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Morality: Thought Experiment

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There is this story of this woman that had been caught in the act of adultery. Now, she wasn't looking at a naughty magazine or having a thought experiment but actually doing it. The punishment for such behavior had nothing to do with telling the BSA authorities and being banned from years of volunteer work but with her being stoned to death. Now, that may seem harsh but people that do such things are a menace and would most likely cause others to do the same thing, so it would be best for us all to make an example of her behavior and rid ourselves of her and her ilk. Then a very good thought provoking statement was made. Let the one without sin cast the first stone. Of course, these people were all good law abiding citizens and very religious, highly religious but after just a moments thought (*about their own behaviors), they all left, quietly.


Their reaction didn't mean that they condoned her behavior or that they all were involved in the same behavior or that they were all doing things that might be considered worse. It meant that what they saw in her was what they knew was within themselves. They had learned very quickly that judgment is best left to God alone and forgiveness is the very best policy we have on this earth towards one another. When man judges men, the qualities of that judgment are severe and without depth but when God judges it has all of the elements in it that man does not and can never possess.




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Now you've opened a whole new door. I'm taking one giant step back. I don't want to be the first one to walk through it.





They already have at least 9 subscriptions going to 1060 West Addison, Chicago, IL. (More if you include the reserve players, umpires, managers, and coaches.)



Fuzzy Bear,


You share with us very wise words.


Somewhere we have to reconcile the idea of "Judge not, lest you be judged" (which I heartfully believe in) and protecting our youth.


In the example, I don't think a Playboy magazine is enough to condemn anyone, but we do have to make judgements every day about people who work with our youth ("God helps those who help themselves").


We just need to remember that we are all imperfect and fallible and not to judge others too swiftly or too harshly. It's not a perfect system. Perfection is not for this world.


Cliff Golden(This message has been edited by cliffgolden)

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Mr. Z's left a Playboy magazine on the bathroom counter. The next month, the subcommittee met at Mr. X's house. As you all assemble in Mr. X's living room your are shocked to see a large 3-D, realistic looking sculpture of a human form being tortured to death, his face in agony, blood dripping from his body, etc. What kind of artwork is this you ask! Is this anything to show to young impressionable boys? What else does Mr. X have in his house and what could he have possibly been thinking? You come to realize that while the showing of beautiful women in magazines may not be your cup of tea, it pales in comparison to showing such graphic, gruesome, violent acts as that shown in prominent display at Mr. X's abode. Is this proper behavior to use as a role model for our youth? What type of twisted mind would display such violence and suffering?


The next day you promptly inform your council office about Mr. X. The SE calmly asks you to describe the sculpture in more detail and then he tells you that it is a common religious icon that many Christians, especially Catholics, find comforting. You are horrified to find about what in your eyes is some type of twisted religious cult that glorifies pain and suffering.


Now, all you moral absolutists that would banish Mr. Z for having a publication that displays, as the Eagles sang, "the only work of art", that morality, like beauty, is sometimes in the eye of the beholder.


(This message has been edited by acco40)

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acco40, oh, Great Worm Can Opener,


Well played, but tell me do you prefer the newer lighter bullet proof vests or the traditional heavier, more solid ones??




You must have truly troubled many of your teachers along your journey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!





Shades of gray, all I see are shades of gray . . .



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Well, John, at my place of employment the "customer" keeps asking for lighter and lighter combat vehicles that provide more and more protection. So, if you have a secret formula for those lighter ones that still have the same protection please clue me in!


And yes, I was a handful for some of my teachers who had a narrow view of things. Don't get the wrong impression. At school I was mostly well behaved, got good grades, had good "social graces", etc. but was somewhat naive. I remember in 6th grade I came on to the realization that we did not have to do what the teacher said. Not to be disrespectful but our options were to either follow her instructions (teachers were overwhelmingly female back then) or suffer the consequences of our actions. I was not a rebel type or anything but maybe a little slow on the concept of self determination. At a younger age I couldn't even fathom NOT doing what the teacher said. Anyway, during the lunch hour I was casually and quietly discussing my new found knowledge with a fellow student when the teacher over heard part of our discussion. All she really heard was me telling the other student that she did not have to do what the teacher said. Well, you can guess her response and a young Acco40 spent the day in the hallway. It was there that I then came to the conclusion that my teachers were not infallible. Hey, it is all part of the growing up process.(This message has been edited by acco40)

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Interesting posts here. You should all congratulate yourselves on building a 5-page discussion in this forum without calling each other names! Could this be the first??

The question of "morality" is a personal one, as several of you have pointed out. And whether a magazine on a counter indicates what you think it indicates is a matter for debate as well.

But if your visit to Mr. Z's home is in the capacity of the unit's COR, then you have the added burden of deciding whether evidence at hand warrants action on behalf of the CO. It's not the Head of the BSA whose opinion matters (once the criteria on the membership form are met) -- it is the CO whose moral standards must be met. It's not the committee either.

If the CO decides that leaders must never drink in order to be considered morally straight, then that is the standard in that unit. Pick your grey area... the CO gets to draw the line in terms of leadership fitness.

I always find that these kinds of thought experiments are very worthwhile in terms of clarifying our personal positions. A little introspection is always a good thing. But we should also remember that Hunt's question (4) is the only relevant one, particularly the part about talking to the COR, knowing that the CO has a beef against this behavior.

My answer: Knowing that the CO is particularly concerned about magazine reading, I would talk to somebody. If my moral thinking was well aligned with the CO, I would be indignantly peeved and go to the COR. In this specific case, I would instead talk to Mr. Z, reminding him that the CO has strong views about magazines and could direct the COR to remove him from his position. Mr. Z could then adjust his behavior as he liked.

Realistically, my unit is not tight enough with the CO to know which issues might freak them out. Meaning it would take a lot more than a Playboy, or beer cans, or a speeding ticket to cause us to drag our COR into tense situation for which he is ill-prepared.

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Good points fling1, of course the CO/COR makes the judgment calls on who is fit (after the BSA screening) for leadership within the unit.


Knowing my CO/COR, they may be okay with a "fling1" but would surely remove a "fling2", "fling3" or higher. :-)(This message has been edited by acco40)

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Wherever it goes, it should begin with a candid conversation with Mr. Z, and find out what his explanation is.


It's easy to start building major cases, but often times there are explanations that might not ever occur to us.


It's best to collect facts and then go from there.



Cliff Golden

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Acco40, You may be able to imagine, then, my reaction to the film, "Passion..." But I'll bet that on at least one occasion, you experimented by putting a paper clip in an electrical outlet to see what would happen. Fun, wasn't it?


Fuzzy, messenger perhaps, but you are the one who thought to bring the message to us...thanks.


FYI, When my sister followed me through school, her teachers would ask if she was my sister, and then scowl when they heard the answer. Oh well, think I caused her to have some kind of complex?

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1. Is Mr. Z morally straight? Mr Z. Has been selected by the chartering organization and has filled out the adult application which has come back with no red flags.


That doesn't mean Mr. Z is moral. All that means is no illegal activity showed up! Mr. Z could be a closet alcoholic with no criminal record!



Thanks for being the morality police but you are making assumptions that are totally unfounded! You might not think that having a subscription to Playboy is a good thing. And actually I agree with you. But that in and of itself doesn't disqualify Mr. Z from being a BSA leader. And it doesn't make him stupid.That isn't a very Scout-like comment. But then again, I guess you have never done anything stupid.


Legal doesn't equal moral. Never will. Can morality be legislated? Nope. Too many variables.


Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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