Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
DanKroh

"Rule of 25" and Religious Emblems

Recommended Posts

Ok, so as not to completely hijack the other thread, here's a question for folks who are familiar with the religious emblem program, and might know more about the requirements of their religion than I do.

 

I've studied the instructions for the all the UU emblems (the UUA Cub and Boy Scout, and the UUSO Boy Scout ones), and I can see the differences between the UUA and UUSO programs that the BSA objects to. Not that I want this thread to be a discussion of whether it is appropriate for the BSA to object.

 

My question is, not being familiar with the specific requirements for a bunch of other religions, is there anything in the CoG emblems requirements that you think the BSA should/could/do find objectionable?

 

Here are links to the two programs:

 

Over the Moon (Cub Scout level): http://www.cog.org/projects/overmoon.pdf

 

Hart and Crescent (Boy Scout level):

http://www.cog.org/projects/hartcrescent.pdf

 

As a Wiccan, I can attest that these programs are certainly appropriate to teach any child about what things are important to the Wiccan faith. The official ruling on denying the emblems was the "Rule of 25". But is there anything in there that the BSA might object to? Or is it just that deep down, as has been suggested, someone at National finds the whole idea of Wicca to be "unacceptable"?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dan,

Thank you for these links. I had not previously read the curricula. They are excellent. In my opinion, I find the material to be in complete accord with Scouting principles and ethics. Even more so than some of the other curricula I have seen.

 

The only sticking point I could imagine is in the H&C material regarding "magick". Although magical elements are present in most religions (eg., the Christian transmutation of wine into blood), it's not called magic and the explicit empowerment of individuals to form their own magick may be unsettling to some traditionalists, especially given the long but misleading association in popular culture of the word "black" with the term.

 

I should point out that the objection that BSA had to the UUA material was not in the curriculum itself, but was to some supplementary church material that was mailed out to applicants along with the medal brochure. The accompanying material was explicity critical of BSA policies. BSA saw this as reneging on the deal and yanked their recogition.

 

In any event, maybe it's time for CoG to revisit the issue with BSA.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"If you please, What is the "Rule of 25"? twenty five what?"

 

Oh, sorry. It was discussed in the thread I spun this off of.

 

The "Rule fo 25" is the BSA's rule that in order for your religious organization to be part of the Religious Relationship committee or to have a "BSA approved" religious emblem, you have to have at least 25 unit chartered to your religious organization.

 

Which is next to impossible for any Pagan religion to achieve, since very few even HAVE a parent organization (Wicca being one of the few) and few formal organizations that would be able to successfully charter a unit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am confused

 

Why would it make a difference how many units a "religion" chartered anyway? In the Troop I serve we are chartered by a Moravian Church, yet myself and a few leaders and scouts are Roman Catholic and we have had a Hindu and Jewish scout. I dont know the numbers, but I would think the number of scouts following a belief system would be a better measure of a belief systems' standing to get a religious award recognized than how many units that belief system charters. Most Troops I know are pretty diverse when it comes to what faith the boys follow. There are exception, but in my area I would say the religious make-up of most Troops is pretty "Diverse"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OGE, you make an excellent point. (By the way, did I say you make an excellent point?) We've been having these discussions on the committee recently. It's like turnng a battleship.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OGE,

 

I think the difference has more to do with the Religious Relationship committee of the BSA. If some standard isn't set, then every Tom, Dick and Harry who goes off and starts his own religion or church (Such as a Fred Phelps) could get representation in the committee. A committee of hundreds would be a little messy. In most areas of life or business, it is not unusual for the "major" players to have a seat at the table while the minor players do not. Now, that is purely my uneducated opinion and I'm not saying I think it is right. Just thinking logically though, inclusion of large groups of fairly like minded organizations makes sense more than having 10 or 15 "religious" group of 10 or 12 people each that are not associated with each other in any meaningful way.

 

Same with the religious emblem I guess. We have to keep in mind that PRAY is kind of the clearing house of religious emblems aside from the recognition the BSA gives the emblems. I imagine there is also a business consideration here. The Southern Baptist's have something like 13 million members. They share one of the emblems with several other denominations. It makes more sense to market a program with customers in the millions rahter than the tens or hundreds.

 

Again, I don't mean any of my comments to be taken as a judgement or even an informed opinion. Just thoughts off the top of my head.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it is a pefectly acceptable plan for the religious

award(s) in question. I've PM'd you with some specific concerns.

LongHaul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I hinted at in the thread this was spun off of, I think the rule was (rather hastily) created expressly to prevent official recognition of the Wiccan "hart and crescent" award. They qualified under the old rules, so the old rules were changed, and they can't qualify under the new rules, because BSA national won't approve of any Wiccan group as a chartering org.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Beaver, I agree with your point about membership on the Religious Relationships committee. I have no problem restricting it to the "major players", as long as those major players don't start making decisions about the religions of the "minor" players without including them in those specific decisions.

 

However, the emblems are another matter. I don't see why having 25 units chartered should be a condition for my son to receive a BSA-recognized emblem from his religion. CoG has taken the time to put together a curriculum, they have shown a commitment to the program. Either the BSA thinks the curriculum is valid or they don't. If they don't, they should give feedback to the CoG on how they can change it to get BSA's approval. This whole "rule of 25" thing seems like a lot of horseapples to me, quite frankly, and a way to say no without giving any valid reasons.

 

As far as having PRAY overloaded with providing awards, the CoG seems to be quite happy to administrate the award themselves. Again, if PRAY wants to limit what awards they administrate to those for the "major players", that's fine. Let the individual minor religions administrate their own. It's not like the demand for a minority religion is going to be overwhelming. PRAY is not the BSA, and the BSA can give their approval of the award independently of whether PRAY is willing to administrate it. Are there any other awards that don't go through PRAY currently?

 

LongHaul,

 

Thanks for your feedback. The document is not actually mine, as in, I had no input into its creation, but I am interested in getting involved with CoG for this issue. So I will happily pass your concerns along to them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Mr Fred Goodwin (my classmate a few years back) would agree:

 

If you want direct access to the National Religious Relationships folks, a great way to do it is attend the "Scouting in the Churchs' Ministry" Conference at Philmont Training Center.

 

I took this particular conference in 2003. I commend it to all who are interested in matters related to how youth work through developing their personal faiths.

 

YIS :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dan,

P.R.A.Y. is an independent, third-party organization that has volunteered to serve as a clearinghouse for physical distribution of medals, upon approval by the respective religious authority. P.R.A.Y. has no direct affiliation with BSA other than also being a member of the RR subcommittee. There is no BSA requirement that awards be administered by P.R.A.Y. and many religious awards are distributed directly by the religious body itself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So (frinstance)the Buddhist award was accepted by BSA because (among other things) "at least" 25 Buddhist 'temples'(?term?) charter/sponsor a Scout unit? Is that right?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×