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It was in the last 2 yrs that a Boy Scout was "kicked out" of the BSA for stepping forward and stating that he was Athiest. It was quite a mess here in Washington State... the press loved it.. this is also part of the reason that the ACLU is going after military bases/posts to no longer sponsor BSA functions...


My children might not believe in god, but they will attend church until they have reached an age that I beleive they can decide they no longer want to go.


I believe it is my responsibility to give them all the opportunities I can as they grow and learn, (this includes God). When they are old enough they can then make the decision to go to church or not, but now as a 10 yr old... he will always say NO.. After all I was the same way.

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This is an important topic and I feel strongly about adding my opinion to it. I would like to begin by saying that I often come off as being harsh or short when I communicate, so I hope that I don't offend anyone.


Based on some of the statements that you have made, it seems to me that you have a somewhat distorted view of how religious people view and worship their higher power. Being an American, I believe totally that a person has a right to believe as his or her conscience dictates. I am a leader in Cub Scouting not just because I was called as one through my church, but because I share BSA's view that a person's spiritual growth is just as important to their well-being and improvement as a citizen as are physical and mental development. I get the idea that as BSA's spiritual aspect becomes more evident as your son progresses, you are becoming increasingly resentful of it. In answer to one of your questions, quite frankly, if you recite the Cub Scout Promise, you are being hypocritical, at least in my opinion. That to me is like going to another country and pledging allegiance to their flag or nation, and still calling yourself an American. (By the way, the "under God" part of our pledge was added for political purposes, and I don't think it should be there, but I digress.)


I think that you should seriously consider having your son get involved in an organization in which faith is not a factor. I would also suggest that you open your mind to the fact that the vast majority of people on the planet believe in some religion, and maybe there is something to it. I investigated different philosophies (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, etc.) as I grew up, until I found the one that truly spoke to my soul.


At any rate, as you told your son, the BSA was founded by religious people on religious principles, and it's a private organization that asks you to follow its rules if you want to be a member of it.

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I grew up in a very church going family. When I got to be about 14 I decided that I didn't want to go to church any more. Big fight with my mother. It wasn't that I didn't believe in God simply I didn't believe in church. I told her that I felt a lot closer to God sitting on a horse on the top of the mountain than I didn sitting in church watching all the politics.

I didn't go to church until my own children were small. Went for a while. When they got old enough to make their own decissions we stopped going. I am going again. Kevin (11) ask if we could.

I enjoy the church HE chose. But am still not a church person. I see God in the trees, in the hawk soaring on the wind. In the bright eyes of a child that has learned to do something for the very first time. That is my God. Not the church.


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EagerLeader, for that matter everyone else, no one at any time should feel a necessity to reveal ANYTHING about their personal beliefs to these forums or to any officer or member of BSA. If you choose to do this, freely and on your own, that is fine. But NEVER feel like you have an obligation to reveal these personal matters, you have nothing to prove to anyone else. You only answer to yourself.


That said, as I have stated before, I enjoy ALL the myths. As Trevorum said, in some sense it may all be a fairy tale or a fantasy and I have no problem with that. Just don't try to argue that it is rational.


I think the bar for absolute atheism is exceedingly high and some persons who fancy themselves as atheists simply haven't tried that jump, really. Part of the fantasy, perhaps.


BTW, anyone out there ever tried Bokononism? A very civilized religion and as good as any.

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I am only fifteen. I just thought I would mention that before I launched into a discourse that might seem "juvenile" or "senseless" or any number of adjectives that are generally stamped onto a youth's opinion without a second thought. I don't mean to rant, but I want to impress upon all the enlightened and experienced writers in this forum that sometimes, a child has the most open and unbiased view, one that hasn't been sullied with hate, or prejudice, or any manner of things that adults have come across in their lifetimes. That being said, I want to make an address to the esteemed EagerLeader, if he chances to read over this thread again. Sir: It is my belief, and the belief (I hope) many others in Scouting, that the beliefs, values, and codes of the Boy Scouts of America were founded in the idea of a supreme being that created, governs, and cares for all that exists in our universe. Now, reading across your previous threads I believe you said, sir,

"Are you all also going to tell me that, since I don't believe in God, that I can't live in the USA because I can't recite the Pledge of Allegiance without being a hypocrite? That I shouldn't be allowed to handle US currency because it has "In God We Trust" printed on it?" Respectfully, sir, it has been extremely evident to me that this nation was founded on morals and values drawn directly from the Bible,

and it was intended that these values survive well into our future. I am not sure if my opinion has any merit, sir, but I am going to try my best to live up to those values that have defined the formation and growth of the United States of America. I am the Senior Patrol Leader of my troop, and there came a time when everyone was asked whether or not they subscribed to a faith or doctrine. That was one of the scariest moments of my tenure as a Senior Patrol Leader, because what if one my Scouts, my friends, had said, "I'm sorry, but I do not believe in God, or any God, and have no desire whatsoever to investigate any faiths." What if one of them said that? What would I do? Report it to my Scoutmaster, as duty commanded, and thereby place one of my friends in the same position as the Scout in Washington that was evicted from the BSA on the grounds of "No faith"? Or, follow the Law point "Loyal" and not divulge the information? Thankfully, all the Scouts under my direction had found God in one form or another (Likely

due to the fact we live in a predominantly Southern Babtist state), and the decision was spared me, but I know that the situation is going to arise one day, and I will have to face it. Thinking about that day leads me to understand EagerLeader's problem, in that should he allow a decent and moral person to be forced from the Scouts, a openly religious organization, or continue to be a member that believes in all but one facet of it? Sadly, and it may seem horribly prejudiced and unfair, the answer is that person must either put forth the effort to understand and become a part of that one facet, or leave for their own peace of mind. EagerLeader, you were concerned about being hypocritical of your own beliefs; remaining involved in the BSA will certainly lead you to that end. One of the most important tenets of the Scout Law is "A Scout is Trustworthy". How can you claim to be following every other aspect of Scouting's ideals when you are offending the first of the bunch? I apologixe to you, your sons, and any other Atheist within Scouting when I say there is no place for you in Scouts if you cannot admit to a God, creator of all, now and forever. Remaining in this organization is an affront to the very beliefs you claim to hold dear, being honest and open with everyone. However misguided the beliefs of the BSA may appear to you, sir, they were put in place and enforced for over one hundred years for a reason, sir. The BSA was designed to be a place where young men could grow up in a moral environment, with a belief in a supreme creator. We of the Boy Scouts of America do not wish to offend anyone, so please sir, if our viewpoint is simply intolerable, found an organization dedicated to the moral upbringing of young men without the guidance of a God. Repectfully, I will remain where I feel that I can best become the man I want to be.

....But then, this is just the opinion of a child.

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Welcome Rising Scout! Excellent post and very well thought out.


Pack -- I'm not sure where you're headed with your querie, and I don't know that Rising will know either. It's too late in the evening (or early in the morning) for me to dig out the research.



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Those are the words that come right before these:


"...that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator..."


You don't get to pick and choose sentences out of context packsaddle. Too many people out here have educations and access to information.



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Reading the posts in this thread, as well as those in similar threads, I am wondering if perhaps we are using different, well perhaps not definitions but perhaps, different interpretations of the word "atheist".


Let's imagine several friends sitting around chatting one lazy afternoon. Perhaps they're co-workers getting to know one another. They start to talk religion (uh-oh!) and discover that there is a great diversity among them.


Andy worships the supreme God of the Old Testament. He believes he will one day meet his God in person and lives his life accordingly.


Bob does not worship gods of any sort. Still, he strongly believes in souls and has a highly developed ethical system.


Charley vehemently rejects Andy's religion. He doesn't say much about his beliefs, but the rest gather that he recognizes a variety of spirits or beings who have some degree of influence on his life. He is a strongly moral person.


Dave accepts the New Testament as a historical text but thinks there is a lot of mythology there. He feels that there must be something unknown and unknowable in the universe. He's not sure if "God" is the right word for this. He tries to follow the "Golden Rule" in all things.


Ed is skeptical of all beliefs in magic and the supernatural. He has looked at several religions and has searched in vain for "something that makes sense". He's thought quite a lot about it all but just isn't sure.


Frank rejects all religions and says he is atheist. The others are very surprised at this because he is always generous and is the kindest of all of them.


Now, they all have sons who want to become Scouts. Who qualifies for membership? Who doesn't?


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I merely asked a question. Out-of-context is also what you just did, Torveaux. And you didn't even give us a complete sentence. So what does "self-evident" mean to you? Jefferson selected that precise wording for a reason. What do you think his reason was?


Trevorum, as you probably surmise, I wouldn't reject a single one of their boys. I think the fathers' beliefs are irrelevant. As for the fathers, that's not my call to make. And I can't speak for BSA. If there are any BSA professionals reading this who CAN speak for BSA, I am interested in their answer.

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Frank does not qualify to join BSA (not a theist). That's not to say Frank is a bad person, just a person who cannot join BSA and be true to himself. I, for instance, do not qualify to join the local RC parish (not a Roman Catholic), nor Curves Health Club (not a woman), nor the VFW (not a veteran). That's not to say I'm a bad person, I just don't qualify. I could pretend to qualify, but then I would be joining these fine organizations under false pretenses.

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