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Obviously, you guys cannot separate religion from a standard that has religious roots. No one is suggesting that non-Christians be forced to convert. I'm merely said a standard needed to be (and was) established. History tells us that our forefathers had no problem embracing Christianity - not only as a personal faith, but as a building block for our Constitution and all our laws. Posters on this board are suggesting that these laws are unconstitutional because they have roots in religion. This argument is not rational. If a bunch of intellectuals got together and simply wrote up a code of ethics, you'd probably have little problem endorsing its teaching in public school. Yet, what makes these guys any more empowered to determine right and wrong than the next guy? No one has yet to answer my question. Who gets to decide - right and wrong? For that matter, how can we write laws? I guarantee that I can find religions that endorse all kinds of depravity...Why aren't you guys fighting for their rights? Who are you to judge their morality? And if I can't find a religion repulsive enough for you, why can't I simply create my own? Who's to say that such a "faith" is invalid? Why couldn't I simply invent my faith, and mock every law this country ever created? I know this is extreme - but your attack on moral teachings by public schools is extreme. There must be a standard! HISTORY - tells that the standard of our forefathers was rooted in the Judeo-Christian faith. It's that simple.

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I tend to agree with Rooster on this one (I think). Most of our countries law were based on J-C teachings.


What I feel many do not understand, is that many individuals can fully embrace these values and be "non-believers/atheists." As for teaching these values, public institutions need to tread lightly.


As always, the devil is in the details.

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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.


No. Why? When someone signs the adult leader application, they apply to become a member of BSA. The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God. I don't see how someone can recognize an obligation to God without accepting the existance of God. How can the two be separated? Explain it to me.


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?!


No, that's not what I'm suggesting. Reread my post and you'll see that I'm suggesting BSA leaders who can't, in good conscience, say they accept the existance of God, are being dishonest with either themselves (by going along) or BSA (by not disclosing their atheism).

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I won't try to speak for all of 'you guys' but my view is that the common morality we share, regardless of its derivation, is acceptable to us because we choose to accept it (sorry for the circularity but it seems unavoidable). We collectively write the laws through a democratic process (citizenship in nation, community) and we individually decide right and wrong. Whether a person uses a Bible passage as their authority or if they derive it logically, they still decide individually how to think and act. I can't sort out the source of my or our development of this common morality because it isn't possible to remove me or us from it (a problem with social science and behavioral study methods). At the same time I am not certain it depends on any particular religious heritage. I think the good in people and in our lives can be found in persons who do not share our religious background and I have seen this in other countries and cultures. Throughout the world, people are basically the same with similar needs, desires, capabilities, and faults.

ACCO40, I think this may be why you observe shared morals with the persons you mention.

Rooster, to answer some of your questions, YOU can say which faith is invalid and the practitioners of that faith can disagree with you. If you want, YOU CAN create a new one to mock the laws of our country. You might have trouble accumulating followers or funding but that's your problem.

There ARE cultural practices that I abhore (such as FGM) but I am not sure they have a religious basis, at least I don't know what religion that would be. I would challenge you to name some repulsive religions because I am interested. However, as I remember, at one time Christianity was repulsive to at least a large portion of the rest of the world. In more recent times the LDS church was considered to be a cult founded by a magician huckster who fabricated a "blasphemy" in the eyes of YOUR Christian majority. Not to mention the hateful view of Jews still held by many of our Christian contemporaries. Quite recently, I have heard different Protestant flavors referring to each other in pejorative terms. 'Repulsive' may be in the eye of the beholder (but I'll always think Raquel Welch is beautiful, I love you Raquel). So give it a try, I'm game. Actually, don't repulse me, tell us which ones YOU find repulsive.

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Our forefathers WERE Christians. Like my example said, if our forefathers had been Hindu, then obviously the building block would have been Hindu values and teachings. The standard was establised because of who and what they were, not because they studied a lot of other systems looking for the best they could find. They went with what they knew.


I've never said that laws or J-C values were unconstitional because they are based on religious principles. Almost all basic laws has some religious roots in any culture. What I was responding to earlier was the person who complained that the public school system (universally) was corrupt and immoral and he didn't like his taxes paying for it. He wanted his J-C values taught at school since HIS tax dollars were supporting the school. My feeling was from his attitude that he didn't just want the value taught, he wanted it taught as "J-C" values. Since people from other religious backgrounds also pay taxes and send their kids to the same schools, then there would be a problem that the public school system is intentionally promoting "J-C" over basic society standards. When you intentionally promote one religions values over another in a goverment entity whose primary purpose is educating children, then yes...it is unconstitutional. It is not that the law has a basis in a religious concept that makes it unconstitutional, it is when you teach a value in a public school because it is specifically Christian that it becomes unconstitional. Big difference. Besides, values and laws may be closely related, but they are two different things.


As far as who gets to determine what is right or wrong. The laws are created by legislative bodies of elected officials who are representative of the people who elect them. That has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with politics. The official's personal religion may flavor their politics, but they represent everyone in their area, not just the majority who elected them.


As far as finding depraved religions, almost any religion can be perverted. You don't have to look far for an example. Our nation is having to come to grips with Islam. Islam teaches that their religion IS their politics and their laws. Everything is based on a strict interpretation of the Koran. It is called Sharia law. Clerics are the judges and they will stone you for adultery and cut your hand off for stealing. Women are beat if a man sees anything besides their hand....even if they are inside their own house and a man sees them thru their window. School basically involves memorizing the Koran and little else. To them, it is a totally value based education. And since Allah is the only God and Mohammed is his messenger, any deviation from their teachings can meet with beheading. They are right pure and simple and you are not allowed to practice any other religion in their countries. That is the danger of chosing one religion over another and teaching only it's values in your schools. They laugh at our laws.


You get no argument that our forefathers were Christians and that our laws and values largely came from our J-C background. In fact, I like it that way. All I'm saying is that while I expect my son's school to teach them what being a good citizen is by respecting the laws of the land, I do not want them teaching them as Christian laws. They are not Christian laws, they are state laws developed by men whose views and values were influenced by their particular brand of faith. The laws don't say this is law because the Bible says so, they are simply laws whose beginnings have a basis in Christian values.


Many laws have no religious underpinnings. Seatbelt laws for instance....how does that relate to a J-C value? The basic laws against murder, stealing, fraud, human rights, etc. do have a religious underpinning. But the same types of laws are found worldwide even in cultures that are not J-C. They are fundamental to many many religious systems.




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The reason our country needs to remain firmly rooted in or Christian foundation is simple. Christians are one of the very few who will tolerate other religions. Too many people think tolerance means agreement...If I agree there is nothing to tolorate. In the US you can be any religion you like because the Christians who designed our system believed you should hate the sin and love the sinner. In India, Christians are burned alive or beaten to death, in Islamic nations they are stoned and beheaded. (So are athiests by the way). Christiniaty seems to be one of the few sets of religeous believes willing to tolorate (allow others to hold their belifs even if I think they are wrong) the beliefs of others.


Oh wait a minute...I keep forgeting...we'r ethe intolorant bigots.

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I hate to disagree, but I must, Christianity has not had an admirable legacy of tolerance.


The protestants and the catholics (both Christian) of northern Ireland have not been a model of tolerance.


World War I and World War II featured Lutheran Chaplains (amoung other faiths) in both German and American armies (amoung others)


If in India, christians are burned alive or beaten to death, I guess I am glad none of her neighbors figured out Mother Therese was not Hindu.


The point is, I dont think tolerance is a by-product of a religions tenet's, it is the interpretation of those tenet's by the populace. Not all muslim countries beat women who flash a wrist. A lot of the Palestinian representatives I see on TV are women, and they are showing a whole heck more than a wrist. The Klu Klux Klan hold themselves out to be christian, the Spainish Inquesition was held in the name of religion. The muslims terrorists who have carried out attacks on the U.S. did it in the name of the Koran.


No religion is free of zealots or those who pervert its tenets to serve an unholy purpose.



Matt 7:12(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

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OGE, I agree too. What you say reminds me of something A.N. Whitehead also said, somewhat harshly:

"History, down to the present day, is a melancholy record of the horrors which can attend religion: human sacrifice, and in particular the slaughter of children, cannibalism, sensual orgies, abject superstition, hatred as between races, the maintenance of degrading customs, hysteria, bigotry, can all be laid at its charge. Religion is the last refuge of human savagery. The uncritical association of religion with goodness is directly negativated by plain facts."


If this offends anyone, I advise that few in this forum need feel that way. I have observed great tolerance here (but not at BSA). I also disagree with Whitehead's quick association between religion and misery. It is a facile association and at the root, I think that some persons choose evil and then use religion as a justification. But I could be wrong, I suppose.

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I've already given examples which your own comments seemed to exclude from the general discourse. Anyone who can say "my faith has failed, but I support all those who can maintain their own beliefs" can, I think, sign this in all good conscience. Cerain megalomaniacal individuals who believe themselves to be "above the rest" may also, in a fit of superiority, declare that religion betters the masses. Not my fave kind of folk, but of course there are those who say theirs is the only true religion who are like unto these, personality-wise...


moving on to all the "agreed upon standards". we are a nation built on law, the Constitution gives us certain guidelines, and until law and Constituion can pass thru SCOTUS and declare America is a Christian nation by amendnment and writ, that "agreed upon standard" makes a nice talking point, but not much else.


once we start making this a nation of religious tenets instead of a nation of law - oh, wait, didn't they try that in Afghanistan? "come Mr Taliban, tally me bananas..."


Law can stand regardless of faith; and true, Christianity can stand regardless of law. While Commandments can contribute to a nation's laws, there have been injunctions against murder (for example) down thru the ages, and of course Moses was not the first to pass along a Shalt not. It's probably better to look on religion as a moral or ethical overlay (like area codes!). First, the law says this for ALL of us - then, after that, you can decide to keep kosher if you wish.


Trhough Crusades and pogroms, witch hunts and special dispensations, Christianity has certainly taken its black eyes, and to speak of it as a model of tolerance, esp. in view of some of the postings here in re gay Americans, well... maybe in a perfect interpretation, but so far I know only one who's been awarded that status, and how are we to know if the current take is the intended take?


Folks who say Genesis creation is literal, but INTERPRET other verses the way they want - well, THAT seems a little facile, still.


The founding fathers decided to go with religious tolerance, rather than Christianity. Who am I to second guess them? I know the rules they set up for us as a civil society - I can follow my own faith, and welcome other faiths and non-faiths under that umbrella without getting much ruffled at all.


Packsaddle, founder of the Welchian devotees - good call!




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I think that some persons choose evil and then use religion as a justification.


I agree with this statement. Yet, I feel compelled to say - The fact that some use, twist, and abuse the truth for selfish means does not negate the fact that the TRUTH exists - or rather, God exists and its in our interest to know who He is, to seek His face.


I also feel it is important to note - some very special Christians founded this country. These men risked much - first to get here, and second, to establish independence from the British. There have been horror stories associated with Christianity, and certainly as individuals we all have sin - that cannot be denied. Our national history is not prefect. One can point to injustices. However, overall I feel America stands on solid ground. Over the course of time, we have conquered many evils - some external, some internal. In short, I am proud of our roots - speaking as an American and as a Christian.

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For those who are interested in the founding fathers, here are some excerpts take from http://www.dimensional.com/~randl/founders.htm



John Adams, the country's second president, was drawn to the study of law but faced pressure from his father to become a clergyman. He wrote that he found among the lawyers 'noble and gallant achievments" but among the clergy, the "pretended sanctity of some absolute dunces". Late in life he wrote: "Twenty times in the course of my late reading, have I been upon the point of breaking out, "This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!"


It was during Adam's administration that the Senate ratified the Treaty of Peace and Friendship, which states in Article XI that "the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion."

From: The Character of John Adams by Peter Shaw


Thomas Paine was a pamphleteer whose manifestos encouraged the faltering spirits of the country and aided materially in winning the war of Independence: I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of...Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all."


Thomas Jefferson, third president and author of the Declaration of Independence, said:"I trust that there is not a young man now living in the United States who will not die a Unitarian." He referred to the evelation of St. John as "the ravings of a maniac" and wrote: The Christian priesthood, finding the doctrines of Christ levelled to every understanding and too plain to need explanation, saw, in the mysticisms of Plato, materials with which they might build up an artificial system which might, from its indistinctness, admit everlasting controversy, give employment for their order, and introduce it to profit, power, and pre-eminence. The doctrines which flowed from the lips of Jesus himself are within the comprehension of a child; but thousands of volumes have not yet explained the Platonisms engrafted on them: and for this obvious reason that nonsense can never be explained."

From: Thomas Jefferson, an Intimate History by Fawn M. Brodie


"The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter." -- Thomas Jefferson (letter to J. Adams April 11,1823)


James Madison, fourth president and father of the Constitution, was not religious in any conventional sense. "Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."

"During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution."

From: The Madisons by Virginia Moore


Benjamin Franklin, delegate to the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, said:

As to Jesus of Nazareth, my Opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the System of Morals and his Religion...has received various corrupting Changes, and I have, with most of the present dissenters in England, some doubts as to his Divinity; tho' it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied

it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the Truth with less trouble." He died a month later, and historians consider him, like so many great Americans of his time, to be a Deist, not a Christian.


Benjamin Franklin, A Biography in his Own Words, edited by Thomas Fleming



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No religion is free of zealots or those who pervert its tenets to serve an unholy purpose.


I am presuming of course - when you say "zealots", you are inferring that these people are bigoted, irrational, and violent. By that definition, sadly, I agree that every religion appears to have some of these folks among their ranks.


However, using the original definition of this word (meaning one who possesses zeal or a fanatical enthusiasm for a particular belief) - without the negative connotations, I see this as no insult. Few self-proclaimed Christians are worthy of the title - zealot. In my mind, a Christian zealot or fanatic, is someone who fervently and unapologetically loves Christ, follows his teachings, and spreads His Word. He walks the walk - all the time.


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Hello Folks, I found this thread after returning from an extended Alaskan trip and it has been great. The fact is that I feel good that we can disagree without fighting and we seem to respect each others' rights to speak. I wish BSA did too. Littlebillie, hold down the fort for a while (great quotes, by the way). Alaska was good (cold, clean, a little shaky at times) but I am going to leave this thread for a while to travel to Costa Rica. It's a rough life. I'll try to check out Scouting down there. Later

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I don't know what encyclopedia you like to reference. But I have been around long enough to know, that our forefathers were not only Christians, but Christian zealots. You may have found a few quotes (I have to presume that they are accurate, and in context), but I guarantee you that I can find more quotes that support my claim than you'll ever find that support yours.


John Adams:


On March 6, 1799, President John Adams called for a National Fast Day.


"As no truth is more clearly taught in the Volume of Inspiration, nor any more fully demonstrated by the experience of all ages, than that a deep sense and a due acknowledgement of the growing providence of a Supreme Being and of the accountableness of men to Him as the searcher of hearts and righteous distributor of rewards and punishments are conducive equally to the happiness of individuals and to the well-being of communities....


"I have thought proper to recommend, and I hereby recommend accordingly, that Thursday, the twenty-fifth day of April next, be observed throughout the United States of America as a day of solemn humiliation, fasting and prayer; that the citizens on that day abstain, as far as may be, from their secular occupation, and devote the time to the sacred duties of religion, in public and in private; that they call to mind our numerous offenses against the most high God, confess them before Him with the sincerest penitence, implore his pardoning mercy, through the Great Mediator and Redeemer, for our past transgressions, and that through the grace of His Holy Spirit, we may be disposed and enabled to yield a more suitable obedience to his righteous requisitions in time to come; that He would interpose to arrest the progress of that impiety and licentiousness in principle and practice so offensive to Himself and so ruinous to mankind; that He would make us deeply sensible that "righteousness exalteth a nation but sin is a reproach to any people" (Proverbs 14:34)


Abigail Adams:


"A patriot without religion in my estimation is as great a paradox as an honest Man without the fear of God. Is it possible that he whom no moral obligations bind, can have any real Good Will towards Men? Can he be a patriot who, by an openly vicious conduct, is undermining the very bonds of Society?....The Scriptures tell us "righteousness exalteth a Nation."


In a letter dated November 4, 1816, John Adams wrote to Thomas Jefferson:


"The Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount contain my religion..."


John Quincy Adams:


"I have myself, for many years, made it a practice to read through the Bible once ever year.... My custom is, to read four to five chapters every morning immediately after rising from my bed. I employs about an hour of my time...."


July 4, 1821


"The highest glory of the American Revolution was this; it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity."


"From the day of the Declaration...they (the American people) were bound by the laws of God, which they all, and by the laws of The Gospel, which they nearly all, acknowledge as the rules of their conduct."


Sam Adams:


As the Declaration of Independence was being signed, 1776, Samuel Adams declared:


"We have this day restored the Sovereign to Whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come."


Samuel Adams wrote in his Will:


"Principally, and first of all, I resign my soul to the Almighty Being who gave it, and my body I commit to the dust, relying on the merits of Jesus Christ for the pardon of my sins."


Ben Franklin


Congressional Congress, 1787


"I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth--that God Governs the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?


"We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that "except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest."


"I therefore beg leave to move--that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessing on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service."


Alexander Hamilton:


"I have carefully examined the evidences of the Christian religion, and if I was sitting as a juror upon its authenticity I would unhesitatingly give my verdict in its favor. I can prove its truth as clearly as any proposition ever submitted to the mind of man."


Patrick Henry:


"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here."


John Jay:


(America's first Supreme Court Chief Justice and Co-Author of the Federalist Papers)


October 12, 1816


"Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."


Thomas Jefferson:


"To the corruptions of Christianity I am, indeed, opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian in the only sense in which he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines in preference to all others..."


George Washington:


"The thing that separates the American Christian from every other person on earth is the fact that he would rather die on his feet, than live on his knees!"


"While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest Glory to laud the more distinguished Character of Christian."


From his prayer book -


"Bless my family, kindred, friends and country, be our God and guide this day and forever for His sake, who lay down in the grave and arose again for us, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."


"It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible."




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