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John-in-KC

Get Ready For New Requirements In Faith

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SorrIf 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.

 

 

I like the approach of asking questions related to the Scout Law and Oath.  It's all right there really.  Every time I see a scout not doing what they are supposed to, I go back to the scout law.  All it takes is a "Bob, remember a scout is courteous"  or "Tommy, remember a scout is helpful."  Every time I see a scout accomplish something, it goes back to the oath.  "Good job on making the 5 mile hike. You didn't think you could do it, but you tried and suceeded.  A scout is brave."  "I know you didn't want to do clean-up but thank you for not complaining.  A Scout is cheerful."

 

I don't view Scouting as a faith-based program but as a program designed to build character.  To me, character is embodied in the Scout Law and Scout Oath.  Those values are what I was raised with and are the values that my wife and I are teaching to my son.  We can't teach values without talking about them.  

 

Is it odd to single out one part of the Law and Oath?  Maybe.  But each rank requirement in Cub Scouts has a faith requirement.  I suspect that this is a reaction to the perception that the Duty to God was being passed over or ignored until an Eagle BOR.

 

The bottom line is that the program is only as good as the people who implement it.  I've had discussions with boys regarding religion on backpacking trips.  Many of them are at a point where they are questioning the existence of God and the idea of faith.  They tell me their concerns, I tell them that it is normal to question their faith, I explain to them why I believe in my faith (which reasons would be applicable to most other faiths) and tell them that I think a faith that you choose to believe in is more powerful than one you are taught to believe in.  One scout actually said that he wanted to talk to an adult about it other than his pastor or his parents.  

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My personal opinion is this is being added because BSA knows eventually they will fully drop the homosexual rules.. It is a battle lost.. This shoring up on duty to God is trying to head off loosing the battle against the acceptance of atheists..

 

Cub Scouts added a whole bunch of new requirements about duty to god also.. It was at least a year ago when I read about them, and I don't remember them exactly.. I know all the anxiety you have over the new changes in boy scouts I had reading the changes in Cub scouts..  I was UC of a pack at the time.. I talked to the pack leadership at the time and advised them where ever possible keep the requirements family oriented, and where the requirements prevent it being family oriented they had to remember that BSA is open to all but atheists so duty to god does not need to be well defined just some foggy belief that something greater then themselves was at work to create the universe and the world they live in.. Duty to God can just be treating others with respect, animals kindly, and/or the planet clean..

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I'll withhold my judgment till the meeting in May. It won't really change my Scoutmaster conferences. I discuss duty to God, Country, Self, Family whatever when I discuss Scout Spirit with my Scouts. 

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This just seems like one more in a long line of micromanaging the program. Instead of helping leaders understand how to make the patrol method work we get JTE. Instead of helping us have a discussion that could honestly help a boy grow we get a vague check box. I would certainly like more guidance but I'm not seeing that.

 

Some leaders will do well by this and some will abuse it. For the obvious situations most leaders will know how to handle it but there will certainly be cases where they are ill prepared. Unfortunately, the boys with the most to gain will likely be the ones that are hurt by this. It doesn't matter if it's Brave or Reverent, if a boy says he's not sure an adult has a delicate situation to work with.

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I see in typical BSA fashion, they use the word "God" but fail to define "God". 

 

So the enterprising non-believer will simply define "God" on his own and then tell how he served that duty.

 

Unless the BSA Police are out and about in every SMC I don't see them enforcing this one.

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Gotta wonder who is pushing National with this agenda.  I am with the others who are puzzled as to why this point of the Oath/Law is deserving of more attention than the others.

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Mozartbrau - I am not concerned with the scout leaders who ignore this and do not discuss "duty to God" in a SM conference.. Or those who correctly accept scouts who do not have well defined concepts, but are just open and questioning and in search on this topic..  I am more concerned with the gung-ho religious person who feels their interpretation on religion is the only correct viewpoint, or at least people should be church-goers even if not their religion.

 

I went back to look up the CS new requirements.. Be happy that at troop level you have just the SM conference.. Here are the requirements of each rank, some of it looks more like sunday school then Cub Scouts.

 

 

Tiger - My Family’s Faith

Youth Handbook Snapshot of Adventure

Become a faith investigator as you discover what faith means to you and your family. Discover what makes each member of your family different and what special gifts they have. Make a banner to show your faith and the reason your family is so special to you!

Rationale for Adventure—Helping a Tiger understand what duty to God means in Scouting and for them and their family.

 

Wolf - Footsteps of Faith

Youth Handbook Snapshot of Adventure

Faith is not only a belief in a God, but showing others by your actions what your faith is. You will learn about footsteps that have come before showing faith. This can help you begin to think about how the footsteps you take as a Scout as you learn lots of exciting new skills and adventures can help you show your faith in God.

Rationale for Adventure—Provide consistent awareness of a Scout’s faith and that by practicing his faith he is showing his duty to God.

 

Bear - Fellowship of Faith

Youth Handbook Snapshot of Adventure

Treating others the way we want to be treated, often called the golden rule, is a principle found in almost every religion. It is a good rule to follow every day! It is one way we can practice our duty to God. When we help our neighbors, treat family members with kindness, help our friends, and even reach out to people in our community, we help make life better for them. Helping others is a good way to have fellowship with others. We become happier, and our faith in God is strengthened! In this adventure, you will have opportunities to practice your duty to God by helping people around you.

Rationale for Adventure—To practice their duty to God, Bear Cub Scouts will have opportunities in this adventure to be good neighbors as they reach out in fellowship to those in their communities. Cub Scouts will experience the universal principle, common to many religions, that we should treat others the way we want to be treated.

 

Webelos - Faith in Action

Youth Handbook Snapshot of Adventure

Understanding more about your religious beliefs, and the beliefs of others close to you, can help you make sense of the world around you. The Faith in Action adventure allows you to explore your own faith, plan and participate in your own Scout interfaith service, and help you plan ways to continue your faith practices in the future.

Rationale for Adventure—A Scout is reverent. He is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties and respects the convictions of others in matters of custom and religion.

 

 

Arrow of Light - Faith in Action

Youth Handbook Snapshot of Adventure

In this adventure, you will have the opportunity to further explore your faith and duty to God in your own way. You can call on the past (your ancestors) and the present (you!) to get ideas about how to make faith an important part of your life.

Rationale for Adventure—A Scout is reverent. He is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties and respects the convictions of others in matters of custom and religion.

 

I pulled this out of this PDF - http://www.scouting.org/filestore/program_update/pdf/New_Cub_Adventure_Program_mg.pdf  - page 5

Edited by moosetracker
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Gotta wonder who is pushing National with this agenda.  I am with the others who are puzzled as to why this point of the Oath/Law is deserving of more attention than the others.

 

It it the pendulum swinging the other way after 2013's fun issue.

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Lots of speculation, lots of hand wringing, I believe it is only about numbers.

 

The gay issue painted scouting as a conservative god support program. The populous let the liberal culture draw the line and the result is there is less tolerance for tolerance and mixing of ideals, especially quantifying moral behavior (which is the purpose of scouting). The BSA found itself not satisfying anybody, so it has to pick one side or the other to survive. You only have to look at history of scouting to see where siding away from God will take the program. National is in survival mode now.

 

Personally I don't see the new directive changing anything, at all. It's just written words being more blatant in the program's support of god. It's marketing. 

 

Barry

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How can we forward this thread to the Scout folks meeting in Atlanta?   I like just about everything I have read here.

 

Our concerns seem to be about "listening" without judging.  Give the Scout a query (Stosh?) and sit back. Ask him to describe how he lives his faith (Ducttape?) .  Work such things into your SMMinute (a lost art for many), let the Scout talk about such things on the hike, around the campfire (Hedgehog?), or reminding them about the promise and law they mouth before or after the meeting.  Do those words MEAN anything?   Can our words count?  

 

"" It is a sad Reflection, that many Men hardly have any Religion at all; and most Men have none of their own: For that which is the Religion of their Education, and not of their Judgment, is the Religion of Another, and not Theirs.""  = William Penn,  The Fruits of Solitude  =

 

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This thread has been teetering on the edge of "Issues and Politics" territory almost from the beginning, but I think today's posts have definitely pushed it over the edge. With apologies to John-in-KC, who I think was looking for a discussion of the "advancement" aspects of this, rather than a political discussion, I am going to move the thread now. At least I am going to try, since this is the first time I have moved a thread with the new forum software. Hopefully this will end up where it is supposed to. And maybe, either now or after the actual requirement is published in May (to be effective at the beginning of 2016, I believe), someone can start a new thread here in "Advancement Resources" with a request that it remain more narrowly focused.

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I'm going to convert to Scientology just to make BSA's head spin on the whole "God" and religion issue. ;)

 

Go Thetans!!! Beat Xenu!!!  :rolleyes:

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The BSA found itself not satisfying anybody, so it has to pick one side or the other to survive.

In my opinion BSA National is trying to pick both sides, or perhaps more accurately, it is trying to appear to each side as if it is picking their side. In the process it is going to give a headache to a lot of Scoutmasters who would probably prefer not to discuss religion with their Scouts at all. I know that our Scoutmaster is not going to want to discuss with each Scout how he does his duty to God. And then what happens if, in the course of this discussion, a Scout says he really isn't sure whether there is a God? Or he doesn't think there is a God? I believe there was a thread on that several months ago when the subject came up in an EBOR. What is the Scoutmaster supposed to do? And does it differ based on exactly what the Scout says, or doesn't say?

 

Others seem to view this issue as opening the door for a Scoutmaster to impose his own religious values on a Scout. But for my own troop, and probably most of those in my state, I think the real issue is that the BSA is handing many Scoutmasters a can of worms that they don't want to deal with at all. I wonder how many SM's are just going to ignore this new requirement.

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Well I can't see the problem. A SM was always supposed to check on a scouts progress in his rank requirements as well as his scouting experience, so how does this change it? How does it change the question?  And, if a SM is of mind to take this a step to far, they will do it anyways for the reason I just stated. There is no change for the leaders that I can see.  

 

Barry

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