders and family.
      • Members who do not belong to a unit’s religious chartered organization shall not be required to participate in its religious activities.
      The BSA Declaration of Religious Principles
      (Reprinted from the 1987 printing, 1976 copyright, of the Charters and Bylaws of the Boy Scouts of America. The "Declaration of Religious Principles" are found in Article IX, Section 1, of the BSA Bylaws.)
      The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizenship without recognizing an obligation to God. In the first part of the Scout Oath or Promise the member declares, "On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law." The recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe and the grateful acknowledgment of His favors and blessings are necessary to the best type of citizenship and are wholesome precepts in the education of the growing members. No matter what the religious faith of the members may be, this fundamental need of the members should be kept before them. The Boy Scouts of America, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. Its policy is that the home and the organization with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life.
      ACTIVITIES. The activities of the members of the Boy Scouts of America shall be carried on under conditions which show respect to the convictions of others in matters of custom and religion, as required by the twelfth point of the Scout Law, reading, "Reverent. A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others."
      FREEDOM. In no case where a unit is connected with a church or other distinctively religious organization shall members of other denomination or faith be required, because of their membership in the unit, to take part in or observe a religious ceremony distinctly unique to that organization or church.
      LEADERS. Only persons willing to subscribe to these declarations of principles shall be entitle to certificates of leadership in carrying out the Scouting program.
      The Boy Scouts of America has a definite position on religious principles. The following interpretative statement may help clarify this position. The Boy Scouts of America:
      BSA Religious Principles
      (Reprinted from the 1992 edition of BSA's Advancement Guidelines: Council and District Functions.)
      1. Does not define what constitutes belief in God or the practice of religion.
      2. Does not require membership in a religious organization or association for enrollment in the movement but does prefer, and strongly encourages, membership and participation in the religious programs and activities of a church, synagogue, or other religious association.
      3. Respects the convictions of those who exercise their constitutional freedom to practice religion as individuals without formal membership in organized religious organizations. In a few cases, there are those who, by conviction, do not feel it necessary to formally belong to an organized form of religion and seek to practice religion in accordance with their own personal convictions. Every effort should be made to counsel with the boy and his parents to determine the true story of the religious convictions and practices as related to advancement in Scouting. Religious organizations have commended the Boy Scouts of America for encouraging youth to participate in organized religious activities. However, these same organizations reject any form of compulsion to enforce conformity to establish religious practices.
      4. If a boy says he is a member of a religious body, the standards by which he should be evaluated are those of that group. This is why an advancement committee usually requests a reference from his religious leader to indicate whether he has lived up to their expectations.
      Throughout life, Scouts are associated with people of different faiths. Scouts believe in religious freedom, respecting others whose religion may differ from theirs. Scouting believes in the right of all to worship God in their own way.

      Still Nothing Clearly Define about Atheist or Homosexuals... Got another Source you want to Quote as a Reference?

      Again we are Not Talking about Advancing..We are Talking about a Scouter agreeing to abide by the Boy Scouts of America Oath(Promise), Scout Law, Outdoor Code etc..

      BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA ...have always left it up to Individual Leadership to decide if a Youth Lives up to The Boy Scouts of America Standards...Boy Scouts of America does Not Clearly Define because they want and Need Charter Organizations to Pay Money to them. Without Charter Organization Boy Scouts of America is Nothing except a Name.
      What would Happen If Units kicked out every scouter for Failure to Live up to their "Perceived Interpretation" of Boy Scouts Of America Rules...Scouters would leave and find a Unit they Liked..Simply Pay $1 to Transfer to Another Unit.
      Last edited by jpstodwftexas; 09-30-2013, 05:52 AM.


      • #19
        Respectfully ask the the new recruit if his religion will conflict with staying in the Boy Scouts. Then, when the opportunity presents itself, you can have a respectful conversation with his parents. It's possible that his family's JW convictions may be weak and they are thinking about leaving the religious group. I would accept him in the Troop if he is willing to follow the joining requirements. How far he will go with the Troop is up to him and his family.


        • #20
          Wouldn't the Boy Scouts encourage a tepid JW to become more devoted to his religion?


          • NeverAnEagle
            NeverAnEagle commented
            Editing a comment
            Absolutely not! As you can see from some the post here he's not a "real christian" so he shouldn't be welcomed in to the troop period. (Sarcasm intended)

            Of if we do accept him he should be forced to reject his beliefs and do as all the others do because it makes the "good Christians" feel uncomfortable to know that there are others out there with differing beliefs who might possibly want to be treated with respect. (gasp!)

          • Huzzar
            Huzzar commented
            Editing a comment
            Last edited by Huzzar; 03-17-2014, 10:25 AM. Reason: Didn't realize how old this thread was. :-)

        • #21
          I could try to come up with a better example but it would be difficult to beat this demonstrate the mess we get into when people and organizations try to poke their noses into the private beliefs (or worse, try to control the beliefs) of others.

          If the CO for the unit I serve wants to exercise some kind of control over the beliefs of the scouts in this unit, they are free to knock themselves out trying. But it's not in my job description. If BSA wants to continue to wallow in this quagmire, they are free to do that as well but there's nothing that says I have to do the wallowing for them. It's THEIR mess of THEIR making and they can lie in it. If a boy or a leader fills out an application and signs it and if the CO has no objection, I'm sending it up the line. And if the council and BSA want to create controversy and strife by enforcing their 'rules', I'll be glad to step aside and let them take the heat. It's not part of my job to question the beliefs of others and act as an 'enforcer' for BSA.


          • dcsimmons
            dcsimmons commented
            Editing a comment
            Pack, I'm curious to know how far you'd take the "shrug it off" approach and get on with scouting. If a scout refused to light a camp fire because he believed the gathering of firewood disturbed the natural environment, stole nutrients from the forest floor, promoted unsustainable forestry practices and contributed to global warming, would you allow him to skip that requirement for second class? If a scout came to you and said he was a Satanist and therefore refused to contribute to service projects because the ingrates didn't deserve his service would you give him a pass on service hours? Extreme examples maybe but the same principle.

          • packsaddle
            packsaddle commented
            Editing a comment
            dcsimmons, I don't know how I would react to those cockamamie situations. Both of them are about advancement, not membership. Anyway, if I confront one of them I'll let you know. But the situation in this thread is real and has happened. In some sense I've already confronted it, just not with a Jehovah's Witness. To me the question is who has responsibility for 'policing' the membership policy. With respect to matters of beliefs, I am neither interested nor competent to judge others. No place in the training or in those 'rules' does it mandate that I 'police' the faith of scouts or their families. They either sign the application or they don't. The CO can decide to reject them for whatever reason they want and so can BSA. But all I do is make sure they put the needed information on the application and sign it. If they don't sign I don't send it up the line. If they do, I do.

            Really, is this THAT complicated? We've been wringing our hands in this thread when all that was needed was to let the professionals demonstrate the genius of their vision and make that membership decision. After the application leaves the CO, it's really up to them anyway. And after reading this thread, it's obvious that WE are not up to making that decision. So let our intellectual and moral masters at the council, whose clarity of thought is incomprehensible to the rest of us, make that decision. It actually IS in their job responsibilities.
            Last edited by packsaddle; 09-30-2013, 09:09 PM.

          • packsaddle
            packsaddle commented
            Editing a comment
            NeverAnEagle, In this thread I am acting as an advocate for the boy. Is this not obvious? Yes, BSA could reject the application. BSA successfully defended their right to reject memberships for any reason they wish, in front of the Supreme Court. I'm a volunteer and I don't have the ability to 'override' the geniuses in the professional ranks. So I'll defend the boys against other volunteers who DO think they have the responsibility and are qualified to judge boys in matters of faith.

        • #22
          As others have pointed out the Jehovah Witnesses FORBID their members from joining boy scouts period. Allowing him to continue will result in him being asked to leave his faith tradition so you are playing fast and loose with his and his families religious beliefs and status in their tradition. Unless the parents tell you they are leaving the JW's you allowing this to continue is playing with fire and is totally irresponsible.


          • packsaddle
            packsaddle commented
            Editing a comment
            '...playing with fire...'

            I disagree. We have no idea what decision-making process they engaged in to make this decision and really, it's not for us to 'second guess' what some third party might or might not do. If this boy and his family made a choice, then so be it. It isn't my job to restrict their choice just because I 'think' something might happen. They probably know these things far better than I do. I'd respect their choice and let them bear the consequences if there are any. That's the nature of personal initiative and personal responsibility.
            Last edited by packsaddle; 09-30-2013, 03:17 PM.

          • BadenP
            BadenP commented
            Editing a comment
            NJ I am good friends with several JW elders and they verified what I said is true if the boy continues in the scouts he will be asked to leave his faith tradition. If the SM continues on the current path the boy and his parents will be asked to leave their faith tradition. Sad but true the SM needs to act more responsibly in this case find out the parents intentions regarding their faith then act accordingly. Look up the JW website for yourself to see what they do and do not allow and why the BSA is NOT a good fit for their boys.

          • NJCubScouter
            NJCubScouter commented
            Editing a comment
            BadenP, it seems to me that it is up to the parents to act in accordance with their own beliefs, which they presumably know better than the SM.

        • #23
          I will say this...I was an Atheist as a Kid...I never believed in God. However I decided to Join Boy Scouts. I was raised Patriot. I was raised saying the Pledge of Allegiance Daily in School.
          I knew and Understood that I would be required to say "phrases" every meeting that mentioned God. I quickly learned I could be both an atheist and a Scout by following those rules.
          I knew that " My Duty to God" was different from everyone else, I knew I could be Reverent by following the rules of Respecting the Religions beliefs of others. I was never grilled over religious Views.

          Every Scout Event to this Day.. I have said and will continue to say Loud and Proud
          "On my honor, I will do my best
          To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law;
          To help other people at all times;
          To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight."

          A Scout is:Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.

          I pledge Allegiance to the flag
          of the United States of America
          and to the Republic for which it stands,
          one nation under God, indivisible,
          with Liberty and Justice for all.

          I choose to be a Member of the Boy Scouts of America and to follow its Rules not stand my idly while all the other "real" members followed the Rules. I was not Forced by anyone.
          While a youth I never Missed a Scout Sunday, sitting Reverently in the Back of Grant street Methodist a Clean Full Scout Uniform nor did it Kill Me to proudly present the Colors anywhere. I also participated in the Easter Pageant in the Wichita Mountains at the Holy City many Years. I Participated in Parades
          It Never killed me to Do a Good Turn Daily and It still don't. A while Back I simply return stray shopping cart to the buggy area instead of leaving them rolling around the spaces because people were to lazy to walk a few feet. Participating in scouting is Doing So in all Events.. Not standing By watching others


          My Only regret in Life was missing out for very poor reason on Scouting as an Adult from 1986 - 2011. In the Military I had No choice, and many jobs have kept me on the road or unavailable to attend events.

          I believe in GOD I still have a Problem with CHURCHES
          Last edited by jpstodwftexas; 09-30-2013, 04:26 PM. Reason: Spelling and Gramar


          • King Ding Dong
            King Ding Dong commented
            Editing a comment
            Jp, you have a lot of great things to say. Are you having fun with learning text editing ? The big fonts are starting to sound like shouting.

            BTW, I don't have problems with churches, I have a problem with CLERGY.
            Last edited by King Ding Dong; 09-30-2013, 05:21 PM. Reason: Left out fun

        • #24
          Somethings need Shouting.. but Yes I am having Fun with the Editors. Joining Scouts is About Participating in Scouts. Not Participating Is Kinda Like sitting at Home saying your Part of Football Team because You don't wan't to get sweaty.


          • King Ding Dong
            King Ding Dong commented
            Editing a comment
            Lol. Or a woman who wants to be married but doesn't want relations because it is "messy"

          • moosetracker
            moosetracker commented
            Editing a comment
            Depends.. If the troop is active in hiking, canoeing, camping etc.. and the boy enjoys these things, he may not be able to participate in all of scouting, he can't do the advancement stuff.. But it is like sitting at Home saying your part of a football team.. It's more like just showing up for the games but missing parts of the warmup and exercise sessions.

        • #25
          Hey All-

          Sorry to resurrect this old thread, but I thought I'd provide an update.

          I ran into our DE at a scout event and tried to pin her down on it. She did some admirable bobbing and weaving, but eventually it came to "BSA has no problems with JW -- it's the other way around, so you need to discuss with the family and make sure they understand what is required."

          So, our CC sat down with the boy's mom (not deliberately excluding dad -- he just doesn't speak much English). She considers her family as "not particularly devout" and doesn't have any problems with her son saying the Pledge. It was something she told him long ago and she didn't even remember saying it. In the meantime, he's been part of our flag ceremonies, and also stands and salutes the flag while saying the pledge. My son goes to the same school (where they also say the pledge) and he says he does it there as well.

          Looking at the joining requirements, it says: "Repeat the Pledge of Allegiance." It doesn't say "swear fealty" or anything like that. It doesn't even say "Repeat the Pledge of Allegiance and agree to follow it." (although many may say that is implied).

          So, for now, I've given him his Scout Badge. I didn't want him to be the only boy in the troop without one. When we get to Tenderfoot, we'll see where it stands (since that's when you agree to follow the Oath and Law).

          Thanks, everyone, for all the feedback and discussion.


          • #26
            DF: Don't be sorry. I somehow missed this thread the first time 'round. As in many things religious, we often have more things in common than not. Us Quakers (and I do not speak for all of us, just those that agree with me) traditionally hold to five main testimonies, Biblically based ( I'll not go into all the particulars) historically, but some would deny that.
            Jesus instructed us to not swear at all, but simply let your yea be yea and your nay be nay. We therefore are advised to avoid all "judicial "oaths, but promising to do something "on our honor " is certainly OK..Idolitry is a no-no. Saying one thing and doing another is not desirable. So most Friends avoid saying the PoA. No harm in reciting and being knowledgable about it, just not in "saying" it officially. I also have read parts of Mein Kampf and Das Kapital, but doesn't mean I agree with them.
            I have never had anyone challenge me when I step back and stay silent when others salute and say what they think is appropriate.

            I am in agreement with BP when he says a boy's family's faith is up to the parents, and it is up to us Scouters to second their efforts.