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I'm not trying to "set anyone up", and I apologise if it appeared that way. Scoutndad posted a thread about an agnostic parent he was having a problem with, and posed the question about others in Scouting who may be in the same religious situation. I only expressed my opinion, being one of those "religiously challenged" people.


I am now sorry I did. Maybe this is why the military has a "don't ask, don't tell" policy regarding homosexuality. No one in my Pack is going to find out about my lack of faith, and whatever decision I make will be my own and not the result of my being hounded by others. And my decision will not be posted here, as I no longer wish to participate in this discussion. Next time I will be more careful in my choices.



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My sons don't know because they have never asked, and I feel that a person's faith or lack of it is a personal choice. Going to church is something their friends do, and they don't, and they have never asked why. We attended Scout Sunday, and my Webelos asked me only "is all religion like that?" I told him I didn't know, and he dropped the subject.


There are other things they don't know about me either, like that I have a tattoo. It's just not relevant to daily life in our house.

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And I apologize if I offended you and you are being forthright. I am sure you can appreciate that over the years this forum has been the battleground for issues fueled by subterfuge and at time the sheer entertainment of some (which still occurs I beleive)


When I was first asked to be a moderator for this forum I asked why did they think I was qualified and the response was something like they enjoyed my sense of Paranoia, Again if I am being paranoid, I apologize

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Are you contradicting yourself EL?

How do you not share your religious beliefs with your son(s) when the first posting you had under this forum clearly indicated that you spoke with them about their religious beliefs and "wiggled" through the faith requirements? The boys I know are curious by nature and ask repeated questions. How did you keep YOUR views out of all that you have done?


Part of the Webelos optional faith requirements under section 8 describes visiting a church, synagogue (sp?) etc...this may be the best time to do this and begin understanding that there are other beliefs out there they may be beneficial to you and your family...but without exploring your options, you will never know.

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Scoutndad, I'm not contradicting myself. I never had these religious discussions with the boys to "wiggle" around them last year, my husband did. I did have A discussion with my Webelos about requirement 8 for his rank because he came to me with it. Not once did I tell him that I do not believe in God, and not once did he ask me my personal beliefs.


I only wish my husband had made me aware of this sooner; as an Eagle Scout he should have known himself...




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Warning: long post ahead.


It's time for a reformation. Someone should nail some theses to the door of the BSA Headquarters (...he typed in full ironic mode). Here's the first page: We need a new Boy Scout program that is free of the baggage of homophobia and insistence on belief in God.


There are wonderful aspects to the Boy Scout and Cub Scout programs -- encouraging love and respect for the wilderness, developing a sense of citizenship in boys as they grow into young men, teaching skills to protect boys in a world that is often dangerous. I believe that these are the things that draw boys and their parents into Scouting, and I know from my own experience as a scout and a father that this is the Scouting I see on a regular basis.


But there are exclusionist, rejectionist, intolerant aspects to the BSA as well -- themes which I never saw as a boy, and which I still don't see in my son's Pack, but which have become all too evident in national Scouting today. Dismissal and rejection of homosexuals. An unyielding demand that all involved in Scouting subscribe to a theology that acknowledges a supreme being.


I agree the the BSA is a private club, and as such it can follow whatever policies it likes. But here's the catch: the BSA has always sought to embody and exemplify American values. What the BSA's leaders fail to recognize is that the values they are pushing today are unAmerican.


I've often thought that the BSA is doing itself a disservice by trying to have it both ways: on the one hand, it aspires to be a truly national institution that upholds the highest standards of moral virtue and exerts positive influence over the hearts and minds of American boys. But as soon as it becomes clear that such an exalted position brings with it a set of responsibilities that clash with the BSA's self-image (i.e., nondiscrimination, taking a public flogging for having a child pornographer in a senior position) the institution reverts to "hey, we're just a private club, and you have no business rendering an opinion on our private matters."


You can't have it both ways. Personally, I prefer the public status -- if you're going to cloak yourself in red, white and blue, and if you're going to require your boys to learn and practice good citizenship, then you should accept the obligation to uphold the national values embodied in the Constitution: tolerance, respect for differing views, acceptance of different religions or the lack thereof.


Thus my opening line: it's time for a Boy Scout program that is truly American -- one which preaches what many local organizations practice: sexuality has no place in Scouting, hetero, homo or otherwise, so as long as you live by that rule, who cares if you're homosexual? One which accepts atheists and agnostics because they can make tremendous contributions to Scouting's core missions: teaching boys about the wilderness, citizenship, and child safety. That is a Boy Scout program I would be proud to join.


Okay, now to disarm the inevitable responses: yes, I know the U.S. military is homophobic. I'm an officer in the Naval Reserve; I know the military's policies well. But "don't ask, don't tell" is on the losing side of history because it is unAmerican and wrong. In another ten years, fifteen maybe, that policy will be thrown on the ash-heap of history.


And I know it seems inconsistent to join the military and to join Scouting when they discriminate. But the U.S. military will always have a monopoly on the defense of the nation (and rightly so). If you want to serve and defend the Constitution, you have only one military to join, despite its flaws. I'm comfortable with the choice I made. The same applies to Scouting, for now -- I looked for a viable alternative for my boys, but such an alternative just doesn't exist. It should.


And yes, I grew up and now live in the Northeast. I'm sure that my Scouting experience (in which none of this nonsense ever comes up) is not the same as that of a "red state" Scout. But American values are the same nationwide. Discrimination against homosexuals and atheists aren't among them.




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"But American values are the same nationwide. Discrimination against homosexuals and atheists aren't among them. "


Too bad. Scouting embodies all the "American values" except the value of homosexuality and the value of atheism. I guess America can't have everything in one package. Oh well.

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Nail your Theses to the door and begin your own organization as Martin Luther did, there is nothing wrong with that. While you will be missed, no one will try to stop you. Some will go with you, you may even end up with a movement as large or larger than the BSA. Or you may not.


You need to do as you see is right for you, and the BSA and its members (who agree and abide by the values and policies of the program) will do as they see fit. Is that not the right thing for both of us?


I believe the BSA does uphold the constitution. The Supreme Court of the United States says they do as well. Aren't they the ones who make that determination according to the Constitution?


I think the problem is not the Constitution but your opinion. You want the BSA to change becasue you personally disagree with it. But the BSA does not exist to meet everyones personal opinion. The volunteer executive board has decided on numerous occassions the values that the program will embody. Your participation is voluntary.


Hammer and nails are free upon request. I wish you nothing but success with your new organization.




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Great reply BW and would have expected nothing less due to the constitution and its freedom speech protection.


But you lost me when you say the BSA upholds the constitution...it doesn't come close and it shouldn't...the BSA is a private organization with its own direction and bylaws. BSA continues to rightfully defend these directives in court with a reasonable amount of success using the constitution to defend their position as the BSA provides which otherwise would be prime ACLU territory.


I don't have to like it, but I believe BW has a point and that is, "don't let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya" if you can not accept the rules and regulations set forth in the BSA.

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In response to your question: "So, knowing this now, do I step down as DL and remove my kids from Cub Scouting?"


The straight answer to both, based upon the information you've given, is yes to both. You should step down as DL and your son should remove himself from Cub Scouting. You and your son simply do not meet the requirements for membership.


In all seriousness, my daughter faced the same thing. Three years or so back she was furious that she couldn't be a Cub Scout just because she was a girl. She too didn't meet the requirements for membership. As in your case, there is simply nothing we could do about it and were forced to accept it and move on. I'm not making this up.


You might consider doing what we did - consider enrolling your son in Taekwando. It does wonders for the mind, body, and spirit, but does not have gender (or religious) requirements. A very impressive experience.

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There is another option to quitting that you might consider.


I mean no disrespecct by this. Your problem is that you and your family have not made a decision about God. The solution is...make one. Take some time and you and the family seriously consider God. Pick three religious leaders and go talk with them. Don't ask about religion or about the rituals of religion ask about God.


Then make a decision as a family. Be a family of faith or be a family that rejects faith but it can't be comfortable sitting on a fence. So pick a side of the fence and get comfortable. If you choose God that's great, I will personally celebrate for your family and would encourage you to jump full force into the service of scouting. If you choice otherwise then by all means try something else that you feel will develop in your children whatever values you choose to recognize.



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American values, un-American values, traditional values - these are terms that politicians and BSA big-wigs use. For those that really want to communicate with others, they should refrain from using these terms.

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Seems in this thread we see once again, folks want to overhaul an organization to fit their views instead of going out and forming their own group...the "we want to play in you game... but by our own rules crowd"(?)


EagerLeader, I do not presume to invite you to explore or sample religion...of any sort, and I like many here feel some of your pain at feeling the need to leave the BSA family...but it is your choice, one of many we make each day of our existence...BSA has God 'in place' in the oaths and in the literature and in it's program...This should not be 'missed', nor need to be hammered home...it simply is...


on a personal note: I left the 'brotherhood of faith' a long time ago (after my scouting experience) and had serious doubts as to the existence of either 'goodness' in the world or a higher power (other than nature or man)...


The birth of my first child brought me back,... the hour he was born...I could not deny nor even doubt the existance of something higher...at that moment it was no longer possible for me to disbelieve...and almost 18 years later I still know there is a God...after all, he gave me two sons to punish me for doubting (and to reward me for believing)






oh yes, EagerLeader; as to your childrens desire not to explore religion...When I asked my children to sample religions and faith they gave me a similar answer...'no way, we want to; watch tv, play, go fishing, sleep in, play video games...the same answers they gave about going to the doctor, the dentist, or to school! As a parent, I wonder where the line should be drawn in our obligation to expose, educate and prepare our children for the world and their future...is a child's answer always right?(This message has been edited by anarchist)

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EagerLeader said, "this is all a big fairy tale..."


There are many fairy tales in this world, many mythologies, many belief systems.


However, BSA does not define what constitutes belief in God or the practice of religion. Belief in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic theology/mythology is not required for BSA membership. In other words, you do NOT have to accept any one elses "fairy tale" to be a Scout.


As I've said before, IMHO self-proclaimed atheists are intellectually lazy. It is very easy to identify what one does NOT believe in, but much more challenging to formulate what one DOES believe in. For example, I don't believe in little green men or flying saucers. However, that doesn't mean that I think we are alone in the universe.

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I guess it is time for a sermon from a most unreligious person.


I grew up in a church and loved God. I asked questions and wound up wanting to become a minister but people from another religion told me that I did not believe quite right. I listened and followed but then there was another church that told me the same. This kept on for years as I moved from one church to another until I had enough. These churches not only held to the maximum that only they possessed the one and only truth but went to great lengths to prove that others could not possibly have any truth. As I reflect on each of them, I still find each one to be quite believable.


I then began my quest to find out for myself and what I found was not pretty. I did find the fairy tales and the problems. I found that many have tried to rewrite history to fit their take on God. I wished I had room to write the words that confirmed the one thing that had stayed with me to this end and that was my initial love of God. It is somewhat without explanation but I have found God over and over in so many unexpected places that it is as if someone was trying to cover up the rays of the sun but the light still pours through every crack and seam no matter how hard anyone tries to stop it.


I couldn't find God through all of the truth and proofs. I simply couldn't deny God through all of the fakery and sham. I can say that if anyone doubts, all they have to do is to look and pay attention and God will be there. Some have tried to say that they found God in the BSA and rightfully so. You can't help to feel God when you are out up to your hips in nature. God's cathedral of the sky is but one step into a limitless night beyond all of our dreams.




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