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We had a couple of boys from a two-dad family in our original Pack before the school kicked us out. Should those boys have not been allowed to join?


Of course these boys should be allowed to join. But that's not the topic being discussed on this thread.


If a person cannot themselves believe, but encourages the comfort and direction and belonging that faith can bring for others, wha(t) problem do you have with that?


I don't have a problem with that, per se, unless they want to sign up as a religious ed teacher, a rabbi/minister/priest, or an adult leader in a values based movement that accepts, embraces and promotes Duty to God as one of its core values.


You say that, but you seem to really think that there are no atheists who can see the value of religion for others, and who would encourage others to keep their faith if the(y) can.


Anyone (including atheists) with any common sense recognizes the good religion does for society through its service work. The issue isn't about the value of religion to society, it's about accepting the existence of God.


BSA adult leaders, who "gloss over" Duty to God or "omit" words/phrases from the Scout Oath or Pledge of Allegience, are being dishonest with themselves and BSA. BSA adult leaders who announce "I am an atheist" are no different than those who announce "I am an anarchist." They are no longer suitable adult leaders, for they articulate a value which is diametrically opposed to those found in the Scout Oath and Law.


Black and white? Yes, in this instance, it is.

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Weekender, " And yes, I believe America was

founded on Judeo-Christian values and so were the schools."


So - are you saying that the schools should keep that Judeo-Christian thing happening, regardless of the faiths of the children in attendance, and their families, and their teachers? Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, whatever - all gotta take the Judeo-Christian orientation classes? You really need to elaborate on this - if that is your stance, just say so, and if it isn't, please try to clarify, cause it kinda comes across that way...

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CubsRgr8, let's find specifically "accepting the existence of God" in the following:


"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 is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. The Boy Scouts of America's policy is that the home and the organization or group with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life. Only persons willing to subscribe to this Declaration of Religious Principle and to the bylaws of the Boy Scouts of America shall be entitled to certificates of leadership."


Question at large - COULD AN ATHEIST SIGN THIS WITHOUT DUPLCITY, HYPOCRISY OR FRAUD? In the above verbiage, subscription to this declaration of principle does not seem to confirm that the signee him/herself in fact holds a belief in God.


"BSA adult leaders, who ... "omit"

words/phrases from the ... Pledge of Allegience,

are being dishonest with themselves."


Are you suggesting that the exercise of Free Speech to acknowledge separation of Church and State for those who independently OMIT "under God" from the pledge is something that should get them kicked out of Scouts?! More importantly, you're saying that's BEING DISHONEST WITH ONE'S SELF? Seems to me like that specific case is a greater honesty. Hey, do you get a ticket for rewording the pledge? Arrested? What's the law on that one.



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kwc57, in your reply to weekender - great reply and I agree with your philosophy. As an example, although I disagree with the Baptist doctrine of the wife 'submitting' to the husband, I respect your right to follow that doctrine (I suppose your wife would have to agree, too). I respect others' beliefs and I demand similar respect from them. I know of no faith that has not received rough treatment from other faiths and many of our wars have religious conflict as their cause or at least a significant component. Anyone who has attended Camp Meeting understands the desire for religious dominance and conquest by whatever flavor is being preached at the time (Although Rush could still be right, it's all about money)

In my troop (multiple faiths) I consider the boy's religious development to be the primary responsibility of their parent(s), not me. In fairness, how can I require my Jewish scouts to participate in prayers to Jesus? (Yeah, I know, ScoutParent, they can go form their own organization) Not to mention the Buddhist, Moslem, or Hindu boys. I would deeply resent outsiders poking their noses into my childen's religious development and most of my parents have said they feel the same. So I don't. However, it is clear that there are persons in this forum who would like to do just that and feel it is their responsibility to push their beliefs on everyone else, the 'faith Nazis'. I suppose that they feel a responsibility, in this manner, to 'purify society' for their way of thinking. It is clear that, in a way, BSA is similarly inclined, hence my suggestion to use the Albert Speer model. At least that would be honest about its intent. Such intolerance is, however, unAmerican in spirit and unpatriotic in action...and ought to be unscoutlike...but tolerance is not one of the 12 points. Oh well.


Bob White, Use of tobacco and other drugs is not covered by the first amendment. The difference is that exclusion because of the above is related to health and crime while exclusion because of beliefs is in violation of the first amendment. Obesity isn't a crime but I suppose BSA could investigate the possibilities.


Weekender, As an educator I consider ignorance as something to be avoided. I can think of no situation where ignorance is an enhancement. I consider intentional ignorance to be the definition of stupidity. But the first amendment gives you that right.


Rooster7, I know you understand these things and that you asked rhetorically. But:

Lying is wrong, period.

Stealing is wrong, period.

I know of no faith that maintains deceit or crime to be good. But in real life we are often presented with conflicts that have unclear resolutions. The task is to try be fair to others without being unfair to ourselves. This requires us to tolerate different views and to prevent everyone's actions from causing harm to each other.


Everyone, Remind me now, what good came from excluding Lambert? How were our lives enriched from that exercise? As opposed to, say, making BSA a tobacco free organization, how much better was Lambert's exclusion and why? Hey, 'tobacco-free', I like that. Then we can work on those evil fat people.

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To expand on Littlebillie's question, for funsies let's say that the new world was settled by Hindu's escaping religious persecution instead of Christians. Let's say that they formed a democratic form of government and their laws and schools were founded on Hindu values. Now let's say that over the course of 250 years many Christians immigrated to the nation founded on Hindu values. As a Christian, would you be happy if the schools were teaching these Hindu values or would you want the values taught to reflect your belief? This nation is a melting pot and it's made up of many different types and cultures. There is no one size fits all. Schools need to have discipline and teach certain core values common accepted within society. But to try to claim that schools should endorse one faith's values over another is an exercise in futility. All faiths have redeeming values. All faiths have certain values that anyone can accept. Heck, society apart from religion has common values. Laws against stealing and murder have been around forever. They did not originate with the Bible or the founding of the United States. Schools need to teach common values for the betterment of society in general and do. Familes and churches need to teach their specific brand of values to their kids.

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KWC57, I like your hypothetical.





My answer, Yes an atheist could sign this statement. I am trying to think of who COULDN'T sign it, the statement is so wishy-washy. The BSA 'maintains'...it is their opinion and does not explicitly reject the possibility of an alternative. The BSA policy designates a clear hierarchy of 'home' over 'organization' over 'group' with regard to religious life. Except that it is basis for prejudicial views and actions, I have no problem with the statement. Was this passage the basis for the Lambert action? Is BSA planning to tighten it? Does anyone get a vote?

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That "doctrine" gets blown way out of proportion by the media and people outside the Baptist church. One verse gets all the attention without considering the whole context. Her it is in the whole context:


Epesians 5:22 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." 32 This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church; 33 however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.


Take special note of verses 25, 28, 29 and 31.


Let me tell you how this worked with my parents. My mom married my dad first and foremost because she loved him. But many of the reasons that she loved him was because she knew him to be decent, honest, hardworking, caring, loving and of good sound judgment. Because of those things, she found it easy to submit to him taking the leadership role in their marriage because she trusted his judgement and knew that any decision had her and our family as the main concern. On my dad's part, he never made a major purchase or decision that was not first fully discussed and debated in detail with my mom. It was a partnership, but she placed him at the head and trusted him to make the right decision and supported it fully when made. That is what the "doctrine" is. It is not a master and slave mentality that many make it out to be.


Now if I could just get MY wife to understand this! LOL Trust me, this does not get pushed every Sunday in Baptist churches and there are tons of Baptists who basically ignore it......because they can't see beyond the first verse.

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"Are you suggesting that the exercise of Free Speech ..."

According to my reading, this HAS happened (check with the Unitarian Universalists and others). You better watch your step, me too, because the thought-control police are in charge.

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I hope I didn't offend you by my lack of understanding in that 'submit' example. When I married my wife I felt lucky not to have to change MY name. Seriously, I must be undergoing ZORN withdrawal. I miss that guy. Also MERLIN, where is he? Please don't tell me they were the same person, I couldn't take that. Everyone, have a nice day. Think I'll just have to overeat at lunch, maybe take up smoking...Nah, I'll stick to the food.

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So - are you saying that the schools should keep that Judeo-Christian thing happening, regardless of the faiths of the children in attendance, and their families, and their teachers?


At the risk of offendingI say - YES. The Judeo-Christian standard does not mean others must worship the same God. It doesn't even mean they must believe in the same morals. It does mean - all peoples are expected to behave in a way that complies with that standard.


This requires us to tolerate different views and to prevent everyone's actions from causing harm to each other.


Depends on your definition of tolerate. If a Satanist believes he'll find happiness by pursuing evil, I can't stop him. He has his own mind and it's not my job or my right to force him to change. On the other hand, I firmly believe it is our right to require his behavior to conform to the Judeo-Christian standard, and to teach that standard in public classrooms.


Everyone, Remind me now, what good came from excluding Lambert?


It was to enforce a standardyou remember standards, don't you?


Rooster7, I know you understand these things and that you asked rhetorically.


Actually, not all of my questions were rhetorical. If you're going to dispute the Judeo-Christian standard as being an acceptable teaching in the public schools, then you need to explain what standards are the schools suppose to use? None? If none, then how can they possibly promote ethical behavior without a standard? If it's man-made, then what men are entitled to define the standard? Who appointed them? Please don't refer to some imaginary and unaccountable pluralistic group in society. Ironically, they only exist in the minds of atheists. What faith they must have!


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"It doesn't even mean they must believe in the same morals. It does mean - all peoples are expected to behave in a way that complies with that standard. "


Um - are you saying, you don't have to believe in my religion, but you have to act as tho' you do?


and - are you saying no equal time for all religions, it's just gonna be that Old and New T stuff?


you really underestimate the utility of the Golden Rule, methinks, as close to universal dictum as humankind has e'er spoke! one way or another, stated positively (do as you would have done) or negatively (do not do as you would not have done), stated poeteically or prosaically, religiously or laically, it's predated 0 AD by many many years, and seems a firm foundation for any non-religiously preferential course on ethics (as opposed to a religiously based morality). and if you insist, it provides a lovely stepping stone for a comparative religion discussion, that considers ALL faiths and cultures.


AND for universality out of diversity...


Hammurabai rocks!

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Um - are you saying, you don't have to believe in my religion, but you have to act as tho' you do?


and - are you saying no equal time for all religions, it's just gonna be that Old and New T stuff?


No. You're really misrepresenting the point. Our country was been founded on these moral principles. It matters not that they were derived from the Judeo-Christian faiths. The bottom line is, our country was and is unified (as much as a nation can be) by these values. So - We have a standard. Muslims may not be happy because it doesn't necessarily capture everything they believe. Buddhist and Hindus may have the same complaint. No matter, it is the standard that this country chose as a foundation. All values are rooted in beliefs. The fact that our nation embraced the Judeo-Christian standard does not mean it is forcing religion on anyone. It's simply an agreed upon standard.


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" It's simply an agreed upon standard. "


Uh-huh - and this is written down in the rule book (Constitution)where exactly, this Judeo-Christian thing, this agreed upon standard? And I think there was a different standard before the Europeans got here, what happened to that?


And if a HUGE bunch o' Buddhists moved here and became the majority population, would the standard change or...?


Maybe it's time for a Constitutional Amendment - maybe even a Convention for a full rewrite - before that happens, to establish our national religious standards once and for all as Judeo-Christian and the rest of you can like it or lump it.


Sorry, I'm being a little flip here. I do apologize. But this standard thing - yes, I've heard they were all such and so and this and that, the signers of the Declaration. But where does the Constitution say we all agree to be Jewish or Christian, and that's IT!?


"Send me your tired, your poor, your Christian masses yearning to breathe free"?

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Actually, to say that our nation was founded on Judeo-Christian values is not quite correct. Our nation began with Christians fleeing religious persecution in the old world. There were no Jews on the Mayflower. Christians of that time (just as today) did not see the Bible as half Jewish (the OT) and half Christian (the NT). They saw the whole Bible and it's teachings and values as Christian. The term Judeo-Christian didn't even come into existence until the mid 20th century. Yes, half the values of the Bible are Jewish and all the values of the Bible are Christian. But our nations government and laws were based on Christian values. Judiaism was not even a consideration at the time.

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littlebillie, "Hammurabi rocks"

Uh, I don't know...'STONES' is more like it. Some examples from the code:

6. If any one steal the property of a temple or of the court, he shall be put to death, and also the one who receives the stolen thing from him shall be put to death.

7. If any one buy from the son or the slave of another man, without witnesses or a contract, silver or gold, a male or female slave, an ox or a sheep, an ass or anything, or if he take it in charge, he is considered a thief and shall be put to death.

8. If any one steal cattle or sheep, or an ass, or a pig or a goat, if it belong to a god or to the court, the thief shall pay thirtyfold therefor; if they belonged to a freed man of the king he shall pay tenfold; if the thief has nothing with which to pay he shall be put to death.


And also Rooster, Where these codes seem a little harsh by our current standards, they are not that far off of the original Judeo-Christian code, for example, where adulterers are supposed to be stoned to death, etc. I suppose some of us fantasize about applying that code to our former commander-in-chief but our population would quickly diminish if we applied it fairly. Not to mention that thing about cloven hooves. I LIKE pork barbecue and aside from having to watch my weight, our discovery of parasites and proper cooking has altered that part of our heritage. (except for Orthodox Jews who still try to be faithful to the code...maybe not that stoning part)

I grant your argument that the founding fathers sprang from a society that had common roots, for the most part, in the Judeo-Christian heritage. But don't forget that many of the forefathers came here in PROTEST of religious persecution (read, extreme prejudice) in their countries of origin. As such their intent was to found a society where minorities (such as theirs had been) would be guaranteed the freedom of expression they had been denied elsewhere, even in the presence of some majority view. By claiming dominance, you are denying that intent. Rooster, where do you draw the line? Don't forget that as our nation was founded, the code included slavery...and the slave owners often employed the Biblical argument to support the practice. And as some of us maintain (not me), if we don't take it literally, all of it, then we must be rejecting it.

My point is that the 'standard' as you put it does not exist in a single written code but rather in the mind of each individual. It changes with the population and, to answer one comment, in parts of the country, there is a distinct local effect reflecting that population - it changes with location. The code you speak of is dynamic and I doubt that anyone or any group could put it in words because of that dynamic.

Not to mention technology. Remember the religious objections to 'the pill'? In vitro fertilization? Now we take such things in stride (except for an anachronistic minority who are within their first amendment right to vocally complain). The schools here have Judeo-Christian derivatives in attendance who speak in tongues and believe in snake-handling. I suspect their view is somewhat different from yours.

I think that littlebillie's suggestion of the Golden Rule is a good one. The beauty of it is that it works and it crosses all the faiths and avoids most if not all the conflict.

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