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OldGreyEagle

What is Morally Straight?

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ScouterPaul,

 

You said - "Wow! Seems as if Scouting has it's fair share of people unwilling to accept people who are different then themselves. Different in thought, looks, beliefs ect. How narrow of an organization have we become."

 

If that comment was in reference to my post, let me say this- "Being different" does make anyone unacceptable to me. I enjoy and appreciate differences in culture, tastes, etc., even religions. However, this does not mean I should accept all things. What you've labeled as being "narrow", I view as discretion. We should stand for something. If we use your yardstick - "It is up to each individual to determine what their code of morality is and then to stay true to their beliefs." - then we wouldn't stand for anything. Read your definition againdoesn't that sound insane? By this definition of morality, Charlie Manson and Adolph Hitler would qualify. They did stay true to their beliefs, did they not?

 

For the record, I agree with vizoere - "The BSA isn't affiliated with one specific religion, though it is a somewhat religious organization. They, IMHO, have taken the rules common to most major religions & deemed this as the baseline for morality for use in the BSA." This statement rings true to me. It at least establishes that there is a "baseline". It also acknowledges the fact that the BSA founders had something specific in mind, not a nebulous, "open to all" definition. Without one, BSA should abandon its "allegiance to God" requirement. Otherwise, its all a hoax and demeaning to most faiths, at least it would be to mine. You can't have it both ways. If we say there are no boundaries, if we claim there is no baseline for being morally straight, then by definition we are being immoral. We, in effect, would be saying there is no right or wrong.

 

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You have to draw a line somewhere.

 

Sctmom, many of the religions you listed practice sexual ceremonies, at least in times past. Are they "acceptable" to the modern scout movement if they return to that? If not, what standard makes it wrong, according to your logic?

 

Note: I am not arguing what they do now, just a logical extension. Many "old" practices are being revived every day and it may not be long until we face just such a question.

 

Brad

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Brad,

Christians also previously had practices we do not participate in today, such as animal sacrifices, multiples wives and slavery. I don't think anyone questions if the Christians want to revive these practices. I have read some about the Cherokee tribe and they held monogamous relations in high regards.

 

If you feel other religions may return to previous activities and traditions, shouldn't you also wonder about Christians?

 

 

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If what I am doing in my private life does not affect you, why do you need to judge if it is right or wrong? Yes, we must have standards, people cannot just running around doing whatever they want when it affects others -- lies, theft, murder, rape, abuse (physical and emotional), cheating, drunk driving, adultery, etc.

 

What we each believe in our soul to be true to ourselves, if it does not affect others, is a personal decision. There aren't many things that fall into this category, but what you do in private with a consenting adult is personal (running around on someone else is lying and a different situation). If what I do really affects you or anyone else, then I need to think about the consequences. This even applies to how I treat the driver in the lane next to me or if I throw litter on the side of the road; those are things that DO affect other people.

 

My actions in front of others, adults or kids, affects other people. If I consistently lose my temper and act ridiculous in front of you, this impacts you in some way. If I cuss in front of you, that is impacting and I should use more care in my language. If I try to convince you to take part in sexual activity you do not want to do, then I am affecting you and that is wrong.

 

 

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sctmom,

 

Since when has the religion of Christianity endorsed slavery and bigamy? Does the bible talk of these things? Yes. Did some of the Old Testament figures have multiple wives? Yes. Did some own slaves? Yes. Nevertheless, the bible does not endorse any of these practices. In regard to animal sacrifices, this was done by Jews as an offering to God and became obsolete with the coming of Christ. However, if it was still done today, I would not put this in the same category of the other practices mentioned - sexual ceremonies, slavery, and bigamy.

 

Having said all of the above, the pagan religions mentioned in this thread, did endorse these kinds of practices. There's a huge difference between "the faith" and the people who attempt to follow it. Christianity does not promote these practices. Some of its followers may not have followed its teachings, but that's a different matter.

 

As to your last post - "If what I am doing in my private life does not affect you, why do you need to judge if it is right or wrong?"

 

I do not believe most people want to go looking into everyone's closet. However, if this question is being posed to suggest that homosexuals should be accepted into BSA on a "don't ask, don't tell" basis, I have a response. As an opponent to this idea, I feel the behavior is immoral. If someone were practicing this behavior, particularly without any regret or shame, I would not trust him/her to mentor my child. The fact that the person in question, never intended for the "secret" to get out, is beside the point. Yes, I am concerned about someone promoting an immoral lifestyle to my child. But more importantly, I consider that person to be immoral and not to be trusted with my child.

 

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sctmom

but what you do in private with a consenting adult is personal I was really hoping this thread wouldnt take the standard selfish Liberaltarian direction but lets start with a simple concept. By your standard, is incest morally straight if practiced by consenting adults? If not, why?

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Boy, what a tough question. Easy to define in macro, impossible to pin down on the real world level. I would be very surprised if there is anyone, anywhere, at any time in Scouting who leads a lifestyle that someone, somewhere could not point to a facet of and take exception to it. Human failing and weakness is recognized as inevitable, and virtue the successful struggle against it.

 

Organized religion has a mechanism for drawing the line while hoping for virtue; it's called forgiveness.

 

Organized Scouting has a mechanism for drawing the line while hoping for virtue, too. It's called two deep leadership. At the Troop level, 2DL, under the guise of protecting the boys from us and protecting us from the boys, is also protecting Scouting from the moral failings we are afraid could be present in any one of us. All you can do is set the best example you can, be vigilant and drive to beat the fall.

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Scouters are passionate if nothing else. I agree with Rooster7 that stirring the pot a bit is helpful. Although most people go directly from "morally straight" to the gay issue, it really is much deeper than that.

 

According to my online dictionary the word moral is defined as "of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior," and morality is defined a "doctrine or system of moral conduct."

 

The scouting movement, by incorporating the idea of morality into its oath, creates an ambivalence about morality that all would do well to recognize and accept.

 

I would suggest that all scouters subscribe to at least the minimum precepts:

 

1. By inserting morality into the oath, we reserve the right to judge the conduct of ourselves and others under some system of beliefs.

 

2. Scouting is neutral as to individual religious practices and teaches tolerances among all religions. We will know that full tolerance has been achieved when there are religious awards for Wiccan.

 

3. In its neutrality, once one gets past the scout law, it is not unfair to say that scouting could be characterized as "morally relativistic"

 

4. It is very hard to maintain any sense moral conduct with youth today in light of everything they are exposed to.

 

5. While many scouters, including regular participants in this forum, are very intense in their religious beliefs, I would wager they are far more tolerant and soft spoken about their beliefs than the way they occasionally come across in this forum. There are very few real bigots in scouting.

 

Everybody ought to take a deep breath and chill out a bit.

 

Harking to another thread on a similar subject, I think it was Mike Long who suggested that a good place to start is with the belief system of the chartered organization. Since many, if not most, units are sponsored by some sort of religiously oriented group, that is not a bad place to start.

 

Over two hundred years ago, philosophers such as Immanuel Kant tried to address the problem of moral conduct in the absence of religious belief. Since there is no great following of Kant today, one could argue that the effort failed.

 

Scouting by its very organizational premise creates a tension between the general and the particular that we can only discuss and never settle to everybody's satisfaction.

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Eisley, you are right! This group is nothing if not passionate!

 

Sctmom, thanks for clearing up our identities.

 

The point I was trying to make, and forgive me if I'm not as eloquent as some of you, is that every religious and ethnic group has their own "moral code". Christians differ among themselves - Protestant, Baptist, Mormon, Catholic, etc. as well as from non-Christian religions, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Buddist, etc....

The basics are the same -- murder and rape are not acceptable--I think that was a bad analogy.

 

I know some Athiests who I believe are "morally straight", but are not candidates for the BSA. It is not up to me to determine someone else's moral code. It is not my job to judge. That belongs to a higher power. I don't want to start to preach (because that's not my job, either) so I'll leave it at that.

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Rooster7, vizoere For the record, I agree with vizoere - "The BSA isn't affiliated with one specific religion, though it is a somewhat religious organization. For the record, I was thinking in terms of duty to God which was one of Lord Baden-Powells contributions as author to the Oath. And, before I go any further, I am unequivocally open to and endorse all legitimate religions (less the pagan and cult religions) involvement in the BSA. Lord Baden-Powell refers to God in his book, AIDS TO SCOUTMASTERSHIP, as God the Creator through His wondrous work, which when coupled with active performance of His will in service for others constitutes the concrete foundation of religion, and then further describes a Good Turn as Christian Charity. It would seem that through our Oath and Laws, given the original intent of the author, the BSA does indirectly affiliate itself with the God of Abraham.

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Oh Most Vigilant Male Parental Unit

 

I want to be sure I understand you.

 

If the BSA is indirectly linked to the God of Abraham, what is the effect on Bha'i, Hindu and Buddist scout here in the United States?(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

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Are you saying that Buddist, Hindu and Bha'i boy scouts which may earn religious medals as are not really endorsed and supported by BSA? Of course not. In fact, these particular religions and the Religious Emblems Program were the incentive for my post previous. It would appear that there is some ambiguity in the Oath as it pertains to the eastern religions, perhaps a good topic for another thread? BTW I find it interesting, depending on the religion, all scouts are eligible to earn any or all of the emblems in the program, this must make it a secular curriculum?

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eisely,

 

Good post. I have a couple of comments (as if you didn't see that coming).

 

Sorry about straying to the homosexual issue, but I felt a previous poster was alluding to that argument and I felt compelled to respond.

 

I don't agree that having a standard of morality that is ambivalent is good. You might as well not have a standard. If this is the direction that BSA goes, then it's going to lose a lot of members (probably my family included). You said - "By inserting morality into the oath, we reserve the right to judge the conduct of ourselves and others under some system of beliefs." I agree. However, how can this happen if we recognize and accept "ambivalence about morality". You seem to be contradicting yourself.

 

Lastly, you said - "Scouting is neutral as to individual religious practices and teaches tolerances among all religions. We will know that full tolerance has been achieved when there are religious awards for Wiccan." I agree with the first half of this statement. Scouting welcomes all of the world's major faiths, as it should. I disagree with the second half of the statement. We should not accept all religions. Not all "religions" attempt to recognize and honor God. Some of these so-called faiths are nothing more than self-serving, self-worshiping, self-gratifying, nonsensical cults - Wicca included (visit some of their websites if you find this hard to swallow). With all due respect, and no offense intended, but to recognize and accept them like any other faith is insulting and absurd. If that makes me a bigot, than I'll wear it proudly and face my God with no shame.

 

I will bow out of this contest of wills (yes, we are all very passionate) with this last statement:

 

We cannot stake claim to being "morally straight" if we use a yardstick that bends in opposite directions in order to accommodate every possible "faith". I'm confident that BSA's founders had specific standards in mind when they chartered the organization some 80 years ago. Back then, it was a given that homosexuality was wrong. In the 1920's, I'm fairly confident that BSA was not willing to open the door to pagan religionsThis too should be accepted as a given, if one knows anything about the culture and standards of that day. They knew, as common sense should dictate, you cannot edict a moral code if there is no established baseline. Considering the times and Baden-Powell's own words (provided by Dedicated Dad), it seems apparent to me that Judeo-Christian values ruled the day. Values that our nation embraced and passionately defended. I do not view these men or their times as anything, but prudent and wise. This leaves the door open to faiths such as the ones mentioned by OldGreyEagle, but closes the door to religions that mock those values.

 

Disclaimer: While I vow to remain silent on this topic from this post forward, do not take my silence as capitulation (believe me, I could drag this out with the best of you)

 

Sincerely,

 

Proud Male Chicken who arbitrary stakes claim to the number seven

 

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that full tolerance has been achieved when there are religious awards for WiccanIm pretty darn sure this was tongue in cheek, if not, we need to talk. Satin worship and idolatry would be a logical next step should the BSA recognize paganism.

 

 

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