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"Nowhere does the BSA say it will remove from membership a scout who says he does not believe in God. "


Now Merlyn, I know this is your favorite horse to beat, eh? But yeh have to understand the way things work, not just what's written. BobWhite and others aren't lyin' to yeh. We are all closer to the BSA than you are, and we're bein' honest.


Perhaps this will help. There are a lot of laws on the books, eh? But in our system of jurisprudence, there is not an obligation to enforce every one. Law enforcement officers have discretion in what they choose to file. District Attorneys have discretion in what they choose to prosecute. And, ultimately, chief executives have discretion in what they choose to pardon.


Yah, we have a policy on the books that says that atheists may not be members. That in no way determines when those with responsibility choose, at their discretion, to act in support of that policy. By and large, in my experience, the BSA has been wise and prudent in how it handles youth members strugglin' with issues of belief. Internally, there has always been a distinction made between youth and adults especially. There is no obligation on anyone's part to toss a 9-year-old like acco's son who declares himself an "atheist" after a personal tragedy, or expel a teen who is figurin' out his own beliefs by tryin' on different views for size. At most, there's a bit of a push for clarity before we award our highest rank or a lad becomes an adult.


But if it's someone who is tryin' to "make a statement" or hijack the organization, then naturally and properly we say "no" to that, eh? And sadly, that seems to be the approach of some avowed atheists. I've always wondered what Scoutin' for All would do if a whole mess of us conservative types applied for membership but refused to agree to SfA's mission statement. Yeh know, teachin' kids that only Believers could be the best kind of citizens, insist on prayer services on each campout, eat babies and all that other wicked stuff we do. Would yeh let us hijack your agenda?


It'd make great news headlines too, eh? "Scouting for All isn't really for All!" At least FOX would pick it up ;). And, like you, we could use those cases for lobbyin' and fundraisin'.




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Beavah, I'm also aware that there are people who ignore the BSA's membership requirements. This does not mean they don't exist, it means people are ignoring them. You can't point to murders and say that means murder is legal.

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No, Merlyn, it doesn't make it 'legal' in the BSA. Beavah is clearly saying that most (but unfortunately not all) scout leaders exercise thought and some wisdom in dealing with our youth. The program works well for most. No program works well for all.

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" Most leading psychologists and psychiatrists believe that we are all on a continuum of sort wrt to sexuality. Nobody is 100% straight or 100% gay. I know most don't like to think of it in that way but who am I to argue with the experts."


I think that the psych community is still trying to convince us that being homosexual is "normal." That process started when they "decided" that homosexuality was not a mental illness.


If I'm not 100% heterosexual, I must be 99.999999% heterosexual because the idea of having sex with another guy just gives me the creeps. Maybe the .00000001% comes into play because I don't mind shaking hands.


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vol_scouter writes:

No, Merlyn, it doesn't make it 'legal' in the BSA. Beavah is clearly saying that most (but unfortunately not all) scout leaders exercise thought and some wisdom in dealing with our youth.


By selectively ignoring the rules. The BSA's membership requirements don't have allowances for scouters who can be atheists for an hour, a day, a year, or a decade. If a current scout can be an atheist for a week, can a boy who has been an atheist for 5 years join? Where are all these exceptions to the rules coming from? Is a week OK, but 5 years too long? If so, where's the dividing line?

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As you can see, some of us get pretty passionate about this topic.

What if it were to do with Duty to Country instead? What if some people believed that selfless service to others is overrated? What if some people said the country is ______ and I'm just in this boy scout thing for me, forget the other guy?


The BSA has a declaration that the BSA believes no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God.


I don't think a youth may be agnostic or atheist.

Once an Eagle, Always an Eagle is true, I suppose some will slip through the crack and make it through, but that individual is without integrity, dishonest and he knows it.

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1.) So a youth may be agnostic/atheist?


A youth may no be a declared atheist. Being a declaired agnostic is where about 15% of the population lies and could possibly be acceptable on a short term basis. Agnostic is where most people land who are questioning their fath. It can be a state of not knowing what you believe or it can be a state of declaring that it is unknowable. It's a really grey area what "short term" can mean. It basically comes down to...is any damage being done to the unit, and is this person still growing in their exploration of faith.


2.) "Once an Eagle, always an Eagle." Is that true for an atheist? (Is it something that can be revoked?)


Yes, it is true for an atheist, Eagle is an award that I am not sure has ever been revoked. I am not sure if it even could be revoked. But being an Eagle does not grant someone life long membership priviledges in the BSA. They still have to register as adults after their 21st birthday.

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In answer to your two questions:


1.A youth can be whatever he wants, The BSA can only control whether or not he can be a member of scouting.


2.Yes the Eagle award can be revoked by the BSA. It does happened every so often. The BSA does not publicize the event as it is a personal matter between the individual and the BSA. When it does get publicized it is only becasue the individual chooses to make it public.

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I need to ammend my answer to part one of your question Michael. Strictly speaking, an Agnostic is a person who believes that claims about the afterlife and the existance of God/Gods is unknown or unknowable. Agnostics are often listed in the same category as Athiest, and are sometimes confused with those that simply state that they "don't know," meaning that they are not sure...they are searching. There several subcatagories within Agnosticism, of which here are some of the more well known.


Strong Agnosticism is the view that the question of the existence or nonexistence of God is unknowable because of our inability to verify any experience with anything but another subjective experience.


Mild Agnosticism is the view that the existence or nonexistence of God or gods is currently unknown but is not necessarily unknowable, therefore one will withhold judgment until/if more evidence is available.


Apathetic Agnosticism is the view that there is no proof of either the existence or nonexistence of God or gods, but since any God or gods that may exist appear unconcerned for the universe or the welfare of its inhabitants, the question is largely academic anyway.


Agnostic Theism is the view of those who do not claim to know existence of God or gods, but still believe in such an existence.


Agnostic Atheism is the view of those who do not know of the existence or nonexistence of God or gods, and do not believe in them.


Ignosticism is the view that a coherent definition of God must be put forward before the question of the existence of God can be meaningfully discussed. If the chosen definition isn't coherent, the ignostic holds the noncognitivist view that the existence of God is meaningless or empirically untestable. Ignostics see both atheism and agnosticism as incompatible with ignosticism on the grounds that atheism and agnosticism accept "God exists" as a meaningful proposition which can be argued for or against.




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