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Christian Objection to OA

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  • #16
    Here's my answer:
    The Admonition is the command Christ gave to his Disciples. Anyone who obeys that command can't go much wrong.


    • #17
      With all due respect this is just silly. Dr. Goodman, the Order of the Arrow's founder saw no conflict. Dr. Goodman served many a year as a church youth leader, and lay minister. this whole concept is like saying Cub Scouts ranks and symbolism are based on animals, so the organization is practicing shamanism, and goes against my christian beliefs. This is an extreme over reaction to a whole lot of nothing.


      • #18
        Very interesting.

        First, I agree with Beavah

        And, when my son was elected, I researched, and then researched some more. I read the ceremonies for the different levels. I read the catholic priest's complaints about the organization. Quite honestly, if you have not googled this to read his comments, you should. They make sense to me.

        But, I also believe Beavah's comments about a boy's ability to withstand such pressures to change his beliefs are correct.

        I see the Masonic influence on the OA, and the "desire" or "goal" to worship "something" but not God. Of course, most boys think it is all hokey anyway. The nail in the coffin, though, was when the OA didn't allow my wife to observe. It just solidified my thought that the OA really does have an agenda, even if some or most don't see it. (This is a source of another thread, so please don't hijack here). I simply mention this as it plays into the thought that there could be some dark forces at play.

        So, do I allow the scouts in my troop join the OA, have elections, etc. Yes I do. If any of the scouts would become active (none of them really are) would I pass the priest's comments on to their parents--yes. Let them make up their own minds. If you were to believe that the ceremonies would be taken literally, and, follow all of the "OA needs to be secret talk" espoused by the adults on this site, you could classify the OA as a cult.


        • #19
          correct me if I am wrong, but Goodman was also a Mason upon which the OA was or may have been patterned. As the Mason's have had religions objections lodged against it, it is not a far step to associate the same objections to the OA.


          • #20
            "correct me if I am wrong, but Goodman was also a Mason upon which the OA was or may have been patterned."

            A few things here.

            While Goodman was a Mason, he joined AFTER the OA was established.

            Any masonic influences in the OA did not come from Goodman, but from a third individual who was working with Goodman and Edson.


            • #21
              It has been a long time since my Ordeal and Brotherhood. I can not say if the ceremonies that impressed me then are the same as in use today.
              Scoutson has said, regardless of my encouragement, that he would not accept an OA nomination, because he (1)knows all about serving others already by my and our family and Meetings example, (2) is already too active in Scouts, 4H, Meeting (he is now at 17 a full member of our Maintenance Committee), and school and (3) does not seek extra "bling" on his uniform (his words).
              That said, I find it hard to understand how any person, religious leader or not, can object to an organization whose goal is the encouragement of selfless service to others. Isn't that what Christ was all about?
              I do not remember any worship of a diety, per se, in the ceremonies. I could be wrong in that, but I don't remember anyone saying "worship THIS in THIS manner, or else" anywhere in the OA cermonies. I don't remember any directed "please join me in" prayer. I remember some boys in psuedo indian garb, playing indian, invoking some hokey idea to help a Scout realize the benefit, both to him and to others, of "joyful service".
              Catholic priest doesn't see a Christian basis for OA? Well, "Do unto others" isn't necessarily only a Christian admonition either. It comes up in every faith around the world in some rendition or other.
              My short stint as a Demolay member was kinda like that. I learned some more history, but I didn't need the ceremony to see the benefit of serving others. I had enough in Scouts, Key Club, OA, Church, my dad's Lions Club (junior member), and such.
              Maybe we need to make sure the OA is still about camping and service and let it go at that.
              If you know the priest, recommend he read Seton's ""The Gospel of the Redman".

              Faith and Chaplaincy forum, anyone?
              (This message has been edited by SSScout)


              • #22
                SSS - I personally don't have any objection to the OA on the basis of religion, but I do think you might be somewhat trivializing the arguments being made by religious leaders:

                That said, I find it hard to understand how any person, religious leader or not, can object to an organization whose goal is the encouragement of selfless service to others. Isn't that what Christ was all about?

                Well, two things: selfless service to other's is not the OA's only goal or practice. And Christ was not all about it either. And I think that's where religious leaders might be getting a little uncomfortable with the OA - in the "other" areas.

                Modern religions seem to have a very complicated set of beliefs, rules to live by, rituals and philosophies. I think it's somewhat of a disservice to a religion to reduce these types of discussion to "Well, the OA says to help people, and you say to help people, so what's the problem?" Because the religion in question probably has a long, rich history that's much more complicated than your simplification.

                I guess I don't see it as a huge problem. I personally have no great love for the OA, but I'm very much in favor of making it available as an optional supplement to the main stream Scouting program. If it's something you're interested in getting involved in, great! If you don't want to get involved, that's no problem either - regardless of whether it's incompatible with your religious faith, or because you just don't like dressing up as an Indian.

                It doesn't necessarily mean that there's anything wrong with the OA, nor does it mean that there's anything wrong with a religion whose traditions aren't compatible with the OA.


                • #23
                  Trivializing, didn't mean to.
                  Simplistic, perhaps. But still, is not the purpose of the OA to: (1) honor those Scouts that exemplify the virtues of camping and service to their fellow Scouts and (2) encourage the virtue of "cheerful service" to others (not just Scouting, we hope) and (3) let those so honored (thru election by their peers) enjoy the company (par-tay?) of their fellow OAers. Thus (theoretically), by the example observed, encouraging such behavior among other, non-OA Scouts. At least that is what my expectation is. Am I wrong in that?
                  So if I am right in the above, it isn't the PURPOSE they have argument with, only the ceremony, yes?
                  Has OA changed that much?
                  As to the comparison made by various religious professors (def.: one who 'professes' a particular belief or theory) of OA ceremony to a real religion (Mason, pagan, shamanistic, Native American, whatever), I still say 'you shall know them by their fruits'.
                  If there is a spiritual quality to Scouting or OA, it certainly can't be of any particular faith. Can it?


                  • #24
                    "selfless service to other's is not the OA's only goal or practice."

                    *** OK, I'm listening. What else is there, unless you're referring to the cheerful part of it? What part of anything anywhere in the OA is intended to brainwash an innocent young mind? These baseless arguments are 99% pure speculative rubbish. I'm being generous, giving 1% if somebody actually has a credible issue.
                    I'll wait here.


                    • #25
                      If there is a spiritual quality to Scouting or OA, it certainly can't be of any particular faith. Can it?

                      Well, it certainly seems like Native American spirituality influences the OA to some extent. I doubt that very many people have a huge problem with that, but its easy to see why some religious groups may be uncomfortable with it.

                      What else is there

                      For starters, taken from the OA's website:

                      "As Scoutings National Honor Society, our purpose is to:

                      Recognize those who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives and through that recognition cause others to conduct themselves in a way that warrants similar recognition.
                      Promote camping, responsible outdoor adventure, and environmental stewardship as essential components of every Scouts experience, in the unit, year-round, and in summer camp.
                      Develop leaders with the willingness, character, spirit and ability to advance the activities of their units, our Brotherhood, Scouting, and ultimately our nation.
                      Crystallize the Scout habit of helpfulness into a life purpose of leadership in cheerful service to others."

                      A lot of fluff, and nothing I personally find offensive. But certainly an easy example of "stuff" beyond cheerful service.

                      There's also, obviously, the appropriation of American Indian dress, ceremony and symbolism. And the secrecy/mystery/"closely guarded information"/whatever its called these days.

                      What part of anything anywhere in the OA is intended to brainwash an innocent young mind?

                      Nothing that I'm aware of, why do you ask?

                      I'm being generous, giving 1% if somebody actually has a credible issue. I'll wait here.

                      Thanks for waiting, and your generosity is appreciated :-)

                      The question was not whether you find the OA to be objectionable to your religion. You obviously don't, and I don't either. But clearly there are some religious groups that do. I don't understand why that's so offensive. If a Scout feels that the OA is incompatible with his religious beliefs, and feels strongly that he needs to follow the guidelines of his religion, he just doesn't join the OA. What's the problem?


                      • #26
                        Exactly. No problem here.
                        My hunch is that if a particular religion has an issue with the OA, they also have an issue with the BSA. I'm familiar with some of those religions. I'm not familiar with any that approve of Scouting, but not the OA.
                        My problem? A few posters who feel it appropriate to attack a Scouter who doesn't embrace their opinions (in the other OA thread).


                        • #27
                          BD - Fair point, and I agree that the "other thread" has taken a sharp turn from the Scout-like values that we should be applying here. It's possible to politely disagree.

                          You're right, there's probably some overlap between religions who take a dim view of the OA, and religions that take a dim view of the BSA in general. But then the OA shouldn't really be an issue, as you can't be in the OA unless you're in the BSA...

                          I worry that attacking religions who object to the OA is equally offensive as attacking Scouters who disagree on how to interpret a fairly vague rule. I don't necessarily think these religious groups are making any active attack on the OA - they're just opting not to participate. I don't agree with that, but it's really none of my business. You can opt out of the OA, or the BSA for that matter, for any reason or no reason.


                          • #28
                            I hope you're not implying that I've said something negative or that I've attacked a religion. Certainly not my intent if that's the way it looks.


                            • #29
                              Personally I am still working on Dennis99ss reading the ceremonies... as a parent doing research on the OA after his son was elected to be an Ordeal Candidate

                              And we have a passionate thread on whether or not parents can attend OA ceremonies? The OA needs an Internet suveillance team to find and eliminate any mention of their protected information. And if they don't, they need to let parents watch the ceremonies


                              • #30
                                The short answer is that there is nothing in the OA that is anti-christian.

                                The long answer is that Christian religions often have 2 issues with the OA:
                                1. Its historic association with Freemasonry, due to LBP supporting it and Goodman being a freemason.
                                2. The "secrecy" element to the OA and it ceremonies.

                                As far as freemasonry goes, this is primarily a Catholic issue, as the Catholic church has banned association with freemasonry. However, as my local OA lodge uses a catholic priest who is an OA brother at all of its weekend activities and the priest even says Mass at these activities as an option for Catholic scouts, I have to believe the Catholic church does not object to the OA on this grounds. Many service type organizations (including the Knights of Columbus) have their roots in Freemasonry, and it is not a fatal flaw.

                                The "secrecy" element not allowed by BSA but often encouraged in the OA materials (and supported by some OA lodges) is a problem, and often gives parents and others pause as to whether this is am inappropriate organization. There is a whole other thread on this issue, which I will not reproduce here, but suffice to say the "secret" OA ceremonies that some parents are either discouraged or outright banned from attending are a problem. The ceremony itself is no big deal; the secrecy associated with it is, and harms the OA's reputation with religious groupa and parents. The Catholic Church and Penn State abuse scandals should make it clear to everyone why secrecy should not be allowed in situations involving adults & youth. Enough said.