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Christian Objection to OA

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  • #31
    No, it's not enough said.
    You're referring to some religions, some lodges, and some parents. That's the problem. It's always about somebody, somewhere.
    I think it's a non-issue, and people posting on that other thread want to make an issue out of it.
    Yes, it's enough said in this thread.
    This secrecy thing is being blown way out of proportion, and isn't based in reality. There are no secrets. Those making the issue out of nothing seem to think there is ... somewhere by somebody, but it's always somwwhere else by somebody else.
    I've never experienced a problem, and I doubt they have either.


    • #32
      "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."

      Who is "LBP"? Are you referring to Baden-Powell? If so, abbreviate him as B-P.

      AFAIK, B-P never supported freemasonry. He was never a freemason. There have been some anti-masonic groups who have issues with scouting, most of them based on ignorance. Silliest was that Chile (the country) had some issues when scouting came there, as they are Catholic. Apparently some thought there was a masonic influence on scouting, what with the 3 degrees of freemasonry and the 3 ranks of scoutings (Tenderfoot, 2nd class, 1st class) and they thought B-P was a mason (he never was). I guess someone straightened them out.

      From what I can figure, the secrecy of the masonry (and the OA) isn't the main issue with some christian groups. What IS an issue with them is the oaths of secrecy and loyalty that masons make that some christian groups feel is incompatible with (their version) of Christianity. As we have no such thing in the OA, such groups that have an issue with freemasonry don't have an issue with the OA.

      Just to make it clear. It IS policy that parents and religious leaders may watch OA ceremonies if they have concerns. This is ONLY for parents & religious leaders. Not grandparents. Not aunts, uncles, little brothers & sisters, etc. And its intended to deal with concerns of what goes on, NOT because parents feel that need to be part of every aspect of their kids lives. Some on both sides of that 'discussion' don't get it. No parent will be barred from a ceremony. End of story.


      • #33
        You're probably about as likely to "convert" someone for or against the OA as you are to convert someone to your faith on these boards. So, it's time to put this issue to bed. Go find out what your church believes. If they are anti-OA, then don't join OA. If they don't care or are pro-OA, then make up your own mind. Bear in mind, the official stance of most churches is "We don't care" so you'll likely be making up your own mind.

        I recommend asking other people who are the same faith as you, because you'll be more likely to start with a common ground, a common interpretation of the scriptures, etc. Some churches are completely anti-Freemasonry, for instance, others just don't care. (Not that the OA is necessarily akin to the Freemasons, I'm just using them as an example of how some churches really care about things that other churches couldn't give a hoot about.) Go ask the people in your church, but if you haven't been to church for a while or are just unsure about what your church believes, go to the following websites (listed by total number of Scouts in the CO):

        Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: No website and no official stance, but there are a lot of "Mormons" in the OA.

        Methodist: No official stance, but there are a lot of Methodists in the OA.

        Roman Catholic: No official stance, but there are a lot of Catholics in the OA.

        Presbyterian: No website and no official stance, but there are a lot of Presbyterians in the OA.

        Lutheran: No official stance, but there are a lot of Lutherans in the OA.

        Baptist: No website and no official stance, but there are a lot of Baptists in the OA.


        • #34
          I think we need to state this once more for all of the "outsiders" who may be Googling and reading: Official BSA policy is that any parent or guardian is permitted to "observe" any activity of the BSA, including OA ceremonies. If that is not being done in your Council/Lodge, you should have a discussion with your Scout Executive, who also holds the title of "Supreme Chief of the Fire" and is responsible for the Council (including the Lodge) of operating within BSA policy. And anyone who can't find the OA materials on the internet (including the "protected" stuff) is just not good at Google or eBay. If you decide that OA is not compatible with your families' religious traditions, then that's your decision, but no Unit leader should be making that decision for the rest of us.


          • #35
            The problem with the OA is the blood oath for brotherhood. Even though it doesn't really take place physically, spiritually it does.(example: when we take communion at church we take the wine representing Jesus' blood and we take the bread representing his flesh)This is a spiritual ceremony confessing we believe. Joining the OA you are committing yourself by ceremonial blood oath that you will uphold the values of the OA. The Bible clearly says you cannot serve two masters.Why have this part of the ceremony in the first place? The Bible says let your Yes be Yes and your no be no. This is all we need to do to commit to something. OA, take out the blood ceremony and just have us say yes we will support what this organization stands for and let that be that. To a lot of Christians, things like this are important to our faith and for those who Question us, get into Gods word and find out the truth yourselves.


            • #36
              Welcome to the forums, bdtscouter. Please post an introduction, so we can properly welcome you!


              • #37

                I would argue that your application of oath taking was out of cultural context. Swearing by the highest god around as a vouchsafe for the most trivial acts was common parlance throughout the Mediterranean The apostles were setting about to revise an entire culture starting with Christians who were to not use their newfound Lord's name to intone they were serious about keeping their promise. "Let your yea be yeah, and your nay be nay."

                This has nothing to do with oaths of allegiance, which only became problematic in ancient Rome when the Caesars insisted on being recognized as supreme over any god a citizen may worship. Pretty soon church leaders (male and female of any age) were named atheists and enemies of the state.

                None of the O/As oaths are asking anything of the sort from its members.


                • #38
                  We make all sorts of oaths all over in Scouting. "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America..." Then there's the Boy Scout "On my honor, I will do my best to..." And the Cub Scout version of that, "I promise to do my best to..."

                  As far as "nondisclosure" goes, I can't even begin to tell you how many nondisclosure forms I've signed with various companies. "But those are for work and this is a leisure activity." So what? Besides, the OA really isn't secret. The official BSA store sells the OA Handbook for only $2.99 and it has the Promise and Obligation in it. There's really nothing to be concerned about:


                  • #39
                    First of all, I am not in the OA. When I first came to scouting a few years ago, I had never heard of it. I had not even seen them until the AOL ceremony last year for my first two boys. At that time I became interested in the goings on.
                    The Troop my boys joined have no involvement with the OA and would like to keep it that way. Since then, the SM has pretty much ordained me as the next SM. I explained to him a few things I would like to change in how things were done if I took over, one of these being OA involvement. There is no problem with it, he and the other leaders just didn't want anything to do with it.
                    Over the last year I have researched the OA, purchased their handbook and read, asked questions of OA members(Including a friend of mine), and done more research. As far as I am concerned, the way things are run and done in the OA are pretty much the same as the things done in Scouts, maybe a step up in responsibility. I have actually told people that the boys should be doing the stuff the OA claims they do anyway. But as far as I am concerned, If it is offered to the boys, then they should have the opportunity to be involved.

                    With all that being said, My boys will not be involved unless I am a member also, and I still haven't made my decision on that yet. Say what you want, deny it if you wish, but It was explained to me that I was not allowed in any meetings unless I was a member. So I then said, "If I have to take my boy to an OA camping event that was 3 to 4 hours away, and there is no other way for him to get there except by me, are you saying I cannot stay the weekend also?"
                    Answer from OA member "You are not a member, you will not be allowed. He will either have to find another way there or not go at all." I understand that my experience may not be the norm, and that this may just be someones opinion and not the rule. Be that as it may, it seems to be the mentality of those I meet in my area that are involved with the OA.

                    Once again If I become SM, I will allow the OA to be involved with the Troop. If it is a part of scouts, the boys should be allowed the chance to participate. If I had a real problem with the internal goings on of the OA, I would also have to be suspect of the Scouts in general. Thats my opinion.


                    • #40
                      I would recommend this ... with pad and pencil in hand (either taking notes, or pretending to), say, "So what I'm hearing is that things that happen in the OA are a secret, yes?"
                      If they actually are willing to say yes, then it might be a good idea to get that person to sign and date such a statement.
                      I wouldn't recommend getting too involved in conversations regarding the OA activities, and I'd submit that your presence would stifle the conversation, but there should be no secrets. The only issue is that you may be spoiling your own participation in some activites because you'd know too much. There's a progression of understanding, and the fun or mystery or understanding of it all is a personal growth opportunity, even for you.
                      However, your concerns are valid, and nobody should be able to bar you from an OA activity if you feel the need to demand entrance. Popular idea? No.


                      • #41
                        >>"the way things are run and done in the OA are pretty much the same as the things done in Scouts, maybe a step up in responsibility. I have actually told people that the boys should be doing the stuff the OA claims they do anyway.......With all that being said, My boys will not be involved unless I am a member also"


                        • #42
                          A few misconceptions:

                          Unit leaders do not "allow" their scouts to participate. OA is an individual activity, not a unit activity. Except for allowing a chapter election team to conduct unit elections, the only way units need to be involved is to approve the candidates to appear on the ballot.

                          As an adult, neing chosen for OA is not something you choose to do. Adults are nominated by their units (usually the troop committee), and then approved by the Lodge, based on what they can offer to enhance the scouts' experience. At that point, you can decline to become a member if you so choose.

                          Your point about transporting your sons is a point well taken. The point about carpooling is also valid.

                          Regardless of what you were told by a misguided Arrowman, parents are absolutely allowed to OBSERVE any activity of the BSA, including OA. You may not actively participate or interact with your sons, but you can observe. If you are barred from doing this, you need to have a frank discussion with your Scout Executive, who is also in charge of the OA Lodge. Of course, as a parent, you have the right to withdraw your sons from any activity you don't approve of, but hopefully, as a future SM, you're not that "helicopterish".

                          Good luck and I wish you well.


                          • #43

                            As a Chapter Adviser, I constantly run into SM's who say, "we don't do OA in our troop". I've had a disagreement or two with others here who support that view. Obviously the SM holds the keys to allowing an election team to come and do an election......but why would they deny a youth an opportunity to be honored by his peers and participate in something that would enhance their scouting ecperience? It's kind of like saying, "we don't do advancment, service, camping, etc.". It just doesn't make sense. OA is an individual honor. Allow a team to come do their presentation and hold an election. Then it is up to the individual candidate to determine if they desire to complete their Ordeal or not. It isn't a troop decision......or shouldn't be. Now, in a troop that does support the OA, there should be active adult OA members who make sure this years slate of candidates have a ride to Ordeal. Sadly in my experience, that usually isn't the case. Adults get nominated based o nthe resources they bring to the OA, not as an honor like the boys......but still, it is an honor to be nominated by the troop committee. This is made known up front. Each year, of those troops that allow us to come hold an election, 99% of adult members do noting to support the youth in their unit who gets elected. Sad, but true in my experience. When we have discussions with SM's about doing an election, the first words out of my mouth is that if the SM is not a member, he needs to be the adult nominated for that year. It's hard for an SM to appreciate and support something he knows nothing you are on the right track. Talk to your committee and have them fill out the adult nomination form when your next election rolls around. Next year, nominate another adult from your troop. The year afterthat, another. Each year when Ordeal rolls around, parents who have sons elected to OA won't have to worry about driving 3 hours to camp and not being allowed to stay. The troop will have actice OA adults who make sure the boys get there. OA is about the boys and the adults are about making it happen for the boys.

                            I will add that since we run into the same transportation issue of not having active adult OA members at the troop level who will drive boys to Ordeal, the Lodge rented a school bus. Our Ordeal was this past weekend and our camp is an easy 2.5 to 3 hours away. For $10, any candidate, youth or adult, could come to the council office at 6PM on Friday and ride the bus to camp and return home on Sunday at 12:30. It certainly improved our attendance.


                            • #44
                              sorry. edited for going off on a tangent.(This message has been edited by dennis99ss)


                              • #45
                                I just wrote a long letter to you Scoutnut, but then deleted it, not worth the effort. If you read what I wrote you would not have taken it the way you did.
                                To answer what you said,

                                First, Safety is my main concern and what I have seen and been told, Red flags have been raised. I do not care who or what you say you are, If I do not know you, you are not taking my 12/13 year old with you. I don't care how "Trustworthy" someone says you are.

                                Second, I am sorry, but there was an outing one weekend earlier this year. It was 2 and a half hours away. My friend went, that is how I know.

                                Third, The Scouts offer it, I as a SM will not hide or discourage participation. However it is up to each parent to decide what they will do.

                                And by the way, Helicopter I am not, and how you can get that idea from my being cautious on something like this worries me about the children you are responsible for.