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Any news on gay scouts denied Eagle ranks being reinstated?

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  • #16
    I don't have a problem with a scout's sexual orientation, but I would have a problem with misleading everyone as to what their religious beliefs are when they are in direct conflict with the Scout Law and Oath. Doesn't reflect well on one's honor to pledge anything.

    Stosh

    Comment


    • EmberMike
      EmberMike commented
      Editing a comment
      Ryan has said that he believes in God. Where is the confusion over his religious beliefs? He stated his belief, he fulfilled the requirement in as far as the BSA rules are concerned.

    • Merlyn_LeRoy
      Merlyn_LeRoy commented
      Editing a comment
      "Agnostic is a knowledge based understanding of God"

      No, that's gnostic, from "gnosis". Agnostic is the opposite due to the a- prefix, meaning "not".

      Huxley coined the word, and here's what he said it meant:
      "Agnosticism is not a creed but a method, the essence of which lies in the vigorous application of a single principle. Positively, the principle may be expressed as in matters of intellect, follow your reason as far as it can take you without other considerations. And negatively, in matters of the intellect, do not pretend that matters are certain that are not demonstrated or demonstrable."

    • Rick_in_CA
      Rick_in_CA commented
      Editing a comment
      What agnostic means to you, is up to you. I just use the standard definition.

      The standard definition? As Merlyn pointed out, the term “agnostic” was defined by Though Huxley in 1869 (though he didn’t invent the ideas that the term describes). It basically means that “God is unknowable”. That covers several forms of thought. One (as you pointed out) can be thought of as: “I don’t know if gods exist or not - I don’t know what I believe”. However, this is only one version of “agnosticism”. Another is someone who believes “the true nature of God (or the divine) is unknowable to us”, that too is a form of “agnosticism”, and there are multiple religions that fit that description.

      So when the BSA says that we don’t allow agnostics because they don’t know what they believe, they don’t know what the term really means. So when a Hindu says to me “my branch of Hinduism is basically agnostic”*, he isn’t saying that he can’t make up his mind. And when the BSA says that man is unacceptable, it doesn’t understand what he is saying.

      Nice to know that the discussion has now turned to attacking the person rather than discussing the topic.

      I was not trying to attack you. If I came across that way, I apologize. It’s just that we have to be careful when we throw words like “atheist” and “agnostic” around. The words have pretty broad meanings (a lot of “standard” (i.e. colloquial) definitions are incorrect or incomplete), and someone may refer to themselves using those words, and it behooves us to try and understand what they are actually trying to say before we condemn them for it.

      * this came up in a short conversation about faith with a Hindu man. I wish I had more time to explore the topic with him beyond the explanation of “because God is unknowable”.

  • #17
    I have always been curious about the notion that not believing in God is automatically a violation of the Oath and Law. I'm an attorney, iin our legal system one of the general rules regarding duty is that you cannot breach a duty if you don't have the duty to begin with. So a scout who doesn't believe in God can promise to do his duty to God believing that if God doesn't exist then no Duty to God can be breached. And Reverent is about practicing your own beliefs while being respectful of others. So how is being an Atheist in and of itself de facto a breach of the Oath and Law?

    Comment


    • Huzzar
      Huzzar commented
      Editing a comment
      and lawyers wonder why they get a bad rap. Rolling my eyes..

    • EmberMike
      EmberMike commented
      Editing a comment
      Belief in God in terms of BSA rules is a pretty loose term, so you're right, not believing in God isn't automatically a deal-breaker. But it's not because no duty is being breached, at least not in my opinion. I think it has more to do with the fact that you can fulfill the religious/spiritual requirements of BSA membership without believing in any particular God or any god at all. Buddhism, for example, doesn't recognize a god per se (Buddha is known as and regarded as being a mortal man, not at all a god-like being) but is an acceptable belief system as far as the BSA is concerned. Duty to God is really just a duty to a belief in something greater than ourselves, and can be interpreted in many ways. That greater thing can take the form of God, man, nature, etc.

    • Kahuna
      Kahuna commented
      Editing a comment
      From a fellow attorney: Well said!

  • #18
    Jblake47, The scout has no obligation to allow you or anyone else to examine them on their religious beliefs and if you 'think' they have misled you, then it is possible that part, if not all, of the responsibility for that is yours. There is no place that I can find in BSA documents that state that there is a responsibility for any adult leader to judge or examine the religious beliefs of a boy. Their beliefs are theirs, personally, and not the business of anyone else. If they've signed their name, the best thing for the rest of us to do is to butt out of their personal business.

    Comment


    • Merlyn_LeRoy
      Merlyn_LeRoy commented
      Editing a comment
      "The BSA is quite upfront in saying atheism is a no."

      Unfortunately, they are also quite upfront in saying agnosticism is a no:
      http://www.buzzfeed.com/chrisgeidner...known-or-avowe

      Yet plenty of believers of various religions will also identify as agnostic, because many people have a much better idea what "agnostic" means than the BSA. But that's what happens when you make up rules using words you don't understand.

    • Pack18Alex
      Pack18Alex commented
      Editing a comment
      On a BoR, I asked about Scout Law, in general, in their life, and I asked about Reverence specifically. I'm not looking for a particular answer, but if they are going to give a flip answer in the Troop's BoR, I'd rather flesh that out then than during an Eagle BoR.

    • Huzzar
      Huzzar commented
      Editing a comment
      Nobody is asking any Scout to make a profession. If a Scout tells a BoR to take a hike on any legitimate question it's okay for the Board to deny rank advancement. General questions about Reverence are legitimate.

  • #19
    Ryan Andresen actually does not qualify for Eagle Scout. he does not meet the requirements and yes because he is gay. You have to live by the Scout oath and set a life example that you have done so to others as part of being a scout in general , but particularly to earn Eagle Scout. He took a pledge to " keep himself Physically strong, mnetally awake, and morally straight." He violates the the scout and religious definition the promise is based on to be morally straight. He is no longer completeing his pledge to the defined morally straight of the pledge and requirement so he is ineligable on that alone. If he is gay fine do as you want but your choices will have reprecussions and one is you failed your pledge and requirments as a scout. No bending we all have ways we live and things we honor and this is part of it so sorry but he can not be an eagle scout and if that angers him he might want to start his own organization that suites his beliefs and foundations.

    Comment


    • Torchwood
      Torchwood commented
      Editing a comment
      Morally straight and being "straight" are two completely different things. On page 23 of the Scout Handbook I have in my hands, it talks about respecting and defending the rights of all people. That is the core value that we should be focusing on. I don't care if someone is gay, straight or other, and I certainly don't care if you believe in Christ or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, as long as you treat others with kindness and respect. If you can't respect the rights of others to live their lives as they see fit, as long as their rights don't infringe on anyone else's rights to do the same, then what is really the problem? A Scout is KIND, after all.

    • King Ding Dong
      King Ding Dong commented
      Editing a comment
      Ramen Torchwood. May his noodly appendage touch you.

    • Rick_in_CA
      Rick_in_CA commented
      Editing a comment
      "He violates the the scout and religious definition the promise is based on to be morally straight."

      You do know that the BSA is NOT a conservative Christian only organization, but one that welcomes people of all faiths? That a part of "A Scout is Reverent" is showing respect for people with different faiths than yours (including those that do not consider being gay a sin)?

      Perhaps if the Scout Law is so difficult for you to follow, you should consider a different organization than the BSA (perhaps Trail Life as they are Christian only)?

  • #20
    I wasn't aware of a BSA policy excluding gay youth. Yes there is one excluding gay adults. My impression of the policy change was just codifying that membership cannot be denied a youth that is gay

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