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click23

EBOR no belief in a higher power

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Fred, he was very firm in no belief in God, higher power, FSM or anything.

 

.

 

Is this not the very definition of atheism? I would make sure that the boy and his parents are saying exactly what he means. If he is sure, then he is ineligible for membership and may not be awarded the Eagle. This really isn't that hard. If this is not a new belief, then he probably shouldn't have come this far before having the rug pulled out from under him. That's not to say he's a bad kid. Just not eligible for membership.

 

 

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... Is this not the very definition of atheism? ...

 

I was just trying to provide wiggle room. Unexplored means you could chat and if he says he's not sure, it buys you flexibility. Especially as when his membership app was signed by his parents, the app said he was eligible. aka he was qualified.

 

Plus, the scout has had five boards of review that have passed him. I hate seeing big issues like this only be raised at the finishing line. It's a very unfair and discouraging situation for everyone.

 

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We are taking the approach that a Scout is helpful, friendly, courteous and kind, and that a Scout will help other people at all times. We are willing to do everything possible to see this young man get his Eagle, within the policies of the BSA. When we reconvene we will ask questions such as those I previously posted.

  • If he stands firm in his previously stated beliefs, he will not advance.
  • If is wavering, we will give him time to think things out.
  • If he has "came to Jesus"(just an expression, any God would be acceptable), we would postpone the board once again, to give him time to demonstrate that he can live by the Scout Oath and Law before he turns 18.

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We are taking the approach that a Scout is helpful, friendly, courteous and kind, and that a Scout will help other people at all times. We are willing to do everything possible to see this young man get his Eagle, within the policies of the BSA. When we reconvene we will ask questions such as those I previously posted.

  • If he stands firm in his previously stated beliefs, he will not advance.
  • If is wavering, we will give him time to think things out.
  • If he has "came to Jesus"(just an expression, any God would be acceptable), we would postpone the board once again, to give him time to demonstrate that he can live by the Scout Oath and Law before he turns 18.

 

 

Fiend, language is significant: "Jesus." Let me guess; we are both Christians, yes?

 

As confusing and downright unhelpful as BSA's statements on the subject are, no God is required since Buddhists are acceptable. Buddhism is a religion. It's adherents are, therefore, religious -- religious atheists officially held by B.S.A. to satisfy all requirements of Scouting. That leaves a lot of room when applying, as you appropriately mention, the notions of helpfulness, friendliness, and kindness, not to mention fairness.

 

I can say, and mean, may God guide you in your deliberations.

 

.

 

 

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Here is a thought experiment.

 

Scout at EBOR is asked what point of the Scout Law is the most difficult for him to follow. Scout answers, Helpful. When asked to elaborate he responds that A Scout is helpful in the law and in the oath I am on my honor to do my best... to help others at all times. There are some people which I do not like and I do not even try to help them at all, let alone at all times.

 

Should the Board of Review consider not "passing" the Scout due to non-adherence to this portion of the Law and the Oath? Why/why not?

 

A similar situation could be created for any of the Laws or promises in the Oath. Do we deny advancement for scout who does not keep himself physically fit and makes no effort to do so, even to the point of being weak and unhealthy?

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The second point is does he meet the membership standards of the BSA which state:

  • Membership in any program of the Boy Scouts of America requires the youth member to (a) subscribe to and abide by the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Scout Law, (b) subscribe to and abide by the precepts of the Declaration of Religious Principle (duty to God), and © demonstrate behavior that exemplifies the highest level of good conduct and respect for others and is consistent at all times with the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Scout Law.

With his statements, I am questioning whether he is eligible for membership, and therefore advancement, per clauses (a) and (b).

 

The Declaration of Religious Principle is a problem, not just for this scout. If reads in full (the DRP statement on the application is titled: "Excerpt From Declaration of Religious Principle" - the full DRP can be found in the BSA bylaws - Article IX, 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.

 

Activities

Clause 2. The activities of the members of the Boy Scouts of America shall be carried on under conditions which show respect to the convictions of others in matters of custom and religion, as required by the twelfth point of the Scout Law, reading, “Reverent. A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.â€Â

 

Freedom

Clause 3. In no case where a unit is connected with a church or other distinctively religious organization shall members of other denominations or faith be required, because of their membership in the unit, to take part in or observe a religious ceremony distinctly unique to that organization or church.

 

Leaders

Clause 4. Only persons willing to subscribe to these declarations of principles shall be entitled to certificates of leadership in carrying out the Scouting program.

 

Clause 5. Other major policies are set forth in article IX of the Rules and Regulations.

 

As you can see it disqualifies several religions off the bat, especially the line: "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". If you use a literal reading, only a monotheistic male God that is all powerful, and is active (giving favors and blessings) applies. So the Buddhist are out, so are most neo-pagans, deists, some Hindus, and others (I have been told by a Christian Protestant that first part of the line disqualifies him - but I admit I don't understand why). Even a more liberal reading still excludes Buddhist and some of the others.

 

The rest of that line is also a problem: "...are necessary to the best type of citizenship...". You have to agree that anyone who is of one of the disqualifying faiths is unable to be "the best type of citizen". So Buddhists, Deists (which include some of our founding fathers) and others can't be good citizens? And doesn't that very idea contradict the whole "respects the beliefs of others" bit?

 

So the BSA says Buddhist, Deists, etc. are fine, but the DRP clearly says they are not. Confused yet?

 

The DRP was written by James West (with his YMCA background) about 100 years ago (when ideas of religious pluralism in the US were different then today - pluralism then was mostly about not excluding Jews, Catholics and Mormons) and has come down to us mostly unchanged. Someone once told me that the DRP was added to the bylaws sometime in the 1950s, but I have no idea if that is true (anyone know the answer to that?).

 

So what are the actual requirements that we have to hold our potential eagle scout too? Since there are quite a few Buddhist eagle scouts out there, and the BSA (implicitly) says they can punt on half of the DRP, then how can we hold another scout to a stricter standard? I sure wouldn't require any scout or scouter to insist that it's impossible for Buddhists to be "the best type of" citizen.

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You mean if he comes back and says he believes in something, you'll make him wait even more to prove it? Has he ever given any indication that he isn't following the Scout Oath or Law right now?

 

Has the boy said he's an athiest? No?? Then what are you waiting for? Unless he outright admits to being an athiest, he may just be having a hard time reconciling what people tell him what reverent means and what his own beliefs are. If someone at my BOR had said that being reverent means I must believe in God as the majority understand that to mean, I would have said I had no such belief. That would not have made me an athiest though. He may very well believe in something that he doesn't understand as God but isn't articulating that well.

 

It's time to stop playing with this lad - Duty to God is just one part of the entire Scout Oath - and I would argue that it is one's duty to, at some points in one's life, to question God which can only serve to strengthen one's faith or cause one to choose a better path for themselves. Reverent is just one part of the Scout Law and is no more important than any other one. Again, I would argue that if you're following the other 11 points of the Scout Law, that you've pretty much got the Reverent part down, even if one suggests they don't believe in a higher power - I would suggest that following that path is an admission that one is working on something greater than they are.

 

 

If this is the only thing you're hung up on and you all believe he is Eagle Scout material otherwise, then pass him through - if you can't get past this, then refuse and let the appeals process work.

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... Should the Board of Review consider not "passing" the Scout due to non-adherence to this portion of the Law and the Oath? Why/why not? ...

 

Yes. The example is admitting a short coming in a do-your-best program. The issue is denying a fundamental value of BSA. Scouts of any rank are representing BSA and it's program. When you deny the fundamental value, why would you advance to the next higher level?

 

- Pass - You believe in helping people but just can't step up to help some people.

- Fail - You don't believe scouts should be "helpful" in this dog-eat-dog world.

 

- Pass - You're out of shape, but believe in fitness.

- Fail - You're in great shape, but believe fitness is a joke and not a value people strive to achieve. You plan to go home and eat junk food the rest of your life.

 

There does need to be a fail line when looking at values otherwise they are not values.

 

For this scout, I really hope they can find a way to pass him. ... OR ... have BSA step in to help pass him by making minor changes to open up the criteria. aka ... stop making faith a membership criteria. Faith friendly, not faith based.

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... So what are the actual requirements that we have to hold our potential eagle scout too? ...

 

Yes, the DRP wording is very archaic, reflecting a Christian background. And, it's a membership criteria that BSA has opened up to being flexible for most every faith. But BSA still explicitly rejects atheism ... and most everyone knows this.

 

.....

 

I still hope click23 can find a way to pass this scout. This happens too often for BSA to leave it like this.

 

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Rick, In the first clause, the first six words are, "The Boy Scouts of America maintains..."

It is an opinion. Not a mandate. Not a 'law'. There is a well-known 'law' already and the Scout Law doesn't have the word 'maintain' in it. One of the points has to do with reverence. It does not state reverence to what.

The further internal inconsistency of the DRP further weakens its status of authority. The fact that each of us can read that thing and come to different honest conclusions is a testimonial to its weakness and lack of clarity.

 

There are only two ways to go with this scout, either apply a narrow, restrictive interpretation of what 'God' means or else give him Fred's wiggle room and find a way to pass him.

 

What I wish is that BSA would learn how to think clearly and then to write those thoughts clearly so that those of us for whom BSA is our master can clearly know what the requirements are. But as of now, BSA doesn't, they haven't, and we don't.

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... If this is the only thing you're hung up on and you all believe he is Eagle Scout material otherwise' date=' then pass him through. [/quote']

 

Fully agree with his statement. Do your best to pass him. If he used the explicit words, I'm an atheist, you might be forced down a different path. But if there is any way, pass him.

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What I wish is that BSA would learn how to think clearly and then to write those thoughts clearly so that those of us for whom BSA is our master can clearly know what the requirements are. But as of now' date=' BSA doesn't, they haven't, and we don't.[/quote']

 

I actually think BSA is pretty clear. It's more the case we don't like the BSA position and we are trying to find a hole to get our scouts through because we believe and value the Boy Scouting program.

 

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... I actually think BSA is pretty clear. It's more the case we don't like the BSA position and we are trying to find a hole to get our scouts through because we believe and value the Boy Scouting program. ...

 

I think it's also because we as a nation now send our young men (and women) to war against "religious zealots" instead of "godless communists".

 

Be that as it may ...

 

C23, I strongly recommend you get your questions (maybe via the SM) to the boy BEFORE the BoR. Your goal should be to help him decide if the Eagle represents his values, NOT to help the board decide for him.

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... A similar situation could be created for any of the Laws or promises in the Oath. Do we deny advancement for scout who does not keep himself physically fit and makes no effort to do so' date=' even to the point of being weak and unhealthy? [/quote']

 

DT, good thought experiment. I would not send such a boy to an EBOR ... the boy doesn't even have to be sickly ... the other thread on drug abuse is a case in point.

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C23' date=' I strongly recommend you get your questions (maybe via the SM) to the boy [b']BEFORE [/b]the BoR. Your goal should be to help him decide if the Eagle represents his values, NOT to help the board decide for him.

 

Excellent point and great idea. Just be careful as you've listed 18 questions and some of them are really big.

 

Let the SM know the issue and know what you're trying to find a solution too. Get him in the picture so he can work with the scout appropriately.

 

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