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  • FAITH has two meanings

    Just went through the wood Badge course and my ticket is "to help our Scouts recognize the role that faith takes in Scouting". I am a Webelos den II leader this year. Last year I told the parents to go ahead and check off two items under 8e and sign for them (they are AKELA) . I have six Scouts now with their Webelos Badge and they are up to ten activates done, everyone will bridge over this next March. The troop I am with is chartered through a public school so as far as religion goes the diversity is HIGH. I wanted to open our first meeting with an invocation; if you have been to Wood Badge course you have seen that every morning after the flag ceremony there is an invocation and before lunch and dinner. During the second three days our Patrol (BOB WHITES) did an invocation before every meal.

    Well my committee says "NO" no invocation it could destroy our very diverse troop!! So, I have set up with my Catholic church to visit with the Catholic Boy Scouts and they will be able to take on ParvuLi Dei through them. Next I am hopefully going to set up my other scouts through there own religious org. and they can do "GOD AND FAMILY" now all my Webelos will be able to wear the Emblem of faith over their left pocket. This should satisfy my ticket; hopefully! I do not know of any Boy Scout troops in my area that are not chartered through a religious org. and my Webelos will need to experience this change now.

    What I am also thinking is those Scouts that are atheist, how would they earn the Badge of Faith. How does this sound... FAITH has two meanings a noun for being of an religious organization or believing in a higher power. Also a noun of having a high trust In someone, your child or your parent; so would not this mean they have a FAITH. I think this needs to be a round table discussion

  • #2
    Use Scoutlike invocations. There are some very neutral ones out there. 1. A SCOUT'S PRAYER

    Lord, we thank you for this day.
    Help us to do our best every day,
    And forgive us when we slip.

    Teach us to be kind to other people
    and to help them at all times
    Bless our parents and teachers and leaders
    and all the members of Scouting

    Bless us, Lord in your love for us
    Help us to be a better Scouts
    and let us do our best for you



    "Build me a Scout, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory...

    Build me a Scout whose wishes will not take the place of deeds; a Scout who himself is the
    foundation stone of knowledge...

    Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail...

    Build me a Scout whose heart will be clear, whose goals will be high. A Scout who will master himself before he seeks to master others, one who will march into the future, yet never forget the past...

    And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true wisdom, and the meekness of true strength...

    Then I, a Scouter who knew him, will dare to whisper, `I have not lived in vain.'"


    • NeverAnEagle
      NeverAnEagle commented
      Editing a comment
      Typical Christian form.
      A Muslim, Jewish, or any other payer would be very different.

      Muslim: "Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Universe,
      the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful!
      Master of the Day for Judgment!
      You alone do we worship and You alone do we call on for help.
      Guide us along the Straight Path,
      The path of those whom You have favored,
      Not the path of those who earned Your anger, nor of those who went astray. Amen."

      Jewish: "Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe
      Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us
      to light the lights of Shabbat. (Amen) "

      Wiccan: "Make me strong in spirit, courageous in action, gentle in heart.
      Let me act in Wisdom, conquer my fear and doubts, discover my own hidden gifts.
      Meet others with compassion, be a source of healing energies, and let each day be a source of hope and joy.
      So mote it be."

      Buddhist: "May each of us find our true path and learn from our karma and accept each other's evolutionary pathway and not feel, show, or express disapproval with the choices the other makes. May we feel compassion instead of hatred, love instead of anger, and an acceptance not only of others but of ourselves as well. May each of us do all of the above in a mindful way."

      Every religion has it's own form for worship. All too often Christian think the are including others, but don't realize that what they are doing can be very offensive to others. I think many don't truly understand the difference between non-denominational and non-sectarian; or simply don't realize that other religions pray and worship very differently. Probably because they've never experienced anything other than the Christian faith.

    • DigitalScout
      DigitalScout commented
      Editing a comment
      Having been in Jewish and Christian services, the words "Lord" and "Amen" are commonly used by both religions. I'm not 100% sure about Muslim traditions but I believe they may use "Amen."

    • King Ding Dong
      King Ding Dong commented
      Editing a comment
      Digital, Pastafarians use RAmen. So would that be OK to use ? Probably not. Why ?

  • #3
    I would think you would want each boy to lead an invocation that would be acceptable to his own faith. That way, they can learn a little about the others culture. You should give the boys the right to opt out because their belief might be opposed to public expression of religion. Or, the boys are just plain shy. But, if your committee said "no", respect that. You've done that part of your ticket as far as you could.

    You are on the right track in terms of trying to hash this out at your roundtable. And in terms of helping boys of a particular religious persuasion earn their particular award. Also, regarding this, some folks have a thing against earning medals for their religious life, so even among religious families you should tread carefully. Your goal should be that the boy understands a little bit better what he believes, not that he acquires more bling for his uniform.

    Public schools are not supposed to charter BSA units specifically because of BSA's discrimination against atheists. Read the BSA declaration of religious principle an you can get a feel for why there'd be a conflict of interest. Again, this is a problem beyond the scope of your WB ticket, but it certainly impacts the boundaries your committee is setting.


    • #4
      I get confused reading your post because you are talking about Webelos and you keep using the word Troop. Webelos are not in a troop they are in a Pack. Secondly, all of your scouts may not be able to earn the Religous Emblem because their religion may not have one recognized by the BSA. Be very careful bringing up the word atheist in the BSA, some councils are very understanding and will work with a family to find some common ground, others will not. If questioned on the subject, and the response is not satisfactory membership in the BSA can be denied in some circumstances. Pastafarianism is a fun option for many, although there is no recognized Emblem. I am not an official member of The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster but have friends that are. It seems to satisfy both the BSA and many atheists and non-atheists.


      • King Ding Dong
        King Ding Dong commented
        Editing a comment
        The Airing of Greivances is my favorite part.

        The most holy day of the year is next week for my friends. International Talk Like a Pirate Day on the 19th.

      • NeverAnEagle
        NeverAnEagle commented
        Editing a comment
        KDD: Arrrgh you sure??? LOL

      • packsaddle
        packsaddle commented
        Editing a comment
        Religious emblem 'approval' only applies to whether it can be worn 'legally' on the uniform. The emblems themselves are not BSA awards.

    • #5
      So poor old SM will get blindsided by the atheist cub scout.........He will join the troop and at some point between 12-14 he will decide to speak up at a really bad moment. Such as Summer camp during grace.....

      See the thread regarding the supreme being........Not that I am a religious fanatic, but this might be the deal breaker for me........

      So far, not experienced that one yet.....But I have had a 12 year old tell me he is gay, during the ban period.......
      Last edited by Basementdweller; 09-13-2013, 11:38 AM.


      • King Ding Dong
        King Ding Dong commented
        Editing a comment
        So a 12 year child thinks he is gay and you look the other way, but he says the word "atheist" and you toss him out on his smart ass ? He is freaking 12! tomorrow he will probably think he is a Vulcan.

      • Basementdweller
        Basementdweller commented
        Editing a comment
        Depends on the lad....Just a with the Gay fellow.....

        the scout in question would say things for shock value......

        Mr B I am gay......Well exactly what is that.....He fumbled with what he thought it might be. But honestly had no clue......

        A lad who says I am an atheist and fumbled exactly what it was would get the same treatment.

    • #6
      Yeah, technically your Athiest Webelos cannot be members of the BSA. there is certainly no Emblem of Faith they can earn since they don't have any faith in God, eh?

      At Webelos level, we take it to mean that the youth is exploring his faith and whether he believes or not, but that his parents are declaring themselves Athiest. so our pack doesn't kick them out for that. We do encourage them to explore other faiths, and an excellent way to do it locally is thru the 10 commandment hike that Grand Canyon Council puts on, where we visit the house of worship for many denominations, hike to each one, covering maybe 5 miles in the process. We will usually have the standard christian groups catholics, protestant, methodists,etc and LDS but also Jewish, Muslim and sometimes we get Hindu (they usually talk in a park setting along the way). Each group talks about one of the Commandments, how it applies in their religion if it does, and then talks a little bit about their church and opens it up to the youth to ask questions, where you get the questions of why the pastor wears those robes or why the church windows are stained glass or why there are all these symbols on the wall. You could do similar by visiting a few religious organizations/churches in your area to expose them to options, with their parents approval of course.

      However, by the time they are Boy Scouts, they'll need to determine if they have a faith in a higher power or not. They do not have to belong to a religious organization, so they don't have to be a member of a church, and don't have to earn the emblem of faith in their religion, but they have to have a faith in a higher power.

      It is best to have this discussion soon, rather than put it off for the scoutmaster to be caught unaware later on, and it to become an issue of someone getting kicked out.


      • Rick_in_CA
        Rick_in_CA commented
        Editing a comment
        "However, by the time they are Boy Scouts, they'll need to determine if they have a faith in a higher power or not." Really? This is what the BSA actually says about this (from Guide to Advancement, pg. 33):

        "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."

        So the BSA requires a belief in God, but refuses to define what it is. So not even a "belief in a higher power" is required. The only thing required is for a scout to define what a belief in god is for himself, and then to have that belief. Even if that belief is that God is fictional. So atheists are welcome as long as they don't call themselves an "atheist" (according to the people from BSA National I have spoken with it's the label that matters).

      • Basementdweller
        Basementdweller commented
        Editing a comment
        Well pretty sure a lad comes up to me and tells me " Oh mr. b I am an atheist"......I will do a few probing questions and ask if he is sure......Ask my committee of 70 year old eagle scouts what they think....Then he will be out on his smart ass. I know the committee god guts and the old USA not in that particular order.

      • NeverAnEagle
        NeverAnEagle commented
        Editing a comment
        Here is a question: Why does it matter to you, as a SM, what the lads religion is or isn't?

        Did the lad actually say, "Hey Mr. B, I'm atheist." or could you simply let it go and assume he said, "Hey Mr. B, I'm a theist."

        Simply letting atheist spell the word with an extra space could solve a lot of problems. Not to mention that the sentences sound exactly the same!

    • #7
      Oh and it's your ticket, you can change it if you need to. just talk to your troop guide. it's not written in stone.


      • Basementdweller
        Basementdweller commented
        Editing a comment
        And the far left is off

        cue william tell overture

    • #8
      Random religious fact: during a public census in the United Kingdom so many people (tens of thousands) noted their religion as being "Jedi"
      so that the British Goverment had no choice but to accept "Jedi" as an official religion.

      Now all I need is a light saber :-)


      • packsaddle
        packsaddle commented
        Editing a comment
        I've always been partial to Bene Gesserit.

    • #9
      There are no "atheist scouts", by definition. Every parent signs the application for membership, by which they agree to the Declaration of Religious Principles, which is printed in the application. (unless that's been changed, too).


      • #10
        I never understood the need for the BSA to have a declaration of religious principles. I mean, we don't have a declaration of patriotic principles which would refer to the same line in the Oath. Or a declaration of physical fitness. Do we kick out scouts or scouters for being obese or those who maintain dual citizenship or openly state their conscientious objection to govt actions and refuse to participate?

        Shouldn't the only principles by which a scout declares be the oath and law themselves (perhaps also the Slogan)? Why have a special declaration highlighting religion above all other aspects of the oath and law?


        • #11
          Ok, several issues here...

          First, congratulations on going to Wood Badge. I was the Troop Guide in 2011 for the Bobwhites! I am a Beaver...
          So, what is this ticket item completely say. SMART.....How will you do this, when will it be completed, how will it be completed and why are you doing it?

          I get the public school part. My Pack is one as well. We had Jewish, Catholic, Christian, Budhist and who knows whatelse. We did not do a lot of praying, but when it called for it, I said a quick prayer. The Webelos II Den did have a Den Meeting about what "Reverent & Faith is and means." Not a huge issue. Remember, the Scouts is based within the understanding that Religion is part of it. This isn't Public School time. It is Scout time. A Public School Teacher isn't leading the class in the Beatitudes.

          You can get as simple as: The Philmont Grace For food, for raiment, for life, for opportunity, For friendship and fellowship, We thank thee, O Lord.
          This would work for a Blue & Gold, which I actually did. Simple and generic.

          For an opening during Scout Week in Febuary it could be a bit more. has a good selection

          When your on a Webelos overnight for Outdoorsman, you could work in a Scout's Own. Which, again is not based on one religion.
          In the talk we had, each Webelos talked about what religion they are and how they practiced, if they went to church.

          For the Scout who apparently MIGHT be an Atheist, we need to tread lightly here. It very well could be that he does not like Church and says he's an Atheist. So, does he believe in a higher power? It does not have to be GOD or an old guy in a beard.

          Section 8 And do one of these (d OR e): (pasting this in, put 4 & 5 in. I cannot get them out. But they are D & E)
          • Earn the religious emblem of your faith*
          • Do two of these:
            • Discuss with your family and Webelos den leader how your religious beliefs fit in with the Scout Oath and Scout Law, and what character-building traits your religious beliefs have in common with the Scout Oath and Scout Law.
            • List at least two ways you believe you have lived according to your religious beliefs.

              I have also only listed the TWO that you could do without going to a place of worship. This is also easy to do in a Den Meeting. It's part of the program. Not everyone needs to or can earn a Religious emblem of their faith. For example, a Jewish family is non-practicing and does not go to synagogue. But, they are Jewish. The BSA has avenues for that Scout to be sucessful with the two items listed.

              I have not been to church in years, because everytime I look into finding a church, it ends up not being what I want. Sermons are weird and aloof and they always ask for money and it's usually for their own buildings and stuff. Not into that. But, I still believe. God isn't in a house, he (or she) is everywhere.

              So, really, this is pretty easy to have the Scout earn this section. It is also easy to spend time during the Outdoorsman to have this as a Scout's Own. I would explain that this is going to happen on the overnight so no one is caught off guard, but just do it.

              As for the Committee. They need to understand that Scouting has religion in it. What are they afraid of? Are they not trained?


          • #12
            Yeah, the ideas to make a faith more lighter and just get an understanding of everyones faith, or how to run a proper interfaith prayer or program is the way to go..

            The emblem thing is wrong in so many ways..
            First - It is not only the atheist you need to be concerned with, but the boy/family who believe in something, but do not belong to any formal religious group.. That means no religious emblem for "I believe in something".. That would be ALOT of your scouts..

            Second - as a troop guide, although I would be fine with a ticket of "to help our Scouts recognize the role that faith takes in Scouting". Which if that is how you worded it, that is smart, you can take that anywhere, and don't need 100% compliance by all the boys in your group.. Including using the different meaning for faith.. I would not have approved a ticket that had the boys in your den all earning their emblems.. For a lot of reasons.. First, as stated, not all boys can do it.. Second - It is a very personal, long and complicated journey.. though you can encourage it, you can't force it. The boy should have a personal desire to earn it, or it has about as much meaning a homework.. Third - A ticket should never be written where you depend on others to do something or you fail.. It should be something that you have control over at all times.. Something like get a group together, or increase adult leaders trained in my pack are one thing.. But it's another to write it that you will get all your adults 100% trained, or get all the boys to do something.. You can get a group even if it ends up a group of two out of what in your minds eye was 20 or more when writing the ticket, but you can't get everyone to comply, someone is bound to disappoint, and your ticket then rides on their actions and not your actions.


            • duckfoot
              duckfoot commented
              Editing a comment
              I think he is hung up on the boys recognizing a religion and getting the emblem rather than what his ticket goal is, that is helping the scouts understand the concept of faith and how that relates to the program. And that just takes some discussion, and doesn't have to be about one religion.

          • #13
            Don't lose sight of the fact that the religious emblems are NOT BSA awards. They are a program of the churches and should be presented in the church. The BSA has merely authorized the wearing of them on the uniform. When I was unit scouting, we never spend "Scout time" working on religion, per se. I believe it's a matter for the family and scout to deal with within their own church.


            • #14
              Einstein's paraphrase of Spinoza's pantheist "God is the sum total of all the natural laws in the universe" worked for all of eight of my self-declared atheist Scouts over the years, since it does not require belief in the supernatural.

              According to one biographer, Baden-Powell and his theologian father (on whose book, "The Order of Nature," B-P based the spiritual aspect of Scouting) were pantheists.





              As for a pantheistic invocation, how about:

              "Heavenly Father, by definition all knees must bend to Thee, as Thou art the sum total of all the natural laws in the universe."

              An emblem of faith is easy enough: One of those Baden-Powell portrait patches, worn on the temporary patch pocket.

              If you can't find a Baden-Powell patch, simply substitute one of Bruce Tuckman, since nobody in Wood Badge can tell them apart.

              Yours at 300 feet,

              Last edited by Kudu; 09-14-2013, 10:34 AM.


              • King Ding Dong
                King Ding Dong commented
                Editing a comment
                Some would not be comfortable with the "Heavenly" or "Father" part.

            • #15
              O Great Spirit whose voice I hear in the winds
              And whose breath gives life to all the world, hear me.

              I come before you as one of your many children . I am small and weak.
              I need your strength and wisdom.

              Let me walk in beauty. Make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset.
              Make my hands respect the things you have made
              And my ears sharp to hear your voice.

              Make me wise so I may learn the things you have taught my people,
              the lessons you have hidden under every leaf and rock.

              I seek strength, not to be superior to my brothers,
              But to be able to fight my greatest enemy, myself.

              Make me ever ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes,
              so when life fades like the fading sunset,
              my spirit will come to you without shame.

              =attributed to Chief Yellow Lark, Blackfoot =
              Last edited by SSScout; 09-15-2013, 08:21 PM.


              • NeverAnEagle
                NeverAnEagle commented
                Editing a comment
                This is magnificent; thanks for sharing.