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Novice_Cubmaster

How much religion is there in Scouting?

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erickelly65 writes:

Meryln, first lets keep, if only for this thread, the issue of governmental involvement/support out of this.

 

You brought up being subject to "legal attack". Nearly all lawsuits concerning the BSA and their discriminatory policies involve the government in some way.

 

I am promoting the notion that a belief in a higher power is an important element for my son to learn and embrace. What your saying,if I understand you correctly, is that its ok for me to be "criticized", "ostricized", and "harassed" because I want him in a program that supports that notion.

 

In the specific case of the BSA, they denegrate atheists. And yes, I will also mention the government when the BSA uses tax money to support their private club that excludes atheists.

 

The freemasons exclude atheists, but they aren't subject to legal attacks that I've heard of over their exclusion of atheists, because they actually act like a private organization.

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Eric,

The oath and law would not have to change. How a unit measures a scout's application of the oath and law is up to them. Dropping the DRP will have no effect on that. If the CO has an issue with an atheist scout, they can deal with it themselves. Local option.

 

This is similar to the argument against gay marriage. I just can't see how two people getting married denigrates or jeopardizes my own marriage. Likewise, my scout unit accepting atheists would have no effect on your unit.

 

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Merlyn wrote -

You brought up being subject to "legal attack". Nearly all lawsuits concerning the BSA and their discriminatory policies involve the government in some way

 

My answer I was referring to Gerns earlier post referencing legal problems.

 

Gern - why cause the legal/funding/PR problems scouting faces by explicitly excluding non-thiests

 

Secondly, nearly all isnt the same thing as all

 

Merlyn also wrote: In the specific case of the BSA, they denegrate atheists.

 

I have been involved in Scouting for over 35 years (in one way or another) and never seen anyone denigrate atheists. If believing there is a God and that those that dont believe in one are mistaken is denigration then perhaps they are but that argument cuts both ways. One need not look very far to see atheists belittling those of faith as non-thinkers. http://www.ffrf.org/day/fotd_intro.php

 

Finally, I suggested you keep the government out of this thread not because it isnt an area worthy of discussion but because this thread is about another issue.

 

Perhaps you, as you claim so often of Ed, cant learn how to show common courtesy and not highjack every thread on here back to a discussion of separation of church and state.

 

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Gern,

I disagree. The oath and law would have to change. If it didnt, as Merlyn mentioned in the thread on Philly, then only non-theists that were willing to LIE and swear an oath they didnt believe could be in Scouts. (I had suggested the option you propose here in that thread to be told by Meryln it was "Mighty White of me")

 

So you have to change the Oath and Law or have different ones for different group (Not really a workable option in my opinion)

 

 

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Why wouldn't it work? It works for the GSUSA.

 

In my opinion, the BSA denegrates atheists; one example is the DRP, which says only theist members can be the best kinds of citizens.

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So to be a member of BSA, a scout must follow the oath and law or face being kicked out? I know lots of scouts who aren't clean, courteous, kind, brave or cheerful. They are a work in process.

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Merlyn, In my opinion, the GSUSA's approach takes away too much of the elements of faith from the program. Its just one more secular organization that lets people of faith add in a statement of such if they so chose.

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Gern, there is a distinct difference between not completely living up to the Oath and Law at all times and refusing to live up to it.

 

 

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OGE, bite your tongue! OK, I'll bite mine. I would LOVE to fall in with a gang of wild Jesuits! Rabbi Saperstein comes to mind immediately.;) Oops, have I made a religious faux pas?

I would have mentioned William of Baskerville but he was a Franciscan. Oh well.

 

In response to Merlyn's assertion, I think there are more persons who agree with him on that point than deeply religious folks might think. I know I do and I know many families who, while they may not draw a conclusion about morality, definitely disagree with the BSA policy.

 

erickelly65, I think it is good and proper for you to feel the way you do on behalf of yourself and your son. I think it is improper for you to think your view should apply to anyone else. And that is, in effect, the result of the BSA policy. I have not been in scouting as long as you but I have personally witnessed numerous times when gays and atheists both were denigrated by both volunteer leaders AND professionals. I also remember as a boy when both volunteer leaders AND professionals denigrated people on the basis of race. Fortunately, I don't experience that stuff anymore.

 

I agree with Trevorum on this and I think his approach is a fair one.

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Packsaddle wrote: I think it is good and proper for you to feel the way you do on behalf of yourself and your son. I think it is improper for you to think your view should apply to anyone else

 

All I am saying is I am happy with the way the program as is with regard to religious belief. I dont think anyone else needs to share my beliefs so I dont get were your absurd assertion that I think my view should apply to anyone else. My view to keep the faith elements of the Oath and Law in our program isnt anymore Improper then others suggesting we drop it.

 

Elements of faith are the status quo in the BSA program and its a major reason why my family has been so involved in Scouting over the decades. Agree with it or not but I prefer that it didnt change and I wont apologized for perusing this belief system. I dont believe the GSUSA model is an acceptable approach and will dilute the importance of faith (which I prize) to something optional.

 

There are a plethora of wholesome secular youth organizations for parents/youth to chose. My son and daughters participate in many of them. This is about being able to have one, just ONE, unique organization in scouting that combines elements of personal responsibility, duty to family, community and country, as well as a believe in a higher power. This mixture provides what I believe will help enable my son to become the best kind of person and citizen he can.

 

Further, I dont find the use of the phrase The best kind of citizen to be necessarily offensive to anyone. It doesnt say others cant be good citizens or even great citizens. We all as parents have to stand up and say I want x for my child and I believe y is the path to get there. Doing so isnt insulting to parents who dont believe in y. I chose to want to associate with and put programs on that support those views that will help my child achieve x. I am hearing people tell me there is no room in society for a group like this I find that unacceptable.

 

I find it frustrating that these simple ideas are so offensive and unacceptable to some.

 

As far as experiencing improper speech in scouting (and elsewhere) -

 

Life is full of immature and disrespectful people spanning the spectrum of socio-political beliefs.

(This message has been edited by erickelly65)

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erickelly65, I regret that my message wasn't as clear as it should have been. The second part of that was intended as a conditional statement and really not meant to be specific to you in particular. Rather I intended it to be applied to anyone who would apply their religious views (expectations, whatever) to others, a practice that I observe people doing rather frequently. To be clear: I don't do this to other people and I expect the same in return (that Golden Rule thing, you know).

 

"I dont find the use of the phrase The best kind of citizen to be necessarily offensive to anyone."

 

By itself the phrase has little meaning and is therefore benign.

Now, if you are saying that it SHOULDN'T be offensive, that is one thing and we can discuss that. But I am not sure your sample size is large enough to make that conclusion for ANYONE else - unless you have an omniscient source.

But in context the phrase is a value judgment that is applied to people. The phrase is used in the context of a larger statement which distinguishes between those who are and those who are NOT...the best kind of citizens:

 

The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God. In the first part of the Scout Oath or Promise the member declares, On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law. The recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe and the grateful acknowledgment of His favors and blessings are necessary to the best type of citizenship and are wholesome precepts in the education of the growing members. No matter what the religious faith of the members may be, this fundamental need of good citizenship should be kept before them. The Boy Scouts of America, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but it is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. Its policy is that the home and the organization or group with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life.

 

Those who are judged within the context of this statement NOT to be the best kind of citizens just might be offended by that judgment. I can understand why.

 

In no case where a unit is connected with a church or other distinctively religious organization shall members of other denominations or faith be required, because of their membership in the unit, to take part in or observe a religious ceremony distinctly unique to that organization or church.

 

This statement by BSA is much clearer and closer to the personal view I maintain.

 

"I am hearing people tell me there is no room in society for a group like this I find that unacceptable."

I am curious as to why is it unacceptable for someone else to express an opinion different from yours?

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"I am hearing people tell me there is no room in society for a group like this I find that unacceptable."

I am curious as to why is it unacceptable for someone else to express an opinion different from yours?

 

Certainly people can have whatever opinion they like. However, the opinion i find being expressed in this case is pushing for changes to a program that, in my opinion, preclude me from instilling through scouting the beliefs and social norms I find so important.

 

The program include a duty to God and a requirement for Reverence for some and not others so what I am hearing is: To bad for you, your wants/rights/wishes are less important then others.

 

This is in distinct contrast to some other changes others might want in the scouting program.

Such as allowing women to become Scoutmasters,

Allowing homosexuals as members/leaders,

Opening the younger programs up to girls, etc.

 

I may or may not agree with the above items but none of those changes would require me to "give up" using the scouting program to accomplish the goals I have mentioned in the above posts. To allow atheists to participate, the program would have to drop elements of faith expressed in the current program. That I find unacceptable.

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The program include a duty to God .......

 

Should read -

The program can't include a duty to God and a requirement for Reverence for some and not others so what I am hearing is: To bad for you, your wants/rights/wishes are less important then others.

 

 

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You wrote in response to the BSA statement on the "Best kind of citizen"

 

I don't believe that statement is meant as offensive. However, I do believe some people might be offended by it.

 

However, in the early comments in this thread it was stated that the BSA's statement was "denigrating" to Atheists. I in no way think it meets that definition in fact, tone or intent.

 

denigrate

1 : to attack the reputation of : defame

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"Certainly people can have whatever opinion they like. However, the opinion i find being expressed in this case is pushing for changes to a program that, in my opinion, preclude me from instilling through scouting the beliefs and social norms I find so important."

 

How would a local option preclude you from ANYTHING? It seems to me that local option would actually allow even greater personal freedom...for everyone.

 

"The program can't include a duty to God and a requirement for Reverence for some and not others so what I am hearing is: To bad for you, your wants/rights/wishes are less important then others."

 

Really? If it wasn't a requirement wouldn't you continue your religious practices anyway as a personal conviction? For you, in particular, I would think that the 'requirement' is unnecessary. And if unnecessary for you, then why for anyone?

 

Getting back to that part of imposing one view on another: you already have the freedom to pursue your personal beliefs and religious practices. How does another person's difference in these matters detract from what you do? And If you want to require this of everyone else, why? For matters of faith, why not let everyone have the personal freedom to choose what they think?

 

"I may or may not agree with the above items but none of those changes would require me to "give up" using the scouting program to accomplish the goals I have mentioned in the above posts."

 

How would you be required to "give up" using the scouting program? You would still be free to practice your personal faith. In that respect nothing would change. It seems to me that if you gave it up, it would have to be a matter of choice on your part although I don't understand why. But definitely not a requirement.

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