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Marcheck

Organizations that won't charter units

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I know that there are a number of organizations that "officiall" endorse Scouting, and encourage all of their brancehs to charter a unit (ex. The VFW, Catholic Church, LDS Church, etc. etc.)

 

I was wondering if there are any organizations which, at their national level, officially discourage their branches to charter Scout units. Does anyone know if there are? And if so, what are theY?

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marcheck,

 

I've never heard of any organization that discourages chartering a unit. I think I can shed some light on why some religious denominations do support scouting and others don't. I've been a Southern Baptist all of my life. Traditionally, Southern Baptist churches usually do not charter units. I think the difference is that Baptist churches are autonomous where other denominations are not. They are an entity unto themselves. Their is no national or regional hierarchy over them. Yes, there are state "conventions" and the national level Southern Baptist Convention. But it is different than say the Catholic or Methodist Church. The national level does not "dictate" down to the local church level. Just the opposite. The churchs come together to form "Associations" which would be like a Scout District. The Associations make up the state Convention which would be something like a Scout Council. The national Convention would be like the BSA. The difference being that the individual churches send "meesengers" to the state and national conventions to organize and coordinate mission work and benevolence type activities. Each church determines how much of their offering and tithes will be given to the state and national convention to carry out the organized work. Elected officials are also decided at the conventions. Their job is to oversee the organized works. They do not dictate back down to the local churches. The local churches messengers "dictate" thru votes up the chain to the national level. I believe it is because of this that churches like Baptist churches don't get involved in scouting. The national level just doesn't make recommendations to the churches because each church is free to decide what and how they want to do things. Add to that the Baptist boys program called RA's (Royal Ambassadors) and the fear that scouting will compete with it and it makes it very hard to get them to charter a scout unit. I know from experience. We started a new troop in June and I was turned down by a number of Baptist churches.....even the one I'm a member of. Assembly of God is much the same. They have a program called Royal Rangers that have ranks and uniforms similar to Boy Scouts. You will seldom find a troop at an AG church. That was long and rambling, but I hope it helped answer your question.

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While the two largest Lutheran church bodies, The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA 5 million members) and the Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod (LCMS 2.5 million members) charter many Scout units, the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS 400,000 members) does not. It reasons comes from the other side of the argument. The BSA is not rigid enough in it religious belief and its members should not join with others who do not believe exactly like them. They will not worship or pray with anyone else including members and clergy of the other Lutheran Churches. Rather than trying to explain their view on scouting here is a link to their web site where they list their answers to their members questions on Scouting.

 

http://www.wels.net/cgi-bin/site.pl?1519&cuQA_qaID=1&cuTopic_topicID=17

 

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Around these parts, we have one Roman Catholic parish whose priest will NOT allow scouts (or Scouters) to meet on their property, nor will they consider chartering a unit. Even a change in priests did not alter the policy, while a parish two miles away charters a pack, troop and crew and we have our District meetings there.

 

PTA's in this region also will not charter units. Not sure at what level in the organization that comes from.

 

One of the longest tenured troops in our District (I was a charter member in 1968 with my Dad) is chartered to a Southern Baptist church. I do remember some competition from their own RA youth group, but it was never an issue, as far as I knew.(This message has been edited by scoutldr)(This message has been edited by scoutldr)

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NWScouter, does each Lutheran sect have their own brand of coffee? ;) (a little religious humor there folks.)

 

I don't understand the position of the WELS. Is it not within their power to charter a BSA unit and only allow members of their faith to join? Now, the may run into the great "unwashed" at district, council, area, region (or is it region, area) and national events but that is the risk one takes living in a pluralistic society.

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I think we should leave the argument over sects, synods, churches, congregations, and denominations well enough alone. Otherwise we will find ourselves in an intractible argument.

 

Though by all means, continue the discussion on organizations that don't charter units.

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Proud Eagle,

 

Since a large number of troops are chartered by churches, it is kind of hard to leave them out of the list of organizations that won't charter a unit.

 

Scoutldr,

 

There are Southern Baptist churches that do indeed charter units, but they are few and far between. In fact, in the church I grew up in and in the church where I am now a member, there were a large number of scouts and scouters. But they trekked off to the Methodist, Episcopalian, Catholic and Presbyterian chuches for their meetings.

 

OGE,

 

Yep, I read an article today that said the Pentagon had reached a settlement with the ACLU to post warnings to military bases about taking care in how they set up and support scouting units. The base itself shouldn't charter the unit or support it financially. Military personnel can be involved in scouting and meetings can be held in areas of the bases where family/civilian activities occur, but the base should be hands off. At least that was my take on the article.

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http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=41467

 

U.S. bases warned not to sponsor Scouts

ACLU sued Pentagon because group requires belief in God

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Posted: November 16, 2004

1:00 a.m. Eastern

 

 

 

2004 WorldNetDaily.com

 

The Pentagon will warn its bases not to sponsor Boy Scout troops after agreeing to settle an issue in a five-year-old lawsuit brought by the ACLU, which charged the government with improperly supporting a group requiring members to believe in God.

 

The settlement yesterday partially resolved the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois' complaint.

 

"If our Constitution's promise of religious liberty is to be a reality, the government should not be administering religious oaths or discriminating based upon religious beliefs," Adam Schwartz of the ACLU of Illinois said in a statement. "This agreement removes the Pentagon from direct sponsorship of Scout troops that engage in religious discrimination."

 

The ACLU complained the Boy Scouts of America "requires troop and pack leaders, in this case government employees, to compel youth to swear an oath of duty to God."

 

The Pentagon denied Boy Scout sponsorship violated its rule against support of non-federal organizations but agreed to post a warning worldwide, the Associated Press said.

 

The agreement was presented to U.S. District Court Judge Blanche Manning in Chicago.

 

Military personnel can still lead Scout troops in their free time, however, and Scout meetings will continue to be held on military bases in areas designated for civilian events.

 

Unresolved is the ACLU's complaint that government funds have benefited the Boy Scouts, including an average of $2 million each year to support the national Boy Scout Jamboree.

 

Responding to the settlement, Justice Department spokesman Charles Miller said the warning to bases is "a clarification of an existing rule that DOD [Department of Defense] personnel cannot be involved in an official capacity."

 

Along with the Department of Defense and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the city of Chicago also was named in the suit. The city agreed to not officially sponsor Scout activities and events.

 

As WorldNetDaily reported, a retired U.S. Navy commander is leading the charge to turn the remnants of a former Saddam Hussein police camp into a first-class camp and training facility for Boy Scouts in Iraq, aiming to have scouting flourish once again in the region.

 

In one of many cases related to its policy against avowed homosexuals in leadership, the U.S. Supreme Court in March allowed Connecticut to exclude the Boy Scouts of America from a state charitable program.

 

Critics said the high court's refusal to revisit the ruling by an appeals court threatened not only the First Amendment right to expressive association but also the right to free exercise of religion.

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I was wondering if there are any organizations which, at their national level, officially discourage their branches to charter Scout units. Does anyone know if there are? And if so, what are theY?

 

I know of two:

 

The national PTA recommended to its local chapters a number of years ago (say more than 10) that they not be CO's for BSA units, due to concerns about "liability." This recommendation is not followed unanimously, and it does not apply to similar organizations that are not affiliated with the National PTA (such as PTO's, parent-teacher organizations, which came into existence because some chapters got tired of paying dues to the National PTA.)

 

The largest association of Reform Jewish congregations in the U.S., now known as the Union for Reform Judaism (as I just learned by doing to a search to confirm what I thought I remembered) issued a recommendation shortly after the Supreme Court decision in the BSA v. Dale case, stating that due to the exclusion of gay people, congregations are discouraged from being CO's for BSA units. This is a non-binding recommendation, as all Jewish congregations are self-governing. Whether the smaller Reform Jewish groups have done the same, I do not know. I do know that the Conservative and Orthodox Jewish movements do not share this viewpoint and in fact Orthodox Jewish organizations have enthusiastically continued their association with Scouting. None of this is surprising given the fact that Reform Jewish congregations can have gay rabbis (and some do), while Orthodox Judaism is part of the "religious right" on the gay issue. Conservative Jews, paradoxically, are the moderates.

 

And I guess the Department of Defense would now be a third, though I guess the word there would be "command" rather than "discourage."

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This discussion is great. I am learning all kinds of new things.

 

What about Jehovah's Witnesses? Someone told me they found the term "Scoutmaster" objectionable because "no man can serve two masters" and that they think that making the Scout oath is blashemous and that the US flag on the uniform is a false idol.

 

This sounds like a lot to swallow, but I have not been able to confirm any of it (namely because I know no Jehovah's Witnesses)

 

(and I have heard that there are rumblings among Unitarians over Scouting's leadership standards; does anyone have any info on that?)

 

Thanks

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Sorry, I didn't make myself clear.

 

I wanted to skip the argument over how any particular group of Christians should be known as a church, sect, synod, denomination, etc. If we got into that argument, we would never get out of it.

 

 

I have no problem with discussing various groups as they relate to this particular topic.

 

 

Oh, the Unitarians do have some problems with BSA, though do to the many varied positions taken by unitarians on almost any issue, some will have problems, while others won't, but in this case the national association does. Essentially the unitarians are attempting to create a universal church/association/fellowship by allowing anyone to be a member, no matter what they believe. So, it is actually possible for a person to be an atheist and be a Unitarian. Also, the Unitarians see no problem with homosexual leaders. They essentially said to BSA that if they were going to charter units, they would allow any Unitarian to be a member. This caused some problems, and in the end the Unitarian Universalist Association decided not to charter any more BSA units since doing so would violate some of their beliefs, and BSA decided not to issue charters to Unitarians since UUA policies made it impossible for the Unitarians to enforce the leadership standards.

 

Also, I would imagine there are a great number of other groups that have their own youth groups or youth programs that while they may allow Scouting, probably don't actively promote it, and instead encourage their members to join their group specific program. I know for example the Knights of Columbus (a Catholic fraternal group) has its own youth program called the Squires of Columbus.

 

Oh, here is an odd one. The Catholic church I am a member of charters a Boy Scout Troop and a Cub Scout Pack. The pastor is a member of the council executive board (but only rarely goes to meetings), so he should know a little something about Scouting. Yet, any time a "complete" list of the ministries or activities within the parish is published, the Scouts are left out. I should also note the parish's school charters a learning for life school group, which I find ironically amusing.

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About 25 years ago, the Knights of Columbus kicked our Boy Scout Troop out of their building. I week or two later, they announced the start up of the Young Squires.

 

It was hard for six months. The troop met in a classroom in the Catholic school. Then the county sportsman club took us in. A great facility with anything a Boy Scout troop could want. Even a garage for our trailer. I had not heard anything of the Young Squires in the last 24 years!

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most Catholic Churches will charter a BSA troop. I am a Catholic and my troop and our pack are both sponsored by the same church. It is interesting how some groups encourage chartering BSA troops and the BSA allows it when the faith does not specifically believe in the God we believe in. For example i have a friend who is a Zoroastrian and is a member of a Zoroastrian troop. Its interesting how some groups that dont share the Christian faith can get around Scotuing's rigid standards.

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