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MacyM

Eagle Board of Review and God

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What do you think of a Eagle board of review that dares to ask the scout if he believes in a god?

 

Isn't that a violation of separation of church and state?

 

Are they allowed to ask such questions?

 

I can understand questions about scouting stuff, but about a belief in a god is going a bit far, don't you think?

 

Macy(This message has been edited by MacyM)

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Welcome to the Forums, MacyM.

 

Here's the short version: I EXPECT an Eagle BOR to ask a candidate about his faith. When I'm sitting an EBOR, I'll ask several questions about his faith and his everyday life.

 

Y'know, that investment in Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures #33088 is paying off handsomely.

 

Allow me to quote from page 16 of the 2007 edition of ACP&P, which contains a portion of the BSA Bylaws:

 

Article IX, Section 1, Clause 2: "The activities of the members of the Boy Scouts of America shall be carried on under conditions which show respect to the convictions of others in matters of custom and religion, as required by the 12th point of the Scout Law, reading, "Reverent. A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others."

 

So, I expect respectful, thoughtful, and probing questions by an Eagle Board of Review into the faith of an Eagle candidate.

 

Now, some questions for you in turn:

 

Are you the Scout in question, or are you the parent of a Scout?

 

If you're the Scout in question,

 

- Are you struggling with your personal faith? It's ok to talk with your Scoutmaster about this before going into the EBOR. It's OK for him to visit with the Committee Chair and the District Guest informally before the Board begins and determine an approach which will help the Board help you.

 

- Have you decided you are A-theist? If so, you again need to visit with your Scoutmaster. The decision to deny God exists and to proclaim it does go against the ethic of Scouting. You need to understand that your Eagle may be at risk.

 

- Have you settled on an unusual faith (B'hai, Wicca, etc)? Again, visit with your Scoutmaster.

 

I hope you see a common theme going on here.

 

If you are the parent of a Scout,

 

- Is your child about to go to his EBOR? If so, the same advice, and it's really for him: Visit with the Scoutmaster. He's the one who can help figure out a path through the field.

 

- Has your child had his EBOR, and been turned down for Eagle? If so, the BOR is required by BSA advancement policy to inform him, in writing, both of the deficiency and of the remedy processes (including the appeal procedures).

 

Wherever you live, you are inside a Boy Scout Council and probably a District (operating subdivision of a Council). There is a volunteer charged with managing the advancement program, he or she is called the Advancement Chair. If your son has been denied Eagle, and he/you do not have formal followup, you need to first ask the SM/CC for the written follow-up and the appeals procedures. If they do not or will not give those to you, then get in contact with that Advancement Chair.

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Separation of church and state does not apply here, BSA is not a governmental entity. To even join the Boy Scouts a parent must sign the application, which includes:

 

Excerpt from the Declaration of Religious Principle

The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing

an obligation to God and, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but

it is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. Its policy is that the home and organization

or group with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life. Only persons

willing to subscribe to these precepts of the Declaration of Religious Principle and to the Bylaws of the

Boy Scouts of America shall be entitled to certificates of membership.

 

The twelfth point of the Scout law is "a Scout is reverent".

 

 

Is appropriate to as a scout at a Eagle Board of Review if he believes is God, Absolutely! Mind you this does not have to be a specific God, doesn't have to be mine, doesn't have to be yours, but what they would be refering to is the scouts God.

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I think that it is fine, appropriate and to be expected.

 

Nope.

 

Yep.

 

Not at all.

 

What would make you think that this involves the separation of church and state?

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"DARES"????

 

It should be a question in some form, as duty to God and being Reverent are part of the Oath and Law. A basic component of an EBOR is an examination of understanding and living by the Oath and Law.

 

Now, if the query trespasses on the scout's spiritual belief, that is belittles a different viewpoint than the norm, or questions his possibly searching time in his development of faith, then it is out of line. But, it is a proper part of the board.

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Yah, we're not the State, eh? We're the people, fellow citizens. And whether you've noticed it or not, faith is part of who we are and part of the public discourse in America and elsewhere.

 

I agree wholeheartedly with da BSA that faith and talk about duty to God should be a part of our everyday life, not somethin' that's shameful that we keep in a closet and don't presume to mention in polite company. The very notion of servant leadership BSA supports in its leadership development is fundamentally religious.

 

Me, I always ask a lad at an Eagle BOR about duty to God, if someone else doesn't beat me to it. Not as a "gotcha," but because so often in school and at home and among friends "God-talk" is devalued or shunned. I think it's important that lads find communities, especially ones beyond their own church, where talkin' about faith and God is normal, respectful, fun, challenging.

 

I hope that from the beauty of a sunrise to the power of an afternoon storm, from the good humor shared with friends to the comforting of troop-mates in need, from the service a lad renders to his fellow men and women to the shared prayers at Scouts Own services - that God is recognized and welcome, and that each scout's growing quest for understanding and relationship with divinity is honored.

 

Beavah

 

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Hi Macy,

 

Welcome to the forum. Based on the way you framed the question in your post, I'm guessing you might be the parent or relative of a scout who was asked this at his Eagle BOR? If so, I can imagine how it might surprise many people that this is acceptable in a scouting context, because many boy scout troops tread very lightly on the religious aspect of scouting (that is to say, they basically ignore it). However, if you look at the Scout Oath and Scout Law (which any Eagle candidate should be *extremely* familiar with), you will find that both of these include an explicit religious component. Consequently, yes it is acceptable to ask scouts what that religious component means to them. Note though, that the BSA does not support any particular religion and that a scout could assert a very wide array of beliefs, including those that do not include an organized church/religious institution, and still fit within the "boundaries" of the BSA's views on religion.

 

What others have said about the religious aspect of scouting is correct. And click123 is also correct to point out that "separation of church and state" applies only to government entities, which BSA is not. I hope you find this helpful.

 

 

 

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Thank you.

Yes, I am the parent of a Eagle scout candidate. He was not turned down, but I found it hard to understand why they would ask. Now I understand.

 

He has been struggling with his beliefs lately, or lack thereof (his girlfriend is very religious), and he doesn't understand how anyone can believe in something they cannot see, as well as why they (his Eagle board)would ask him something so personal. I guess that it hit a raw nerve.

 

I don't like the statement of the last person, questioning or stating that this was a serious question. I thought that you boy scout types were kind.

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MacyM,

Welcome!  Sorry that you felt that the questioning of the truth of the post upset you.  If you read some other posts you will see why some forum members are distrustful, especially in the political section.

Most forum members will bend over backward to help a person who asks a question here. Stick around and join the virtual campfire and keep asking questions.

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What do you think of a Eagle board of review that dares to ask the scout if he believes in a god?

 

It's God not god. I have sat on many EBOR's & this question is asked all the time.

 

Isn't that a violation of separation of church and state?

 

That has no application in Scouting.

 

Are they allowed to ask such questions?

 

Belief in God is required for membership, so the answer is yes.

 

I can understand questions about scouting stuff, but about a belief in a god is going a bit far, don't you think?

 

Again, it's God not god. No it isn't.

 

Can your son see the wind? Does he believe it exists?

 

Yep we Scout people is kind but we is also practical. Don't construe someone questioning your motive as not being kind. They are just wondering if this is true or not.

 

Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

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On my honor I will do my best

To do my duty to God and my country

and to obey the Scout Law;

To help other people at all times;

To keep myself physically strong,

mentally awake, and morally straight.

 

Looks like God to me.

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So what would you do when you have a Hindu Scout who says, "In my life, I reverence and worship the gods Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma"?

 

Remember what Greg Shields said about worshipping a rock in the back yard?

 

 

 

 

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Macy,

 

Congratulations to your son. One of the great values I see in scouting (speaking as a parent here) is that it pushes boys to really think about ethical and moral issues, about "right" and "wrong," and about what they believe. And it mostly happens "by stealth" while they're out having fun camping and doing other activities! This is real growth we're talking about and it can be a little daunting or surprising when we come face to face with it on occasion, like in a BOR. But like I said, as a parent I am really happy that scouting gives my son a context in which to think about these sorts of issues and to see that other people struggle with the same issues too.

 

Again, congrats to your son - Eagle is quite an accomplishment and you must be very proud of him.

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