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Flag Burning and other disturbing behaviors

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Interesting discussion, start out with Flag Burning/Flag Retirement discussion, move over to a discussion about God, then back to Flags and Pledges.


While reading the discussion on God, I was wondering if there was a political cartoon in there that would offend anybody. Then we could see some flag burning and other distrubing behavior.

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A few points need to be made, I think.


These are not in order of importance, or in order of appearance in the thread, just in random order.


The flag of the United States was officially established by the Continental Congress on 14 June 1777. The United States Constitution was signed on 17 September 1787. The Bill of Rights, which is often what people remember about the Constitution, was not ratified until 1791. The flag has outlasted the Continental Congress that created it. The flag could easily outlast the present constitution. The principles and ideals of the nation are older, deeper, and more sacred than any mere legal document created by our government. The flag is a symbol of those ideals and principles. The Constitution also attempts to express those ideals, though in a vastly different manner.


The idea that what is legal or approved by parents should be a good enough standard for us and all Scouts is, I think, a rather empty idea. The standard we should strive for is the Scout Oath and Law. Many things that are legal violate that oath and law. Some parents even permit things that violate the oath and law. Our purpose is to create citizens of character who are capable of making ethical decisions over the course of a lifetime. If all we have as a standard is the legal, parental, and religious obligations of each individual then we have no uniform or unifying set of Scouting ideals. In each situation we should hold ourselves and our fellow Scouts and Scouters to the highest expectations, whether those be set by the Oath and Law, by the parents of a Scout, or by the government. (Don't forget that the law allows many things that BSA does not. The law should not be the high ideal we shoot for. Rather it should be the low bar we must clear.)


On the issue of flag burning, it is seen by many as being a direct attack on the symbol of this nation and its ideals. How anyone can simultaneously promote the principle of free speech while burning a symbol of that same ideal is rather mind boggling to many. Attacks on symbols are in many cases the closest anyone can come to a direct, open attack on the things they symbolize. While a Scout burning a flag as a protest does not necessarily indicate that they have renounced or repudiated the ideals that Scouting and this nation are built upon, it could certainly be interpreted that way. Also, keep in mind that at least a few people in our nation's history have literally died to protect the flag itself from harm.


I personally don't like the use of "G-d" because it could be mistaken as the abbreviation for a pair of words that we certainly don't want. That being said, I certainly respect those who treat the name of God with such reverence that they will not write or speak it in vulgar circumstance. And yes, this forum could quite easily be classified as vulgar, depending on what definition of the word you use. (n.b. this particular use of the word has nothing to do with cursing!)


Next, as for the BOR, we should be mindful of the fact that many a confused teenager has done something stupid out of a combination of irrational enthusiasm for an idea and ignorance of such truth as may contradict that idea. Burning a flag in protest should not be taken lightly, but neither should it be the subject of a zero tolerance policy.


Finally, the cartoon protests need to be addressed. The cartoonists were exercising their legitimate right to free speech. It is open to debate if this was a wise use of that right. After all, as Victor Davis Hanson pointed out, Salman Rushdie was the "canary in the mine" on Muslim reaction to western exercise of free speech. It is worth noting that all liberty is predicated on a moral or just use of that liberty. The Muslims certainly have the right to peaceful protest. They may express their disagreement in any number of ways. However, the violence, death, and destruction that has been witnessed of late; and the repeated threats to life, limb, liberty, and property made by the protesters can not be excused nor should it be overlooked. The protests are not the spontaneous, undirected acts some claim them to be. Certain agitators encouraged the protests and other contemptible types in certain government and religious establishments have exploited the situation for their own reasons.


I do not think one has to favor government censorship to think that we must exercise our rights in a reasonable and ethical manner. That is a sort of false dichotomy.


(Corrected the mistaken use of a homonym.)(This message has been edited by Proud Eagle)

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Well said, Proud Eagle.


The idea that what is legal or approved by parents should be a good enough standard for us and all Scouts is, I think, a rather empty idea.

I don't think this idea was presented. It may be splitting hairs, but there is a significant difference between what we try to teach our boys and what we see as our role to regulate.


The standard we should strive for is the Scout Oath and Law.

I agree wholeheartedly. That seems simple enough, but do the Oath and Law, or any policy, morality, etc., give Unit Leaders the role to create Scout-time consequences for non-Scout-time legal, parent approved activity?




BTW, Do the cul-de-sac complainers respectfully burn their newspaper magazine pictures of US flags? Do news pictures of partially burned flags from the Middle East need to get the same respect and treatment? Do they refuse to use stamps with the image of the flag? All of these situations are considered and viewed as "flags" under the flag code. If the postal service doesn't feel obligated to respect the flag code, what are we doing publicly chastising a few kids for their art work? Sometimes we make ourselves crazy . . .

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I see a doctorate thesis in this cul-de-sac flag situtation. If a flag doesn't exist on the ground until you paint the flag on the ground then is the ground on which the flag is painted on really the ground for purposes of the flag not being allowed to touch the ground or must you first lift the flag off the ground to place it back on the ground before you can say the flag is touching the ground?


Oy Vey, now I need a Tylenol.



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  • 3 weeks later...

RE: Flag possible misuse/disrespect/unusual purpose/smiler/what if/ wait a minute...

I recommend the movie ""BRONCO BILLY"" Dir/Stars Clint Eastwood. In an interview, he said it was one of his favorites. Be warned, some adult themes, perhaps a PG13 rate.

Any one else remember it?

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