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Get Ready For New Requirements In Faith

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This just hit my FB feed.

 

http://scoutingmagazine.org/2015/02/new-requirements-explore-duty-to-god/

 

Of note, for Boy Scouts...

 

What is changing in Boy Scouting? The Scout Spirit requirement for each rank starting with Tenderfoot is expanding to have the Scout describe how he has done his duty to God. (The new requirements will be released at the National Annual Meeting in May.)

 

When will the new Boy Scout requirements take effect? Jan. 1, 2016. Find more information about the transition plan and requirements at scouting.org/programupdates.

 

How can I evaluate a Scout for duty to God, especially if he and I have different beliefs? Consider asking him how his family or faith group defines duty to God and how he is living up to that definition. Remember that the focus is on the Scout’s understanding of duty to God, not the leader’s. Also, keep in mind that duty to God will be only one part of the Scout Spirit requirement.

 

Do boys have to earn the religious emblem for their faith? No. Not every youth is a member of a faith group, and not all faith groups offer religious emblems. Earning one is not a requirement.

 

As the BSA’s Declaration of Religious Principle states, “The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God and, 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 organization or group with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life.â€

 

Have fun, Unit Serving Leaders...

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If this is true, BSA can count on becoming an even smaller niche organization than it is now. I consider this to be a needless intrusion on what should be a boy's or family's privacy regarding a topic that is none of the SM's (or BSA's) business. 

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If this is true, BSA can count on becoming an even smaller niche organization than it is now. I consider this to be a needless intrusion on what should be a boy's or family's privacy regarding a topic that is none of the SM's (or BSA's) business.

 

I am waiting to see the actual new requirements, but I have the same concern.

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Agreed. Around here at the unit level, this is viewed as "none of our business".  I think our Council is on the same wavelength.

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I think it is in the SM's purview to discuss matters of religion with a boy, but I think it's an intrusion on the SM to require it of every SMC.

 

Simple example: what if a fella does whatever religious duties his family expects of him, but the boy's a pushover and won't stand up to his peers? I want my SMC to focus on bravery and true friendship. And, if it's obvious that religion is gonna derail the discussion (maybe by giving the kid the impression that he's at least doing the "important" thing right), there's no way I'm gonna throw that into the mix. Sure maybe there's some aspect of the kids faith that may help address the issue, but I'm inclined to let him say that in the context of deciding if he can commit to being more courageous in the ensuing months.

 

Any bean-counting MC who'd try to correct me after overhearing our discussion had better brace for a little brimstone!

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What bothers me about the entire "faith issue" is how it apparently needs its own extra requirements. There is no declaration of patriotic principles on membership application or guidance on how to discuss with a scout his being physically fit in accordance with the Scout oath, etc...  

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The requirement is ""to have the Scout describe how he has done his duty to God. (The new requirements will be released at the National Annual Meeting in May.)""   There is and CANNOT BE any requirement as to WHAT  that duty must be.   For the Scout to describe his "Duty to God"  MUST be sufficient.  If the SM even attempts to judge that, either good or bad, sufficient or no,  it will be an unwarranted  intrusion and an undesirable attempt at religious instruction. 

Unless that SM is indeed the Scout's religious leader (Rabbi, Pastor, Priest, etc. ), there CANNOT be any other requirement than to listen respectfully to the Scout's honest (we hope) description and discussion of his faith. 

This is not the  demonstration of a skill (tying a bowline) or the accomplishment of a task (hike 3 miles) or  the gaining of  experience (plan and accomplish a service project). It is (should be?) the opportunity for the Scout to explain where he is , in his faith, without judgement or the assignment of guilt or shame.

Such hearing will definitely be educational on both parties, and not destructive to either , or to the BSA. 

 

I hope.

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You promised to do your best for God and Country.  How's that going for you?

 

You promised to help other people at all times.  How's that going for you?

 

You promised to keep yourself strong, alert and morally straight,  How's that going for you?

 

How is the God part any different than any of the others except some people's shorts bundle up when someone brings up the subject?

 

Having a boy explain any of these does not necessitate any judgement on my part.  I'm giving a SMC, not a one-on-one BOR.

 

Either the boy says he's been doing some stuff for God and Country or he hasn't.  Either he's been helping others or he hasn't, etc.  It's not that big of a deal to ask how he's doing on the Scout Oath unless one makes it so.

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Stosh, it's just the opposite. The new requirement apparently is not going to require a discussion of the duty to country at the SM conference, nor the duty to help others, nor the duty to keep myself physically fit, etc. ONLY the Duty to God. Why?

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Here we go again with "the sky is falling".  This does not have to be anymore intrusive than the leader makes it.  They still stress it is a family and personal thing, and the question does not have to intrude beyond asking if it is being pondered by the scout within his own beliefs and those of his family.  

 

It only will be an issue if someone makes it one.  And any good leader should be able to handle this with little or no disruption in the program or unit.

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I find it exceedingly weird that people get involved in an organization that has had a Duty to God as one of its central tenets for 100 years and then get all upset about it.  It's human nature, I suppose, to try and demand that everything adhere to your view of how things should be and that anything that doesn't is somehow "wrong."  If this miniscule change causes some of the complainers to leave the program, I don't see how Scouting won't be better off.

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The elements of the oath are not being questioned here. The TEST of the oath for ONE of those, singled out in this policy change, the most personal element of all, is being questioned. It is the part of the oath that someone other than the person holding a belief can least comprehend. It is the element that offers the greatest opportunity for that SM, as skeptic notes, to intrude as much as he feels his own beliefs might differ from those of the boy and, thus, perhaps even more severely for 'this' boy than for 'that' boy, depending on the 'acceptability' to the SM. 

 

At the age of 11-18, duty to country is mostly an abstraction mixed perhaps with evidence provided by service. Physically strong, alert, and moral are a mix of the obvious and abstract but none of those things are as open to intrusion and prejudice as the one topic for which no person can truly know about another...their thoughts and beliefs. 

I can live with weird. I object strongly to intrusion into personal matters by persons who, except for an advancement policy which specifies the intrusion, have no business making that intrusion. It's not only an intrusion left to the variable, perhaps willful whims of the SM, it is an intrusion by BSA itself.

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Sorry, EVERYTHING is a "personal" matter.  Only those who feel the need to segregate out certain elements seem to find a difference.  Is duty to Country sometimes referred to as a sacred honor?  Sacred = belonging to God.  For the narcissistic attitudes of today wouldn't one feel that asking about "helping other people at all times" an intrusion into their personal space?  And as the boys spend hours upon hours in front of the TV and/or computer letting their muscles atrophy and brains go to whatever the crime du jour is on TV, are questions related to physical strength, mental alertness and moral attitudes an intrusion?

 

Yes, the national focus is to preserve the program as it has for 100+ years and with the fickleness of social attitudes today, maybe a bump in the right direction is what they are after.  People today single out religion as something one is not supposed to talk about.  Well, as one of the 12 Scout Laws, one would ask, what is the motivation to ignore one of the guiding principles of the program?  

 

If one has a problem with supporting all 12 of the Scout Laws, maybe one ought to be asking oneself these questions and not just the boys.  So lets not start with A Scout is Reverent, lets start with A Scout is Brave and work from there.

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I aggree with Stosh, they can all be open to intrusion. Take it from the folks who make the news for being up in arms because the school nurse sent a letter home about little (?) Johnny's body mass index.

 

I disagree with Skeptic's view that this does not have to be any more than the leader makes of it. SMs have dozens of folks telling them how they should do thier job.  This is one more way someone can poke the bear.

 

Welcome: Suggestions for ideas of how to probe for scout spirit during an SMC.

Unwelcome: Required one-size-fits-all script for every SMC.

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