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Is "Belief in a Supreme Being" an Actual Rule by Now?

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DWise1,

 

The only way to get a clear answer to you query would be to contact the BSA legal department at the National Council. The only thing that you will get here are posts from the web that you can also find, various opinions and points of view, and some arguments. You are asking for a definitive declarative statement. You can get those from court cases or directly from the BSA if they are willing to make such a statement, which I would doubt. It is not clear to me why you are so demanding on this topic. Do you intend to take something posted here to assail the BSA in a public manner?

 

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Hi DWise:

Please catch me up with this. You say you don't accept a Supreme Being, but had no problem with accepting Duty to God. How did/do you define "God"? Also, in a later reply you talked about your religious beliefs. How can an atheist have religious beliefs?

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DWise1,

 

The only way to get a clear answer to you query would be to contact the BSA legal department at the National Council. The only thing that you will get here are posts from the web that you can also find, various opinions and points of view, and some arguments. You are asking for a definitive declarative statement. You can get those from court cases or directly from the BSA if they are willing to make such a statement, which I would doubt. It is not clear to me why you are so demanding on this topic. Do you intend to take something posted here to assail the BSA in a public manner?

I agree that all I would ever get from BSA itself would be double-talk and lies; I've certain seen far too much of that.

 

I am preparing to post my experiences on my webpage. Since I have been away from the subject since about 1998, I realize that some things may have changed in the meantime. I am trying to perform due dilligence here. I know what was officially published at the time, so I would need to know whether and how any of that had changed in the meantime.

 

I also know that when I first started researching in order to properly understand the DRP and whether I could agree with it, the Scout Shop openly sold copies of the BSA Rules and Regulations and their Bylaws. Then when those materials started appearing in court to show what BSA's rules and policies really are and how BSA was violating them, BSA pull them from the shelves and very tightly controlled any and all access to them. I would also want and need to know what the status is on that.

 

My intent, as always, is to seek and speak the truth. I am also very supportive of Scouting and incorporated its principles in my own life. I am appalled at how BSA is working to destroy Scouting.

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Hi DWise:

Please catch me up with this. You say you don't accept a Supreme Being, but had no problem with accepting Duty to God. How did/do you define "God"? Also, in a later reply you talked about your religious beliefs. How can an atheist have religious beliefs?

To help you catch up, you should read what I posted last night, since it quotes from officially published BSA policies. Rather than have you go looking for it (I find navigating in this forum to be unnecessarily cumbersome), I will repost it here.

 

Kahuna posted the DRP apparently to challenge me, so this was my reply:

 

So' date=' without getting into rights and wrongs, it's very clear that if you can't support "an obligation to God" you can't be a member. Without doubt, people have expelled over silly BS, but those are the rules.[/quote']

Yes, the rules are the rules. But precisely are the rules?

 

What exactly is "an obligation to God"? What is the officially published BSA definition and interpretation of that term? Officially published BSA policy is quite clear on that point and it does not agree with what you are implying here. I read that you are implying that "God" must refer to YHWH, AKA "the God of the Bible". But how does that square with BSA's explicit statement in the DRP?: "it is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training." How can any policy that requires belief in YHWH also simultaneously be "absolutely nonsectarian"? That is a direct contradiction which would reduce the DRP to meaningless word salad. While you may wish to see the DRP as devoid of any real meanng, I take the opposite position, based squarely on officially published BSA policy which all the supporters of BSA religious discrimination choose to ignore.

 

DRP:

..., but {BSA} is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. Its policy is that the home and organization or group with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life.

That is what BSA demands, not allegiance to a specific god in violation of its being "absolutely nonsectarian".

 

Rules and Regulations, ARTICLE IX. PRINCIPLES, POLICIES, AND DEFINITIONS, SECTION I:

The Scout Law

A Scout is: ...

Reverent. A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in

his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.

But what is the officially published BSA policy on the definition and interpretation of "God"? More pertinent, the emphasis is on being faithful in one's religious duties and respecting the beliefs of others (meaning that BSA professionals fail in this point of the Scout Law).

 

Advancement Guidelines, early 1990's, page 5, RELIGIOUS PRINCIPLES:

The Boy Scouts of America has a definite statement on religious principles. The following interpretative statement may help clarify some of the points. The Boy Scouts of America:

 

1 . Does not define what constitutes belief in God or the practice of religion.

 

2. Does not require membership in a religious organization or association for enrollment in the movement but does prefer, and strongly encourages, membership and participation in the religious programs and activities of a church synagogue, or other religious association.

 

...

 

4. If a boy says he is a member of a religious body, the standards by which he should be evaluated are those of that group. This is why an advancement committee usually requests a reference from his religious leader to indicate whether he has lived up to their expectations.

 

Throughout life, Scouts are associated with people of different faiths. Scouts believe in religious freedom, respecting others whose religion may differ from theirs. Scouting believes in the right of all to worship God in their own way.

Even though "God" is not defined nor may it be. Please note that officially BSA does not and cannot determine whether a member performs his "Duty to God". My minister wrote to BSA twice explicitly informing them that I do indeed perform my "Duty to God" in accordance with our religion, Unitarian-Universalism. Not only did BSA deliberately ignore him both times, but they also deliberately ignored those same letters every time I included them in my repeated requests for information on my review, which dragged on for several years. BSA yet again in flagrant violation of its own rules and policies.

 

POSITION STATEMENT REAFFIRMATION OF THE POSITION OF THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA ON "DUTY TO GOD", 10 October 1985:

While not intending to define what constitutes belief in God, the Boy Scouts of America is proud to reaffirm the Scout Oath and its declaration of "Duty to God."

 

Reaffirmation of the Position of the Boy Scouts of America on Duty to God, 12 June 1991:

While not intending to define what constitutes belief in God, the Boy Scouts of America is proud to reaffirm the Scout Oath and its declaration of duty to God.

 

. . .

 

Virtually every religion is represented in Scouting, and the BSA does not define or interpret

God. That is the role of the Scout's family and religious advisers.

 

Relationships Division deals with BSA's relationships with religious organizations. The director in charge of Relationships Division is in a unique position to think long and hard about officially published BSA religious policy and its ramifications.

 

Letter from William McCleery III, BSA National Director, Relationships Division, 26 August 1985:

It is NOT our POLICY to require a belief in a 'supreme being' in order to be a member of the Boy Scouts of America, adult or youth. We do require adherence to the 'declaration of religious principles' for adults and adherence to the Scout Oath and Law for youth. Interpretation and definition of 'duty to God' is not our business! It is the business of parents and religious leaders."

 

Letter from Donald L. Townsend, BSA National Director, Relationships Division, 21 December 1994:

Scouting is not a religion but Duty to God is a basic tenet of the Scout Oath and Law. Virtually every religion is represented in the membership of Scouting and therefore the Boy Scouts of America does not attempt to define or interpret God. The Boy Scouts of America does not require you to belong to a specific church, temple or synagogue nor does it require a belief in a supreme being. Any Scout that can repeat the Scout Oath and Law in good conscience is welcome to participate.

Now, both letters explicitly state that "belief in a Supreme Being" is not required. Mark that well! But they were written at two different times under two different circumstances. In 1985, a newly adopted wording, "belief in a Supreme Being", which CSE Ben Love stated was meant to be more inclusive, instead caused a Unitarian Life Scout candidate, Paul Trout, to be expelled. After hundreds of letters of protest (mark that number very well!), BSA relented and reinstated Paul Trout as well as meeting personally with the head of his church, Unitarian-Universalist Association (UUA) President Dr. Rev. William F. Schulz in which BSA CSE Ben Love made personal assurances which included the dropping of that "belief in a Supreme Being" wording as a "mistake". CSE Ben Love then circa 1991 unilaterally broke all those personal assurances (Scout Honor, anyone?) and reinstated that "mistake" as the sole reason for expelling members by the hundreds, all while deliberately ignoring literally thousands of letters of protest (do you remember that I asked you mark those 1985 numbers well?).

 

In the case of Townsend's 1994 letter, that was at a time when BSA was flagrantly violating its own officially published religious policies as it was flagrantly exercising a frensy of religious discrimination. I see Townsend's position as one of being in a position where his duty was to read and to research into officially published BSA religious policy and to think about it. James Randall, the father of the Randall twins (Randall v. Orange County Council, which when it broke in the local newspapers circa 1991 was my first indication that BSA was violating its own rules and policies; it was also undoubtedly the appeals on this case and the Curran case (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curran_v._Mount_Diablo_Council_of_the_Boy_Scouts_of_America) that delayed my own review for so many years), obtained a copy of the Townsend letter and passed a copy on to me. When I showed it to my DE, his immediate response was to exclaim, "But that's what you've been saying all along!" Then I included it in my packet requesting information on my review. A few months later, I heard that Townsend had been bumped down from National back to a local council. I see his situation as one where he could see that truth and he dared to speak it, so the powers that be who are so embroiled in their own lies and deception had to remove him.

 

BTW, BSA unilaterally and arbitrarily kicked out the Unitarian-Universalist Association. It seems that they could no longer deal with being constantly reminded that they are flagrantly violating their own rules.

 

I have to admit that I have not had the time to assemble a very rigourous set of direct quotations from officially published BSA religious policies, especially since most of my materials are packed away, but the tone should be inescapable even to the most ardant advocates of BSA religious discrimination (though I am notorious for underestimating the power of the blinders that religious bigots can don). In brief summary, as I wrote in 1996 (https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups#!topic/rec.scouting/adi4Dl5TlZY):

1. BSA does not define or interpret "God", "belief in God", "duty to God", nor the practice of religion, leaving all that instead to each member's family, religious leaders, and religious tradition.

 

2. BSA strongly encourages, but does not require, membership in a religious association.

 

3. BSA does officially recognize and accept that some members will choose to practice religion according to the dictates of their own personal convictions and will make every effort to determine the true nature of those beliefs as they apply to advancement in Scouting.

 

4. Every member shall be judged by the standards of his OWN religion, not another.

 

5. BSA does not judge whether a member performs his "duty to God," but rather only that member's religious leaders can make such a determination.

 

6. A member's specific religious beliefs are not the business of BSA; rather they are the business of the member's religious leaders.

So, Kahuna, as you appear to wish to imply that belief in YHWH is required of Scouts and of Scouters, officially published BSA religious policies say the exact opposite!

 

You are, I trust, aware of the World Organization of the Scouting Movement (WOSM). As I understand, BSA is supposed to adhere to their standards. Here is what they have to say about "Duty to God" (What does Scouting mean by Duty to God? : Scouting embraces diverse spiritual expression, theistic or not, http://scoutdocs.ca/Documents/Duty_to_God.php, by Scouter Liam Morland, 1996):

One of Scouting’s three Principles is titled "Duty to God." This statement has been interpreted in many different ways, some of which have lead to religious discrimination, a violation of Scouting’s fundamentals. What does Duty to God really mean to Scouting? Duty to God is about the development of the spiritual values of life and is not a statement about any required beliefs about the material world. This essay is based on the World Organization of the Scout Movement’s (WOSM) document Fundamental Principles which contains "the only authoritative statement agreed upon by more than one hundred member organizations of WOSM" (WOSM 1992:1). All quotations in this essay are from that document.

 

...

 

Let us now look at the definition of Duty to God. Duty to God is defined as "Adherence to spiritual principles, loyalty to the religion that expresses them, and acceptance of the duties resulting therefrom" (ibid:5). Fundamental Principles goes on to say: "It should be noted that, by contrast to the title, the body of the text does not use the word 'God'.... The whole educational approach of the Movement consists in helping young people transcend the material world and go in search of the spiritual values of life" (ibid). First, Scouting wants people to adhere to spiritual principles, such as valuing emotions and seeing life as having meaning.

 

Second, Scouting wants people to be loyal to the religion that expresses their spiritual principles. A religion is a set of beliefs and practises, not necessarily an organization. Some Scouts will be called to join a formal religious organization, others will express their spirituality outside of such institutions. In either case, Scouting believes that people should be loyal to their choice, recognizing that spiritual development would be impaired if a person were constantly changing their religion.

 

Third, Scouting wants people to accept the duties resulting from their spiritual principles, to be active doers, not just passive believers.

 

What does Duty to God mean? "[Duty to God] refers to a person's relationship with the spiritual values of life" (ibid) and not to certain beliefs about the material world. The material elements of religions are not important to Scouting. Just as Scouting does not care whether or not one believes in gravity, it does not care whether or not one believes that a god created the universe, in the material sense. Thus, atheists and agnostics are welcome in Scouting as both youth members and Scouters. Excluding such people violates the definition of the Scout Movement which states that Scouting is "open to all without distinction of origin, race, or creed..." (ibid:2). Of course, everyone in Scouting must be open to continual spiritual development.

I added the emphasis in that last paragraph, but the actual wording remains unchanged, as you yourself can attest to by reading the article for yourself. Unlike the proponents of BSA religious bigotry, I have nothing to hide.

 

So then, in light of what BSA's actual officially published religious policies say, what do you have to say?

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""Reverence to God and reverence for one's neighbour and reverence for oneself as a servant of God, is the basis of every form of religion. The method of expression of reverence to God varies with every sect and denomination. What sect or denomination a boy belongs to depends, as a rule, on his parents' wishes. It is they who decide. It is our business to respect their wishes and to second their efforts to inculcate reverence, whatever form of religion the boy professes.

Robert Baden-Powell, “Aids to Scoutmastershipâ€Â

 

B-P got into trouble with the local church (of England) when he made it clear that , to Scouting, it didn't matter what the boy and/or his family professed. The Founder saw that the Church of Nature was more important than any "official" definition of faith. That is what I , as a Scout Chaplain, both at the Jamboree, at IOLS, and at home, try to make clear. It ain't up to me to judge the relationship between a Scout (or anyone for that matter) and his/her deity. The Divine is pretty much undefinable, and we do ourselves a great disservice when we try to tie "it" up in any one bundle.

 

DW, I find your story very unfortunate, and your ability to tell it heartening. I, too, have found very often the pro's are unfortunately more likely to put their emphasis on the second point of the SL rather than the first or twelvth.

 

More than once , I've had to remind folks that Scouting is NOT a christian organization alone, altho a unit may limit itself to one particular faith. I had a Islamic sponsored unit tell me that they would accept any boy, just so they undertood that the unit would worship three times a day and celebrate fast and Ramadan! And I have had Mormon units tell me they would accept anyboy , so long as they understood the unit would NOT camp on sabbath! And I have had a Catholic unit tell me that they would NOT accept a boy who was not Catholic (and it had to be "their" sort of Catholicism).

 

 

 

 

Looks like we just have to keep on keeping on.....

 

((spelling correction))

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Hi DWise:

Please catch me up with this. You say you don't accept a Supreme Being, but had no problem with accepting Duty to God. How did/do you define "God"? Also, in a later reply you talked about your religious beliefs. How can an atheist have religious beliefs?

Please catch me up with this. You say you don't accept a Supreme Being, but had no problem with accepting Duty to God. How did/do you define "God"? Also, in a later reply you talked about your religious beliefs. How can an atheist have religious beliefs?

Please explain your strange idea that an atheist cannot have any religious beliefs. How did you arrive at it? What sense does it make? Does it even make sense to you?

 

The gods are supposed supernatural beings that we have created to explain what you do not understand. The basic problem is that we are unable to perceive the supernatural or even determine whether it actually exists. As a result, I am strongly agnostic, because I believe that we cannot know anything about the supernatural. If a theist were honest about it, he would also have to hold the same agnostic position. All anyone can do with the supernatural is to make guesses and assumptions. A theist makes the assumption that supernatural beings do exist and then tries to figure out what he can about the gods. An atheist makes the opposite assumption that the gods don't exist, or at the very least realize that what we call "gods" are of human invention. Even if real gods do exist, it is the invented ones that we use, which may come close to the real thing or miss by tera-light-years. Even with the Christian God the image that believers hold is a pale substitute, but it's the best that the human mind can work with; thus a believer should engage in a life-long attempt to understand God, something that should be ever growing (I have a brochure from church about a book co-written by a rabbi whose thesis was that most adults have a childish view of God because they formed their ideas of God in childhood and never returned to form a more mature view as they grew up).

 

"God" works best as a metaphor with which to frame ideas and ideals. The word can be handy for many, but I personally do not use it in reference to my own beliefs. The same holds true for many other people. As you should have read by now, BSA officially forbids itself from defining or interpreting "God" even though they do not hesitate to violate that rule in order to commit religious discrimination. Nor is believing in a "Supreme Being" even a requirement for membership, nor is it explicitly a part of "Duty to God" nor "Reverent", unless of course your own religious tradition and practices require it.

 

As an atheist, I have no problem with "Duty to God" nor with "A Scout is Reverent" nor with the Declaration of Religious Principle, since I know how they are defined and how they are meant to be interpreted. I do find the particular wording and especially the use of the word "God" to be troubling, because in common usage it refers to one very specific god and thus it misleads far too many people into misinterpreting "Duty to God", "Reverent", and the DRP and leads directly to religious bigotry and discrimination. That word is almost exclusively Christian. A Muslim would prefer his own name even though it's supposed to be the same god. Because less liberal Jews take quite seriously the commandment to not say the name, they are even reluctant to write that word, writing "G-d" instead, and would avoid saying the word. Hindus have their own gods and Buddhists are themselves atheists (the Buddha taught against believing in the gods because that would only keep you from gaining Enlightenment).

 

Religion, religious beliefs, and religious thought do not need the gods. They can be useful as metaphors for arriving at and dealing with and teaching deeper truths. But far too often, the gods are distractions which lead us astray and lead us to do harm to ourselves and to others.

 

Does that at all help? And please do answer my questions about how you had arrived at your ideas about atheists. And I would also want to ask another question: Why is it that atheists are so hated? I have never been able to understand that. All I've seen is that churches teach their congregations to hate atheists and feed them lies about us. Why? It doesn't make any sense.

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Hi DWise:

Please catch me up with this. You say you don't accept a Supreme Being, but had no problem with accepting Duty to God. How did/do you define "God"? Also, in a later reply you talked about your religious beliefs. How can an atheist have religious beliefs?

Why is it that atheists are so hated? I have never been able to understand that.

 

I'd say it's because if we atheists are right, that (probably) means that death is the end of each person's existence, and people don't like thinking that death will mean they stop existing.

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Well, if you post BS you shouldn't act surprised when you get called on it. Like your kangaroo analogy, which stinks of the BSA BS lie of "we're not excluding anybody, but rather they are excluding themselves."

 

But at least you now appear to be trying to actually discuss.

 

Here's what I've garnered from what little BSA training I've had. Their definition DOES NOT MATTER. An attempt to lead a plaintiff to leverage a relativistic-argument DOES NOT MATTER. What matters is if when asked' date=' one can say they are living a life answerable to God. The asker may not understand the breadth of that as well as the person being asked does -- or maybe it's the other way around. But, the choice of that word allows for that kind of latitude. At least what I've been taught through BSA's instruction on the matter, is that a person's willingness to say they are doing that is all I need to know.[/quote']

You're headed in the right direction, but there's still a problem. BSA's definition does not matter, that is true, because officially BSA has no definition nor does it allow itself to form any definition or interpretation for "God", "belief in God", or just what "Duty to God" must entail, though it does define what "Duty to God" is, no part of which includes any specific theological requirements such as "belief in God". And as a Scouter, that is what you need to follow.

 

But then you come up with "What matters is if when asked, one can say they are living a life answerable to God." Meaning what exactly? Then you dissemble by effectively saying that it doesn't mean anything and yet that person's membership depends on it. What you are doing here is, as in your earlier post requiring "belief in God", is that you are creating and applying additional requirements that are not required. If you read the Advancement Guidelines, you will see something that you should have also been told on your training: you cannot add or subtract from the existing requirements. Officially, BSA does not require "belief in God" and yet you have added that requirement. Officially, BSA does not require "Duty to God" to entail "living a life answerable to God" and yet you have added your own personal interpretation as an additional requirement.

 

The reason why BSA attempts to define "God" is important, besides because it exposes BSA's violation of its own rules, is that that word has been loaded within our culture as referring specifically to one very specific supernatural being, YHWH. So even if you say that it could mean anything, the reality is that hardly any non-YHWHist would normally use that term to describe his own religion or belief system. So without a proper and undoubtedly lengthy discussion of what the official rules are really looking for under "Duty to God", most non-YHWHists would undoubtedly deny any belief in or allegiance to YHWH. That not at all mean that they do not do their "Duty to God" as is really required, but rather that they would deny that YHWH has anything whatsoever to do with it. And they would be perfectly right and would qualify for membership, but you would deny them that membership because of that one word, "God", and because of the additional requirements that you are imposing on them because of your own sectarian interpretations.

 

Try this little experiment. Replace every occurance of "God" with "Allah", or even better with "Vishnu". As a believing practicing Christian, wouldn't you be taken aback by being required to do your "Duty to Allah" or "Duty to Vishnu"? Especially if the gung-ho Scouter you're dealing with also requires to to declare that you believe in "Allah" or in "Vishnu". Would you as a believing practicing Christian normally express your religious beliefs using "Allah" or "Vishnu"? Are you starting to see what it's like to walk a mile in another man's shoes?

 

 

 

So why should any of this matter of BSA religious discrimination matter to you? Well, it should for several reasons, assuming that you are actually dedicated to Scouting (ie, not all volunteers register because of their support for Scouting and I'm just just talking about Mormons being drafted).

 

To start with, as the organization responsible for providing Scouting to US youth, BSA should at least be setting the example and leading by example by living by the principles of Scouting, rather than willfully violating those principles, most fundamentally Scout's Honor. In so refusing, BSA is setting the wrong example and sending the wrong message and public support for Scouting has suffered for it.

 

For example, as positive a face as I tried to put on everything, my son still could see what BSA was doing to his father and to others like the Randalls and he could plainly see how wrong their were. He's about to turn 32. When he returned home for Xmas from out-of-state university and I was driving him and a friend of his home from the airport with a minor detour so he could get a Del Taco burrito (not available in ND). As we drove past the BSA council office, he pointed it out to his friend and described it as the most evil place in the county. And the number of people who think that of BSA is growing with every dishonorable act by BSA.

 

Oh, you may think that this is a rare problem that hardly ever happens, but that is because you only hear what BSA tells you (which will be nothing) or what appears in the local news, which will only show up if somebody tries to fight their expulsion. But the numbers of children and adults subjected to BSA religious discrimination is quite large. Eagle Scout Steve Cozzo who saw the same hypocrisy in BSA that I've been describing founded Scouting for All (http://www.scoutingforall.org/). He reported receiving hundreds of phone call every year from scouts who had been expelled, about 60% for being gay and 40% for being atheists. It is not a minor problem.

 

BSA has wasted millions of dollars in court battles that it created itself and very easily could have settled out of court simply by talking with its victims. The results of those court cases, while finding that the laws cited did not apply to a private organization like BSA, did also find that BSA discriminates. And it became quite clear to the public following the news that BSA discriminates, as it also became clear to BSA's sponsors and donors who have very definite anti-discrimination policies. This has resulted in many of them dropping their support for BSA, which impacts BSA's budget which should impact their ability to promote Scouting in the USA (disregarding what's diverted to their self-inflicted legal costs and the CSE's really huge compensation package). I'm not sure, but in the reports of the recent decision to include gay youth I recall reading that BSA's main motivation in even considering the matter was because of its ever-growing loss of sponsors.

 

Scouting is also losing chartering organizations and hence units, because of those former COs' own anti-discrimination policies. The US military used to be a big supporter of Scout units, but they are being ordered to not sponsor any units because of BSA discrimination. And a number of public schools are no longer allowing BSA access to their students because of BSA's claim of being a secret religious organization (a legalistic lie they started using in the 1990's court cases, but which is coming back to bite them). This much further reduces the availability of Scouting to US youth, particularly the children of military families living overseas.

 

There's also the problem of the continuing loss of membership, which in turn concerns BSA because the donations it receives are tied to the number of youth that they are serving. Even though they have opened up programs to a wider range of members (eg, Tiger Cubs) and even though that segment of the population is still growing, membership is still shrinking. http://www.bsa-discrimination.org/html/bsa_membership.html examines the numbers and finds that for the year ending December 31, 2012, BSA has lost over 643,566 registered Cub Scouts since 1998. Total youth membership in BSA's traditional programs has declined by approximately 27% (965,244 members), since 1997! The author of that page points to the fact that BSA is catering to the prejudices of older generations while the younger generation, the parents of boys of Scouting age, are largely repulsed by BSA's virulent discriminatory policies. Another reason that the parents of boys of Scouting age are rejecting BSA is because so many of them have friends and family who are gay or non-theists, so they know that there is nothing wrong with such people and that there is no real reason for them to be discriminated against. And the number of non-believers is steadily growing, fueled in part by the children of fundamentalist/evangelical/conservative Christians who had been raised in the faith and are leaving it -- no, running from it -- in droves, the numbers ranging from 60% to 80% who leave religion altogether by early adulthood. While that last one is a problem for the churches which they have been doing their best to ignore, it also increases exposure to BSA religious discrimination and further erosion of public support for BSA and for Scouting.

 

BSA's sole purpose, its sole reason for even existing, is to provide Scouting to US youth. It is instead endangering Scouting in the USA. How could anyone who actually believes in Scouting possibly support what BSA is doing to it?

 

Oh, hogwash! If belief in Yahweh was required by all, then the Ad Altare Dei would be the only religious medal offered by Scouting. Instead they do have medals for Hindu, Buddhist, Unity, others. If they added medals for Manitou and God as Gaia I would be happier. God has many names and takes many forms

Scouting has always had its religious aspects. It was never secret.

The main motivation to now including gay youth was that the state of California was going to start taxing their fundraisers & donations if they didn't

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DWise1,

 

The only way to get a clear answer to you query would be to contact the BSA legal department at the National Council. The only thing that you will get here are posts from the web that you can also find, various opinions and points of view, and some arguments. You are asking for a definitive declarative statement. You can get those from court cases or directly from the BSA if they are willing to make such a statement, which I would doubt. It is not clear to me why you are so demanding on this topic. Do you intend to take something posted here to assail the BSA in a public manner?

Where's Beavah? We need his input. He didn't pass on to the other side, did he?

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We accept the idea of a Supreme Being because our founder, Baden Powell, told us to.

In contrast to the Christian-only Boys' Brigade, which started two decades earlier, Robert Baden-Powell founded the Scout movement as a youth organisation (with boys as 'Scouts' and girls as 'Guides'), which was independent of any single faith or religion, yet still held that spirituality and a belief in a higher power were key to the development of young people

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) in the United States takes a hard-line position, excluding atheists and agnostics.[11] The BSA has come under strong criticism over the past years due to their religious policy and stance against agnostics and atheists:

"Declaration of Religious Principle. 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 honour 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 favours and blessings are necessary to the best type of citizenship and are wholesome precepts in the education of the growing members."[11]

The Boy Scouts of America has accepted Buddhist members and units since 1920, and also accepts members of various pantheistic faiths. Many Buddhists do not believe in a supreme being or creator deity, but because these beliefs are still religious and spiritual in nature, they are deemed acceptable by the BSA since their leaders subscribe to the BSA Declaration of Religious Principle

While the BSA associates with the WOSM for mutual benefit, the WOSM does not control the BSA

 

Earlier I asked about how an atheist can have religious beliefs since religion implies the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power. I can accept you have moral beliefs or idealistic beliefs; I would just not call them religious

 

Is Where Have All the Boy Scouts Gone? your website?

 

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DWise1 - God and religions are funny things. They mean many different things to many different folks. The BSA has their declaration of religious principle stated on their application. You keep giving what appears to be a circular argument to me - you apparently did or said something that someone felt was in violation of membership. Possibly, you posted something that upset an individual and they (rightly or wrongly) looked for a reason to kick you out of the BSA. Sort of like tax evasion for Al Capone?

 

 

 

I stated my opinion on the BSA's previous stance on avowed homosexuality on this forum but I did not "preach" that to Scouts, at roundtable events or bring it up at my Wood Badge training. Was that due to cowardice? Prudence? I'm sure everyone has their opinion. Bottom line, for the general public the DRP, Scout Oath and Law (I'm Boy Scout oriented) are the guidelines. Does the BSA have not so public position papers? I'm sure they do but I'm not interested in picking a fight.

 

 

 

Now, is any of the following untrue?

In 1989, six-year-old Mark Welsh, after receiving a flyer advertising membership, attempted to sign up for Tiger Cubs, the Boy Scouts of America's Scouting program for six- and seven-year olds. To become a member of the Tiger Cubs, each child must have an "Adult Partner", typically a parent, who also becomes a member of the organization. Mark's father, Elliott Welsh, agnostic, informed a BSA official that he did not want to sign the "Declaration of Religious Principles" section of the adult application. The Boy Scouts of America, therefore, denied Mr. Welsh membership, thereby also denying Mark membership. One year later, when Mark had reached the age of eligibility for Cub Scouts (who do not require Adult partners), he was still denied admission into the Scouting organization as he refused to repeat the phrase "to do my duty to God and my country" in the Cub Scout Promise.

 

 

 

From what I gather from the above, no secret regulations were used. I don't see the issue of "supreme being" relevant in the decision.

 

 

 

P.S. Anyone else ever gotten this error message?

 

The string you entered for the image verification did not match what was displayed.

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DWise1 - God and religions are funny things. They mean many different things to many different folks. The BSA has their declaration of religious principle stated on their application. You keep giving what appears to be a circular argument to me - you apparently did or said something that someone felt was in violation of membership. Possibly, you posted something that upset an individual and they (rightly or wrongly) looked for a reason to kick you out of the BSA. Sort of like tax evasion for Al Capone?

 

 

 

I stated my opinion on the BSA's previous stance on avowed homosexuality on this forum but I did not "preach" that to Scouts, at roundtable events or bring it up at my Wood Badge training. Was that due to cowardice? Prudence? I'm sure everyone has their opinion. Bottom line, for the general public the DRP, Scout Oath and Law (I'm Boy Scout oriented) are the guidelines. Does the BSA have not so public position papers? I'm sure they do but I'm not interested in picking a fight.

 

 

 

Now, is any of the following untrue?

In 1989, six-year-old Mark Welsh, after receiving a flyer advertising membership, attempted to sign up for Tiger Cubs, the Boy Scouts of America's Scouting program for six- and seven-year olds. To become a member of the Tiger Cubs, each child must have an "Adult Partner", typically a parent, who also becomes a member of the organization. Mark's father, Elliott Welsh, agnostic, informed a BSA official that he did not want to sign the "Declaration of Religious Principles" section of the adult application. The Boy Scouts of America, therefore, denied Mr. Welsh membership, thereby also denying Mark membership. One year later, when Mark had reached the age of eligibility for Cub Scouts (who do not require Adult partners), he was still denied admission into the Scouting organization as he refused to repeat the phrase "to do my duty to God and my country" in the Cub Scout Promise.

 

 

 

From what I gather from the above, no secret regulations were used. I don't see the issue of "supreme being" relevant in the decision.

 

 

 

P.S. Anyone else ever gotten this error message?

 

The string you entered for the image verification did not match what was displayed.
I get that error a lot. I think it means that the website has timed out your session.

 

To salvage what I've typed, I select the text and cut it. Then I refresh the window. It it shows that I'm logged out, I log back in, move to the "post reply" box, and paste the message I was typing. Then click post.

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Earlier I asked about how an atheist can have religious beliefs since religion implies the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power.

 

Really? That would be news to a whole bunch of Buddhist (and a bunch of people of quite a few other faiths). Though I guess you could be one of those people that don't believe Buddhism is a real religion.

 

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Earlier I asked about how an atheist can have religious beliefs since religion implies the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power.

 

Really? That would be news to a whole bunch of Buddhist (and a bunch of people of quite a few other faiths). Though I guess you could be one of those people that don't believe Buddhism is a real religion.

I doubt the original poster is a Buddhist. I merely gave him the dictionary definition of rligion.

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