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What is Morally Straight?

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This is from a comment made in the San Deigo thread, I thought it deserved a place of its own


What is morally straight?


Does it mean you cannot be a scout leader if you were ever divorced?


Does morally straight mean you have to be a virgin until your wedding night and can never contemplate being a scout leader if you werent?


Could you ever have used illegal drugs, snuck a beer while underage, disobeyed your parents?


When we say moraly straight, I think it means many different things to many different people. I would like to see how the phrase "morally straight" is defined.


The scout oath has been with us for a very long time. Did morally straight always mean no homosexuals? When the BSA argued against allowing Gay leaders, did they invoke the "morally straight" phrase or was it based on the constitutional right that as a private organization we get to make up our own rules, especially regarding membership.


What act in the past, not including child endangerment or molestation, would preclude a person from being a scout leader?


I look forward to a frank exchange of opinions






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"Morally straight" can never be defined such that all will be in agreement. The Boy Scout that subscribes to the Scout Oath "... To keep myself ... morally straight" must find within his own heart what that means. The Scout book provides some guidance: "strong character", "Be clean in your speech and actions", and perhaps most importantly "The values you practice as a Scout will help you shape a life of virtue ...".


Kids know a lot about what is right and honorable. They dont need a precise definition. Adults are different.

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You're right, FScouter. Kids do know. It's the adults that often times get things all out of skew.


As a Scout in the '70's, away from Scouting in the '80's and back again with my son in the '90's and '00's, I've said the Scout Oath hundreds (if not thousands) of times with the full understanding that "Morally Straight" meant that I was to follow the Scout Law and the common sensical rules of being a good person. There was never a thought of having it mean "not gay".


The meaning of morally straight has never changed to me, but since the whole issue reared it's ugly head, I can't help but think of the duel meaning of the word when that part of the oath is said. I feel violated in a sense because the innocence of the world (and my childhood) has, in a sense, been chipped away a bit. The way it's misconstrued by people outside the Scouting community, especially the pro-gay groups who use it as their rallying cry, bothers me.


"...Physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight." Take good care of your body, take good care of your mind, and live your life as a thoughtful, caring, quality person with good values as stated in the Scout Law. Any Scout or other person who does that is going to be a value to any family or community.

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To a vegetarian, the eating of all meat is a perversion, while to some Jewish and Islamic sects the eating of pork is a perversion. To strict adherents of the Christian Science faith, seeking medical assistance is perversion.


As I understand history, the early christians worshipped one God while the rest of the Roman Empire followed a polytheistic religion. To the citizens of Rome, I am sure the Christians were considered perverted.


Some things that are considered perversions by others I dont understand, while what constitutes normal behavior by some is abhorrent to me.


To be repentant means you are sorry for what you did because you realize it was wrong. How can you be repentant if you beleive you did nothing wrong?


I think the term perversion is a judgement applied by an Observer about a situation/action that Observer cant personally comprehend.


(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

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That was a yes or no question, and your answer?

Here, let me help you out with the definition though I suspect you probably knew it anyway, youll find it in Websters.


Main Entry: perversion

Pronunciation: p&r-'v&r-zh&n, -sh&n

Function: noun

Date: 14th century

1 : the action of perverting : the condition of being perverted

2 : a perverted form; especially : an aberrant sexual practice especially when habitual and preferred to normal coitus



I believe that morality doesnt exist because society considers certain actions to be immoral, but because certain actions are inherently right or wrong regardless of what society thinks about them. If morality only exists in the heart or with your brief history of moral relativism, i.e. morality is individual and independent of others, then nothing can be truly moral or immoral.


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To expand on OGE's questions and statements:


I know people who are not allowed to play cards or any games with dice because their religion (a MAJOR denomination in Christianity) says it is immoral. As OGE mentions, this same group would say all divorcees are immoral (especially the female ones). Females should not wear pants, only dresses that go well below the knees. No smoking, drinking, or dancing! Lusting in your heart is as bad as adultery.


Whoa, that just knocked out a bunch of scout leaders on not being "morally straight"! I'm not joking, I'm not exaggerating. These are things believed as immoral by a large number of Christians.


Here is what I find in my Merriam Webster dictionary:

perversion - noun 1: the action of perverting: the condition of being perverted 2: a perverted form of something; especially aberrant sexual behavior.


My Webster's New World Dictionary printed by Simon & Schuster in 1988 says:

perversion: noun 1: a perverting or being perverted 2: something perverted; abnormal form 3: any of various sexual acts or practices deviating from what is considered normal; sexual deviation.

perverted: adj. 1: deviating from what is considered right, good, or true; misdirected, corrupted, etc. 2: of or practicing sexual perversion 3) misinterpreted, distorted.



"any of various sexual acts or practices deviating from what is considered normal"

could mean that anything but the missionary position is immoral. At least, my mother told me that was the only "normal" thing to do.


About the whole issue of BSA being a private organization and therefore being able to set it's membership requirements -- I've been thinking about this lately. My son is having problems in school. I think he needs to be in a smaller classroom so he can get more one on one attention. Right across the street from the public school is a church owned school. I sometimes think of sending him there. But I do not adhere to their beliefs, in fact am against some of their beliefs. Yet, I feel that if I enroll my son that I cannot expect them to change all of their teachings for me and my child. I can get his education elsewhere. Why would the atheist family feel compelled to join BSA? I think Campfire USA accepts everyone regardless of religious belief.


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Come on, people - lets not go off the deep end here. Pretty soon this discussion of morally straight is going to turn into another "off the charts" conversation similar to the ridiculous camouflage pants issue.


OGE, I think you're trying to stir the pot a bit too much by asking inflammatory questions like "Can you be a Scout leader if you're divorced?" and "Can you be a Scout leader if you're not a virgin on your wedding night?" and all the other such nonsense. Questions like that deserve zero response. Unfortunately, you're going to get some.


The original question is a great question to ponder but don't start it by posing extreme right wing, holier-than-thou questions. They do nothing but anger people whose Scouting experiences involve a lot more than worrying about digging into people's personal backgrounds.

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From what I know about BSA v. Dale is that it was argued that the author of the Oath didnt have Homosexuality in mind as NOT being Morally Straight, and perhaps the thought never crossed his mind. I would ask anyone here if they would think the author, if asked specifically is Homosexuality Morally Straight, would he answer yes or no?

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Dedicated Dad,

Either add something useful to the thread or kindly refrain from typing anything. What you're asking is about as stupid a comment as anything I've seen in this forum.


Because of commentary from you and other people like you, I believe this entire forum is on the verge of being cast aside and forgotten by the majority of Scouters who come here for it's original intent - to exchange creative ideas for our Boy Scout Troops and Cub Scout Packs and to have constructive conversation, not to put up with ludicrous statements like yours.


Either grow up and become a responsible Scouter or get out!



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OGE said:


To (insert group here), the (insert activity here) is a perversion...


I think the term perversion is a judgement applied by an Observer about a situation/action that Observer cant personally comprehend.



The way I understand what he is saying is, "What gives any one of us the right to judge that what someone does is morally straight or not?"


Dedicated Dad said:


If morality only exists "in the heart" or with your brief history of moral relativism, i.e. morality is individual and independent of others, then nothing can be truly moral or immoral.



True, anyone can create a "religion" with whatever beliefs they like. As I remember from history class, many religions came about in this way. King Bob the 43rd decided that he didn't want to be married to his current wife anymore, but his religion didn't allow divorces. He creates a new religion based on the old one that allows divorces & decrees that all his subjects must "convert" to his new religion. This is one of the prices we must pay so that we can worship in the religion we believe is the true one.


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 seems to me the most fair way to handle the situation. It opens Scouting to the vast majority of boys out there, while still maintaining some semblence of a moral code. Unfortunately for some boys & potential leaders, this rules that homosexuality is wrong.


Someone once said, "You can please all of the people some of the time or some of the people all of the time, but you cannot please all of the people all of the time."

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