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  • #46
    BSA is non sectarian. Those within it are sectarian. No such thing as a non sectarian prayer. Prayer is offered to a deity. Pretending otherwise is silly. Prayers offered not to a deity aren't prayers, they are well wishes. Christians say grace, Jews say Hamotzi, Muslims offer their prayers. The idea of a non-sectarian prayer that includes non Christians is a Christian fantasy. Suggesting that dropping the name of the Christian savior while leading a Christian prayer includes non-Christian monotheist sis insulting to those of us of other faiths.

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    • #47
      There is no non-Christian "grace" it's a Christian prayer. Jews and Muslims offer prayers to Hashem and Allah respectively according to Halacha and Sharia. We don't "offer grace."

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      • #48
        Originally posted by Pack18Alex View Post
        BSA is non sectarian. Those within it are sectarian. No such thing as a non sectarian prayer. Prayer is offered to a deity. Pretending otherwise is silly. Prayers offered not to a deity aren't prayers, they are well wishes. Christians say grace, Jews say Hamotzi, Muslims offer their prayers. The idea of a non-sectarian prayer that includes non Christians is a Christian fantasy. Suggesting that dropping the name of the Christian savior while leading a Christian prayer includes non-Christian monotheist sis insulting to those of us of other faiths.
        OK, I agree with you there. But there are ways to be more sensitive to others without dropping into fantasy.

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        • #49
          Just to let you know...I'm thinking of applying the standards of decorum that were established for MattR's experimental topic recently...if this topic continues to be a discussion that would fit in a 'faith and chaplaincy' forum. Play nice.

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          • #50
            Originally posted by Pack18Alex View Post
            BSA is non sectarian. Those within it are sectarian. No such thing as a non sectarian prayer. Prayer is offered to a deity. Pretending otherwise is silly. Prayers offered not to a deity aren't prayers, they are well wishes. Christians say grace, Jews say Hamotzi, Muslims offer their prayers. The idea of a non-sectarian prayer that includes non Christians is a Christian fantasy. Suggesting that dropping the name of the Christian savior while leading a Christian prayer includes non-Christian monotheist sis insulting to those of us of other faiths.
            This is why Scout's Own poses a severe danger to me of my eyes rolling out of my head.
            The only Jewish boys who've been our Chaplain's Aide have been sort of wishy-washy guys and their closing prayers don't sound any different than the Christian boys who've been prohibited from saying "in Jesus name"--they both say the same stuff and end it with "in your name"
            We had a Buddhist boy as CA, his one time he did his job and held a service on a campout was definitely not non-sectarian, it was Buddhist. Big deal, it was interesting.

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            • #51
              Originally posted by Scouter99 View Post
              This is why Scout's Own poses a severe danger to me of my eyes rolling out of my head.
              Well, I have this conversation all the time. Our Pack/Troop do not participate in them. I won't discipline a boy if he chooses to head over to it, but it doesn't go on our schedule of events at our Campsites, and as a Unit, we do NOT participate in them. It's NOT a matter of content, it's the format of the prayer. Tefillot (prayers) take place at our Campsite each morning.

              Originally posted by Scouter99 View Post
              The only Jewish boys who've been our Chaplain's Aide have been sort of wishy-washy guys and their closing prayers don't sound any different than the Christian boys who've been prohibited from saying "in Jesus name"--they both say the same stuff and end it with "in your name"
              Yup, and while those boys might know that they are Jewish, they have little to no Jewish education, nor know what that means. They are asked to lead a prayer, and they lead a Christian prayer. The fault for that lays within the Jewish community which has done a HORRIBLE disservice to our youth over the past few generations. This boy has a religious experience on a monthly basis, and it's Christian.

              The decision of the American Reform Movement (and defacto Conservative Movement) to walk away from Scouting resulting in Jewish kids joining a Church Youth Group for Scouting is outrageous, and one that the leaders of those Jewish movements will answer to in the heavenly court, not this one. Over a spat about adult issues, they basically threw up their hands and turned Jewish youth over to Christians to teach them reverance.

              Lots of recent discussions because of Scouting and a Boy Scout leading Grace and what it means. We talked about how it's similar to the blessings we say before eating.

              Now, if someone DEMANDED my son participate or say Amen, we'd have a huge row over religious freedom and bullying. But if we demanded that they not say grace before eating, they'd have a huge beef with my over religious freedom and bullying.

              A Jewish youth, in growing in his faith, should be trying to learn the prayers before/after eating and when to say them. Ideally, a short (2 min) D'var Torah (words of Torah wisdom) prepared when asked to give a prayer would be good. But giving a prayer "in your name" just shows that his religious community abandoned him and he was welcomed by another.


              Originally posted by Scouter99 View Post
              We had a Buddhist boy as CA, his one time he did his job and held a service on a campout was definitely not non-sectarian, it was Buddhist. Big deal, it was interesting.
              Well, it's a big deal if someone's religion prohibits them from participating in anyway in a Buddhist religious ritual.

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              • #52
                Pack18Alex, Scouter99 and others, this is taking on characteristics that were not allowed in that experimental thread. I sense aggression and defensiveness in this discussion.

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                • #53
                  There is conflict between between being actively religious and the participation of minority religions. If BSA is really pushing the interfaith as required, they have crossed a line. In encouraging youth to grow in their religion, they will have people that take it seriously, and those religions come into conflict. That's not defensiveness, that's obviously, and what that means to people has different impacts.

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                  • #54
                    I can't disagree with you. It's at this point that Ronald Reagan would be saying something like, "there you go again, Packsaddle" but the words of TheScout have rung true so many times, "The purpose of religion isn't to bring people together". And we demonstrate the truth of his statement in nearly every discussion of this type.
                    I do understand that without provocation, there is less likelihood of or need for defensiveness.

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                    • #55
                      I haven't jumped in on this discussion, but I don't really see a problem with the BSA's approach to this issue of religion.

                      The Oath draws the boy's responsibility towards his own religion... Duty to God. That has nothing to do with what anyone else does or doesn't do. The Law draws the boy's responsibility to be reverent, i.e. tolerant and respectful of what others are doing. It doesn't mean he is required to participate in their activities, just be reverent towards them AND being reverent doesn't not include proselytizing. Anyone that does try and influence another's faith is not being reverent.

                      With that being said, the "definition" of chaplain has changed over the years to include non-Christian religious leaders. So then the rub. If one changes horses in the middle of the stream, so to speak, one's probably going to have some problems along the way or at the very least, get wet.

                      "The purpose of religion isn't to bring people together". ?? The term community is often defined in terms of religious ideology. Most major religions would definitely state their purpose as bringing people together into a like-minded community. The problem isn't in the issue of community, it is in the judgments individuals draw concerning communities other than their own. Wars are not a result of religion, political ideologies or any such simplified justification. They are based on the non-community thinking in terms of "us and them". If you're not part of my community, then there must be something wrong with you and that justifies my attacking you. Community of common respect and reverence combats that way of destructive thinking. Therefore the purpose of religion IS to bring people together. The 10 Commandments is the cornerstone of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It has often been referred to as the minimum requirements for civilization (community).

                      Stosh

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                      • #56
                        Stosh,

                        I would prefer that in these joint meals, etc., Jewish Scouts, especially when 10+ over 13 are present, be encouraged to Wash, make Hamotzi, and Bench afterwards, rejoining their Troops for the meal and being with their co-religionists for the religious portion, than the status quo... The status quo is to adopt the Protestant Grace ritual while leaving out Jesus's name.

                        My suggestion, which obviously requires a "critical mass" of Jews and some of them educated enough to do so, would encourage Jewish Scouts to grow in their religion, instead of being accommodated into the majority one.

                        When our Troop goes to Camp, they don't eat in the mess hall. A volunteer heads to the kitchen, grabs any of the food that's kosher, and brings it back to the camp site, where the Troop eats their meals separate from the group. Such a process works to help our Scouts maintain Kashrut standards at the camp, but fails to offer an opportunity to include Jewish Scouts in non-Jewish Troops an opportunity to participate.

                        At the Cub Scout level, where we camp for weekends and eat by Unit, this is a non-issue.

                        I think that the efforts to offer "non-sectarian Grace" are well intentioned, but NOT productive to encouraging Jewish Scouts to grow in their religion. The example of Jewish Chaplain's Aides offering a Protestant-style prayer is an example of them NOT growing in their religion, but learning to participate in the majority Protestant faith.

                        One side effect of this is that devout Protestants think that they are bending over backwards to include Jews (which they are), and resenting that "it's not enough." I think that it's enough, it's plenty, it's just counter productive if our goal is to encourage Scouts to grow in their own faith.

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                        • #57
                          Trail Life, with it's explicitly Christian and implicitly Protestant flavor, avoids this issue with a dejure religion. As long as BSA wishes to remain non-sectarian in a majority Protestant country, joint religious activities will have a Protestant flavor but in an organization committed to encouraging non-Protestant Scouts to grow in their religious identity, there should be active efforts to encourage them, not passive efforts to not-offend them.

                          I find the Jewish tendency to get offended at public examples of Christianity silly and petty, and would be better channeled into growing in their own Judaism.

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Originally posted by Pack18Alex View Post
                            Trail Life, with it's explicitly Christian and implicitly Protestant flavor, avoids this issue with a dejure religion. As long as BSA wishes to remain non-sectarian in a majority Protestant country, joint religious activities will have a Protestant flavor but in an organization committed to encouraging non-Protestant Scouts to grow in their religious identity, there should be active efforts to encourage them, not passive efforts to not-offend them.

                            I find the Jewish tendency to get offended at public examples of Christianity silly and petty, and would be better channeled into growing in their own Judaism.
                            It's not just the Jewish tendency, it is a tendency amongst all sectarians regardless of their flavor. One group omits parts of their ritual to accommodate another which isn't accommodated one bit. One ends up accomplishing nothing except short changing everyone.

                            So let's apply the principles of BSA - Duty to God per the Oath. So is the scout doing this duty to his God by short changing the prayers? I don't think so. So he's not living up to the Scout Oath. Okay, are the other scouts present, showing due respect and tolerance and reverence to those of another sect when they whine and complain about the rituals of others? Nope, they are not living according to the Scout Law.

                            Are we then as SM's supposed to sign off on Scout Spirit when we see flagrant disregard of the Scout Oath and Law? Or worse yet are we perpetuating it by directing our CA's to do watered down prayers and seek to keep everyone happy when in fact they make no one happy? I guess I would rather have a heartfelt prayer from a Buddhist to his God than have him try to accommodate me just because I am standing near by. I'm not going to starve to death just because I have to have a Kosher vegetarian meal now and then so I can enjoy the company of my friends. I'm sure they would understand it if I were have a ham sandwich instead, but as a courtesy and to show reverence, I'd find either something on the table to eat or go somewhere it won't bother the other participants.

                            Reverence and tolerance always go hand in hand.... such tolerance is my duty to my God.

                            Stosh

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                            • #59
                              Originally posted by Pack18Alex View Post
                              find the Jewish tendency to get offended at public examples of Christianity silly and petty, and would be better channeled into growing in their own Judaism.
                              I think you bring up some good points. For me, what bothers me is not when explicitly Christian prayers are offered, but when they are offered in such a way as to either assume everyone in the room is Christian, or irrelevant.

                              If people would be up front about what style of prayer they are about to offer, and simply acknowledge that there might be people of other faiths in the room, it would go a long way to reducing the feeling that some people have of getting ambushed or preached at.

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                              • #60
                                And how many troops/councils out there are prepared to handle Sabbath worshipers with the current camporee schedules? If one is not dietarily restricted because of physical issues, well they have to make arrangements on their own. They don't need a Padre to preach at them, they have to contend with a ton of more important issues dished out by the insensitivity of the BSA and it's councils/units. Yes a few complain, but the vast majority of them honor their Scout Oath and Law far better than the Christians. A token gesture of dropping the name Jesus out of the prayers just doesn't really cut it much.

                                Stosh

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