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EagleScout441

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This is where that scout motto comes in. Be prepared by taking time in advance of the service to talk to participants of minority faith. Ask them if and how they would like to participate' date=' if something in the script is patently offensive, and if they can suggest away around it. I have found that this has really brought me closer to fellow scouts and scouters.[/quote']

 

I think this is a really good first step, whether you are talking about a Scouts Own, or an invocation at a district round table. It is also important to communicate what you are going to do once you decide. If you are going to lead everyone in a Christian prayer at a round table, be clear that is what you are about to do. People can feel ambushed when suddenly you get "in Jesus Christ's name" at the end of what was otherwise a somewhat generic prayer. Same thing if you are invoking "the eastern wind" or "the spirit of the raven". Surprise in these things is usually not your friend. If people know upfront what you are about to do, then they can choose to participate, sit quietly and just listen, or silently do their own thing. If they feel ambushed, they probably will also feel like their faith is being disrespected. I know I get annoyed at district and council events when the opening invocation is blatantly Christian and there is no acknowledgement of even the possibility of non-Christians in the audience (we have a lot - ours is a diverse community). It communicates either willful ignorance (you mean some scouters aren't Christian?) or complete disrespect (sure those guys are Hindu, why should I care?).

 

To do a true non-sectarian worship service that speaks to all faiths is impossible in my opinion. The definitions of worship and even what it means to pray are too disparate to make things work. So you either address a subset of faiths (perhaps changing which subset you address each time) or you don't even try and do something else. qwazse is correct when he says "know your audience".

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Qwazse' date=' seems like [i']someone [/i]just about HAS to compromise, if not everyone. Do you have a way to get around this problem? How do you avoid favoring one over another?

 

It's not a matter of picking favorites. It's a matter of sharing favors, of receiving a thing in the spirit in which it was given and responding accordingly WITHOUT compromising. This isn't all that new ...

 

It seems St. Paul had to address this issue with Timothy regarding food offered to idols. (In the ancient Mediterranean, eating spoke louder than words. ... Actually, it's probably true there today as well. ;) ) Basically, he said if no one told Timothy a meal was a sacrificial offering, no-harm no foul. But if someone wanted to make it an issue, he should respectfully decline the meal. We also know that Paul gave thanks before meals in front of a pagan audience, but that seemed to be after he had sailed for days through storm with everyone involved and showed real leadership in the process. He also spoke in pagan forums, but only after being asked to after being overheard proclaiming his "good news" with other monotheists in the marketplace.

 

There are other examples, for example, William Carey began an end to the Indian practice of Sutee (widows throwing themselves on the pyre of their deceased husbands), not by converting anyone to Christianity, but rather by studying Hindu writings and consulting with Hindu scholars and gaining their assistance.

 

And, similar actions by folks of other persuasions fill our history.

 

In short, the way around this problem is not through carefully chosen words. But through getting to know and trust everyone involved, understand their fears and apprehensions, let them know they are welcome as is, and work in ways that build trust. So, on a day-to-day level this kind of thing works in a small group of, I don't know, about eight boys. :cool:

 

Some hints:

If your "scouts own" is taking more than 15 minutes, you're probably doing it wrong.

If you're saying "We pray in Your name" rather than "I pray in Your name as others here reach in they way they trust", you're doing it wrong.

If you're saying "take of your hats" rather than "please remove all non-religious headgear" or "please assume a posture of reverence according to your tradition", you're doing it wrong.

 

Little things like that go along way in recognizing "Hey, we're out here as strangers in these woods, trying to bring a little of our faith to bear on the day. It oughta be a little strange and different -- yet mysteriously comfortable -- for all of us."

 

In larger crowds, like Rick says, you need to be clear about what's on the agenda. Nothing should be mandatory. And you should schedule it for a time where people actually choose to gather, not while they are waiting to be there for something else.

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... you're probably doing it wrong. ...

 

And, if you are thoroughly rankled by someone doing it wrong ... you're probably doing it wrong.:eek:

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Thinking about the comment by Duct Tape, if some kind of worship service is planned and several scouts declare that they will sit it out back at camp. What then? (this really happens) The risk is that if this is allowed, a bunch of others may decide to take that option as well.

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I'd like to reiterate that discussing the Ideals of Scouting is a good way to approach a good reflection-centered activity for Scouts. That was the Scouts are focused on living a Scout-like life rather than worrying about offending each other's religious sensibilities. SMMatthew has an excellent idea which I have taken from the Scoumater's Minute forum:

 

"I am working to put together a Scouts Own service and would like to include a responsive reading of religious texts corresponding with the 12 points of the Scout Law.

 

There is an example of one here: http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/...rent/ss04.aspx and there are two examples here: http://www.macscouter.com/scoutsown/Readings.asp

 

However I am looking for a version (or versions) that includes texts from a wider variety of religious sources, not just the Judeo-Christian Bible. I've seen such versions before, but sadly didn't keep the programs from those services and my Googling isn't turning anything up.

 

I'd like to have a version that uses quotes from the Holy Bible (Christian), the Torah (Jewish), the Quran (Islamic), the Book of Mormon (LDS), the Vedas (Hindu), the Tripitaka (Buddhist), Native American prayers, sacred texts, etc. to show the commonalty of the values of the Scout Law throughout the various religions and provide a representation of a wider range of religions.

 

Any help in finding, or creating, a many-faiths Scout Law responsive reading would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!"

 

 

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I enjoy when Scouts' Own services have many diverse faiths represented. That way everyone has a moment where they feel included, accepted and celebrated. It also educates other on our commonalities and the traditions and beliefs of others. Many times I feel that "Scouts' Own" services are just non-denominational Christian services that avoid using the word "Jesus." The style and overall point-of-view often mirrors that of a traditional Christian church service.

 

Also remember that we're dealing with teenage and pre-teenage boys here, attending a Scouts' Own service should be a fun and meaningful activity for them, not some somber and boring obligation.

 

Here's a passage written by Baden-Powell in 1928 about what a "Scouts' Own" service should (and shouldn't) be that I think is quite apt here:

 

For an open Troop, or for Troops in camp, I think the Scouts' Own should be open to all denominations, and carried on in such a manner as to offend none. There should not be any special form, but it should abound in the right spirit, and should be conducted not from any ecclesiastical point of view, but from that of the boy. Everything likely to make an artificial atmosphere should be avoided. We do not want a kind of imposed Church parade, but a voluntary uplifting of their hearts by the boys in thanksgiving for the joys of life, and a desire on their part to seek inspiration and strength for greater love and service for others.

 

A Scouts' Own should have as big an effect on the boys as any service in church, if in conducting the Scouts' Own we remember that boys are not grown men, and if we go by the pace of the youngest and most uneducated of those present. Boredom is not reverence, nor will it breed religion.

 

To interest the boys, the Scout's Own must be a cheery and varied function. Short hymns (three verses are as a rule quite enough-never four); understandable prayers; a good address from a man who really understands boys (a homily "talk" rather than an address), which grips the boys, and in which they may laugh or applaud as the spirit moves them, so that they take a real interest in what is said. If a man cannot make his point to keen boys in ten minutes he ought to be shot! If he has not got them keen, it would be better not to hold a Scouts' Own at all.

 

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LeCastor I gave it a shot.

 

I will refrain from quoting various Scriptures as I do not want to offend anyone via a missed quote or contextual issues.

 

To help other people at all times:

 

Islam: Praised for giving charity but only if done in private, for to help others for the sake of being praised for helping others is shameful.

Judaism: Teaches that not helping someone in need is not much different than actively harming that person.

Christianity:To not help others when in need is an offence.

Taoism: The fact that there was help is the difference not the person.

Buddhism: Doing good leads to Nirvana

Hinduism: Actions that benefit the 5 sections of society women, children, animals, saintly people and the elderly.

 

To keep myself physically Strong:

 

Islam: Follow the Quran and Allah will give you a health.

Judaism: To be physically Strong is a requirement for survival

Christianity: Keeping yourself physically fit is seen as good

Taoism: A still person does not dance. Never give a sword (In our case knife)to a person who cannot dance.

Buddhism: The body and mind must be balanced

Hinduism: The soul moves the body to attain pure consciousness

 

Mentally awake:

 

Islam: Advance your intellect, but control it

Judaism: The glory of god is intellect

Christianity: Nothing directly related to intellect that I found

Taoism: Having a Vacant mind gives you a full mind

Buddhism: The body and mind must be balanced

Hinduism: Intellect is simply a conduit for the soul to interact with the physical world

 

and Morally Straight:

 

Islam: 'Straight Path' Clear cut (but complex) set of duties and commands

Judaism: 'To point the way' A set laws to be applicable to all aspects of life

Christianity: A list of doing good or evil based on examples and traditions

Taoism: without evil there is no good

Buddhism: List of 5 overarching activities that one is prohibited from

Hinduism: Renounce the fruits of labor

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If you're saying "take of your hats" rather than "please remove all non-religious headgear" or "please assume a posture of reverence according to your tradition", you're doing it wrong.

Here’s a short story for you… within my district the common phrase used before a prayer or religious service had always been along the lines of: "I ask that unless it is against your custom, please remove your hats..." So, upon this request, pretty much everyone would remove their hats… unless they were, say, Jewish (which requires a headcover during prayers as a sign of respect toward God).

 

Now several years ago there was Jewish Scout in the district. While this Scout would often carry and wear a yarmulke for the religious parts of the day, there were times (especially on campouts) where his headcover during prayers or meals was simply a regular-looking ball cap or knit cap. He grew tired of getting dirty looks and taps on the shoulder "reminding" him that he had a hat on, and having to explain "I'm Jewish" to people who thought he was just being disrespectful. Most people didn't know he was Jewish and thought he was just ignoring the call to remove his hat during the prayer; and even after he explained that he was Jewish, some Scout leaders from other units would roll their eyes and think he was just some kind of wisenheimer saying it to get out of having to take his hat off in the dining hall of whatnot. So one day this Scout was asked to introduce the prayer at an event. He flipped the district's common introduction of "unless it is against your custom, please remove your cover" and said "unless it is against your custom, please put on a cover..." There was a slight murmur from the crowd but he continued with the prayer.

 

His logic was there are 3 groups when it comes to headcovers: (1) there are religions that require you remove your hat to show reverence towards God; (2) there are religions that require that you cover your head to show reverence towards God; and (3) there are religions that have no opinion one way or another on if you have a hat on or off. He felt like Group #1 was being promoted as the "default" and that Group #2 (which he was in) was treated like an asterisked exception. They were basically saying "everyone remove your hats!... well, unless you've really got to keep them on" (why not say "Keep your hat on, unless you've really got to take it off."?) The common practice of saying that Group #3 has to conform to Group #1's customs (just because Group #1 is the majority) is no less offensive than saying Group #3 to conform to Group #2's way of doing it.

 

Well long story short... now the prayers at district events start with a simple reminder to "please adjust you headcover in accordance to your faith." Some take their hats off, and some leave their hats on. I will admit that more a few more hats stay on now from Scouts who probably have no custom one way or another on the issues, but the Jewish Scouts get a lot less hassling and odd looks for keeping their hats on and they feel more included and respected. The little things, like the wording for a call to adjust your headcover, can make a big difference to a Scout feeling accepted or like a second-class citizen.

 

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To the extent that Love Your Neighbor or Take Care of the World We Have Been Given might offend someone, I guess I am just not concerned enough to do anything about their "issues."

 

My Buddhist friends are not offended by deist themes in a service as, they tell me, being offended over such a thing is against their religion. (When we had a local blow-up over the Ten Commandments in a public place, the local spokesman for Buddhist congregations made a point of volunteering that they should not be invoked as a reason to take down the Ten. A local newspaper "journalist" then wrote an editorial saying that the Ten "obviously" was "offensive" to Jews and Muslims. 0___0 And no, "Amen" is not offensive to Muslims.)

 

The only trouble I have been aware of has resulted from Protestant ministers who just WILL present a Protestant service if allowed. I have had no such problems with Rabbis or Catholic priests,

 

Scouts planning a Scouts' Own would need to be counseled.

THAWK,

As a Taoist... I would not object to the ten commandments being displayed at a Governmental location. ie. City hall or a public park.

As an American I do. The constitution states "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." As an American i stand by the constitution. A town government that does this IMHO has violated the US constitution amendment 1. in that they respected the establishment of 1 religion over others. Unless they not only allowed but funded similar displays of other faiths.

 

 

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THAWK,

As a Taoist... I would not object to the ten commandments being displayed at a Governmental location. ie. City hall or a public park.

As an American I do. The constitution states "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." As an American i stand by the constitution. A town government that does this IMHO has violated the US constitution amendment 1. in that they respected the establishment of 1 religion over others. Unless they not only allowed but funded similar displays of other faiths.

 

 

As a Constitutionalist, display of the 10 Commandments, or any other religious quotation does not make a law to establish it as anything other than citizens expressing the free exercise of their religion. Of course through further misinterpretation the word Congress has been replaced by any governmental entity shall not just refrain from making laws, but also prohibit the free exercise thereof of the citizens. This is how teachers are justified in taking Bibles away from grade school children who bring them to school to read. The Constitution has been misquoted, misinterpreted, and stretch so far in all directions, it's pretty much null and void. And even that which remains the executive branch refuses to enforce anyway.

 

What used to be a legal document has now become a living document which simply means it can be interpreted any way anyone wishes to do so. This is how schools get away with free speech zones. It used to be all of America was a free speech zone, now it's no longer the case.

 

Tolerance is no longer an American virtue. We even have our schools teaching our youngest children the benefits of zero-tolerance in our society.

 

Offended people generally are a small but growing minority. We are no longer ruled by laws created by the majority, we are a nation ruled by the offended minority which is now just about everyone.

 

It kinda reminds me of the adult version of "The Lord of the Flies".

 

Stosh

 

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Where was the so-called 'tolerance' when my Jewish friends were ostracized by the community because they objected to their children being forced to pray to Jesus every day at school? Oops, my bad. My Jewish friends were supposed to tolerate that. Sorry, I didn't understand.

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I didn't say intolerance was restricted to any one group. It permeates all religious/non-religious groups. It's just that some groups are better than others at it and even when they promote tolerance, it doesn't mean anything when it comes to putting it into practice. The Golden Rule doesn't apply in today's society except for maybe a very small minority. Our society is definitely on a downward spiral in this area and I don't see it hitting the bottom anytime soon.

 

In Southern California if one were to make eye-contact with strangers, there was a sense of suspicion that accompanied it. If one did not steering-wheel wave to every other vehicle on the road in North Dakota, there was a sense of suspicion that accompanied it. :) While winters in ND really suck, I preferred the strangers there than those in Southern CA. Oh, by the way, that observation was made by me 40 years ago. Things have probably changed since then.

 

Having lived in my current urban house/neighborhood for 20 years, I know everyone within a quarter mile. Now that I live in the country for the past month, I only know everyone within a quarter mile. :)

 

I can definitely say that as a practicing tolerant person, I'm not tolerated by others quite a bit of the time. We make easy targets for them to express their anger and hatred. I have learned that intolerant people are not my problem, they are a problem only to themselves.

 

I have often said, I can always get along with most people, but I just can't stand intolerant people. :)

 

Stosh

 

Oh, by the way when in college my 4 dorm room mates:

 

1) Chinese

2) Negro

3) Homosexual

4) Caucasian

 

The one I had the most hassles with was #4 :)

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As a Constitutionalist, display of the 10 Commandments, or any other religious quotation does not make a law to establish it as anything other than citizens expressing the free exercise of their religion.

 

But when a government entity allows the display (such as in a city hall or court house) of a religious document from one religion, but disallows the display of any similar documents from other religions, then that is a problem. It has nothing to do with tolerance and everything to do with that government entity favoring one religion over another.

 

And many of those people that are pushing for government entities to display such things rarely have "tolerance" on their minds. Look at Roy Moore, the judge that put the huge stone monument to the ten commandments in the court house rotunda (and lost his seat when he refused to remove it). He doesn't believe that non-Christians are fit to serve in congress (http://www.wnd.com/2006/12/39271/), or that non-Christian prayers should be used to open the US Senate (http://www.wnd.com/2007/07/42613/). So his putting up the ten commandments was part of a campaign to establish Christianity as the de facto official religion of the United States (or in his mind to affirm that it already is). The same can be said of the prayer in school crowd. For the majority of them it's not about religious freedom, it's about putting non-Christians in their place (unless you define "religious freedom" as the freedom to make non-Christians second class citizens).

 

So I strongly disagree with you. Objecting to the government displaying the ten commandments at a city hall is not about showing intolerance, it's about protecting the religious freedom that we enjoy in this great nation. Something that is under vigorous assault by elements of the religious right (the separation of church and state is a myth crowd).

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Well, the Bill of Rights only deals with the US government not establishing a national religion through an enactment by Congress. It doesn't say anything more than that. Everything else is added and piled on to further complicate the simple. And yet the US government can be as intolerant as the next group even though there is the lip-service of the "Bill of Rights". Utah couldn't become a state in the union unless it gave up polygamy. Flat out abuse of power. US government dictating what a religion can or cannot do. We all know that "All men are created equal." unless you're black and a slave, then you're just property.

 

Historically the Constitution has been abused since before the ink dried and to try and figure out what's what today, all we are doing is stirring the pot and pretty much negating anything and everything it once stood for.

 

So why is it that people can't wrap their minds around the fact that the US Government's efforts surround themselves around atheism and the fact that in order to adhere to the Constitution as it is now defined, the US is a god-less nation. One nation under God, and in God we trust are now meaningless.

 

It was a grand experiment our Founding Fathers put forth, and they knew it and said just that. It was tested through the American Civil War as Abe Lincoln points out. But it didn't work. Live with it.

 

Stosh

 

Oh, by the way, "separation of church and state" is not in the Constitution, it was "inferred" later on along with thousands of other inferences that are part of that piling on to negate the original document. All these inferences were never signed into law by the signers of the US Constitution.

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"Well, the Bill of Rights only deals with the US government not establishing a national religion through an enactment by Congress."

 

Well, no. Not according to the supreme court. And I live in the real world where that makes a difference, even if I think some of their opinions are wrong.

 

"So why is it that people can't wrap their minds around the fact that the US Government's efforts surround themselves around atheism and the fact that in order to adhere to the Constitution as it is now defined, the US is a god-less nation."

 

Because your paranoid fantasy doesn't match reality.

 

"One nation under God, and in God we trust are now meaningless."

 

So you won't mind if they're removed, right?

 

"Oh, by the way, "separation of church and state" is not in the Constitution"

 

Other phrases not in the constitution:

"separation of powers"

"right to a fair trial"

"right to vote"

 

Now you're just playing word games, which is utterly worthless. No court opinion depends on the phrase "separation of church and state" being in the constitution, because it isn't. However, they do depend on what "no law respecting an establishment of religion" means, because that IS in the constitution.

 

 

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