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

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It depends entirely on which “supreme being†you believe in AND what unit you are trying to be a member of.

 

Every unit has the right to reject members for whatever reason they choose. We have a Catholic Pack that only allows Catholic boys in the unit, provided they attend the local Catholic School. If you’re Catholic and don’t attend the Catholic School you aren’t “Catholic Enough†to be a member of their unit.

 

As far as National is concerned just because your application wasn’t accepted because you believed in the wrong god (or believe in the same god, but weren’t godly enough), does not constitute a rejection. Scouts denied membership in local units are still eligible to be a member of Boy Scouts of America provided they find an organization with a building and applicable insurance that is willing to charter a unit that will allow them.

I have seen situations in which a unit has rejected a member on religious grounds. However, that did not expel the member from BSA membership. When the member tried to seek redress, BSA backed up the unit in rejecting him, but kept him on as a member free to join another unit that would have him. To me, that is what the "local option" is about.

 

Rather, the situation we are faced with is where the unit wants to keep the member, but BSA National has reached down and plucked him out of there while ignoring the unit and the chartered organization. That is what all these discrimination lawsuits have been about. Ironically, BSA's arguments in court have been that it wants to preserve its rights of "intimate association", and yet it arbitrarily denies the units themselves of their rights of intimate association.

 

Furthermore, BSA's argument in court has been that since it is "a secret religious organization" (a fabrication suggested to them by their lawyers) then it is immune to any discrimination lawsuits; it is free to discriminate all it wants to for whatever reason. However, the argument continues, the plaintiffs are still free to sue the chartering organization and the unit itself for discrimination. So not only are they throwing their COs under the bus, but they are also making their COs liable for the discrimination that BSA commits despite all efforts by the CO to stop that discrimination. No wonder BSA is losing so much support!

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As long as don't declare you are an outright "atheist", you can pretty much declare anything you want about what you believe about "duty to God" in the oath and be a BSA member. Even an "agnostic" might not have a problem because he can simply declare what "duty to God" and "Reverence" means to him and that will pass for many units.

 

At the inception of the BSA in 1910, it was commonly understood what was meant by "God" in the context of the Judeo-Christian belief of a Supreme Being. Many Scouters, like myself, still hold to this ancient belief. The Declaration of Relgious Principle has been with the BSA from the beginning and can be found in the first edition of the Boy Scout Handbook (Handbook for Boys - 1911, Ch. VI-Chivarly, p. 250). Nothing new.

 

 

 

No, that is not true.

 

OK, that is indeed what officially published BSA policy says. But that is not what BSA practices. Which is the source of all the problems.

 

If BSA is being so Christian, I wonder why they haven't bothered to read the Gospels to see what Jesus was supposed to have thought about hypocrites.

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Let's try this again.

 

I need to know about changes to the BSA Rules & Regulations, Bylaws, Advancement Guidelines, Declaration of Religious Principles, etc, pertaining to religion that were made since the late 1990's. In particular, I am interested in learning whether the "belief in a Supreme Being" non-rule has been incorporated into officially published BSA policy. In other words, has that non-rule been turned into an actual rule? And if so, then where?

 

My own experience was from 1988 to about 1998. During that time, I became very familiar with those official publications and with the events of the time. However, I have not followed it since then, so I need to know what has happened in the meantime from circa 1995 to the present. That is the only reason that I joined here, which is not to say that I wouldn't mind sharing some of my knowledge and experiences.

 

Starting around 1990, BSA started expelling members for the expressed reason that belief in a "Supreme Being" is required. BSA spokesmen and lawyers even went so far as say that they wouldn't mind keeping those members as members, but they were forced to expell them because of this here "belief in a Supreme Being" rule. And yet nobody could ever find that rule and all requests to see it were deflected or simply ignored. Finally in the Randall trial, the judge ordered BSA to show him that rule and BSA had to admit to him that that rule did not exist.

 

So my primary question here is whether that non-existent "rule", which BSA even had to admit in court did not exist, has since 1995 been made into an actual rule.

 

The history of that phrase goes back to the early 1980's when it was created "to broaden rather than constrict the understanding of the phrase 'duty to God' (i.e., it was intended to allow for non-Christian understandings of deity)." (as BSA had told UUA President Dr. Schulz). Then in 1985 it resulted in the expulsion of Paul Trout, a Unitarian Life Scout. The bad publicity and hundreds of letters of protest led CSE Ben Love to reverse the decision, to reinstate Trout, to name that "belief in a Supreme Being" wording a "mistake", and to apologize for that mistake. Then about five years later, the exact same CSE Ben Love had reinstated that mistake and used it for the purpose of religious discrimination. BSA professionals and lawyers would even tell the public and judges that they wouldn't want to expell these people, but this here "belief in a Supreme Being" rule was forcing them to. Despite the inconvenient fact that that "rule" simply did not exist. Their other excuse was that the Mormon Church was forcing them to expell non-believers, but that's another issue altogether.

 

Even if a "belief in a Supreme Being" requirement were to exist, how could it be reconciled with BSA's other officially published requirements, such as BSA neither defining nor interpreting "God", "Duty to God", the practice of religion, that each member is to be judged solely by the standards of his own religious traditions, or that only a member's religious leaders can determine whether he performs his Duty to God?

King Ding Dong, the answer must depend on what the policy is. If the officially published policy is so meaningless that you have to be subjected on all levels by whatever that particular BSA professional personally believes, then why even have an official policy? For example, on another forum is a member who is a "TRUE CHRISTIAN " who repeatedly spews out virulent anti-Catholic rhetoric. So if you are a Catholic and your BSA professional is a "TRUE CHRISTIAN ", then you have just been expelled from Scouting. Is that what you are arguing for? If not, then why even make that argument?

 

Also, districts and councils never act independently in these matters. Control is very tightly centralized at National. DEs are required to report every single contact up the line (one of our DEs told me this). I'm sure that CEs are likewise required to report up to Regional who likewise is required to report up to National. In every case that I was familiar with in the 1990's, massive amounts of message traffic flowed up and down the chain repeatedly; nobody at Regional, Council, or District made any more whatsoever until being told by National what to do.

 

Also, your response is a non sequitur. My question has absolutely nothing to do with what individuals at various levels think and feel. Rather, it has everything to do with FACTS!

 

Officially published BSA religious policy is a FACT. We all know what it is, because we can go to the published documentation and read it for ourselves.

 

That the "rule" requiring "belief in a Supreme Being" was not an actual rule from 1985 to 1998 is a FACT. You could not find it anywhere in the published documentation and in court, Randall v BSA, our Orange County Council Exec, Kent Gibbs, after having repeatedly claimed to have this "rule" requiring "belief in a Supreme Being" and that that "rule" absolutely required him to expel Michael and William Randall, the judge directly ordered him to produce that rule, at which point Gibbs had to admit in court that that "rule" simply did not exist.

 

That such a "rule", should it actually exist, would directly contradict officially published BSA policy is a matter for discussion, though I think that the case of direct contradiction should be self-evident to all but the most self-deluded religionists.

 

The question that is open and which I have repeatedly asked is this: What has changed in officially published BSA policy since 1998?

 

That is a question about FACT, not about personal opinion.

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qwazse: The sad part about this is if a kid thinks a particular stone is his salvation and is not disparaging his buddy's devotion to Allah, I'd count it as reverent.

 

Why is that "sad"?

What? You have never played the game of "God is whatever you say it is" with a BSA professional? Oh, you really have no idea what you're in for!

 

Now mind you, BSA acts without warning, expelling you before you ever know that any problem exists. That is how it happened to the Randalls, despite a unit den leader spoiling the surprise with a cryptic phone call. In my case, I suspected that something was up, so I initiated the call, which pulled our council's SE out of a meeting about me.

 

At some point, we arrived at THE GAME. He said, "God is whatever you say it is." So, knowing something about some non-theistic religious traditions, I offered an idea. "No, that's not it. But God is whatever you say it is." So I offered another well-considered idea and he again responded with, "No, that's not it either. But God is whatever you say it is." After a few more iterations of this nonsense, I stated, "Well, obviously my own ideas are 'God' are not the same as yours." at which point he terminated the conversation, obviously satisfied that he had gotten what he had wanted.

 

OK, am I the only one here to see this? I even raised it in subsequent letters asking about my review, which was delayed for over half a decade. Their game was to say, "God is whatever you say it is", but if you ever take the bait, then they just reject anything you have to offer. In the end, in my case, it was Kent Gibbs' own personal definition and interpretation and misunderstand of "God" that took precedence, not in any way my own religious tradition's. I was being judged solely by Kent Gibbs' own personal religious standards, not my own! Who here, even among the most stridently sectarian religionists, cannot see the fault in this BSA interpretation that Kent Gibbs personally imposed upon me?

 

And on that purely arbitrary basis, I was booted out of BSA.

 

 

ABE:

 

Sorry! Forgot about another game the Kent Gibbs loved to play. The Randall twins had first registered in Los Angeles County before moving down to Orange County. At some point along the way, the unit screwed up with the registration forms. BSA caught wind of this and did its utmost to take advantage of it, claiming that the boys never had been registered.

 

And so Gibbs' twisted abusive game began. "Oh, you never were actually registered! All you have to do is to fill out the registration form." Form is duly filled out. "Oh, this is not acceptable. But all you have to do is to fill out the registration form." Etc, etc, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. When the case went to trial, Gibbs and Orange County Council tried to continue to play the same sick abusive game, but the judge stopped them short. "Is this all that's the problem? OK! Give us a form and we can fill it out and be done with this!" Immediately, BSA started back-pedelling and making excuses.

 

OBTW, you may condemn Jim Randall for filing a lawsuit on behalf of his sons being discriminated against, but you must consider the facts. Jim Randall tried his best to resolve this matter without having to resort to legal action, but BSA blocked all his efforts at every step. Finally, it was BSA itself who instructed him to sue them, not imagining that he would take them up on it.

 

Our Bear den leader, still a friend, was guardian to a ward. He went to the same school as the Randall twins, though not the same school (for that matter, I'm not sure how she had come to our pack, but she was a stalwart leader). He is the one who, knowing the news (his guardian is Jewish, so perhaps like someone who's UU? *), invited the twins to join our pack. At the time, Council was doing its utmost to spread fear among the units, "The RANDALLS ARE COMING!!!!!!!!!!!!"

 

Well, the Randall twins were model Scouts. They went on to fulfill all their Eagle requirements. Their Scoutmaster told the press that he wished that all his boys were like them. But they were participating by a court order while BSA's appeal to the California Supreme Court was pending. Just as their Eagle Court was looming, the state attorney general pushed the court to make its decision. The California Supreme Court decided that BSA was indeed discriminating, but it was not subject to the Unruh Act, which was the basis of Jim Randall's lawsuit. That same decision was what BSA was waiting for to issue my own final expulsion along with a couple others.

 

The point is that our DE came to speak at our pack meeting after the Randalls had bridged over to Boy Scouts. He spoke about BSA being "under attack" and how they had to spend millions of dollars to defend themselves from the Randalls. Well, this crowd knew the Randalls. I remember parents muttering angrily, "What a waste!"

 

Why is BSA wasting so much money and bad publicity on unnecessary lawsuits that they and they alone create? And then, given that they've been found in court to discriminate, COs who have definite policies against such discrimination have no choice but to stop sponsoring a Scouting unit. The US military has orders to not sponsor units, not even overseas. BSA discrimination not only does not make any sense in light of their officially published policies, but it is directly detrimental to Scouting. Even enrollment has been declining within the past decade: http://www.bsa-discrimination.org/html/bsa_membership.html

 

 

* FOOTNOTE: Apparently, a number of Unitarian-Universalists had been born Jewish. For example, there's an old joke about somebody who had passed away and was buried in a UU cemetery. The surprised response was, "But he didn't look Jewish!"

 

In my own experience, when our church moved into new quarters one committee member of Jewish heritage requested a special vacuum cleaner to be able to handle the stairs. So there I was on a painting party and she comes down the stairs with that portable vacuum slung over her shoulder. And without my glasses it looked like the block letters on the side of the vacuum said "DRECK", which, from my knowledge of German from which that Yiddish word came, I thought was a really weird name for a vacuum cleaner, "FILTH". Then when she came closer I could see that it instead said, "ORECK".

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You need to get over it' date=' or go to the local council and view the bylaws, or hire a lawyer and call the LA Times. Unlike the ban on homosexuals, the BSA's religious stance is right there on both the youth and adult application, it's in the oath, it's in the handbook, it's part of the program.[/quote']

 

Is it? This is what the BSA actually says about it (the current Guide to Advancement, page 33):

 

5.0.5.0 Religious Principles

From time to time, issues related to advancement call for an understanding of the position of the Boy Scouts of America on religious principles. In the appendix (section 11), see the Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America (article IX), and clause 1, Declaration of Religious Principle, from article IX in the Charter and Bylaws of the BSA. The following interpretative statement may help to clarify this position:

 

The Boy Scouts of America does not define what constitutes belief in God or practice of religion. Neither does the BSA require membership in a religious organization or association for membership in the movement. If a Scout does not belong to a religious organization or association, then his parent(s) or guardian(s) will be considered responsible for his religious training. All that is required is the acknowledgment of belief in God as stated in the Scout Oath, and the ability to be reverent as stated in the Scout Law.

 

See the lovely circular logic? All that is required is a belief in God - the BSA refuses to define what constitutes belief in God. That is for the scout and his family to decide. As for A Scout is Reverent, I believe this is the current wording:

A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.

 

This doesn't define what God is either. So if someone belongs to a religious faith that doesn't have a god (like many forms of Buddhism) or require a belief in a god (like Unitarianism), who believe they can do their "Duty to God" as their faith defines it, the BSA appears to say they can be members. Which is the situation the OP was in.

 

So to tell the OP: "stop whining, it's all their in black and white" is incorrect.

So to tell the OP: "stop whining' date=' it's all their in black and white" is incorrect.[/quote']

I respectfully disagree. Yes, it is indeed all in their "black and white", which is to say in BSA's officially published religious policy. The problem is that neither BSA nor the religious bigots who follow their knee-jerk reaction to agree to BSA's violations of its own officially published religious policy ever bother to actually look at that officially published religious policy.

 

Unfortunately, the only conclusion I can reach is that BSA knows full well what its officially published policies are, but those are not what it wants to impose. They really do want to impose their own religious ideas, members' own traditions be damned! Of course, they cannot declare this publically, because many charitable organizations, including many United Ways, themselves have requirements that they can only contribute to organizations that do not discriminate. So BSA keeps its "absolutely nonsectarian" rules and requirements on the books in order to parade them to donors, all while refusing to actually live up to those ideals.

 

Here's the situation I had seen in Orange County, CA. Orange County's United Way had a definite anti-discrimination policy in place and they presented it prominently to the public. Then when the Randall trial broke, they said that they had to wait for the court's decision. Then when the court decided that BSA was indeed discriminating, UW said that it had to wait for the final decision, but in the meantime their anti-discrimination rules mysteriously disappeared. At one point, our pack's ACM was at a UW presentation at his work-place and basically their position at that point in discrimination was that they arbitrarily chose which organizations to support, basically considerations of discrimination be damned! At present, I visited our UW website and could not find any mention of any anti-discrimination policies. I think that when the California Supreme Court's decision came through, our UW tried to claim that BSA didn't discriminate, but the decision was that BSA does indeed discriminate, it's just that they are not subject to the law.

 

In the meantime, United Ways across the state have withdrawn their support for BSA, making them far more honest and honorable than my own local UW.

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... DWise refers to himself as an "atheist" which is understood to preclude belief in God. ... BSA has magnanimously and reasonably taken a stance that allows for the widest interpretation of "duty to god" to the inclusion even of philosophical belief systems that don't have a god, like Buddhism; it's bad form to turn that around on BSA and try to use it against them.

 

Sorry, the above makes no sense at all. If a Buddhist or a Unitarian or a Wiccan or a Jew can be an atheist and a member of the BSA, then a god isn't needed, and an atheist who just calls himself as an atheist should be able to join, unless the "duty to god" requirement is so shallow that a label makes all the difference. But that's just stupid.

Khaliela, what is the official BSA definition of "God"?

 

Theists believe in literal supernatural beings called "gods". Non-theists, AKA "atheists" do not believe in literal supernatural beings.

 

Khaliela, what is the official BSA definition and interpretation of "Duty to God". Does that official BSA definition and interpretation of "Duty to God" require belief in the supernatural? NO IT DOES NOT!

 

Khaliela, you have your own personal definitions and interpretations of "God" and "belief in God" and "Duty to God". Those are yours and you are bound by them.

 

They are not mine and I am not bound by them IN ACCORDANCE WITH OFFICIALLY PUBLISHED BSA RELIGIOUS POLICY. Is that becoming clear to you?

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I would like to clarify here that while self-identified atheists are sometimes members of the UUA, and they are welcomed and respected for their individual beliefs, the UU faith is not inherently atheist (popular and erroneous opinions to the contrary notwithstanding). There are also Buddhist, Jewish, Wiccan, and Pagan individual members of the UUs. But the historical foundation of the UUs goes back to the Council of Nicea whereupon their ancestors in faith rejected the Trinity.

 

 

 

When I ask a group of UUs today, what is the best way to characterize the UUs, I get as many different opinions as there are UUs in the group. I give them a lot of credit, every last one of them, for making well-reasoned and thoughtful statements about their faith. They really do know something about what they believe.

 

 

 

On the other hand, if someone wants to argue that UUs are space aliens........

I am going against what some UUs themselves believe here.

 

UUs like to harken back to the Arian Heresy from around the Nicean Council, where Trinitarianism was chosen over Unitarianism. IOW, Unitarianism was basically a revolt against Trinitarianism. But that "heresy" (for what can you call a heresy that has been accepted as dogma?) died out at that time along with its supporting Scripture (outside of whatever has survived that purge).

 

Then in the 1400's or 1500's there arose in Transylvania (no, I am not kidding you) a Unitarian movement. Then later in the early 1700's or earlier, an English Unitarian movement arose. While it may have been inspired by the two earlier Unitarian movements, I do not know of any direct connections. That is the tradition that the modern UUA comes from. Joseph Priestly, the scientist who discovered oxygen, was also a Unitarian minister who had to flee the mobs in England and arrived in the American Colonies to found the first two Unitarian churches there; when our church was searching for a name, I suggested naming us after Joseph Priestly, the discoverer of oxygen, "for a breath of fresh air."

 

Though I remember one sermon in which our minister mentioned one region of England that the Church of England calls, "The Black Spot", since the Unitarians there are immune to all efforts of the Church to proselytize them.

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At the time Mr. Wise's troubles began he was simply an atheist without any g/God or religion' date=' as he has explicitly written in his testimonial (now linked above).[/quote']

And just exactly where in officially published BSA religious policy are those required? And while you're at it, what is the officially published BSA policy on defining or interpreting either "God" or religion?

 

For that matter, just exactly what in officially published BSA policy would require the expulsion of an atheist? Please be specific and quote the applicable publication. Please remember that a "rule" requiring "belief in a Supreme Being" did not exist in the 1990's, as testified to in court by the Orange County Council's Exec. But then the question I am pursuing here is whether such a rule has been added to officially published BSA policy. Though that would raise the question of how such a rule could possibly be squared with the rest of officially published BSA religious policy.

He also saw' date=' read, and had misgivings about the DRP, but he signed on anyway.[/quote']

Please read what I actually wrote. I read the DRP and, based on officially published BSA policy, found that I was in agreement with it. I would not have signed the application if I did not agree with the DRP, because that would have been dishonest. I still agree with it. Rather, it is BSA that does not agree with it.

 

 

So the question still stands about the current status of "belief in a Supreme Being." Does such a rule exist? Or, like in the 1990's, does BSA continue to appeal to a "rule" that does not exist?

You've just gone to great lengths to say that "God" probably does not mean to you what it means to me.

Bullshit!

I did not ask if you believe in the definition that Christians have attributed to a very ancient word to great effect. What's wrong with just speaking English at face value?

 

Officially published BSA policy says that your own religious standards do not apply to others not of the same tradition.

 

What part of that do you not understand?

 

I did not ask if you believe in the definition that Christians have attributed to a very ancient word to great effect.

Bullshit!

 

Your very refusal to discuss the various possible definitions indicate your desire to force one particular highly sectarian definition.

 

You very clearly only want to allow a narrowly CHRISTIAN definition to that term. Hardly "absolutely nonsectarian" at all.

 

What part of that do you not understand?

 

What's wrong with just speaking English at face value?

Because it is not specific enough. You can just mouth meaningless mumble-jumble that others can misinterpret.

 

 

Are you at all familiar with Monty Python's Flying Circus? Nudge-nudge, wink-wink?

 

In one skit, Eric Idle approaches another character (Michael Palin?) and intimates whether his wife engages in kinky sex though all entire through inuendo:

"Does your wife? Does your wife? You know ... nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know what I mean, know what I mean?"

 

Well, that was BSA attorneys' approach in the Randall trial. I was subpoened for that one, I was. At one point, the BSA attorney asked me about "God". Well, I was about my wits, I was, Gov'ner. I asked him what he meant by that, I did, Gov'ner. I said that I was confused by his question and I needed to know the official BSA definition of "God" that he was applying, I did, Gov'ner. I saw the plaintiff attorneys wake up just then, though sadly too late. I also saw the BSA defendent attorney back-pedel furiously to get himself out of that quagmire, he did, Gov'ner, glorious though it was to witness.

 

BSA's argument there is straight out of Monty Python. "What is 'God'? Well, we don't define nor interpret that, but we all know what that means, ... nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know what I mean, know what I mean? ... etc." Ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

 

 

To give you a direct answer, a straight "English answer" would need to be given fully. The "usual English understanding of God" is far to nebulous and completely incompatible with officially published BSA religous policy.

 

What part of that do you not understand?

]

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DWise - I am sorry for your experience in scouting as a youth, it was wrong and you were wronged.. You did say you went through years of appeal, so I would imagine it went up to National and probably beyond to the court system.. I am shocked it went so far, and that you were not victorious.. I am surprised it did not get more media attention as a case as to what is wrong with the BSA.

 

Our District had a similar case last year. Though it took a week of deliberation and speaking more with the young man's religious witness. But, the young man made the mistake of saying at the board that he did not believe in God.. He went out with his scoutmaster while the board deliberated and the scoutmaster told him what he said wrong.. On his return he corrected himself in saying he was not an atheist, he just didn't believe in God as everyone else did.. The board was about to deny him, but decided to investigate upon the statement he did not consider himself an atheist. Lucky for him the person he put down was a Catholic priest.. the young man went to a Catholic school, yet was not Catholic.. The priest though wrote a statement on his behalf which when I saw it I thought was going to be too wishy washy for the board to accept.. The letter only stated he was respectful of others beliefs and was a good kid.. But, the board decided to consider the boy "In search of" what God means to him, but that he was not a atheist. So he was approved.. Therefore the scout never needed to appeal higher then District's board. Our board has stated that you need to believe in something higher then yourself, but have stated they don't care if it is a rock, tree or lamppost, you just might need a little more explanation as to why the lamppost is a higher entity then yourself, if that is what you believe. Still I wonder, if the boy had not attended a Catholic school, and had a Catholic priest as his witness if it would have turned out so well. But, I am certain that this board would have excepted your UU beliefs and the statements of your minister as equally acceptable also..

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DWise - I am sorry for your experience in scouting as a youth, it was wrong and you were wronged.. You did say you went through years of appeal, so I would imagine it went up to National and probably beyond to the court system.. I am shocked it went so far, and that you were not victorious.. I am surprised it did not get more media attention as a case as to what is wrong with the BSA.

 

Our District had a similar case last year. Though it took a week of deliberation and speaking more with the young man's religious witness. But, the young man made the mistake of saying at the board that he did not believe in God.. He went out with his scoutmaster while the board deliberated and the scoutmaster told him what he said wrong.. On his return he corrected himself in saying he was not an atheist, he just didn't believe in God as everyone else did.. The board was about to deny him, but decided to investigate upon the statement he did not consider himself an atheist. Lucky for him the person he put down was a Catholic priest.. the young man went to a Catholic school, yet was not Catholic.. The priest though wrote a statement on his behalf which when I saw it I thought was going to be too wishy washy for the board to accept.. The letter only stated he was respectful of others beliefs and was a good kid.. But, the board decided to consider the boy "In search of" what God means to him, but that he was not a atheist. So he was approved.. Therefore the scout never needed to appeal higher then District's board. Our board has stated that you need to believe in something higher then yourself, but have stated they don't care if it is a rock, tree or lamppost, you just might need a little more explanation as to why the lamppost is a higher entity then yourself, if that is what you believe. Still I wonder, if the boy had not attended a Catholic school, and had a Catholic priest as his witness if it would have turned out so well. But, I am certain that this board would have excepted your UU beliefs and the statements of your minister as equally acceptable also..

Moosetraker:

 

My experience was not as a youth, but rather as an adult leader.

 

The problem with going through the courts is that you need to find a specific law to base your case on. The Welsh case was based on the federal Civil Rights Act, as I recall, which required him to have BSA found as a place of entertainment or something like that. Because of that, a narrow definition would invalidate the case. It appears that in the case of the Randall trial which was based on the Unruh Act, the same problem applied. It appears that there is no law that requires a private organization to actually adhere to its own self-appointed rules and regulations.

 

In all court cases, BSA won the overall case on technicalities. But they were still found to discriminate.

 

I was a leader. I took a pack that was barely surviving and I organized it into a viable unit. Under my leadership, I insisted that each and every adult leader enroll in every training opportunity that was available to us; as a US Navy Chief Petty Officer, I could expect no less of those under my command. We went from barely surviving to being 100% in all aspects. Although we were a public school unit, we instituted a year-round program. When I was expelled, I informed a den leader that according to BSA my mere presence would irreparably disrupt the pack, her immediate reaction was, "But under your leadership we FLOURISHED!". Under my leadership, we repeatedly informed the pack at large of the religious emblem awards programs and actively promoted it, which was completely in accordance with my own personal religious values that calls for everybody to know everything they can possibly know about their own religious traditions.

 

When I took command, our pack did not have any Webelos program and it had merged the Tiger Cubs into the Wolf den, which had devastating effects on that den leader. I established our pack's Webelos program, taking command of it myself directly; that was only natural, since my best memories from my own youth as a Scout was from Boy Scouts. I also established a Tiger Cub program in accordance with BSA standards. At all the district meetings I attended, our pack was singled out as a success story.

 

At a point, the Cubmaster duties had been passed on to a couple. We were able to find a straw leader for Webelos, but he could not perform those duties because of his commitments to the YMCA Indian Guides program, so I performed the duties of a Webelos den leader, but always in accompaniment of at least two parents who were also officially registered as Members of Committee; my own presence was sanctioned by my younger son being in the den.

 

During all this time, I attended the district roundtable each and every month, first representing the pack and then later representing the troop that my sons were in. When I was attending to my duties with the pack, without my knowledge my pack leadership and our CO rep repeatedly petitioned BSA for my reinstatement. Later when I was representing our troop at the monthly roundtable meetings, the entire district volunteer leadership, without my knowledge, staged a "palace coup" demanding a resolution to my situation. As usual, the BSA professionals made promises to them that they then immediately broke; it' called "smiling them out the door", a practice that BSA is very practiced at.

 

For details, refer to my timeline file at http://dwise1.net/scouting/timeline.txt .

 

The lesson to be learned is to keep BSA as far away from your unit as is possible. The presence of this atheist never ever disrupted any unit, but rather the presence of BSA was extremely disruptive.

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Never heard of them pulling out an adult unless they were loudly proclaiming and promoting being an atheist.. Most the adults I know I have no idea what the believe or if they believe in anything it is just accepted that if they signed up they were at peace with what they signed. Many are not affiliated with any church at all. The only time I have heard of anything is if a boy gets a question at their eagle board, and they proclaim they are atheist or whatever, at which point it is usually as much of a surprise to the scoutmaster, and the boy may not even know that he is saying something that will hurt his chances of getting his eagle (or he does know and it is an "in your face" move)... That it also was an ambush by district leaders tells me that you had a corrupt bunch on your district staff and there was something other then your religion that caused them to want to take you down..

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Below is the BSA Declaration of Religious Principle

Article IX. Policies and Definitionsâ€â€From the Charter and Bylaws

Section 1. Declaration of Religious Principle, clause 1. 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.

DWise1_AOL, I'm not sure if you are trying to call me out on something or what, I simply posted the BSAs official policy. And I'm really puzzled on how I could familiarize myself with BSA's officially published policies even more, as what I posted was copied from the BSAs Charter and Bylaws, that is about as official as you get. I think you thought what I stated was opinion, it was not it was all direct quotes from BSA official publications.

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I'm always amazed at the mean spirited abuse others inflict on others by throwing around the word discrimination. It's not about clearly communicating. It's hate speech. BSA has always had a faith component.

 

Now we can debate if BSA should change that, but it's not discrimination any more than my neighbor discriminating against me when he doesn't want me entering his house without permission.

 

Personally, I think BSA should leave membership to the charter orgs because it's the only way to avoid the ugly interactions of people we've seen flood these threads for years.

When confronted with these common-sense responses, Hitch would usually respond angrily that they were not ethical actions, as prayer didn't work. So, he would move the goal posts to avoid the answer.

 

I'd agree that these are not ethical actions. Once you start bringing in arbitrary actions that gods want, even killing other people (that god wants you to kill) magically becomes an ethical act. This doesn't mean I'm going to consider it ethical.

 

That's one of the big problems with god-based morality and ethics.

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I'm always amazed at the mean spirited abuse others inflict on others by throwing around the word discrimination. It's not about clearly communicating. It's hate speech. BSA has always had a faith component.

 

Now we can debate if BSA should change that, but it's not discrimination any more than my neighbor discriminating against me when he doesn't want me entering his house without permission.

 

Personally, I think BSA should leave membership to the charter orgs because it's the only way to avoid the ugly interactions of people we've seen flood these threads for years.

I agree with Merlyn. All that is simply self interest. Your belief that your god will smile upon you if you do it.. Doing for your family and teaching them your beliefs is self interest, I am sure Merlyn brings up his children to be ethical, it is just not your self defined notion of what that is.

 

Giving to your church is also self interest.. It is like doing an eagle project for the BSA. I also loved how you worded it.. "Tithing to the evangelical fund for one's religion."... Hmm.. so giving to LDS if you are of that religion doesn't count, nor a Jewish temple? If you are atheist and give to an orphanage or to the community soup kitchen, that doesn't count??..

 

It is you AZMike who try to move the goal post into your narrow definition.

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Never heard of them pulling out an adult unless they were loudly proclaiming and promoting being an atheist.. Most the adults I know I have no idea what the believe or if they believe in anything it is just accepted that if they signed up they were at peace with what they signed. Many are not affiliated with any church at all. The only time I have heard of anything is if a boy gets a question at their eagle board, and they proclaim they are atheist or whatever, at which point it is usually as much of a surprise to the scoutmaster, and the boy may not even know that he is saying something that will hurt his chances of getting his eagle (or he does know and it is an "in your face" move)... That it also was an ambush by district leaders tells me that you had a corrupt bunch on your district staff and there was something other then your religion that caused them to want to take you down..
I was "pulled" as you put it and I'm not even an Atheist. I was a scouter for 10 years before my council kicked me out for not being Christian. I given multiple district awards, was a council trainer, camp staff, an ASM and a CM. My unit wanted to keep me, but were told that the council would not renew our charter if I held a leadership position. National won't enforce it's own policy so the only thing that matters is what the people directly above you in the chain of command want.

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